Interview with Shigeki Kakutani, CEO and Founder of Quras
- There are many blockchain protocols that are vying to be the gateway to real world adoption. What makes Quras different than the others?
We often hear about privacy concerns when we talk with other companies, blockchain projects, and DApp developers. The high transparency of blockchain is great, but I think there are various problems with the lack of privacy. In terms of real world adoption and the need for privacy, most everyone is familiar with the data protection concerns regarding Facebook. When it comes to messaging, I don’t want anyone to read the contents of my messages without my permission and yet information leaks to third parties are still happening often. The need for privacy protection is an important issue in the real world.
QURAS protocol wants to provide a wide range of privacy protection solutions using technologies such as zero-knowledge proof and ring signature, becoming known as the most privacy-focused smart contract platform in the market. The reason why we need a wide range of solutions is that we can’t meet all privacy needs with a single technology. For example, ring signature is suitable for anonymity within a group to verify a transaction taking place. While zero-knowledge proof makes it possible to have complete privacy of transactions and smart contracts. In the future, it will be possible to use privacy protection technology that’s traceable using anonymity technology. We will respond to more practical anonymity and regulations as we go to make sure we’re functional for real world adoption.
- As you’ve been building the company for over two years now, what have been the biggest catalysts for Quras’ growth?
I think that the biggest growth factor for us has come from working engineers, marketers, and business operations teams that share a common mindset in working together to create something to the best of their collective ability. In creating QURAS, we’ve worked on bringing a technically superior platform to market that no one has seen yet, with unique merits for users on a platform that it is actually being used and scaled. One unique idea that distinguishes the QURAS protocol is the ability to refund smart contract transaction fees to token managers by 20% to 40%. Executing on our unique ideas while developing a global following have driven the growth of QURAS.
In Japan, another catalyst for growth has been is our penetration in the consumer market. As of today, over 100 stores have already been contracted in Japan to use QURAS tokens as a payment option. I think QURAS now holds the top position for altcoins having consumer use in Japan.
As we continue to move in a positive direction, we’ve been able to achieve each goal we’ve set out to accomplish one by one, and I think the team is becoming more confident as a result of our success. There is no QURAS without the power of the entire team.
- How has the regulatory environment in Japan changed since you first started Quras?
When I first started QURAS two and a half years ago, Japan was a lawless zone when it came to blockchain and cryptocurrency. Today, it is difficult to judge whether laws and regulations that have come into play related to cryptocurrency, such as exchanges becoming licensed, the abolishment of anonymous coins, etc…, are good for the Japanese cryptocurrency market. I do have new concern regarding regulation that is pending, such as leveraged trading limits and the potential ban of order book trading, and I worry that the cryptocurrency market in Japan will go in a similar regulatory path that has reduced our FX industry in the past.
Although Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has judged that the political donations using cryptocurrency is legal, there’s still a need for discussion between each party’s faction. It can be said that the cryptocurrency market has grown in terms of liquidity and general recognition over the past few years. Its growth has led to cryptocurrency being called a crypto asset. Personally, I would like to see appropriate laws and regulations that contribute to healthy growth for the industry. Unfortunately, I still see projects that are subpar and not legitimate, so people in this industry need to keep deepening their knowledge of blockchain while educating others about its potential.
- Our interconnected society is struggling to find a balance between transparency and privacy. As blockchain provides us with the opportunity to find the right balance, what role do you see Quras playing in this capacity?
We live in an interesting time. Big companies like Facebook are having to face debates regarding their dismantling over data and consumer protection issues. While Elizabeth Warren, who is running as an U.S. Presidential Candidate, is publicly battling for consumer privacy and speaking to the risks that the big four tech firms are placing on democracy, including Facebook. Political and election-related data analysis company, Cambridge Analytica, is said to have allowed the illegal use of 50 million Facebook users for political advertising, all the while Facebook looks at potentially entering the Chinese market. I think Facebook was accepted in Japan because of its open community promise that helped open Japan more to the greater globe socially, but many users feel that Facebook is too open and they’re concerned that there’s no privacy on the platform.
Transparency is great, but without that ability to protect your own privacy and own your data, you don’t have the option to choose if you want to stay private or not. QURAS has maintained its balance by providing public contracts, respecting open transparency, while giving privacy options, such as zero knowledge proof technology and ring signature technology, to allow for confidential, private transactions when vital or necessary. Privacy is a valuable commodity.
- Your native token was recently listed on its first digital asset exchange, Bithumb Global. Aside from trading services, what value do you see Bithumb Global bringing to Quras’ growth ambitions?
We are very excited about QURAS’s main digital asset, XQC token, recent listing on Bithumb Global that took place on October 16th. Bithumb Global is a well-recognized global brand of a top-class exchange in Korea, Bithumb. Bithumb Global has ambitions to not only grow its own international community, but also work closely with its listed partners to strengthen their expansion strategy through its network of users, partners, and other listed projects. We hope to strengthen our partnership even further by listing projects on Bithumb Global that use the QURAS platform after our mainnet release in early 2020.
In addition, since the QURAS token can be used in more than 100 stores in Japan, we can strengthen the adoption of exchanges such as Bithumb Global since they can be used as a payment gateway. We look to increase the number of exchanges that XQC is listed on to improve liquidity and create a greater network effect for adoption.
- What is on the roadmap for Quras over the next twelve months?
Our first major goal is the QURAS mainnet release in the first quarter of 2020. When the mainnet is released, XQG, the gas-like token for network operations, will received by users that have staked XQC. After the release, we will upgrade the speed of anonymous processing and anonymous technology with protocol administrators. We’re also discussing the possibility of staking transactions in the entire QURAS protocol. However, it is necessary to improve the protocol level of QURAS step-by-step, such as updating the protocol to more distributed nodes. On the marketing front, we will continue to increase the number of projects that use the QURAS protocol and further increase the number of partner companies. Much is in the works and yet to be announced publicly. I am committed to improving growth through both technology development and marketing means.
- Where do you see blockchain going in the next 5 years?
It is difficult to envision where the market is going to be in five years, however the halving of Bitcoin will come around May 2020, and the market is predicted to enter a bull market phase before halving. The amount of Bitcoin issued will exceed 18 million, which means less than 3 million remaining while the abolition of the bitcoin issuance limit is being discussed. Nowadays, there are conflicts in each region and political instability, and I think we are in an era where we cannot suppress individuals with great power alone. When we compare 2019 to 2009, when Bitcoin was born, I am confident that we’re heading toward a decentralized society.
I also feel the strength of the community after listing QURAS’ native token. Bringing together a global community can never happen without the concept of decentralization and sharing, and I now better understand the limits of entities who are too centralized. I think that lives, organizations and business operations will be further improved through the internet, blockchain and other technologies that connect people. Blockchain is not going to disappear into the night, it is here to stay.
Media partner: cryptoworldseo.com
Featured image: thriveglobal.com