Crypto Trader Hears from Leading ICO VCs, Blockchain Co-Founders of NEO, Ontology, CertiK, QuarkChain
Venture capitalist and presenter, Ran Neu-Ner, has interviewed a slew of mostly Asia-based influential figures of the blockchain and crypto-ecosystem for his latest episode of CNBC Africa’s Crypto Trader; one that saw the crew travel to San Francisco in order to attend last week’s Blockchain Connect Conference at the San Jose Convention Center.
Below is an ordered summary of each of the nine interviews that Neu-Ner conducted in the near-hour-long episode of Crypto Trader. The full-length video has been shared at the bottom of this article.
Andrew Lee (Founder & CEO, ICO Newsroom)
As first to be interviewed by Neu-Ner, Lee shared some of his investment philosophy that has guided his decision-making process en route to establishing “an incredible track record of investing in all the top deals so far,” which includes “multiple 100x deals: AION and ICON.”
Lee insisted on tracking the progress of distributed ledger protocols that are tackling the scalability-based issue currently plaguing blockchain technology, saying that:
Solidity (Ethereum’s programming language) is awful to use. But, the next project that has high throughput plus easy-to-write smart contracts will be the major winner.” – Lee
A perennial early-stage investor in initial coin offerings (ICOs), Lee divulged that he is currently serving as a marketing advisor to both Origo Network (ORIGO) and Metadium (META), and as a general advisor to the Sweden-based ChromaWay (the project he’d comfortably “convert all [his] bitcoins into”). Per his Twitter account (@alee), the ICO Newsroom founder is a general advisor to QuarkChain (QKC), as well.
Kevin Hsu (Founder, BlockVC Fund)
The crypto venture capitalist explained to Neu-Ner how BlockVC managed to turn $US10 million into $200 million “within a three-year period,” which begun by trading cryptocurrencies on-market before then learning about the lucrative ICO space.
“Three very good projects at about 100x returns,” Hsu revealed, were Qtum, VeChain, and Tron; the latter of which he admitted to not “really know[ing] the reason why it increases so much.”
Notably, the two projects Hsu considers his favourite for 2018 are NKN and FANTOM.
Lasse Clausen (Founder, 1kx)
Another experienced crypto investor, Clausen revealed to Neu-Ner that he had achieved numerous “unicorn” investments – which he defines as achieving a valuation of one-billion dollars – including Ethereum, VeChain, Zilliqa, ICON, AION, and 0x.
The 1kx founder – also an advisor to Loki, dock.io, Request Network, and FundRequest – revealed that “one to watch out for” is a decentralized encrypted database service called Fluence; a project Clausen said is “still very stealth and under wraps.”
Da Hongfei (Co-Founder & CEO, NEO)
The NEO co-founder, who recently spoke at length on Crypto Trader, provided comforting insight to those rattled amid these multi-month-long crypto price slumps; explaining how the industry’s level of development “hasn’t slowed down at all.”
Hongfei talked to Neu-Ner about NEO’s upcoming whitepaper update, which will introduce divisibility to the NEO token as “one of the biggest changes.”
Non-fungibility was also discussed, which Hongfei considers “a strategy for NEO” in so far as its applicability to the gaming space appears “a perfect match.” Also revealed, NEO is soon to merge their very own token standard re: non-fungibility into their main branch; just like what ERC-721 represents to the Ethereum network.
Jun Li (Founder, Ontology)
Li – who oversaw the recent mainnet launch of Ontology – explained the origin story of the infrastructural crypto technology which he previously co-founded alongside Hongfei.
He identified two important problems he believes to be currently plaguing public blockchains:  performance-related (i.e., scalability/throughput), and  customizability limiting enterprise-level adoption.
Li proceeded to explain how Ontology solves both the above problems, before explaining what Ontology actually identifies as (i.e., a multi-chain ecosystem) and what projects are being currently built atop it.
Teck Chia (Partner, Binance Labs)
Having only launched some three months ago, Chia explained how Binance Labs was taking a rather unbounded approach to their investment approach, saying they invest “off-the-balance sheet” and determine the appropriate amount of capital to invest on “a case-by-case basis.”
Similarly, Chia shared that Binance Labs is “very broad-minded” when it comes to their desired project categories. Exemplifying this is the variety of Binance Labs’ four investments made to date in MobileCoin, Oasis Labs, CertiK, and Republic Protocol; each of which Chia justified to Neu-Ner in his interview.
Ronghui Gu (Founder, CertiK)
The concept of CertiK – a formal verification platform for smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems – was explained by Gu. In so doing, the Colombia University assistant professor justified why CertiK requires a native token in order for its platform to properly function.
Gu reeled off the big-name investors CertiK has been able to attract, including Binance Labs, FBG Capital, and Danhua Capital.
Qi Zhou (Founder, QuarkChain)
The concept (and strategic direction) of QuarkChain and its sharding-based approach to solving the much-publicized issue of blockchain scalability was explained by Zhou to the Crypto Trader host.
We are expecting to launch our mainnet at the end of this year or early next year.” – Zhou
Zhou also spoke on the degree to which the crypto ecosystem will be able to facilitate for multiple blockchain protocols in the future; a topic fast becoming a talking point as hundreds of blockchains continue entering the space.
Neu-Ner also questioned Zhou on criticism directed at QuarkChain from the community in relation to their QKC token distribution regime.
Aries Wang (Co-Founder, Bibox Exchange)
Wang revealed that the already-top-ten (by daily volume) Bibox exchange was actually set up in Estonia last October, after the Chinese government enforced their policy outlawing the operation of all domestic digital asset exchanges.
The Bibox co-founder informed Neu-Ner of the fast-growing concept of transaction mining, introduced to the space earlier this year by FCoin – a Chinese exchange. Wang revealed that Bibox itself recently took to investing in a new transaction mining-based crypto exchange known as CoinPark (read more on their launch-related blog post).