Danhua Venture Capital’s Shoucheng Zhang is paving the way for start-ups in the blockchain revolution
Originally published w/ Panony Media at medium.com on September 13, 2018
Journalist / Gitana
Danhua Venture Capital (DHVC) invests in early stage and growth stage companies in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Big Data, Blockchain, and other disruptive technologies.
DHVC is the product of Shoucheng Zhang, an award-winning Stanford physicist from China who started the firm in 2013 in Silicon Valley. Zhang used his expertise, connections, and fame in China to raise a $350 million fund from the increasing wealth of Chinese employees of internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Zhang is also one of the organizers of HYSTA (Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association) the largest professional group for Chinese in Silicon Valley. He believes that Chinese investors are looking for start-ups that have a global reach beyond merely the U.S. or China.
In January 2018 at the Blockchain Connect Conference in San Francisco, Zhang gave a lecture titled “In Math We Trust.” Here he explains how math is the connector between the natural and social order and that it is the field of study with the largest consensus in society. Mathematics is the foundation of cryptoeconomics and its product blockchain technology. According to Zhang, blockchain is the technology of the future and as a result “DHVC invests extensively” in its multiple use cases.
What is vital to understand about blockchain tech is that it is interdisciplinary across sectors. In other words, it is a tool that can be used in many different areas — politically, economically, socially, environmentally — and in tandem with other technologies like Big Data, VR /AR and AI. During his talk in San Francisco, Zhang gave the example of blockchain integration with AI. He explained how today’s facial recognition AI technology could detect about 99% of the human face. However, to move that number up to 99.9% it is the people on the edges of society that need to be included in our economies.
People on the edges, Zhang argues, are those that exist at the bottom of the digital divide, those who do not have access to and are not part of the digital infrastructures that connect us all. Zhang argues that we can eliminate the digital divide by financially incentivizing those at the bottom through crypto economic products such as blockchain. In this way, more people around the world would have access to the necessary tools to engage in the global economy.
DHVC is everywhere
There are several blockchain start-ups that DHVC has invested in so far. Theta video streaming services, Certik blockchain security, the OPEN platform, Ziliqa, Aelf, Ontology, OnChain, and NEO are just a few of the big names. NEO, Ziliqa, Aelf, and Ontology together have had valuations of more than $1 billion.
OnChain and NEO, in particular, are one of the biggest names to come out of China. DaHongfei is the CEO and founder of both NEO and OnChain. The former is a public blockchain competing with the Ethereum network while the latter is more focused on enterprise solutions. Ontology is a separate project that is working to build cross-chain interoperability between OnChain’s private blockchains and NEO’s public blockchain. There are debates as to how much the Chinese government controls these projects. However, merely looking at the different teams behind these projects and what they have already developed, it is much more global in scope than many perceive. Take a look at the City of Zion (CoZ) developer team behind NEO to get a better understanding of this. Below are some of the projects the CoZ is working on.
What is evident in the news and realities coming out of China and Silicon Valley is crypto economic products are not going anywhere. China ’s CCTV has already publicly announced that Blockchain is the technology of the future and will become more “valuable than the internet.” DHVC ’s blockchain portfolio holds much promise. However, blockchain is still in an experimental phase, and it remains to be seen which companies will continue to lead the evolution of this technology.