Note: In this series, we will take you inside the mind of Duan Xinxing, former vice president of OkCoin, for his insights on the blockchain technology and his story with Chang Jia, founder of hiswift.
What’s your story with blockchain and why joined hiswift?
It’s really a long story. I happened to know some people working for Canaan, an Avalon mining machine producer at TEDxNanjing 2013. And later I met Xu Mingxing, founder of OkCoin at TEDxNanjing 2014. He talked a lot about blockchain, the backbone technology of bitcoin, and invited me to work with him. We had a great time working together at OKCoin. But I left the company for personal reasons, one of which was that my wife and I decided to settle in southern China. And when I came to Hangzhou, Chang Jia, an old friend of mine, invited me over for dinner. We had an in-depth discussion about what’s been going on in the blockchain race. I was very impressive by him insights on the blockchain community. Plus, both of us want the same thing, we share the same vision and goals, so why not working together?
I guess this is what people call destiny. Haha. But I believe a lot of people, including me are very surprised that you would actually join hiswift. After all, we are a small startup.
Two years ago, when I joined OKCoin, it was also a small company with about 70 people. hiswift now has 25 people responsible for four business sectors and three of them are making money now. I wouldn’t say it is a small business.
Why do you see a big future in hiswift?
This is a good question. Unlike blockchain startups still in the POC stage, hiswift, as a startup of blockchain1.0, has a clear pathway to commercialization. It’s only a matter of time. Joining hiswift is a like winning a lottery. Besides, in the age of blockchain 1.0, there are three types of companies focusing on mining machines, news and transactions respectively. At the moment, some top mining machine producers are making as much money as NASDAQ-listed companies do. And big exchanges are making as much money as A-shared listed companies do. hiswift is not making that amount of money, but it is undoubtedly a top news-focused blockchain startup in China.
We should probably not judge a company by how many people it has.
But what will happen in the age of blockchain 2.0? Will it remain the same?
Something will change, some will not. A healthy blockchain ecosystem should be integrated with both upstream and downstream companies to keep it vigorous and thriving.
This is probably why Chinese blockchain companies are leading the world in the age of blockchain 1.0. And companies focusing on providing services and solutions are more likely to survive in the age of blockchain2.0.
The fact is that the age of blockchain1.0 is not over yet, we are just moving to the next phase of blockchain1.0. Going forward, there will be a growing number of companies working on chips, hash power, transactions, ICO and BAAS. Consequently, there must be more companies providing tailor-made solutions for them. And hiswift will remain an indispensable part of the industry.
So what do you think hiswift should work on to be a better service provider?
At hiswift, it focuses on three business sectors:
First, news dissemination and forum. hiswift now has an English website spreading what’s happening among Chinese blockchain community and a Chinese forum bringing together the general public, startups and entrepreneurs.
Second, Bizhongchou (an ICO project) and a foundation. We work to make relative resources, money or potential users available to entrepreneurs.
Third, Qukuaiyuan. We will develop our own blockchain product and provide an API to blockchain developers.
Put simply, hiswift will focus on news and information dissemination to help people learn more about the community by bring together developers and entrepreneurs.
What will you be responsible for at hiswift?
As a sci-fi writer, Chang Jia always consider all possibilities. What will happen in 5 years? What will the world be like in 10 years? He makes long-term development strategies. Me, I’m more realistic. I will mainly work on commercialization approaches.
Where is hiswift now and what will it do in the coming months?
We already raised tens of millions of yuan and we will recruit another 20 or even 30 creative people by the end of 2017. But Robin Dunbar suggested we’d better keep the number less than 150. And we are going to start our blockchain college to help people become blockchain expertise.
I didn’t mean to be a spoiler, but let’s just say, will there be a blockchain bubble?
Just like the computer of 1960s and the Internet of 1980s, Blockchain also represents a great innovation full of challenges and opportunities. Will it be a bubble? Maybe. Who knows? But that’s what makes it so exciting. Don’t you think it’s kind of boring to know exactly what will happen tomorrow?
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