20 April 2018
For those of you who have done a bit of research on Neo’s Smart Economy platform and the Ontology network (ONT), you might vaguely remember the name of a private company called ‘Onchain’. This Shanghai-based company, founded by Da Hongfei, Erik Zhang, Jun Li and Wentao Yang in 2014, actually stands right at the center of the creation of blockchain darlings, NEO and ONT.
While there is nothing obscure about it, Onchain does seem to hide in plain sight. If you consider the relevance of having two brainchild projects whose combined market value currently surpass 5 billion USD, you might understand what I’m trying to imply here! You’ll find that, for the most part, all media and community attention is focused on the ‘community driven’ platforms, NEO and ONT.
While there is a logical explanation for this, if you take into account that NEO and ONT are tradable tokens and they represent open, public networks, and Onchain, as a private company, simply does not share those two key features.
So, why is it even relevant to further discuss this company? In order to answer this question, it might help to shed some light on what they have been doing, discuss some of its track records, and dig a little deeper with respect to their vision and philosophy.
Onchain is mainly focused on providing digital ledger technology for enterprises and governments. It does this using its own open source ‘Distributed Network Architecture’ or DNA, which acts as a template for blockchains.
To date, it is actively involved in a number of different projects, which includes running a joint project with the Guiyang local government in China (Identity Chain). The company has also been working on a digital asset platform for Everbright Securities and is busy on a project called ‘Legal Chain’ which focuses on electronic data attestation. Furthermore, it is working on an equity crowdfunding platform for China Clearing.
Now, what is important if we read between the lines, is that all these cooperations or projects, including NEO and ONT, are all geared towards a vision of blockchain structures and architectures becoming ‘government’ compliant.
They are pushing, full throttle, towards their DNA, becoming the main building blocks for an internet of blockchains. To that effect, they were invited by the Chinese government to help create the standards for blockchain in China. For those who are of the opinion that China is banning anything related to the blockchain, think again! China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) only recently published a document encouraging development and standardization of blockchain technology.
Now if we take a step back and listen to some of the statements of Da Hongfei, founder of Onchain, NEO, and ONT, all the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into their place.
There is, very similar to the well known Chinese 5-year plans, a larger vision at play. While many of us only pay attention to the ICO or cryptocurrency flavor of the day and shout out loud for a ‘crypto-anarchist revolution’, the ‘Onchain Group’ is strategically and rapidly building out its blockchain tentacles with a well-defined finality in mind.
To earn the trust and support of the Chinese regulator, open the door towards a potential ‘Universal Blockchain Standard’ and utterly dominate the crypto space.
When presenting at their first ever ‘NEO developer conference’, he told an inspiring story about an Olympic athlete and for those listening closely, it did not just reveal that he wanted to become the number one or that perseverance is key. He implied that strategy should be oriented towards fighting the battles you can win.
To me, it is clear that he is applying this strategy throughout his whole vision. He does not want to bypass regulation, he invites it. He does not want to force people into learning new programming languages like Solidity for Etherium but rather accommodates developers by supporting different common programming languages. In addition, he woos Microsoft by supporting its ‘.Net Framework Architecture’ and it apparently pays off as Microsoft selects Onchain as part of ‘Microsoft Accelerator’. On top of that, Onchain also secures backing from Fosun, China’s largest privately-owned conglomerate.
In closing, it is hard not to be impressed with the Onchain strategy that is playing out. While the Neo platform pushes hard to catch up with Etherium and Ontology is working to create the standards for a ‘Trust Network Model’, Onchain just keeps shipping its blockchain ‘DNA’ building blocks into the public and private sphere. When the time is right, all the interoperable projects will lock together into the blockchain grid of the future.
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