Chinese search engine giant Baidu has launched its smart contract platform dubbed Open Network that is part of its Xuperchain network. Baidu made the announcement of the launch on Monday, January 6th during an online press conference.
The Open Network blockchain has functionalities similar to Ethereum meaning that now developers and businesses can create and deploy decentralized applications on the network cheaply. According to a report by the Chinese state-run national newspaper STCN, the new blockchain network will allow users to make transactions on the network for as low as 1 Chinese Yuan (~$0.14) over the next three months through March 2020.
The Chinese government has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies while at the same time supporting the development and adoption of blockchain solutions. The launch of the Xuperchain aligns with the Chinese government’s goals as now this network provides the tools for small businesses and individuals to launch applications based on the blockchain technology.
“The flexible payment capabilities of resources such as storage directly reduce user deployment and operation and maintenance costs, and make trust links more convenient,” the STCN report notes.
The Open Network is not particularly decentralized despite the fact that it was open-sourced back in May 2018. The network is run on seven master nodes operated by Baidu and some of them hosted by partner entities such as Tsinghua University and iQiyi among other authoritative institutions. The original code that was open-sourced is still available on GitHub.
According to the Xuperchain whitepaper, the network uses parallel chain technology to ensure the smooth processing of smart contracts. The network is capable of processing up to 10,000 transactions every second but so far has only peaked at 353 transactions per second, according to data shown on the Xuperchain website.
Also on the website, we can see that so far, as many as 3.5 million users have interacted with the network assumedly including those who tested the network during the test phases. More than 450 million transactions have been processed. According to the whitepaper, it seems that Baidu has employed about 50 patent technologies to launch the Xuperchain network.
Baidu has previously engaged in blockchain through its blockchain as a service offering on which the Xuperchain network is based. In addition, Baidu launched the Baidu Blockchain Engine on its Baidu Cloud service in which it sold blockchain infrastructure to developers and businesses seeking to launch their blockchain applications.
The difference between using Xuperchain and Baidu Cloud is that with the later you do not have to create your own blockchain to use the network but instead, users of Xuperchain will only have to create applications to run atop the Xuperchain blockchain.