Ben Lee Interview
By CR Press
Translated by Joel
Can you give us information about yourself, your background, and your education?
I graduated from the Shaanxi University of Finance and Economics (now merged with Xi’an Jiaotong University) in economics information management. I have had more than twenty years work experience in financial, IT, and real estate industries, and I have been engaged in human resources management for ten years.
What were you doing before becoming involved in Elastos? How did you find out about Elastos, and why did you join Elastos?
At the beginning of 2017, I resigned from my job in human resource management, and decided to travel. I learned about blockchain technology during my travels and started to learn about Bitcoin.
In a community meetup event, I met Mr. Rong Chen and learned about the Elastos project. I was invited to join the team.
You are one of the three directors of Elastos Foundation. How did you become a director and what are your roles and responsibilities?
At the anniversary meeting on August 25, 2018, it was announced that CR was beginning its preparation phase. The operations of CR and the Elastos Foundation are independent. For this reason, Mr. Yipeng Su, the former director of the Foundation, resigned as a director of the Foundation and recommended that I take over as the director of the Foundation. The suggestion obtained the consent of both Mr. Chen and Mr. Feng.
My responsibilities are mainly in the day-to-day operation management and inter-disciplinary coordination within the founding team.
Do you talk and communicate with Feng Han and Rong Chen regularly or have meetings to align yourselves to make important decisions together? How do you decide what the next steps are for Elastos?
Yes, the Council often communicates and exchanges ideas in a variety of ways.
The Elastos founding team adopts holacracy. Each team is responsible for their disciplines. Our common goal is to realize a safe, credible, and resource-scarce Smart Web driven by blockchain.
Regular meetings are held to communicate work progress and problems in different disciplines. I participate in the discussions. On the whole, we follow the advice of the individual teams. When we encounter issues related to several teams, we will all come forward and discuss the issues and reach an agreement, eventually.
How do you stay informed of Elastos News and Cyber Republic news? Do you read Elastos Biweekly Updates, CR Biweekly updates, or do you get your news from other sources?
I learn about Cyber Republic news primarily through the website. Yes, I will read about the CR-related news whenever I have time. Due to my native language, I participate more in Chinese WeChat groups, telegram groups, and Huoxin groups. By doing this, I also learn more about the recent activities of the community.
Any particular projects you’ve seen that you would like to be built on top of Elastos?
Smart Web is a new, decentralized internet that provides a secure, trusted, and scarce business environment. This new business environment requires business rules (i.e., code or programs) for decentralized operations, and also, users own their personal data. The former explains the mutual benefits of business rules, “Business on Smart Web must be mutually beneficial,” (Rong Chen) and the need for decentralized operations to build trust, “The attributes of DApp code are public,”(Yipeng Su) and the latter realizes value by endowing private ownership to digital property “Smart Web is an Internet of Wealth,” (Feng Han).
Along these lines, we can imagine that there will be many projects built in the Elastos ecosystem in the future. They serve their users by running their own business rules through their respective consensus. These consensuses are not only on the several servers run by the project (of course, this is also a way), but run on the many nodes in the community. These nodes may run several commercial consensuses at the same time, or only one specialized consensus. These nodes may also be the Elastos DPoS consensus nodes. You can now see on chat apps like Hyper, AnyPeer, etc., that only users can terminate them and no other entities are able to restrict access.
The above mentioned new business environment may look too much like an ideal, but it is the future to decentralize running code and securing data on a Smart Web. Of course, the ecology is rich and diverse, and the development process is gradually evolving. We strongly look forward to everyone actively participating in building the Smart Web ecosystem in various ways.
What are the three biggest obstacles for Elastos? From your perspective, how should these obstacles to be dealt with?
It is more appropriate to use the word “challenges” than “obstacles”. Elastos has achieved many achievements and encountered many challenges over the 2+ years. Fighting off each challenge involves everyone’s united effort and the cooperation of the many teams. When talking about the current challenges, they can be briefly summarised as follows:
- Further development and improvement of the Smart Web infrastructure are needed. If treating the internet as a computer or a computer that is started on demand, it is not an easy task to present a new internet that users can actually see and use. This requires a deep understanding and comprehension of the underlying architecture of computers, operating systems, etc.; it requires knowledge on how to clearly put the technology into practice; and it requires the practical knowledge of the engineering team to write the code. Fortunately, we already have these three elements. The next step is to achieve the goals according to the project plan.
- The prosperity of the Smart Web is inseparable from the construction of the ecosystem. It needs to attract a large number of developers and teams, not just for building code. They should have the ability to conduct operations, and they can be regarded as the startup teams on the Smart Web.
- It has to promote the stable operation of the CRC.
What other ecosystem projects or teams are you part of?
Presently, I have devoted all my efforts to the internal operations of the Elastos founding team and do not participate in any ecosystem projects or teams.
You lead the Elastos Operations Team with Rebecca. Can you explain what the team does day-to-day?
The responsibilities of the operation team include human resources, finance and digital asset management, legal affairs, etc. Human resources handles recruitment, assumption of duty, salary payment, social security payment, resignation, etc., and assisting team management. Administrative work is to ensure order in the office environment and to handle legal risks of business cooperation, together with the legal affairs team. Financial and digital asset management, on the one hand, maintains the daily expenses of the Foundation, while ensuring the safety of digital assets and security. These are to ensure that the Foundation can run smoothly.
The operations team provides services to the founding team, as well as paying attention to cost savings, process management, and compliance. The internal work of each professional team is managed by the team itself. When encountering cross-disciplinary or multi-team work, the operations team will participate in it, facilitate reaching agreements as soon as possible, and supervising implementations according to plans. In terms of compliance, the operations team promptly reminds teams to pay attention to their work, and actively communicates with compliance-related bodies to ensure that the Foundation can legally carry out their work throughout the process.
What are your thoughts on the recently released CRC Whitepaper?
The CRC whitepaper is the third layer of consensus on the Elastos mainchain. In the blockchain industry, a consensus mechanism is provided for community governance.
CRC is a community-run governance that does not have a bias in itself.
Personally, I see CRC as a practical model that puts communal autonomy and community-run projects into use.
Do you have any plans to run for CR Council in the future?
Currently, I devote all my efforts to the internal operations of the Elastos founding team, and I haven’t considered running for Council at present.
Who will represent Elastos and CR at the W3C and DIF after the Elastos Foundation disbands? What will you do after the transition?
At present, it is the Elastos Foundation that is representing Elastos in the W3C and DIF. It is not clear who will represent Elastos in these two organizations after the dissolution of the Foundation. I would say the community team most familiar with W3C and DIF will represent Elastos.
Since the beginning of CR, the Foundation has focused on infrastructure development and this will last for a while. After the CR interim period, I’ll still assume the current duties at the Foundation.
Anything else you’d like to say or share with the community?
Elastos is a very large project that provides a brand-new business environment. Its success is inseparable from the expansion of the community and the development of the ecosystem, which requires the efforts of all community members. CR is a good mechanism for brainstorming collectively, motivating communities to actively participate, and harnessing community power. I hope more and more people will come to join CR.