Can we trust blockchain? How can we be more confident interacting with the developing digital economy?
Anchain.ai is a start-up passionate about facilitating legitimacy and security in the crypto industry. Co-founder and CEO, Victor Fang, works with a wide variety of public and private chains so that industry stakeholders can be secure AND we share the dedication of educating future innovators!
Hear a lively conversation on how Victor participates in the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, and raises money through VC's and the XRPL Grants for developers to create innovative solutions to secure blockchain. - crucial and timely to this industry reaching maturity!
Lauren Weymouth (00:00):
I'm Lauren Weymouth and I lead the University Blockchain Research Initiative at Ripple. We typically speak with academics, both professors and students who are deeply engaged in applied research, and at the very early stages of development.
As more blockchain startup accelerators are being offered on campus now, we will start to explore these further developed use cases from people that straddle academic and industry worlds.
Our guest today is Victor Fang, cofounder and CEO of a hot new startup called AnChain.AI, backed by top VCs. Victor has a decade of experience in data science leadership roles. He holds 15 patents on AI for cybersecurity and fraud detection solutions. He was one of the early cohorts in the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator Program, and he teaches a data science course at UC Berkeley.
AnChain.AI was just awarded an XRP ledger grant for developers creating innovative solutions on the XRP ledger by RippleX. Victor, we're thrilled to have you on the show today.
Victor Fang (01:01):
Cool. Thank you, Lauren, for having me here.
Lauren Weymouth (01:04):
So, funny note is that Victor and I were supposed to record this interview a couple days ago, and the podcasting platform that we use, SquadCast, was not working. We think it actually got hacked.
Victor Fang (01:16):
I think so (laughs).
Lauren Weymouth (01:18):
Yeah. Well, it's funny, talking to someone that specializes in security.
Victor Fang (01:11):
So yeah, Lauren, now you know that, how important is the work we are doing in cybersecurity.
Lauren Weymouth (01:26):
Exactly. All right. So Victor, how did you get going in blockchain and cryptocurrency?
Victor Fang (01:32):
Yeah, I do have a fun story to share with you. when I was doing my computer science PhD, I was teaching the machine learning class in the, university. And then one of the student came to me, like, say, "Hey, Victor, can I borrow your server for overnight?" And I was like, "Yeah. what is that for?" And then he say, "Well, I'm gonna do something called a bitcoin mining." And this is back in 2010, okay? So, when bitcoin was basically a practical joke. (laughs).
then I say, "Okay, I wanna learn more about it. What is bitcoin? And what is bitcoin money?" And then he sent me this, whitepaper by Satoshi. And we're looking at this, like, yeah, it is kinda relevant to computer science. It does have cryptography. It does cover parallel computing. And I say, "Okay, yeah, go ahead and use it, (laughs) but just make sure that you- you spend more time on the coursework than all that." And that's,how I first get exposed to bitcoin. After that I moved to San Francisco in 2011. I become the first generation of data scientist here. And then I was actually fortunate enough to, use machine learning and big data, to solve cybersecurity problems, like detecting the APT threats those most sophisticated hackers in the world.
And then one thing, (laughs) another fun story I will share with you, is actually I spent good amount of my bitcoins, spending on coffee in Palo Alto. there was a coffee place that I go to. It's called Coupa Café. I actually have some photo I can share with you later on (laughs). And I wish. I was smarter back then. I should have saved all those bitcoins but, uh, yeah, well, (laughs) it's now is where we are-
Lauren Weymouth (03:07):
Victor Fang (04:43):
... and then-
Lauren Weymouth (03:07):
That's like that story of someone buying a pizza with bitcoin. So you- you did the same thing. You bought coffee with Bitcoin?
Victor Fang (04:49):
Oh yeah. I- I haven't spent like 50- that guys spent 50 bitcoin on some- oh, 50,000 bitcoins on that pizza. I spent, I- I think I spent like a few Bitcoins. Like, two dollars for whatev- for each, right? you definitely make me, uh, feel comm- (laughs) way better now. And then, long story short. I joined FireEye Mandiant as one of the leaders [inaudible 00:05:16] in the AI effort. One of the task, one of- one of the project I work at FireEye Mandiant was actually back in 2017, ransomware, WannaCry was a big thing back then, I- and then guess what, the hackers are using bitcoin for ransom payment, and that's why one of the project I was doing was tracing down all those- where those bitcoin money went, right?
Victor Fang (05:38):
So and then, that got me, um, very curious about, wow, okay, the hackers are using bitcoin, that is kinda mind blowing, and, the entire underground, hackers' eco- economies is actually using that, I kinda start thinking about, well, is there a business here, right? So I left my comfortable job at FireEye Mandiant and, I started AnChain.AI. I- I successfully got my first $2 million of seed round investment, and on the mission to secure, uh, this growing digital asset class, so, and then now, fast forward 2020- uh, 2021, that's where we are now.
Lauren Weymouth (04:32):
Well, you're kind of reaching legendary status, at least on this podcast, because I think you've had the most exposure over 10 years, to the subject matter out of anyone we've interviewed thus far.
Victor Fang (04:42):
Yeah, I hope I still look young though.
Lauren Weymouth (06:34):
Victor Fang (06:34):
Lauren Weymouth (04:46):
for our listening audience, yes, Victor looks very young and handsome, charming for sure.
Victor Fang (04:51):
(laughs). Love that.
Lauren Weymouth (04:52):
Before we get into your project and what you've been building, what most excites you about the industry?
Victor Fang (04:58):
the fascinating part about blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is really the fast-growing and then its potential, right? So, yeah, I mean, when I started in 20- 2018, this entire market cap was only $100 billion. And guess what, today- this just hit, what, $3 trillion. So you're talking about a asset class that grows 30 times in just three years. I think in human history, there's actually nothing similar than this, this is insane. And $3 trillion. Well, I think they're still in the infancy.
And then in the history, when there's a fast-growing technology like this, right? And one thing is gonna happen is you create a lot of gaps in the technology, in the securities, and all that. Yeah, so we are actually in the blockchain security, it's one mystery market in this $200 billion cybersecurity market. And our mission is to secure this growing digital asset class.
Lauren Weymouth (05:57):
Such an important subject matter. we do in the UBRI Network have a lot of scholars that are working on cybersecurity.
Victor Fang (06:03):
Lauren Weymouth (06:04):
Victor Fang (08:02):
Lauren Weymouth (06:03):
Okay. And so you left your cushy job. What problems did you set out to solve?
Victor Fang (06:09):
Yeah, so basically, three problems specifically, like one is the blockchain is still in- in the infancy, right? I mean, like, blockchain project, like Ethereums and many other, blockchains that layer one, right?
I will say they're still in the infancy, right? Compare the future, down the road, in five years, right? So first of all, the blockchain infrastructure is still pretty, uh, insecure, right? So, I mean, you're constantly hearing, well, there's a- maybe there's double spending issues, right?
nowadays, smart contracts was hacked all the time, like a- like a few weeks ago, there was a GRIMM Finance DeFi that got hacked and that lost what, $100 million, right? So this is the first one, the blockchain infrastructure is still insecure.
The second one is there's so many of scam and fraud, And that's actually hurting this entire industry, right? Like, remember 2017, there's all these ICO bubbles and all that, a lot of them are actually is called a block pool right? So they launch this and then, boom, the seller and then they- they disappear, and there was a whitepaper PDF in your hands and lost thousands of dollars if- if it not millions,
The third one is is still, lack of regulatory compliance, the governments and all the regulators are still trying to wrap their head around, yeah, what is blockchain, what is cryptocurrency, what is DeFi, what is NFP, what is smart contract based digital assets, stablecoin? They have so many question marks up there, right? And on that front, we're very honored to, be selected by the SEC, by one of the most, powerful financial regulator in the world, right?
we're working with them right now on still trying to figure out like what's the right regulation for this growing industry. Yeah, so those three problems they're what we're solving right now. And then right now, the crypto anti-money laundering, right? Following to these three categories is actually what we are kinda prioritizing right now.
Lauren Weymouth (08:02):
And tell us a little bit about AnChain, um, AI, where it was founded, where you're located, uh, about your leadership.
Victor Fang (08:10):
Yeah. So we started in twen- three years ago, 2018. We are located- the headquarters are located in San Jose, California, yeah. If you are around, yeah, you're welcome to our office, the chill pad, grab a coffee. Um, and then [crosstalk 00:10:40]-
Lauren Weymouth (08:24):
I'm not- I'm not gonna pay in bitcoin.
Victor Fang (10:43):
(laughs). Well, I- I hope not. Hopefully stablecoins or something, So after the, uh, COVID-19, right when it hit the city here, we still keep the hea- headquarter in San Jose, but a lot of our team is actually spreading around in five different states in the US. the leadership is Ben, my cofounder and COO,I work with him for three years at, uh, EMC and Pivotal, And this like cofounders, me and, Ben.
Lauren Weymouth (09:25):
so when you entered the Blockchain Xcelerator Program, what stage was AnChain in?
Victor Fang (09:40):
Hmm. So, yeah, it was, uh, just the seed round, so really, we got, a few people on the team, like Ben and me and a few others, yeah, and- and $2 million. we got a invite from UC Berkeley right through our mutual friends, we actually have a very good conversation, and then we kinda feel like, wow, that's UC Berkeley, actually share a lot of common in the- in the vision, like where this industry is going, right? And how can we add value to that?
Victor Fang (12:09):
and I talked to Ben, I was like, "Hey, we should definitely get involved in the- in this Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator."
Lauren Weymouth (12:17):
So there's probably a lot of seed companies out there that are wondering what they could get out of an accelerator program, maybe even specifically the one at Berkeley, but there's-
Victor Fang (12:25):
Lauren Weymouth (12:25):
... accelerator programs popping up all over the country, all over the world-
Victor Fang (12:28):
Lauren Weymouth (12:28):
... actually. Um-
Victor Fang (12:29):
Lauren Weymouth (12:29):
What did- what did you particularly get out of the Xcelerator?
Victor Fang (12:32):
Yeah, great question. I think, first of all, UC Berkeley is the best public university in the US, right? And there's actually a lot of great research in blockchain cryptographer, programming language, and all that. They are all, original in UC Berkeley, and is in our neighborhood here.
Victor Fang (12:53):
So, yeah, and then I think, uh, is one is get exposed to all this great research they're doing, and second is really the tapping into the talent pool, right? And the third one is probably they are- the UC Berkeley's massive alumni network, right? That's how you and me are connected, right? Through UC Berkeley.
Lauren Weymouth (13:12):
Victor Fang (13:14):
Lauren Weymouth (10:17):
yeah. Let's talk a little bit about AnChain's mission. I read on your website, blockchain transparency for all."
Victor Fang (13:23):
Lauren Weymouth (13:24):
sounds like a really big mission. Can you break that down for us?
Victor Fang (10:26):
Absolutely. Yeah, of course. when people talk about blockchain and all that, it's a decentralized, uh, public ledger, right? By definition, all the data is already sitting there. Right? In public, transparent, right?
But the- the problem is here, right? 600 million addresses, Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, many other blockchains out there. And then there are billions of transactions happening, right? Every day, every week. And that's petabytes of data sitting there. So it's really very hard for the average people, right, to actually comprehend what's going on. You can get the raw transaction A sent to B, but that's nothing, that's not the insight, right?
so what we're trying to do is we build the cutting edge technology to try to provide you with more insights, for example, is that randomly looking address, is that belong to WannaCry hackers? Or terrorists,Or a mixer? Or it belongs to a legitimate business, like CoinBase or other regulated exchange, right? So this is that insight our technology can provide to you, and same as the smart contract, right? Is this smart contract secure? Is that, transaction compliant with all these different, regulations and jurisdictions and all that, right?
So that's the insight we're providing you. And then-based on this, cool thing I'm telling you, data and insight, that's actually a perfect data science problem. That's what my last 10 years of career in Silicon Valley in San Francisco has been pre- preparing me ready for
I'm very proud that we are getting on this market in the right timing and it's great that our hard work's been recognized by the great customers and- and, uh, great partners.
Lauren Weymouth (12:13):
Yeah, so you're taking on this big challenge of monitoring this massive crypto market and-
Victor Fang (12:19):
Lauren Weymouth (12:20):
... you are providing this data and these insights to, you're providing them to crypto exchanges? who do you share these insights with? Or are you selling these as solutions?
Victor Fang (16:56):
Yeah, a few categories, right? One is, the VASP, right? The exchanges, the virtual assets service provider, V-A-S-P, So the exchanges, wallet, and custodians, and all that. Right? That's one.
And then second is the traditional finance institutions, like the hedge funds, the banks, And the third category's the public sector. Like the SEC that everybody knows it well, right? we've been featured by Fox, right? On the SEC partnership, right?
Victor Fang (13:00):
these three sectors covers most of where our customers are from, right?
Lauren Weymouth (13:00):
So you've used your 10 years of data science to become the go-to man for information?
Victor Fang (13:04):
Yeah (laughs), I hope- I hope we- we- we'll- we'll be the go-to man soon. Yeah, but-
Lauren Weymouth (17:44):
Victor Fang (17:44):
... I mean, yeah, definitely, we- we play important role in this market, that's for sure. Yeah.
Lauren Weymouth (13:12):
you initially, when you're in your seed funding, you said a couple times that you raised 2 million. What is your total raise now? Or are you still running off that initial money? Is it impolite to ask?
Victor Fang (18:00):
Lauren Weymouth (13:21):
How much money you've raised so far and from who?
Victor Fang (13:23):
so the seed round, right, was back in '18, right? Was 2 million. and then we have a pre-A round, we raised another 2 or 3 millions, and the most recently, we raised $10 million in the series A. it's a great honor to be backed by the top investors, like, SIG Susquehanna, right? They are based in Philadelphia, very low profile on VC firm, right? But they've invested a lot of great companies. And Amino Capital, based right here in- on University Avenue in Palo Alto, right? it's whole bunch of, early Google employees or Facebook employees, uh, great technologies, right?
And then FinVC, right? The most recent investor we have, the FinVC, they're one of the leading San Francisco-based fintech focused, um, VC, right? And a few other, VCs, that are backing us.
it's really a great honor and it's a great journey, like working with them very closely, got a lot of advise from them on the product market feeds and all that. Yeah.
Lauren Weymouth (14:19):
So you just closed your series A, congratulations.
Victor Fang (19:11):
Lauren Weymouth (19:11):
Victor Fang (19:11):
Lauren Weymouth (14:22):
... fundraising like in this sector? What- what are lessons learned?
Victor Fang (14:25):
Yeah, so (laughs), actually, I'm coaching the UC Berkeley, uh, founders, right, in the past two years on fundraising, first of all, all my opinions are bias, right? I'm a CEO, I'm technology founder, that- that actually can code, and I code, right, so I'm more like, uh, what, Elon Musk and Zuckerberg. so I think as a first time, founders, one advice I give to the Berkeley founders, really, you gotta understand how the VC works, right? So I highlighted,six steps in the fundraising you need to know how that VC machine is working so you can actually fit into their process
It's actually a well-established profession (laughs), market VC's definitely a profession, right? And you gotta understand the six steps that I actually break down for the founders, right? I think, if you- you fresh out of schools from your PhD programs or whatever, right? Or dropout? you don't necessary know how the VC works, right? So I think I strongly recommend that- that slice I give. I actually published it on my, uh, LinkedIn So there's a article and there's a presentation there prepared for the UC Berkeley founders.
And the second one is really to understand your business, By that, the first quick thing is, "Are you doing a B to B or B to C, right? You're selling to a business or selling to consumers. So that is very fundamentally different, right? So it's different in terms of the product environment, the metrics that you measure your success, and then the growth pattern, even how you acquire customers, right? The CAC, the customer acquisition cost and all that. Very different.
So that said, you gotta pick the right VC, the right investors, right? That align with your mission so they can help you down the road. Yeah, so I think there's two lessons. Uh, one's understand how the VC works, second is understand your own business. I think those two are the- the main ones that a lot of, first time founders, especially the technologist founder, like me, right? That-may not get exposure in their training, right?
it can be learned. the Berkeley friends told me that that cohort we- we are in has ra- raised, what, $100 million aggregated? So I think, yeah, it's great that I- I kind of (laughs) contributed to that, right? And it's always feel good that you- I give back to the network, to the community.
Lauren Weymouth (16:47):
solid advice, but it's inspiring to hear that you are helping to create the future of- of the ecosphere and coaching other people.
Victor Fang (22:22):
Lauren Weymouth (22:23):
Victor Fang (22:23):
Lauren Weymouth (22:23):
Victor Fang (22:23):
Yeah. Thank you.
Lauren Weymouth (16:58):
all right, so you mentioned your work with the SEC-
... to combat criminal activity. What- what's it like working with a government agency?
Victor Fang (17:05):
Yeah, it's actually (laughs), yeah. So first of all, we are technology company, right? I'm not a lawyer (laughs), I'm just a technologist, right? I mean, being selected by the SEC, I think, it's to feel this responsibility. Right? we're the technologies being selected by the regulator, right, to kind of help them understand what is the insight hiding in those massive data, right? On the blockchain. Smart contract, all these- those 10,000 lines of code, what does that mean? All these fancy transactions, like in- in the smart contract world and DeFis and NFT and all that. What does it really entail, right?
we really feel this responsibility. Right? It's really (laughs), wow, the AI and machine learning technology that we developed pa- in the past three years, we're actually able to make the life easier for the regulators and law enforcement to understand who is behind it and what is the transaction patterns and all that, right? we can provide like 10 times more visibility into the blockchain data and smart contract and all of it.
I think as a technologist, this is really like mind blowing and it'll see how it's being taken to actions and all that, right? and then that's a- also the first time we're working with a government agencies and I'm really great that- that the government agencies are taking a proactive and technology-focus approach into the cryptocurrency and digital asset market, right?
So other than some other countries, that just totally shut it down, they just ban it, because mainly I think just because they don't understand (laughs) what the impact and the potential of this technology and they just shut it down, right? I feel very unfortunate for those countries, but really, I think, we are very proud and I'm very glad that our government is taking a technology focus and proactive approach. I will be able to share with you more when we- have more government-
Lauren Weymouth (18:59):
Well, I'd love-
Victor Fang (19:00):
... customers and all-
Lauren Weymouth (19:02):
... to follow up with-
Victor Fang (19:02):
Victor Fang (19:04):
Lauren Weymouth (19:05):
so your team went after an XRP ledger grant and you were awarded the grant. congratulations on that. That's something-
Victor Fang (19:10):
Thank you for your support.
Lauren Weymouth (19:11):
... new that ... Yeah. Something new that Ripple launched in 2021. tell us-
... what you're building as part of that grant.
Victor Fang (19:16):
first of all, it's a great honor to be selected in this, XRP ledger grant. we are tasked to actually build out the next generation anti-money laundering platform for the XRP. And X- XRP right now is the number six, uh, cryptocurrency by market cap, it's one of the most influential cryptocurrency in the world, right? It's been around for a while and it's a good reputations and all that in the market, right? then the one thing in particular, like when we talk to the Ripple team, the XRP team is really we share the same vision,
So blockchain legitimacy is actually the key to the success of this industry's growth, right? So a lot of people feel like, oh, wow, okay, are we doing surveillance and all that on this asset and it's hurting the- what, the privacies and all that? But you know what? It's actually totally, uh, opposite, right?
I actually have firsthand knowledge with fighting versus ransomware hackers when I was at FireEye, fighting with those ransomware, like WannaCry and Locky and all that, right? if the government and the regulator, law enforcement, is not playing a role here, then- then this industry is in big trouble because it's gonna turn into, a playground for all these hackers, the underground economics, and there's no future if the digital asset being going that route. Right?
We are working hard right now to- to kind of integrate, the XRP ledger into our existing CISO product is one of the leading next generation AML platform for the blockchain and smart contract and all that.
let's see. So it's coming out. I think the team promised me to have something roll out in Q1 and, yeah, I'm excited.
Lauren Weymouth (21:00):
that is exciting. That's quick. Can you talk a little bit about your experience
working with the XRP ledger or what you like about this particular blockchain protocol?
Victor Fang (21:04):
yeah, so what we like about is the, simplicity, right? it's actually not that hard to interpret the transaction datas and all that, compared those, or other crazy,blockchain protocols
our product offering right now, the post-incident investigation side of it, we're tapping into the XRP ledger, right, to crunch the data and then make sense of it. So the regulators or- or even the private sectors, uh, investors can get a better sense of what's going on by using the product, right? When something already happened, that's our CISO product.
And then the preventative side, right? So that's actually a pretty new idea that we come up with, how can we actually even, enable all the XRP investors, VASPs, right, to actually be able to block the bad actors' illicit transactions up front other than you wait until, oh, we get hit the news and-
and then people like scramble to kinda, oh you patch the database and whatever to block that.
we do have some success stories, right? So with some of the customer we have, it's not- not the XRP, but I think I can give this example to you to- help you, get the sense of what the future would be for the XRP ecosystem, right?
a few months ago one of our hedge fund customers block one of the transaction that we flag as a risk score of, uh, 85%, right? So that's consider as a high risk, right? A- anything beyond 80%, in our system, by the machine learn- learning model- by the machine learning model call it high risk, that we recommend the vendor to block it.
And then they come back and look it up and they ask us, why is it being blocked? Because that address is not in the sanction list database. It's not classified as a bad actor by- by the government. But then we go over the UIs and all that kind of drill now, the insides of the transaction, that address has been- participated with, and find out that, well, there was actually a recent upgrade of the [inaudible 00:40:47] database that included a new address that triggered our machine learning model to infer the risk score on that address that is not included in the database but they have a very close,correlation with that address, in the past, they transacted millions of dollars, okay? And that's actually what we call the preventative, right? And it's all based on the facts that recorded in- on the blockchain.
that's one of the powerful case study, one of the very powerful customer success story that we found, recently.
Lauren Weymouth (23:37):
I think that's-
... so meaningful for us to hear-
Victor Fang (23:38):
Lauren Weymouth (23:40):
... right? You're not just building this technology that's gonna mitigate fraud, you actually are. You're catching fraudulent transactions and being able to allow-
Victor Fang (23:47):
On the fly.
Lauren Weymouth (23:48):
... your customers, on the fly, to-
Victor Fang (23:50):
On the fly.
Lauren Weymouth (23:51):
... uh, not have a ...to protect the industry-
Victor Fang (23:52):
And that's the future. Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's a lot of time when you see those crazy headline news, oh, yeah, ransomwares using this whatever. Yeah, like Darkside ransomwares and all that. Usually, that's is already too late. Right? That transaction already happened like hours ago, right? Like, last year, uh, I get the chance to get on CBS News, right, in- in Bay Area, to talk to Elaine Kiese, my favorite, news anchor, to kinda explain that Twitter hack, what happened when the hacker got that, what? That $100,000, the- from Joe Biden's Twitter account well, it's bad thing has already happened, right? And then the only thing we could do is, well, we trace now to make sure they're not able to liquidate in other VASPs and all that, right?
But can we actually push the defense line all the way to the extreme, which is, well, if we enable the API call for the screening when they make a transaction, we should be able to block it up front, right? And then we can constantly improving the technology not a cool thing that hackers are using these days, using like Tornado.cashand then, if you in bitcoin, they come into the WebBTC and move to a different blockchain and use Tornado.cash in the composable DeFi, all these crazy innovations to launder the money and all that.
Well, fortunately our machine learning and AI technology can actually already show some early evidence of we can do it. We can actually prevent those from happening, even though they're taking all this crazy tactics to launder the money. Yeah, it can be done.
Lauren Weymouth (25:29):
Anything on your 2022 roadmap that you can share with us?
Victor Fang (25:32):
the past three years, what we really doing is three things, right? One is AI. So we are AI company, AI is our last name in the company, okay? So we focus on apply machine learning including deep learning into comprehending cryptocurrency data, right? And blockchain data and all that. So AI.
And then the second is preventative, right? Most of the investigation tools when you hear investigation, that means something bad already happened, right? Can we actually move the defense line all the way up the stream? that's why this industry in cybersecurity is getting like $200 billion, because they can enable you to be able to play a role in preventative.
And then the third one is smart contract, right? A smart contract focus. And back in 2018, one of the strategic decision I made, right, was starting AnChain.AI was really, um ... a lot of people back then was doing UTXO tracings and all that, I feel like that's a boring topic, although, I mean, it's important problem, but, I mean, smart contract it's probably one of the few reasons that actually motivated me to quit the comfortable job at FireEye. It's not because of the U e- UTXO tracing. (laughs). It's because of the smart contract.
It's adding a new dimension of complexity to blockchain, and in Silicon Valley, yeah, we call it the smart contract, the blockchain 2.0, right? And that is what fascinated me the most, right? So smart contract focus is since day one we actually invest a lot of resource into smart contract analytics.
So, next year's vision is gonna continue executing on these three vision, right? I mean, technically is one to support more blockchain, like the XRP, and then preventative AML, can we turn the game from the post-incident investigation all the way become a preventative, right? We enable API to integrate with your infrastructure. Either you're doing buy and sell of cryptocurrencies or tradings or whatever, right? That we have a API for that, preventative. To achieve that, we need to grow the team. Right now, we're only like 30- 30 people. almost everyone's actually double booked right now, so we need to double the team. So-
Lauren Weymouth (27:42):
Oh, you beat me to my next question, which is-
... are you hiring?
Victor Fang (27:46):
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. We're hiring. So we are in a hypergrowth phase right now, after the series A, right? we're a company that's on a mission, we're looking for a player to join the team, right? I promised our investors, okay, I don't know how successful AnChain.AI would be in a few years, but one thing I- I guarantee is we are building a technology company of great taste. And I'm inspired by Steve Jobs. He's the main reason I actually- I'm-in San Francisco, right? Is because of Steve Jobs. he has his own definition of, what is a technology of great taste.
You have to come up with original idea and you need to bring culture to the products, and if you look at the product of the AnChain.AI UIs and all that, like down to the footnote you would be able to find- there's a quote there, saying, uh, "Designed by AnChain.AI in California with love." So definitely encourage you to go and check our product there and that shows, how devoted, right? How committed we are, everybody on the team, building a great product that can help us achieve this mission, right?
so we're hiring all kind of engineers and technical roles and all that, like compiler for mobile verification, programming language, back end engineer, data scientist, even like project and product manager. fully opened. So yeah. Check out the website. We are hiring aggressively.
Lauren Weymouth (59:10):
That's great. I hope this podcast interview has people listening and get motivated and inspired by what you're saying, to come-
Victor Fang (29:18):
Lauren Weymouth (29:19):
... apply. And for our listeners who can't see Victor's face right now, his face is full of love and promise and pride, exactly what he's saying, down to the footnote of his verbiage on his website. it's visible. It's coming across-
Victor Fang (29:30):
Lauren Weymouth (29:31):
... Victor, it shines.
Victor Fang (29:31):
Lauren Weymouth (29:32):
Basic industry question: Where are we gonna be five years from now?
Victor Fang (29:35):
What (laughs). That's a great question. Let's see. you know what? Five years in cryptocurrency is- is like 1000 (laughs) in human history. So why do I say that? So 2018, we started this company, right? The market cap is only $100 billion. And now we're at 3 trillion. 30 times in, what, 30 times growth in three years. So, I mean, down five years, let's say, I mean, 30x from now, so that market cap is gonna hit, what, 90 trillion. $90 trillion dollars.
What does that mean? Right now today, the entire US stock market is $50 trillion dollars. Oh, I'm a data scientist, I always like to look at numbers, so to get a sense of it, right? down the road, I think five years, we continue this pattern momentum, to grow 3x from now, I think that's totally reasonable and that means this asset class, this alternative asset class, is gonna become the same size of our stock market as of today. I think that's totally doable, it's totally feasible. It's not something crazy. It's totally doable.
my three prediction, right? in 2026, one is gonna be, crypto would be accepted by the mainstream financial institutions, as a legitimate, alternative asset class. Okay? I think that's totally reasonable, right? I think the- the regulators the governments, they all working very hard to solve, sort out all these details. That's one.
The second one: Metaverse. Now everybody in bay area is talking about metaverse, right? Even Facebook change their name to- to Meta and all that. So I think metaverse will be the reality in five years, for sure. and guess what, cryptocurrency, smart contract, will be the foundation of that open finance system. For sure. 100%. And you should be able to buy and sell equipment or whatever, not in fear, not in PayPal, it's gonna be its own cryptocurrency or blockchain system.
Lauren Weymouth (31:39):
Victor Fang (31:40):
And I'm sure a lot of smart contract is gonna be there. And the third prediction, so my hero, Elon Musk, right? He plans to send humans to the Mars in 2025. It's public information, check it out. 2025, right? I'm sure that the first martian, when they hit Mars, right, in 2026, will be using cryptocurrency, and that would be mind blowing. Think about it. It's gonna be, uh (laughs) a human being in a different planet, right, using this interplanetary payment network to pay for merchandise maybe, they buy stuff from the earth and ship to the Mars. Stuff like that.
I'm sure if Elon Musk can achieve that, like he promised to the SpaceX port. right? That we can send human to- to the Mars in 2025, I'm sure that's gonna happen. So there's my three crazy but reasonable, I think it's very rational (laughs) prediction [crosstalk 00:35:55]-
Lauren Weymouth (32:45):
Yeah, well, coming from a PhD in data science that spits out just the facts and real statistics, I think, you know, there is a possibility that that is actually-
Victor Fang (32:54):
Lauren Weymouth (32:55):
... gonna happen. And it's- it's funny that you mention metaverse. I was-
Victor Fang (32:56):
Lauren Weymouth (32:59):
... couple days ago speaking to a highly intelligent groups of MBAs at Georgetown and-
... one of their questions in the Q&A afterwards were how blockchain and metaverse were gonna interact, and I- I got caught, because metaverse is new for me, and I- I just had to say, "You know, I think that's to be determined. we're figuring that out as we go right now." Which is true of a lot of things we're doing in blockchain.
Victor Fang (33:21):
Oh yeah. I think that's another technology chain is happening right now, AR, VR, I think now is- is ready, right, to go to the next level, right? it's gonna be using a different, uh, financial system. And hopefully AnChain.AI will be able to help on that mission as well (laughs). Yeah.
Lauren Weymouth (33:39):
Victor, our listeners can go to AnChain.AI's website. Where else can they learn about the work you're doing? Anywhere else you wanna send them to check out?
Victor Fang (37:05):
we are on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium, and feel free to subscribe to our newsletter
Lauren Weymouth (33:52):
we don't often talk about cryptocurrency on the show,we more often talk about the blockchain technology underwriting other use cases, even though-
Victor Fang (33:59):
Lauren Weymouth (34:00):
... cryptocurrency has become the most obvious use case of blockchain.
Victor Fang (34:02):
Lauren Weymouth (34:04):
Because you're a numbers guy, I'm gonna ask you right now, today, how many cryptocurrencies are out there?
Victor Fang (34:08):
Lauren Weymouth (34:10):
And I'm sure it's-
... changed in the last week. New ones pop up weekly.
Victor Fang (34:15):
Ah, crazy. there's two things in my definition, right? There's cryptocurrency, there's one is the layer one, that is like the- the XRP and Ethereum and bitcoin, the later one that takes a lot of effort, a lot of developers to develop, right? And then there's another category, those are, what, the tokens and all that, right? Also- als- NFT (laughs). Those are the digital asset that operating on the layer one blockchains, right? they have their own value, also. They usually solve a particular vertical use case, like now everybody's crazy about the- the apps, the NFTs, and all these crazy NFT out there, right, you can follow.
I mean, cryptocurrency loosely defined is gonna be the aggregate of those two, so, I mean, there's thousands of them (laughs), many of them. You can create your own Lauren tokens today.
I can help you with that if you want. But it's really at the end, which one's gonna be the variable ones, right, down the road? Like, five years, right? In time horizon, right? So I think that's the right way to look at it, look at the long terms and all that.
in my book, I think there's only a few of them that qualify as the real cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and those other great, uh, Layer-1, blockchain protocols and all that. Right?
Lauren Weymouth (35:37):
Victor Fang (35:38):
And then a small set of those great, um, tokens that has specific use cases, right? So, yeah.
Lauren Weymouth (35:45):
Victor Fang (35:46):
So I think, what, 50-
Lauren Weymouth (35:47):
I'm on the same page. We often say don't ... you know, when people come to me and they ask about crypto and I try not to talk about it 'cause I ... you know, before crypto, I never gave stock advice, I wouldn't give crypto advice, it's too , but I often say I don't know so much about looking at the price, look about the usability, look about who's building what on it, what's the utility of that.
Victor Fang (36:07):
Yeah. And then e- exactly. And then, look, that Squid Game coin, right? That's a- that's a scam. And that thing just they managed to make, what, millions of dollars, can you believe that?
Lauren Weymouth (36:16):
Well, that shows how [crosstalk 00:46:09]-
Victor Fang (36:16):
[crosstalk 00:46:09] look at-
Lauren Weymouth (36:17):
... marketing it.
Victor Fang (36:17):
Lauren Weymouth (36:18):
Right? Marketing has a place in this.
Victor Fang (36:20):
Exactly. And that's actually the area we're trying to help the regulators and even like the private sector investors, right, to kind of help them understand what's going on and hopefully we can prevent it from happening, right? right now, all this Squid Game, I hear of some very bad stories of people that,they put a lot of life savings into that and, boom, it's gone, right? So, and then how you gonna help with that, right?
that's one of the big problems in cryptocurrency industry right now. Right? So yeah, so we are on a mission to actually make sure it's legitimate, right? All this industry, these assets and all that, they're circulating in a very legitimate way. So, yeah, that's- that's our mission.
Lauren Weymouth (37:01):
Well, I'm a big fan of your mission and I think our listeners will be after hearing this podcast. And on behalf of the industry, Victor, I wanna thank you for dedicating yourself to educating not only the future innovators, but regulators, and your startup efforts facilitate legitimacy and security in the crypto industry, which is crucial and timely to this industry trying to reach maturity. I believe that-
Victor Fang (37:24):
Lauren Weymouth (37:25):
... validating integrity and compliance of protocols is how we will bring this into the mainstream.
Victor Fang (37:29):
Thank you. Yeah. That's exactly what we're doing. Thank you Lauren.
Lauren Weymouth (37:33):
Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you for sharing what AnChain is bringing to the party. We loved hosting you on UBRI's podcast, all about blockchain, and thank you listeners for your time. Your comments on my LinkedIn and feedback to UBRI at Ripple.com are so appreciated. Catch you next episode.