(This is a polished version written based on another two previous posts in Chinese. Those two posts are about blockchain career which are titled literally “Blockchain vs AI” and “Join Forbole and build the decentralized internet together”.)
With all the tractions, funding and other crucial supports we have got, this is the perfect time to scale! We are one of the very few early-stage blockchain startups from Hong Kong who have earned worldwide brand awareness thanks to our involvement in Cosmos. I want to introduce to you the career opportunities in Forbole. But first I need to unveil some illusions for you.
Blockchain vs AI
In Hong Kong, I need to be radical on this topic. We are competing talents not with our peers in blockchain space, but with the mainstream’s bias towards AI and big data fields.
Without big data, you have no AI. Without Big Brother, you have no big data. Blue pill or red pill? In Peter Thiel’s terms, there is a crypto vs AI dichotomy. I feel like this can be adopted as blockchain vs AI, or simply decentralized vs centralized.
All of a sudden, I realize why Hong Kong government has been promoting AI that hard (I meant, fxxking hard) despite she is notorious for her incapability to adapt for the fast pace of innovation and technology when compared with her main competitors in the region: Singapore and Shenzhen.
I don’t mind being criticized as radical or cynical on this. The centralized powers have overwhelming resources over the decentralized revolutionists and hence, we don’t have the privilege to keep silent. We need to tell people the possibility of a decentralized internet which will give us the freedom and opportunities we have longed for.
Wake up Hong Kong young folks. Take the blue pill and join the Big Brother (yes the Big Brother you curse everyday), or take the red pill and we show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Scenes from Hong Kong: centralized blockchains
Yes, blockchain is just a way to present data. What we at Forbole are obsessed with blockchain is that it has opened up the possibility to decentralize the internet. With that said, we are not a fan to using blockchain in a centralized, permission-based and censored way, which is the way blockchain is normally adopted in Hong Kong, a city hijacked by oligopoly and monopoly.
The start of our blockchain journey
Kwun Yeung has cofounded Creativeworks in 2005 and I have partnered with him since 2009. We have served over one hundred MNCs, SMBs and sole proprietors and professionals to leverage the power of digital transformation. We also helped our clients to use tools offered by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and WeChat to do digital marketing, sometimes by exploiting user’s privacy.
As a solution and marketing company, we just knew too much about the monopolistic behaviour of behemoths like Google and Facebook.
When we first met blockchain
In 2017, we accidentally knew about the power of blockchain when a client asked us for some ideas of IoT. During my research of IoT, I have read an article about how blockchain would be applied on IoT and I was stunned.
Due to our years of experience in internet industry, we were able to skip the skeptical phase and changed to a full blockchain mode as we were so excited (or fear?) how blockchain would change the internet.
Started to learn Ethereum and Solidity
We didn’t know much about crypto trading. We were more interested in developing something relating to blockchain. We searched and then found Ethereum and Solidity, and we bought this book in June 2017:
Then we knew that Vitalik was coming to Shenzhen in Aug 2017 for the launch of Ethereum Shenzhen Chapter. We were going for sure:
We were amazed by the concept of Ethereum. But we wanted to build our own chain with our own tokenomics. So we searched for other methods to build the chain. We stopped at Tendermint and its related project Cosmos.
When we first met Cosmos
We were enlightened by the idea of Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman to build Cosmos, the internet of blockchains. We first joined Cosmos Forum in Dec 2017 and planned to use Cosmos SDK to build our chain.
Let’s watch how Jae introduced Cosmos:
To build our own BPoS chain using Cosmos SDK and Tendermint, we need to incubate our validators set. We first have to learn how to become a validator on Cosmos. Our journey as validator was then started.
We have joined Cosmos testnet since April 2018. We were a rare Chinese face who were active in the community and that that was probably why Kwun had been covered in the Q&A Session by Cosmos together with Aural of Dokia Capital and Chris of Chainflow:
Q&A Session — Three Cosmos Validators Share Their Experience
Becoming a Cosmos Validator is a unique opportunity to be a part of a revolutionary project aimed at solving today’s…
We have not stopped the plan to build our own chain. We have built something. Literally we have built our private testnet. We wanted to have a block explorer for our ctestnet with the UX we had dreamed of. So we built our own block explorer.
In Aug 2018, we heard about HackAtom3 by Cosmos. We were quite confident with our block explorer and hence we decided to join the competition. We were the runner-up of the Alerting & Monitoring Category and won a prize of US$5,000 equivalent BTC (i.e. 1.44385 BTC).
This was the birth of Big Dipper, the Cosmos explorer loved by all of you! As of today, Big Dipper has been visited by users from over 2,000 cities of over 120 countries who are using over 110 languages.
Forbole as validator
We have learnt a lot from the fellow Cosmonauts. Joining Cosmos community was the best decision we have made so far in our startup journey. After all the learning, it’s time for real test.
Game of Stakes (Cosmos)
You may treat Game of Stakes as a drill prior to Cosmos Launch. Despite all the dramas and turmoils, Game of Stakes was a success not just to Cosmos community, but to the entire blockchain space.
Forbole was listed as one of the 27 “Never Jailed” winners with a prize of 5,000 atoms.
Incentivised Testnet (IRISnet)
IRISnet is the strategic partner of Cosmos in China. Iris Hub is the first regional hub in Cosmos ecosystem, and will be the first hub to be connected to Cosmos Hub through inter-blockchain communication protocol.
Instead of a one-off competition like Game of Stakes, IRISnet has held a series of Incentivised Testnet. Forbole finished all the stages and ranked #1 with a prize of over 500,000 Iris tokens.
With the launch of the mainnets of both Cosmos Hub and Iris Hub in Mar 2019. This is the real test to us as validators. With the track record and reputation we have earned in the community (and the tactic #PWYW), we currently rank 14th (out of 134) on Cosmos Hub and 9th (out of 122) on Iris Hub (as of 16 May 2019).
Top Validator-as-a-Service in South Asia
Cosmos is such a low-profile project and hence not many people know of its existence, even after the listing of atoms, the native token of Cosmos Hub. But things have changed after platforms like Coin Market Cap and CoinGecko have started to display the market cap of atoms: all of a sudden people saw a new member in the top 20 club.
A rising tide lifts all boats. The rise of Cosmos has helped its validators to gain tractions and Forbole is one of them. We are expanding our validation portfolio which includes terra.money and the testnet of Polkadot. Currently, our asset under delegation exceeds US$18.36m.
Forbole is one of the very few top-tier validators in Cosmos ecosystem with exposures in both Cosmos Hub and Iris Hub, and in both English and Chinese communities. As a member of AppWorks, one of the leading accelerators in Great South East Asia focused in blockchain and AI, we are poised to tap this vast developing market with billions of people. With our presence in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, we are ready to capture this wealthiest and most advanced region of China: Greater Bay Area.
Our original idea of ForboleChain is a BPoS chain for social networking app, on which we will build the first one: Forbole Referral Network. After we have obtained more advices from our investors, advisors and Cosmonauts, we have generated more ideas to be included in ForboleChain. As such, the previous white paper will have breaking changes which will be announced in around 3 to 6 months. Stay tuned!
Working in Forbole
Our achievement as a lean startup
With the support by US$80K investments from 12 angels as of Mar 2019, we have made all the above achievements by Kwun and me only. Below is the highlight of our achievements so far:
- We are creating revenue in cryptos everyday
- We have built a website (i.e. Big Dipper) which are generating organic traffics from all over the world (2,000 cities of 120 countries)
- We have won crypto prizes which currently worth more than US$75K
- We have raised more than US$200K in the past 3 weeks, reactively
- We have been granted service credit by cloud service providers worth US$200K
- We have been accepted by incubation program with future monetary/disbursement/office support worth more than US$100K
- We have gathered an advisor team comprises network infrastructure engineer, ex-ibanker, ex-private banker, HNWIs, family office consultant, CPA, well-established entrepreneurs and university professor.
- We have level up from a nobody in blockchain space to a-little-bit-more-than a nobody
What you can get in Forbole
We need builders to build the products (developers and UX designers) and the community (marketers). Join us and you will experience below:
- Join as an early (pre-seed) teammate in the most promising blockchain startup in the region
- Enjoy the climax of being part of a once-in-a-lifetime revolution
- Work with the top blockchain people (i.e. Cosmonauts)
- Serve the users from all over the world
- Co-build a decentralized company which embraces slash culture and family-friendly
- Enjoy a competitive remuneration package with upside potential (options/RSUs and future tokens of ForboleChain)
The deeper meaning of becoming part of Forbole
Lastly, we hope to have a fast sync with you. There is no absolutely right or wrong values and ideologies. I just would like to ensure you know about ours.
(i) Ignore the naysayer
Forget about the fancy offices with unlimited snacks and PS4, team photos and company t-shirts. We will not spend resources on employer branding at such early stage. What the hell you think we are working on? We are working with the top blockchain people to disrupt the status quo: the corrupted centralized internet.
We will confront a lot of naysayers, from the companies next door to the government officials, from our wives to our sex partners. And we don’t give a damn.
(ii) Be international
I am a native Cantonese user and I got a “D” in my English in public exam. I don’t care if I speak or write poor English. If you need to understand my stuff, you will listen to me and read my contents. The only language we need to speak is a language called “decentralization”.
Be international. This is especially true in Asia region which makes shitcoins to prevail. Most of the people here in Hong Kong, Taipei and Shenzhen don’t use Twitter and Medium. We need to admit that our regions are lagging behind the blockchain development in the west. But now Forbole can become the bridge. Follow the right opinion leaders and then develop our own opinions.
Being Hong Kong founders don’t make us to prefer candidates from Hong Kong. This is meritocracy that matters.
(iii) quasi-cofounders mindset
Working for a project without sense of ownership is a waste of time. Requiring cofounders mindset without granting the sense of ownership is bullshit. We will provide a remuneration package to optimize the goal congruence of all the teammates, while we are flexible enough to tailor-made the package to reflect individual’s expectation.
If you want to keep your current day-time job but want to work with us on some interesting projects, talk to us. But please keep in mind we will not afford your learning. Spending time to learn cool stuff is the price you need to pay in order to get an entry pass to this top league.
If you want to work with us as a full-time but still want to develop your own venture, we are happy to help.
(iv) Don’t trust. Verify.
I suppose this is self-explanatory. But don’t trust me. Verify.