Despite China’s eradication Cryptocurrency bans, domestic web3 talents are quietly thriving, and many are adventuring across borders.
From the provision of crypto-derived products to the creation of NFT games, the footprint of Chinese web3 entrepreneurs is spreading all over the world. We have 12 Chinese founders and investors to know how this group is trying to build a global web3 business while keeping its roots in China and leveraging the abundant technical talents of its home country. I heard the story.
Many of them sought anonymity. Some people do not want to get the attention of the authorities because there are no clear rules regarding operating operations in China or providing services to overseas users, while “China” when geopolitical tensions with the western part of China are increasing. Some people want to avoid being called.
Many believe that the current state of the Internet (web2) is overly dominated by centralized rent-seeking companies like Google and Meta. Part of the appeal of web3 is the reuse of the internet through distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain. This promises decentralization and increased user ownership.
Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens are two popular blockchain applications that have raised billions of dollars in investment, but far from being the only use case for technology.
I still understand what China wants from web3, but obviously I don’t want to miss it. In 2019, President Xi Jinping personally Guaranteed the role of blockchain in the technological revolution.
What China doesn’t want is a plunge in cryptocurrency prices that has been making the market turbulent in recent months. It seems to encourage more controlled and centralized web3. Blockchain needs to be managed by a trusted organization, not an anonymous computer on the open web, to bring productivity to areas that the government deems appropriate.
It’s no wonder China has turned into an outlaw Initial coin offering When Cryptographic-based transaction Due to their financial risk, there is a gray area for other blockchain applications.While China has Warning about the use of NFTs as financial securities, It has changed its brand name as “Digital Collectibles”. It can only be purchased using the Chinese fiat currency RMB, has little liquidity and is tasked with promoting copyright protection.
Some Chinese web3 developers are participating to build an infrastructure for digital collectibles by following the instructions given at the top. Other use cases have also been approved by the government. For example, Alibaba’s financial company Ant Group Array of blockchain services For purposes such as using blockchain to verify court evidence or tracking food supply chains for safety.
Some argue that cryptocurrencies, which are considered stores of value, are like the assets of web3 bread and butter. Without it, web3 wouldn’t be able to reach its full potential. The Chinese people who take this view mainly focus on foreign countries, serve foreign users, and raise funds from foreign institutions.
Over the past few years, many Chinese web3 startups have moved their entities abroad following the crackdown on national cryptocurrencies, but they haven’t completely abandoned China. They follow a playbook certified by previous generation tech companies: live abroad, maintain some businesses in China, and chase overseas markets.
“Are you going to find thousands of other talented engineers?” An employee of a China-based cryptocurrency exchange says he wants to be unnamed.
China played a vital role in the early development of the blockchain industry, creating a generation of crypto-savvy talent. Some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, FTX, KuCoin, Crypto.com, OKX and Huobi, started in China.Bitman, the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining company, was founded in Beijing.. Mankou, a Chinese conglomerate, gave birth to HashKey, Ethereum’s first corporate investor and crypto investment powerhouse.
“There are 7 million programmers here, and they have proved many times that they can innovate,” says Herbertyan, Dfinity’s Asian general manager. a16z-backedThe Zurich-based company has come looking for a project that can be deployed on the blockchain network because China offers a “great pool of engineers”.
Other international organizations are looking to China for the same reason. The Ethereum Foundation, the organization behind the second largest cryptocurrency, “ETH Shanghai” Hackathon To attract developers to that blockchain network. According to the event’s organizer, Mask Network, the virtual version of the event attracted nearly 1,000 developers this year, with an estimated 60% coming from China. This startup brings web3 functionality to the web2 platform.
Chinese crypto companies traveling abroad try to bring in Chinese staff, but most of them rely on maintaining their presence in China. Cryptocurrency-friendly countries like Singapore have policies to attract foreign talent, but local governments often set quotas to protect domestic employment. Employees with families in China are reluctant to move in the first place.
The timing was ripe for web3 startups that have tried to hire in China over the last two years.Cryptographic values reached historic highs last year China’s crackdown on the Internet industry It was going well. Large-scale layoff With salary cuts, many workers, such as Tencent and Alibaba, are now looking for opportunities at the web3 frontier.
Others are fascinated by the technical potential of blockchain or the opportunity to rapidly accumulate wealth, so they voluntarily quit their jobs at established technology companies to ride the wave of web3. For example, TechCrunch learned that Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Group has lost dozens of employees to web3 startups in recent months.
Top product manager
It’s not news that tech companies are hiring workers in China while servicing overseas users.I had a zoom Hundreds of R & D staff In China, before Western media reports question the security of its cross-data practices.Owned by Alibaba Lazada Shopee, the enemy of Southeast Asian e-commerce, continues to do important business in Shenzhen, a human resources hub for exports and technology.
For many tech companies, China remains a good place to hire, thanks to its decade of rapid growth and competition in the Internet sector. Companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and TikTok owner ByteDance have been recognized for innovation in their respective fields since Silicon Valley.
“The project, founded in China, excels at managing and designing products for businesses and consumers,” suggests a Chinese worker at a blockchain startup based in the United States. “They are crazy about data analysis and spend a lot of time fine-tuning their products.”
China’s strength in web3 is not in building the infrastructure that underlies the blockchain, but in developing applications for users.
“The early opportunities for web3 are in protocols [infrastructure for blockchain applications]However, while the user experience is overlooked, they are primarily resolving transactions, “says the founder of a Hong Kong-based blockchain startup.
“Chinese people are very good at building user experiences. After all, China has created a robust web2 ecosystem,” he adds.
Chinese technical workers are known to be “hardworking,” CurtShi considers to be an early investor. App for earning StepN We also hope that the web3 project, which is a partner of the Prodigital Future Fund and was established in China, will be globalized.The overwork culture of China’s technology sector It caught fire in recent yearsOthers see it as a national advantage.
For example, StepN is run by a founder who emigrated from China to Australia. Like many entrepreneurs in China’s Diaspora, it utilizes original and hired homes by maintaining a small team in China as part of its international staff.
“That’s why we can get customer support 24/7, even though many of our rivals can’t,” says Shi.
Despite the potential strengths of Chinese-run web3 startups, they face the same challenges as their predecessors.
TikTok, a pioneer of snappy video sharing, is arguably the only Chinese consumer internet platform with global success in recent years. TikTok took off early, thanks to its parent ByteDance, without an important field presence abroad. Algorithm-driven content discovery machine Developed in Beijing.
However, cultural understanding of entrepreneurs is important in web3. The industry is still in its infancy. In short, a company’s ability to tell a compelling story is key to hiring early adopters. “Web3 companies need to be culturally sympathetic to their users,” said the founder of Singapore-based Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), originally from China.
Web3, as its proponents say, is often run by the community. The idea is that the technology that underpins the blockchain has a built-in consensus. For example, DAO makes decisions based on the collective consensus of the community.
A web3 team founded in China that lacks the language ability to effectively convey their ideas and understanding of other cultures can have a hard time getting users in new markets.
“I’ve seen Chinese companies that have good products, but they don’t know how to talk to the international community,” says the founder of DAO. “With web3, having a good product is no longer enough.”