Hi Jason, nice to connect with you. Can you tell us a little about your professional background?
Sure, and thanks for the invitation to interact with your community. I’m a tech veteran who got his first Apple computer around age 11 and I’ve always been passionate about computer programming. I later turned that into my first career doing software and website localisation, and I also represented a Canadian digital signature startup as a sales rep for a while in the mid-1990s.
Although that product was ahead of its time, it left a deep impression on me regarding the usefulness of public-private-key systems which pinged my interest once bitcoin came on the scene. In between that, I got my MBA, and I’ve been working in China for 14 years, writing and teaching about economics and business management while running my own startups such as LOHAUS – The Loft of Health and Urban Sustainability, China’s first social enterprise co-working space.
How did Genaro Network come to be, and what is the project’s mission?
Genaro evolved just as blockchain itself did. To give a simple analogy, there was a Blockchain 1.0 – bitcoin and its infrastructure that allowed or gave people freedom to execute financial transactions without ‘Big Brother’ watching and taxing you.
Our initial conception of the blockchain project was to store your own personal data and then be able to both protect and monetise it, rather than having big companies monetise it for you. Then there was Blockchain 2.0 – smart contracts on Ethereum, conceived by Vitalik Buterin and his collaborators. This is when our CTO, Waylon Wu, brought forward the idea of utilising data in a bigger way than we originally thought, and by adding smart contracts, we could allow a variety of licensing uses for stored data, everything from AI data training to city management.
In the third iteration of Genaro, what we call Blockchain 3.0, we described an entire ecosystem of decentralised data storage and DAPPs, integrated together with its own public chain to make data accessing faster and cheaper. That’s where we are today.
Going forward, Genaro now has a number of objectives to transform the future of blockchain.
- We want to create the world’s largest blockchain storage network that will help users and developers to make use of storage. It will be a kind of ‘Airbnb of storage’ for developers, providers of storage and users of storage to exchange resources.
- We will develop a scalable incubator and accelerator model that will help fund and grow startups through the Genaro ecosystem, and using GNX tokens to provide free storage and other services. We will be the first accelerator that uses a mixed ‘tokenomics’ and equity funding model to grow a group of related startups on a single blockchain, becoming in effect the first app store on a blockchain.
- We will integrate real-world offline analogs to the online Genaro Network. We’re exploring co-working and co-living as just two of the many possibilities of how the GNX economy will be O2O, and allow people to interact with the blockchain without having to understand the details. It’s blockchain for everyone.
How does the team approach current regulatory challenges?
At this moment, different governments apply different regulations. For example, Russia is trying to regulate and issue its own cryptocurrency, China has banned ICO fundraising and even exchange-based trading of tokens and cryptocurrencies. Dubai, Estonia, Switzerland and Singapore are the most blockchain-friendly countries at the moment, so we decided to establish our foundation in Singapore.
Broadly, many governments face a dilemma whether they should regulate blockchain-related technology or not, and if yes what the regulations should be.
Our approach, first of all, is to be part of the dialogue. Genaro is represented in a number of blockchain-industry groups for the purpose of building common interests and lobbying. We also participate in public forums and share our ideas with both those in the industry and the general public.
Finally, Genaro works on a country-by-country basis to follow regulations that are in place already. In regards to data storage and protection, as another example, the EU and the UK in particular have a few regulations for data that we are paying attention to.
What kind of partnerships have you been able to form thus far?
So far, Genaro has developed a variety of partnerships ranging from media to blockchain funds to other blockchain projects. Probably one of the most important strategic partnerships so far is our product integration with Storj. Although some might see us as competitors in the blockchain storage space, we consider each other compatible collaborators who are actually taking on the traditional cloud storage incumbents such as Google and Amazon. The Storj-Genaro integrated solution will leverage encryption and other security features to ensure data stored on the network remains private and cannot be accessed by anyone besides the file owner, providing a seamless storage experience both for users and developers across both our communities.
Last but not least, how do you respond to the “just another digital storage company” argument?
This is a probably one of the most common questions that we encounter on a regular basis. Of course Genaro isn’t the only player in this space. Other examples of the idea already exist, such as the projects Storj, Sia, Madesafe and IPFS, to name several. In general, they work well, and there’s certainly a large and global market for storage that can’t be served by just one project. There are, however, two big differences.
First, we’re the only Asia-based project. With our foundation in Singapore and development office in Shanghai, we have a huge advantage in markets such as ASEAN and mainland China. We have a number of team members from China, and with respect to Europe or even India, China will be the biggest market for storage globally for the next decade or more. Genaro has the advantage there.
Second, the Genaro ecosystem goes beyond storage and is really a platform for DAPPs. Genaro is set to build Blockchain 3.0 that will allow not only the storage of data in a decentralised way, but also the applications that need to use it, via advanced smart contracts. In essence, we decided to create an amalgam of all of the best features of blockchain 2.0 and the decentralised storage solutions mentioned above. The result is the Genaro Network, the world’s first public blockchain that’s Turing-complete and capable of accessing decentralised data storage via its own native APIs.
Ultimately, this sort of advanced blockchain will become the basis for a new decentralised global economy, and the efficiency and speed will be very high compared with today’s complex and overlapping systems of gatekeepers.
Other applications under such a framework will include blockchain sharing economy business models that are far better than the Ubers and Airbnbs we have today. Imagine a future where you can search for a ride or a place to stay and pay for it, while being assured that the data and the person on the other side is real, a service for which Uber and others take a huge cut of the transaction today.
In this new future, we the consumers will not only have full control of our assets’ digital footprints, but also the full benefits of monetising them. Developers will have a friendly, community owned platform on which to build.
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