[Forbes] How Europe Can Learn From China On Blockchain

Despite a hardline on blockchain from the government, software companies in China continue to leap ahead.

To view the original article published on Forbes by Gina Clarke, please follow the link here.

China is changing. That becomes clearer to see when we look at the field of financial technology and the talent that has emerged over the last few decades.

But attitudes in China when it comes to blockchain still sway from a useful resource to a tool for gambling. So it might seem remarkable that advancements in blockchain are in some parts being driven by the country, or at least its exports.

Certainly, the advent of blockchain is changing how countries trade with each other and Europe’s relationship with China has not been immune from this shift.

Entrepreneurs, investors and developers from around the world are coming together to explore how secure blockchain technology can be applied in business and one of those is 8 Decimal Capital, one of the most active blockchain investment firms in China and currently ranked second out of 51 active crypto funds by Token Metrics.

8 Decimal was founded by Yubo Ruan, the co-founder of Skylight Investment, a venture capitalist with an interesting history. From the age of 6, Ruan self-taught himself programming and hardware making, including inventing a gesture-controlled robot, portable holographic display, a 360-camera and subway electricity generator. Those projects won him 13 national level science awards and 5 patents. At 17, he started Alisimba Technology which was backed by a Shenzhen Government Innovation agency and acquired in 2016.

With a focus previously on smart devices, Ruan has a background in engineering and computer science. At just 22-years old, his natural instinct for enterprise led him to create 8 Decimal Capital, which launched in 2017 in Beijing and has consistently been ranked a top fund in China since.

Transgressing borders

For Ruan, he believes blockchain can transgress borders and become an international trading space. He said:

“Although different countries now have different policies towards developing the blockchain technology, we are sure that the blockchain industry is a global playground. As it develops, I believe countries will work even more closely together.”

Despite his lack of years, Ruan has a clear vision of where he sees blockchain going in the future and wants to be a part of growing the industry from the ground up, making it a solid infrastructure for years to come. He has surrounded himself with advocates of blockchain as well as investors such as managing partner, Zane Wei, a former investor at Roots Capital, and blockchain investor and advisor Ben Bartlett, the Vice Mayor of Berkeley who is now working closely with the team to promote the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.

To bridge the gap further, 8 Decimal added Chinese advisors such as Fan Zhang, an original founding partner of Sequoia Capital China and Karen Chen, former CEO of USB China.

Depoliticized international relations

For 8 Decimal Capital, the blockchain space is free of currency constraints and political agendas, making it a more collaborative environment for innovators to share knowledge and develop ideas.

Currently the company works across China and the US, but believes Europe could gain from the new global market. Indeed, those involved hope that they will become founders’ collaborators as opposed to simple investors. Ruan said:

“We not only provide a full suite of post-investment value-add to our portfolio companies, we also conduct joint ventures and incubate portfolios companies. We have strong connections, resources and partners in China and U.S., which gives us the ability to bridge portfolio companies with top resources worldwide and quickly help the entrepreneurs to achieve their best potential.”

The investment company’s investment in blockchain ventures means that international relations are made easier as trading is not affected by factors that impact on traditional investments such as exchange rates or local and international politics. Which is why Ruan is urging Europe to get behind the notion of a depoliticized blockchain space as the approach is yielding good results.

The company is currently focusing on token and equity investments after providing top returns in 2017. They have made over 40 investments including EOS (eosio), 0x, FCoin (FCoinOfficial), Ontology, ICON, Zilliqa, wanchain, Kyber (KyberNetwork) and Bluzelle. They also invested in blockchain ecosystem projects like TrustToken, Bibox (Bibox Exchange), Seed CX, DoraHacks and Coinsuper (COINSUPER Blog (Official)).

Progressive thinking and adaptation

In 2017, the concept of utility token sales were paramount, gradually evolving to equity raises and Security Token Offerings (STOs), which are predicted to be the main focal point of the industry in 2019.

Ruan believes STOs will provide the stability and healthy growth needed to take the industry to the next level and will be a focus of the fund. Ruan explained:

“Tokenizing securities involves bringing traditional securities from the analogue world to the digital. This process removes the high costs and inefficiencies of the middlemen. Securitizing tokens involves applying traditional regulatory framework to digital tokens. This process removes much of the uncertainty and fraud of the ICO market. Security tokens will bring many benefits to both the capital markets and the real estate industry.”
At the 2018 NGC Capital Inaugural Boston Meetup, 8 Decimal Founder Yubo Ruan gives his predictions on the future of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries as a part of the conference’s venture capital panel.

Different from other funds

The company looks at blockchain as a revolutionary financial system, so they are focused on not limiting themselves to a particular country or region.

For Ruan, he believes traditional markets are limited on a country by country basis which rules how traders operate by restricting trading operations. He said:

“Our portfolios companies are often made of a global team and operated on a global scale. And we are determined in helping our portfolios to reach their best potential by connecting them with the best resources in the industry.”

These resources include research and native content to help the industry, including their personal network which is expansive and global. With the team and network in place, 8 Decimal is showing the importance of know-how, technical expertise, and community as a key to blockchain investing success.

About the Author: Gina Clarke

“I have worked for broadcasters such as the BBC, BFBS and the Press Association before becoming a full-time freelance journalist in 2016. Previously I had written on the FinTech sector for both national and niche publications, but it was the Brexit referendum that sparked my decision to go back to university and complete my Masters. There, I wrote a dissertation that concentrated on data journalism; a subject that encompasses FinTech, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency. In the months following the UK’s decision to leave the EU I co-ordinated a series on Corporate Strategy for the financial website PoundSterlingLive.com. “ | Read More | Twitter

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Email: contact@8dcapital.com if you have any more questions about this topic.

8 DECIMAL CAPITAL is a multi-strategy investment firm focusing on token and equity investments. 8 Decimal currently has more than 40 portfolio companies with an AUM of 60M USD. The investment team consists of more than 10 venture capital veterans, researchers, and trading professionals. The advisory board comprises Fan Zhang (Former Founding Partner of Sequoia Capital China), Karen Chen (Former CEO of UBS China) and Ben Bartlett (Vice Mayor of Berkeley). Based on the professional fund index ranking agency Token Metrics, 8 Decimal was ranked second out of the 51 active crypto funds. 8 Decimal is also well-received in China, named one of the top 10 funds in the blockchain industry by both 36氪(36Kr.com), Chain Capture , and Odaily, as well as named one of the top 20 funds by Tsinghua X-Lab and Youth Education Chain League.