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Ant Financial launches OpenChain blockchain solution for SMEs

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Today China’s Ant Financial, the parent of AliPay, officially launched OpenChain, a solution aimed at enabling small and micro enterprises to use blockchain applications for less money and without the need to host their own nodes. The project was first unveiled five months ago as the Ant Blockchain Open Alliance but the English name has now changed.

“Through the launch of the OpenChain platform, we aim to help one million SMEs and developers innovate and explore more use cases in the next three years,” said Jin Ge, General Manager of Blockchain Platforms at Ant Financial.

The offering provides numerous ready-made distributed applications or dApps, including for supply chain finance, product provenance, electronic bills, decentralized games, copyright protection and charitable donations.

The solution offered is proprietary and permissioned and the Ant Financial Blockchain has a concept of gas, which is an Ethereum term for charging for processing. It also supports Solidity as well as other smart contract languages. 

We asked the company and a spokesperson said the Ant Financial Blockchain is a new kind of consortium blockchain network developed independently by Ant Financial. Several other blockchains use the gas term, including Libra. Ant Financial Blockchain uses gas to measure computing and storage costs and also for charging on OpenChain. Solidity was requested by SMEs and developers because it’s familiar, but there are plans to develop more smart languages including C++ on OpenChain.

But we understand the Ant Financial Blockchain has unique features relating to consensus performance and privacy protection. The main blockchain platform has already been extensively used in enterprise blockchain solutions for firms such as Bayer in agriculture, China Everbright Bank in supply chain finance and cross border remittance.

In terms of speed, the Professional Edition of OpenChain supports up to ten transactions per second (TPS) and the Enterprise Edition 100 TPS. However, Ant Financial Blockchain itself is said to be capable of up to 10,000 TPS.

The OpenChain pricing starts at 100 Yuan ($14) per month. 

Competition is hotting up to deliver an easy-to-access blockchain solution to SMEs. Yesterday saw the launch of the Blockchain Service Network, a government-backed solution that has support from Tencent’s WeBank. Additionally, Baidu unveiled an offering three months ago, called the Open Network.

Update: A previous article speculated whether or not Ant Financial Blockchain was a customized version of Ethereum. Ant told Ledger Insights that it is not.

Image Copyright: Ant Financial