The birth of the new internet started in 2000 when a man by the name of Rong Chen had just returned to China after working for Microsoft. His mission was to start his own Network Operating System, which he named Elastos in 2002. Rong was a contributor to the underlying modules of the original Windows operating system at the Microsoft headquarters. Before his time at Microsoft, Rong had studied operating systems at the University of Illinois for seven years.
But before we move too far forward, let’s put things in perspective about the year 2000. The Blackberry Pearl and Motorola Razr flip phone were the top cell phones on the market. The smartphone era hadn’t even begun. Rong’s vision to create his own secure and safe operating system was far beyond the times. He started his own company called Kortide Corp to build this operating system from scratch. For the next six years, Chen and his team would successfully incorporate a boot loader, browser, network, kernel and graphics for Elastos.
By 2007, Rong Chen had officially completed a new smartphone and had begun mass production. It just so happened that Apple came out with their own brand new phone the same year called the “iPhone”. Apple dominated this market from that point, with Android catching up in market share as well, and over the next dozen years, their reign has been unquestionably the largest. Rong’s smart phone unfortunately did not catch on, but his mission continued.
In an interview, Rong had this to say about Apple and Google, “Both Apple and Google are rich companies that we couldn’t match from a hardware and ecology standpoint. Building an operating system exceeds the capacity of a person, a company, or even a local government…. We were not prepared psychologically and financially. We also lacked hardware capabilities at that point.” Between the years of 2002-2008 Rong also developed a 3G Drive in China. This wasn’t a success, and Kortide suffered an immense blow.
Despite this, Rong and much of the Kortide team persevered and continued working on the Elastos infrastructure. New catalysts came to play from 2008 to 2016. In 2009 Rong partnered with China Unicom to use Elastos’ middleware and fertile phone operating system framework. Elastos partnered with the giant hardware manufacturer, Foxconn, in 2012. They invested $32 million with the objective to build a distributed cross-internet industrial IoT infrastructure and smart home network operating system. By 2015 Elastos created the smart router with ioeX founder Aryan Hung. When Foxconn had to pull out of its agreement due to the political climate in China and Taiwan, along with the risks involved with marketing the project and forming partnerships, Rong stated his determination, “If I’m not dying, I still have a chance”.
In 2016, Rong sought out more opportunities. He eventually discovered the emerging technology of blockchain and realized its potential when paired with the Elastos project. Rong got the chance to speak with several blockchain figureheads in an event on May 30th, 2016, including NEO, QTUM, and other projects. In January of 2017, Rong Chen connected with fellow Tsinghua University alumni, Feng Han. By May 5th, 2017, Feng Han came to Rong with the idea of doing an ICO for Elastos. Rong credits Feng Han’s connections and relationships for saving the Elastos project. By August 22nd, 2017, Elastos Foundation was officially launched.
Rong’s vision to build an operating system from scratch in the 2000s has evolved into a blockchain technological marvel. From the Motorola Razr flip phone to the Apple iPhone 6S+ with GPS, 4k video, and millions of apps at your disposal. While the features and other technology has taken strides in the last 20 years, the underlying vulnerabilities of the internet have still not been addressed. These millions of apps are all built on a flawed infrastructure, and while the road has been tough for Elastos, the principles of security and individual rights to data remain. The monetization of a true digital economy has not been completed.
Elastos and Cyber Republic is the solution to problems the digital world faces. As digital blackmail and data theft “jobs” become more and more profitable year after year, competing to be one of the most profitable “careers” in the world, Rong’s warnings are becoming more and more potent as the digital economy is being fully centralized by multi-billion dollar corporations.
Rong has the code and the community to build the original vision of the internet: a decentralized Smart Web of wealth, security, and freedom. Rong has been through all the ups and downs in the technology space, but there’s never been a better time for Elastos and the new internet to shine than now.