3 Reasons Why Malta Is Poised To Become The Next Silicon Valley.

All eyes are on Malta as they continue to make headlines across publications for its ‘open door’ policy across blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. A whole host of major players in the space have made the decision to expand into Malta, but why? We explore 3 reasons why Malta is becoming a hotbed for driving blockchain adoption.

1) A Shift In National Strategy

In 2017, Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, released the first draft of a national strategy to promote Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Muscat has expressed that he intends for Malta to become one of the first countries in the world to embrace Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming” — Joseph Muscat (Prime Minister, Malta)

Muscat is actively pushing Malta to spearhead the shift towards a decentralised national economy and become a front-runner in attracting blockchain companies to the island.

Moreover, this only makes up a fraction of his grand vision to convert the entire of the EU into a hub of Blockchain technology and advancement: “the Bitcoin continent”.

Malta has its eyes set on becoming the first country in the world to embrace blockchain technology.

3) Legal Certainty In A Sea Of Unregulation

Despite blockchain being one of, if not, the fastest moving industries to ever exist, regulatory bodies are still playing catch-up.

That being said, Malta has taken a much more proactive approach to regulation, and have already set the wheels in motion in their quest for ‘legal certainty’ in the Blockchain industry.

To this date, Malta have put forward three bills that have already found their way to second hearing in Parliament:

The ‘Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA)

Seeks to regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) by laying out the required steps to become legally compliant.

The ‘Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act’

Focussed on innovative technology arrangements and their associated use cases.

The ‘Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act’

Provides blockchain-based enterprises with legal definitions to render them as recognizable entities in the eyes of the law.

With Malta quick to lay down the legal framework, it puts investors and enterprises at ease knowing that companies will have the liberty to operate in a regulated environment.

Malta have put forward three bills that have already found their way to second hearing in Parliament.

3) Home Of The World’s First Tokenized Bank

Binance is working closely with the Maltese government to create the world’s first decentralised and blockchain-based bank with tokenized ownership.

Dubbed the “Founders Bank”, it will run Blockchain-based operations in an effort to fill the gap between traditional banking and the cryptocurrency economy.

The entity will be community-owned by digital token investors and based in Malta. Owners will be issued with “legally-binding equity tokens” in exchange for their investment, and will be executed via the equity fundraising platform Neufund.

“Malta is the fusion ground for traditional and blockchain finance now. A lot can happen in 3 short months.” — Changpeng Zhao (CEO, Binance)

This works in tandem with Binance’s plans in March to set up operations in Malta and build a local fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange there.

Last month also saw Binance announce the backing of Malta Stock Exchange’s MSX Fintech Accelerator program, which aims to support entrepreneurs and new businesses working in the blockchain and fintech sectors.

With Asian blockchain adoption fast on the move, which Asian country do you suspect will play their cards similar to Malta in regards to supportive regulation for blockchain? Singapore? Malaysia? Thailand? Let us know!

With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26–27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Fireside Chats With Jonathan Ha (Red Pulse) – “Tokenising Your Business: Who, When, and Why?”

Jonathan Ha is best known as the CEO of Red Pulse, a tokenized research ecosystem for China’s economy and capital markets. The company incorporates its own cryptocurrency ‘RPX’ to facilitate an open and transparent sharing economy for research, and is developing a machine learning-based matching engine to connect industry experts with institutions seeking market insights to make better business decisions.

Jon was kind enough to spare some time to have a chat about Red Pulse, and shared with us some insights into tokenising your business, and blockchain’s potential to disrupt share economies.

Jon will be joining us at Blocfest, presenting the topic: “Tokenising Your Business: Who, When, and Why?”.


Sean: How did your journey into blockchain begin?

Jonathan Ha: I’ve been familiar with blockchain as a concept and cryptocurrencies for several years already, but my journey really began last year in early 2017, when we first started considering pivoting our business model and platform towards incorporating blockchain technology and our own token economy. Things came together very quickly. We finalized our business model and token economics, wrote our whitepaper, signed on great strategic partners such as NEO, Hashed, and Kenetic, and were well on our way.

Sean: Was the appeal for you more from a technological or ideological standpoint?

Jonathan Ha: I think it’s difficult to separate the technological and ideological aspects of blockchain. They are often intertwined. Take for example, the decentralized nature of blockchain. By creating an infrastructure that doesn’t rely upon trusting any authority or 3rd party entit(ies), technology has enabled a new way for people to interact with each other, which can go hand in hand with the ideology that perhaps there shouldn’t be a single authoritative power that governs certain interactions and exchanges of value. This same technology that creates an immutable record also results in a permanent “system of record” that is free from subsequent manipulation, something that the world has previously never had before.

Sean: What is Red Pulse and what are the problems that the platform attempts to tackle?

Jonathan Ha: Red Pulse and our PHOENIX platform is a knowledge ecosystem that connects financial institutions & corporates with industry experts & analysts sharing their valuable insights. The key problem that our platform aims to tackle is information overload.

Sean: How does blockchain help Red Pulse do this?

Jonathan Ha: Blockchain helps us to solve information overload in a few ways. First, in order to solve information overload, you need to establish context and relevance at the user level. To achieve relevance, while considering that what is relevant to each person is different, you must first achieve large scale and scope of content. Blockchain, and by extension our token economy, allows us to scale the knowledge and content side of our platform incredibly faster than a conventional model, as we use our token as an incentive for producing and rating quality content.

Sean: Red Pulse was the very first company to hold an ICO on the NEO protocol. What led to the decision of choosing NEO as the preferred protocol, over say Ethereum?

Jonathan Ha: We chose NEO for several reasons. NEO as a platform and technology has been able to benefit greatly from pioneers that came before them, taking good lessons from previous platforms while addressing some of the shortcomings that have hampered others. In particular, the scaling of their platform while maintaining a high transactions per second and low resource usage ratio is possible using an innovative delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus algorithm. We also chose NEO because they were relatively new on the scene in terms of providing smart contract capability, yet were fundamentally very sound. Thus we continue to have the unique opportunity to work closely with the core dev team and founders on building our platform and ecosystem.

Sean: What is the purpose of Red Pulse’s token — in terms of its utility?

Jonathan Ha: We recently concluded our platform infrastructure upgrade and token swap from RPX to PHX, denoting our new PHOENIX platform launch. The purpose of the PHX token is many fold. The PHX token is the currency in which we incentivize content creation on our PHOENIX knowledge platform. Content contributors and curators (raters of content) receive PHX as compensation for their work. The PHX is also the native currency in which our clients, consisting of financial institutions and other corporates, can request for on-demand research and insights. This has already been implemented in our Ask the Analyst feature, which allows readers to directly ask questions to the original author of a research note, and compensate them with PHX. In the future, as we scale our platform to include a knowledge network of industry experts and practitioners, clients will also be able to use PHX to commission bespoke research services directly from the expert.

Sean: Many firms are looking to blockchain for solutions — some are chasing the hype, but many are also genuinely interested in decentralising. What are the opportunities present for companies who are looking to tokenise? What are the benefits for them and why should they consider it?

Jonathan Ha: Indeed there are many firms out there looking to tokenise. From a token sale fundraising standpoint, a major benefit is a potentially much faster and efficient capital raising process, even when taking into account the greater degree of legal, compliance, and reporting elements that token sales are now required to include. Another benefit is being able to raise from a large group of retail individuals, similar to a crowdfunding but at much greater scale, which provides an opportunity to build a user base and community for your product, platform, or service, perhaps even before it is fully ready to be launched.

From a business model perspective, the opportunities gained from tokenization are specific to each company and industry. Decentralization, security, transparency, incentivization, and scalability are often core elements that are leveraged to enhance or even disrupt traditional business models.

Sean: Conversely, as someone who has successfully built a fully-fledged company with its own token, what have been the challenges of implementing a token economy into your business model?

Jonathan Ha: I think the biggest hurdle to creating a sustainable token-based economy is the extent to which a fiat-to-crypto mechanism is needed, and how readily will this new token-based model be adopted by existing and future users. For certain business models, the entirety of the value chain and transactions reside within the blockchain space, whether on-chain or off-chain, and thus there is less impact from this. Most business models do require interactive and value exchange outside of crypto markets however, and how, and to what scale, their customers adopt and interact with the new token economy will determine the business’ success.

Sean: What advice would you give to business owners who are looking to tokenise?

Jonathan Ha: Spend enough time on the business model to ensure it makes sense to use tokens. Can you achieve your vision and objectives using conventional fiat currency instead? Next, make sure you are fully compliant. Gone are the days that people can tokenise their business without proper advice and guidance. Hire legal, accounting, and advisory services to ensure that your tokenization not only a success commercially, but also from a legal and compliance standpoint.

Sean: Let’s talk about the potential of blockchain’s impact on the future of the sharing economy. Centralised companies like Uber are doing extremely well, but a common critique with these share economy companies is that they are tied to centralised payment systems like credit cards — and we’ve seen customer data compromised in the past. Do you think cryptocurrencies hold the answer to catalysing innovation in the shared economy?

Jonathan Ha: Actually, I think the tie to credit cards is not a problem with current sharing economies, in my view and on balance, I think it’s an incredibly helpful element that enhances the convenience factor and scalability of such platforms, by moving away from the dependency on physical currency.

Cryptocurrencies could one day play a similar role in scaling sharing economies, but unfortunately the degree of cryptocurrency adoption is no where close to the level of global adoption of credit cards. At this point, it would be more of a hindrance than a help. That being said, there are other reasons why cryptocurrencies could be helpful to sharing economies, perhaps even to bring about a new paradigm of sharing economies.

One way this can be achieved is through enhanced transparency into who are the main economic beneficiaries of the sharing economy model, and more explicitly, disintermediate much of the economics that concentrate into the hands of centralized corporates.

Sean: How far away are we from ‘mainstream adoption’, and what are the biggest hurdles in blockchain that need to be solved before that can happen?

Jonathan Ha: The point at which we achieve mainstream adoption is rather subjective, but I would say that we’re about 5 years away from it. That seems very soon to most people, but you have to understand that new technology and the adoption of it moves along an exponential curve. There are two major hurdles: first, most blockchain applications haven’t even been proven to be effective yet, with many projects still at the phase of building their technology and launching mainnet. That is very different from actually producing and enabling value in the real world. Separate but related, the second hurdle is not yet having enough robust bridges, or as others put it, onramps and offramps, between the blockchain and the “real world”. Oracles are used to provide data from the real world on to the blockchain, so that it can act as inputs to smart contracts. Yet, there are still many inefficiencies and scaling issues.

Sean: We’re excited to have you present at Blocfest! Are you looking forward to the experience?

Jonathan Ha: I’m most excited about participating in my first blockchain event in Malaysia, and the premier conference that is Blocfest. Southeast Asia is an up and coming cryptocurrency market, and I’m honored to be invited to be a part of it.

Sean: Thanks, Jon! Is there anything upcoming for Red Pulse that you want our audience to know about?

Jonathan Ha: We are launching new products and features on our PHOENIX platform literally on a weekly basis. Everybody is invited to join the platform and earn PHX by contributing content or rating quality content. Check it out at www.redpulse.com.


Find out more about Red Pulse here.

Connect with Red Pulse on Twitter here.

Jonathan Ha will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: Tokenising Your Business: Who, When, and Why?”. Hear from him and many other thought-leaders as we deep-dive into all things blockchain this September.


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Adoption 101: 15 Milestones Out Of Southeast Asia’s Blockchain Industry

Did you know that only 27% of the 655 million population in Southeast Asia hold a bank account?

With blockchain’s capacity to bank the unbanked, coupled with Southeast Asia’s rapidly booming internet access, Southeast Asia is fast becoming a hotbed for blockchain development. Investors and techpreneurs are flocking to the region for its relatively ‘relaxed’ regulatory approach, and as a result Southeast Asia’s blockchain industry has been making headlines across the globe.

In no particular order, here are 15 noteworthy milestones and projects that have bloomed out of Southeast Asia’s blockchain industry over the past year or so.


Thailand

1) Thailand has begun a government initiative to rehaul its state railway and postal services by combining blockchain and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies.

2) The Governor of the Bank of Thailand announced that they are considering blockchain as a means to facilitate cross-border payments.

3) Omise (parent company of OmiseGo) and the country’s Ministry of Digital Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This will see both parties collaborating to develop a nation-wide identity verification and online payment system utilising blockchain technology.

Philippines

4) The Philippines are looking into blockchain technology to power rural areas with electricity. In partnership with Shanghai-based Energo Labs, they aim to decentralise electricity storage and distribution.

5) Coins.ph, a Filipino bitcoin-based mobile wallet, raised $5 million from a Series A funding process led by Naspers Ventures.

Cambodia

6) The central bank of Cambodia is partnering with Japanese company Soramitsu to build a blockchain-based payments system that would allow for the regulated usage of a cryptocurrency, thus eliminating the use of formal financial institutions to send and receive money.

7) The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is looking into a closed loop blockchain-based technology to enhance the central bank’s ability to facilitate and monitor inter-bank lending and transactions.

Thailand currently houses a number of key players among Southeast Asia’s blockchain industry: OmiseGO, Zcoin, Everex, Satang — to name a few.

Indonesia

8) The Indonesian government are looking to blockchain technology to increase data transparency and combat tax fraud through a blockchain-powered app for tax data.

9) Sastrowardoyo (Founder, Blockchain Zoo) confirms that there’s ongoing research looking into the creation of a Digital Rupiah, a cryptocurrency backed by the government. Rumors of this surfaced earlier this year, though it is still in very early stages of development and won’t be rolled out anytime soon.

Singapore

10) The National University of Singapore (NUS) announced earlier this year that it is partnering with IBM to develop a curriculum around blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

11) To boost innovation and adoption of blockchain technology beyond fintech, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched its very first Blockchain Challenge.

Malaysia

12) Bank Negara Malaysia have announced that 9 Malaysian banks are currently working together to develop blockchain applications to assist with trade finance.

13) AirAsia has stated its intentions to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to streamline their payments system and loyalty rewards programme.

14) South Korea’s ‘IncuBlock’, a blockchain lab, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Malaysian government advisory committee to make blockchain tech development permissible under Sharia Law. Overseas, blockchain technology is currently being used to effectively track halal foods.

15) As part of NEM.io Foundation’s expansion into Malaysia, they have invested 40 Million USD to develop Malaysia’s very own Blockchain Centre in KL.

Malaysia is fast becoming a hotbed for blockchain development, thanks to its relaxed regulatory approach.

These projects, if successful, will further validate Southeast Asia’s blockchain industry and its quest for disruption. The increased involvement of venture capital, overall positive outlook with regulations, and the appearance of numerous startups all add to the region’s success.


World-Class Blockchain Education In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s blockchain industry continues to grow, but educational opportunities in the sector are still playing catch-up. Through courses offered in tandem with leading global institutions, some for the first time in Asia, Blockchain Asia Campus allows regional blockchain enthusiasts, developers and entrepreneurs to further their knowledge in this exciting and fast-moving field, fostering the industry’s growth from the grassroots up.

If you’re looking to become ‘blockchain job-ready’, why not check out our range of industry accredited courses?


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Blockchain For Your Business: 4 Things To Consider…

Blockchain For Your Business: Are You Blockchain-Ready?

‘Blockchain’ i.e. the fundamental technology born out of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin vision, has been turning heads across the globe — particularly among business owners. There’s little surprise why, with its attractive promises of heightened security, trustless transparency, and the ability to cut out intermediaries, to name a few.

Even centralised tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google, AMEX, and Facebook have all begun looking at blockchain as a means to better facilitate their services.

“A closer look at this year’s Forbes Global 2000 list of the largest public companies in the world reveals that not only are all ten of the largest public companies in the world exploring blockchain, but at least 50 of the biggest names on the list have all made their own mark on technology first inspired by bitcoin” – Forbes, 2018

With the bigger players exploring the potential of distributed ledger technology, does this mean that you as a business owner should be looking into its possibilities as well? Maybe, maybe not.

While the hype and excitement is there, many business owners and newcomers to blockchain struggle when it comes to applying this revolutionary tech to the real-world. So without further ado, let’s explore 4 things to consider before you decide to explore blockchain for your business.

1) Re-Identify Your Business Goals.

Before you even begin to consider to explore blockchain for your business, reacquaint yourself with your business objectives and goals. Next, have a think about how blockchain technology could work in harmony to help you and your business achieve those goals.

Looking to implement blockchain for your business? Start by identifying your goals.

What aspect of distributed ledger technology do you see as potentially useful to achieving your business’s goals? Is it:

  • Being able to tokenise your business to create a digital economy model that works in tandem with your objectives?
  • Cutting out middle-men somewhere throughout your business chain to reduce expenditure?
  • Adding a layer of immutability and transparency to your business to better manage record keeping?
  • Utilising cryptography to heighten your security, prevent fraud and reduce risk of double spending?

These are just 4 examples of how you could leverage blockchain to support your goals, but the scope extends much further. How you decide to implement blockchain into your business should always tie back to your individual business’s needs and goals.

 

2) Think Big, Start Small.

If you’re a small business owner and want to pursue blockchain for your business, start small. While blockchain may be ‘all the rage’, the last thing you want to do is blow out your budget and waste valuable time and money

With blockchain still in its infancy, the harsh reality is that blockchain developers aren’t cheap. The demand for blockchain developers and tech experts far outnumber the supply of them (read more about that here), and it may be this way for a while. If you’re not prepared to pay top-dollar for blockchain developers to help you realise your business objectives, then you may wish to seek other routes – which brings me to my next point:

3) Upskill Yourself

If you’re the ‘DIY’ type of business owner, the number of blockchain developer courses are steadily on the rise, and you could consider learning how to code on a variety of platforms.

If you truly wish to leverage the power of blockchain, advancing your understanding of the technology will be key in implementing blockchain for your business. While there are some fantastic blogs I could recommend, there is no better place to start than Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Whitepaper.

Understanding the fundamentals of Bitcoin is crucial to gaining insight into how you can further apply the technology to real-life economic scenarios, including your own business.

Blockchain Asia Campus allows regional blockchain enthusiasts, developers and entrepreneurs to further their knowledge in this exciting and fast-moving field, fostering the industry’s growth from the grassroots up. If you’re looking to become ‘blockchain-ready’ and implement blockchain for your business, why not check out our range of industry-accredited courses?

Understanding the tech is key to applying blockchain for your business.

4) Do You Really Need Blockchain For Your Business?

Remember, while blockchain (when used right) can be a complete game-changer for infrastructural systems and processes, not every business requires to be ‘tokenised’, and there might not be a need for blockchain technology to help.

If you’re enticed by the idea of having a blockchain ‘app’, moving your entire database on-chain, or creating a cryptocurrency token model, don’t just think of the ‘how’, but also the ‘why’.

Ask yourself if it is really necessary? In fact, could the age-old centralised methods actually work better in your favour over distributed ledger technology? These are incredibly important questions before attempting to go forward with blockchain for your business.

Don’t just think about the ‘how’, but also the ‘why’ your business may require blockchain technology.

One last thing — Don’t be that business that aims to slap the name ‘blockchain’ on your latest project in an attempt to attract investors and make a quick buck. It’s not a good look (people will see right through it), nor does it do anything to advance progress in the space.

Good luck!


World-Class Blockchain Education In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s thirst for blockchain continues to grow, but educational opportunities in the sector are not keeping pace. Through courses offered in tandem with leading global institutions, some for the first time in Asia, Blockchain Asia Campus allows regional blockchain enthusiasts, developers and entrepreneurs to further their knowledge in this exciting and fast-moving field, fostering the industry’s growth from the grassroots up.

Check out our range of industry accredited courses?


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Blockchain Jobs Up 6000% This Year?! 4 Possible Reasons…

Blockchain Jobs Continue To Soar In Demand

2017 brought an incessant amount of hype towards the blockchain space. Projects and ICOs were spawning left, right and centre, and the total market cap for cryptocurrencies grew to over half a trillion. While the cryptocurrency market has since subsided (for now), 2017 was arguably the year of ‘acceptance’ for a future that could embrace the full potential of blockchain technology.

Acceptance, adoption and a wider understanding of blockchain has led to some astronomical statistics for job growth in the blockchain sector. The freelancer site, Upwork – has cited a 6,000% increase in demand for blockchain jobs this quarter, compared to the same period last year.

Blockchain developers have become highly sought after as of late, and according to Upwork’s report, blockchain technologists were in second place, just behind those with skills in robotics.

CoinDesk, the leading source of cryptocurrency news and organiser of major blockchain events has even launched their own “Career Center” which houses job listings. Many other independent sites that cater specifically for blockchain jobs and blockchain career services have also begun to pop up, like Crypto.Jobs and Crypto Jobs List — with each listing well over 500-700+ cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs.

“Blockchain appears to be the next uncharted, highly talked about technology similar to what the ‘cloud’ was back in the mid-2000’s… its growth exceeded 2,000% for three quarters in a row on Upwork.com, and in Q1 it experienced more than 6,000% year-over-year growth, making it the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 skills on the site.” – Upwork

So why have blockchain jobs become the hottest commodity as of late? I explore 4 possible reasons…

1) Initial Coin Offerings Showing No Signs Of Rest

Despite the ‘cool off’ that the cryptocurrency market is experiencing this year, many new and innovative blockchain projects continue to pop up. ICOs raised more money in the first quarter of 2018 than the entire of 2017, according to CoinDesk’s stats.

At $6.3 billion, ICO funding in the first quarter is now 118 percent of the total for 2017, a figure that might go a long way toward undermining a common perception that the controversial fundraising method will soon be extinct. (Coindesk, 2018)

With ICO funding showing no signs of slowing down, more companies are entering the market and this is catalysing the spike the demand for blockchain jobs.

At $6.3 billion, ICO funding in the first quarter is now 118 percent of the total for 2017.

2) Mainstream Adoption

Large corporations and tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google, AMEX, and Facebook have begun looking at blockchain as a means to better facilitate their services. This is no small feat, as these major players have a much wider scope for hiring due to their notoriety and large industry presence.

“A closer look at this year’s Forbes Global 2000 list of the largest public companies in the world reveals that not only are all ten of the largest public companies in the world exploring blockchain, but at least 50 of the biggest names on the list have all made their own mark on technology first inspired by bitcoin” – Forbes, 2018

3) Expansion Of Operations

The companies who successfully raised millions (even billions in some circumstances) in ICO funding from previous years are also hard at work, with each of them bringing their unique visions of a decentralised future to fruition. Many of these older, more ‘established’ companies are ready to expand operations (if they haven’t already).

The (formerly) China-based Crypto exchange, Binance for example, has expanded operations across the globe into Malta, Japan, Taipei.

And they’re definitely not the only ones.

You’d just need to spend a few minutes on AngelList to discover how many of the bigger blockchain and cryptocurrency players are aggressively hiring for blockchain jobs.

Binance heads to Malta to expand its operations for its ‘blockchain-friendly’ approach.

4) Government Initiatives

Government sectors are also keen on hiring blockchain developers and experts who could aid them in research and development projects.

The NYC Blockchain Resource Centre has recently been funded with $200 million to build public awareness and support for entrepreneurs and businesses who are utilising blockchain technology. Blockchain educators, mentors and advisory services are also entitled to the funding, which could make up a significant proportion of blockchain jobs.

In 2017, Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, released the first draft of a national strategy to promote Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Muscat has expressed that he intends for Malta to become one of the first countries in the world to embrace Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming” — Joseph Muscat (Prime Minister, Malta)

Joseph Muscat is actively pushing Malta to spearhead the shift towards a decentralized national economy and become a front runner in attracting blockchain companies to the island.


World-Class Blockchain Education In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s thirst for blockchain continues to grow, but educational opportunities in the sector are not keeping pace. Through courses offered in tandem with leading global institutions, some for the first time in Asia, Blockchain Asia Campus allows regional blockchain enthusiasts, developers and entrepreneurs to further their knowledge in this exciting and fast-moving field, fostering the industry’s growth from the grassroots up.

If you’re looking to become ‘blockchain job-ready’, why not check out our range of industry accredited courses?


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Fireside Chats: Wally Xie (QChain) – ‘The Challenges After ICO Funding’

Wally Xie is best known as the founder of QChain, a cryptocurrency company building the first blockchain-powered custom content marketplace. Their platform enables marketers to reach targeted and engaged audiences, and opens marketers up to an array of technical solutions to support an ecosystem of blockchain applications.

Wally was kind enough to spare some time to have a chat about Qchain, and we dug into the state of the advertising and some of the challenges surrounding funding after ICO.

Wally will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: “An Honest Account Of The Challenges Building A Blockchain Startup After Initial Funding”.


Sean: “Hey Wally! What’s new in your world?”

Wally Xie: “I think a nice thing is that we’ve kind of sunk into a pattern which is nice. We kind of have a working groove now. In a day, we’re just chugging along at the startup in terms of tech dev and biz dev. In terms of Qchain itself, we’ve been regularly updating our demo and other than that, nothing too exciting which is actually great news!”

Sean: Sometimes no news is good news! Let’s go back all the way to the beginning — I’d like you to tell me a little bit about your journey into blockchain and how it all began.

Wally Xie: “I started reading about it in 2011 when I was at college. At that point, what caught my attention was the pizza transaction and it made me think “Oh wow, 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza”, and without knowing at that point, that market speculation would eventually make it one of the most expensive pizzas to ever be sold.

I had a feeling that it was going to be something very special, but I didn’t get in on the trading or mining until about 2013. Sunny Kang, another early developer that was involved in Peercoin, had another project called Primecoin in the works. I found Primecoin incredibly interesting because Primecoin’s mining or proof of work, was discovering a special form of prime numbers. Again, this fits with my academic interests (being the math and science), and I thought “Wow, the proof of work could be a really useful thing”.

I remember in 2015, there was Blockchain 3.0 and how it started to crop up and it just so happened that in late 2016 when I was doing my PhD, I was able to ferment some ideas and build a team culminated in Qchain.”

Sean: Nice! So, in terms of Qchain, it’s positioning itself into the space of digital advertising/marketing space yes? And is that a field you were previously interested in?

Wally Xie: “So, film was one of my majors in college. And commercials, be it for better or worse, was one of the larger parts of filmmaking. After graduating college, an initial job that I took was as a digital marketing specialist at a Chicago tech startup called Sprout Social and I did more of their organic stuff and less banner ads. Initially when we launched Qchain, we had the thought that this large market of display advertising, could benefit from the decentralisation that blockchain provides. However, we made a huge pivot in August in the form of moving away from display advertising. This was because we realised that the world wasn’t as into display advertising, especially millennials and how they’ve grown immune to.

It was at this point that we realised that there was a crisis in the display advertising market, and everyone was looking for other business models. With people on our team being experienced in content creation, we thought about moving towards branded content which we find more engaging.”

Sean: “Awesome! It sounds like you’re filling an important hole in the content advertising space. Building on that, how does Qchain intend to un-break advertising? What are the sort of angles you’re going for here.”

Wally Xie: “We’re going to start more humbly since transforming digital advertising overnight is an impossible task. But one of the value propositions that we’re looking at, is the sale of branded content. We believe that that is a very cumbersome process. For example, these larger publishers such as The New York Times, have smaller companies calling them up asking for collaborations over phone calls or emails. And on the advertiser’s side, you have the accounting executives fishing out for clients, browsing the internet looking for individual publishers. There isn’t a convenient medium for branded content transaction to take place I feel. Well there is now, because other people have also touched upon our idea, and we’ve competitors right now, and that affirms to us that we’ve stumbled upon an idea that needs to be spruced up.

So that’s one angle we’re looking at. Ultimately, we’re looking at building a space that’s an easy-to-learn marketplace that facilitates these branded content market transactions, and the creation of content itself between advertisers and publishers. In our case, how blockchain really helps us is that with it being a very convenient backend, essentially saving people a lot of work and time. And this public ledger is not only useful for keeping track of things in a transparent manner, but it’s also quite easy to build on in an ideal setting.

We really would like to contribute towards a better society by jumping into the journalism aspect. As part of our marketplace, we also want to implement a patron journalism system, whereby patrons can support pieces by journalists, with the journalists and publications maintaining editorial rights. Branded content is a two-way street between publications and advertisers, whereas the journalism side is more of a one-sided picture.”

Sean: “Incredible. One burning question that I’ve when I was looking over your project, was why you chose to build on both the NEM and Ethereum protocols. What led to that decision?”

Wally Xie: “When we started in March, the ecosystem hadn’t really shaped out, so we checked out a lot of blockchain software, and that time it became apparent to us that there only a handful that people could build on. We looked at Ethereum and realised that they were a cut above other blockchain software. We also built on NEM because we realised that NEM was one of the rare blockchains that has functional production in their ready product that can be both built and tested on.”

Sean: “Let’s talk a bit about the utility of the tokens. How does it serve to be of interest to investors and what can users get out of it?”

Wally Xie: “One of the things that we are going to implement in our ecosystem, is that people with a certain number of tokens can serve as backup nodes for the marketplace. We’ll have a stacking system eventually, as part of the motivation for the utility of the token. Additionally, we really want to create an easy-to-use product in which advertisers will not have any apprehension in participating in the model.”

Sean: In a recent interview with NEM, you elaborated on how you set yourself apart from Basic Attention Token. Are they the direct competition here?

Wally Xie: “I like what they’re doing. They’re very different in the sense that they’re trying to reinvent the whole ecosystem, which we really applaud them for. They’re creating a browser and they really want to directly reward content creators. In our case, our most direct competitor is non-blockchain based and they’re called Pressboard. They’ve a branded content marketplace as well. We’re looking to target a more niche market, and based on our research, we think that this niche for branded content is still something to tackle.”

Sean: “Overall, what’s your ideal vision of a future decentralised digital marketing economy. What’s the utopia for you?”

Wally Xie: “I think there’s a lot of hate towards advertising, and of course I harbour a lot of that as well when I see another unskippable Youtube ad. I think advertising is something that exists outside of capitalism, and it’ll always be there no matter what. Even if there’s a massive change to our global economic system, advertisers will always be there. What I hope is that, we’ll be able to create a less intrusive system where the ads are interesting, and products are more targeted towards people that need them. In addition, I hope that advertisers can contribute to interesting content, rather than just trying to multiply their bottom line. Of course, this is something that blockchain itself cannot fix as it also involves changes in our value system and governmental system.”

Ultimately, my ideal utopia is when I can see cool short films or content, that advertisers have a hand in creating, and as a result, I’d then buy products that I actually need.”

Sean: “Let’s reel it back to Blocfest. We’re really excited to have you speak. You’ll be speaking on the topic “An Honest Account Of The Challenges Building A Blockchain Startup After Initial Funding”. In your opinion, how has the ICO revolutionised the way businesses raise capital?”

Wally Xie: “I think in our experience, it has very much changed things, but in some ways, things are still very much the same. That’s something that investors have yet to realize is that although the funding comes at an accelerated pace, actual development can happen very slowly. This is because we hear so much about ICOs, but after you get your money, there’s a whole slew of problems. Just because somebody’s building a blockchain, doesn’t mean we can escape the age-old problems that has plagued companies since the dawn of company building.

The structure of an ICO has in some ways, allowed for more accessibility for the laymen. However, unfortunately with legislation in China and the U.S. coming in, it’s becoming more of a closed sphere. For example, in the U.S. all ICOs are Reg A+ and you need to be an investor to jump in. At this point, my honest opinion is that it started out as a gamechanger and some people took advantage of that, and at this point, it now resembles a more traditional fundraising system. Even if it’s different, the challenges are still similar to building a traditional company.”

Sean: “In your opinion, what has been the biggest challenge for companies, post-ICO?”

Wally Xie: “I think the management and team-building aspect of it comes to mind. It’s really hard to find good blockchain developers. In our case, a lot of people advertise themselves as blockchain developers but they’re not entirely up to the task. It’s essentially the Wild West right now and with all these cowboys jumping in, you’ve to be wary of who you hire. Another thing that we had to learn, is also related to the previous question: what are the challenges of the ICO? To answer this, I find that a lot of people view themselves as board members or shareholders. And to me, that often takes a major psychological toll that weighs down the whole team. For example, when someone puts down 100 or 200 USD in your ICO, and they say “Hey, I’m an investor and I’ll sue you guys if you don’t do this” and it’s very true that one very angry person can sink your project by taking legal action, and at the same time, you’ve to find balance for these individual requests.

In my case, I had to eventually remove Telegram from my phone because I was always bombarded with requests, and as a result I became a lot more disciplined with the types of messages I respond to. This was because I realised that I’d spend 14 hours a day answering messages and conversing with people and although that was part of my job, I wasn’t able to jump into actual product development at that point. So that’s one of the challenges of building a blockchain company, striking the balance between weighing the community factor with actually building the company.”

Sean: “Absolutely, it’s a double-edged sword isn’t it? I mean in one way, we now have access to all these active users and people who want to engage in the community. On the other hand, that can totally overwhelm the whole development process and everything else that’s going on. With that being said, where do you see the future of ICOs headed? There’s obviously a lot of work to be done, lots of new regulations are coming in. What do you think’s coming next in 2019 and beyond?”

Wally Xie: “I think with regulations coming in, ICOs will become a tool of venture capital as we’re already seeing existing venture capital funds doing ICOs, taking advantage of Reg A+ in the U.S. especially in California and Chicago. I think blockchain will be revolutionary, and I think ICOs will be here to stay but I don’t think ICOs will be the most revolutionary part in blockchain. I’m not saying that ICOs will die, I think they’ll just become another thing to consider when they consider funding. “Do I go to a VC? Do I go to an accelerator? Or do I go for an ICO?”

Sean: “Cool, let’s round this up Wally. Is there any upcoming news about Qchain that you’d want our readers to know about?”

Wally Xie: “We welcome people to check out our demo, and we welcome feedback for the demo as well. We’re actually looking to launch our front-end UI at the end of this month, and in August we’ll be looking to launch our functional product. It’s also important for users to go into our demo as it’ll tell us if our product is easy to use or not, so that’s really the thing we’re driving home now.”

Sean: “Nice one, and what’s the thing you’re looking forward to at Blocfest when you’re here?”

Wally Xie: “I’m really excited about the networking on the Asian side. I’ve spoken to a number of Chinese blockchain developers and there’s lots of cool stuff happening there. But with the spectre of government pressures, there’s definitely a sense of nervousness there, and I’m really looking forward to the development of blockchain technology in other countries.”

Sean: “Awesome, we’re really excited to have you over here. Thank you so much for your time!


Find out more about QChain here.

Connect with Wally Xie on Twitter here.

Wally Xie will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: “VC vs ICO: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”. Hear from him and many other thought-leaders as we deep-dive into all things blockchain this September.

With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

4 M’sian Distributed Ledger Tech Companies To Watch In 2018 (Part 2)

Behind the scenes…

Malaysian blockchain companies have been popping up across the nation, each with their own vision for a more decentralised future economy. With blockchain’s limitless scope to disrupt technology from all angles, the number of legitimate use cases for distributed ledger technology steadily rises, and more and more Malaysian technology companies are getting on board. 

With Blocfest just over a couple months away, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to another round of homegrown Malaysian blockchain companies that are implementing distributed ledger technology into their tech solutions and business models.

HelloGold

In a nutshell…

HelloGold was founded in 2015 by Malaysian-local, Robin Lee, and prides itself as the world’s first Shariah-compliant gold digital application. It’s an innovative concept that aims to streamline the buying and selling process of gold through an incredibly handy mobile app.

HelloGold was built on the premise that gold products should be “simple and accessible for everyone”. They are strong believers that gold is the ‘safe’ asset to protect your savings, and the app enables users to obtain and sell gold in an affordable and secure way.

Via their HelloGold mobile app, users can buy and sell gold for as little as RM1. You can manage your account through their dashboard, and enjoy competitive market buy and sell rates. HelloGold removes the burden of users having to store physical gold as their 99.99% “investment grade gold” is fully insured and stored in a vault with state-of-the-art security.

HelloGold intends to utilise Ethereum’s smart contracts to optimise transparency and security, and will thus provide the foundation for a truly gold-backed cryptocurrency.

Robin Lee, (CEO, Hello Gold) – Photo credit: The Edge Markets

“The current use of blockchain is to support the core product (buy/sell/store gold). HelloGold plans to develop this platform to enable HelloGold customers to switch from HelloGold customer gold to cryptocurrency tokens, backed by investment grade gold (GBT). These tokens will be based on Ethereum ERC20 tokens and be fully backed by 1g of physical, investment grade (99.99%) gold, vaulted with HelloGold’s vaulting provider. Consequently, GBT should track the price of 1g gold. GBT utilises ERC20 tokens so they can complete the calculation features required autonomously. This will make the gold tradeable on exchanges that accept the tokens, outside the HelloGold system.” – Hello Gold Whitepaper

For more information on their HGT and GoldX token structures, check out their Whitepaper.

What to look out for?

HelloGold have been hard at work releasing their mobile app for Android and iOS, and have amassed well over 100,000 active users. They have also parterned with Boost, a mobile lifestyle wallet developed in Malaysia by Axiata Digital.

They have recently expanded operations into Thailand, and have been aggressively hiring to expand both teams in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

In 2017, Hello Gold was one of the 8 startups out 400 startups across 44 countries selected to be selected under the UOB FinLab Fintech Accelerator programmes.

Find out more about Hello Gold here.

Neuroware

In a nutshell…

Neuroware was the very first company in Southeast Asia to offer enterprise solutions and services for blockchain companies. They promise to be the first mover and major disruptor in the Malaysian blockchain space, and set out to change the way we approach fintech and beyond.

They offer enterprises infrastructure needs, providing services like public blockchain hosting and private API network solutions. They also offer educational services to help bring blockchain awareness to corporate clients, as well as implementation services like end-to-end solutions, consultation and full-stack development.

What to look out for?

They’ve spent the last few years developing Cortex — the world’s first blockchain-agnostic operating system. It enables small to large businesses to enhance their security by leveraging blockchain technologies, and utilises an immutable, tamper-proof audit-trail across a variety of service transactions via annual subscription-based services. It houses a private API and simple control panel for users to navigate the modules.

They helped launch ATA-Plus – the world’s 1st regulated and licensed blockchain enhanced equity crowdfunding platform, who were also the first client to begin utilising Cortex.

Find out more about Neuroware here.

Etherscan

In a nutshell…

Etherscan is the dominant BlockExplorer for the Ethereum blockchain. For those unsure what a BlockExplorer is, it is essentially a search engine that gives anyone the ability to lookup, confirm and validate transactions that have happened on the Ethereum blockchain.

Etherscan was founded by Malaysian national, Matthew Tan, who has amassed over 15 years in the IT industry, with experience in managing, operating and developing technical solutions for clients across a variety of industries.

Matthew is also the creator of: Blockchain 2.0 Explorer, API & Analytics Platforms Etherscan.io (Ethereum Smart Contracts Platform), Blockscan.com (Counterparty Tech) and is also a Co-Founder of a 20 person internet and web software related services development company.

What to look out for…

Check out their resources page for a handy, sectioned out ‘bible’ of all things Ethereum-related.

WinApp

In a nutshell…

WinApp is a simple but powerful platform built on Hyperledger, that combines payment, photo sharing and messaging into one place.

Through their WinPay system, users can quickly and securely send and receive money to friends, family and colleagues… for free! A really cool feature is that users who are in an emergency can quickly be crowdfunded by their friends if they are ever in desperate need of cash.

The WinApp Office in Kuala Lumpur

What to look out for?

Led by a team of 3 Malaysians, (Isma Daniel Abdullah, Mohd Amin Yuddin Yacon, and Shak Hassan), they raised MYR2,000,000 in seed funding in 2015 to execute the innovative chat application.

They use 256-bit encryption and blockchain technology to ensure secure money transfers and authorisation.

The app has gone live for both iOS and Android, and is being updated regularly.

Find out more about WinApp here.

 

With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Fireside Chats With Abasa Philips (Zilla) – “Startup Funding & Its Challenges.”

Japan has given us sushi, karaoke, Yamaha motorcycles, and so much more. It’s also given rise to a blockchain company known as Zilla. 

Abasa Philips is best known as the founder of Zilla, a cryptocurrency company building an application that aims to streamline and de-risk the ICO process for contributors. The app features an all-in-one, mobile solution for users to discover, compare, rank, and even participate in whitelistings and ICOs. Users can easily discover more about the project’s team, technology, timeline and token mechanics. ICOs on Zilla attract investors by rewarding them with aidrops via the ZLA token, which can be used to participate in ICOs or to purchase products on the Zilla app.

Abasa was kind enough to spare some time to have a chat about Zilla, and we dug into a few topics surrounding the ICO fundraising process.

Abasa will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: “VC vs ICO: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”.


Sean: How are you, Abasa? What’s been happening in your world?

Abasa: “Yeah everything’s been fine, thanks. There was a huge blockchain event here in Japan over the past couple days, which has been great — the scene here is still really active, despite how crazy the regulations on exchanges are over here.

In terms of Zilla, we’re doing well. Company-wise we’ve already released the beta versions of our IOS and Android apps. We’re looking to integrate a wallet through our app so users will be able to participate in ICOs, which should be done in under 30 days from now. There will be plenty more use cases for the token once that’s released, so yeah — everything’s full speed ahead right now!”

Sean: How many people have downloaded the app?

Abasa: “So we released our beta about 3 months ago, and we have about 25,000 users and community members who have signed up so far.”

Sean: That’s an impressive number for such a short period of time! The app feels and works great, my first impressions were that it’s incredibly user-friendly. It’s nice to have a platform that houses all these handy features for investors.

Abasa: “Yeah I mean I started Zilla because I noticed that the 3 main routes of attack for scammers were through chat apps like Slack and Telegram. You’ve got bad actors pretending to be ‘team members’, there are those faking company airdrops and wallet scams, and you’ve also got scammers making fake copies of ICO websites.

So I figured, if we could build an app that houses the chat, the wallet and the official ICO information, then we can mitigate most of the risk that comes with investing in ICOs.”

Abasa Phillips, founder and chief executive officer of Primo Inc., poses for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Sean: The private Telegram ‘ICO’ raised $1.7billion, and is considered to be the largest in ICO history. They cancelled their public sales, with many speculating various reasons as to why. Some say it was due to new SEC regulations, others simply say it was a case of them just having raised enough to complete the project. What lessons have we learnt as an industry about the way the Telegram ‘ICO’ was run?

Abasa: “In my opinion it was never really an ICO — it was VC fundraiser under the veil of an ICO. You’re seeing this with a lot of companies, where founders or early backers are looking for a quick exit.

Raising over several billion dollars in Ether for some of these companies is not really that interesting or transformative as far as I’m concerned — they could’ve raised the entire thing through VC anyway… I don’t really see these types of projects really progressing the cryptocurrency ‘ethos’ — if anything, it is damaging to the market. That also goes for companies that have year long ICOs.. I just don’t really see the point of it. It becomes nothing more than a money grab.

But I feel the market will figure itself out over time.”

Sean: I hope so, too. With ICOs being all the rage lately, does VC fundraising still have a place?

Abasa: “VC’s have a very strong due diligence process, plus the metrics and what they look at to evaluate these companies — typically they’re quite strong. They’ll properly dig into what the team are doing, and fully assess the market for the product that they’re building.”

Sean: In your personal opinion, what are the most attractive features about the ICO process?

Abasa: “For me the interesting part of an ICO is the crowdfunding aspect, and the fact that if you’re successful, you not only receive the required capital to start, but you also gain access to active users who are more engaged in the community.

With ICOs, they typically comprise of cryptocurrency companies who are building cool, innovative tech and often, there’s not necessarily a market for them yet.

But that’s one cool thing about ICOs, companies that would have never had the chance to raise capital through VC are now able to do so.

I was on a panel recently, with Steve Nerayoff. He was on the team with Vitalik back when he was doing his early roadshows for Ethereum. He told me that they were approaching VCs initially and even got some pretty solid interest from them..but in the end they decided on going entirely ICO. I mean, they were trying to decentralise, so… if the real purpose of cryptocurrency is to decentralise then there is little point going the VC route at all.”

Sean : To even be considered for a token sale, it is now common for an individual to have to submit a passport scan, bank statement, and various other documents — there are even cases where users have to answer questions about their background and are asked to describe the origin of bitcoin.  What is your personal stance on KYC, do you feel it is a practical solution for helping cryptocurrency companies meet regulation standards?

Abasa: “Yeah it’s interesting. For Zilla, we’re actually just about to launch a KYC solution where we’ll do KYC for free, for all companies who list on Zilla. We can do that at scale because our users are typically participating in multiple ICOs. So we do KYC on them once and there is no need for them to keep doing it over and over again.

So, that’s the user experience everyone is kind of waiting for.

The thing is with ICOs is that you could be participating with as little as $5, $20 etc… unless you’re contributing upwards of $10,000 then there really shouldn’t be a need for KYC.

There is of course the issue of money laundering, but noone’s going to be laundering money in small amounts, so I think the burden of setting up KYC for anything under $10,000 is just a bit ridiculous in my opinion.”

Sean: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Abasa. What are you looking forward to most about Blocfest?

Abasa: “Connecting with other crypto entrepreneurs, Zilla fans — we have employees in Indonesia and other areas across Southeast Asia so it’ll be nice to bring them along too. Thanks!”


Find out more about Zilla here.

Connect with Abasa on Twitter here.

Abasa will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: “VC vs ICO: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”. Hear from him and many other thought-leaders as we deep-dive into all things blockchain this September.

With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Review: Wanchain & Partners Asia Tour 2018, Kuala Lumpur

On the 7th July 2017, Kuala Lumpur played host to the Wanchain & Partners Asia Tour 2018. Over 220 industry professionals, investors and enthusiasts flocked to the Royale Chulan Hotel in Damansara to learn more about the Wanchain ecosystem and its compelling lineup of partners.

Who are Wanchain?

If you aren’t already familiar with Wanchain, they are a fantastic blockchain company who focuses on connecting various branches of blockchain ledgers. Their angle is to build non-proprietary cross-chain protocols and a distributed ledger that records both cross-chain and intra-chain transactions. “Any blockchain network, whether a public, private or consortium chain, can integrate with Wanchain to establish connections between different ledgers and perform low cost inter-ledger asset transfers”.

Learn more about them at https://wanchain.org/

Wanchain introduced us to not just one or two, but six outstanding partners that have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver game-changing products and services.

Allspark (ASK)

Allspark addresses market gaps in the content and digital marketing industry, and attempts to fill it with a never-seen-before business model that rewards everyone from initial creation, to marketing, sales and even dissemination. Their vision is to create “a circle that everyone can create, can share, and can gain from it”. This is an innovative disruption of the traditional advertisement structures that leverages the power of blockchain technology. If you’re into the future of digital marketing and advertising, Allspark is one to definitely check out.

Learn more about them at https://allsparkchain.com/

Portal Network

The Portal Network is the team responsible for the creation and implementation of Wanchain’s WNS (Wanchain Name Service). They’re a blockchain company who have made it their mission to solidify the “ultimate cross-blockchain solution for users”. Via Portal Network, users can easily buy/sell/bid on domains, and build and deploy their own decentralised websites. With the overwhelming success of traditional DNS, decentralised websites and domains are the next logical step forward, and I am truly excited to see this project build momentum.

Learn more about them at https://www.portal.network/

Wanchain And Partners Asia Tour 2018

TokenLoan (TL)

TokenLoan describes itself as a “decentralised digital assets loan blockchain platform”. Somewhat similar to SALT Lending and ETHLend, TokenLoan allows borrowers to hold their cryptocurrencies while pledging rights to the TokenLoan smart contract. Users can then borrow digital assets from lenders, while lenders receive interests for executing digital loans. The lending space in blockchain is still a relatively young niche and an avenue where many investors are looking to for its solid use-case value.

Learn more about them at http://tokenloan.info/

Bitrue

Cryptocurrency exchanges are all the rage at the moment, with many new ones popping up all offering a myriad of different features to try and compete for users and volume. No one exchange is alike, and Bitrue is no exception.

Bitrue is dedicated to providing the “most trustworthy digital assets management service”, and has managed to execute their vision in a simple, efficient and secure manner. They launched in 2018, and currently house a team of experts in digital finance, cyber security and blockchain developers that share a common goal – to redefine the crypto trading experience.

For more information, please visit https://www.bitrue.com/

Special Guest: NEM

NEM, a household name among the Malaysian blockchain circuit, introduced us to their brand new, full-featured Catapult blockchain engine. The project has been two and half years in the making, and is their mothership to power both public and private networks via unique smart contract plugins. These plugins will enable bulletproof digital asset creation, decentralised swaps, advanced account systems and business logic modeling.

NEM prides itself over scale and speed, delivering industry-leading transaction rates for internal ledgers, and is a platform that houses a myriad of successful blockchain projects including Pundi X, Bankera and Comsa.

For more information, please visit https://www.nem.io/

Special Guest: G1

G1 is Malaysia’s premier cryptocurrency community, founded by Mark Pui. There’s a reason why it’s such an exclusive club, and that’s because they value community. Community to them is not measured by numbers, but instead by the value each individual brings to the group. They host weekly meetups, where you’ll find the most passionate of blockchain enthusiasts.

The Wanchain & Partners Asia Tour 2018 was a resounding success, and a great afternoon enjoyed by all. The turnout is reflective of the strength of the Malaysian blockchain community, and we look forward to the next one!


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

 

 

Blockchain: The Ultimate Solution For True Data Transparency?

The truth is out there…

Data management and record keeping has been a part of civilisation for centuries, yet even with the advent of the internet, AI, spreadsheets and cloud computing, data transparency still remains a challenge. Rigged elections, tax evasion, asset misappropriation, and other accounting scandals are common recurrences in the news, and all trace back to how data is recorded, stored, and managed.

With the advent of distributed ledger technology, or blockchain — many are of the opinion that this revolutionary technology holds the key to achieving true data transparency.

In this article, I explore ‘transparency’ and ‘trust’, two sides of the same coin that have raised dilemmas in business record keeping over the ages. I’ll discuss the pitfalls of data management in modern society, as well as the potential for distributed ledger technology to step in and combat these issues.

“New models of computing have tended to emerge every 10 to 15 years: mainframes in the 60s, PCs in the late 70s, the internet in the early 90s, and smartphones in the late 2000s, and now blockchain” – Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz)

Breaking down ‘transparency’.

Transparency, by its behavioural definition, is the “perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender” (Schnackenberg, Andrew K.; Tomlinson, Edward C.).

It implies openness, communication and accountability, and “guides an organisation’s decisions and policies on the disclosure of information to its employees and the public, or simply the intended recipient of the information” (Schnackenberg, Andrew K.; Tomlinson, Edward C.)

The very notion of transparency suggests a clear, open and trustworthy relationship that is 100% free from adulteration and manipulation.

Why ‘trust’ is flawed…

As an example, let’s say Bob wishes to know what the earnings are for his favourite pie company in Q3 2017, so he can make an informed investment decision. When he looks this data up, he is under the assumption that the earnings data he finds on the relevant websites are correct and accurate.

The problem here is that Bob’s trust is at the whim of who controls the data.

Businesses have a duty by law to provide 100% accurate data that is free from manipulation, ‘book cooking’ or any associated fraud. That then begs the question as to why we still live in a society where data misinformation is rampant, and scandals are rife?

Again — Because our trust is at the whim of who controls the data.

So, who controls the data…?

When looking at the pitfalls of data management and record keeping, all eyes fall on the gatekeepers of this information, and we then head down a slippery slope of “who is accountable”. This becomes tricky in businesses with over hundreds, or even thousands of employees who all have their fingers on the data.

In addition to that, files, spreadsheets and even the most advanced of cloud applications are susceptible to human error, hacking, and insider manipulation.

‘Trust’, by today’s standards, then arguably becomes more of an ‘honesty policy’, which really is not ideal when 100% accuracy is the goal, right?

Fortunately, blockchain happens to be an ideal solution to many of these problems.

Will blockchain render many of today’s record keeping technologies a thing of the past?

Shifting from the ‘centralised’ to the ‘decentralised’.

Blockchain’s fundamental idea of a distributed database removes the need for trust from any singular point, and instead, establishes trust through shared ownership, and well, some very clever maths and coding. The result is an ‘immutable audit trail’ — in other words the entire system is rewired so that any kind of fraud or illicit activity relating to data is virtually impossible

In centralised systems, administrators manage the databases and the contents within. These administrators can delegate this power to others, via ‘privileges’. With decentralised public ledgers however, administrators do not exist — instead, independent nodes in peer-to-peer networks must come to a consensus on the status of the ledger. For the peer-to-peer network to be able to continually ‘agree’ on the consensus of the public ledger, different consensus protocols are used. While ‘mining’ or ‘proof of work’ was the first consensus mechanism associated with bitcoin, many alternatives like ‘proof of stake’ have popped up since.

Switching from the ‘mutable’ to the ‘immutable’.

To dig even deeper, we should talk about blockchain ‘immutability’. By design, once a block is written to a blockchain, there is no way this data can be further manipulated. Compare this system to that of a typical Excel spreadsheet, where one may add more rows, columns, etc. Yes, ‘editing’ privileges may be locked off to certain authoritative figures, but what is really stopping them from changing the data to their advantage? Sure, logs managed by third-parties may come in handy here for manual auditing, but there is no integral control mechanism to make the data immutable in the first place — we simply need to trust that the system works, and therein lies the problem.

Dropping ‘trust’ for ‘trustless’.

Blockchain technology removes the reliance on ‘trust’, i.e they are databases that have been configured with pre-agreed technical and business logic criteria. They are also kept in-sync using decentralised, peer-to-peer technologies that have pre-defined rules about what data can or cannot be added.

The obvious benefits of a trustless, immutable system is that it provides a clear, transparent path for auditors. As an administrator for instance, you can prove that your data hasn’t been altered, and as a recipient, you can also be guaranteed the same copy of data via blockchain.

Is blockchain the final nail in the coffin for bad data?

Fact: Companies that are still arguing about how transparent they need to be with disclosing their reliable business information are running the risk of breaking the law. With data, it’s 100% or nothing.

According to Financial Planning’s most recent ‘Advisor Authority’ study of over 1,600 RIAs,fee-based advisers and individual investors in America, consumers placed a significant premium on transparency. As a result, we are seeing global institutions across the globe like IBM doubling down on blockchain technology to enhance transactional security and deliver unparalleled transparency.

And it’s no surprise — a shift to a trustless, decentralised system where no central point of authority governs the authenticity or validity of a data set would indeed provide a clearer path towards data transparency.

Granted, there are certainly new roadblocks and potholes to come along the way, but such is progress…

Adoption and going forward.

Several blockchain companies targeting database transparency have already begun to spring up, a notable one being JP Morgan Chase’s ‘Quorum‘ project. Quorum seeks to solve the financial sectors “most intractable problems by replacing a web of connected databases with a single, shared, immutable record of transactions”.

Google has also announced earlier this year that they are working on two separate Blockchain projects: a “tamper-proof” auditing system and a cloud operations platform.

Another project, Agora has built a digital voting platform for governments and organisations that leverages blockchain technology. It has made great headway, and has already been deployed in Sierra Leone’s March 2018 presidential elections. Votes from the West Districts were recorded on an immutable blockchain ledger. You can check out the results here.

Final thoughts.

Make no mistake — the world we live in runs on data. So it’s not so much a matter of ‘why’ companies should get on board, but more a matter of ‘when’. As blockchain continues to gain momentum, we’ll see increased rates of blockchain adoption as more and more businesses will want to take advantage of its clear benefits of data transparency (among other things).

And for consumers, it makes sense to welcome blockchain technology with cautious optimism, if we are to value truth and integrity.


With a raft of respected blockchain thought-leaders from Malaysia and around the world set to feature, Blocfest’s focus will be on blockchain’s immense potential in the Southeast Asian region, where the technology has already made great headway.

Learn from the best as we set the stage for the region’s thought leaders to dive deep into blockchain-related discussions involving data transparency, blockchain forensics, business tokenisation and much, much more.

Find out more about our speakers by clicking here.

Blocfest is set to launch 26-27 September, and guests are invited to also join us for KL Blockchain Week.