VP Of NEM Foundation: Four Ways Of Adopting Blockchain Technologies
An interview with Jeff McDonald, the Vice President of NEM Foundation, who has been working on the NEM project since its launch. He was also a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, Southern Africa for two years and an assistant professor at Keimyung University in South Korea teaching communications classes from 2008 until 2017.
Jeff McDonald told only a few things about the NEM company, but widely discussed the main problems with the blockchain global adoption and suggested some ways to solve them. Moreover, he noted that their brand-new product Catapult is finished but not yet launched in the mainnet.
How things are going on
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not real money. But before you get furious, let me explain. USD, Russian rubles and Japanese yens are real currencies worth trillions of dollars, they have high liquidity and are widely used on a daily basis. Blockchain is decentralized but we have to create centralized areas with a concentrated amount of people who use cryptocurrencies everyday. Until this level of adoption is here we cannot prevent rates speculations and the market high volatility. We cannot yet truly claim it is money.
There are several problems with the blockchain adoption. They appeared because there is still a lot of hype around the sphere. Many developers are looking for easy attention and claim that blockchain is a magic tool to fix anything. But the NEM team is really about being objective, so we believe that there are just a few use cases that match with blockchain very well. For example, it is good for governments, for companies that may be hacked, underserved communities and to build brand-new business models. In two or three years, blockchain will be massively integrated into traditional systems. But before this happens, we have to overcome some obstacles and here are the ways out.
The way of being not too profit-oriented
Many companies try to build businesses on blockchain but they do not even need decentralized technologies to be integrated. And many projects, I can say honestly, are not build on blockchain as they claim. We also can see a lot of blockchain developers who try to collect millions of dollars, but their product serves only for couples of days. A lot of platforms are more interested in money than in developments. NEM is the opposite.
We are not claiming NEM is the best platform but I cannot say there is a lot of developers who have as good intentions as the NEM team. And this is a thing. NEM has got less than hundred thousand dollars of donations and has made a world-class blockchain that works and has never been broken. We considered many others blockchains but in the end decided to build our own from scratch because it was easier than fixing someone’s code.
NEM was started by the community of volunteers from all around the world. Each of us wanted to change the world and to solve real problems.
The way it all began
Bitcoin opened my eyes on blockchain technology back in 2013. Before that, I was an assisting consultant in South Korea and every month had to transfer thousand of dollars to the US. But every time, a received amount was just about fifty dollars less because of fees. I thought it was terrible for humanity to lose money just because of commissions. So I was amused when I discovered a technology that allows sending money almost without fees. The South Korean Bitcoin market was not so expensive as the global one, so I could even earn some money from just using this as a payment asset. That was like a magic for that moment. I thought, if Bitcoin can change the global money system then what can blockchain do? The whole career activity of mine was about this.
The way of regulation
Blockchain has to be regulated. We have to be guarded from scammers in the blockchain industry. I met with government officials in many countries. Last week, I met with South American authorities. The Ukrainian government is thinking about voting systems on blockchain and I hope they will find interesting the NEM protocol and the voting systems we designed. Some governments are open but some are not. For example, regulators in China are very difficult to work with.
I believe that in a few years governments will massively adopt blockchain. But I am talking not about the fake adoption which is only on paper. We will see that the systems, which are already adopted, will change the work of governments, and these changes will serve as a good example.
We need to apply traditional business practices to blockchain sphere. One of my favorite examples is the NEM implementation in the Philippines. Actually, you can visit a store there and buy coffee or tea with the LoyalCoin digital currency. They also implemented the system into the taxi service Grab Philippines, which is the local version of Uber. They make millions of drives everyday which are paid with cryptocurrency. These projects are not so popular because they were built on the NEM blockchain, not on the Ethereum one, for example. But the main thing is that they are working, have never been hacked and people use them every day. I believe in the world where lots of blockchains will provide different kinds of services.
The ways of adoption
During the first boom in the blockchain sphere, we have seen many companies building wallets, platforms, exchanges to send and accept bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. But these days we can see new blockchain developments in the form of platforms that allow building decentralized applications, voting systems, providing certificates and many other things. This is a new level of blockchain adoption.
Blockchain allows new business systems being created and used in communities which are underserved. For example, in Africa, people had no access to banks. Now, they can enter banks through their smartphones but it is still too complicated. They can use cryptocurrencies, which is a real-big-problem-solving thing. Another example is about my company Luxtag that provides certificates based on the NEM blockchain inside the mainnet. Everyone can just download the application on his phone and use it. This is the way we can build a regulated systems on blockchain. For instance, the application can help you get a certificate for the Swiss watches you bought and you will be 100% sure the product is not a fake. It was the first ever highly versatile digital certificate solution provider and it was granted through the NEM Voting Module, which is a new voting protocol based on blockchain.
The last thing about the blockchain adoption is that it is extremely secure. Big companies and traditional enterprises or banks can be easily hacked, and we see it almost every day. So when they are hacked they lose the personal information of their clients. They can avoid this with the help of blockchain.
The ways of collaboration
I believe in the world with multiple blockchain systems. I am a fan of other blockchains, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, IOS. Sometimes I see they can work better and I can notice their advantages over NEM. For example, we cannot provide anonymous transactions, while Monero can. So it will be always better for such services. We have a lot of things in common.
I want to change the world and make things better with blockchain. And so do others. If someone becomes extremely successful I will be happy because that is what I would like to see happening to the community and the whole sphere. We are all contributors and we need to built the blockchain ecosystem where different protocols can interact.
We also have to admit the importance of communities around blockchain. The NEM community is very important because it runs nodes and serves for the network decentralization. Also NEM Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Singapore, exists to educate people and to promote NEM around the world. We are working with organizations and governments from more than 20 countries to share decentralized ideas.