EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Jun Hasegawa, Founder & CEO of OmiseGO

Cryptovest had the opportunity to talk with Jun, Founder of Omise and OmiseGO, last week at EDCON 2018 Toronto. Jun has a lot of exciting plans for Omise in 2018, including the hard spoon on the Cosmos Network expected to take place this month. Jun tells us a bit about the roadmap and milestones for the rest of 2018, some key challenges, partnerships, and some overall advice for newcomers to the crypto space.

Omise is a top online payment provider gateway located in Southeast Asia. The OmiseGO Network(OMG) is a subsidiary and one of the pioneering blockchain projects that have been heavily trenched into the Ethereum community since 2015. There are several layers to OMG including: SDK wallets, a decentralized exchange (DEX), scalability solutions as a plasma architecture pioneer, and a decentralized cash in/cash out layer that allows OmiseGO SDK wallets to integrate with debit/credit cards.

The initial goal was to ‘Unbank the Banked’, according to their motto, but Jun has since evolved his vision over time to take a more focused approach on real-world applications.

CV: So I’m here with Jun from Omise and OmiseGO (OMG), the Founder and CEO. I’m going to ask him a few questions about the OMG project at EDCON 2018. 

Jun, Can you please tell me a bit about where you are with OMG and what your focus is for the rest of 2018, and any challenges that you are facing that might delay any sort of progress with the roadmap.

Jun: We’ve been working toward scaling the plasma architecture based on the OMG network, and we’ve seen quite good progress on the plasma side, but [at the] same time we try to build Plasma Cash but we struggle on [the] consensus side. We haven’t decided yet on a consensus mechanism, but we also want to provide an alternative for the community, which is Cosmos staking, so that’s why we decided to do the hard spoon [on Cosmos Network].

CV: Can you tell us a bit about the hard spoon and when you expect to complete the hard spoon onto Cosmos?

Jun: It’s just issues on our side, and also the Cosmos zone. Once they launch the Cosmos zone, then we can have a solid plan with them to release the actual spoon schedules. So let’s see, as Jae (co-founder of Cosmos) is committed to launch within May and he tweeted that if he’s not launching by [the] end of May, he is going to shave his head and put a tattoo on his head (we both laugh), so we’ll see. I was joking with him today about that. He shaved half, so we’ll see [laughs].

CV: So, where do you see OMG two years from now?

Jun: That’s also a good question. OMG is the one that continuously pops up as the major project, but it came from the real business. We have been operating a payment company the past four years, and the reason we launched the OMG Network was that, basically, we struggled to build a mutual network for unbanked people. We really want to provide some fair network to give everyone an opportunity to connect into financial inclusion. So in two years, I really want to see, not just the cryptocurrency, but more like the real world value of connecting to the OMG network and then people actually utilizing our network for daily use. That is one of the key things, and then we are in a really good position, in terms of Omise, the payment side, actually starting to work with tens of thousands of merchants already, for basically they can connect to the OMG network right away, but it depends on us. But in two years, the difference we will see is a significant change of our product and also in the real business use cases.

CV: Can you tell me a bit about the Omise Decentralized Exchange?

Jun: That is also a good question (laughs). [Regarding] DEX, in [the] past six months we’ve seen a lot projects just tackling decentralized exchanges.

CV: Like Kyber for example, right?

Jun: Yeah, yeah. There is a lot of projects just tackling the DEX. We are actually good friends (referring to his relationship with Loi Luu from Kyber Network).

CV: Yeah, That is why it was kind of surprising to me that you are doing a DEX, since Kyber Network is also doing a DEX. So is there a way for you guys to work together without OMG launching its own DEX?

Jun: Depends. We have three layers. We have OMG network, which is based on the plasma architecture providing a scalability solution. On top of the OMG network we’ll have a DEX layer, and then we have an SDK layer. Actually, for whoever is building a DEX, who wants to use a scalable plasma-based architecture, they can connect to our OMG network. So even though we are building a DEX, on our own, still other DEXs can connect to our scalable network solution. [Compared to] other DEXs, but still on the plasma side,  [for] order matching and order books that store the main root chain, it’s a little bit different construction for a scalable DEX.

CV: So with the influx of all these new blockchain projects, all these new ICOs, everything else that has come out in the past two years, what do you think sort of differentiates the entire Omise project from all these other newer projects that have come along or older projects that are in the same space?

Jun: That is also a difficult question [laughs]. The real business. I think that is a significant difference. We actually cannot disclose it yet [laughs], unfortunately, but there are so many different businesses that have already starting utilizing our SDK, and then they are going to launch their services very soon, in the real world. Also, [there is] more, we are going to bring in, step by step, according to our progress on [the[ technical side.

CV: When you say real world, are you talking about S&P 500 businesses or like larger companies [in general]?

Jun: Yes, larger companies…larger companies mainly because the faster the DEX, [the larger] our liquidity pool can support enough users, otherwise, we cannot give enough impact to crypto economics, and people are not really [going to] realize why this is so important. I really want people utilizing our network in real life. Like even your phone, none of the applications are really using blockchain technologies, but one day, I really want to see every phone with blockchain capability. It’s one of those things that is really important.

CV: I think we’ll get there eventually.

CV: So for just about anyone that is new and not involved in this industry yet, not in the blockchain or cryptocurrency space yet, what is one piece of advice that you would give someone that is still in school or someone who is older that is just trying to start out in this business or in this space? Just based on your past experiences or failures that you’ve had, to help guide them on the right path.

Jun: You know, it’s EDCON too, right, so you can get an education from this community and it’s not necessary to start from [the age of] 5 or 10 because, I myself, back in 2015, I had no idea what the heck was going on with blockchain and back in 2014, I didn’t even know about how the credit card works. So people can start from zero but the important thing is this, keep learning. Especially [in] this: this crypto community is 24/7 365, things are rapidly changing, so participating in the community is very important [as well as] communicating, and contributing to the community. So that’s a few key things.

CV: Ok, thank you for that. Is there anything else you want people to know about OmiseGO or the Omise project, in general?

Jun: Mmmm - is there anything?

Eva Beylin (OmiseGO Strategy Guru): There is no bias to any currency or any location. So you know, with the DEX, with plasma, we’ll be scalable enough that we can reach any country, and any currency can be exchanged. So, It really doesn’t matter if people choose to tokenize fiat or use Ethereum, our cash in/cash out, DEX, plasma, all of it together, will enable anyone to choose what they want and that’s fine with us.

CV: Ok. Well, I want to thank you for your time, and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of EDCON.