The Chinese government has announced that its national blockchain network will go live as soon as this April, supported by such giants as China Mobile, China UnionPay, China Merchants Bank, and others.

According to local reports, the project aims to significantly lower the entry barriers for small enterprises, providing them with an environment to develop and deploy various blockchain applications for a fraction of the cost it usually takes.

The announcement was made by the deputy director of the Smart City Development Research Center of the National Information Center, Tang Sisi, at the China Urban Governance and Innovation Forum. Since last October, the national blockchain-based service network (BSN) has been undergoing beta testing, with a full commercial release scheduled for April. The report states 400 companies and 600 developers are among the participants.

The BSN will consist of permissionless and permissioned chains, with the former being open to the general public and the latter, divided into “alliance” chains and private chains. It is aimed at corporations and other big companies.

The permissionless chain is supposed to provide small firms with a way to cut costs usually associated with running blockchain applications. The BSN should provide server costs for decentralized applications for just two to three thousand yuan per year ($290–430).

It is expected that such low expenses will encourage a large number of small, medium and microenterprises—and even individuals, including students—to innovate and start businesses on the national service network, “promoting the rapid development and popularization of blockchain technology.”

Along with the launch date announcement, the project’s white paper was also revealed, describing the BSN’s network architecture, declared advantages and other details. The platform is reportedly based on FISCO BCOS, an open-source Chinese blockchain created by the Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium, and is “safe and controllable, and fully open-sourced as one of the two underlying alliance chain platforms.” Huawei, ZTE, Tencent and WeBank are among the consortium’s members.

Lately, China is doubling down on various blockchain projects in a bid to solidify its position as one of the world’s leaders in terms of decentralization, a notion sparked by president Xi Jinping’s endorsement of blockchain as an underpinning technology. Chinese banks are no exception since local financial institutions are currently also racing to adopt blockchain.