BeInCrypto recently caught up with Xinshu Dong, CEO & Co-Founder of Zilliqa, to discuss the project’s vision and his views on the blockchain and cryptocurrency market. Here’s what he had to say.
Hello Xinshu, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Thank you for having me.
For years, I’ve been interested in the blockchain industry from a distance. In as early as around 2009-2010, I began doing a little bit of Bitcoin mining.
After completing my PhD from the National University of Singapore, I got to know that my Ph.D. collaborator, Prateek Saxena, and labmate, Loi Luu (of Kyber Network), started to do more research on the blockchain. That’s when I really started to look at the technology’s potential to a greater degree.
I officially entered the world of blockchain in 2016 when I was working on a private blockchain deployment for the Singapore Stock Exchange. As part of that project, I started to look at building solutions and trying to understand how we could tackle this issue of scalability in the industry.
I co-founded Zilliqa in 2017 with the rest of the team. After some projects for private deployment, we decided we were ready to launch it at a much larger scale as a public blockchain platform.
Tell us about Zilliqa, what’s the vision here?
Zilliqa is a public blockchain platform designed to deliver performance, scalability, and security in order to enable viable real-world use cases and become a go-to blockchain platform for future enterprises and applications.
By collaborating with enterprises and developers, we hope to enable them to leverage the potential of decentralized technology for valuable and impactful solutions that make applications better, faster, and more secure.
Additionally, by engaging with all ecosystem participation — from developers and research institutions to enterprises and academia — we hope to drive greater mainstream adoption and propel the value of the entire blockchain industry forward.
How has Zilliqa held up after the 2018 bear market?
Irrespective of the bear period, we’ve been committed to building our platform and driving adoption to ensure its utility.
Following our fundraising, we took it upon ourselves to apply prudent financial measures to ensure that we have sufficient funding to develop our platform and enough resources to drive adoption over the next few years. Although overall market conditions have changed since then, these conditions have not affected our runway.
In 2018, we grew to a team of 20 and expanded to Europe with the opening of a new office in London while actively participating in industry events and hosting developer workshops worldwide.
We also announced our Zilliqa Ecosystem Grant Programme in June 2018 which has a grant pool of $5 million USD that will be given to great projects, teams, and individuals to start building tools and applications for the Zilliqa platform. By November 2018, we announced the second wave of grant awardees and we’re excited to see what else the community can contribute to our ecosystem.
How do you imagine Zilliqa will evolve over the coming years?
With the recent launch of our mainnet, 2019 will be the year of realization for Zilliqa — the realization of our dreams and everything we’ve been working towards for the past 18 months. With our commitment to developing real-world solutions and enabling viable use cases, we hope that our platform becomes the foundation of choice for blockchain-based solutions in a variety of industries.
In order to allow for this, we’ve been engaging key partners to design and develop B2B enterprise solutions prior to the launch of our mainnet — this demonstrates our capabilities to meet the needs of businesses that require high-throughput solutions. To date, our strategic approach to partnerships have culminated in three major use cases: Mindshare-backed Project Proton, a blockchain-based digital advertising supply chain trial; Hg Exchange, which will be the first member-driven exchange in Southeast Asia for privately-held shares and Security Token Offerings; and upcoming blockchain games developed by EMONT Alliance, Krypton and MixMarvel. With our work in these three key industries, we hope that we’re able to demonstrate that there is indeed a place and a need for blockchain-based solutions in existing industries today.
Beyond that, we’re also committed to developing our technology and our team is constantly looking at how we can improve our platform. Whether it’s some of the exploratory work we’re doing on layer two that involves leveraging zkSnarks, developing tools and further enhancements on our smart contract language, Scilla, our journey is far from over.
As we continue to innovate, we hope to see the Zilliqa ecosystem flourish as our community grows and more decentralized applications (dApps) are built on our platform.
Besides sharding, do you believe there are any alternate solutions to blockchain scaling?
Though there are many solutions to blockchain scaling, we’ve found that sharding is a viable layer-one solution that allows us to preserve decentralization, security, and scalability. Security is a key priority for Zilliqa and by opting for a layer-one scaling solution, we’re able to ensure that our network scales securely as the blockchain operates with the full security guarantee provided by itself. Moreover, by preserving decentralisation, we can ensure that our blockchain is secured through the consensus of public opt-in nodes and offers third-party censorship resistance of transactions.
As the first public blockchain platform to successfully implement sharding on our network, in transactions, and in smart contracts, we’ve been able to demonstrate the viability of this scaling solution. As such, though we believe that sharding is currently the best layer-one scaling solution at this time, we’re open to exploring new solutions as we continue to develop our platform.
Which blockchain trends do you think will emerge or grow in popularity over the next several years?
One of the most prominent applications for blockchain has always been in the financial services sector.
In the past year, we’ve continued to see more and more institutional players enter the space ranging from NASDAQ, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and, most recently, J.P. Morgan in their announcement of the JPM coin.
Whether it’s an exchange-traded fund (ETF), a security token exchange, or more stablecoins, all of these developments centered around financial services and only further drives participation among governments and regulators. As this continues, we can hope to see a more sophisticated regulatory landscape emerge which would only serve to encourage greater mainstream adoption while benefiting the greater blockchain industry as a whole.
What advice would you give to somebody just beginning their entry into cryptocurrency and blockchain industry?
Focus on learning. The blockchain is still in its early days and the industry itself is always changing. Whether it’s technological advancements, regulatory changes, or a new project, it’s crucial to monitor industry developments.
In a relatively small industry, collaboration is key — positive updates from other projects reflect on the industry as a whole. Their successes are your successes and have the power to influence a greater industry narrative that can positively impact the work that you’re doing, too.
Though many people are initially exposed to the blockchain due to the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies, there’s so much more to blockchain beyond market fluctuations and speculation in the same way that there’s so much more to a project than the value of its token.
If you’re looking to work with a project, it’s important that you really learn about their team, their product, and their vision. With blockchain being highly complex and emergent, it’s important that you really believe in a product, that you share the team’s vision, and that you have the passion to build and build. With all that learning comes with a genuine passion for blockchain and a true belief in its potential — that’s ultimately what the industry needs from newcomers looking to enter the space.
Do you have any final words for our readers?
This is a very exciting time to be part of the blockchain industry. With more mainstream industry players, governments, and educational institutions showing an interest in the technology’s potential, we can hope to bear witness to a future where blockchain will play a greater part in our everyday lives.
At Zilliqa, we’re excited to contribute to such a future and look forward to seeing the industry flourish in the years to come.
What do you think about Zilliqa? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!