The grand blockchain ecosystem is riddled with multiple small and separated blockchain ecosystems operating in silos. Cross-chain interoperability has become a need and as we move deeper in to the blockchain revolution, we will see an exponential growth in the number of blockchain solutions. Wanchain might as well be the ultimate solution for cross-chain communication by creating a bridge and allowing different blockchains to interact with each other. Wanchain’s proposed solution is to bring all these scattered blockchains together and create an extraordinarily powerful network where exchange of value, information and assets among different blockchains can be made possible in an extremely secured and privacy-enabled environment.
I had the pleasure to talk to Jack Lu, the founder and CEO of Wanchain and he talked about his background, how he was introduced to bitcoin and what lead him to the idea behind Wanchain.
Jack first talked about his background and how he switched from a career in economics to technology and joined the internet wave of the 90’s. He also told us how he was introduce to bitcoin and later Ethereum, Jack said;
“I grew up in Southeast China and went to Beijing to study economic management in 1988. After that, I went to USA in 1996, to study economics and around that time it was the Internet boom and I decided to join the big boom and switched to computer science and moved to Columbus Ohio. I stayed in the internet and e-commerce world for over 20 years and in 2010, I came to Austin Texas, to work for some big corporations at that time.
“In 2012, I was exposed to Bitcoin and since I had economics and computer science background, it immediately caught my attention.I started doing investments in Bitcoin, in the early days and looked into multiple projects. I consider myself very lucky as one of my friend I have in Austin had crypto fund at that time and I was exposed to multiple projects and one of them was Ethereum. I was working on Ethereum on the code bases and building applications on top of it in the early days and at the same time, I was working in the crypto industry as well with many friends”.
I was invited to give a speech at a museum in China and I saw my picture on the wall which really inspired me
Jack also talked about his entrepreneurial and since he is a hardcore technologist at heart, he became the co-founder and CTO of Factom and that later lead him to Wanchain, he stated
“I was asked to join a project named Factom at that time which I later joined. David Johnston was an early entrepreneur in the industry and he was the chairman and investor for the company. I became the co-founder and CTO of Factom and decided to invest in Ethereum in late 2014. So I was lucky enough as both of those two projects were hugely successful and got me into this space”.
“Connecting different blockchains together and creating a network that we call the internet of blockchains was on back of my mind for a long time, even when I was working on the Factum solution. At that time, we were trying to build a generic data layer on top of blockchain. There is so much data around the world and there is no way we can put all the data on one chain. We were discussing how to connect all these data chains around the world and came up with a model to connect all of these chains together”.
Wanchain or similar chain structure was on our road map for a long time
“In 2015, I was invited to give a speech at a museum in China and I saw my picture on the wall which really inspired me. At the same time I got a gift from the museum, which was a picture of something called ARPANET. It was the early prototype for the internet and I was really inspired by that and something that was in my mind for a long time to connect them. We actually had a design for Factom and the architecture was very similar to Wanchain. The Architecture for Factom was referenced by a project called RS|Coin that was a prototype digital currency by the UK central. At that time, I was invited to be a special consultant for China’s digital currency initiative, which was big news for the world, back in the early days. They wanted to issue a government backed digital token but for the RS|Coin, we became famous because RS|Coin was trying to use a model that connect with multiple chains, let’s say different branches of the commercial banks. They used something similar to cross-chain mechanism to settle on the main chain. That was exactly the architecture we had with Factom and Wanchain has a similar structure too”.
“WAN stands for Wide Area Network and in the mean time I founded a company in China back in 2016, called Wanglu Tech and actually the Wanchain or similar chain structure was on our road map for a long time. Originally we were doing a private chain or consortium chain implementation for many of our customers in China that required to connect all of the main chains to all those private chains. Later on, we realized that it is not enough to just connect all these private chains but we also need to connect all these public chains”.
We came up with a mechanism of Monero-style privacy feature
Stressing the need of how important cross-chain communication is in the blockchain universe, Jack said;
“For me this was more like the internet back in 60s and 70s. They all were like small networks and once they were connected, that became the internet. We were looking for a generic solution that we call a ‘Universal Connector’ to connect both the public and private chains. We had a special research team that was doing R&D and after half a year of research, we came up with the right solution. It is the best and most advanced cryptography algorithm to ensure the security for the cross-chain capability in a very decentralized way. At the same time, we were working to recreate a new mechanism that connect all these disparate and isolated blockchains and the most important thing when we connect them together is of course one can send assets just like we send email on the internet, by sending them and doing conversion might not be enough. So we thought about how to use Smart Contract, which is very important as Ethereum was huge with smart contracts and I was really influenced by that. We decided to do smart contracts across chains on decentralized applications. Assets can move around among different chains and these assets can be programmed in a smart contract, different parties across different chains can exchange these values just like stock markets or derivative markets and on top of that, we can make it programmable”.
“It is powerful for traditional financial institutions. They are looking for privacy protection because once you put all these connections on the blockchain, it is really transparent and there are a lot of issues with that. We came up with a mechanism of Monero-style privacy feature. We came up with a solution called, ‘The View Key’, that allows central authority to audit the transaction if they are asked or authorized to do so. We basically combined three key technologies: privacy protection, cross chain technology and smart contracts. We believe that with all these three things combined together, we can revolutionize the financial industry”.
This is the first part of Jack’s interview with BlockPublisher, where he talked about his background and what ultimately lead him to Wanchain. We will be publishing more for Wanchain regarding latest developments and Jack’s views of the industry. Watch this space!