freelance tech writer, artist and community builder
I reached out to Ke Xu on Telegram requesting an interview and to my surprise, she agreed. I spent the following two days on Chinese websites, Google translate by my side, doing a deep dive into her previous blockchain business successes as well as her personal philosophy. I learned about her past success building a social network app called ERA, which had over a million users in a short time, and which attracted a lot of high-profile investors. Her team also created CryptoDogs, which is like CryptoKitties 2.0 for a Chinese audience.
Ke Xu is fiercely determined to create an entirely new social network that does not sell user data, but instead is based on the principles of freedom, human value exchange, integrity, decentralization and a commitment to creating deeper social experiences. Facebook’s model is dead, and a new blockchain-based model is about to be born. Ke Xu represents a new generation of entrepreneurs who have deep philosophical roots and are willing to fight for what we know is right: our data belongs to us, not to Zuckerberg.
In Ke Xu’s own words:
“I have been a developer for years, working very hard refining my strategies and teams. I have found my belief in blockchain technology. It is not hype, a potion or a hollow opportunity for me. I view it as a way for humanity to move forward into the next era of greater freedom. The interweaving of social, economic, and technological components is something which I see as extremely valuable to humanity’s progress. Blockchain technology, if done in the way I envision, will have the opportunity to fulfill the wishes of many great people.” -https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/34949024 [slightly modified from Chinese Google translate]
Ke Xu graduated from Nanjing Foreign Languages School and studied at the University of California, Riverside as well as Coventry University in the UK. She skipped a grade and received a bachelor’s degree when she was 19. She became an entrepreneur and committed herself to researching and developing companies based on sharing digital media, culture, entertainment, and social networking. In 2013 she and her good friend bought Bitcoin mining rigs and began to mine Bitcoin. As she was deep down in the Bitcoin rabbit hole, she experienced a rapid acceleration of ideas inspired by learning about blockchain technology.
In 2014, Ke Xu successfully developed and operated a social app named ERA based on the concepts of task-based rewards mixed with making people aware of their inherent value. ERA attracted millions of users and a lot of angel investors as well. It was very successful and innovative at the time.
“ERA is a task-based social application based on LBS that allows users to directly realize the value, skills, credit, personality and social capabilities of their community. ERA adopts the methodology of “Taking Quests, Taking Rewards”. The transaction between users is created on the basis of online payment. Under the principle of equivalence exchange, the interaction of labor and value is achieved.” -Chinese source: https://www.chinaz.com/news/2016/0310/511282.shtml
Ke Xu has since sold ERA and she went on to create Nome Lab which developed and launched the popular blockchain game CryptoDogs.
Most notable among them is CryptoDogs, which is like CryptoKitties 2.0 for the Chinese. Most Chinese never got sucked into the CryptoKitties craze due to the language barrier, so CryptoDogs was born to fill that vacuum.
CryptoDogs brought in a staggering amount of money and 1,000 ETH worth of CryptoDogs was sold on the first day. Nome Lab, which is her company, was invested in by high-profile institutions such as China Growth Capital and well-known CEOs, such as Fu Sheng.
“CryptoDogs is a blockchain-based virtual game. It allows players to adopt, raise, and trade virtual dogs, and it represents one of the earliest attempts to deploy blockchain technology for recreational and leisurely purposes. It’s a re-visitation of Ethereum’s CryptoKitties on the Achain platform developed by the community.” — Dan Rusnic https://hackernoon.com/cryptodogs-proving-achains-fork-theory-882d0d06281d
The consensus mechanism, trust mechanism, and decentralized mechanism inherent in blockchain technology are exactly what Ke Xu has been waiting for. In line with her values, blockchain tech can be used to create tools that truly belong to the post-Facebook era.
“The world will become richer and richer, and there will be more and more things, but humans will only have so much time. Giving time only to what truly matters, we all should get a more meaningful and rich life. I just want to let users see the value of attention itself.” Chinese source: Ke Xu https://www.sohu.com/a/221658055_218868
Ke Xu is now focusing all her efforts on building ONO, the first social networking DApp which will be launching on EOS. Her team is ready to launch on April 15, 2018 and then in June will be ported over to the EOS ecosystem. ONO has recently announced their official EOS Block Producer candidacy as well.
Her team consists of more than 40 people so far. Here’s a recent photo:
See the original Chinese site with in-depth information about ONO: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/34949024
Stellabelle: How did you first get involved in blockchain technology ?
Ke Xu: In 2013, me and my friend who studied @IC in the UK worked together and bought Bitcoin rigs and started mining. In 2014, I came back to China as a developer and founded the social app, ERA.
Stellabelle: What does ‘ONO’ mean in Chinese?
Ke Xu: Actually, it doesn’t mean anything in Chinese. The full-length name of ONO is ‘Oh Nome’. Our company name is Nome Tech. The word, nome, basically means a province where people live and it originated in ancient Egypt. There were 42 nomes in ancient Egypt with each nome being led by a nomarch.
It also can be defined as a combination of the social concepts inherent in the words, name and home, both of which carry a deep significance for the social nature of human beings. Humans are fundamentally driven by social impulses, so the words, name and home embody these social foundations on which our lives are based.
There is yet another meaning of nome, when it is split into two words: ‘no’ and ‘me’ which means ‘know yourself,’ as originated by Socrates. Knowing yourself remains to be one of the things we can aspire towards in a new social network.
Stellabelle: What is your mission with ONO and why do you want to build a social network?
Ke Xu: I want to connect the world together in a democratic, open and decentralized way. I want to reward attention with value. I want to build ONO because we think high quality content, as human wisdom condensed into human rights, is of considerable value and has a far-reaching impact on human beings. This value exists naturally and should not be affected by any outside party.
Stellabelle: How will ONO be different from other Chinese social networks?
Ke Xu: It will be a free, open and decentralized platform which based on blockchain technology. It has a very democratic policy and referendum. Everyone will own his or her own ONO with DIY functions and contents.
“There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.”
ONO protects and respects the variety and diversity of human value. Free, open, common governance and a diverse ecosystem is ONO’s value. ONO is unlike a lot of other Chinese social networks which are excessively commercialized. We are different, not only in the way our product functions, but also in its social and structural design.
Stellabelle: Will ONO have its own token?
Ke Xu: ONO has its own token, named ONOT.
Stellabelle: What’s the timeline for the release of ONO?
Ke Xu: We currently have completed ONO’s V1.0 testing on the EOS Testnet and are scheduled to go live on April 15, 2018. When the EOS main network finishes work and executes in June, we will complete the migration and mapping. We predict that ONO will have more than 300,000 high quality users in one month and in June we will release officially. The Chinese market is our first target.
Here’s a quote from Xe Ku about the role of a CEO, taken at the time when she built her social networking app ERA:
“The most important mission of the CEO of a startup company is to find whatever the team needs. If the team is short of money, a CEO must find money. The team needs to know the direction of the project in order to bring about proper action. In addition to being a bright light, we must also work hard for the team in order to overcome obstacles, and open the door to solutions when problems arise. Difficulties require innovative thinking strategies. The first mission is to bring troops to battle. We should always do a good job, no matter what. The ability and appetite to eat crickets, to eat the bullets, and get a black pan, you have to use yourself as a dog. And now I am a mad dog.”
— translated from Chinese source: https://www.chinaqw.com/jjkj/
She also has very strong ideas about how the blockchain age can bring about big shifts in thinking and human potential:
“The old-fashioned thinking cage, which erroneously thinks: “There is no virtue for women and morality,” and “Young people do things that are not reliable,” should be vaporized as they no longer hold any truth.” -https://www.chinaqw.com/jjkj/2015/06-25/54468.shtml
ERA photo here from source: https://www.chinaz.com/news/2016/0310/511282.shtml
Weibo: @ONO徐可 https://weibo.com/u/5932149591?is_hot=1
ONO website: http://www.ono.chat/
ONO Telegram: https://t.me/ONOCN
EOS Block Producer Candidate: http://eos.ono.chat/
To get the free ONOT tokens, I joined the official ONO Telegram group and talked the the Candy Box bot. I was glad that the Candy Box site accepts American participants, because at first I wasn’t sure. It did work though, so yeah, it feels good to get free tokens for ONO. I always like to add the best stuff at the end of my super long articles to reward people who actually read to the end.
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