5G is coming, China Telecom's blockchain journey and ambition | Interview with Babbitt

When the storm of new technology swept through, Jiangchuan rushed, everything grew, and the world was vast.

For telecom operators, the arrival of the blockchain is an accident and a challenge. The decoupling, tamper-proof and multi-party consensus mechanisms of the blockchain can solve the problem of mutual trust and cooperation in the cooperation of the telecommunications industry, but at the same time it may also innovate the existing business model.

In foreign countries, the first company to explore the blockchain in the field of telecom operations is the US telecommunications giant AT&T. Later, France Telecom Orange tried to use the blockchain to improve the settlement speed. Swiss state-owned telecommunications provider Swisscom established blockchain company, Spanish telecom giant Telefonica Announced the development of blockchain smartphone solutions.

In China, telecommunications industry companies began to get involved in blockchain research as early as 2016. Whether it is China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and other three major telecom operators, Huawei or ZTE, there are layouts in blockchain standards, technology research and development, application pilots, etc., in order to grasp the initiative in the blockchain field.


Recently, the Babbitt reporter interviewed Dr. Liang Wei, the person in charge of R&D of China Telecom blockchain. In this interview, we talked about China Telecom's technology reserves, product innovation and industrial layout in the blockchain field, covering topics such as blockchain underlying infrastructure, blockchain SIM card, and digital asset management.

The Babbitt reporter observed that unlike most of the experts in the system, Dr. Liang Wei brought his own IP halo. In addition to attending the conference as “China Telecom Blockchain R&D Leader”, he also wrote in his spare time. The book "Introduction to Blockchain: Core Technology and Project Analysis" aims to build a complete knowledge base of blockchain technology for readers. It is precisely because the Babbit reporter is a loyal reader of his book that he has the opportunity to have an exclusive interview.

Dr. Liang Wei believes that to some extent, blockchain thinking is more important than the technology itself .

“For any technology, the value of establishing a system is endless, which means that you can continue to iterate, update and accumulate, especially in the era when our information is overloaded and attention is infinitely fragmented. In the development of blockchain technology In the process, there will inevitably be some projects gone, some projects will remain, and some new projects will emerge. The establishment of the system will help us to see the evolution of technology and the value of the Internet world led by the blockchain."


To be innovative, it cannot be pipelined.

On June 29, 2016, in order to comply with the intelligent development trend of the information and communication industry, China Telecom announced a new strategy of transformation and upgrading, and is committed to being a leading integrated intelligent information service operator. It is understood that this is the third transformation of China Telecom since its establishment on May 17, 2000.

Also in 2016, the State Council issued the “13th Five-Year National Informationization Plan”, highlighting the importance of developing blockchains and new technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence. At the time of the transition, policy blessing has undoubtedly allowed China Telecom to see new possibilities brought by the blockchain technology to the telecommunications industry.

In the era of mobile Internet, telecom operators are facing the dilemma of increasing network pressure and insufficient innovation capability. The network infrastructure that has been painstakingly built has been marginalized by users, and telecom operators have been labeled as “plumbing workers”.

In order to get rid of the fate of making wedding dresses for others, telecom operators will actively develop enterprise service projects on the basis of guaranteeing basic business and benchmarking BAT. China Telecom is no exception.

Combining its own advantages over many years of government and enterprise, China Telecom has carried out preliminary practice in the areas of blockchain technology and new industrialization, agricultural modernization, real economy and government management. At present, China Telecom has formed the “3+3+N” products, capabilities and application systems in the blockchain field, namely:

3 kinds of products: blockchain basic platform, blockchain trusted data sharing and exchange platform, blockchain SIM card 3 kinds of capabilities: blockchain standard formulation, third-party evaluation, ecological system to create N kinds of applications: internal telecommunication services N-type blockchain applications such as external government and enterprise industries

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“The blockchain allows data to be owned and benefited by who; who uses it and who pays it”. In April 2019, the People’s Daily broke the essence of blockchain technology in one sentence, that is, the return of data value . So, for telecom operators, do you really want the value of user data to return to users? Dr. Liang Wei’s answer is yes, he believes,

" First, the right of user data from 'monarch' to 'democracy' is an inevitable trend of technology development. The Internet solves the asymmetry of information through technical means, and the blockchain solves the asymmetry of value through technical means. They all improve efficiency by going to the intermediary.

Second, the return of value of user data is already happening, and this trend is accelerating. The Internet has changed the way information is produced and disseminated. Each of us is the source of production data, and the sovereignty of users/consumers is also evident. We found that the influence of commercial advertisements is declining. For example, if we go to Chengdu to eat hot pot, we will not go to the restaurant advertisements, but open public comments; when we travel to other places, we will not go to the travel agency’s advertisements, but will check the friends’ comments. . The arrival of 5G and blockchain will accelerate the trend of value regression, because the Internet of Everything, the cost of generating data for users is lower, and the right to own data is greater.

Third, in the blockchain era, telecom operators will provide blockchain-based infrastructure. We must adapt to this unstoppable technology trend. In the past, telecom operators were doing infrastructure, now they are doing infrastructure, and the future is infrastructure. This is determined by our nature. The only difference is that it used to provide a network-based broadband infrastructure. Now it is the infrastructure that provides cloud network convergence. The future is to provide blockchain-based data and value infrastructure.

From the perspective of operators, we see that the technical architecture of the Internet determines the spirit of openness and equality, and the Internet world is now oligopolistic. Internet companies are firmly in control of users' data, and operators are arbitrarily 'bit pipelines'. In the 5G era, operators will think about how to make full use of their network resources, take advantage of user terminals, and deploy new production models through emerging information technologies such as blockchain. In the future, anyone can control their own data through the carrier's infrastructure and benefit from the contributions they generate. Now we still don't see clearly. It is a platform or a device. It is still uncertain, but it is definitely such a model. Telecom operators should upgrade to a new entry for customer value.

How to become a new entry for customer value? China Telecom has developed a blockchain SIM card (Blockchain SIM, referred to as "BSIM card") to achieve this goal.


According to Dr. Liang Wei, there is almost no difference between the BSIM card and the traditional SIM in the user experience, but the storage space is 10-20 times larger than the traditional SIM card, and the computing power is increased by 10 times. China Telecom has successfully completed the research and development of blockchain integration technology, referred to as “ core + card + machine + chain + application + operation ”.

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among them,

"Core" refers to the SE (Secure Element) security chip , which integrates basic algorithms and protocols related to blockchain technology, such as ECC elliptic curve, HASH algorithm, and BIP protocol.

"Card" refers to the blockchain SIM card , which develops the applet application to implement the blockchain function in the SIM card, including seed generation, public and private key derivation, encrypted storage management, digital signature, retrieval of private keys, etc. The performance, security, and functionality of the underlying COS operating system of the card have been upgraded.

“Machine” refers to the blockchain mobile phone . The user applies the blockchain SIM card in the telecom business hall. After installing it on the mobile phone, download the blockchain application APP. The operation APP digitally signs the SIM card in the blockchain and goes to Confirmed on the blockchain. If the mobile phone is lost, the user can go to the telecom business hall to replenish the blockchain SIM card and retrieve the private key.

“Chain” refers to the CT Chain , the underlying platform of the blockchain independently built by China Telecom , which supports partition consensus, national secret, visual compilation and deployment of intelligent contracts, visual one-click deployment of blockchain nodes, physics and services. Real-time monitoring of indicators.

“Application” refers to blockchain applications , including carrier applications (digital identity authentication, inter-provincial clearing, shared credit reporting, shared computing and bandwidth, shared base station telecom points), industry applications (precision poverty alleviation system, bidding management) System, agricultural traceability, smart finance, e-government). It is worth mentioning that the first-line commission clearing and settlement system based on the blockchain won the high-value case of the trusted blockchain of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2019, which is the only case of the telecommunications industry among the 15 cases in the country.

“Operation” refers to the blockchain business operation platform , which can realize the operation functions of card opening, card issuance, replenishment, and card elimination; backup storage seed (operator password, user payment password double encryption and decryption) It is convenient to retrieve the private key (private key is the asset); support the interface with the external system API.

In the blockchain, "the private key gets the world", the blockchain SIM card plays a major role in protecting the user's private key. Based on the self-developed blockchain SIM card, China Telecom has implemented applications in the context of supply chain finance and smart phones.

Taking supply chain finance as an example, supply chain members form a coalition chain. China Telecom uses the Tianyi chain to carry out trusted certificates for gold tickets (supply chain digital assets), and uses blockchain SIM cards to improve security and realize signatures without cards. The gold ticket can be managed.

Taking smartphones as an example, personal data can become digital assets on blockchain mobile phones, including telecom points, sports tracks, medical records, airline miles, and Jingdong gift certificates. "The data needs to be docked from the existing system. At present, we have built the prototype. In the future, there will be service providers relying on telecom operators to protect the user's private key," said Dr. Liang Wei.


“The media itself must be transformed with blockchain thinking.” “The blockchain media is actually the least blockchain. Except for the production of blockchain-related content, the rest is not the blockchain.”

Before and after the interview, Dr. Liang Wei spoke to the Babbitt reporters about the blockchain media. Although ruthless, it makes sense. The essence of blockchain thinking is that financial empowerment of individual communities benefits the economy. ” Dr. Liang believes that the most important part of the blockchain is not the technology itself, but the blockchain thinking behind it.

“There are three key words here: First, the community. The community is the soul of blockchain thinking. The community can make people find the right organization, let people exert their own strength and let the ecological development. Take Van Gogh as an example, Van Gogh Gao Yisheng had almost crazy passion and persistence in painting, but his feelings of stagnation, hunger and frustration accompanied his life. Why? Because he did not find the community, the value of his works could not be recognized. After his death, Dr. Gachet Like "The highest auction was £91 million. If he found the community of blockchains during his lifetime, he would certainly not be like this.

Second, the benefits. The Internet has made information access equal, and it has led to the proliferation of information, and the blockchain has made our contributions equal. The top 1000 users of Didi taxis are the most valuable contributors to this sharing economy, but they have not received the round-the-clock high valuation of Didi. But if I were an early participant in a blockchain project, as the community grew, I could get more rewards and inspire me to make more contributions.

Third, financial empowerment. If there is no financial empowerment in the blockchain, it is actually a cast account that has been castrated, and the performance is very low. Financial empowerment can reflect the value of the blockchain, so that the ecology and the users are tied together. It is a kind of co-construction relationship and a value investment; and the blockchain can make the value infinitely fragmented. No matter how much is broken and played, the value can be exchanged and contributed without friction, which can be accurately measured.

From symbols and texts to books, telegraphs, radios, televisions, from windmills and steam engines to cars, airplanes, rockets, from large computers, micro-computers to laptops and smart phones, technological advances have their own rules. As the economist W. Brian Arthur wrote in The Essence of Technology, all new technologies are not produced out of thin air, depending on the original technology, born out of the original technology; The technology is built together for combinatorial evolution, and new combinations of different technologies are the main means of generating new technologies.

In Dr. Liang Wei's view, from the Internet to the blockchain, the development of a new generation of technology, while promoting productivity, has also brought the thinking behind technology to the surface.

“It’s not the blockchain technology first, but the blockchain thinking. In fact, it has existed for a long time. Blockchain thinking is the product of the business era. It is essentially to use economic means to re-examine technical issues and make production relations better. Adapting to the development of productivity. The continuous development of emerging information technology and the constant impact on the traditional business form will inevitably bring about changes in the way of thinking at the upper level, leading to the concentrated outbreak of this kind of thinking."