Transcript of APEX (CPX) live AMA with CEO Jimmy Hu — Chinese APEX & NEO community
Please find below a transcript of the APEX (CPX) live AMA with CEO Jimmy Hu and the Chinese APEX & NEO community. This event took place on Wechat and had 1500 live participants at the time.
- Can you briefly introduce APEX?
APEX is a vertical public blockchain focused on solving a series of problems in the B2C ecosystem. It is a blockchain project that was inaugurated at the end of 2017 by my own big data and AI company “APEX Technologies” (formerly Chinapex). APEX’s token (CPX) currently runs on the NEO blockchain by the NEP-5 token standard. The APEX mainnet is set to launch in Q2 2019 while the tokenswap will take place via the CPX Wallet.
2. What are the main problems that need to be tackled in the B2C field at this stage?
Other than core business competencies, differentiation strategies, supply chain, product offerings, and competitive strategy, a large part of the success of a B2C enterprise has to do with managing the customer lifecycle — this includes marketing, branding, CRM, customer experience optimization, and maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV).
The biggest hurdles currently encountered during the customer life cycle, which is the process of all interactions between the enterprise and the consumer, can be divided into two major categories: 1) data issues and 2) B2C interaction issues.
Consumer Data fits in both of the above categories. From the perspective of consumers, it is mainly the implementation of data security and privacy, the lack of transparent consumer data licenses and the increase of ownership of their own data values. From a business perspective there’s a multitude of issues surrounding data transparency, quality, cost effectiveness, and security, hindering the maximum potential of data-driven applications. When analyzing both perspectives in parallel, they are centered around the same problem — a centralized, one-way, and imbalanced data ownership and management model. In fact, in order for this value network to become healthy, its structure should be reversed. After the introduction of GDPR (EU), the issue of consumer data will continue to be the focus of the Internet for the next two years.
There is also the B2C interaction problem — this includes:
- The middlemen networks capture too much value in the interaction between consumers and businesses (usually measured in money or marketing budget). The middleman networks usually have multiple layers. Some examples include ad networks, advertising platforms, affiliate networks, push notification channels, 3rd party programs, and so on. In this data value chain, consumers do not get any value, and the quality and experience of the enterprise side and consumer interaction deteriorates.
- Ineffective customer loyalty management and CRM. Various B2C subdivisions, including tourism, retail, and finance, have tried various customer loyalty and incentive programs. Few have achieved ideal results.
- Ineffective Solutions for Customer Lifecycle Management. Existing customer big data systems and marketing technologies have helped in this regard, but they are not complete and ideal solutions.
3. How does APEX solve these problems?
So these problems are all related to the structure of the “value chain”. In other words, the differences between actual value versus ideal or fair value distribution, ownership, and ecosystem cooperation are significant. The specific goals we have to strive for are:
- Shifting the value distribution across B2C data and interactions towards a fairer and more balanced system.
- Increased trust and transparency of the system.
- Value conservation, elimination of middlemen, and replace with decentralized protocols.
- Enhanced privacy, control, and security.
- Optimized engagement levels and incentive for engagement.
- Connected value instead of silos, convenient exchange of value and assets.
These problems can basically be optimized with blockchain technology. However, currently there is no existing public chain that can quickly resolve this series of problems and present solutions that can help enterprises start landing in a swift fashion, not to mention the application level. With an enterprise-ready blockchain platform that is crafted for building data-driven and engagement-rich B2C applications, brands and enterprises will be able to build custom dApps around the entire customer lifecycle aimed at increasing trust, protecting privacy, enforcing consent, increasing the depth of interactions, building loyalty, and in general creating stronger 1-to-1 relationships.
4. The B2C field is one of the largest mega vertical markets in the world. Are there any other blockchain projects in this field? What are the advantages of APEX compared with other projects?
Some projects try to solve the aforementioned problems at the application level, such as incentive points, exchange of data with consumers, decentralized advertising. However, currently there are no applications that have successfully solved these issues , and no real companies are using them. The reasons are multi fold:
- Large and medium-sized B2C companies usually need to go through closed-loop solutions instead of creating synergies from multiple sources. APEX Technologies (Parent company of APEX Network) happens to be in the business of data-driven customer lifecycle and journey management. Chinapex’s data management product, NEXUS has solved many of our 300+ enterprise customers’ problems surrounding integrating data across various touchpoints and data sources into unified profiles.
- Customer experience, marketing, CRM, and consumer data related applications are usually very sensitive to certain aspects of a large-scale B2C enterprise. If an application level solution changes existing consumer interactions, most companies will refuse to implement them. Therefore, a blockchain platform is needed to give enterprises the ability to seamlessly embed some decentralized protocols in existing customer experiences, engagement channels and applications in order to quickly decentralize the process.
APEX is a public blockchain containing a smart contract system — companies can embed blockchain-based protocols into their existing applications and engagement channels, optimizing existing customer experiences and the aforementioned B2C data and interaction issues. Not to mention the features and advantages of the above technologies, including enterprise-level sidechains, DPOS/POS hybrid consensus, multilayer smart contracts, external data connectors, and some technical features of personal data protection mechanisms.
As a core business, we provide middle and large enterprise users with technology aiding them in customer big data management and enterprise predictive AI. We understand their bottlenecks in marketing and CRM. Giving them appropriate technical platform solutions is a ripe process. Blockchain is just an extension of our core business— our more than 300 large enterprise customer ecosystem can easily use APEX’s value proposition. Our existing technical team of more than 40 people, from internet companies like Ali, Baidu, Huawei, and 360 — is as competent as the technical teams of the top public blockchains.
5. How will APEX ensure consumer data security and privacy?
APEX has a unique solution to consumer data security, called APEX Transactional Data Management System (ATDM). ATDM is built as a native module in the APEX Virtual Machine and can be easily plugged into smart contracts and decentralized applications. Simply put, this ATDM mechanism can also help consumers manage their own multiple data portraits (the common way now is for companies to manage all consumer data and portraits together). ATDM encrypts consumer data using private keys and then routes them from the blockchain and stores it offchain in a DHT (distributed hash table) run by a collection of Data Cloud Nodes. These nodes do not access the data itself (due to encryption)and are run by some of our infrastructure partners, some of the community members, and the APEX Core and R&D team. The plan is for data operators to obtain the CPX fees generated by data transactions as rewards.
6. How does APEX solve the interaction problem in B2C?
For B2C interaction problems, there are many ways of optimizing using the APEX blockchain. Let me give you a few examples. The first is to embed smart contract agreements into existing applications and contacts, and use tokens generated by actions to increase the depth and sustainability of customer interactions and incentives. Gamification of these tokens allows for an extra level of engagement. This gives the consumer a more in-depth participation in the CRM process. Through the use of our Cross-Network DEX (Decentralized Exchange), the liquidity of token-denominated assets will be highly augmented. The DEX will facilitate direct exchange of token assets for those of other companies (for example, the assets of hotel companies are exchanged for the assets of airlines) or cash (CPX). This technology will give the asset itself greater incentive and holding value. Then using the ATDM I just mentioned, coupled with the APEX data connector, we can build a decentralized unified customer image management system to optimize the customer journey.
7. Will B2C interactive data be shared in B2B interactions?
There is a explanatory scenario in the development plan (available at apex.chinapex.com). The APEX blockchain can conduct B2C data transactions and B2B data sharing, but the compliant B2B transaction protocol needs to invoke an instance of ATDM within the smart contract system for consumer data exchange, and requires consumer licenses. This can be understood as a tripartite transaction.
8. What are the characteristics of APEX from a technical perspective?
As I said just now, the technical part must be thoroughly explained in detail, so I’ll summarize it.
APEX Network utilizes sidechains as one of the key unique features of the blockchain for 1) scalability of standalone applications and localized transactions that do not need to apply to the entire network (in other words enterprise user-specific transactions ) 2) seamless transfer of assets across main network and various sidechains while keeping “workstreams” separate at the same time. Sidechains on APEX Network use a 2-way peg in which CPX and other assets can be transferred to and from the main network and sidechains.
Then the consensus mechanism uses DPOS for the performance of the main chain and POS for the sidechains, so it is a mixed consensus form. The use of POS on the sidechain is related to the potential application scenarios — Under normal circumstances, an enterprise user starting to use APEX may need multiple sidechains for multiple applications, so the potential number of sidechains is on a scale of hundred or thousand. The DPOS representative (delegates) election method is not suited for the required flexibility and scalability of sidechains.
In addition, APEX Network adopts a smart contract system that is different from typical public chains — our goal is to provide enterprise users with the greatest flexibility, scalability and confidentiality to meet their various B2C (and B2B) applications when necessary. APEX Network’s approach is to create a multi-tier architecture for smart protocols that includes the data, logic, and middleware layers.
There are also other APEX data connectors (connected to various external data sources, devices, and existing enterprise software systems), ATDM consumer data protection and management modules, and enterprise-level asset decentralized transaction protocols (DEX).
9. APEX proposes a blockchain solution in B2C and B2B. How to ensure the customer experience?
As I said before, the APEX blockchain platform is designed so that companies can embed the protocols that can optimize a series of B2C data and interaction problems into their existing contacts and applications so as not to affect the customer experience (even the customers do not know), as well as improve the depth of customer experience and interaction in all aspects.
10. APEX Network has a decentralized transaction protocol (DEX) based on the platform itself. What is the similarity and difference between this DEX and other DEX’s?
This DEX has several features. 1) It is an original application that comes with the chain. The transaction fee generated above will be attributed to the CPX rewards of Supernodes and Voternodes. 2) Focus on corporate assets on the APEX chain, using CPX as a transaction pair for circulation. 3) Use a multi-reserve approach to provide real-time liquidity (no orderbook). This is for the purpose of the application scenario — the rapid exchange of digital assets (such as credits) for different B2C companies.
The multi-reserve trading model is similar to the decentralized project Kyber Network.
11. Chinapex, a company focused on customer data technology and AI, what kind of planning is there in the blockchain + AI segment?
For the AI+ blockchain, we currently have a plan that can be landed quickly. Our corporate customers using our AI products (called IQ) include international brands such as Maserati, Hilton, Hungry, and Drip, etc. Some of them will use the APEX blockchain to obtain high quality, legal, and consumer-licensed data. Regarding opportunities in the field of AI + blockchain, we do not feel that we are counting on blockchain technology (disregarding the long-term future), but rather wish for more additional and high-quality data. We have been developing marketing and customer operations related machine learning, deep learning, and NLP (Natural Language Processing) products for 16 years. Nevertheless, I think the combination of AI with blockchain technology can provide a lot of benefits. Deploying our AI products from a commercial perspective is a feature or even an advantage.
12. What is the total amount of CPX token? How is the token assigned?
The total amount is about 670 million, half of which is sold at the time of the token generation event, and about 20–25% is used to grow the ecology. About 15% is allocated to the team.
13. How does CPX’s value manifest? What kind of appreciation logic does CPX have?
When CPX will have risen by a lot, it will reflect the application scene, business and ecological value — this logic is not difficult to understand. When more and more CPX are held by enterprises, and more and more CPX are held by supernodes and voting nodes participating in the operation ecology, and the number of transactions generated in the chain are rising, it is natural that CPX will appreciate and maintain its value.
Original content: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/KnID3Z1gpHxWbjBQwyU2ew