Aiming to be among the first ‘leaders’ of decentralized financial infrastructures, cryptocurrency exchange Huobi — the third largest in the world by trading volume — has unveiled plans to put its entire organization on the blockchain.
Gordon Chen, director of the exchange’s global ecosystem fund Huobi Eco, told Tech in Asia that the process will be completed in phases over an estimated 18-month period, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
Called Huobi Chain, the project is still being built, but the company has launched a program inviting developers from all over the world to participate in creating its new public blockchain. The code behind Huobi Chain, according to Leon Li Lin, Huobi’s founder and CEO, will be open-sourced, which means that teams can start working at any stage of the operation.
The exchange will fund the program with an initial investment of 30 million Huobi tokens, equivalent to about $170 million. The program consists of eight milestones, and teams will get a prize for hitting each one, said Chen.
Chen adds that he believes blockchain ‘brings a new world,’ where decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) will replace existing corporations.
“We firmly believe in a decentralised future and the main goal of the Huobi Chain project is to transform a centralised corporation to a decentralised one that’s run by the community,” said Lin. “Our dream is for Huobi to run on the public blockchain and become a truly decentralised autonomous organisation [DAO].”
In DAOs decisions are made by the community, doing away with a hierarchical management structure. To operate, they rely upon things like smart contracts and pre-programmed rules, like setting aside a certain percentage of the company’s earnings for a task or a fund.
Leaving the Mainland
Huobi, established in 2013, has become the second largest mainland Chinese cryptocurrency exchange after OKEx. Last year, both exchanges came under scrutiny from the Chinese government, and in September Chinese regulators ordered both exchanges to shut down their cryptocurrency trading operations. Because of this, Huobi moved its operations from Beijing to Singapore.
In the wake of Beijing’s crackdown, Singapore, which was described as ‘friendly to blockchain technology‘ by Ben He, CEO of Ethereum wallet imToken, has become an increasingly popular destination for Chinese companies in the cryptocurrency industry.
Bitmain, which operates the world’s largest mining collective, said earlier this year it was opening a regional headquarters in Singapore. In relation, OKEx said in April that it plans to move its headquarters from Hong Kong to the European island of Malta.