China is increasingly becoming a fintech Blockchain innovator, competing with other Blockchain platforms the world over for better security and easier usability. Originally developed for using Bitcoin, Blockchains now go beyond digital currencies, providing a decentralized digital ledger which can record both financial and non-financial transactions.
Eric Gu, CEO of Viewfin
At the Lendit conference in Shanghai last weekend, I spoke with Eric Gu, CEO of Viewfin, about his firm’s Blockchain platform Metaverse, which is one of the first public Blockchains in China.
Viewfin's digitized assets
Blockchain technology can record various types of assets. Some of them are easier to record and redeem than others, since the value for particular goods is uniformly agreed and widely known, while the value for other types of goods is determined by the highest bidder and known within a smaller circle.
Examples of these are gold, on the one hand, which has a clearly stated asset price, and art, whose value on the other hand may not be clear to the larger population. Viewfin has recorded both gold and art values to show that its Blockchain platform can digitize both types of assets. Already, the firm has recorded transactions of gold from Shanghai Stock Exchange on a public ledger, so that it can be redeemed anywhere. In the case of art or antiques, the Blockchain digital signature can prove provenance by recording the signatures on the art object.
Metaverse, the Blockchain platform
Viewfin has also created a Blockchain platform called Metaverse which allows assets to be issued and recorded. Metaverse is different from one of the most widely used Blockchain platforms, Ethereum, which allows programmers to write code on top of the platform itself. Metaverse preserves the underlying platform in order to enhance security, allowing programs to run on the next layer up instead of directly on the Blockchain program.
Digitized assets can be issued using the Metaverse platform, and Gu believes it has the potential to become the most widely used platform in the Blockchain world. He anticipates that his platform will be used for many other fintech platforms, providing security, digital assets and identity.
Gu notes that when creating Metaverse, his firm had an Ethereum-like product in mind, with improvements. Most notably, Gu wanted to create a platform that did not allow users to write over the underlying code in order to control changes to the platform. One reason for his decision was to improve security, but also size.
Gu states, "[under Ethereum], everyone can write code at the lower level, so imagine how big the Blockchain could be. Nowadays we have a 180 GB Blockchain size, but by the end of the year it’s going to be 1 TB so, will you be able to fit Ethereum on your laptop?" With Metaverse, Gu is trying to avoid Blockchain's earlier mistakes.
Competition and the future
Gu believes that there are two or three other companies that are true competitors, and he sees that as a positive thing since the market is currently wide open. He's also in a good position: After only six months of launching Metaverse, there are at least 20 companies that want to make Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) on the Blockchain platform.
Viewfin doesn't have other products under development, but has already completed a digitized exchange in order to list its token. Gu says that "the reason for that project was that after we finished the Metaverse project, I said, ‘we’re going to have this token, so who is going to list our token?" He believed that other exchanges would not want to list the token, so Viewfin ended up creating its own exchange, called SZZC.com. So far, SZZC.com has listed the digital assets Bitcoin, Ether, Ethereum classic and Z cash. The exchange became highly popular recently when it became number two for Ether volume and number one for Z cash volume for a short period.
There is no guarantee that Viewfin's Metaverse will become the leading Blockchain platform in China and the rest of the world, but it's an exciting time. A number of Blockchain startups are working hard on promoting their own Blockchains, selling them on functionality and security. It seems likely that someone will take the lead in the next five years, and the Blockchain firm that surpasses all over stands to make billions.