Can you tell us about your background and how you got involved in Elastos? How did you get to where you are now as Chief Architect? Compared to jobs you’ve taken before, how is the vision and work different or special for you?
I’ve worked in the software and Internet industry for more than 20 years. I joined the company Koretide, established by Rong Chen, in 2002, and I am deeply impressed by the software concept advocated by Rong. In 2003, I was responsible for the development of Electos OS 2.0 for smartphones. By 2007, although the technical development of software was successful, it was not introduced to the market for various reasons. I became acutely aware of the importance of the community and ecosystem for an operating system, since. I left Koretide in 2010 to join Xiaomi, a tech company that had just started business.
In April 2017, Rong called and invited me to participate in the Elastos project. After deliberation and technical preparation, I participated in the prepatory meeting of the Elastos project on July 15, 2017. Elastos officially launched August 1, 2017. Since, I’ve been the chief architect of Elastos, and later one of three Board of Directors for the Elastos Foundation. When the CR Interim Council was officially formed in August 2018, I resigned as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and became a member of the CR Interim Council.
Blockchain is still an emerging industry with a lot of development opportunities. Such opportunities will ultimately only be rewarded to projects that are good at innovation and strive to achieve their goals. Decentralization makes blockchain projects very different from traditional Internet projects in terms of organizational formation and technology development. This makes my work on the Elastos team wonderful and passionate. I have a brand new experience everyday.
Can explain to us your day-to-day operations as the Chief Architect? What teams do you oversee?
Elastos has been exploring an operation model that is suitable for blockchain projects from the beginning. The team did not appoint a CEO. In the first half of the year, after the project started, my work was not limited to technology but also included the day-to-day management and operations of the entire founding team. During this period, the first round and the second round of the token sale was completed. The main chain was officially launched on December 22, 2017, and Elastos was launched in Huobi on February 1, 2018.
After that, more and more outstanding talent joined the Elastos team: Ben Lee is good at administration, human resource management and inter-departmental organization, and coordination. Jingyu Niu has a very deep understanding of product technology and is good at using various tools to organise and manage technical development work. Rebecca Zhu has a wealth of experience in multinational project collaborations. Fay Li and Kevin joined the team to help Elastos build oversea communities and teams. In addition, we established a professional digital asset management team. These talented people did better than me in their respective areas of expertise.
I gradually freed myself from the tedium of daily affairs, so as to concentrate more on thinking and planning about the future strategy of Elastos. For my daily work, I am now more like a libero on the football field. I promote the Elastos foundation and development of the community with the core team, discuss with engineers about the shortcomings of existing technology and the possibilities for future development, and communicate with community contributors to get the most direct feedback and suggestions on their needs.
What are your thoughts on Ethereum and Neo sidechains launching recently? What is the next step for them?
The release of Ethereum and NEO sidechains has two implications for Elastos: first, it means that the Elastos main architecture technology is more mature; second, it proves that Elastos is compatible with other public chains and their ecosystems.
At present, the two side chains are still in the beta stage, so there is only limited access. The Elastos sidechain development team will continue to collect feedback from the community to further improve their functionality. In addition, we hope that some Ethereum and NEO ecosystem projects can be smoothly migrated to these two sidechains. For this reason, the CR Interim Council has approved and funded the proposal of the community team ETH Task Force. I look forward to more app developers as Ethereum and NEO develop applications for these two sidechains through CR proposals in the future.
Kevin Zhang has left the CR Council and now Nicola Zimmermann has replaced him, do you have any thoughts to share about this with the community?
Kevin joined the Elastos team in March 2018 and was responsible for the development of the developer community. His work has achieved some results, but he is not very good at communicating with the community. During his work of the CR Interim Council, some incidents were magnified because of his shortcomings. In addition, the original term of office for the Interim Council is one year. After one year, we hope that more representative people from the community will join the Council. Among the current three members, Feng Zhang is the representative of the Chinese community, Gandhi represents of the English community, and I am the representative of the founding team and also the Elastos Foundation. I think this composition is more reasonable.
What personal goals do you have for yourself in Elastos and in Cyber Republic? Do you plan on continuing being a Council member in the future?
My personal goals should be combined with the goals of the project and the team. I hope that according to the project development strategy, we can expedite the development of the Elastos community and ecosystem, promote the restructuring plan of the Elastos Foundation, and promote the Elastos technology standardization work so that more talents can easily participate in contributing to the Elastos project.
As for the second question, it is supposed you’re asking if I will run for the CR Council after the CRC is officially launched. I have not yet fully decided and it depends on how my time can be allocated between the team and the community in the future. I am inclined to stand for election at present.
How do you meet and organize Cyber Republic as a Council? How many times do you meet a week and who attends? During the meetings, do you discuss Suggestions and Proposals together and decide what the next steps will be for that particular Suggestion/Proposal?
The CR Interim Council meeting is a communication mechanism in which members understand the ideas of other members to improve their thinking process. Decisions are not made at the meeting, and the decision making of the members is done by voting on the Proposal.
At present, the Interim CR Council holds an online Zoom voice meeting every week. If members feel that it is necessary to have a special meeting, they can ask the Secretariat to arrange the time. Participants included three members and the Secretary General of the CR Council, and if necessary, invited the relevant teams involved in the Proposals to participate.
The content of the meeting is usually related to specific Suggestions or Proposals, and we present our opinions on the Suggestions or Proposals at the meeting. In most cases, we usually agree, but occasionally there will be disagreements that cannot be resolved. In this case, we will not insist on reaching an agreement. Instead, we will vote on the Proposal according to our own judgement of the members.
You are the sole author of the whitepaper. Who structured the Consensus Mechanism for Cyber Republic Whitepaper? How were decisions on how things should be governed made? Where did you get inspiration? What are some difficult choices you had to make while writing the whitepaper?
In May 2018, I was studying and researching some mechanisms for DEXs (Decentralized Exchange) and identified several key issues that must be addressed. Among others, the most important issues were software upgrades and community governance. For this reason, I have researched a large amount of information through the Internet but have not found a perfect solution. However, some DAO projects have inspired me. I wondered why we did not establish a common consensus mechanism specifically for community governance. Later, I spent some time to complete the initial concept of the mechanism, and I got the support of the two co-founders and the team. Rong gave the community under the consensus governance a very nice name: Cyber Republic.
Later, as everyone knows, in August 2018 the Elastos Foundation established the CR Interim Council. As the initiator of this idea, I quit my position in Elastos Foundation to become a member of the Interim Council. On the one hand, I can devote more to this matter that I consider significant; on the other hand, I want the team to pay more attention to the idea. However, things happened in the following months that deviated from my original assumption: the understanding about CR is different among the members of the Interim Council, and CR is moving towards a centralized organization, but my intention was not to build another bigger “Elastos Foundation” which was meaningless to the project. In December 2018, I gave a presentation on the CRC to the American team in San Jose. In January 2019, I completed the draft of the CRC whitepaper, but I was not in a hurry to release it. In the following six months, I have made several revisions to the draft to combine the experience during the Interim Council and the feasibility of technical implementation.
In the process of writing and modifying the whitepaper, many people in the team and the community have contributed, and because there were too many people, I am not able to mention all their names. When the Chinese document was translated into English, Rachel, Rebecca, Cassie, and Alex invested a lot of time and energy.
When designing the CRC, the design of voting rules is the most difficult and controversial, and this involves the question of the right to speak regarding how much capital one holds. When discussing internally in the team, almost everyone who saw the rules for the first time would ask me why the impeachment council and the opposition proposal used an absolute amount of the percentage of ELA in circulation rather than a more natural ratio between support and opposition. Such a choice is also difficult for me, but since I don’t want to turn the CRC into a purely capital game, I finally decided the rules to limit the absolute dominance of large capital.
You oversee a lot in Elastos and Cyber Republic. How do you manage time for yourself and what do you like to on your free time? Do you have any particular hobbies or interests?
In the early days of the Elastos project, due to the lack of talent, I invested a lot of time in the project, even on weekends. Sometimes I worked overnight with the engineers in as the project needed.
Later, more and more talent joined the team. Through a reasonable division of labor and authorization, my workload has been greatly reduced. I now hope to use my time more effectively and do what I am good at. So I will reflect on myself from time to time: what is the most important thing I should do, and what should I not put too much energy into it. I will prioritize and find the right way to achieve the goals.
In my spare time, I like to play Go and hike in the wild, and occasionally play poker. However, because Go is more time-consuming, I’ve rarely played after entering the Elastos team. Hiking in the wild is a very good sport. When the weather is fine, I will go hiking in the suburbs with the team who share the same hobby.
In your own opinion, what do you think a weakness Cyber Republic currently has and why? How can it be solved or worked on?
CR is still in the preparatory stage, and it is our goal to promote the development of Elastos communities and ecosystem through CRC. The CRC Consensus itself has many areas that need to be improved. The more difficult part is the implementation and tracking of the Proposal. We hope to improve the transparency of the Proposal process through blockchain technology so that the entire community can participate in its supervision.
The construction of the CR website is also relatively slow. As a traffic center of CR, the website needs to implement many interactive functions, and the user experience is very important. We have come up with a lot of requirements for the CR website, but due to the limitations of personnel, the progress of website development has been lagging behind. There are two solutions: one is to increase the budget, the other is to involve more professional teams, and the solution has not yet been finalized.
What would you say is Cyber Republic’s greatest strength?
We know that the biggest problem of social governance in reality is the problem of information transmission, which is also the source of various inequities. The biggest advantage of CR is that the CRC consensus is based on blockchain technology. This is a self-evolving mechanism that makes the process of community governance open, transparent, and it motivates more individuals and teams to participate and contribute in the community and ecosystem.
Is there anything you would like to say or share information you want to tell the community? News, updates, and plans that you are able to share?
In the process of technological development of the past two years, in order to let community members experience the technical characteristics of Elastos, we pay attention to project implementation. In the future development plan, we will pay equal attention to three aspects: namely engineering development, product planning, and technical standards.
The Elastos Foundation has already begun to organize restructuring with such a plan, and CRC will be the most important mechanism for promoting Elastos technology standardization. We will introduce the ELIP mechanism as the first step in technology standardization in CR.