Founder of 8btc Chang Jia Talks About the Bitcoin Ecosystem and the Bytom Project
Chang Jia, founder of 8btc, has been holding bitcoin since 2011. He started writing sci-fi at university and won Galaxy Award——China’s top literary sci-fi award——three times in a row, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He has been dabbed a bitcoin evangelist and an idealist. He founded 8btc forum in 2011, a Chinese news site in 2011, a crowdfunding platform in 2015 and an English news site in 2016 to fuel the growth of the Chinese bitcoin and blockchain community. And in 2017, he launched the Bytom project to promote transfer of assets between the atomic world and the byte world.
You are an early bitcoin adopter, do you think you truly understand and know bitcoin?
I am a big sci-fi genre fan. I dream of the cyberpunk world created in works by William Ford Gibson and Neal Stephenson. And I imagined a world where computing is power in my fictions. I became obsessed with bitcoin immediately when I first heard of it in 2011. I realized that it has everything I had ever dreamed of, such as distributed computing and encryption.
Currency is used for an exchange of medium because of trust. What can people really trust in bitcoin?
Mathematics. Bitcoin entails unbreakable cryptography and infinite computing power, which has prevented it from being overissued, replicated and forged. If the Internet has enabled information to be replicated infinitely, then bitcoin has created a new norm where information can never be replicated. Both of them are revolutionary. Just like how the invention of printing weakened the power of the church in the medieval age, cryptocurrency will break state banks’ monopoly on money. With the support of computer technology, bitcoin is what currency meant to be.
Some do acknowledge that bitcoin is great, but it is bound to fail. Do you think so?
If lottery is “levying tax” on those suck in math, then bitcoin is “levying tax” on those who are shortsighted. (Note: “levying tax” here is a Chinese expression meaning miss a chance to change your life)
Can you predict the future of bitcoin?
Bitcoin holds long-term promise. It is the future.
What is the biggest defect of bitcoin?
Human. In terms of operation, users might lose their bitcoin because of lame passwords, wrong backup and loss of a brain wallet. In terms of data processing, greedy miners choose to process transactions with high priority fees and ignore those with zero or low fees. And in terms of security, crazy mining pools might use their hashrate to perform a 51% attack. I truly believe the fate of bitcoin lies in the hands of human. The silver lining is that anyone can improve its code and expand its protocol.
As an excellent sci-fi writer, can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where bitcoin is widely adopted?
With bitcoin, international merchants don’t have to wait several days for a bank wire to clear. Entrepreneurs can build direct connection with shareholders. Dividends will be sent to bitcoin addresses of shareholders regardless of time and space. Business partners can record terms and protocols on blockchain and verify contracts. Wills, music works, plays, academic paper and everything that need proof of existence can be kept on blockchain. Bitcoin is like TCP/IP to currencies, on which fintech and business innovation will thrive.
2017 is definitely a year of milestones for bitcoin. Its market cap has surpassed $72 billion, overtaking PayPal’s $70 billion. And the total market cap of top 100 cryptocurrencies has reached over $100 billion. After this round of price rises, what will be the upcoming trend for cryptocurrency worldwide?
We are heading into an age of free money and free assets that Hayek predicted. Assets will flow freely across borders instead of being subject to the exchange of fiat money. It will be as convenient as shopping online for you to invest and exchange assets. Centralized platforms are no longer required for checking or reporting credit. If all these happened, can you imagine how large the market will be? It’s pointless to predict the trend, you’d better become the trend itself.
What do you think of the current ICOs market?
The ICOs market has a huge bubble now, which is like what the market was in 2013. There were a lot of new projects and most of them failed, some of team leaders even disappeared. When you decide to invest an ICO project, you must know the team inside out. We launched Bizhongchou, the first Chinese crowdfunding platform that lists ICO projects in 2015. But we only listed Quantum and Wanchain and another two projects on our platform this year. We examine and evaluate a project with the strictest standards, probably the strictest in the industry. I think it’s important not to be blinded by the bull market. We must be responsible for our users and investors.
8btc launched its first blockchain project Bytom this May. What is the story behind Bytom?
Bytom is a market-driven product. In 2015, we started the bizhouzhong platform because many entrepreneurs wished to receive financial support on 8btc forum. Therefore, we decided to establish a professional crowdfunding platform to help blockchain startups raise money. Assets on bizhouchou have a strong demand for high liquidity and the blockchain technology by its nature is applicable to register and transfer assets. DCS, an asset on bizhouchou, is registered on the Ethereum blockchain. The problem is that the Ethereum blockchain is not specifically designed for transfer of dividends of income and equity. For example, it takes long for our employees to confirm the dividends of income right through snapshots. Therefore, we decided to start our own blockchain platform. 8btc is the largest and earliest bitcoin community in China. We can directly reach out to blockchain developers, entrepreneurs, users and investors.
What is the difference between the Bytom project and other ICOs? And what are its application scenarios?
The biggest difference would be the Bytom project and its market orientation did not appear out of thin air. Members of the team are largely early adopters of bitcoin and blockchain. Instead of innovation for the sake of innovation, Bytom is designed to solve real commercial needs. We set up a Bytom foundation in reference to other public chain projects. The foundation has a three-layer governance structure involving a BTM holder conference, a self-governance committee and a committee of management. Professional layers helped us set up assets transaction structure and legal risk control practices.
The application scenario of Bytom will be focused on registering and transferring of assets. Other public chains are like Schweizer Messer that can be used in many business applications, Bytom is a nail hammer that is used for one specific nail——assets, income, equity and securitized assets. Bytom can provide transparent standards and auditing. Data recorded on the Bytom blockchain cannot be changed or deleted. Traditional payment means and auditing firms will not be able to reach such a high level of trust and security. Traditionally, the issuing of securitized assets must seek the support of a third party.
With Bytom, two persons could offer to buy or transfer assets at Bytom wallet while having a cup of tea. Private companies could use the Bytom platform to manage stock right and stock option. And a protocol can be automatically generated, granted, audited, signed through the smart contract. A shareholder can vote through signature of his private key, which greatly reduces cost of equity management.
Will the blockchain technology change the world like the Internet did? Why?
Looking back, it is clear that each decade marks an emergence of a technological innovation. Large computers in 1970s, PC in 1980s, the Internet in 1990s and mobile Internet in 2000s. What is the technology of this decade? The blockchain technology. It enables us to connect the byte world and the atomic world. This is not simply technological innovation, this is innovation of concepts and business logic.
The Bytom team has successfully closed crowdfunding. What is the future development?
First, we will build the killer development team of excellent blockchain talents.
Second, we will work with blockchain research centers of leading universities to cultivate technical talents.
Third, we will follow our roadmap to develop and list BUTXO protocol, consensus algorithm, framework of contract development, wallet and XRelay sidechain.
Fourth, we will hold a shareholder conference in the first quarter of 2018 to set up certain rules and regulation to effectively manage the Bytom foundation and operation of the team.