We ask developers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space for their thoughts on the industry…and throw in some random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, Our 6 questions go to Chen Li, co-founder and CEO of Youbi Capital, a venture capital firm investing in blockchain technologies and disruptive decentralized applications.
Chen Li is co-founder and CEO of Youbi Capital. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry and worked as a scientist for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he received two awards for his contributions to the development of breakthrough antibody drugs. In 2015 he was introduced to bitcoin mining by his college roommate and then co-founded Youbi Capital in 2017. Chen laid the foundation for Youbi’s thesis on blockchain infrastructure and led investments in Algorand, Avalanche, Polkadot, Flow, Kadena, Chainlink, Debank and others. He was also an advisor to JP Morgan’s blockchain team.
1 – What is the biggest hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?
The main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology is still its infrastructure, specifically Layer 1s scalability and security. We’ve all seen that the turning point for Axie Infinity wasn’t the play-to-earn movement that started in early 2020, but the game’s migration from Ethereum to Ronin in mid-2021, which immediately led to an explosion of players and revenue growth .
But Axie was just an application and so can easily be housed in a dedicated chain, while for the DeFi protocols – which are highly composable and already interconnected – we still don’t have Layer 1 for the full set of DeFi protocols that can be migrated over without disrupting traffic. Solana might come closest to that goal, but it doesn’t scale out horizontally for mass adoption.
There is still a lot to be done to create a solid foundation for blockchain application.
2 — What will happen to Bitcoin and Ethereum in the next 10 years?
Bitcoin has successfully expanded the consensus of its asset value as a decentralized store of value for everyone this cycle, from individuals to a large group of institutions. It’s only a matter of time before it’s widely accepted. Additionally, against the backdrop of global inflation, bitcoin may also have a chance to become a widely used currency in international settlements. There has been much speculation about Bitcoin’s value proposition broken down to its usage in different categories.
In terms of technology, the community has deliberately kept bitcoin’s progress slow to avoid uncertainty. While I believe this is the right strategy for its use cases, Bitcoin will still be limited in supporting smart contracts over the next 10 years.
Ethereum, on the other hand, is undergoing a much faster iteration as it moves towards proof-of-stake and possibly sharding in the near future. All EVM supporting chains are also in the Ethereum ecosystem and contribute to the base layer. Due to the strong network effect, the Ethereum ecosystem is likely to remain a dominant force in the DeFi space for the next 10 years.
3 — When you tell people you are in the blockchain industry, how do they react?
I remember when I first spoke to outsiders about Bitcoin in 2015 – they either remained silent and gave me sheepish looks as if I was trying to talk them into some kind of scam, or in some cases enthusiastically challenged me about whether Bitcoin had any value. Bitcoin mining was more of a business that people could understand, but it was extremely rare to find anyone open-minded about the cryptocurrency itself.
Now people are becoming more and more knowledgeable and engaged when it comes to blockchain technology and crypto. I’m often not the only person you know in the industry. I used to be asked a lot of basic questions about blockchain. But now, once they know I’m in the industry, people who aren’t blockchain professionals sometimes share their perspectives first.
They now have much more diverse perspectives on the blockchain industry. Aside from holding crypto in their portfolio, several people are NFT collectors or even landowners in blockchain games. They see blockchain as a technology for issuing and transacting NFT assets and infrastructure for the metaverse, but are more attracted to NFTs and metaverses. So I’m very confident that the Metaverse will be the gateway to the Web3 era.
4 — Who makes sense to you and who doesn’t make sense at all?
Whoever builds a product and then tells a story makes sense to me, and whoever just tells a story or builds a product for imaginary demand makes no sense at all.
There are many great products, carefully designed and repeated to meet users’ needs. For example, Binance has a very efficient feedback loop, from customer service to management. As a result, it is able to iterate its product in the right way and catch a new trend in the market. The Binance team makes sense to me. Polygon, Debank, and The Graph are excellent examples of products with strong product-to-market fit. All of these teams make sense to me and I see a lot of potential in launching their product.
5 – List your favorite sports teams and choose the most memorable moment when you watch them.
My favorite teams were the Chicago Bulls and the Denver Broncos. The most memorable moment was Michael Jordan’s final shot with the Bulls, earning them their sixth championship.
6 — Except for today, in which time and country would you like to have lived?
I wish I had lived in Shanghai, China from 2012 to 2015. That was the first crypto market cycle I missed. The two major events during this period were the growth of Bitcoin mining and the fundraising and initial community building of Ethereum. Both happened in China during this period.
Also, China is my home country. I love the food and the people.
A wish to the young, up-and-coming blockchain community:
I wish everyone in the community can weather the ups and downs and hold on to their crypto assets.
https://cointelegraph.com/magazine/2022/04/03/6-questions-for-chen-li-of-youbi-capital 6 questions for Chen Li from Youbi Capital – Cointelegraph Magazine