It’s been a relatively difficult year for blockchain (and its public opinion), and all eyes are set on the very near future.
Could it scale while remaining secure? Will corporate companies finally adopt it, not to mention end users? What keeps it the long term “plan” from happening?
I sat down with Jack Lu, Founder of Wanchain and Factom, two blockchain projects with a conjoined market cap of around 120 million dollars, that also works with corporates such as Telefonica on mass adoption initiatives.
Yoav Vilner: How did you find yourself in the blockchain space?
Jack Lu: I first got involved with Bitcoin in 2012. Around this time, one of my friends asked if I would look into a startup called Ethereum.
I researched the project, read the whitepaper, and was immediately captivated by this vision. Soon after, I started coding on Ethereum, then I decided to invest all of my Bitcoin into Ethereum’s initial coin offering.
In 2013, I was approached by David Johnston and Paul Snow to start a company called Factom, where I joined as CTO and Co-Founder.
In 2016, I decided to move back to China to to build blockchain solutions for local enterprises and government organizations – I also began incubating the Wanchain idea.
Why do you think financial corporations are slow to adopt digital assets?
On the technical side, the industry needs more work on creating user-friendly tools, or applications that incorporate cross-blockchain technology. The financial organizations can’t adopt it knowing the end user will have trouble using it.
Once an incredibly user-friendly application can solve a problem for a mass audience, we will start to see the industry take off.
The ideal vision for the future of interoperability between blockchains, is a world where the user interacts with applications, without any knowledge that value and data are being transferred across multiple blockchains in the background.
However, to get to this point, there needs to be very well-established standardization and specifications among the industry.
I believe the most significant progress that the broader business environment is waiting for is regulatory clarity, particularly in the United States.
In addition, blockchain governance needs to continue to evolve to be able to handle the governance required for many traditional financial institutions to operate without centralized authorities. The future of the decentralized autonomous organization is definitely a strong possibility, but we will need to wait for this capability to improve over time.
Communication enterprise Telefonica has recently partnered with you. What type of adoption are you trying to achieve?
We partnered with Telefonica and Rivetz to try and reach their mass South American and European user base.
So far, we have built a secure cross-chain wallet prototype that we demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
We are ecstatic about the potential in leveraging mobile devices to foster broader consumer and enterprise adoption.
I believe we will see a similar uptake curve to what we saw with the traditional technology industry, where mobile devices exponentially increased utilization of applications across every sector of business.
Along these same lines is the importance of blockchain-enabled mobile payment and point of sale devices.
Our partners and friends at PundiX are building a global payment ecosystem made up of mobile phones, point-of-sale devices, and crypto wallets to enable mass adoption of crypto commerce. This hardware generation will play a major role in creating an ecosystem to support consumer-friendly retail with digital currencies.
What is your perspective on the role of privacy in the industry?
Confidentiality will always be important to business transactions and data such as healthcare records, supply chain data, and passports or identity.
People thought Bitcoin was anonymous, but it’s only pseudonymous because big data and AI can track many degrees of transaction history using account addresses.
As enterprise continues to move more and more to blockchain-enabled solutions for added security, reliability, and openness, we are confident that customers will have a major requirement for confidentiality and privacy of their data and transactions.
What narratives do you think will rise above the rest in 2019 as it shapes up to be a pivotal year for the industry?
The blockchain and cryptocurrency space moves at lightspeed, so it’s hard to choose just a few trends to define 2019.
However, I am confident that DeFi (Decentralized Finance) and Open Finance will continue to play principal roles in the narrative.
This trend will also overlap with the introduction of more institutional investment into the space, through vehicles such as Proof-of-Stake, which tends to be more analogous to the traditional business activities that these organizations are accustomed to.
Finally, inter-communication between blockchains will continue to be one of the most significant topics in the industry.