This interview was published originally on the russian news outlet of Getcoin.
Rene B.: I want to extend a warm *Thank You* to the Russian-speaking community for the opportunity to respond to your questions.
You are very supportive of the NEM ecosystem and the worldwide community is grateful to have you. Keep up the good work. Every contribution, however small, counts. Together, we can achieve greatness.
Getcoin: How did you join the NEM team?
Rene: I joined the NEM project in Q2 2016. I heard about NEM at Bitcoin meetups in Malaysia and became interested. Then, I had the honor of meeting Lon Wong at a Starbucks in Kuala Lumpur in May/June – and we talked a lot about blockchain, crypto, and business. We agreed to meet again in the following weeks. I felt reaffirmed that NEM is a project worth supporting more actively rather than only through speculating and chatting. I came back to Lon with the proposal of being more active and supporting the NEM project locally – that was the time when the idea of getting organized regional legal entities was becoming more imminent, too.
Discussions about the NEM Malaysia Chapter and me setting it up as a non-profit association & leading it started in Q3 2016. By November 2016 I held the government’s society registration certificate in my hand. NEM Malaysia has seven core executive committee members and approximately thirty supporters which are being enrolled as ordinary members. The numbers are growing…
Here we are – actively and “officially” supporting the cause. I am proud to be part of NEM.
Getcoin: Could you please share some info about the current status of the platform and team/teams?
Rene: Currently, there is a lot of development going on in NEM – such as the earlier discussed Mijin project with Hitachi, Mijin’s project with Digipolis Belgium, LuxTag, LandStead and several other commercial projects. As for future projects, it is worth mentioning that the NEM.io foundation is building a Turbo Charged Incubator for entrepreneurs who develop based on the NEM blockchain.
(Quoting Lon: “In the meantime, the Nem.io Foundation has been formally recognised by an agency in the Prime Minister’s department in Malaysia as a high impact technology project. The secretariat of the NEM.io Foundation shall be housed in their premises for the next couple of years. The premises will have a lecture theatre, function rooms and conference rooms where we are free to use them to promote our activities. Additionally, we shall soon be setting up a host of servers to help in the development of our services, tests, and applications.
Sometime later in the year, we hope to get our blockchain solution officially tested and certified in accordance with the International Standards Organisation and hopefully, be the first blockchain to do so. NEM.io is also going to be represented in the ISO standards committee in Malaysia, one of the 16 countries in the world who has a seat in the formulation of the ISO standard for Blockchain. We hope to be represented in Japan as well as in Europe. This will make the NEM blockchain a strong case as a standard.“)
Regarding the status of “the NEM blockchain platform,” I have to mainly refer to the highly stable Java-run public network which launched on March 31, 2015 and has now run without interruptions for almost two years. We are looking forward to celebrating the second anniversary in a few days! Later in 2017, the Catapult upgrade should come in – this consists of a core node network upgrade where NEM will move away from Java to C++. This major upgrade will first happen in the private chain system Mijin – then after successful implementation in that “smaller scale,” it will be implemented into the public chain. As of today, our core developers are working hard on the Catapult C++ upgrade whilst maintaining the running of the Java network.
Getcoin: What are the stronger and weaker sides of the NEM Blockchain?
Rene: Strong: NEM blockchain overall has the competitive edge in terms of technological advantage. Flexibility. Public & Private Chain functionality with the option to anchor chains one to another. Furthermore, the NEM blockchain is easy to use with its API. Applications (see even the most famous application using the NEM API “NanoWallet”) can use the NEM blockchain without running a node. This is a major advantage compared with other blockchain platforms.
Weak: Well, if you want to call it “weak”. Privacy. Everything in the NEM public chain is public. Messages can be encrypted (NanoWallet supports that really well, by the way! Try it out!) – but the metadata about transactions, or all XEM transfers are public.
P.S. This list of strengths / weaknesses is not exhaustive!
Getcoin: Are you going to develop/extend the NEM platform in 5-7 years or just maintain/support it?
Rene: We are looking at developing and scaling NEM into a bigger platform that will be adopted by the mainstream. Development, improvements and next innovations won’t stop in the coming months nor years!
Getcoin: Are you going to change the supernode rewards program in the future (rewards, quantity of XEM for it, technical requirements)? What is the key points for changing it?
Rene: Supernode remuneration planning is not my agenda. I can’t comment much on this. Let me quote Jeff (jabo38)
[before the Supernode-Reward doubling in late 2016]: “Generally, I feel like the way to go is lower transaction fees (we are discussing that) and raise Supernode rewards.
We have enough money in the Supernode Fund to double daily rewards to 140,000 and really get a robust network of supernodes going. Meanwhile, we can attract businesses if the fees on the network are low.
They get a powerful network which is cheap and can build on it. Eventually transaction load increases and even regular harvesters should be happy. It is a really long game in bootstrapping.”
Getcoin: How do you see the NEM Blockchain in 5 to 10 years?
Rene: In Malaysia, we are looking at being the anchor of Blockchain technology receiving serious support from the government. NEM will power non-Fintech and Fintech applications which solve real world problems and improve business processes. We will see private chain implementations using NEM technology for corporations and governments, hopefully even some developing countries opt on choosing NEM as the technology platform to build payment solutions or e.g. citizen registry / land registry on.
There are various projects ongoing in that field which I can’t talk about yet. Public announcements will be made once the relevant involved parties are ready to do so. NEM is not a questionable infant project anymore and it has the world’s attention – NEM is serious about business.
Getcoin: Could you please share the current status of the XEM/Blockchain industry in your region? How does government support or forbid blockchain industry, especially XEM or Bitcoin?
Rene: In Malaysia, the government is highly supportive of blockchain technology. Cryptocurrency is not endorsed by the government as a means of payment but is acknowledged as “an unsafe, unregulated, other investment vehicle”.
We are working together with government agencies and other organizations to support the education about blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Malaysia is specific about numerous persistent and varying scam models, mainly HYIP and Ponzi programmes. Fraudsters are taking advantage of misconceptions and Blockchain-illiteracy of the general public. Awareness and education regarding scam detection and avoidance is on the agenda of NEM Malaysia, as well as educating developers and programmers about the use of Blockchain technology and NEM in particular.
Getcoin: What kind of “out of the box” services are you going to release, apart from Apostille?
Rene: I personally expect “out of the box” services mainly to be from non-fintech industry. Besides the free Apostille, we are expecting the commercial project LuxTag, digitized certificates of authenticity initially for luxury consumer products. The other project would be Landstead, a NEM based service to create a registry of land and property.
Fintech projects wouldn’t usually be “out-of-the-box” because they demand high customization and adaption to the clients’ needs. There are various high-tier projects regarding Fintech implementations of the NEM technology ongoing – which I am not able to talk about at this moment. NEM’s partner companies for FinTech implementations are mainly DragonFly Fintech Ltd (Singapore) and Tech Bureau Ltd (Japan), and other players are already entering the market.
Everybody is free to build using the NEM Blockchain technology platform.
Getcoin: Are you going to start strongly marketing NEM(youtube channel, records of use cases)? Is marketing a strategic point of the NEM road map?
Rene: Yes, NEM realizes that it is ineffective to create a great project but not talk efficiently about it. We will market more to the mainstream so more people can develop meaningful services based on the NEM blockchain. Recently, the Vietnamese rapper Son started to rap about NEM, and several community members are posting more and more content on YouTube, too.
The NEM.IO website is undergoing a complete revamp and will relaunch in 2017 – the country chapters like NEM.MY shall follow the design set by that upgrade.
Further, myself, I am working on a storyboard for a series of NEM explainer videos which we are going to record in Q2 2017.
Getcoin: What are the next most imminent plans?
Rene: Next on our agenda is to support NEM’s presentation (48h non-stop manned booth) at the NASA Space Apps hackathon 29-30th of April in Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers. Then in May or June, we will host the 2017 NEM Association of Malaysia Signature event, the “South East Asia NEM Blockchain App Hackathon” with serious prize money paid 50% in fiat and 50% in XEM.
NEM Malaysia will be accepting ordinary members from May 2017, too – and prepare various incentives for them. Details are to be published soon.
For myself, I am obviously involved not only in the NEM project but even in commercial activities – namely mainly LuxTag.io. For this project I will be presenting at several events throughout April and May 2017. Further, we are signing our first contract for the pilot project launch with a commercial luxury watch manufacturer soon – I am excited about that! We’ll work hard with my wonderful team on the development and then deliver by Q3 2017.
Rene, President of the NEM Association (Malaysia), 21.Mar.2017