On September.10th, we had great honor of interviewing Mr.Xiaochen Zhang,President of Fintech4Good, and Mr.Jason Wu, the Founder & CEO of DeFiner. They provided us with a proffessional insight on the market trends and adoption strategies of Fintech.
Innoverview：How would you describe yourself with three words? What’s your motto? (For Xiaochen &Jason)
Xiaochen: Loving, passionate and curious. Curiosity is the stepping stone of invention. Stay curious!
Jason: Trust, Growth & Simplicity. Empower people surrounding you
Innoverview: Over the past 18 years, you have introduced the most influential technologies in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, including Blockchain, fintech, cleaning technology and intelligent technologies, to enter new markets through innovative models of education, joint acceleration and transnational investment. Could you share some cases of stimulating different technologies development in different market? (For Xiaochen)
Xiaochen: When I was still with World Bank, we introduced the ABC Model from India to Africa to bring electricity to rural population living in the remote areas. We help countries to scale up low carbon and climate resilient solutions in Latin America and Asia. At FinTech4Good, we launch blockchain and fintech based acceleration programs to bring the most disruptive technologies to frontier market. DeFiner is established in the USA and will disrupt the peer to peer lending market in Asia. Tweeba is a Canadian blockchain company which will transform the value commerce sector in Asia. VodiX is an American company which is creating jobs in Vietnam now. We have many such examples. We are also launching joint blockchain labs in different continents. We have jointly launched a Blockchain Hub with SMU in Dallas, a blockchain lab in Atalanta, a blockchain climate institute in London, a Blockchain Research Institute in Hangzhou. In November, we will launch a new blockchain incubator in Chile covering Belt and Road Countries in Latin America.
Innoverview: How did you get involved in Blockchain domain? What attracts you most about blockchain? (For Xiaochen &Jason)
Xiaochen: I was fascinated about technologies which empowers the crowds during my PhD study at Virginia Tech from 2008-2011. At the time, I was researching on crowdfunding, bitcoin and crowdsourcing. We also looked at crowdfunding and bitcoin based payment for energy access projects when I was at the World Bank.But I started working 100% on blockchain related project only after I found FinTech4Good. It has been an amzing journey. FinTech4Good and I have made so many new friends, built a very strong global ecosystem and had a lot of fun.
What Blockchain attracts me most are: 1. Its potential to be revolutionary; 2. Its cost reduction benefits to sustain the system; 3. Its potential contribution to achieve the sustainable development goals.
Jason: I got my first Bitcoin back 2013 and at thattime, I was curious about it and just wanted to play it around. I was fascinated about how effectively it is to transfer asset globally. When the concept of blockchain and smart contract came up back 2015, I just cannot stay away from it. I believe each generation will have its own opportunities to create something great for everybody. And blockchain is for us, the millennials. A global internet for value exchange. Then come to 2016, the Ethereum blockchain goes alive the smart contract functionality is well supported and I was also working on my CFA exams. Then these 2 things come together there is an emerging digital asset market and there must be a need for capital allocation and movement going forward and the technology is close to be ready for it. That’s how Decentralized Finance concept come up in my mind. And that’s how I started to create DeFiner, a decentralized finance innovator to define the future of finance.
Automation is the most attractive part for me. This means rule of code to replace rule of human.With the automated network, transaction and settlement cost will be significantly lowed and the service quality will be significantly improved.
Innoverview: As member of UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN) Executive Council and UN ESCAP Digital Economy Task Force and Green Business Task Force, what are the sustainable development goals of them? What’s your suggestions for FinTech start-ups especially cryptocurrency projects to set up SDGs and effective ways to achieve them? (For Xiaochen)
Xiaochen: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. FinTech, blockchain and cryptocurrency projects can help to transform business models how these goals are achieved. E.g. DAO IPCI can help to reduce costs and improve efficiency to achieve climate change mitigation goals. VodiX can empower individuals by creating jobs for the poor. Libracamp t is designed to address challenges in financial inclusion. There are many such examples. I was just back from a UN meeting in Vienna which was with a specific focus on smart and sustainable cities. In late October, I will join many world leaders in Thailand for another UN meeting with a focus on how to use blockchain to create inclusive business. I hope many of you are able to join us and collaborate with UN on different SDGs projects in the future.
Innoverview: We’ve noticed that Fintech4Good has gained a lot of accomplishment in project acceleration, events operation and TV programs and was awarded the Best FinTech Impact Investing Network2019 by Wealth & Finance International, could you share the advantages and the achievements of this unique industrial ecosystem platform? As one of the leading conferences organizer, from your perspective, how to achieve the sustainable development for Blockchain conferences? (For Xiaochen)
Xiaochen: FinTech4Good is an ecosystem builder. As a very important part of our mission, we produce events, develop research projects, deliver evidence-based training, launch multi-country acceleration programs and invest in the most disruptive solutions. We believe that blockchain industry is still at its early stage. It is very important to build awareness for the public to understand the true potential and limitation of the technology. We also believe that an informed discussion on policy issues are critical for the advancement of blockchain technological innovation. Thus, we identify the most exciting speakers on a selected topics and bring the right audiences around the topics on a regular basis. We have created a global community which includes policy makers, technology innovators, investors and academic scholars. We collaborate with partners from different countries to build some core event brands. Currently, we have Digital Asset Investment Forum, DeFi Tech Talks, World DeFi Forum, FinTech4Good Blockchain100 and several other blockchain event brands. I will fly to Atalanta today for the Atalanta Smart City Expo. Then, NYC Fashion Tech Week, Then Convention 2019 in Philadephia, then Government Blockchain Summit in DC... In each of these main event, we will also organize a DeFi Meetup. As of now, we have organized DeFi Meetup in the USA, Serbia, Asustria, Singapore, and China. Our DeFi Alliance ( www.defialliance.org) is becoming a important global platform for DeFi innovations. We are very proud of it.
Innoverview: As the Founder and CEO of DeFiner which is a fully decentralized digital asset lending platform, could you share the experience on the innovative operation strategies and sustainable development goals of DeFiner? How would CBDC impact the cryptocurrency trading market? (For Jason)
Jason: Thanks Jokia, it's a great question. For innovative strategies, the demand of human is not changed. People needs to eat, to sleep, to communicate, to cooperate with each other. So, there are services and goods to meet people’s demand. New technology is the tool to better meet people’s demand in a more cost-effective way. Like online retailers giant Alibaba, Amazon, they just figured out a better way for product distribution with the help of internet. With blockchain, in order to use this tool to provide a better service in a lower cost way. Our development strategy is to build the lowest cost and best quality service to facilitate capital movement. Therefore, our next step goals include “DeFiner smart leveraged trading”, “Smart saving account”, “Smart Lending Derivative market”.
Without support from central bank, it’s hard for blockchain goes to mainstream adoption as the importance of financial system in each country. CBDC is a central bank issued stablecoin, which is pegged with the value of fiat currency and use distributed ledger technology as ledgering system. It will help educate public for accepting blockchain based services and eliminate the natural fear and risk perception of new technology. More important, it will eliminate the friction of exchange between fiat currency and crypto assets. With more and more adoption, the total market cap of digital currency will steadily be going up so as the trading volume.
Innoverview: It seems that social media have rapid perception and frenzied chase towards Blockchain, such as Line’s Link and Facebook's Libra. They are recognized as global reaction to endless currency instability, what’s your opinion? (For Xiaochen & Jason)
Xiaochen: The combination of blockchain, social network and peer to peer payment is creating new opportunities for the global society. Large social networks have billions of users which can accelerate digital currency adoption. But as of now, currency is still a highly regulated area. It has important implication to the monetary policy and economic stability of the country. Thus, there is still a long way to go for social network based crypto currency to be adopted by countries. But these social network platforms will not wait, do do the innovators. Before the Libra mainnet is launched, many startups have already started building libra based innovations. Libracamp has launched a 10 weeks acceleration program. Currently, we have recevied more than 50 applications. By the end of October 2019, we will select 5 startups to receive grant and more receive development and mentorship support in a 10 weeks program. After the first acceleration program, we plan to launch a Libracamp in China. Hopefully, we will be able to work with people in this group on our next Libracamp.
Jason: Social media giants’ involvement will speed up user adoption of assets digitization, no matter they success or not. However, they are facing a lot political pressures as they are a centralized legal body and provide services to consumers directly. This helps to push regulators to establish a legal status and well-regulated industry for blockchain related services. I don’t think they will bring instabilities for currency. Fiat currency pegged stablecoin is not a new currency but a new digital formation of a currency. Or some giant may offer token to represent the value of services that they provided. This is also not a type of new currency at all but a new digital formation of services that they provide.
Innoverview: What opportunities and challenges for the traditional enterprises to catch up the Blockchain revolution wave? (For Xiaochen & Jason)
Xiaochen: Tradition enterprises or mainstream business have a lot of resources to be deployed for innovation. But they have to be convinced before they put forward a plan and start investing in it. Interestingly, 2019 marked the year that mainstream businesses are all in blockchain. JP Morgan Coin, Libra Association, CBDC, HyperLedger, Business Ethereum Alliance, R3 …It is clear that financial sector takes the most active role in blockchain adoption. In addition, many large retail and e-comerce companies have started pilots on blockchain based supply chain management projects. UN and multinationals are piloting blockchain based tracing and tracking solutions. Smart contract is being adopted by defence industry and many other industry. Of course, blockhcain is still at its early stage. There are many constraint which hinder the progress. Many large organizations are hesitate to adopt blockchain based solutions due to speed, privacy, interoperability, stability, and many other issues associated with the "early stage" of the technology. As time goes by and with many innovators and policy makers to jump into the industry, we will see more mainstream adoption in the future. To this end, we just launched a new show, FinTech4Good Blockchain100 to feature the top 100 leaders and blockchain solutions. You will hear some of the most exciting stories from them.
Jason: As I mentioned before, the demand of human doesn’t change, what changes is a new enabled way to better meet the demand in a more cost-effective way. For traditional enterprises, they already have an established customer base and well communication channel to customers. This is what startups are jealous most about.However, what traditional enterprises don’t have is the talent who understand the pros and cons of the technology and understand how to use the technology to provide a better service. Blockchain is a revolutionary change and it may contract business process for a lot traditional business. How can business react to these disrupted business process change and find the right talent to upgrade and automate their business service process is the key to be successful. Challenges and opportunities always go hand by hand, it’s a matter of how enterprises react to the emerging technology like blockchain.