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Block.one创始人Brendan Blumer如何从魔法剑走向全球最大ICO/How Block.one founder Brendan Blumer went from magic swords to the world’s biggest initial coin offering

B
香港居民,31岁,成立两年且在2016年ICO筹集40亿美元的初创企业背后之人

译文/Translated:

Brendan Blumer的第一家公司是销售在线RPG游戏(例如,魔兽世界)的魔法剑和盔甲,那时,他才15岁。现在,他31岁,这位香港的永久居民在进行了全球最大的ICO募集之后,凭自身一跃成为了一位屠龙者。

Blumer和他成立两年的初创企业Block.one在ICO中能筹集40亿美金(ICO类似于首次公开发行,不同之处在于投资者获得由加密货币支撑的代币,而非股票),证明投资者对数字货币以及其下支撑的区块链技术拥有强烈的兴趣。

为了以正确的角度看待ICO(我们举个相比较的例子),本月早些时候,按需送餐巨头美团点评(该公司在中国众多城市提供食物外卖服务)在香港也筹集了相同的金额。

在香港时代广场南华早报办公室的独家访谈中,Blumer谈到这家开曼群岛合资企业的来由,虽然他对公司从ICO中累积战争基金的具体计划仍旧守口如瓶。

Blumer讲道,他大约于2016年开始投资加密货币,并随之对其根本所在的区块链技术感兴趣。

他推断出区块链将会成为“更安全的新一代网络”,Blumer接触了知名软件开发者Daniel Larimer,Daniel彼时已经是区块链项目BitShare和Steemit的负责人,有着建立新的区块链平台的想法。

“我们第一次见面很棒,”Blumer说道,“Dan来到香港,我对他的项目有了更深的了解,还带他去城市逛了逛,然后他与我们的团队见了面。”他们花了三个月的时间才一起开始合作Block.one,Blumer穿着黑色长袖套头衫和裤子这样说到。

香港是建立和构建全球区块链商业的绝佳之选,这也是Block.one建在这里的原因,”在香港生活了14年的爱荷华州人这样说道。“它有很多与区块链相同的价值观”例如自由市场,商品和劳动力的自由流动。

虽然加密货币初创企业在交易、游戏到社交网络等各方面激烈角逐,但这个领域内呼声最响的还是开发去中心化应用的开源性平台。实际上,它们是类似于谷歌的安卓或微软的Windows一样的区块链操作系统,但它们是由支持者进行管理而非单一的公司。以太坊就是这样一个平台,现在以太坊的代币已经成为世界第二大加密货币,仅次于比特币。

由于其快速的发展速度,EOSIO平台很大程度上已经被称为最可能成为“以太坊杀手”的存在,而这需要其被大量使用。现在,以太坊可以每秒处理15件交易,而EOSIO区块链可以处理将近4,000件。12月,脆弱性显露,那时由于一款名为“CryptoKitties”(加密小猫)的游戏(它让玩家使用以太代币购买电子猫),以太坊网络速度变慢,交易费用飙升。

Blumer极具竞争力的EOSIO网络有能力启动多个区块链,相互之间使用相同代币交流,这让交易速度获得了提升。“这就是未来,因为这是扩展的唯一方式,”Blumer补充道,将于今年年底或2019年初开始运作该项功能。

权衡取舍是更高程度的中心化,是对区块链纯粹主义者的咒骂(分布式总账技术以其精准的去中心化收受到他们的欢迎)。以太坊上有将近15000台电脑在逐一验证每笔交易,而EOSIO区块链仅只有21个被称为“区块制作者”的存在在维系网络。这些制作者由用户在Larimer开发的算法下投注EOS代币选出。

随着来自资产管理巨头黑石这类机构的青睐越来越多,以及与纽约证券交易所持有者Intercontinental Exchange、星巴克和微软在数字资产平台的合作,加密货币和区块链技术现正朝向主流方向发展。

但加密货币价格不稳定仍是他们的主要担忧。2017年12月,比特币价格突破将近19,000美元,但在近几个月跌至6,000-8,000美元之间徘徊。根据CoinMarketCap的数据,EOS目前价格约为5.8美金,自四月顶峰以来跌幅超过70%。

这让Block.one的创始人Blumer和Larimer的净身价大幅削减,福布斯以一月价格为基础进行估算,他们分别持有的加密货币价值6亿到7亿美金。该杂志估计Blumer拥有15%的Block.one。

Blumer拒绝评论他自己的财富和公司占比问题。

“我们将宣布长期的资金部署计划,”在被问到ICO集资计划时,Blumer在访谈中这样讲道。七月,Block.one关闭了新一轮集资,该轮集资数额尚未公布,此次集资参与投资者包括PayPal创始人Peter Thiel,中国北京的Bitmain,这是全球最大的比特币采矿钻机制造者,刚与休斯顿火箭队达成了赞助协议。

就目前而言,Block.one宣称将投资10亿美元用以在EOSIO上建立的初创项目,用Blumer的话说,就是“万事俱备,只欠东风。”

它的风险资金部最近在全球启动了一系列黑客马拉松活动,为开发者们准备了100万美金的种子基金,推销他们以EOSIO为基础的dapp。通过其中一个合作基金,Block.one的风险投资部(VC)在6月为旧金山社交虚拟现实平台High Fidelity筹集了3500万美元的资金。

据Blumer所言,Block.one正在构建独立使用EOSIO软件的新产品,和帮助开发人员构建更好产品的工具。对于更多细节他三缄其口。“以防抄袭”,他这样说道。

虽然Block.one的核心技术团队与Larimer一起在弗吉尼亚,但Blumer正快速扩充位于香港半岛时尚SoHo区的办事处,从金融业吸纳人才。200强企业有半数都在香港。

从Gamecliff开始,似乎经历了很长的路,这是Blumer15岁时的第一家公司,一家运营虚拟游戏物品的交易平台。2005年在他的公司被Internet Gaming Entertainment收购后,Blumer便来到了香港,在开始Okay.com(一家专注于亚洲外籍人士的在线房屋中介)之前,他成立了另一家用以交易游戏头像的网站。

Blumer对他最新创业有多认真或许可以从他左手腕的小纹身中窥见,七面的切斯特多面体,众所周知的人类心脏的几何形状,同时也是EOSIO的标志。

原文/Original:

Brendan Blumer was 15 when he started his first business selling magic swords and armour used in online role-playing games like World of Warcraft. Now 31, the Hong Kong permanent resident has become a dragon-slayer in his own right after raising the world’s biggest initial coin offering.

That Blumer and his two-year-old start-up Block.one is able to raise about US$4 billion in an ICO – similar to an initial public offering except instead of shares the investors get tokens backed by the cryptocurrency – is testament to the white-hot interest among investors in digital currencies and their underlying blockchain technology.

To put the ICO into perspective, Meituan Dianping, the on-demand meal-delivery giant that delivers takeaway food to most cities in China, raised about the same amount in Hong Kong earlier this month.

In an exclusive interview at the South China Morning Post’s offices in Times Square, Hong Kong, Blumer talked about how the Cayman Island-incorporated venture came about, though he remained tight-lipped about the exact plans for the war chest the company has amassed from the ICO.

Blumer said he started to invest in cryptocurrencies around 2016 and subsequently developed interest in the underlying blockchain technology.

Concluding that blockchain will be “the next, more secure iteration of the internet,” Blumer approached popular software developer Daniel Larimer, who already led the blockchain projects BitShares and Steemit, with the idea of building a new blockchain platform.

“Our first meeting was great,” Blumer recounted. “Dan came out to Hong Kong, I learned more about his projects, showed him around the city, and he met our team.” It took just three months for them to start working together on Block.one, said Blumer, who was dressed for the interview in black long-sleeved jumper and trousers.

Our Hong Kong is the perfect place to establish and build a global blockchain business, and that is why Block.one is here,” said the Iowa native, who has been living in Hong Kong for 14 years. “It has a lot of the same values as blockchain” such as a free market and free movement of goods and people.

While cryptocurrency start-ups are gunning for everything from exchanges to games to social networks, the most hyped projects in the space are open-source platforms for the development of decentralised apps (dapps). Essentially, they are operating systems for blockchain similar to Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows, but are managed and owned by their supporters rather than a single company. One such platform is ethereum, whose digital token ether is now the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin.

The EOSIO platform has often been dubbed as the most likely “ethereum killer” in large part because of its fast speed, which is required for mass adoption. Right now, ethereum can process a maximum of 15 transactions per second while the EOSIO blockchain can handle almost 4,000. That vulnerability was laid bare in December, when the ethereum network slowed down and transaction fees shot up as a result of a popular game called CryptoKitties, which lets players buy digital felines with ether tokens.

Blumer’s competing EOSIO network has the ability to launch multiple blockchains communicating with each other with the same token, which speeds up the transactions. “This is the future because this is the only way to scale,” Blumer said, adding that the function should be operational by the end of this year or early 2019.

The trade-off is a higher degree of centralisation, anathema to blockchain purists who embrace the distributed ledger technology for precisely its decentralisation. While there are currently nearly 15,000 computers validating very single transaction on ethereum, the EOSIO blockchain has only 21 so-called “block producers” to maintain the network. These producers are elected by users staking their EOS tokens under an algorithm developed by Larimer.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain companies have been moving toward the mainstream, with increasing institutional interest from the likes of asset management giant BlackRock, as well as a collaboration between New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange, Starbucks and Microsoft on a digital asset platform.

But the volatility in cryptocurrency prices remains a major strike against them. Bitcoin prices spiked to around US$19,000 in December 2017 but have since slumped to a trading range around US$6,000-US$8,000 in recent months. EOS is currently priced at about US$5.8, down more than 70 per cent from its peak at the end of April, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

That has slashed the net worth of the two Block.one founders Blumer and Larimer, who were estimated by Forbes to hold cryptocurrencies worth US$600 million to US$700 million, respectively, based on prices in January. The magazine estimated Blumer owns 15 per cent of Block.one.

Blumer declined to comment on his wealth and ownership size in the company.

“We will announce plans about how we are deploying our capital over time,” Blumer said in the interview, when asked about plans for the funds raised in the ICO. In July, Block.one closed a new funding round – the amount of which was not disclosed – with participation by investors including PayPal’s founder, Peter Thiel, and Beijing-based Bitmain, the world’s biggest maker of bitcoin mining rigs that just signed a deal to sponsor the Houston Rockets.

As of now, Block.one has pledged to channel over US$1 billion to invest in start-ups built on EOSIO, which, according to Blumer, is “adequate capital for the time being.”

Its venture capital unit recently launched a series of hackathon events across the globe, with a US$1 million seed fund for developers to pitch their EOSIO-based dapps. Through one of its partnership funds, Block.one’s VC arm led a US$35 million round in June for San Francisco-based social virtual reality platform High Fidelity.

Block.one is building new products that are designed to be independent uses for the EOSIO software, as well as tools that help other developers build better products, according to Blumer. He declined to reveal more details to prevent copycats, he said.

While Block.one’s core engineering team is based in Virginia with Larimer, Blumer is quickly expanding his Hong Kong office in the hip SoHo district on Hong Kong Island by drawing talent from the financial industry. About half of the 200-strong company is based in Hong Kong.

All this seems a long way from Gamecliff, Blumer’s first business operating a platform for trading virtual gaming items at the age of 15. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2005 after his website was bought by Internet Gaming Entertainment, Blumer has launched another website to trade in-game avatars, before going on to start Okay.com, an online property agency focused on expatriates in Asia.

A sign of how serious Blumer is about his latest venture may perhaps be glimpsed from a small tattoo on his left wrist – the seven-sided chestahedron, known as the geometric shape of the human heart, and also the logo for EOSIO.

原文链接/Original URL:

https://www.scmp.com/tech/blockchain/article/2165552/magic-swords-worlds-biggest-initial-coin-offering-story-31-year-old

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