Elastos community governance is about to step into a new stage. After more than a year’s efforts, reparations for the project have been basically done. The CR website basically took shape, which was made up by the sections including CR articles of association, suggestions, proposals, CR forum, CR weekly and so on.
community members who intend to participate in the CR election are setting about making preparations for the election. And recently, CR Hearld is about to interview those Community candidates, so that we can get a statement of their opinions and relevant experience and competence on CR forum or through community channels.
Let’s start !
Elastos Foundation Writer, Era of Quantum Wealth co-author, Quantum Wealth Supernode Owner, without a home base.
- Could you please introduce your educational background, profession, and interests?
I studied Finance and Accounting at the University of Maryland, with concentrations in Quantitative Finance and Data Analytics. After I graduated from university, I began investing in the stock market on my own accord. As 2017 got under way, all of my investments appreciated dramatically — namely, the usual suspects: Apple, Tesla, Facebook, and the like. It occured to me that for better or worse, the present economic infrastructure represents a zero-sum game: for every winner, there is a loser — or worse yet, many losers. I knew that about one in twenty actively managed domestic investment funds beat indexes, and determined that my own supposed superlative performance was not to do with savvy stock selection, but rather with fortunate coincidence with a broader macroeconomic current. I accepted a sobering truth: in spite of the four years and change I had spent studying at university and the decade-and-a-half I had spent as an economic participant, I knew nothing about money, its characteristics, or its creation.
By part curiosity and part concern, I set off to understand the forces driving markets, economic indicators, and my own haphazard success. Along my research journey, I eventually stumbled onto Money Masters, a three-and-a-half hour ’90s documentary that permanently changed my course in life. In the film, historian Bill Still unravels the history of money in excruciating detail, demarcating money from currency and explaining the mechanics of money creation, debt issuance, central banking, and the fundamentals of economic cycles in the process. The documentary reshaped my perspective on investment, economic liberty, and monetary sensibility, and triggered a pivotal awakening within me. From there forward, my disenchantment with financial markets, derivatives instruments, and fiat currencies alike led me to an exploration of alternative investment vehicles, forms of wealth, and stores of value. Needless to say, it was not long before I discovered Bitcoin and the wonderful world of cryptocurrency.
Being a passionately curious person, I devoured every available resource on the subject, most notably The Book of Satoshi, from which I cultivated a deeper understanding of Bitcoin’s underlying technology and the more subtle intricacies of blockchain. From there, I began investing, trading on exchanges, and making friends in the various Telegram communities that made up the social landscape of the crypto-space in 2017. In February 2018, I attended NEO DevCon in San Francisco, where I networked and exchanged ideas with a host of different characters from across the space, many of whom I had met on Telegram. The in-person experience at the conference stimulated a great deal of excitement in me, and opened up a writing opportunity at a start-up.
I arrived at Elastos in October 2018, where I have since performed on behalf of both the Elastos Foundation and Cyber Republic, contributing to major technical documentation and public announcements. In addition to my contributions to both organizations, I published Elastos’s sic parvis magna, a comprehensive piece titled Elastos: Behind the Blockchain which follows the Elastos Foundation core team on a voyage through China’s historic Qinghai region while detailing the historical context, technical foundation, and principled vision of the project. Alongside Elastos Co-Founder Sunny Feng Han and in association with the Manhattan Project Fund, I am also co-authoring The Era of Quantum Wealth, a book which draws on the emerging principles of quantum mechanics to present the rising landscape of digital assets and blockchain-based infrastructure — at its heart, Elastos — as an integral component in the advancement and preservation of human rights in the Digital Age. From my breadth of experience working within the Elastos Foundations’ western team, visiting the Elastos Foundations’ eastern teams in its Beijing and Shanghai offices on several occasions, attending a series of blockchain events with co-founder Feng Han across the United States, China, South Korea, and Japan, running the Quantum Wealth Supernode in Elastos’ DPoS Consensus, and serving as a representative of the western community on the Cyber Republic Interim Council, my depth of knowledge and extensive global network informs my perspective and makes me a critical leader and communicator in the Elastos ecosystem — one who can empower and unite its eastern and western communities and their unique cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic perspectives, and tokeonomic principles.
As for my interests outside of the crypto-space, I absolutely love tennis, and I play frequently. I also enjoy raw travel — not the kind with hotels and itineraries — the kind with a backpack, no plan, and no smartphone.
“You mean life without blockfolio?!?!”
I know, unfathomable. But here’s the rub: presence and serendipity are the source of the deepest visceral joys of the human experience; micromanagement and distraction are their greatest opposition. Though I am excited by the libertarian promise of Elastos and much of the digital asset space, I am firmly grounded in the understanding that I am not a being of the digital realm, and that the meaning and profundity of the human journey are to be experienced in the real world. Digital infrastructure may support and facilitate such experience, but it is not meant to host or define it.
After graduating from university, I backpacked across Sub-Saharan Africa for 3 months, traveling through Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, visiting the pyramids, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and volcanoes, searching for gorillas in the jungle, and living and learning with the African people in their villages.
I also spent a summer playing advantage Blackjack (counting cards) throughout Eastern Europe when I was 21. Travel, spontaneity, and learning are a wonderful combination.
2. How did you get involved with Elastos and how do you understand the project?
I was referred to Elastos by Chico Crypto, a prominent YouTuber and good friend of mine who knew well of my writing. Fortunately, Elastos was the perfect fit for me, as it is and has always been aligned with my ideals. Technical infrastructure aside, Elastos is a natural extension of the value proposition of Bitcoin: while Bitcoin solves the double-spend problem for money, Elastos solves the double-spend problem for the rest of economic exchange — that is, for tokenized assets, native digital assets, native digital services such as storage, and the economic right to property ownership and privacy in the digital realm.
3. How do you understand CR and what CR means to Elastos?
In a word, CR is our most powerful commitment to sustainability. CR breathes humanity into an otherwise cold system of rigid code. As Rong Chen has said so emphatically on many occasions, the term “decentralization” has been used, abused, and wrung out to the point that it has barely retained any meaning at all. In order to maintain true decentralization — that is, to avoid allowing any individual or entity in our ecosystem to accrue enough power and resources to control and direct it — a multidimensional consensus mechanism is certainly necessary. But — as in the case of Bitcoin — if a small network of developer teams controls the core code, or if 90% of nodes are run on AWS, power remains centralized — albeit in a more subtle fashion. CR is the mechanism by which the Elastos community shapes and directs the growth of the Elastos ecosystem, and it is a profound and selfless effort on behalf of the Elastos Foundation’s network of decentralized teams — all of whom have worked tirelessly to build an ecosystem — to give it away and provide their service in shaping it as the community desires. This is an ecosystem I want to be a part of.
4. What things have you done or contributed to the Elastos community?
In addition to being a writer for the Elastos Foundation, a CR Interim Council Member, a co-author of The Era of Quantum Wealth, and a previous owner of the Quantum Wealth Supernode, I have also produced a pair of personal writings that I have shared with the Elastos community. You can read them at the links below:
Lastly, because the CR Interim Council was selected — rather than elected — I produced Proposal #157: Lending Transparency to CRC Communications. Every week, I summarize the results of the CR Interim Council’s Conference Call to provide full transparency to the community.
5. What are your CR’s campaign manifesto and main campaign proposition?
My Campaign Manifesto is that we need to make major progress in achieving the following three goals:
- Conscious and Strategic Marketing: Marketing tactics should be selected strategically to target individuals and organizations that contribute to the development of our ecosystem in its present state. In other words, both timing and pragmatism are crucial. Right now, there is a huge push to build powerful dApps and grab as many users as possible to stuff inside them. For one, in order to market effectively, we need to develop strong metrics — in particular, to define and measure the Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC). In the blockchain space, CAC is exceptionally high, as mainstream internet users are not accustomed to the emerging infrastructure and tools that the pioneers and early adopters who make up the existing Elastos community know inside and out. It is very likely the case that marketing directly to prospective users will bankrupt our resources long before it will populate our ecosystem.
2. Therefore, our attention needs to be grounded in the present and focused on securing the high-impact individuals that will add value to our ecosystem by laying down the next layer of infrastructure. While this does involve dApp development to a significant degree, it also involves augmenting technologies in our Frameworks Layer and enhancing key elements of our peripheral technologies, such as the ETH Sidechain. The work being done by the Hyperconnect team is emblematic of the former, and the that being done by the ETH Task Force, of the latter. Likewise, continuing to enhance Elastos.Academy and the Elastos Developer Portal will make our ecosystem more attractive to talented and established developers. As we continue to build out our ecosystem with the help of the powerful developers we connect with, we can begin to utilize more conventional marketing tactics that target end users. In the near term, the CR Regions Initiative will help us a great deal in providing realistic avenues to tap into communities of tech enthusiasts, gamers, and the like that may be interested in engaging Elastos — in particular, elastOS. Although this may not be a popular statement, I believe that effectively seeding CR Regions communities will be more effective than getting the Elastos logo back on the main screen in Times Square.
3. Cogent Tokenomic Modifications: I have laid out my proposed tokenomic modifications in my paper Elastos Ecosystem Tokenomics: Revisited.
4. Community Solidarity: In order to advance our technology, expand our community, and ultimately grow our user base we need to present ourselves to both the blockchain space and the world at large as a cohesive, united Elastos community. We must break down barriers between the west and east at all costs, and find synergies and symbiotic relationships. I explain this initiative in greater detail in question (9).
6. What advantages do you think you have in the election of CR members?
My major advantage is my extensive network and the breadth of experience I have accumulated in my time in this ecosystem. To summarize:
- I have been with EF In the west for 1.5 years, working with team leads Clarence Liu, Donnie Bullers, and Zach Warsavage on a daily basis.
- I have visited EF’s offices in Shanghai and Beijing several times, and know all of its Development Teams and Team Leaders, including Shunan Yu, Benjamin Piette, Jingyu Niu, Cheng Hao, and Heng Li. They are all good friends, and I am grateful to have spent time learning from and sharing with them.
- I have spent a great deal of time with Rong Chen, especially on our week-long Team Building Trip through Qinghai.
- I have spent even more time with Sunny Feng Han at MIT, as well as at events at UPenn and in Tokyo, Seoul, and Xiamen working on our book and discussing Elastos and the crypto-space in general.
- I have spent a great deal of time with Yipeng Su, Rebecca Zhu, and Feng Zhang — both in person in Beijing and Shanghai and online — discussing critical ecosystem issues during my time in the CR Interim Council.
It is my hope that the community values both the experience I have accumulated and the network I have established in the Elastos ecosystem. I believe it will allow me to strengthen the CR Council with my presence.
7. If you successfully run for CR Council member, which community work will you focus on and the development and construction of Elastos?
The most important communities we have are those in our CR Regions Initiative. In particular, the Philippines CR Region is extremely active and motivated. Bitwork is coming along nicely in Hong Kong as well. Meanwhile, we are seeing significant progress in Singapore, India, and elsewhere. By seeding these communities, directing them, and providing funding gradually through CRC, we will be able to form a truly global community developers, tech enthusiasts, and gamers that will be the early adopters of our technology. These communities represent the foremost demographic that is realistically within reach. CR Regions is where I want to begin, because targeting the mainstream right now — especially in the west — is like shooting blindly into the night. In other words, the Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) is far too high for any project to manage, and, as I have mentioned above, such efforts will deplete our fund sources long before they populate our ecosystem with users.
8. If you become a CR member, how do you plan to communicate with the community? How to better serve the community?
Having had plenty of experience already on the CR Interim Council, I can see that Twitter is a valuable tool for notifications and short messages, and I will continue to use it frequently. I encourage anyone that wants to remain abreast of my work to follow me on Twitter at the handle @AlexShippELA. As for expressing my perspective on more complex matters, I will continue to use my Medium page to publish academic-style papers and other articles to keep the community as informed and up-to-date as possible.
Needless to say, communication with the community must be paramount; what’s important is that it is organized and time-efficient as well. For this reason I much prefer scheduled AMAs and CR Blog to one-on-one direct messaging. For individuals and teams that would like to discuss suggestions and proposals, scheduled meetings are a great alternative. It was for this reason that I wrote the Proposal to report Meeting Minutes from CR Interim Council Conference Calls on a weekly basis: transparency is important, but it should not come at the expense of productivity.
For all council members that wish to offer opportunities for further community engagement, I recommend joining conversations and contributing perspective on the Elastos Telegram main chat and Wechat group. Here, a council member’s responses are visible to everyone, so he or she does not need to repeat statements or address similar concerns and questions multiple times. All in all, it is equally transparent as a direct message conversation, but exponentially more efficient. Since my first day in the CR Interim Council, I have spent time conversing with community members in the Elastos Telegram main chat and Wechat group, and I will continue to do so.
9. If you become a CR member, what expectations do you have for CR?
My greatest expectation is that all council members explore opportunities for synergy and symbiosis in cooperative pursuits and general collaboration — especially those between and our Chinese and Western communities. In my January 1 Chill Zone Interview with Amos, I discussed at length the challenges we face as a global community with respect to language barriers, divisive internet infrastructure, and cultural differences. As long as our community remains fragmented, it is critical that all of us make efforts to bridge gaps however and whenever possible. Infighting and ill-intentioned debate — that is, arguing with the intent to be deemed correct and defeat one’s counterpart, rather than to learn from his or her perspective and ultimately reach mutual understanding and achieve a higher level of truth — will decimate this project just as it would any other. As a new wave of blockchain-powered, next-generation internet infrastructures continues to emerge from the blockchain space — Blockstack and Polkadot among them — we must make every effort to unite as a single community and create only positive news around our ecosystem. There is zero space for drama.
Having already visited both of Elastos’ offices on several occasions and having spent time with several of its Chinese community members, I can say that everyone wants the best for this project. In the future, if I am in China — or anywhere in Asia where Elastos community members are based, for that matter — I plan to make further in-person connections with the community whenever possible. That said, with the recent coronavirus outbreak, I cannot make any guarantees about when I will next visit. In the meantime, establishing strong relationships via Wechat is the best way to start.
Once the inaugural CR Council is formed, establishing basic connections between Chinese and western council members will be easy. What will be most important is to make genuine efforts to understand one another’s perspectives, backgrounds, life experience, and cultures as opposed to simply building business relationships. Without properly contextualizing one another’s perspectives and attempting to understand them through the lens of one another’s lives, we will fail to bridge the cultural gap that presently separates us. We need to make friends and family — not just business partners.
10.Do you have any other things want to say to the Elastos community ?
Yes, there is one thing.
The message I would like to express is one that is significant to everyone in the world, but it is of particular relevance to those in the Elastos community in early 2020. In my experience, Elastos has one of the most knowledgable, tech savvy, and engaged communities in the blockchain space. Yes, we would like to grow; and yes, we would like to bring in more users, more developers, and more names and faces. This is the quiet before the storm, and this what it feels like to be early: lonely, unnerving, and uncertain. There’s a famous expression in the west that goes:
“It is lonely at the top.”
That is to say, few possess both the inner awareness to identify opportunities and the requisite courage to act them. When you find yourself alone in your journey, you might well say that you are in good company. The fact that each of us has recognized the catalyzing potential blockchain technology and its application in the Elastos ecosystem at such an early stage speaks volumes about our collective awareness. What’s even more important is that we have exercised the courage to act on our awareness by investing our time, energy, and precious financial resources in exploration. Each of us is charting a unique path amongst a massive global population that by and large submits to the direction of its media and public figures.
As the world becomes consumed by multi-national corporate interests and governments become increasingly powerful, individuals are being deliberately molded into obedient employees by systems of public education, which indoctrinate us with self-limiting beliefs.
Meanwhile, the blockchain space is young, and ripe for innovation. You do NOT have to be a face in the crowd, and you are NOT destined to be small. By virtue of being a part of this ecosystem, you have already stepped out of the crowd. If you see a “problem,” or something you believe can be done better, do not relapse into the bad habits of finger-pointing and negative emotion — that’s not what got you this far.
If you see a “problem” in this ecosystem, reframe it: it is an “opportunity.” You can make a Suggestion; you can position yourself; you can organize a team; you can publish your perspective; you can build a BUSINESS; you can offer a unique service; you can ADD VALUE; and you can get paid for it. If you see an opportunity and others will not acknowledge it, that means the opportunity is all yours. As Mahatma Gandhi famously declared:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
For certain, we do need strong developers, and not all of us can code — I can’t write a single line in Python, C+, or Java. But then again, many people that are technically inclined are not great businessmen, nor are they always great leaders, graphic designers, marketers, or communicators. Naturally, this space is extremely tech-driven, but don’t let that distract you from the abundance of opportunities before us; just remember that they are opportunities which must be created — not received.
In one sentence: identify the problems the Elastos ecosystem faces, and examine your skillset. You may be surprised what you can create, where it will take you, and where it will take the Elastos ecosystem.
*Thanks to Alex for receiving our interview!