Exclusive Interview to Nebulas Technical Director Dr. Joel

Published in
8 min readAug 24, 2018


On March 30, 2018, Dr. Joel set out from San Diego to San Francisco to participate in the Nebulas mainnet launch ceremony and had a long talk with Hitters Xu, the founder of the Nebulas. After the conversation, Dr. Joel decided to return to China. Within two weeks, he bid farewell to the American company he was with for five years, dealing with cars and houses, returning to Beijing to join Nebulas.

In his past life, Dr. Joel enjoyed a successful business and entrepreneurship and comfortable American life. Now, a new beginning of entrepreneurship will be opened in China.

“I made some sacrifices”, says Dr. Joel, who was less than a year and a half away from being eligible for a US green card, but “it was more important to seize opportunities, and Nebulas is a real opportunity.” In his view, blockchain has broad prospects and unlimited possibilities. Moreover, China presents a favorable environment for entrepreneurs and a place where he can leverage his experience from the US. Third, Dr. Joel believes in the vision of Nebulas and its founder, whose philosophies are consistent with his own ideals.

A new departure, and a change in environment, yet the unwavering constant is Dr. Joel firm belief in technology.

Dr. Joel describes himself as “a person who is quite cautious in the eyes of others,” and any decision he made is based on rational analysis. This stems from his technical origins in “engineering.” When he was young, he participated in the famous NOI (National Olympiad in Informatics) , a student programming competition, and won the first prize. When he was a university student, Dr. Joel chose a computing major, specializing in parallel computing and distributed computing. During his master’s degree in Computer Science at Tsinghua University, Dr. Joel participated in several national-level project evaluations in the field of supercomputers. Supercomputers are the heavy tools of the country. Some well-known scientific research results are just the tip of the iceberg. Astronomical research, disaster warning, mineral development, national defense research… countless complex fields need to contain tens of thousands of nodes. This computing facility, which happens to be the same with blockchain, is also a multi-node distributed computing system. This experience laid the foundation for his future entry into the blockchain field.

When he worked as a Ph.D, this is the time for him to step into practice. In 2010, mobile internet started prospering, users left loads of data on platforms Twitter, Facebook and Google. Dr. Joel and his friends planned to establish a database to integrate personal information. In 2013, the company launched and Dr. Joel led the research, designing and marketing. During the program, the team adjusted the direction to aimed events, specifically providing services for business conferences. In their products, information can be matched with conventioneers, and then imported to an agenda and loaded with formatted data, greatly improving efficiency.

Through this venture, Dr. Joel changed from a researcher to a business operator. At present, more than 10,000 conferences around the world use his product every year, and the company has achieved break-even from the pure investment stage. With his business on the right track, he has already bought a house in the United States, and for the first time in his life, he has entered a stable period outside school. But again, Dr. Joel, who can’t help but watch, is keenly observing that the blockchain is quietly coming to the fore.

“Blockchain has no pure technological innovation. Many of the underlying technologies have been around for a long time, but it is a great initiative to combine these elements to solve some problems.” Dr. Joel’s interest in blockchain stems from a technical perspective of long-term concern, not a whim. In 2013, he participated in a research project on bitcoin information security and firstly contacted the blockchain, and later witnessed the rise of Ethereum. He began to think deeply about relationship of the blockchain and his familiar distributed computing domain. After paying attention to a lot of projects, I finally found a project that resonated with him, Nebulas.

“Nebulas is doing the right thing, and the team really understands blockchain technology. Otherwise, they can’t raise the core issues like NR, NI and NF. For a simple example, about the Incentive Program, motivating miners is not as good as motivating developers. Creating a prosperous ecology fits my technical perspective. The process may be difficult, but we are moving in the right direction.”

Hence he had the conversation with the founder of Nebulas at the invitation of Fan Xuepeng, the head of the Nebulas research team in early 2018. The technical vision of Nebulas and the passion of the founder left a deep impression on him. They both shared a belief that technology can change the world and in the power and miracle of developers. The passion of Nebulas workers for blockchain impressed Dr. Joel and something the Nebulas founder said struck him, who was beginning to feel restless about the comfort of living in the United States. “When we used to come to Silicon Valley we thought it was a pilgrimage. Now we are in a different mood because we believe that Silicon Valley will eventually be overtaken.”

Upon joining Nebulas, Dr. Joel dedicated himself to developing the consensus algorithm and expanding technology research. During this period, he began to study the underlying technology agreement in detail, and track relevant academic progress at research centers at home and abroad. Harnessing the latest research achievements in the academic community and the blockchain industry, Joel summed up a whole set of knowledge maps of blockchain and made in-depth analyses of the technical design for the expansion of blockchain. During the months, he assisted the technical department in their efforts to improve the performance of the Nebulas public chain. Throughout the “Nebulas Incentive Program” from May to July, the Nebulas mainnet ran smoothly with the surge in usage and daily trading volume.

In this process, he felt that the technology itself could not balance the security and decentralization while greatly improving the performance of the blockchain. An effective “incentive mechanism” must be introduced in, and it is necessary to design a game system that guarantees a highly fair and safe system. Only on the basis of certain technology and a reasonable game system design, is it possible to improve the blockchain TPS while ensuring the security and decentralization of the blockchain.

Faith in technology made Joel a staunch supporter of blockchain. Although blockchain technology is currently in its infancy and is not widely recognized, he believes in doing research to prepare for the future is a good choice. “At present, everyone is using various methods to create use cases for blockchain technology. Because they are immature, there are many opportunities. The technology needs to be improved constantly. For example, when WeChat did not have mobile Internet in the 1990s, it was not created, but after 2010, it ushered in its own space. At present, we should improve the technology, with special focus on the underlying technology through applied research. “It took more than ten years for the Internet to go from laboratory to the public life, but I believe blockchain will take less time,” says Joel. Accordingly, he transferred his work from research to ecosystem development, pushing the Nebulas tech to practice, and building more entry points for the community and users.

Currently these techs are being promoted:

NAS nano: In addition to supporting NAS transactions and DApp usage, it also supports token asset management for the NRC20 protocol based on the Nebulas. It will support iOS, Android, and web, and it is applicable to different application scenarios. NAS nano will be the entry and starting point for the Nebulas ecosystem.

NebPay SDK: Develop a unique mobile interface based on existing NAS nano, enabling mobile DApp developers to have a more secure and fast interface to Nebulas transactions. It can open use cases on the mobile blockchain application.

DApp Store: After several months of “Nebulas Developer Incentive Program”, many excellent DApps have emerged on the Nebulas public chain. Nebulas will provide users with a system similar to DApp Store, with developer registration, submitting DApp and other functions. It also provides users with recommendations, search and other related depth options to lay the foundation for the Nebulas public chain to become a search engine on the blockchain. The new DApp Store will also be integrated into NAS nano for easy access and use by the ecosystem users of the Nebulas public chain.

Mainnet Explore: With the advancement of the underlying technology, Nebulas is upgrading the Mainnet Explore. It will provide users and developers with a more valuable and more reflective data for the display and distribution of NR values.

On August 7, 2018, Nebulas announced a new architectural adjustment. Joel served as the technical director and is fully responsible for the ecosystem development team. This is motivation and more responsibility. He said: “I will always keep the ecosystem things going and do well.”

There is no end to technical work. Joel has come all the way to find self-worth in the technical world. In his eyes, Nebulas provides a good platform for exploration: “The blockchain field has its own ‘impossible triangle’: scalability, decentralization, and security are not compatible. Bitcoin is for safety and decentralization sacrificing scalability, EOS sacrifices decentralization. Next, we should explore more balanced model and scientific incentives. This is why I think the Nebulas’ NR, NI, NF will definitely contribute. Here is the value of the Nebulas vision and its technology.”

Looking back at abandoning the comfortable environment of the United States and returning to the country to join the Nebulas in the past few months, Joel felt a lot. “A great company’s purpose is not to make money. It must be a firm belief in one thing, and to serve people through this matter, making money is a by-product after the achievement of this result.” Nebulas’ insistence on technology was the first thing that tempted him to join. “Faith makes things more pure, just like the Nebulas co-founder Areo Wang said: ‘You won’t get things you don’t believe.’ I believe in technology, believe in blockchain, so every day in the Nebulas, I feel very fulfilling, the potential of the whole body was mobilized.”

People are determined by faith and more fulfilled by struggle. Faith in technology let Dr. Joel choose the blockchain and choose the Nebulas. “The blockchain is the vent the trend and the future. We choose to do a good job of technology and ecology, and do a group of people who can fly even if the wind stops.” He is already on the road, and he is fully engaged with the team. The Nebulas creates more value for the blockchain world. Referring to what this investment can bring to himself, Joel said that he always believed in the saying of Hitters Xu, the founder of Nebulas: “Don’t ask what the blockchain can do for you, ask what you can do for the blockchain. Blockchain itself will motivate you.”


The most appreciated company:

PayPal. Appreciated reasons:The founder team, it also succeeded in creating many more successful companies later, it is a legendary company

Google. Appreciated reasons:The commanding heights of Internet technology, changing the way people live and access information

Amazon. Appreciated reasons: Step by step from the small and specialized field to become an unsurpassable industry benchmark

Most appreciated person:

Elon Musk, Peter Thiel




nebulas.io / Nebulas is a next generation public blockchain, aiming for a continuously improving ecosystem.