Inside NEM Episode 41

Alexandra Tinsman
May 30, 2018 · 11 min read

Consensus Trade Show Recap, NEM Private Blockchain Releases To Everyone and Exclusive Interview with Ken Huang from DistributedApps.

This episode highlights the release of Catapult on the private chain, our presence at the Consensus trade show in New York as well as a sampling of real companies building and deploying on the NEM blockchain. I also interview Ken Huang (at the 9:37 mark) on why he’s a big supporter of NEM. — Alexandra


In this episode, I’m going to focus on the roll out of Catapult, the NEM permission blockchain now open to everyone last week and what this means for NEM. I’ll also give a recap of the Consensus trade show in New York and the partners who shared the NEM Pavilion with us.


Many of you know about the latest (and biggest) product update to the NEM Blockchain by its codename — Catapult. It represents a commercial open source approach to an enterprise distributed ledger built by our partner, Tech Bureau. Right, branding is a bit confusing. It’s called Catapult. It’s called mijin. It’s called NEM. I’m going to simplify it and call it NEM’s private chain in this video.

NEM Blockchain Consensus 2018 Highlight Video


Now for Consensus, the biggest blockchain trade show of the year. We kicked off Day 1 of Consensus with Tech Bureau releasing the NEM private blockchain software for everyone to use — this is a massive step toward making the entire NEM ecosystem genuinely open for enterprises of all sizes. What does this mean for the future of NEM?

We’ll see new private and public chains emerge as a result of this. NEM is now an easy “instant” blockchain solution for companies.

So my take on the show is that this was a very different show from the 2017 Consensus that NEM attended last year. The venue this year was packed with over 8,000 attendees, and everything still felt cramped in our 2,050 square foot Pavilion space. We had planned to have presentations non-stop throughout the show, but the room was packed all the time it wasn’t feasible. That’s why you didn’t see live streaming presentations from our partners.

On day 2 I got a chance to walk the trade show floor and visit the other Consensus exhibitors. I saw a lot more financial institutions and hedge funds attend the show this year which undoubtedly changed the tone of the event. More suits, fewer hoodies means financial companies are paying attention.

But I was disappointed to see the lack of real products on the show floor. There were so many booths with nothing to show but white papers or alpha demos. I want to see more products and companies deploying on the blockchain. This is key to the industry growing.

Deploying products is NEM’s strategy. We are one of the only blockchains that are deploying real businesses instead of roadmaps and whitepapers. And we couldn’t do it without our fantastic partners. We decided to fly in 20+ partner companies and have them show how easy and powerful it was to deploy their business on NEM and demonstrate working products. Here’s a few of those partners:

He3Labs is a full-service blockchain consulting, architecting and development company. They also specialize in economic analysis, which is sometimes called tokenomics. And they have a legal consulting arm to help you deal with contract and securities issues.

He3 Labs is a complete solution for companies that are looking to deploy a blockchain but may not have the expertise or resources to do so. And the Founders have been with NEM from the very early days!

He3Labs showed off their technical skills by bringing a working demo of multiple business use cases built on the actual Catapult chain, which had only fully released a few days beforehand. That was impressive. (See video above for working demo.)

I don’t want to steal the thunder of our other 3rd party service providers. We had a few others in the NEM Pavilion including the outstanding development team at KChain, and of course ASTA out of Australia, which has a big group of talented developers and a lot of successful projects in their portfolio.

Next up is LoyalCoin. This is one of my favorite businesses on NEM. It’s a customer loyalty asset that is replacing traditional loyalty rewards points systems. So just like conventional rewards points, LoyalCoin can be used to redeem rewards from any participating merchant. That way, your points from one merchant/store can be redeemed on every other merchant/store within the system. And merchants get benefits from using it.

Many businesses use LoyalCoin from airlines to convenience stores. I think of them as the stealth loyalty program taking over the crypto economy. They are starting to pop up everywhere because every company needs a trusted and useful engagement tool that can instantly be deployed. Loyalty points are universal for engaging with customers.

Next, I want to talk about Bankorus. This is the first AI-powered, crypto-wealth management platform and security token marketplace built on the blockchain. They provide high Net Worth Individuals with a full suite of safe, KYC-compliant solutions for accessing crypto. This is a huge deal.

Bankorus is turning traditional or illiquid assets — real estate, farmland, art, VC, hedge fund, bonds, etc. — into liquid digital assets through tokenization. You can buy and sell digital assets on their security token marketplace as well as borrow crypto against existing assets. This is a game changer for investors who care about being compliant and also want to manage their wealth in the new digital economy.

Let’s talk about the merchant side. Right now, people tend to hodl. But it won’t always be this way. In fact, we have partners now that are making it easier than ever to do your shopping with cryptos. One of these companies is Paytomat.

They are enabling retail usage of cryptos through a decentralized network of point-of-sale terminals. The POS terminals make it easy for retailers to accept not only VISA, MasterCard, American Express, but they can now allow XEM, Dash, ETH, and Bitcoin.

Over 150 merchants already use their product in Ukraine, and the number is growing. We will see more of this across the globe from merchants. You need to pay attention to this business model because it’s working.

These are just a few of the partners that were in the NEM Pavilion. We had a lot more, but I will have to cover those at a later date.

Overall Consensus was a huge success for NEM. We had tons of interest from companies, organizations, and even government representatives, all of whom were interested in learning more about NEM.

Ken Huang, CEO and Founder of Distributed Business Applications

Last but not least I wanted to share an exclusive interview with a pretty recognizable face you may have seen at blockchain industry events. I had a chance to talk with Ken Huang, the CEO and Founder of DistributedApps. He’s both an investor and strong supporter of NEM.

Ken: My name is Ken Huang and I’m basically an investor and also the adviser for a few very successful blockchain projects. I was a keynote speaker presenting at the Consensus panel alongside Venny Lingham from Civic, Joseph from Shift Network and Marc Hochstein from Coindesk.

I am also an adviser for NULS and IOST and quite a few other good project PENTA. These are hugely successful projects.

I am not an adviser for NEM. I am an investor. I own a decent number of XEM coins. The reason why I’m holding and purchasing the XEM coin is that I like the technology NEM has. NEM is building a good ecosystem.

The reason why I’m holding and purchasing the XEM coin is that I like the technology NEM has. NEM is building a good ecosystem. — Ken Huang

It has a public and private chain as well as consortium chain. It has the multi-signature built on the protocol layer to ensure the security of the NEM chain. It also has the off-chain smart contracts so basically it reduces the security issues which plague the Ethereum network. So that’s one thing I think is really good.

Also off-chain execution is much faster than the on-chain smart contraction execution. Overall I like the approaches [NEM] is taking. I know Steve Li (lead of NEM China) very well and some of the other people from a past company I worked for, Huobi. I actually gave a big lecture [presentation] to Huobi about blockchain to about 1,500 people. Actually because of me one person in my lecture left Huobi to join NEM! (laughs) This year there is quite a few that left Huobi and start their own company. I think it’s good, it’s good thing for blockchain overall development.

The reason why I’m an adviser of a few projects is that I think I will make a better contribution to the whole ecosystem of the advancement of the blockchain by advising. Many people, including some top investors say, “Hey! You should launch your own coin and we will invest in you, right!” (joking) I say if I do my own chain maybe I can gain a lot of money. Financially it would be more profitable for me.

Alex: I would invest in you.

Ken: Then I would do a few projects. Socially I would do more in terms of the ecosystem as a whole for blockchain technology. It’s better I just work as an adviser.

Alex: Thank you for that. I think a lot of people look at and want to know which coins to pick and they focus on price. What I love that you just said is that price is not what you are focusing on… you are focusing on the platform, technology and team. And you recognize that NEM has potential because the team behind it and the features — my voice is cracking from the show! — the team and features that you see are really strong on the NEM platform.

Ken: Exactly! I certainly didn’t look at the price. I really look at the technology and the team. And the teams that I’m advising, I don’t look at the price. I look for the same thing. Like the NULS team, I was attending their session yesterday in New York [at Consensus] and I was talking about why I joined the NULS team as an adviser. So the same thing. The technology they have is modulized. They use micro service and enterprise approach. In a certain way, it’s a similar approach [to NEM] with the enterprise consortium as well as the private chain. So similar idea. It’s similar but not direct competition with NEM. The market is huge. I think they are complimentary and maybe I have you connect with each other. That may be the way!

Alex: We actually talk about this. We are not adverse to other blockchains. I think people need to look at their company and their company’s needs and figure out “do I need smart contracts?” or “do I need plugins like on NEM?” What are they using [blockchain]for? How is the technology being used? Who are the teams behind it? I think what you’re talking about… the due diligence to look into the teams is important. This is a small industry and the NEM team likes meeting with other teams and platforms.

Ken: One thing I realized is that NEM is doing very good work in terms of technology and the system. They look at what has been done and are doing the work. I think it’s good you guys are at Consensus and now is the time to make people aware of NEM’s system outside of Asia… Go to Europe and North America. I think it’s good.

Alex: Last year we had a 10x10 booth — very small! This year we decided that we’re going to tell the NEM story but we’re going to do it through the 20+ partners that have real businesses and deployed on NEM and showcase THEM. So this was a very different booth than any other booth at Consensus because we had real companies building on NEM that we showcased and we told our stories through them.

Ken: Yeah, I think this is the best way. If you look at people currently they are really attracted to public chain. They have imagination that public chain could bypass Bitcoin and that Ethereum has a huge market cap. But why? You have to have a real application. That’s what I’m focusing on. I think that maybe it’s still early and people look at the public chains popping up but after a few years, people look at the public chain and platform that actually has the application. So the way you showcased here is good!

If you look at people currently they are really attracted to public chain. They have imagination that public chain could bypass Bitcoin and that Ethereum has a huge market cap. But why? You have to have a real application. That’s what I’m focusing on. — Ken Huang

That’s all I have for today. Thanks for watching! We have a lot of great things that happened at Consensus and the future of NEM is looking very bright. If you have a question about any of these projects or partners you can reach out to me on Telegram at @dyNEMite. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, and until next time I’ll see you on Inside NEM!

For more information about the NEM Foundation and its mission, you can follow us on Twitter, at Inside NEM or visit our website.

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