TomoChain is an efficient blockchain powered by Proof of Stake voting consensus.
Hello and welcome to StealthEX cryptocurrency interview series. This is the second interview.
I am Maria, the CMO at StealthEX and today we’re joined by Kyn from TomoChain. Welcome Kyn, glad to have you here. Kyn, please introduce yourself.
Thank you, Maria, it’s great to be here. My name is Kyn Chaturvedi, I’m the Chief Business Development Officer at TomoChain. I handle all the existing business development deals, partnerships, exchange listings, some of the services work that we do and I work on the high-level strategy as well as feeding our marketing team with narrative and messaging. My background is in game development. I started exposure to cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin as early as 2010 and at that time I didn’t believe in it but finally, when it came around 2013, I understood that the messaging and the power of idea of decentralized money where no single authority is in control and is entirely distributed around the world made the idea of cryptocurrencies relevant. I decided to invest around early 2014, on the way down, so I wasn’t very happy with my investment choice at the time but as years went on, I held on, and I just considered myself more enamored. After a couple of years, I noticed the project TomoChain and I became its early investor. I was a big believer of what they were trying to do. I was a part of the community for 1,5 years and eventually, I got an opportunity to join the company heading their business development. I was and still am incredibly excited with the work we do because people here come from different backgrounds and all of them have the same purpose.
I totally agree to that! So, the most attractive thing about it was the message of decentralization and connecting people, it’s not a pure financial goal?
I think everyone initially thought of it as an investment. As for me in my previous job I ended up hanging up my contractors in cryptocurrency faster than with PayPal or bank transfers. It is where I thought there was a future in this.
That’s great. So TomoChain has a very strong and active community. Do you translate your vibes into the marketing for Tomo and does it all correlate with all your personal values and goals?
I think the reason I was so enamored with TomoChain was that TomoChain is a public blockchain. In early 2018 we did an ICO and we launched it at the end of 2018. TomoChain is an EVM compatible blockchain, 2000 TPS, 2 second block time, near-zero gas fees. Incredibly scalable, fast and efficient. The focus of TomoChain was decentralized finance which then we called open finances. The idea was enabling everyone to have financial transactions with anyone, to have commerce without friction where blockchain is an invisible technology. The invisible aspect was that I was really looking at. The big problem is how do you get it to elder people to actually use, buy and hold it as an investment. The idea of making blockchain invisible got me hooked. We wish to make blockchain as invisible as, for example, the technology that powers the Internet - ISP; we don’t really think about how data is routed across the Internet, right? Since we launched the main net the main focus has been on opening up finance and opening up blockchain to the masses. There are three core protocols: the first one is the most successful one that we’ve had, it is called TomoZ. To explain it: you go to a coffee shop and wish to pay with USDT. You have an Ethereum wallet and USDT in it and the other party is willing to accept your crypto. One of the core problems is even if I have 5 USDT to pay, in what country in the world do you have to have a hold of 2 currencies – one is your core currency USDT and the second is a gas fee, Ethereum in this case, to pay? You don’t see this level of friction anywhere. We typically take out our bank card or cash and we just pay – that’s how it should be. Now there is another issue – there’s a queue in a coffee shop and a queue of transactions; you have to wait for a transaction to go through. This is too slow. Now TomoZ solves all of these. First of all, it hides gas fees entirely. When you use USDT on TomoChain the gas fees are paid in USDT, you don’t have to hold Tomo. This removes friction. When you can pay gas fees in the token itself it enables many businesses to actually utilize TomoChain technology with their existing customer base. For example, I can’t talk about the name yet because under NDA but there is a company in Japan that has issued their own token, it is a virtual currency token and you pay for using it in yen. The token is used to pay for products within a mobile application and the users don’t even know its blockchain technology. Because of TomoZ tech, their trades are secure – everything is on the ledger, traceable and trackable. We launched this thing about 2 months ago with this company, and they’ve already done 200,000 transactions within that time across thousands of users which is a really cool mass-market product. We also helped a Vietnamese investor group company Coin98. They launched a mobile application and issued their own token called C98 and scaled up their user base to a hundred thousand users, all using this token who didn’t know they’re on the TomoChain blockchain. So that exemplifies and emphasizes the idea of removing friction from the end-user so they don't have to think about the tech. The second thing we did was we launched a decentralized exchange protocol so anyone could launch their own decentralized exchange, or to launch an exchange in 5 minutes. It pulls all the liquidity into a shared order book and allows DEXs to bring on their own user base. Again, the common pool is shared and there’s no gas fee. Like that, Ethereum based tokens could enter our blockchain and they trade on it back and forth, they deposit, they withdraw back into the Ethereum network but again, no Tomo - no gas fees. However, in the background, Tomo is being used to pay at the validator network. All in all, this is the philosophy about how blockchain should be used.
This is interesting. Usually, all the projects emphasize the importance of the blockchain but you’re telling that eliminating this focus makes things easier because the users stop thinking about it and they just use the technology. But how did you get to the idea that the application is the most important part, not the emphasis on the inside things?
I think part of this goes back to the fact that all of the executives at TomoChain come from different industries, so a lot of thought was put into what our world was before blockchain. A lot of thought in how we reach out to and grow our customer base. We had a startup, it needed to have cash flows, in a startup you think about a lot of things: how to attract customers, how to generate revenue, how to maintain the business. In a startup, you want to solve problems and you want to be the first one to have millions of users using your blockchain. That’s the only way to be successful and create additional revenues. The idea of going down this route came about right after the whitepaper. The three protocols were about our operation, the issues we were going to face. Usually, blockchains have a really sizable grant fund and a lot of testing like hackathons, they try to bring on individual developers on to their blockchain and encourage them to develop. As for TomoChain, we tested things out at hackathons, etc. but our approach was very different. This is one of the reasons that we raised 8.5 million dollars at ICO. We knew we couldn’t spend unless we knew we had a traction. Thinking of long-term focus at TomoChain as a business, we said “let’s go after other businesses, they already have an existing customer base”. We also brought on the largest Ethereum wallet owner from Japan. They decided to migrate over to TomoChain. They brought their NFT marketplace over to TomoChain network along with the existing install base. We are able to work with companies like that because they already know how to operate a business. As developers, we also know that businesses require direct client support. We were trying to help by bridging the gap between mainstream businesses and blockchain through focusing on the client. That is how we’ve been able to scale in a very different way than many other blockchains.
Do you think of TomoChain more as a tool when you present your businesses? For example, you said that the wallet from Japan was looking for how to execute things. Do you present it as a multi-tool that can help at building your business, reaching more clients, and making things easier?
We don't do hard sales, it never works. Our approach has always been through our existing network. Typically, within any nascent industry, no partnership happens because you have the best product. It’s a combination of a good product and a good network. We were able to build the relationship. People keep coming because at TomoChain we are a team of 40 core developers, our entire team is based in Vietnam, we have an extension of about 20 people in our enterprise business, part of the enterprise business was located in Tokyo. As a matter of fact, in Asian countries, a lot of the companies are based on trust. We were able to tap into the network, where plenty of individuals are looking for innovative companies and that’s how these relations get. There was a company in Japan, we were having conversations with them and we were building that relationship until they finally decided they were going to migrate. That is how most of our relationships have formed.
I have one more question about the general issues of blockchain. The general buzz words, let’s put it this way, so there is TomoZ that focuses on enabling easy payment and transactions, and there is DEX, but you also work on privacy – so there is TomoP, it is popular and blockchain has been a buzz word for a very long time. How do you get to this field and what are your works?
We had three layer-one protocols that we were intending to develop: TomoZ, TomoX and TomoP. So TomoP stands for privacy and it is our privacy suite. The idea behind TomoP is to enable the fastest privacy sends that you can have. You can send with TomoP, which is planned to become available very soon, we have it on our testament now, for private sends of Tomo and other TomoChain based tokens to be done within four seconds. That would be the fastest sends you can have. It is also intended to be integrated into applications or dApps, which will allow for private transactions within an app. The simplest example is private staking. You can stake on voting consensus or on masternodes but beyond that – integration into dApps, issue of a new type of token, which is going to be a purely private token, similar to say Monero. TomoP can enable any business to create their own consumer-centric token for payment which can be utilized amongst their userbase. Of course, there are regulatory concerns, so there’s a trade compliance built in for all of this. There’s a private view key; it means that if you decide you can have all the transactions audited, you can share this key with an auditor and they can look into the network and see which wallet addresses were transacting. That way you can have transparency when you need it but on the outside, or for someone who’s outside, they won’t know who these individuals are. Another recent update includes TomoP codebase. We just haven’t activated it yet but it’s there. Right now, we’re in a situation on the regulatory side of things where there’s sensitivity to anything privacy-related, so we are making sure that we’ve launched it at the right time. We’ve been very cautious in how we approach the launch of TomoP. We think that privacy is going to be an important aspect moving forward. It’s just a matter of how you deal with regulations that are coming in or just the public view or even the government view on privacy on the blockchain.
How do you think, is it possible to avoid regulation problems? Is it possible to reach consensus between regulators and projects and what are the necessary steps for it?
FinCEN has two ways to look at the privacy-based transaction. The one thing I was looking at was how do you deal with privacy coins. There are two things you have to look at – are you a money transmitter and are you a service enabling the money transmission in a private manner? Or are you providing the technology to enable others to be able to utilize, you are not managing it yourself? That is the difference. If we are a money transmitter as a private company then it becomes much more challenging. However, if there’s a technology that is provided that others can use but we are not directly managing the entire process of it as a company, the regulations are a little more friendly there. The same issue is with Uniswap. Is Uniswap a money transmitter? They say they are not. They provide a technology that has allowed all of these projects to be able to utilize their service as an AMM, but they themselves don’t control it and that’s their philosophy. I think of this in a similar manner. In TomoChain, though we are the developer, we want to be a developer for the TomoChain blockchain including all these protocols. It’s provided that the community can choose to use it or not but we don’t want to be managing those funds, we are not the money transmitter here. I think it is part of the thought process of how do you manage a regulatory environment like this. The second is waiting it out a little bit of getting a gist for where these regulations are going because the last thing you want to do is to close yourself off from a particular market just because you have a feature, whether or not it’s going to be used. Part of it is understanding the existing regulatory scheme.
It’s interesting to see the space develop and to grow into this regulation. So TomoP will be private by default, right?
You can think of TomoP as a sort of gateway; you can choose to use it or not to use it. If you want to send Tomo privately you can then utilize the feature TomoP and then send your tokens privately or you can choose not to do that. We also want to introduce an only private token that you can also have if you choose to issue it, but that’s down the road. It’s only a feature, it’s not going to turn the entire blockchain private. The other reason why we think it’s important to protect an individual's privacy on the blockchain is that the part of business that we also do is enterprise focus. I’ve been talking about the public blockchain side of development but we also have an enterprise division as I mentioned. We have 20 men team plus, which focus on enterprise, and we’ve been doing a number of pilots over the last couple of years with various companies from automotive, healthcare, food. One of the things we keep having problems with is that we always end up noticing that many of them don’t want to use public blockchain. They often want to use private blockchain because they're typically accustomed to being in control of everything they’re doing. The idea of letting that go and trusting the security of a public blockchain is a bit scary. Another thing is that they don’t really like the idea of all the transactions being transparent on the blockchain. They want something to hide. It is not good for the competitors in terms of competition because in competition you want to know what’s going on. That’s the other reason why public blockchain often becomes a challenge. When I was talking about integration to dApps that means that you can enable private based features to help major businesses that want to utilize the security of public blockchain and have the advantage of privacy. When we talk about TomoChain, they love it because it’s cheap and fast but privacy is still a concern for many. We recently acquired another blockchain called Lition. Its team is based in Germany and it’s a sidechain solution on Ethereum and the advantage of Lition is not only it is scalable but it is GDPR compliant – you can have privacy on it and it has deletable data on its sidechain. It allows to mask the identity; the transaction and you can also remove the information if needed from the Lition sidechain. This feature is quite attractive. Its initial intended use case was for energy transactions out of Germany. We are looking at it as utilizing for CBDC - central bank digital currency - because it has the same functionality and features that many of these banks have. It’s another angle for enterprise businesses that we added them to our suite of enterprise solutions because we ended up realizing that clients are willing to go bubbling for a public blockchain. They need a couple of its features.
What is Tomo’s roadmap for 2021 and 2022. Will it be merging? Will more things be added? Where are you heading and what’s the main focus?
Good question. There’s a lot coming at TomoChain right now. For one - on the DeFi side of things beyond the three protocols that I mentioned, they also have an AMM-swap called LuaSwap similar to SushiSwap and Uniswap. The focus of LuaSwap is to be a Lmultichain so it could exist across multiple blockchains. Multichains build up liquidity. We’ve seen greater use of cross-chain bridges across different chains and the ability to easily traverse across these chains. LuaSwap aims to participate within this ecosystem. We launched LuaSwap on Ethereum at the end of September of last year and this month we’re going to be launching another instance of it on the TomoChain network. The users will be able to go for LuaSwap and to swap their tokens if they want to do it on Ethereum or on TomoChain network. And the idea is to allow even cross-chain swap – swaps token from one network to the other. That’s coming down the road in the nearest future. The second thing is that we have a major government contract that we announced 2 months ago. I haven’t heard of any other blockchain to do it! TomoChain officially partnered with the Vietnam government for a nationwide rollout of the TomoChain public blockchain. We are securing the entire education sector of Vietnam, especially on high school diplomas. They will be stored on the TomoChain, that’s 1.5 million diplomas every year securing over 22 million students. The second with this is that we are consolidating the entire education sector – every institution, every graduate or even employee – all of them will need to access the single website system that we are developing in order to upload diplomas, access them and share those diplomas. What we are going to be bringing on the initial group of institutions to be uploading their diplomas too. It’s the first case of a country adopting a private blockchain to be used across the entire country.
I believe that you think that it’s going to be a trigger to other governments to look into what blockchain can do. It’s not only magical internet money but it can be utilized for such things as diplomas. It’s not obvious for all the people who have not encountered blockchain yet but it’s perfectly logical because the data put here is immutable and this is what everybody wants. Do you think it will be a new wave after Vietnam to make this huge leap for this space?
If we think of it from an industry standpoint – this is a huge stamp for credibility not just on blockchain but on use of it. How can you actually use it and at scale? For all of us in this industry it gives another step of that credibility. I think that other governments will think “how and can we do this?”. It will make us able to utilize this case and then be able to apply it to other parallel industries as well as potentially other education sectors or universities. It might open doors for other ministries, not only education. Because part of it is technology advancement, other is that other ministries want to be innovative as well. It took us 2 years to negotiate with different ministries of Vietnam. It’s amazing to have it now and it’s sure that this year we are seeing so many examples of other blockchains for things like CBDC. Most recently, I believe it was in Ukraine, there’s a discussion with Stellar to do interesting pilots on that front. Governments around the world wanted to deny the use of blockchain for so long but because we, as global citizens, decided that this is what we wanted, it has forced all of our respective governments to think that they need to catch up. I believe this year we will see more institutions coming in. We have a lot of positive regulatory bodies that approve blockchain in the different parts of the world. It is not something that can be banned, it needs to be adopted. I think that’s the message going around right now.
What do you think are going to be trends in blockchain space in general? We saw huge trends for DeFi last year and it had so many projects on. Do you think that working with governments is going to be the new trend?
In blockchain like in any other industry you can tackle commercial, government, but there are a couple of things happening here. We are seeing regular updates from various institutions that are buying up thousands of Bitcoins at a time because their clients want to have some exposure to it. They’ll want access and they will be purchasing and holding crypto. It’s good in terms of validation as well. I think we’ll be seeing that key players that have been trying to generate proper use cases are going to be hitting the mark on that front. For us, it’s going to be more on the government side of things and the commercial side. Before we didn’t have real-world use cases. It was like we’re all saying “here’s the vision but hopefully, we’ll get there” but now there are actual examples. It means that this magic internet money and these mystical projects are not going to form out of the blue which is the whitepaper or no whitepaper legitimate ones. Now if we have smarter investors, more institutions willing to take, do their diligence for investing purposes, that means a maturation of our industry so there will be crème de la crème of companies. They will be having proper investments coming in for them. Right now we are starting to see a combination of equity and token from large investment groups that are not wanting to invest in these individual projects because they see that there is a potential real future. I think we’re going to start seeing a bunch of select groups of these projects and I’m putting TomoChain in there which are going to move to the next level because they already have a proper use case and generating more use cases based off of that. We also are going to see an influx of these middle rung projects which are going to grow really fast because they are building off of the DeFi set up and it’s amazing. What DeFi did was essentially solve the problem of what you do with assets that are sitting idle – that’s never been in traditional finance. Now over the last year and a half we’ve seen that there is a way to get your capital working and then pulling these funds together across multiple individuals no matter how big or small. We can take out loans, we can borrow etc. so there’s an easy way of actually utilizing capital compounds. This is the one layer of it – the idea of pulling your funds together. From there the number of young projects that are coming up they are going to build the next layer on the top of that. Now any business can access millions or billions of dollars of capital, they can borrow it from these decentralized protocols and pools. How can you utilize that to build your own business? How can you enable your customers in the real world using these funds? I see you end up seeing another layer built on these Lego blocks. We are going to see much more innovation; we are going to start tapping into the real world from the blockchain world. We will also see an easier approach to borrowing collateral and capital because right now the collateral levels are huge. I think we will see that thresholds will be decreasing over the course of time, things that are considered to be liquidation free. We are starting to see more of these types of projects and that allows a whole new crop of businesses to tap into blockchain liquidity. DeFi is not over yet though. I think this is what we will see in general.
It’s great to hear those positive prospects for the space! It will be interesting to see how the developing goes and changes. What would be your last message for our interview?
Number one – if you are a trader, don’t overtrade, please, it’s better just to hold everything for many people. People lost a lot of money in 2017 just because they were overtrading. Then, if you are losing interest in blockchain, losing faith in its utility and especially TomoChain - it’s worth checking out. It’s not a new project, we’ve been around for 2 years, we have a strong team, strong vision and we have proven use cases. Adding up those who are looking to invest in smaller projects compared to the big boys out there that have real traction, TomoChain is a really attractive one to participate in whether as an investor or accessing our entire ecosystem of products. We try to make it as seamless as possible and I think our vision is very strong in that way. Even as a small startup we’ve been able to prove and showcase that 8.5 million dollars we can do things that the guys were worth billions of dollars today for marketing standpoint have yet to even achieve. I think it says a lot. For those who want to be part of the space, there are an N number of jobs, it’s worthwhile exploring the opportunities today. For those who are willing to learn and work hard, and participate strongly in the community there are amazing prospects. I think for those who are looking to get out of the doldrum of a job, who want something new - there are plenty of opportunities. It’s just a matter of working hard; doing network work is not hard in the space today.
Those are great words, thank you so much. I remind that today we were joined by Kyn Chaturvedi. It was great having you here and it was pleasant to chat. Thank you Kyn.
Not at all, thank you for spending time with me. I really appreciate that.
Thanks for reading and do not miss the full video of the interview with Kyn Chaturvedi on our YouTube channel.