AMA Highlights — Conflux Network
On Wednesday 11 November we welcomed Camilla Caban, Sami Tannir, and Christian Oertel from Conflux Network into the Hillrise Capital Telegram chat for an AMA.
Conflux Network is a public permissionless network built to drive the next generation of global commerce through a suite of dApps. With most of their traction in Asia, Conflux has released notable collaboration with Chinese governmental entities, including setting up a data management system for a data training lab (Hunan) and a research lab (Shanghai).
After a successful launch of their ‘Tethys’ mainnet last month, we were looking forward to talking in depth about the future of Conflux.
In this post, we have compiled key questions and answers from the event.
Daniel Dal Bello
Thanks for being here. We have been looking forward to planning this one for several months now and you’ve achieved a lot along the way. Could we start some with introductions?
Thank you for joining us today! Had a great time reading up on Conflux and the massive amount of initiatives that you’re involved in!
For sure. I started my background in startup marketing. I have had two of my own startups previously and I got into cryptocurrency in 2017. Then I joined the Conflux team in March 2020 when they decided to expand into North America and open an office in Toronto, Canada.
Hi everyone, my name is Sami, I am a DeFi analyst for Conflux here in Toronto — look forward to answering your questions today!
Sure thing! First of all, thanks to Hillrise Capital for inviting us to the AMA today!
I’m Chris, and I am half German and half Chinese. I got my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering in Hamburg, and then worked at Volkswagen and built-up a brand new factory in Lae, Papua New Guinea.
Then I started my Masters Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing. During my Master’s at Tsinghua University I co-founded the Tsinghua International Blockchain Association (TIBA), was a senior project manager at a global crypto-fund and incubator ‘Blockchain Founders Fund’, and co-founded an enterprise blockchain-as-a-service platform before joining Conflux Network.
Daniel Dal Bello
We see a lot of blockchain projects focused solely on isolated geographic markets in this space. Engaging with the Asian market and vice versa for projects based in the East can often be a challenge. As you are already well established in Asia and even backed by Chinese governmental organisations and have already established the Open DeFi initiative in the Western market.
What’s next when it comes to expansion?
Both are great questions. For the Global office in Toronto, we have been focusing on expanding a lot in Latin America. We recently kicked off a Spanish community on Telegram with two new ambassadors from Chile and Argentina as well as we’re building out a community in Brazil. We believe LATAM is an untapped emerging market.
To jump right in, as you are actively building Conflux and the ecosystem that comes with it in collaboration with partners all over the world, how has COVID-19 impacted your operations? I can imagine it being a bit of a strain on a foundation like yours which is involved in many events and collaborations with other companies.
This was definitely a tricky time, we had to start thinking very quickly how to engage with our communities online. It is definitely tricky when you are trying to build out a community and engage and you can’t physically be there to do that.
The global office also worked for months without meeting in person for the first time until August.
However, I think what we have been able to achieve within these hard short months has been amazing.
Well, Beijing was the place where everything started for Conflux, so building a community in China was a logical choice. Besides the great secondary market in China, there are many great blockchain developer communities, VCs, crypto-funds, etc. but Conflux and crypto is not just something for the Chinese community, it’s meant for everyone in the world. Therefore we have been expanding our communities all over the world and have roughly 100k community members worldwide.
COVID-19 is tough for everyone, hopefully everyone joining us today was not impacted too much and are healthier than ever!
It was weird at first to not travel around all the time and meet people physically, but thanks to modern technology, everyone is able to connect, discuss, and create online.
Daniel Dal Bello
We have recently taken an interest in NFT’s, looking into everything from applications in securities, gaming and trading. We’d be very interested in getting to know a bit more about your Tspace NFT market and how it stacks up against other marketplaces such as Opensea. Will there be any exciting innovations from your side?
As a follow-up, as Conflux is involved in so many different aspects of the blockchain space, what do you see as some of the more promising future applications?
For example, what would you see as a possible way for NFTs to evolve?
Yes, from the conversations we have had with our community and partners, I think that the NFT ecosystem on Conflux is going to shape out to be very unique. tSpace will be the hub of all the developments on our chain, you can expect it to eventually feature NFTs from other chains with an NFT bridge, as well as host games on their own like the BlindBox — which gives you an airdrop of a random ConfiCity NFT by putting up some CFX.
We also hope that we can further develop NFT staking on our tSpace application with partners like MoonSWAP, after one of our first NFTs sold for over $5,000, we are very excited to see what comes out of this marketplace!
Sami nailed it. We have really taken an eager approach towards NFTs and we’re really excited about the space. There is a lot of creativity there and it’s a way to really help bring mass adoption to the space.
I believe that in the early stages, Conflux will be a rich ecosystem of DeFi applications and NFT-based protocols. Luckily for our amazing set of partners we are exploring innovative ways to combine the two, can’t give too much away but wouldn’t it be amazing if you could lock up an NFT as collateral for a loan? 😉
Beyond near-term developments, I think Conflux will be known for more than its dApps, rather our bridges.
When developers think of our blockchain we want them to know that beyond the typical scalability you can achieve on most chains, Conflux will be the chain with bridges to everything whether that be other layer-1 blockchains, privacy layers, metaverses, just about anything.
This is when Conflux will become interesting, I think with arbitrary messaging and cross-chain bridges we have a unique opportunity to capture what hasn’t been done before.
And then let our community of developers take the concept of money-legos into full on cross-chain liquidity-legos on Conflux!
That would be an amazing way to capture even more value within the ecosystem. Are you currently working out such use cases?
Yes, you would be amazed with the things you can do with increased throughput and deep developer tools. Even beyond this loan idea we are also exploring re-fungible tokens and their many use cases in art, IP, DeFi, and tokenized stocks. I think with NFTs we are just scratching the surface really.
Daniel Dal Bello
While reading the economic paper we noted comparisons made referring to Ethereum. These were regarding adoption, market capitalization and gas costs for example.
To what extent do you see yourself as an Ethereum competitor, and where do you see Conflux being positioned in the blockchain landscape moving forward now past your mainnet launch?
That’s a great question! Currently, I don’t see ourselves as true competitors to Ethereum. The crypto and blockchain ecosystem is so small compared to traditional finance. All projects together are just a grain of sand on a beach in comparison.
Bitcoin and Ethereum both have groundbreaking achievements for our industry, but to really bring it to the masses and stand up to traditional finance, we need to up the game with higher throughput, lower transactions speeds, and high levels of security. Features that Conflux has and can provide for scaling crypto and blockchain industry.
In comparison to Ethereum, Conflux is the only state-endorsed blockchain company in China. All other Chinese projects aren’t. Just over the last couple of weeks Huobi’s COO was taken in by the police and the CEO of OKEx as well.
“In comparison to Ethereum, Conflux is the only state-endorsed blockchain company in China. All other Chinese projects aren’t.”
Besides making improving the UX for using crypto, regional regulation will be of high importance for more real-life use-cases!
At Conflux, we do respect the regulations. Together with the Shanghai government, we created the Tree-Graph Research Center, where Conflux, and other high-level stakeholders will shape the future landscape!
Daniel Dal Bello
Just wanted to touch on this in a bit more detail. You have established your Tree-Graph Research Institute in partnership with both the Shanghai government and Hunan Key Laboratory of Blockchain Infrastructure & Applications. How did these partnerships come to be and how has your experience with this initiative been so far?
The RC [research center] in Shanghai is very important to us! It’s located in Shanghai, the financial center of China, where most of the nationwide financial regulations are initiated. With the municipal government in China we are discussing about how to better regulate permissionless blockchain in China. The thing is, private blockchains are heavily endorsed in China since 2018, but permissionless blockchains aren’t due to the many scams happening and the ICO boom.
But China also knows that they cannot ban permissionless blockchains, so they choose reputable industry partners to create new regulations. Besides the governmental collaborations, we also get connected with leaders from other industries. This is great to explore new territories for blockchain implementation!
I noticed that you’ve raised $35 million in 2018 from some very notable investors. While reading up on Conflux I noticed that for example developer grants are paid out in CFX, why did you decide on incentivizing developers through tokens instead of fiat?
I really like the idea mentioned in the whitepaper — where CFX will have to be spent on mining fees before released to the network contributors.
This is a really great question. You have done your homework. As a non-profit organization, the Conflux Foundation’s main task is to offer incentives for the builders and maintainers involved in the ecosystem. 40% of the genesis tokens are dedicated to the Ecosystem Fund which means it will be offered to community developers supporting the dApps being built on Conflux.
The grants program is designed to rapidly fuel the dApp ecosystem on Conflux Network and the incentives are aligned to bring more liquidity on-chain for increased traction and growth of these new products being built. Shuttleflow cross-chain bridge and CFX listing on many exchanges today provides the additional flexibility to the teams to manage their internal operations and finances.
It was so refreshing to see that! We’re so used to teams holding a major percentage of tokens to themselves. Approaching this all from a foundation perspective is truly amazing.
I do wonder, how does your community feel about the size of these grants? As I assume that they’ll have to be sold on the open market at some point.
This batch of tokens is distributed monthly over a 4-year period. When issuing grants we work closely with teams to create the most optimal strategy for vesting the tokens at a time that would work for them as well as for our trading community. We are confident that the teams we work with are for Conflux in the long-term based on our lengthy interviews and relationships we have developed with them.
40% distributed to those developing the community, in the end, is better then allocating majority of tokens to investors and team members! Getting this token in as many hands as possible is key, especially in the hands of those willing to dedicate time to developing our ecosystem.
Hillrise Capital is an independent research and advisory firm exclusively focused on blockchain startups and crypto-assets.
Conflux Network is a public permissionless network built to drive the next generation of global commerce through a suite of dApps.