15 Super-nodes of Huobi And The Mapping of China’s Crypto and Blockchain Capitals
A report by Mandy Wang on 36kr reveals the sophisticated and dazzling connection between whales and opinion leaders in China’s cryptocurrency and blockchain community. Below are some excerpts.
Clock must be reversed to 5 years ago in 2013. Li Xiaolai, who claimed to possess up to “6 digit” number of bitcoin on CCTV, captured great attention from the communities as the “richest” bitcoiners. Reputation built up through time and it’s not surprising for the legendary figure to gather 25 million a year through paid online courses, which train people how to achieve financial freedom. In an interview 2018, Li admitted that he used to own “6-digit” number of bitcoins. Some source claimed that Li actually cashed out on the peak price that he deemed so, which resulted in the suspension of withdrawal of the bitcoin-denominated fund that he founded.
In 2013, Garage Café was the Mecca for Chinese bitcoiners. Presence of the future whales were often spotted in the café: Li Xiaolai, Chandler Guo, Lao Mao, Zhao Dong, Zhao Guofeng, Yi Lihua, Wu Gang, Gong Ming etc. They were considered the backbone of the bitcoin community. Some of them favored the mining business but hurt badly by the “Friedcat” incident. Some considered mining a low-end business and saw different approaches to establishing exchanges.
The first approach is led by Li Lin, Du Jun, Hu Donghai, and Yuan Dawei. They founded Huobi and approached Li Xiaolai but the project was not favored. They also met a bunch of the mainstream classical VCs. An investor who met Li Lin recalled:
“We think it is ridiculous. He said at the time that half of the money raised would be used to buy bitcoin and hold.”
Luckily, some people got the idea. In November 2013, Huobi closed angel funding from Dai Zhikang (founder of Discuz) and ZhenFund and finished Pre-A round funding from SEQUOIA China in March 2014.
The second approach is led by Star Xu, ex-founder of Docin, a C2C file-sharing website. With the assistance from Mai Gang, he closed seed found funding from Jiang Tao (founder of CSDN), Cai Wensheng (Chairman of Meitu and Beautychain), Wang Lijie (founder of Pre-Angel), and Lin Jun(founder of Leiphone). A few months later, OKCoin completed A-round funding with up to 10 million USD from VC like Ceyuan Venture Capital, Mandra Capital, and Sinovation Ventures.
Back in 2014, Vitalik Buterin visited Du Jun in his office in Beijing, seeking support for ethereum. Du’s judgement was that ethereum was viable and he said no. Then Vitalik visited Bo Shen in Shanghai and got funding.
Huobi have the most complete layout in the crypto ecology. They have Huobi Labs, an incubator for early blockchain projects.
The most controversial product of Huobi recently is ERC20-based HT Token. Listing on Hadax relies on voting through HT. One vote cost 0.1 HT. It was said that the listing price used to be 2 million USD. But with the HT-based voting mechanism, EGCC, the winner of first round of voting, spent 47 million CNY just to get listed on Huobi. Such horrifying cost deters other projects in the pipeline and followed by media criticisms. Soon Huobi announced change of rules, “super-node” voting is implemented in the second round.
The rules of “super-node” voting are:
1. Each super node must have 1 million HTs in their accounts.
2. Projects nominated by the super-node will enter the HADAX project pool;
3. Super-node will be able to vote and comment on the candidate projects, voting will not be required to pay HT;
4. Projects that receive 100% support from super nodes will enter the review process of huobi pro directly.
So far there are 15 super nodes, including Bitmain, ZhenFund, LinkVC, China Creation Ventures, Danhua Capital, and Draperdragon.
This is obviously an act of resource transfer and benefit binding. By the way, Inblockchain of Li Xiaolai’s is not one of the super-node.
Some Super-nodes of Huobi Pro
Some blockchain VCs that are not super-nodes of Huobi Pro
The only missing link of Huobi is probably the mining sector.
CZ, previously known as CTO of OKCoin, delivered reliable user experience and technology while He Yi, celebrity of the community, is also good at guiding traffic. They are considered the most powerful force that drives the growth of Binance. The story between CZ and Star Xu could be shot a movie.
Another whale is Cheng Weixing, founder of Didi, just emerged to the surface. He has already finished placing chess pieces on the map.
As angel investor of Binance, he is also an investor of Huobi and recently acquired more shares. In terms of blockchain projects, he invested in NEO and QTUM. Recently, the Funcity Capital led by him closed 100 million CNY A-round funding of 8btc.