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New China Unit Chief of Y Combinator Is Bullish on Blockchain

The Ex-COO of Chinese search giant Baidu and blockchain bull Qi Lu has been named head of Y Combinator(YC)China on August 14, marking the American start-up incubator’s first international effort.

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“China has been an important missing piece of our puzzle — the entrepreneurial energy and talent there is an amazing force,” Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, said in a blog post.

The accelerator, set up in 2005, has incubated many startup unicorns including Dropbox and Airbnb, Reddit, and crypto exchange Coinbase. It’s reported that the companies YC has backed now have a total valuation of over $ 100 billion.In addition to running YC’s new division in China, Lu will also take over as the Head of YC Research, YC’s non-profit research lab.

In a recent interview with local media outlet 36kr, Lu said that YC China will focus on startup incubation, talent training, R&D, and nonprofit initiatives. He also commented that he is bullish on the blockchain technology.

He said blockchain’s core features will protect privacy and data. Besides, it will bring different incentives for innovation.

“Currently, the existing incentive mechanism in the market is financial, such as equity and bonds,but blockchain technology will bring innovation in the long-term incentive mechanism,” he said.Lu also added that the technology will lower the threshold for entrepreneurship in the long run.

Lu was tasked with transforming Baidu’s big artificial intelligence projects, including autonomous cars and digital assistants before stepping down as COO in July, citing family reasons.

He told Baidu staff in March that among all the technical researches conducted by the company in 2018, blockchain comes first. As a result, Baidu launched the blockchain-based photo rights protection platform called Totem in April, Baidu Encyclopedia starts to utilize blockchain to record entries’ revision histories in May and the company released its blockchain game, called “ Duyuzhou” in June.

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