Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood was in China last week to promote Polkadot, its highly anticipated $ 1.2 billion blockchain project. He was welcomed warmly in the country where technology has an enthusiastic following.
The network protocol project is the first work of the Switzerland-based non-profit Web3 Foundation by Wood and aims to enable different blockchains to interact with one another.
TechNode caught up with the former Ethereum CTO during its four-city tour stop in Beijing. The event attracted a lot of attention in the capital, as numerous developers and blockchain fans were present.
Polkadot recently completed a private token sale to fund its development. The valuation came in at a whopping $ 1.2 billion, despite the fact that the Web3 Foundation did not reveal the full list of supporters. Chinese funds provided “pretty substantial” support, Wood said.
Wood shares China’s enthusiasm for the blockchain sector and tells TechNode that the country is one of the key markets for its ambitious new venture.
The Polkadot protocol is based on the PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus and creates an environment in which data structures – not just blockchains – can connect to the network. The aim is to address some core issues in blockchain networks such as interoperability, scalability and security. Put simply, the goal is to build a secure blockchain network for different types of blockchains to work together and benefit from each other’s core competencies – a chain by chain, so to speak.
Although some media reports indicated that the polkadot was struggling to raise funds, Wood told TechNode that around 5% of the total token offering had been purposefully sold.
The hyped project is not controversial. It has been heavily pushed aside by the Ethereum community as Parity Technologies, Wood’s other company, powers large chunks of Ethereum and manages around $ 50 billion in assets. The similarities between Polkadot and Ethereum’s Serenity (also known as Ethereum 2.0) raise questions about potential conflicts of interest.
According to Wood, Polkadot intends to be an “innovation platform”, which was primarily his vision for Ethereum. For him, the two projects have different approaches to the same vision.
Innovations will drive users and use cases, Wood said, adding that Polkadot is aiming for this through its substrate, which can be viewed as a toolkit for developers to use to create new projects.
Polkadot allows new projects to be linked to both existing and new blockchain projects. And it allows flexibility, for example in determining whether developers provide their own security or whether they want access to the shared security provided by Polkadot.
The project is less about creating a platform for interoperability of pre-existing projects, although that doesn’t mean that pre-existing projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum are not valuable for building bridges. In fact, Polkadot is likely to do so in the near future.
During the event in Beijing, Liu Yi, partner of the crypto asset manager Random Capital, teased the Cdot network, which will provide relay services specifically for Polkadot’s parallelizable chains (parachutes) in China. The aim is to lower the threshold for creating new blockchain projects in the ecosystem. It will also work with the Web3 Foundation to provide training to local developers on Polkadot’s substrate and develop new blockchain projects.
Wood announced that Polkadot’s main network will be ready to go by November. Until then, however, the team will focus on the kusama, an experimental version of polkadot, a “Canary Network” as he calls it, which refers to a canary in the mine and serves as a warning of dangers and risks.
China’s blockchain eligibility
The project was able to attract Chinese capital not only because of Wood’s connection with Ethereum, but also because Chinese investors are aware of the great interest and activity in the local blockchain and developer community. Wood has high hopes for Chinese developers to participate.
China’s rapidly changing regulatory environment can be difficult, especially for those unfamiliar with the market, but regulation is not a key concern for Wood.
“If I wanted to introduce a new payment system or a new token, it becomes a problem [in China]but that’s not really what Polkadot is trying to do, ”he said. “For me, this technology is not about cryptocurrency, but about freedom of trust and the ability to build new businesses without even having a business. Although tokenization plays a role in this, it is neither critical nor necessary everything to work. “
Additionally, Wood believes that the potential of the Chinese market resides in its entrepreneurship, which is often seen in the community.
Wood noticed in recent years, when dealing with China and parts of Europe, that many people are looking for new ideas, a passion that he compared to that of the early days of capitalism. Therefore, he believes China is perfect for blockchain development.
“Blockchain is really about having people doing open deals and other people accepting the deals,” he said, adding that above all, there is an abundance of people in China who are ready and willing to to get involved.