Sparks Interview — Andromeda: As a Native of the Blockchain World, I Had Been Anticipating to Be Tokenized, Part 1
X-Order is an investment and research organization dedicated to the study of value capture in open finance. We strive to be a bridge between new finance and interdisciplinary fields with relation to science and research. It is founded by Tony Tao, who is also a partner at NGC Ventures.
Before leaving for the World Blockchain Conference in Wuzhen, we had an in-depth interview with Feihu Tang, whose team has development experience across multiple public chains.
In this interview, for the first time, she reviewed her more than a year’s journey of starting her business, her views on the industry, the cycle, the understanding of the token economy and other topics. Lastly, she also demonstrated to us the project that she is currently developing.
Part 1. About Andromeda
Can you make a simple introduction of yourself and your company?
Since the birth of Andromeda, our vision is to promote the popularization of blockchain technology on a large-scale “civilian-usage” basis to realize our ideal of “giving the power back to users”. Our goal has always been to become the strongest third-party platform in the blockchain field. If we liken the public chain to Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, we are CAPCOM and SQUARE ENIX.
I always agree with what Kong often said, “AI is the technology to improve productivity, and blockchain is the technology to improve production relations”. Therefore, based on the collaborative community of token, I think it must be the most impactful direction in the future. Note that the meaning of “collaboration” here is in a broad sense: a user’s transaction on the exchange, a post in V2EX, an interaction in the game, an edit on Wikipedia, a line of code contributed in GitHub are all collaborations in a broad sense — because of your participation, the exchange is more liquid, the forum is more active, the game becomes more interesting, the encyclopedia’s content is more updated and detailed, the code is more robust, etc.
Based on this idea, we launched Kyubey.network last November. It is an EOS-based decentralized incubator for independent developers to pitch their own Dapp project. The incubator inherits a set of Bancor contracts for token issuance, and the tokens issued by the project can also be seamlessly listed on the decentralized exchange built by us. As the infrastructure is provided by the incubator, the exchange is free for everyone to use.
(PS: This has nothing to do with Kybey, this name comes from QB in the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a.k.a. Incubator. The Incubator in Madoka is a cute-looking animal, whose existence is to discover girls who have the potential to become a “magical girl”)
Andromeda is also one of the first few teams that migrated its project development from the Ethereum community to EOS. Long before the main network of EOS went online, we began to conduct research, and organized some common contracts on Ethereum into the EOS version for open source, including the random number scheme based on secret and reveal mode. If the project parties could use this set of programs that have long been proven on ETH, there may not be so many hacking events.
The main reason for choosing to migrate to EOS is that our team has many Oler/ACMer members, who are naturally more familiar with C ++.
Of course, more importantly, the excellent performance of EOS’ main network has in advance enabled us to put many ideas and innovations that we had during the Ethereum period into practice.
Unfortunately, shortly after Kyubey.network went online, we had a battle of computing power that was destined to go down in history. After that, the price of the EOS token suffered a lot. The aftermath caused many EOS developers to either leave immediately or were attracted to other subsidized public chains (for example, TRON).
After some efforts, the project did not attract enough developers to participate. In interacting with the remaining project parties, we found that they could also hardly become our target customers.
A Dapp project that fits our definition must be open-source, issue tokens, managed by tokens and encourages broad collaboration. However, many projects fail to achieve the first step (i.e. open-source), which conflicts with our understanding of Dapp.
In my opinion, how can we launch a blockchain revolution if we can’t even decentralize! We always call on “awaking the people”, but when they got up, they were scared to death. What’s the point of this fake love! — Inspection Report of the EOS Programmers Movement
We also participated in the Dapp Tron Accelerator competition during New Year. In addition to transplanting many previous works, we also developed a brand-new card collection game based on the Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) + blockchain NFT. These works have achieved good results and won a considerable amount at the competition. This is why I’ve always been very grateful to Sun Yuchen. I’ve been building positive images for him in various groups. If it’s not for Sun, our company would probably be dead long ago!
In addition to understanding the TRON ecology, we also began to research on some emerging public chains, such as Polkadot, Cosmos, Near, and other decentralized technologies, such as IPFs, mastodon, etc. We then developed a Dapp project called SmartSignature, which uses smart contract + IPFS to copyright the content.
In fact, we have started to brainstorm the earliest version of this project with a small group of partners at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. However, as it is limited by the performance of Ethereum, it was still in the Demo stage then. The main purpose of continuing its development is because we have better tools now and that we hope to put it into our Dapp incubator as a demonstration of a Dapp that meets our definition.
With the rapid changes of the industry and the deepening of our own understanding of it, the SmartSignature project has gradually evolved into the Instant-Matataki you see now.
Could you please elaborate on what your team is working on now, and the Instant-Matataki product you have?
Instant-Matataki is a product designed around the user’s ownership and control of data. We try to make full use of free-market and mechanism design to maximize the value of users’ data. The earliest idea of this product comes from a sentence I came across while listening to the Podcast, Yi Tian Shi Jie (One Day World):
As a content publishing system developed using Telegram, the primitive and rough nature of telegram.ph brings a sense of freedom and unrestrained rarely seen on the Internet today — Episode 38: Telegram and Telegra.ph, One Day World
I was immediately attracted by such a minimalist project and began to think about how to integrate it with IPFS. Therefore, our first version of “smart signature” replicates the UI / UX of telegra.ph at the pixel level and use the previously designed contract to confirm the signature of the article.
When the signature on the article went on the chain, various interesting mechanisms can be designed based on this.
An intuitive idea is that driven by the continuous wave of individualism, more people are expressing themselves openly on the Internet and publishing their self-created content (blog, twitter storm, short video, painting, etc).
However, most of these user-generated content (UGC) in fact do not get the incentives they deserve.
Some social platforms will turn on the function of tipping or sponsoring (if we also consider GitHub a social network), although not many people will actually give a reward to the contents.
In particular, there is no tipping culture in the Chinese world. In fact, most creators’ value is captured by the platform for free, while a few creators can survive by advertising and writing soft articles. If the creators does inappropriate advertisements, their number of fans will drop drastically and non-fans will also turn to haters towards them, such as the recent Hawk Ao case. Although some authors have realized these problems, it is difficult for them to come together to form an independent resistance force. Further, there is also a lack of tools to help them really master ownership of their data.
Bitcoin tells us that everything needs incentive.
As a miner, you help maintain Bitcoin’s payment network and enhance its security. In return, the Bitcoin network will reward you with Bitcoins. In the same way, we “tokenize” our users’ articles. Through investment and publicity, readers not only is able to help the authors but also get some rewards. Although ERC20 token also has the property of investment and return, if each article sends a set of ERC20, the degree of fragmentation is too high to form an effective trading market.
Since ERC20 does not work, how about the non-fungible Token of ERC721?
The simplest scheme is to design a Hot Potato mechanism like CryptoHero but the flaw of this mechanism is unsustainability. Everyone’s income is borne by the last buyer. Therefore, the game experience for the last person is extremely poor. Even if we learn the method in Fomo3D and extend her life cycle, this mechanism essentially takes advantage of the weakness in human nature — greediness. It is a type of black hat SEO technique, which will undoubtedly reduce the product’s sanity and deviate from our original intention.
Then we try the incentive method of fission sharing. Any reader can make an investment in the article when he or she sees the article. According to the amount of investment, the contract will distribute the corresponding number of certificates to the user. Users mine by forwarding the articles. Further, because of your “collaboration”, more readers will have the chance to see this article resulting in the author gaining more income, and influence.
The contract will be automatically cashed according to your previous investment certificate. This mechanism can be used not only for content sharing but also for e-commerce delivery because UGC is essentially a kind of commodity.
Of course, in addition to this, we have also practiced some other mechanisms. We find that mechanism design is a matter of differing opinions. Hence, we may never be able to find the best solution. Therefore, we think it’s better to design the contract as pluggable. Each mechanism deploys a separate contract and shares the same interface.
In the future, we can also add a mechanism store, so that third-party developers can design by themselves, and users can choose freely in the store according to their actual needs.
We decided to launch the “forwarding is mining” mechanism first, but after the mechanism was launched, it did not achieve the growth we expected. Then, we launched a simple shopping mall module to support using cryptos to purchase digital copies, such as the cd-key in Steam. The advantage of digital copies is that there is no need to deal with logistics issues. Most of these games come from some of my independent developer friends, as well as our cooperation with foreign game communities in which we participated in the translation of works. These authors are willing to package and sell us some keys at a relatively low price. However, we soon found that not many users would want to buy games with crypto at all.
As such, we realized strongly that paying with crypto requires a very high cognitive threshold in itself.
However, the current user mix in the cryptocurrency industry may be mostly focused on speculation or speculative investments with high risk and high return. Such a product that needs to be read, found, invested and shared is hard to meet the needs of these users.
We were enlightened and pivoted the product again. This time, we chose to abandon “political correctness”, introduce cny payment, and positioned ourselves as an “Internet product” to discover new incremental users for the blockchain world. We have launched the core mechanism of “fan token”, which transforms the subject of the token from an article to an author, which explicitly displays the author’s social capital.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of little fortune, must be in want of more social capital” — Eugene Wei, Status as a Service (StaaS)
Stay tuned to the remaining interview in the next few articles!
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Translated by (via our WeChat Account): Xin Yue
Editor: Daphne Tan