Emurgo HK interview with Blockchain Media

From left to right: Gareth Hayes, Nao Mazik, Ryan King
This article was originally published on Blockchain Media, on 24 November, 2018. This is the authorized English translation.

On November 20th, Blockchain Media interviewed Emurgo HK Director of Acceleration, Ryan King, Director of Technology, Gareth Hayes, and Program Manager, Nao Mazik at their office in Hong Kong.

Blockchain Media (BCM): First of all, Ryan, please tell me a little about your background.

Ryan King (Ryan): I am responsible for planning and launching an acceleration program for Cardano that will support the creation of decentralized apps.

Previously I lived in Shanghai, China for 10 years, where I ran several companies that developed mobile applications. For one of those companies, I graduated from an acceleration program called Chinaccelerator. Later on, I returned there to work as a mentor and as a trainer. I also performed these roles for a couple of other incubation programs as well.

After finishing in startups, and while mentoring, I worked as a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai for two years. During that time, I was always on the lookout for an amazing project to get involved in. When Emurgo HK asked me to come and build an accelerator for them, it was exactly what I was looking for.

For much of my career, through mobile education apps and with my work at the university, I have been mostly involved in the education field. Therefore, I am a big supporter and key driver of Emurgo HK’s focus on education. We’re about promoting the usage of the Cardano blockchain protocol, and we believe that we need to work hard to educate people about this technology.

BCM: I’m sure that you have received many applications for the acceleration program already, but are there any standards you apply when selecting projects?

Ryan: First of all I ask, does this project really need to use blockchain? Blockchain is booming right now, but it is important to check if this is technically necessary for a project, or whether the project is attracted by blockchain simply because it is a trend, or because they would like to raise money from a token sale.

In addition, why the project wants to specifically use Cardano instead of other platforms is also important. Of course, our goal is to expand Cardano through its usage in applications, so the most important thing is whether or not this project can contribute to the Cardano ecosystem.

Secondly, I ask what is the problem that this project is trying to solve and is this a problem that really needs to be solved. Then I look at whether the solution they are proposing really solves the problem, and is that solution something that can be taken to the market.

Since this industry changes almost daily, it is unavoidable that there will be changes in the roadmap if they are building a project over the long term. The important thing is not to deviate from the original focus on solving a problem and the essence of the project. It sounds very simple, but the details of that and the resources needed have to planned carefully.

Furthermore we pay a lot of attention to the field of industry that they are working in. For example, logistics, legal, and finance are areas where blockchain has a lot of obvious use cases. And Hong Kong happens to be a hub for the logistics, legal, and finance industries, so I think this is very logical for us.

On the other hand, we really want to get more people aware of Emurgo, of Cardano, and of ADA, so I think the field of entertainment is well worth looking at. For example, if we can launch applications based on Cardano, that people can download onto their smartphones in order to do cool things like watch movies, listen to music, etc., then it will help to alert people to the power of our product and activities.

Director of Acceleration, Ryan King

BCM: Thank you very much. Could you tell us about IronX?

Ryan: Since IronX (Link: BCM article in Japanese) is an exchange, we believe that technical security is very important. We are consulting for them on that, as well as on making it very user-friendly. However, the most important thing we have to do is to help IronX to stand out during their promotion activities, since there are many exchanges in the marketplace.

Our joint venture partners, IronFX, are a traditional trading platform, so their existing user base will be able to trade cryptocurrencies in addition to FX without needing to create a new account. Also, traders of cryptocurrency will be able to easily and smoothly trade FX and other instruments in order to diversify their portfolios.

BCM: Please tell me about what you are up to in Hong Kong.

Ryan: Our Hong Kong office was only established in February this year, so a large part of our focus is on building community here. Specifically, we hold one educational and one social event every month.

On the educational side, we have invited experts to come and give talks on topics such as token security and Haskell (the language used to write Cardano). Recently, we hosted Ledger when they came to tell us about their custodial solutions for cryptocurrency assets.

On the social side, we have a wide range of attendees at our events, from investors to developers. We provide a space in which they can connect with each other which in turn helps to grow and strengthen the community.

Another thing we are working on at the moment is building a community site called Cardano Update Space. There is a lot of information floating around the Cardano project, and our site allows people to check if that information is fake news or not. Anyone can contribute to the site, and users can rate the quality of information and flag things that they think are misleading or inaccurate. In that sense, it is like Wikipedia.

BCM: Please tell us some more about Cardano Update Space.

Gareth Hayes (Gareth): Because the content is built by the community, it is possible for people to evaluate the information and the projects themselves. The users will be able to flag things that they have problems with, which will then alert other users to the problem.

In the education section, users can share videos and articles about Cardano. Using an algorithm, they can be recommended further content in a similar way to how Amazon does, so that everyone can learn at a level that is appropriate for them.

All projects that are part of the Cardano ecosystem, ranging from information for developers to wallets for end users, can be posted. In addition, our goal is to create a site where anyone can get access to any information related to Cardano regardless of language. Therefore, in the future, we will add other languages such as Japanese.

BCM: How do you plan to deal with immoral actors?

Gareth: We will use an algorithm to automatically determine those users who post high-quality content, and make them into moderators who will be able to flag others.

BCM: Thank you very much. What are the different roles of Emurgo Japan and Emurgo HK?

Ryan: The main difference is the focus. Emurgo HK focuses on entrepreneurs and end users who want to use Cardano. We refer to our mission as ABC — A stands for Accelerate, B stands for Build, and C stands for Connect.

Accelerate will focus on supporting tech startups that have awesome ideas that they want to build on Cardano. Build means building, but specifically focusing on creating tools that make it easier to for people to use Cardano. IronX, which I mentioned earlier, is an example of this, because it makes it easier for people to buy, sell, and trade ADA. Finally, Connect is about connecting developers, investors, and people who have ideas, not only through physical meetups, but also through the development of an online community.

On the other hand, the Emurgo Japan team that everyone knows in Tokyo, is focusing on working with large corporates and providing ICO consulting services. Therefore, the roles of the two offices are related to us both becoming specialists in our particular fields.

There was a great atmosphere throughout the entire interview, and we were able to see Ryan’s great personality and the attractiveness of Emurgo HK.

The Cardano project that Emurgo HK is working on is highly recognized in Japan and has many fans. Therefore, there is a lot of free-flowing information about it, that unfortunately includes some fake news that manages to enter the market. Cardano Update Space, which Ryan introduced during the interview, will play a very important role in helping to judge the quality of news and information.

In the future, it will expand to include not only Japanese, but other languages as well. All of this will help to rapidly expand the user base.

Learn more about Emurgo HK.

Information on Emurgo HK can be found from the following:

Cardano Update Space: https://cardanoupdate.space/

Official Twitter (English): https://twitter.com/emurgohk

Official Twitter (Japanese): https://twitter.com/emurgohk_jp

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emurgohk

Interview and Editing by Hiro Abe, Aya Tamura, and Rie Fujii.