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Chang Jia: From A Sci-Fi Writer to Blockchain Evangelist – Founder of 8btc News and Bytom

By the age of 26, he had been writing for 10 years, won numerous awards in science fiction. “Give my youth to career, and the rest to farming and writing in a reclusive land,” planned as he wished. While the advent of bitcoin gave him a great boost, fascinated by it, he launched 8btc, China’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain community as well as a blockchain news site, and later Bytom.

changjia

Stand steadfast on faith: from a sci-Fi writer to bitcoin evangelist

Born in 1984, he led two lives after graduation, an engineer of Land and Resources Planning Institute in Guangxi, and a science fiction writer excellent as Liu Cixin whose most famous work-The Three-Body Problem even fascinates Obama. He is a three-time winner of the Galaxy Award (China’s most prestigious literary sci-fi award) from 2006 to 2008. After winning the Oscar of sci-fi, he remained inactive, leaving his fans wondering what he was doing. Few knew he was doing something of science fiction back then. It is bitcoin.

And there comes his famous reply to a junior who had 6000 yuan in hand and asked for investment advice on Zhihu (a Chinese question-and-answer website similar to Quora) six years ago in 2011.

Chang Jia, with the name of blockchain on the platform, answered,

Buy bitcoin, keep your wallet well, and forget it. Come for it 5 years later.” It tops all the other answers with 19,000 likes and 4,400 comments.

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At that time, a bitcoin was priced only $3, suppose the junior was all in bitcoin with his 6,000 yuan, it is now valued nearly 20 million yuan calculated by the recent bitcoin price.

“If bitcoin is understood from the perspective of investment, you are just a passer-by who may get rich from it in the life of bitcoin, even if you get to know it as early as 2009; while if you get to know it in a philosophical and technical level, and throw yourself into it, you will be much richer, both in wealth and in spirit.”

This offers an explanation for his 6-year-ago reply above which was later deemed as a strong prediction and proof of bitcoin.

In 2011, Chang Jia bought in bitcoin with his savings of 100,000 yuan at the price of $35 a bitcoin. But it plunged all the way to $2 in the following six months. What’s worse, media went wild on the later “Mt. Gox incident” and all voices were bearish on bitcoin, bitcoin seemed to be doomed. In such a circumstance, Chang Jia stuck to HODLing it. He firmly believed that he was well acquainted with bitcoin.

“I like this stuff. People who don’t fully understand it see it as an open source software. In fact, its nature is a protocol and meant to be a consensus.”

It is precisely his exact understanding that helps him go through ups and downs in the entrepreneurial path all the way.

Bitcoin went through two rounds of soaring and plunging between 2013 and 2017 when his several partners left. 8btc News could hardly cash in for a long time as a news site, and some early bitcoin adopters who had quit advised him to make a career change doing loan businesses in Internet Finance, these businesses could make him quick money easily. Being a little bit stubborn, Chang Jia insisted working on these long-term projects as “data mining” and “credit rating”.

2Chang Jia’s weibo avatar, an image of a fighter riding a white horse

8btc founder Chang Jia won the Galaxy Award, China’s top literary sci-fi award, for three consecutive years (2006-2008). Since becoming a bitcoin early adopter in 2011, he has been known as a bitcoin evangelist and an idealist.

  • In 2011, he, with Wu Jihan (founder of Bitmain) and Duan Hongbin, launched 8btc forum, China’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain community as well as a Chinese news website.
  • In 2013, he edited and co-wrote Bitcoin: A Real Yet Virtual Financial World (2014), first bitcoin book in China.
  • In 2016, his Blockchain: From Digital Currency to Credit Society came out.
  • In 2017, he and his team launched 8btc’s first blockchain product Bytom with the aim of connecting the world of atoms with the byteworld.

Credit society: portrait of the future

In the aftermath of bitcoin crash in 2013, many switch their attention from its price to its underlying technology – blockchain.

The birth of blockchain brings the Internet of information into the Internet of value. Regarding blockchain’s disruptive impact on the future society, Chang Jia once made a vivid analogy:

“If an invention is likened to blockchain, it should be the printing press. For both have a great effect on the course of history and affect people’s understanding of resources and transactions.”

It is hard to imagine it is illegal for ordinary people, who live under the medieval ideological persecution, to read and interpret Bible directly before the invention of printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. The right to print and publish is strictly controlled by churches and governments, scientific discoveries are treated as heresies.

Until the popularity of typography which triggered the revolution in knowledge and communication, the court or church was no longer the center of the publishing industry. The content was chosen on the basis of demand and profit and no longer determined by religion or politics. Since then, intellectual and cultural creativity has become a collaborative undertaking, with printers, businessmen, teachers, scribes, translators, artists and writers all devoting their skills and resources to create a final product. This revolution can be said to have affected the whole society from top to bottom for a few centuries.

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Based on the great role of the printing press in the past, we can have a better understand of his analogy. Just as the printing press has greatly weakened the blockade from churches and the court, blockchain offers the possibility to replace third parties and manage credit, even more efficient and secure. We are free to manage wealth, prove our identity, protect our intellectual property, assess our credit

“Why not throw ourselves into it and find another solution?” Chang Jia asked.

If every action in our life is seen as a transaction, how do we build trust? To get your diplomas, you must pass numerous tests and exams at school; To get a good position, you have to be tested and interviewed to get a final offer; To buy a house, you have to show proof of financial ability, bank deposit and go through relentless trifles… All these show the necessary of various third parties.

The Economist call blockchain a machine for creating trust. A machine is the visualization of a smart contract. Every smart contract is like a cellular automaton, to construct various transaction behaviors by simple rules, which greatly improves the efficiency of the circulation of social resources. Blockchain transformed our trust in authoritative third parties in the past into trust in algorithms and math.”

In the distributed network of blockchain, all participants believe in the authenticity of this ledger, and any actions on it can be recorded. It is no longer necessary for a stamp or paper from a third-party to prove who you are.

“Blockchain can keep record the credit of the traders, and this record is featured by its specificity and cross-platform feature. It is a distributed system, once it is started, it can’t be stopped.” Chang Jia added.

Imagine such future scenarios – traders who do international business are able to receive international remittance after it is confirmed by 6 persons on the bitcoin network, say goodbye to long waiting of the bank; Startup entrepreneurs can build a direct relationship with the shareholders on blockchain, dividends directly transferred into the shareholders’ bitcoin address every month anytime anywhere; Partners write the contract on the blockchain, when disputes occur, the court would verify the contract’s validity according to the coding information and time stamp which cannot never be moderated; Papers need proof of copyright like wills, music piece, screenplay and academic papers can all put onchain…

Creating Bytom

The entire digital currency market has again suffered wild fluctuations diving from 140,000 to 60,000 yuan during the end of 2017 to Feb of 2018. Apart from the bitcoin price, Chang Jia was thinking about a new question: blockchain has developed to the stage that a killer application is urgently wanted, a killer application which can draw explosively increasing users, a disruptive business mode, what is it?

Back in 2016, some users had their voice heard in 8btc forum urging to see the cross-chain circulation of asset. And it is at that time that Chang Jia set about creating Bytom, a decentralized network for multi-assets registration and flow with the aim of bridging the byte world and atomic world.

“In the PoW mechanism, trust is not an issue of human nature, but a mathematical problem. By calculating, you can clearly know how much computing (cost) is required and the probability to reverse the transaction on a block. And this process doesn’t have to be measured in terms of honesty.”

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Bytom is an interactive protocol of multiple byte assets. Heterogeneous byte-assets (indigenous digital currency, digital assets) that operate in different forms on the Bytom Blockchain and atomic assets (warrants, securities, dividends, bonds, intelligence information, forecasting information and other information that exist in the physical world) can be registered, exchanged, gambled and engaged in other more complicated and contract-based interoperations via Bytom, committed to building a global asset internet.

Calculated by AI algorithm of VC SaaA, Bytom currently ranks No. 6 in PRI of blockchain, and No. 1 in public chains.

  • On Jan.25, 2018, the team of Bytom had its meetup in San Francisco to create a broader consensus
  • On Dec.26, 2017, Bytom teamed up with ObEN (Personal AI leader in U.S.) to co-build blockchain lab
  • On Dec.21, 2017, Bytom signed strategic cooperation agreement on smart contract developing with 10 projects of Dream Chaser Capital
  • In 2016, Bytom was started, acquiring tens of millions of investment in series Pre-A funding…

When it comes to the future development of 8btc and Bytom, Chang Jia answered,

“In 2018, 8btc will continue to stand steadfast and increase its influence in this industry, so that blockchain can walk out of the circle of technical geeks, and be a commonplace for everyman;

Bytom will complete the development of its main chain, finding an entrance to realize different scenarios of asset distribution, registration and circulation in compliance with regulations.”

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Team of 8btc and Bytom

A good project and great entrepreneur will eventually get courage and reward from the chaos.

A brilliant sci-fi writer may be dropping, but a diligent blockchain evangelist is rising…

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