Position Paper for W3C Blockchain Workshop

Authors: Wei-Tek Tsai
Beihang University, Beijing, China &
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA


I am the Director of Digital Society & Blockchain Laboratory at Beihang University, and the university is a W3C member. The laboratory is the first and maybe the only university-based laboratory that focuses on blockchain in China.

I got my SB in Computer Science & Engineering from MIT in 1979, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California at Berkeley. I was a full professor at University of Minnesota, (Minneapolis, MN from 1985 to 2000) and Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ from 2000 to 2014) before joining Beihang University at Beijing. I have over 400 papers on software engineering, service-oriented computing, and cloud computing. Recently, I have been focusing on energy on blockchains.

I have given talks to numerous organizations on blockchain-related topics including banks (PBOC or China Central Bank, China Development Bank, Jiangsu Bank, China Construction Bank, Barclays Bank), financial institutions (such as Union Pay, Supply Chain Finance), universities (Tsinghua University, Peking University, National University of Defense Technology, Beihang University). Furthermore, I gave talks at many conferences including IEEE International Workshop on Blockchain and Smart Contracts at Oxford, March-April 2016 and Big Data Expo at Guiyang, China in May 2016 (http://www.eguizhou.gov.cn/gybigdataexpo.html).

I organized a delegation of 25 Chinese scientists and business leaders to visit UK Chief Scientific Adviser, Z/Yen Group, Level 39, Barclays Accelerators to discuss blockchain projects from March 28 to April 2, 2016. I have written reports based on this trip and received significant attention in China.

The Laboratory has developed BeihangChain, a private blockchain, and it has reached the speed of 20,000 transactions per second, more than enough to handle the transaction volumes of Visa and Union Pay and Alipay, three largest payment systems in the world. BeihangChain has been adopted by CCTV (China Central TV at http://english.cctv.com/) for microfilm management as well as other organizations in the world such as Datong City.

One of key features of BeihangChain is that it is scalable. Whenever the workload changes, the chain can automatically adjust itself to handle the increased or decreased workload without compromising the blockchain properties. These are our original contributions among other technical contributions.

The CCTV project maybe one of the largest blockchain projects and the first phase of this project will serve 36M people in Beijing in real time. The purpose of this project is to protect the IP right of microfilm producers to ensure that they are properly rewarded.

Whenever a Beijing resident watches a microfilm via cell phone or desktop, their activities will be recorded and any royalty will properly managed by smart contracts in the system. We estimated that about 3.6M microfilms will be watched within a hour in the night, and thus the system needs to process a large amount of information in real time with BeihangChain.

The CCTV project received 50M RMB (or about $7.5M USD) funding to initiate the first phase of the project to be complete within a year. If the first phase is successful, it will be duplicated to about 200 sites in the world with improvement.

The CCTV project welcomes any scientists and business leaders in the world to participate such as providing technical expertise and JV of this project to the world. Those that are interested in this project, please contact me.


Architecture of private blockchains, application architecture, and computational law are 3 topics that are important to today’s blockchain applications in China, and they are all related to the Web as all of them will be Web-based and people will interact via a browser.

Architecture of private blockchains: Chinese government and important enterprises are likely to accept private blockchains only, and these private blockchains need to have high throughput, low delay, high privacy, low energy, and can handle the load in a scalable and real-time manner. Many of these features have not been discussed in the literature.

Application architecture: we are designing a large Web-based application system using 10+ blockchains, and encountered many interesting technical issues not discussed or presented today. These will introduce many software/hardware design problems.

Computational Law: Smart contract is a hot topic in the blockchain world, but when we implement smart contracts for the CCTV projects, we encountered many issues not discussed in the literature. One key aspect is the legal issues as smart contract may product results that have legal consequences, thus design and implementation of smart contracts are important.


Digital Society & Blockchain Laboratory, Beihang University, http://digitalslab.buaa.edu.cn/