Interview with Zac Cheah, CEO and Co Founder of Pundi X ($NPXS)
How would you describe the main pillars of the project?
The project began, of course, with our XPOS, an intelligent, blockchain-based point-of-sales (“POS”) device that makes it easy to buy, sell and transact in cryptocurrencies in physical retail stores. We saw this as the ‘last mile’ challenge for future adoption of the blockchain technology and helping to bring the vision of cryptocurrency back toward its initial grounding as a form of spendable, digital cash.
Bring blockchain-based transactions into our daily life
That device is being well received by global retail: we have begun shipping 5000 pre-orders to customers in Europe, Asia and South America with deals for many more underway. Our end goal is 100,000 by 2021.
But bringing our project to scale also sent us towards further innovation. We began researching and integrating the top 100 public chains to out XPOS to lay the groundwork for instant transactions and confirmations. But none suited our goal, either due to a shortfall in capacity or documentation.
So, we set out to make our own. That brought us to Function X, our new blockchain to be released next year.
Build the future of the decentralized internet
With it, we’ve created something more than a public chain for recording transactions but the basis for using blockchain to create a decentralized internet. As we showed recently, it can make use of the blockchain to make and receive phone calls, something we demonstrated with a new product, the XPhone (Q2, 2019). But its potential uses are much broader toward, we believe, being used to decentralize every bit and byte of data on the internet. Last month we showed how it can be used to publish decentralized applications on Function X with a new ride sharing app that allowed customers and passengers to connect directly via smart contract. Ultimately we see Function X, and devices that run on it, as a way to use blockchain to hand control back to consumers and creators over their data and to mitigate the control currently exercised by central intermediaries.
Phew, there it is in a nutshell.
About the team and supporters, what are your strengths?
Teamwise our strength probably lies in diversity. We bring together different strengths, perspectives and experience in a wide range of fields in finance and tech. Pitt our CTO has had a very successful career as an entrepreneur with successful exits from a range of startups that proved highly successful and ahead-of-the-trend including the PC version of GroupOn. Our other senior executives include people like chief legal counsel David Ben Kay, who is formerly the general counsel for Microsoft China and the Ethereum Foundation; Vic Tham, the former COO for transaction banking for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch; Kiki, our President, who has run two of Indonesia’s biggest fintech firms for two decades; and of course Danny, our CFO, who is ex-Baidu and Lenovo and an expert in project financing. Bring this team together and you’re overwhelmed by intelligent perspectives on any given problem.
But our community is probably just as impressive. It’s become a pretty shop-worn cliché, I know, but I think the numbers more than bear it out. We’re among the top handful of crypto projects on Facebook (115,000 followers) so we’re clearly punching above our weight, while we have very active Twitter (53.6K followers) and Telegram (28.9K members) too. If you want to see the proof of our community’s strength have a look at some of our supporters such as Stanry (@heavenlycharm) or Onallee who have literally travelled overseas to use our products and spread the word about them. We’re hugely lucky to have supporters like these.
Thinking about the future, do you have any roadmap with relevant upgrades or partnerships?
Sure. Here’re our plans for the next two quarters, encompassing new launches for Pundi X but also expanding the series of international events we co-sponsor: XBlockchain.
- Kick off the international series of XBlockchain summit in China
- Grow XWallet and XPASS card adoption rate to increase transactions on the XPOS
- Establishing new local branch offices
- Introduce the XPOS and XPASS as a medium for charitable donations via a partnership with a major non-profit organization
- Expand the international series of XBlockchain summit to South America
- Launch Function X testnet
- Deliver XPhone to the consumer market
What’s the added value of Pundix in comparison with other competitors ?
It’s a good question. Speaking in particular about our XPOS, there are many different approaches to introducing blockchain payments to what is a $2.2-trillion global industry, each with their pros and each with their drawbacks.
I think first of all we give our clients control. Others seek to build on top of some of incumbent payment providers, which basically locks in sometimes unfavourable fee structures or requirements for ongoing use of a particular payment system. Secondly, our terms are very favourable: we price our product low compared to other market players and the fees are slim and can bet by merchants themselves. Finally, we offer a way to bring in new functionality in the form of crypto payments with a model of POS that mirrors pretty closely the existing process flow in a retail environment. We must always remember retailers are a lot more conservative than early adopters and they have the process of managing a busy checkout down to a fine art — that’s one part of the equation we aren’t looking to disrupt.
For our Function X blockchain it’s the added functionality: Being able to use the blockchain to transmit data of all kinds is a totally new step with major implications.
What are the use cases you are looking to cover?
Whatever we do we’re guided by the principle of bringing blockchain to the forefront of people’s everyday lives. I think there’s no other place worth concentrating your energy at the moment.
For payments that means making it easier for currencies like Bitcoin to be put to use. This was, after all, what Satoshi Nakomoto first envisioned. The use of crypto for real world payments has not kept pace with the attention that it has gotten from its speculative booms, but we think that’s because it hasn’t been integrated seamlessly onto the status quo in the way we’re trying to do.
As for the future uses for our blockchain, we see these as pretty well unbounded. We’re looking to promote the use of a decentralized blockchain internet for as many uses as can be found. As consumers become increasingly concerned about taking back control of their data (see: the recent Facebook election scandal in the US, the growing demand for privacy-focused apps such as Signal) I think blockchain-based mediums for communication will grow in their applications. It’s a new space for blockchain too, taking it beyond transactions, but one that I think will become increasingly central.
How are you aiming to provide scalability to your service?
This is one of the biggest ones facing anyone who wants to bring blockchain into payments.
The design of our blockchain is for every Pundi X device (XPOS and XPhone) to function as a node. That means any growth in use of XPOS devices results in a commensurate increase in the number of nodes and, so, our speed and throughput. With our plans for 100,000 deployed by 2021 we’ll be aiming to create a large and geographically distributed network of nodes that can verify and process transactions and be used for sharding and other solutions to scale.
Evaluation of the current scenario for Pundix and the blockchain industry.
For 2019 I’ll be quoting Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come”.
Thanks for your time
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