NEO founder Da Hongfei and Ontology founder Li Jun recently participated in an interview with Bi Tongtong. Tongtong is the editor-in-chief of PANews, a Chinese news organization with a focus on Asian blockchains.
During the 45-minute conversation, Da Hongfei and Li Jun answered a range of questions. Topics included their newly announced interoperability protocol, blockchain adoption, market valuation, and principles of corporate operation. The below quotes are translated from the Chinese language.
Tongtong began the chat by asking about the interoperability protocol that is currently being developed between NEO and Ontology. Hongfei replied, “The protocol will be completely open and neutral and any existing blockchain can join this interconnected network based on this protocol.”
According to Hongfei, the differences between NEO’s proposed protocol and other interoperability projects such as Cosmos and Polkadot are twofold: Firstly, Hongfei noted, the other projects offer space to build projects, and their technology connects the projects; while NEO and Ontology’s solution connects projects and blockchains that already exist. “So personally, I think our model will have a bigger impact since we can connect existing public blockchains.”
Secondly, Hongfei added, the protocol goes beyond asset transfer across blockchains; the protocol “can also ensure the consistency of cross-chain transactions,” which also means that smart contracts on one blockchain will be able to call smart contracts deployed on other blockchains for execution.
Hongfei next fielded a question regarding his previously expressed view that decentralized exchanges represent the future. He affirmed his belief, adding, “I think there is still a long way to go” before massive adoption of decentralized exchange technology. He pointed out that non-custodial exchanges have the key property of eliminating counterparty risk. As lack of available liquidity is a weakness in current decentralized solutions, Hongfei further pointed out that the adoption of an interoperability protocol such as NEO and Ontology’s proposed system would combine the liquidites of the participating blockchains, which would end the current state of market fragmentation.
In response to a question about adoption, Hongfei said, “I must admit, I haven’t been focusing much on blockchain adoption in the past two years. I think we’ll still be building the infrastructure in the next 1-2 years.” He added, “Everyone is looking for a killer app. But I think when the time comes, we will see 10 or even 50 killer apps springing up” after the infrastructure is in place, and concluded, “I think there is still a long way to go.”
Hongfei answered a question about the blockchain industry’s valuation, pointing out that although “all projects are overvalued” based upon the value they have created thus far, “if you look at their potential, I would say the market hasn’t seen their full potentials.”
“So, it really depends upon how you see it.”
A question about challenges confronted while leading NEO Global Development was answered affirmatively. “We have been learning” about how to manage an organization, Hongfei said. In the case of promoting employees to senior status, “it’s not about an individual’s capabilities, but about whether his skills and capacities to match the position,” and the decision-making process for senior executives is very different than at other management positions. Because of this outlook, Hongfei commented, “I think the biggest responsibilities” for successful appointments “lie in the top management level,” above that of the employee.
Entrepreneurs and Applications
Finally, Hongfei advised industry professionals and serial entrepreneurs looking to join the blockchain industry: “I would suggest to not be too idealistic about the application implementation yet, as the infrastructure is not yet complete.”
“You may have to be prepared for a long-term struggle in this direction.”
Da Hongfei is the founder of the NEO blockchain.