Allen Liu used to make huge advertising profits for Alibaba. Now, he runs a blockchain-based company that trades idle computing power while focusing on fairness.
Author: Wang Yanhua
37-years-old Allen Liu had spent more than a decade cutting his teeth in digital marketing before moving into the blockchain industry.
Since his days of developing and managing online advertisement systems for Alibaba, he has already started paying attention to blockchain.
In January this year, after a year of preparation, he finally launched his company, Recycling Regeneration Network Computing (RRC).
It aims to spread computing power trading to the masses by making it fairer and more efficient.
Block Asia caught up with Liu at 3AM Summit, a blockchain conference that happened in Singapore last week.
Liu told Block Asia, “Lots of computing power is wasted, so are a lot of hardware and resources. For example, when people throw their phones away, the CPU in the phones are almost as good as new. The computing power could be harnessed and utilised instead.”
He added, “I’ve been observing industry developments for a while. There is a lot of hype, and a lot of people are involved in speculating and manipulating the coins. It was also largely unregulated, so we didn’t dare to enter the market in the past.
“But the environment now has improved, so we officially launched the company in January.”
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL
RRC is not the first to come up with the idea of trading computing power. There are many prominent players in the computing power trading market, such as Golem, who also launched their ambitious scheme to harness idle computing power around the world two months ago.
RRC aims to create a niche in the market by barring ASICs from mining its tokens.
An ASIC is basically a piece of computer hardware that is designed for one particular use, such as running the hash algorithms used in Bitcoin mining.
After expensive ASICs emerged in the mining scene in 2013 to mine Bitcoin, there has been a wave of backlash against it.
Bitcoin’s core appeal is its ability to decentralize financial transactions. The inability to mine profitably using cheap hardware has led to a trend towards re-centralization, however: a few enormous operations employing thousands of ASICs control an outsized share of the network’s hash power.
RRC is one of many companies who are using different hash algorithms in order to fend off ASICs. RRC even takes its democratisation a step further, by making mining less friendly towards GPUs and more accessible for CPUs.
“Our calculations are friendly towards CPU, not even GPU. Every user can use their remaining computing power in their CPUs to join the network. We don’t want it to be in the hands of a few,” Liu told Block Asia.
He had harsh words for ASIC mining farms, “We are anti-ASIC. ASIC prioritises one type of mining, so the token allocations are unfair. It’s cheating.
“The fairness of the network and normal users’ participation are very important.”
He explained how RRC achieves that to Block Asia, “Calculation methods are randomised. The previous block decides what calculation method of the next block. This makes using ASIC as effective in mining as a CPU, as ASICs can only focus on one hash algorithm. So using ASIC does not make sense anymore.
“We also break tasks up into many smaller pieces, which makes it easier to mine.”
TIES TO THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT
RRC has investors that are linked to the Chinese government, like Shandong Gold Group, a state owned Chinese gold mining company.
It was featured in the 2018 China Blockchain Industry Whitepaper, published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China in May.
The paper stated in Mandarin, “RRC’s calculation methods makes the entry barrier to users’ participation in hash computing as low as possible. By using idle CPUs to perform all kinds of calculation methods including hash computing, it can widely attract ordinary users and widely collect idle computing power.
“The computing power collected can be used in many areas, such as scientific research, big data, and calculation model training.”
The Chinese government, despite banning cryptocurrency exchanges, is strongly encouraging the development of blockchain technology.
Liu said, “Everything related to blockchain technology is allowed in china, as this is indeed very meaningful.”