Sparks Interview — Andromeda: As a Native of the Blockchain World, I Had Been Anticipating to Be Tokenized, Part 4
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Part 2. About Feihu Tang
You have not yet introduced yourself after speaking so much. Could you please introduce yourself again?
Well, actually I don’t really like to talk about myself… I always thought that the engineer’s business card should be of his/her work, and I have nothing that I can be proud of yet. However, you may refer to the interview I accepted in HyperAI when I went to COSCon late October, I talked about my past and recent state.
I heard that you and Suji Yan, the CEO of Dimension in our last interview, have been good friends for many years. Can you share with us more about the relationship?
This topic is more interesting because we were both famous as a cross-dresser in the era of RenRen.com. In fact, we already know each other’s existence before we actually met. However, we did not communicate much online then. Later, when I came out of school, I was introduced to Jisuanke by sister Zuo to work in the online education space. I had a chance to meet Haoran Yu, CEO of Jisuanke while organizing the Astar competition. Coincidentally, Suji Yan and Yisi Liu were both UIUC alumni alongside Haoran Yu. They were interning that summer vacation, so we had an offline meeting.
I had chūnibyō (middle two disease) at that time. I even wrote in the QZone that I was considering Suji Yan as the “imaginary enemy” on the journey of cross-dressing. Thinking back, it was childish and ridiculous of me.
Later, Suji Yan returned to school after her internship. With the help of my teachers, I went back to school again and competed in the ICPC World Final for another year. Of course, people all know what happened after. After being defeated at the Finals, I started my hikkikomori life again and began to lock myself at home. Until receiving Mujin’s invitation, I went to Tokyo for an interview. Coincidentally, Suji was at Tokyo University for an exchange, so we met again in Tokyo.
At that time, my Japanese language skills were basically non-existent, so Mr. Yan showed me all kinds of places in Tokyo. This led me to the realization that there is still so much more in life. It was also only then that I saw Mr. Yan for who he is beyond cyberspace. I didn’t have the money to stay in a hotel in Tokyo, therefore I squeezed in the same bed as Mr. Yan in the dormitory of Tokyo University. Come to think of it, it was really an enjoyable period.
The trip’s experience in Japan was probably an opportunity for me to get out of rock bottom. Suji Yan chose to quit school and began to work on an AI + Social start-up in Shanghai. When she just started her business, I helped to introduce staff and check on codes, etc. Then by chance on the Internet, I got to know and helped some homeless mtf, and my home almost became a shelter for a while. At this time, I only had a little bit of income from writing questions, translating and occasionally giving lectures — my economic situation suddenly deteriorated. This situation didn’t improve until I went to Google Shanghai later. During this period, Suji Yan also helped me a lot, actively coming up with ideas and looking for NGO’s help, etc.
After I arrived in Shanghai, we stayed together for a while and came back every night to discuss our views on the world. I remember that one night in early 2017, Mr. Yan told me that he made a lot of money selling Bitcoin at $900 USD. Then the cryptocurrency market ushered in an unprecedented bull market. Customers who knew me from a long time ago began to contact me, hoping that we could reopen the altcoins mining pool, which meant that mining is starting to make money again. However, the currencies that we have to mine have changed dramatically in the past years. Apart from Litecoin and Doge coin, most of the well-known altcoins have disappeared. Instead, there were a bunch of new tokens, including Ethereum.
In order to learn this new knowledge better, I organized an internal blockchain learning group in Google Shanghai, began to do some research work, held activities with friends in the bay area, and organized local meetups bimonthly. Every night when I returned to my apartment, I would also communicate with Suji my new discoveries. I think Dimension’s concepts were formed at that time. Therefore, I have always been supportive of Suji’s project, and even put some of the Ether coins that I won from hackathons into her project.
Just like before when we organized Radical Markets and Dweb activities, we have never communicated before but we met each other naturally. Our common goals included Data as Labour, but at this point, our path was exactly the opposite. Maskbook uses the left-wing approach and encryption as a weapon to organize digital labour unions in social networks to fight against Internet giants, so as to gradually promote their own reform and making them harmless.
Matataki uses the right approach, the free market, the mechanism design, and the Austrian school theory to let each digital worker have his own coinage right and uses the token economy’s way to price his/her own data.
This is actually the core point of my understanding of the book Radical Markets. The reason why current users don’t pay attention to their privacy is due to it being too cheap for them. When we find the right way to price these data, things will be different.
In the future, we can also sign contracts with these giants in some cooperative forms, package these high-quality data with clear price tags, apply differential privacy, and with some form of security, authorize these internet giants. This will allow us to train better AI, and in turn, achieve productivity development, and promote some kind of reconciliation. In the end, we, the digital workers and the refugees of the Internet will get our own promised land.
Of course, we don’t exactly know which path is right at the moment. Will the giants bribe the turncoats in the left-wing approach to obtain the name list of all party members in one click; will there be defects in the right-wing’s system, leading to arbitrage opportunities or magnification of the evil human nature? Is it necessary to design protection mechanisms such as fuse rates? These are still unknown to me.
There is only one thing that makes people tired — erratic and indecisiveness. Every single thing you do will liberate your mind and body. Even if you do something wrong, it’s better than doing nothing.
— Decisive Moments in History
Part 3. About the Industry
There have been huge changes in the entire blockchain market since 2018. Could you talk about some changes that you observed?
In the last interview, I mentioned that “the blockchain industry is a very complex and dynamic field, and every day something new will emerge. One day in the cryptocurrency industry is equivalent to one year in the real world. This is actually a true portrayal of this industry.
Due to the 24/7 flow of value, the blockchain industry is a place where rhythm and cycles are accelerated, so the first thing to do in this industry is to recognize and revere cycle.
When our generation of entrepreneurs set out, we were at the tail of the bull market, so everyone was pretty miserable in fact, and they had to experience the entire bear market. However, in the context of this bear market, there have been several small cycles inside.
The first cycle I experienced was the breaking of the ICO bubble in 2017. It was probably from May 2018 to May 2019, the signal was naturally the protracted computing power war. The second cycle was Fomo + Hype, which lasted from May 2019 to September 2019. It is signaled by Ray Dalio’s report on a paradigm shift, which showed Bitcoin turning left and Altcoins turning right. The third cycle was from Sep 2019 to 24 Oct 2019 (1024), marked by X-Order’s article “The blockchain industry is in a tight spot, how to break out of the current situation?” However, this cycle was interrupted by the fourth cycle! The sign is 24 Oct 2019 (1024).
With the government greatly supporting the blockchain industry, what do you think are the influences on the industry? Do you have any new views on the industry?
I don’t have any new views on the industry, but I find that the public has one.
Before 1024, our judgment on the industry was somewhat pessimistic.
Although a long time ago, we were discussing and judging when the relevant functional departments of the government would come, no one knew when they would come, let alone that they are coming now.
I think what caused the government to accelerate its actions are external forces. Trade war could be one because the internationalization of RMB is needed to form a dimension reduction attack on the national policy relating to the Belt-Road Initiative. Libra is also another cause. There may still be differences in opinion previously, but Zuckerberg said everything during the hearing, which I think will also be good for Libra. Sure enough, the free-market brings competition, which means evolution.
The most intuitive manifestation of these changes is the rise in currency prices. In addition to Bitcoin, many domestic public chain projects have also been saved.
Then the mining industry was eliminated from the backward production capacity. Mining is the foundation of the blockchain industry. Now blockchain and mining can be discussed publicly, which is the biggest change.
There is also the Central Bank’s digital currency, local financial subsidies, and Hong Kong’s exchange compliance program, the interlocking reactions are endless.
As for companies, it’s now easier to recruit people. More colleges and universities have begun to establish blockchain learning communities to promote blockchain technology. Many old friends from the industry who left, have come back one after another. There are more people coming to participate in offline meetups. What I deeply remember is that before I went to iTalk to discuss about the design and development of Libra, Kong Suo and I made great efforts to publicize it, but no one came. After 1024, we had another panel, which we didn’t even determine the theme, nor publicized much. However, the attendance was extremely full.
What are the impacts on your projects? Will you make any adjustments to the direction of your project?
Wang Lijie said that entrepreneurship should follow the trend. All kinds of technology selection and model verification were done previously, we can now consider starting expanding and recruiting again. Now even the cost of acquiring customers is obviously lower than before.
Of course, we should “remain true to our original aspiration” to inherit and carry forward the unfinished path of Satoshi Nakamoto. However, what we are thinking about now is how to enable the company to survive in the long run. Only if we survive, can we see tokenization, and can we “disrupt the industry, buy Facebook, and change the world”.
I hope Andromeda will be the last company to go out of business in the world — because thereafter, everyone is already a company by him/herself.
In our next article, we will be discussing our observations of 2019.
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Translated by (via our WeChat Account): Xin Yue
Editor: Daphne Tan