Be it whether you are a new or seasoned folk in the crypto space, Kyber Network is definitely one of the top few projects that you should or will be aware of. Within a short span of their launch, they have shipped out their project as promised and many notably partnerships such as MEW and imTOken. The man behind all this incredible achievement is Dr Loi Luu and here is an exclusive and insightful interview since its Kyber 2.0 event.
1) Can you tell our readers more about yourself, where you are from and what is your favorite past time?
Hi, thank you for inviting me to share about myself and what we are doing here at Kyber. I was originally from Vietnam. I moved to Singapore at the age of 22 to pursue my PhD studies and I have been based here ever since. Most of my time and energy now is focused on our work at Kyber and growing the blockchain ecosystem. But when I am free over the weekend, I prefer reading books and sometimes watching new release movies, apart from spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy the occasional soccer game or gym session with my Kyber team.
2) You have recently completed your PhD studies. Can you tell us what is it about and where is it from?
My PhD is in Computer Science and it is conferred by the National University of Singapore (NUS), where I received the President Graduate Fellowship that supports my study during the PhD.
My research thesis was on cryptocurrency and consensus protocols, in which I focused on building scalable blockchain protocols that are still secure and decentralized. We designed and published Elastico, the first sharding protocol for public blockchains, which largely inspired Zilliqa, a promising scalable blockchain. My supervisor was Dr. Prateek Saxena, whom you may know as the Chief Scientific Advisor of Zilliqa and also a Kyber Network advisor.
Blockchain first caught my attention in 2014, before crypto and Ethereum became worldwide phenomena. Along with my early academic collaborators, some of whom ultimately became my Kyber Network co-founders, we were impressed by how fundamentally different and game-changing this technology was. In particular, the ability to run an entire global technological and economic system without relying on any centralized party felt like an entire new world. That motivated us to deep dive into blockchain and eventually spawned important projects addressing decentralization (Smartpool), security (Oyente) and scalability (Elastico).
3) What were you doing before you entered into the realm of blockchain?
I have been interested in programming, particularly in algorithm and data structure, since high school and I decided to develop my career in Computer Science at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. As an undergraduate, I co-founded and built truongnha.com, a framework to solve the school management problem in Vietnam. We received funding from Viettel Telecom and Vietnam National University to build an all-in-one solution for schools to manage their students and accelerate their daily tasks. After graduating, I came to Singapore to embark on my PhD in Computer Science at NUS, while working as a Research Assistant focusing on systems security and programming languages.
4) You have done a few projects such as Smartpool, Oyente and most recently Kyber Network. Can you share with us more about Kyber Network?
At Kyber, we observe that the world we are heading towards is one with thousands, or even millions of different tokens. As many of them are usable only within their own application and ecosystem, in the near future you may have to purchase and hold 1000 different tokens in order to pay for services in popular applications. This is clearly very inconvenient and not feasible for real world commerce.
What Kyber is doing is building the bridge between these tokens and applications, allowing any token to be usable anywhere. Kyber’s on-chain liquidity protocol enables ERC20 tokens to be easily converted and used for payments and transactions in multiple applications. Any application can integrate with our protocol, with no gatekeepers dictating innovation.
Our protocol also enables many transactional and payment flows to happen atomically and in a single step between multiple parties. Such use cases would otherwise be very difficult or impossible to achieve.
Wallets can allow users to conduct atomic token swaps without leaving the wallet.
Decentralized financial applications like exchanges or index funds can use our on-chain protocol to rebalance or liquidate their portfolio in a seamless, transparent and verifiable way.
Vendors can also accept multiple tokens as payment on their platform, while receiving in ETH or their preferred token. As a user, you can shop in many platforms even if you hold just 1 type of token, without fear of rejection of your payment.
As you know, Bitcoin was the first token. Ethereum subsequently made the creation of tokens much easier, and as a result there’s a huge explosion in the number of tokens in the world today. Kyber will become a core infrastructure in the tokenized world as we make these tokens more liquid, usable and accepted for as many use cases as possible. If you are interested to find out more about what we are building, please read our blog post Kyber, Together.
5) You have lofty ambitions for Kyber Network, what do you foresee are the hurdles or challenges that will obstruct its goals?
First of all, for DApp (decentralized application) adoption to truly take off, the Ethereum network has to be able to handle a larger number of transactions per second at low cost. Right now a simple game like Cryptokitties can already cause the network to be heavily congested. As such, Kyber is tackling this problem with Gormos, our high-performance scaling solution, which we will discuss in greater detail later in this interview.
Secondly, with so many different innovative projects, it is also natural that tensions arise at times between different parties, due to competition and differences in philosophy. If people do not remain humble and focused on shipping useful technology, such tensions might escalate to levels that hinder development and mainstream adoption. For Kyber, we are focused on enabling projects to reach their respective goals and foster meaningful collaboration to help connect these isolated token ecosystems. Part of our approach is to work with ecosystem partners to enable greater integration with the entire crypto landscape, notably cross-chain support and seamless integration with popular protocols and DEXes.
6) When do you see tokens, blockchain become mainstream and be part of people’s everyday lives? Or will this day never come?
This is an interesting question and not an easy one to answer, as it depends on many different variables. For instance, popular decentralized projects need to be able to easily scale, interoperate and possess very high security. I cannot give you a definite timeline, but personally, I am very confident that one day, blockchain and cryptocurrencies will become so embedded in our lives that people will not even notice it, just like how the internet and smartphones operate today.
Scenarios that will be commonplace in the future will be ones where anyone who owns tokens, can easily and freely use these tokens in any context they wish. People can use gold-backed tokens to buy a T-shirt in a matter of seconds, invest in alternative funds in a completely different part of the world or use tokenized real estate to buy jewellery for a loved one. This is the future that Kyber aims to enable.
7) Everybody’s is trying to tackle blockchain’s scalability issues and there are solutions popping up everywhere claiming to be the best. Can you explain to our readers what to look out for? What is Gormos?
Even prior to Kyber and Gormos, our team had already been trying to tackle the scalability issue. For instance, we invented Elastico, the first proposed sharding solution for public blockchains that directly inspired the design of Zilliqa, which is currently one of the most promising scalable blockchain projects today.
Gormos is a high-performance scaling solution that combines some of our previous work on sharding with current plasma solutions . Gormos scales up on existing protocols by orders of magnitude, in addition to being cheaper and allowing faster settlement with low latency. It will power applications that require a huge number of transactions (eg. exchanges, social networks and online games) without compromising on security or usability. This will be developed as an open source project by the entire ecosystem, and we will be using Gormos for Kyber as well to build a new infrastructure for a world with billions of active token pairs. Gormos test net is expected to be ready in Q2 2019.
8) Can you give our readers an advice or a quote that you strongly believe in?
While in Singapore, I learnt this Chinese proverb which I felt is very meaningful: 独木不成林,单弦不成音. It literally translates to “a single tree doesn’t make a forest, a single string cannot make music.”
Similarly, nothing significant in the decentralized space can be accomplished by any single entity alone, but requires a strong team and the collective efforts across a wide range of players. This is why Kyber is 100% committed to empowering and working alongside everyone who is moving towards the same goal - to create a more transparent, inclusive and accessible global financial system together.
We are also very thankful for the strong support of the Kyber community. Their enthusiasm is a key motivation for us to continue shipping good solutions, despite the many challenges given the embryonic state of blockchain technology.
9) If our readers are to buy you a meal, what would that be?
If you are able to provide us with really constructive and valuable feedback on how Kyber’s on-chain liquidity protocol can be better optimized for easier integration with DApps, wallets, vendors etc., or how Kyber can better help the wider ecosystem, I will buy you a meal instead!
In any case, I am a big fan of Japanese ramen and Korean BBQ.
10) Can you complete the sentence below
I am Loi Luu, I would like to be remembered as the guy who……………….
Is enabling decentralized payments and finance, together with the Kyber team.