As the participants and the evangelists of a borderless economy, Algorand ambassadors play an important role in the global community. Currently, there are more than 250 ambassadors worldwide across over 50 countries and the number is growing continuously. Sharing the same belief in Algorand, they are promoting the project everyday through various ways such as content creation, meetup organization and community engagement, etc.
To acknowledge the amazing work of our great partners, Algorand has announced the Ambassador Rewards Program early this year, so ambassadors can earn Algos by completing achievements. Among these, the Ambassador of the Quarter Award serves as a way of saying thank you to the ambassadors who are contributing to the development of Algorand through their leadership, creativity and tremendous efforts.
On April 17th, the Algorand Foundation has announced the first recipient of the ambassador of the quarter award - China ambassador Vincent Kong, who is the CMO of Bitpie Wallet and has taken the role of Algorand ambassador back in August, 2019.
April was our China Ambassador Theme Month, and we’ve held a series of AMAs with the ambassadors to share their stories with Algorand and their insights about the Blockchain industry. Vincent Kong was our first guest and here are some featured Q&As from the AMA, hosted by Summer Miao from the Algorand Foundation's China team.
Summer: Can you share with us the story between you and Algorand? How did you enter the world of blockchain and get to know Algorand?
Kong: In retrospect, everything originated in Bitcoin. My understanding of things and my attitude towards work both focus on the ultimate origins. Bitcoin is the starting point of the blockchain industry, so that’s the first thing for me to know before entering the industry. As a result, I chose to join Bitpie Wallet. I personally believe in the future of Bitcoin, and I am also a Bitcoin hodler, but I don't think Bitcoin is almighty. The future of blockchain lies in its ecosystem. This industry is broad enough to accommodate many possibilities.
Bitcoin itself has limitations, so I started to explore among the emerging public chains to see if any chain can provide the necessary security, scalability, and decentralization needed for today’s economy. That’s when I found Algorand.
Bitcoin's PoW consensus algorithm has been proven to be relatively safe. For example, Bitcoin itself, Litecoin, and Ethereum 1.0 are all PoW models. They have not encountered any major security risks so far. The security and stability of PoW have been confirmed.
PoS is also a good direction, but at present, it’s relatively new and has not been verified by the market, so it is difficult to measure its safety by time standards. At present, the security can only be verified by reference standards such as cryptography and random function. Algorand develops a permissionless, pure proof of stake (PPoS) protocol, which has truly achieved 1 algo per vote. Its security is safely guaranteed by cryptography and VRF.
Professor Silvio also mentioned that when he first came across Bitcoin, he shut himself in the room for a long time to contemplate the consensus mechanism, incentive mechanism, etc. Only when he got all the ideas into shape did he design the Algorand project based on first principles. First principles also lays the foundation for my insight into the entire digital currency industry. That is to say, I want to perceive the world at its essential core. I admire Silvio’s way of thinking and the more I learn about Algorand, I am gradually attracted to the technology, ecosystem and vision of this project and eventually become an algo hodler.
Summer：Normally most crypto admirers will become a token holder and then just be it. Why did you choose to become an Algorand ambassador, even when there was no award program back then?
Kong: Personally, I believe in interesting coincidences in life. For example, when I was working in Africa, there was a good friend of mine. He launched a free lunch project for children in slums. This project involved cooperation with UNICEF. I later discovered that Binance was doing charity in Africa, and my friend was cooperating with them. This kind of happy coincidence happens every day in the crypto world.
It was also a coincidence that I became the ambassador of Algorand. First of all, Bitpie and Algorand are global strategic partners. We have always been very optimistic about the market of Algorand, and Bitpie wallet is one of the earliest wallets that supports Algorand. Second, Algorand held several offline events in China's major cities last year. I happened to attend one of the meetups and meet professor Silvio for the very first time.
Seeing Silvio introducing Algorand in such a great passion, I was deeply touched by his grand vision, the confidence in the project and the path Algorand chooses. He emphasized that the security of the blockchain infrastructure was more important than anything else. Only when security is assured, can there be further pursuit for higher efficiency and higher TPS.
Due to all the coincidences and with my admiration towards Algorand, I decided to become an ambassador once I got the opportunity. You mentioned that there was no ambassador reward at that time, but actually the belief and passion are my reward. When you really endorse something, you’d like to witness, participate and promote to realize its vision. Most ambassadors are all sharing the same belief, so do a lot of people in our community.
Summer：That’s awesome. It’s been almost a year since you became an ambassador. Are there any interesting stories that you’d like to share with us?
Kong: One good thing about being an ambassador is that you can find a group of like-minded friends around you with the same belief. At present, we have established a core Algorand group in China. It’s amazing that even when everyone comes from different backgrounds and different ages, they come together because of their belief in one thing, and then contribute to the ecosystem together. This experience is precious. Moreover, as I am here in Beijing, it’s great to talk with other Beijing ambassadors now and then over a cup of coffee now and then.
Not to mention the global ambassador slack group we have, with so many talents there, you can communicate with people all over the world and get to know the different projects within the Algorand ecosystem, both at home and abroad.
I lived in Kenya before and was interested in the innovation and applications in Africa. There was one time that one partner of Algorand called FlexFinTx gave an online AMA in the slack group. Their goal was to help 400 million people in Africa record their digital identities using only mobile phones.
In China, we are so used to mobile payments and it’s difficult for us even to imagine a society where most people don’t even have bank accounts. However, this is a status quo in many countries in Africa. In fact, not only Africa, like North America or Europe, they are basically a cash society.
There are a lot of projects in the blockchain world who only have an idea but don't have a solution. I am critical when I perceive a project but FlexFinTx has appealed to me with its insight and solutions.
In fact, mobile payment in Africa is not a new topic. China Alipay was launched in 2004, and mobile payment in Africa was launched in 2006.
For example, Kenya ’s largest mobile payment application is called M-Pesa. The difference between M-Pesa and China mobile payment is that China mobile payment uses the internet but M-Pesa uses telecommunication. M-Pesa transfers money by SMS, and its transaction fee is also very high.
FlexFinTx will integrate their application on the Algorand platform. They also receive support from the government regarding digital identities. As payment being a direction in the future, they are also communicating with local telecoms giants. From my point of view, FlexFinTx not only has a great idea but their goals are feasible based on the existing technology.
Jack Ma once said, if the bank is unwilling to make a change then we will change the bank ourselves. Technology can truly be disruptive. What I always say to people in our community is that I firmly believe Algorand’s vision on the frictionless finance future through blockchain technology. Being an ambassador gives me the privilege to directly communicate with all the projects and to better understand Algorand’s path towards a borderless economy.
Summer：Right. Taking the quote of Jack Ma, I think Algorand can say that if the financial system doesn’t change then we’ll empower the financial system via blockchain technology. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing.
Kong: Yes. I talked with Republic a few days ago. They are the investing platform and technology services provider, who are to build digital security on the Algorand blockchain. I asked them why they chose Algorand. They mentioned two major reasons: first, Algorand has done a very good job in security; second, Algorand platform is fast, efficient and safe, and the transaction cost is almost zero, compared to traditional finance. They made the decision and chose Algorand without any hesitation.
Summer：Wow, sounds great. One last question. How do you think of Algorand’s development in the past year?
Kong: I have witnessed Algorand's progress over the past year. I think the Algorand project is developing at a steady and relatively rapid speed. It’s fulfilling its promise and making great achievements. For example, only a few months after its mainNet launch, Tether had issued USDT on Algorand. There is no such speed with other networks, such as Omni, ERC20 or TRC20.
Another example, whether it is Libra now, or DCEP of the China central bank, the sovereign currency is a major trend. The Algorand powered SOV will circulate alongside the US dollar to help the Marshall Islands operate in the global economy. Although the Marshall Islands is not a big country, Algorand has seized the first chance with national digital currencies.
You can see that no matter it’s stable coin or sovereign currency, or the most recent announced co-chain technology, Algorand has been moving forward with its development steadily according to its own logical plan.
From another perspective, if you build a chain based on the previous PoW or PoS, there is no hard work. Algorand designed an innovative PPoS consensus algorithm, which is derived from professor Silvio’s own cryptographic knowledge, and he is also optimizing BLS signatures. Making achievements based on the innovations, I think the Algorand team is already very efficient and doing a great job. There is no doubt that Algorand presents its obvious financial attributes, so the project positioning is also very clear.
In a word, when you consider blockchain platforms based on the first principles, an innovative platform and a derivative platform are two totally different concepts.
As an early supporter, Ambassador Kong has made great contributions to the ecosystem development of Algorand from supporting the launch of ALGO-USDT to assisting the construction of the Algorand China community; from taking the leadership in the China ambassador team to actively promoting Algorand in the crypto community. The ambassador of the quarter award is well deserved! Congratulations Kong!