Blocfest Academy: A Recap Of Events.

Blocfest Academy was a special event, curated by Blockchain Asia as a little ‘exclusive session’ for our VIP ticket holders.

Attendees arrived for an early start and were greeted by a warm and welcoming crew comprising of both the Blockchain Asia and NEM Blockchain Centre staff. After a short reception and breakfast, attendees were guided into the function hall to learn from our handpicked selection of blockchain presenters.

It was a half-day event featuring presentations from a selection of our Blocfest lineup. The speakers included:

The Future of Crypto Finance
By DJ Qian (Founder, Fusion)

DJ Qian illustrated his vision of the future of crypto finance, with particular mention to his Fusion protocol (which aims to provide the architecture for fully fledged financial functions on the blockchain). 

Crypto Wealth Management / VC/PE Investment and Crypto Fund Investment
By Mark Pui (Advisor, MW Partners)

Mark Pui shared with us his personal insights into crypto wealth management, and a behind-the-scenes look into VC/PE/Crypto Fund investment, plus some valuable tips on how to identify a good investment.

Hearing It From An ICO Lawyer
By Marcus Phuah (Founder and owner, Marcus Phuah & Co., / Managing Director, Legalasia Corporate Advisory Pte Ltd)

Marcus Phuah shed light on the important areas of the legal frameworks that currently regulate the crypto and blockchain spaces.

NEM Blockchain Projects
By Lance Cheang (Project Director) and Jasmine Ng (Director of Investment & Special Projects, NEM Malaysia)

Lance Cheang and Jasmine Ng both took separate approaches to delivering this presentation, yet they both ended driving home the point of what NEM’s mission is all about: to provide a permissionless blockchain solution that is flexible for all scales and angles of business and financial tech. Lance brought some notable NEM-specific projects to our attention, while Jasmine enphasised how blockchain has the potential to inspire social and political change.

A lovely morning and afternoon were had by all, with many quoting the experience as an “eye opening” one to the possibilities of blockchain.

 

 

5 Reasons To Be At Blocfest: Here’s The Final Reason.

REASON #5 TO BE AT BLOCFEST:

KL BLOCKCHAIN WEEK

Time sure flies doesn’t it? Today marks the first day of BLOCFEST.

We’ve gone from a humble speaker line up of about 15 people to now over 40, and we really do think we’ve outdone ourselves here!

Without a doubt, this has shaped up to be the largest international Blockchain event Kuala Lumpur has ever seen, and we’d love to go down in the history books with you in making Blocfest a resounding success.

The thing is though… the fun (and learning) doesn’t stop at Blocfest.

We’ve teamed up with some fantastic crews and organisations to make this entire week an unforgettable journey into Southeast Asia’s Blockchain community.

27/09/2018: Blockchain Forensics Summit
27/09/2018: Sophia TX: Business Redefined 2018
27/09/2018: G1 Blockchain Meetup
28/09/2018: ETHKL #4: Exchanges

VIEW FULL KL BLOCKCHAIN WEEK AGENDA

Blocfest aims to be the pivotal blockchain event for Southeast Asia, and a space where technology and innovation collide. Join us alongside the region’s major corporate and industry-based players as we come together and shape the future of Southeast Asia’s booming blockchain industry.

Online registrations have now officially closed, however there will be a limited number of 40% discounted tickets available at the doors.

5 Reasons To Be At Blocfest: Here’s Number 4.

REASON #4 TO BE AT BLOCFEST:

NETWORK WITH DEVS, ENTREPRENEURS, BUSINESS OWNERS AND BLOCKCHAIN EXPERTS

In a tech scene that’s as niche as Blockchain, it can be frustrating trying to locate people who see eye-to-eye about new and emerging technologies.

That’s why at Blocfest, we’re bringing together Blockchain enthusiasts, devs, business owners under one roof.

Whether you’re looking to connect with devs, forge new partnerships, or simply connect with industry professionals who matter, Blocfest is your best opportunity to do just that.

Blocfest aims to be the pivotal blockchain event for Southeast Asia, and a space where technology and innovation collide. Join us alongside the region’s major corporate and industry-based players as we come together and shape the future of Southeast Asia’s booming blockchain industry.

Online registrations have now officially closed, however there will be limited tickets available at the doors. Registration begins 830am tomorrow… we hope to see you there!

5 Reasons To Be At Blocfest: Here’s Number 3.

REASON #3 TO BE AT BLOCFEST:

SKILLS FOR THE BUDDING BLOCKCHAIN ENTREPRENEUR
(THE BEST BLOCKCHAIN WORKSHOPS IN TOWN)

For the second day of BLOCFEST, we’ve lined up three international blockchain experts to teach you some highly transferable skills. What you’ll learn here could come in very handy when it comes to setting up your own ICO, writing an actual Smart Contract or launching your own product.

1. MARK PRICE (Founder, Devslopes)

Mark Price is one of Blockchain’s leading developers and teachers, and is known for his breadth of expertise across the coding space. He regularly receives excellent reviews from his students, and as a result, Devslopes is now a household name across the industry. Join us as we explore the ins-and-outs of Ethereum smart contracts.

Workshop: What Is An Ethereum Smart Contract?

  • What is Ethereum?
  • What is a Smart Contract in Blockchain?
  • What language does Ethereum use?
  • What can Ethereum Smart Contracts be used for?

2. ROSS KRASNER & WYATT MUFSON (Co-Founders, Ryu Blockchain Technologies)

Workshop: Building A Telegram Bot

Anyone who’s ever invested in a blockchain project knows just how important Telegram is to building a strong community of support. In this workshop, you’ll get the ultimate primer on Telegram and how to maximise its use, while also learning how build your very own Telegram bot!

Trust us, this one piece of knowledge could be the difference that gets you a stake in your very own blockchain startup in the future!

3. HARPREET MAAN (Co-Founder & CEO, Blocklime Technologies)

Workshop: What is Hashgraph?

They call it the “blockchain killer” but what actually is Hashgraph and what are its advantages? In this workshop you’ll learn about the unique benefits that Hashgraph can offer consensus-based projects from an expert in the field. Ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs who are already nearing the development phase.

Fireside Chats With Alexander Busarov (WaBi, Walimai) on Blockchain & Supply Chain.

Alexander Busarov is best known as the CEO and co-founder of WaBi and Walimai. WaBi is a “consumer incentivization token, rewarding consumers for purchases, scans, and other user-related actions”, and Walimai is a company dedicated to solving the problem of counterfeit goods in China.

 

Alexander was kind enough to spare some time to have a chat about WaBi and blockchain in general and shared with us some insights into blockchain’s capability to disrupt the supply chain industry.

Alexander Busarov will be joining us at Blocfest, presenting the topic: “Farm To Table 2.0? Supply Chain, Blockchain and a New Age in Consumer Confidence”.

Sean: How did your journey into blockchain begin?

Alexander Busarov: Well we actually started with a company called Walimai and we always considered blockchain as something that could help us in terms of supply chain. When we changed the model to being more of a retailer, we also realised that there’s a lot of benefits to having our loyalty programme based on blockchain technology, and this is how WaBi was born.

Sean: What is it about the loyalty programme model that works so harmoniously with blockchain?

Alexander Busarov: There are a few things. One is being able to give power to the people. It’s really about improving the value to the end users of the system. I’m sure most of us hate certain caveats that other loyalty systems often impose on its users. For example, you can rack up air miles, but the rewards will only be redeemable under certain conditions. What we realized is that when you put it on the blockchain, the points themselves start to have value, so instead of being a liability to the company, it becomes an asset to the person. So that’s the first point.

The second value proposition is really for the company itself. Like I said, instead of being a liability to the company that has to be in the balance sheet which creates all sorts of accounting limitations for the company, it is now an asset of the person and the person outright owns it, and I think that’s actually much better for the company itself.

And the third point that I’d like to make, is the potential for growth. If you have a standard loyalty system that isn’t powered by blockchain, it then becomes very hard to integrate with other players. So, what happens is that you see all companies with own loyalty programmer and with consumers hating the fact that they have to carry hundreds of loyalty points cards with them. It’s difficult to integrate in that case because you need to negotiate all sorts of value transfers between the companies. You need to renegotiate all those limitations with every new participating company that joins. But when a loyalty system is powered by blockchain with external value, it’s a simple exchange of one form of value to another form of value and you can have everyone joining in and agreeing on this exchange unanimously.

Sean: Let’s talk a bit about the WaBi token. What’s its utility in simple terms for those who may not be so clued up about how tokenised economies work? And how does it incentivise investors?

Alexander Busarov: We often get mistakenly placed into the supply chain bucket. Now in the supply chain bucket, the way that tokens often work is that there is a token that enables the operation of the blockchain, and we’re not that. In fact, early on we decided that it should not be a token that fluctuates in value that enables the operation of the blockchain. While it might work in some situations, we believe that in real-world applications, it’s just a nightmare for the corporates.

Let me describe what Wabi is on an example. Let’s say you have a producer of coffee who wants to promote coffee in a retail chain. The traditional way of doing it would be to give some sort of a discount or special offer. This technique is now quite outdated. Today, we can use data-driven solutions that revolve around loyalty programmes. With our system, this coffee producer would need to buy WaBi tokens, and then use them to give to the consumers. This is the ultimate usability. It unlocks the value hidden in all retail discounts and offers and moves retail marketing to a whole new level.

The consumers can then of course come back to our own channel and redeem those for things that they want, or they can use those points to redeem things on our partner networks, such as the HiNouNou tokens.

Apart from using Wabi token as a unit of value in marketing to consumers, we also ask manufacturers and suppliers to pay using Wabi for advanced analytics and marketing data”

Sean: In a recent interview you mentioned that another utility of the token is that by actually scanning the goods, you are also effectively increasing the security of the network? Could you explain a bit more about that?

Alexander Busarov: Yes, this is more of a particular thing in our network that we’ve enabled and it’s very important. The way that the security of our technology works, is that every scan of the product will update the data of the product and also information on the blockchain. It’s a bit like how in a banking log in device, you have the rolling codes where the codes are always changing with every login.

Of course, we want to encourage the changing of those codes and reward the consumers to scan and make the system more secure. On our end, not only do we want to sell the product, but we’re also constantly trying to improve the system and we use WaBis to do that.

Sean: Let’s talk about the WaBi label technology. Was it a matter of you reinventing the wheel here or, was it modelled after an existing piece of technology?

Alexander Busarov: It’s modelled on the existing principles and also the technological components. We use standard components. For example, for the chips, we use NXP-produced chips and NXP is a Dutch-based company that produces good quality chips.

Sean: And the label data is transmitted to the blockchain?

Alexander Busarov: Yes, with every scan that happens, data such as who is scanning and where the item was scanned from is effectively logged, and the data is stored on the supply chain blockchain.

Sean: Why do you think that blockchain is poised to become such a powerful technology to disrupt how supply chain management currently operates? And I guess also on the tail of that, what is your ideal vision of supply chain management in say 5–10 years?

Alexander Busarov: I’m not sure if it will become seamless per-se, as there are still things to manage. You still need to scan, log the events, and they can happen in more automated ways. I think the blockchain supply chain enables more trust. Instead of companies keeping their own databases and entrusting that the integrity of the data is not compromised, this blockchain supply chain allows companies to prove that the correct records of items are kept.

But more importantly, blockchain allows for data to be more structured and presented in a trusted manner. So, let’s say if we’re talking to a shipping company, and they have their own database, they can publish their APIs to have some access to their data. So, a blockchain supply chain enables transparency for all parties involved.

 
“Instead of companies keeping their own databases and entrusting that the integrity of the data is not compromised, this blockchain supply chain allows companies to prove that the correct records of items are kept” — Alexander Busarov

Sean: In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge that the blockchain industry needs to overcome, as a whole and also within your niche?

Alexander Busarov: Right now, I think the big challenge for blockchain is adoption. We’re seeing real use cases of payments and transfers, with investments and trading with ICOs and whatnot. I do believe that this will still be fairly niche, especially with traders.

As there are more people with loyalty points, they will start to use blockchain technology without even realising its blockchain as it’s all happening behind the scenes. The consumers will be greeted by the same interface in their apps and continue to rack and redeem loyalty points that are powered by blockchain. With loyalty points, I believe that the consumers will play a big role in refining the technology.

Sean: We’re really excited to have you speak at Blocfest! Are you looking forward to it?

Alexander Busarov: I’m very excited about meeting more people in a region that we’re interested in! It is a region of interest for us in terms of the supply chain authentication side and also the WaBi loyalty points side.

Find out more about WaBi here.

Find out more about Walimai here.

Connect with WaBi/Walimai on Twitter here.

Alexander Busarov will be joining us at Blocfest, speaking on the topic: “ Farm To Table 2.0? Supply Chain, Blockchain and a New Age in Consumer Confidence”. Hear from him and many other thought-leaders as we deep-dive into all things blockchain this September 25–27.

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.

 

An Inside Look Into Asia’s Blockchain Regulation

No matter which way you look at it, regulation plays a large part in dictating how a nation decides to adopt new and disruptive technologies. Worldwide, we are seeing differing approaches between nations on how they are looking to implement regulatory frameworks for Blockchain. In this article, I explore the regulatory climate of Blockchain within various regions of Asia, followed by a discussion of where Malaysia is currently at by comparison.

Blockchain Regulation In China

In China, regulatory attitudes are comparatively strict. 2017 saw a number of Blockchain companies pop up, and at its peak — the nation accounted for roughly three-quarters of the world’s bitcoin mining operations. The government has since clamped down on the use of cryptocurrencies, banning exchanges and the public participation in ICOs. Arguably, China still lacks a standardised regulatory framework that can allow the underlying Blockchain technology to fully flourish.

Blockchain Regulation In Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, our regional neighbours like Thailand have a more relaxed approach to regulation. Registered cryptocurrency companies in Thailand may now apply for licenses via the SEC Thailand, though are subject to a number of conditions. Philippines have a similar policy, though the number of licenses available to be issued are capped to 25.

Singapore has been arguably one of the most lenient of all the Southeast Asian countries. In recent news, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are now even considering reducing capital requirements for blockchain start-ups and simpler requirements for regulations, which would make the nation even more attractive to new Blockchain companies.

Arguably, China still lacks a standardised regulatory framework that can allow the underlying Blockchain technology to fully flourish.

Blockchain Regulation In Malaysia

This year, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued a directive to regulate the use of digital currencies, to ensure that effective measures are in place against money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

BNM hopes to put in place a regulatory framework around Blockchain that can drive its adoption, while mitigating the risks for users. While there is a long road ahead for Blockchain regulation in Malaysia, it is evident that the central bank is keeping an open mind on this disruptive new technology.

Blockchain Adoption: Where Is Malaysia Headed Next?

Malaysian banks are taking proactive steps to encourage Blockchain development in Malaysia. BNM announced that 9 of them are currently working together to develop blockchain applications to assist with trade finance.

Blockchain use-cases stretch far beyond just payment systems, and the tracking of Halal foods is a unique one that South Korea’s ‘IncuBlock’ and the Malaysian government committee hope to strive towards. Together, they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to make blockchain technology permissible under Sharia Law.

Malaysia is a unique country in the sense that although we are relatively slow to adopt, we embrace new technologies without much friction”- Lon Wong (ProximaX)

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

A coalition of blockchain enthusiasts and fintech firms are joining forces to improve literacy in blockchain tech in an effort to drive adoption by persuading more startups to enter the space in Malaysia. Eight groups have since signed the MOU.

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. The facility includes an accelerator, incubator and feature-packed co-working space.

The number of private Blockchain firms and start-ups are on the rise, and it is of little surprise given the government’s fairly relaxed approach in regards to regulation. It will be interesting to see how Malaysia as a nation will continue to further the development of this exciting new technology.

If you’d like to learn more about Blockchain’s potential and how it can disrupt your area of business, Blocfest is just the conference for you. Blocfest, part of Malaysia’s inaugural KL Blockchain Week, is a 2-day excursion into the world of distributed ledger technology. You’ll not only learn how Blockchain works, but you’ll also come out knowledgeable on its immense potential to disrupt industries far and wide.

Save 40% off VIP tickets by using the code BLOC40D during checkout.

 

5 Reasons To Be At Blocfest: Here’s Number 2.

Just like blockchain technology itself, our renowned speakers are having a profound effect on how business is done in countless industries and regions of the world.

Whether by spearheading academic breakthroughs, establishing blockchain communities in new regions of the world or developing technology that disrupts traditional practices, these are the technologists and theorists who hold the key to a bright new future…

WHY YOU NEED TO BE AT BLOCFEST. REASON #2…

OUR ALL-STAR LINEUP OF SPEAKERS!

VIEW ALL SPEAKERS

Here are 3 outstanding speakers you just can’t afford to miss…

Prof. David Lee – Co-Founder, BlockAsset Ventures, LeftCoast, libai.io

Who: Professor of FinTech and Blockchain at Singapore University of Social Sciences, and early stage investor in Zcash, Qtum, Bloq, TenX and InfoCorp, amongst others.

What he stands for: Enhancing inclusiveness in the financial services industry by providing access to the underbanked.

What he has said: “Fintech can be redefined as an activity that changes the mindset and breaks down the silos for the benefit of all”

TM Lee – Co-Founder, CoinGecko

Who: One of the leading lights in the Malaysian blockchain community, TM Lee is the Co-Founder of CoinGecko, a leading market analytics platform for cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets.

What he stands for: Driving more sophisticated analysis in the investment of blockchain assets.

What he has said: “When I first got into blockchain I was seeing a lot of pump and dumps, so I wanted to make a way for people to quantify coins beyond just looking at market capitalization”

Malikkhan Kotadia – Global Digital Banker & Blockchain Evangelist

Who: Malikkhan is known globally as a man who wears many hats. Aside from a 20 year career in multinational banks, he is also a best-selling author (“The New Ages”), a keynote speaker with experience of over 100 events and a serial entrepreneur.

What he stands for: Bridging the gap between blockchain technology and the corporate world by putting technologists and progressive governments in the same room.

What he has said: “I saw the world through the eyes of the big banks….and a distinct gap in the market when it comes to collaboration between banks and fintech players”.

Can’t wait to witness these world-class speakers in action? Take advantage of our limited-time-only 40% discount with this promo code:

BLOC40D

Enter the code at checkout to get your 40% off!

5 Reasons To Be At Blocfest: Here’s Number 1.

GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE!

The World Economic Forum has proclaimed that:

“Blockchain could soon give rise to a new era of the Internet even more disruptive and transformative than the current one…leading to a generational shift in the Internet’s evolution, from an Internet of Information to a new generation Internet of Value.”

It’s one of the biggest shifts in perspective in our era, and you’re still a (very) early adopter. So why miss this opportunity to develop real, transferrable blockchain knowledge in an age when so few have?

With over 40 international blockchain thought-leaders due to speak, the insights you gain at BLOCFEST could help you:

  • Develop new, cutting-edge business opportunities for your company
  • Open doors through international partnerships
  • Improve efficiency, security and product delivery processes
  • Pave the way to better, and more lucrative, funding

 

The best thing? As blockchain technology is still in its infancy, whatever you gain from BLOCFEST is also an advantage gained over your competitors. So stop sitting on the fence and get yourself a ticket to the future of tech at BLOCFEST, Southeast Asia’s International Blockchain Event.

To sweeten the deal, here’s a special 40% discount code, just from us to you! Simply enter it during checkout.

BLOC40D

Venture Capital VS Initial Coin Offering: Which Is Right For You?

VC vs ICO: Which Is Right For You?

If you’re familiar with Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, you’re probably no stranger to the concept of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The last two years saw brought about a state of ‘ICO mania’, where blockchain startups across the globe were clamouring to take advantage of this lucrative new funding model.

With well over $6 billion raised this year alone, ICO funding has already surpassed that of the total raised in 2017. So should you as a business owner be looking to use ICOs as a fundraising model for your company, or should you stick with the tried and tested methods of traditional VC funding?

The answer depends on many factors, and through this article I hope to shed some light on the advantages and disadvantages of both.

VC vs ICO: Which is right for you?

 

So, what even is an ICO?

While it may seem like the Blockchain space evolves at light-speed, ICOs are still a relatively new concept. Essentially, it is a fundraising mechanism whereby companies who have already created their own cryptocurrency, can sell these tokens to investors in exchange for bitcoin or ether. In a way it is similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO), but tokens are purchased instead of shares. Investors who buy the tokens at ICO price hope to see a return on their investment as the project develops.

Advantages of the ICO

ICO’s are an attractive fundraising model for startups as the steps are relatively straightforward, and the barriers to entry for investors are relatively low. This accessibility comes in the form of being able to participate from anywhere in the world (provided the legislation allows), and investors are usually able to participate with as little capital as they like.

ICOs also offer a high level of transparency and speed, thanks to the use of smart-contracts (a friction-less way of conducting digital trade). Blockchain facilitates the ICO transaction through self-executing, smart contract mechanics and therefore no middle-men are needed, saving both time and money.

Disadvantages of the ICO

No fundraising model is without its flaws, and the ICO has its fair share. In recent times, ICOs have been subject to scrutiny by governments due to the lack of regulatory frameworks. Unfortunately, many jurisdictions are still playing catch-up, and due to the infancy of this new and innovative model, ICOs still operate largely in a sort of ‘Wild Wild West’ scenario, where bad actors and dishonest practices slide under the radar. Scams are not uncommon in the ICO space, and so investors are exposed to a fair bit of risk. Ultimately, it is up to the investor to do their due diligence to avoid falling prey to these scams.

Blocfest are conducting a panel discussion featuring Blockchain experts Abasa Philips (CEO, Zilla), Robin Lee (CEO, Hello Gold) and Wayne Chu (Investment Partner, Mindworks Ventures) on ‘VC vs ICO: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’.

What is Venture Capital (VC) funding?

In a nutshell, Venture Capital (VC) is a traditional financing method whereby start-ups apply to well-off investors or investment banks for funding. Successful applicants are granted either monetary or managerial support (or both) to carry out their projects.

Advantages

VC projects offer investors a larger safety net as they are regulated and with strict processes and guidelines. Quality evaluation is rigorous, so there is a lower risk of failure compared to the ICO route of funding. Risk is mitigated by experts who determine the strength of the product or service and the current market climate, and they can also offer professional consultation and business development services to ensure quality control.

Disadvantages

Much like ICOs, there is also a high degree of risk involved in VCs as there is no guarantee that the project will be a success. VC funding is also subject to high input thresholds and transactional costs, and overheads such as legal fees can also add up and draw out the length of the process. Additionally, due to low liquidity, there can be exceedingly long lockup periods for funds, which may be a turn off for some investors.

Above all, whether you decide to go with an ICO or VC boils down to your personal business objectives and goals. Perhaps the ICO works in your favour for its flexibility, or maybe the VC route is the way to go due to its stricter compliance and ‘safer’ public image.

If you’d like to learn more about this very topic, Blocfest are conducting a panel discussion featuring Blockchain experts Abasa Philips (CEO, Zilla), Robin Lee (CEO, Hello Gold) and Wayne Chu (Investment Partner, Mindworks Ventures) on ‘VC vs ICO: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’.

Learn more about Blockchain’s potential and how it can disrupt your area of business at Blocfest this September 26-27. As part of Malaysia’s inaugural KL Blockchain Week, Blocfest is a 3-day excursion into the world of distributed ledger technology. You’ll not only learn how Blockchain works, but you’ll also come out knowledgeable on its immense potential to disrupt industries far and wide.

Fireside Chats With Lon Wong (ProximaX) – “The Future Of Decentralised Networks”

Lon Wong is best known as the founder of ProximaX, a protocol built on NEM blockchain technology to cover industries outside the regulated financial industry. ProximaX combines blockchain, storage, streaming and an advanced consensus algorithm to enable a rich, all-in-one platform for broader cross-industry application and decentralized app development. You can learn more about the project here.
 
Lon Wong was kind enough to spare some time to share his captivating story, plus his thoughts on the future of decentralized networks and what needs to be done in the local blockchain space to catalyse adoption.

Lon Wong will be joining us at Blocfest, presenting the topic: “The Future Of Decentralised Networks”.

Sean: Tell us a bit about your journey and how you ended up in the blockchain world?

Lon Wong: My career has always revolved around cutting-edge technology. Back in the mid 80’s, I was involved in computer networking — putting computers together in local area networks which was at that time, the forefront of a leading edge industry. This took place in Brunei, a small but wealthy country that I was stationed in. The government of Brunei was willing to invest in what they perceived to be the future. In the other countries around South East Asia, my ideas weren’t as well received mainly because the other countries were not as wealthy as Brunei. That was in the 80’s. In the 90’s, I practiced as an electrical engineer in the building industry but soon realized that this profession was mundane and uninteresting. There was however an industry that piqued my interest and that was the internet industry, during the time when dial-up internet was still in its infancy. So what I did was I spent a lot of time building many dotcoms on the internet. I later moved on to focus more on software development using internet technology, which in the early 2000s was practically unheard of. After that, I spent time building up mobile wireless solutions that included broadband services.

In 2006, during the last 2 years of my involvement in the internet space, I sold my business to a publicly listed company and today, it is still running as one of the few wireless mobile service providers in the country. I then retired and not too long thereafter, someone introduced me to cryptocurrency mining and Bitcoin. I wasn’t interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining per se but I started thinking about the powerful technology driving this — blockchain. Then in 2013, I decided it was time to get serious about blockchain. I studied it deeply and asked myself how I could get involved in this technology. I decided to focus on the ledger technology surrounding it and that’s when I began wondering how blockchain could aid the financial industry. Unfortunately, the financial industry is highly regulated all over the world making technological solutions involving this industry very difficult to sell. This however, became the impetus for me to look at how blockchain could extend beyond a ledger for value transactions only, to include data transaction and thus become applicable to the non-financial sector.

Sean: What was the problem that your product was trying to solve?

Lon Wong: I initially wanted blockchain to be a part of the financial industry but the financial industry is, as I mentioned, very much regulated. Throughout the years though, I have noticed a growing interest from other industries such as the banking industry, asking how blockchain could be used for identity management. Hence I came to realize that that part of the industry needed to be addressed and blockchain was the perfect solution. Another aspect of blockchain that could aid other industries is traceability, particularly with the pharmaceutical industry. Blockchain could be used to trace items such as food, drugs, and a host of other items that require tracing. If you look at blockchain in isolation, it’s not a very feasible solution. You’d need to have a data transfer solution that works hand-in-hand with blockchain technology, and that’s the problem I want to address. Today I’m targeting industries that aren’t as highly regulated as the financial sector and right now, our product is market-ready whereby we are offering such services to the general public. This is the Proxima X project.

Lon Wong is founder of the reputable blockchain company, ProximaX.

 

Sean: What has it been like to watch the blockchain industry grow in Malaysia, and where do you see it headed?

Lon Wong: In all these years being involved in technology, I’ve never seen a technology as interesting as blockchain. Malaysia is a unique country in the sense that despite being relatively slow in adoption, it embraces new technologies without much friction. I have no idea why, but that’s the uniqueness of Malaysia as a country.

So far, the regulators and authorities have been indifferent to blockchain in that they have not tried to regulate it, which is good. If you take a look at the rest of the world however, you’d see that the authorities are putting a stranglehold on the technology. In my opinion, doing so stifles the growth of that technology. For example, in United States because of regulations, growth is pretty much inhibited and in about 5 years, they could find themselves lagging behind the rest of the world. So everyone is trying to circumvent the problem that is now in existence in the United States — but if you look at Malaysia, no one is stopping you from doing something as long as it’s not illegal in approach.

Sean: ‘Blockchain 3.0’ is a buzzword I hear being thrown around quite often these days. What does ‘Blockchain 3.0’ mean to you and how does that tie into the future of where decentralised networks are headed?

Lon Wong: I believe that Blockchain 1.0 and 2.0 had more to do with value transactions. Additionally, Blockchain 2.0 added more features and changed the way we do transactions as compared to Blockchain 1.0. Bitcoin as a proof of concept has basically successfully been deployed, and extending from that, value transfers has also been successfully proven. The next question is how efficient are the transactions and this is where bitcoin is lacking. It doesn’t mean its not working, but rather it isn’t as efficient as it could be.

Moving along, we’ve always been talking about value transfers, but value transfers have limitations. It’s mostly regulated and that’s where you have a lot of ICOs not working — for that simple reason that it is within a highly regulated industry. Hence, we have to move beyond that. By using blocking technology in other industries, we must have efficient data transfer as I’ve mentioned earlier. Data transfer in this case, meaning the entire services that we offer using blockchain technology, has taken a huge change in direction. If you look at every industry out there, there are always invoices and quotations being created and these documents must be stored somewhere.

Be it on a pendrive, hard disk, or a server, or the cloud, the fact remains that we are always storing documents. If you have an ERP system, you’ll need an application that runs on a network and you have to store those documents somewhere too. Almost all tasks we do today require some form of storage.

Sean: For sure, the world runs on data.

Lon Wong: Exactly, the world runs on data. And extending blockchain to include data, is a natural progression. That is when you will see Blockchain 3.0 providing such technologies to enable businesses that could change the way cloud services are offered. This is due to the fact that blockchain is proven to be very cost efficient and deployable. So in my opinion, this is where things will change. I choose to believe that blockchain is much more efficient and inexpensive compared to traditional technology, and that’s why there is a value proposition with blockchain.

Sean: Absolutely. Blockchain as a whole has the capacity to disrupt almost every industry imaginable — and it feels like a competitive sprint between companies to be the first to reach widespread adoption. Which other areas of blockchain do you see as being the ‘low-hanging fruit’ for blockchain to solve?

Lon Wong: When it comes to low-hanging fruit, it should have been mobile payments, but that industry is largely regulated. For example, Touch ‘n Go in Malaysia wanted to implement an eWallet but that didn’t turn out as expected and they are taking a very long time to implement that. With the sort of blockchain technology that we have, we could have powered that within the space of 6 months for much less than 10 million Ringgit.

In fact, I think the biggest challenge now is overcoming the negative feeling and insufficient knowledge when it comes to blockchain that often deters people from embracing new technologies. The skepticism that surrounds blockchain can be chalked back to ignorance in my opinion, and the best thing for us to do is to have like-minded people spearheading knowledge on blockchain technology and showing the public that this is the way to do things.

ProximaX combines blockchain, storage, streaming and an advanced consensus algorithm to enable a rich, all-in-one platform for broader cross-industry application and decentralized app development.

 

Sean: Disruptive tech companies like Netflix and Uber for example are often ridiculed at first, but then before people realise it, the shift has already happened. I think it speaks volumes about the human psyche in regards to belief and adoption — people don’t believe it until they see it!

Lon Wong: Well said. I think it’s much easier to shut down new ideas than to embrace them. Change does come around eventually though, just packaged in a different flavour from the initial idea.

Sean: Who do you think is leading the race in Southeast Asia in terms of blockchain?

Lon Wong: I think Singapore is very good at promoting themselves as a financial centre, and when it comes to blockchain, they said the same thing. However, it appears that their government, regulatory boards, and private industries have different stances on blockchain, which usually results in a disconnect. For example, if the government says we’re blockchain friendly, foreign investors would gravitate towards Singapore. And these investors would then go to the local banks to open an account to fund their blockchain-based business but only to realise that the banks don’t allow that for lack of a better term. That’s usually the crux really.

Sean: Is fear a driving factor of that in your opinion?

Lon Wong: Yeah, usually it’s fear, ignorance, refusal to take risks.

But in Malaysia, it’s really different. Here, you can walk to a bank, explain your business and have them open up an account for you and you’re done. The government doesn’t bother you about your blockchain-based business, and they’re usually up for promoting blockchain-based businesses. The banks don’t tend to ask questions as long as you can produce your source of income or whatever coin you may have. And I think on that note, we are ahead of Singapore. We are more stable as a country, we have the infrastructure, people, technology and a sizeable population. And all this makes for a good testbed!

Sean: Absolutely. We’re super excited to have you on as a speaker at Blocfest. What are you looking forward to most about the experience?

Lon Wong: Basically, it’s about going out there and continuing to evangelise blockchain and to better ourselves with this technology. It’s my hope that Malaysians will take the lead while we still have this window of opportunity whereby we can be world players and being involved in global projects such as NEM and Proxima X.

Connect with Lon Wong on Twitter.

Connect with ProximaX on Twitter here.

Lon Wong will be joining us at Blocfest as a panelist on the discussion topic: “The Future Of Decentralised Networks”. 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.