EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Loi Luu, Founder & CEO of Kyber Network
Cryptovest.com had a chance to catch up with Loi Luu, founder of Kyber Network at EDCON 2018 in Toronto last week. There are some new and exciting developments with the project as Kyber looks to expand its range and applications. Loi discusses many topics including updates for 2018, some challenges with the DEX project, and advice for newcomers.
Kyber Network (KNC) is one of the top decentralized on-chain exchanges (DEXs) on the Ethereum blockchain, due to its liquidity and reserve pools. The exchange is currently live and allows for instant peer-to-peer transactions with no intermediaries and minimal costs. Loi Luu, the founder of Kyber Network, has an impressive background and has put together an amazing team to guide this project forward.
CV: So I’m at EDCON 2018 with Loi Luu, the CEO and Founder of Kyber Network. Loi How are you?
Loi: I’m good, I’m good. How are you?
CV: What do you plan to accomplish for the rest of 2018 with Kyber?
Loi: I think there are several major milestones that we want to achieve in 2018. One of that is to get more people to use Kyber. Educate users and get them to start using decentralized exchanges because most of the users, they are used to centralized exchanges because of usability and liquidity over there, but we want to use Kyber as an example to show them that a decentralized exchange is also easy to use and, you know, that there is also a lot of liquidity over there as well.
[The] second one that we want to focus on is our rebranding activity. So we want to provide more services beyond a decentralized exchange. We want to offer payments using crypto as well because we already have the ability to convert from one token to a different token instantly, so it makes sense for us to play the role of Visa or Mastercard in [the] cryptocurrency world.
There is another use case that we also really want to push forward, [which is] to start offering IEO on our platform or Initial Exchange Offerings. Projects, they initially do ICOs right? But now, they can offer the tokens or do token sales on our exchange so that they don’t have to do many ‘one-off’ activities like KYC, create tokens, smart contracts.
CV: So is this sort of how GIFTO launched on Binance directly? You want other cryptocurrencies to launch directly [on the Kyber Exchange?]
Loi: Yes exactly, but we want to do it in a decentralized way. We can also allow people to pay from a different token as well to participate in the token sale [not just ETH].
CV: So you said Kyber is going to be rebranding. Are you going to be changing the name Kyber [Network} or just sort of the overall focus of the project?
Loi: The name is still the same. The logo may change, but it may look similar. The main thing that would change is the message that we send out to the world. We want to tell the world that we are not only a decentralized exchange but that we are a lot more.
CV: That’s good.
CV: So I know recently the Kyber DEX beta came out and now the full version of the DEX is out [and live], what are some challenges you’re finding with the DEX in the early stage?
Loi: I think getting users to use a DEX is always challenging because they are so used to centralized exchanges. Some of them are not technical and don’t want to spend time exploring a new, sort of, platform. They just ask very naive questions like, “How do I use this...Kyber?”, “What happens if Kyber [goes] down?” and things like that but they didn’t really spend time to understand that Kyber is a decentralized exchange and that we do not keep their funds.
[Overall] It’s fun, you know. We have many supporters as well, so on our channel, if we are busy, we have other people, other users to reply to the newcomers.
CV: Is there any technical challenge or any technical issue that has caused...?
Loi: I think the main technical challenge is still scalability because whether we like it or not, later on we still need to address it. Currently, the network is still okay but if we have a couple more CryptoKitties or more people start delivering [on] their project and getting more activity on chain, then, you know, it’s going to be a major challenge for us.
CV: So Ethereum scalability is still an issue for Kyber?
Loi: Yeah, but, I mean currently it’s not an issue.
CV: But overall, I mean this entire EDCON is all about scalability and interoperability, so that is still the main issue [for Kyber].
CV: Where do you see Kyber [Network] two years from now?
Loi; Two years from now we want to be the most popular decentralized exchange. We also want to be a platform that helps many other projects. First of all, we have the on-chain liquidity pool so people who need access to that liquidity pool, they can use Kyber, or as a portfolio management platform, platform index fund, decentralized fund management, [for] all these applications they can use Kyber to rebalance or view their index. We also want to work with all the merchants to accept crypto payments, and we can help them easily accept different tokens as well.
CV: Do you ever see Kyber moving off of Ethereum and moving onto another blockchain protocol that is more [easily] scalable, like Aion or ICON?
Loi: There is no reason for us to move out completely from Ethereum but what we can do is, we can have different deployments on different blockchains as well. So we can have Kyber on Aion on Ethereum, on Wanchain, and many other blockchains as well. I think the more feasible scenario is that we might deploy our own plasma chain.
CV: Are you guys working on your own plasma chain?
Loi: We have been thinking about it and have been exploring different options as well.
CV: Do you think fiat-to-crypto will ever be a possibility on Kyber, in a decentralized manner?
Loi: I wouldn’t say it’s impossible but the moment that you touch fiat there is always some centralized entity involved, so you cannot make it decentralized. What you can do is, we already work with stable coins like the Dai token from MakerDao. We also work with Digix Gold tokens, [DigixDao] the company is based in Singapore, so they tokenized gold. So we use their gold token on our platform as well. If the users want to get into some safe haven, they can use either the Dai token or the Digix Gold token, and in the future we can also start thinking about offering fiat on our platform, but I don’t see any sort of demand at the moment.
CV: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone that is new to the entire blockchain cryptocurrency space and just starting out, whether as a developer or a trader? Just based on your past experiences, successes and failures.
Loi: I guess [I would say], put a little bit of money into some cryptocurrency and then you will have the incentive to study it further and really try to understand what is going on before you sort of work on some project or buy some other investment as well. This place is new, and there are a lot of scammers as well. Really, you have to understand what you are doing. Don’t buy something because many other people are buying it.
CV: What were you doing before Kyber and how did you come up with the idea of Kyber Network?
Loi: So before Kyber, I was working on my Ph.D. at [the] National University of Singapore. The Ph.D. was about, you know, blockchain and cryptocurrency as well. So I started in 2014; before Kyber we worked on a few projects [where] all of them were non-profit and open-source. The idea of Kyber [Network] started because, back then, I was helping some other project create the token sale smart contract and they really wanted to accept other tokens [for the token sale]. Most of the smart contracts back then, the existing ones, only allowed people to send Ether. I realized that if [we] now wanted to accept more tokens, [for] every new token we [would want to accept in the token sale] [we] would need to create a separate code to accept that token, which is really troublesome, right? If you wanted to accept ten tokens, then your code would look like this (extends arms high and low to show that the code would be ridiculously long). So, I mean I realized there is a good problem to solve and thought a little bit more and later on we suddenly realized that we can also build a decentralized exchange out of that idea to solve the problem [the solution to the problem of accepting different tokens during a token sale].
CV: So, are there any partnerships that Kyber is working on for the rest of 2018?
Loi: Right, so I think there are a couple of major projects that we want to partner with. First of all, other wallets. So we are trying to talk to Metamask, MyCrypto and Jaxx as well. We also want to work with other decentralized exchanges as well.
CV: So you mean like Omise DEX?
Loi: Yes, Omise, 0x, airswap, so that we can also be the market makers on these platforms. So essentially we can just set up a connection between all the DEXs.
CV: Ok. One final question. I’m sure you hold cryptocurrencies in your portfolio. What is one cryptocurrency other than Kyber (KNC) that you currently hold are currently [feeling] positive about?
Loi: There are several good cryptocurrencies out there. Ether is good as well. I’m long on Ether. There is another token that [I like], I mean I got the token because I am one of the advisors, the project is Zilliqa. They are solving an interesting problem as well.
CV: I want to thank you for your time and have fun at the rest of EDCON.
Loi: Thanks a lot and thanks for having me.