Web3 Innovators

Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Weijia Zhang

October 13, 2021 Season 1 Episode 13
Web3 Innovators
Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Weijia Zhang
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Blockchain Innovators, Conor Svensson, founder and CEO of Web3 Labs, talks to Weijia Zhang, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Regional Head of China and Vice President of Engineering, Wanchain Foundation.

Conor and Weijia discuss the state of interop with blockchains right now, where it's heading and what a successful outcome would look like in the space.

Weijia has focussed on blockchain interoperability for a number of years, he leads the cross chain interoperability working group at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Weijia is also an accomplished academic and technologist, he has invented over 20 patents and published over 30 research papers. His vast experience and knowledge of blockchain interoperability really comes across in the podcast as he provides his valuable perspective on the space.

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Hi, it's Conor Svensson here, Founder and CEO of Web3 Labs. This is a conversation I had with  Weijia Zhang. Weijia is the Vice President of Engineering at Wanchain. Weijia has been focused  on blockchain interoperability for a number of years now and also leads the cross-chain interop  working group at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. In our conversation we discussed the state of  interop with blockchains right now and exactly where we're going and what the successful outcome  is for the space. Weijia is a very accomplished academic as well as technologist having  invented over 20 patents and published over 30 research papers. His perspective coming from that  field but also having gone so deep in this space for a number of years now really comes through  here and I'm sure you'll have a lot of helpful and valuable takeaways from our discussion.  Hey Weijia, it's absolutely great to have you here! I wanted to really get into  a bit more of your history because you come from a very academic place in terms of you've  got a PHD in computer science is that correct? In physics with a focus on science education, yes. Yeah, that obviously gives you an incredible foundation for getting into these sort of  technical and scientific based disciplines and is certainly shown with your track record in terms  of you have over 30 published papers, around 20 patents as well. I'd love to learn a bit more  about your history before you get into Wanchain, really the areas of physics or technology  that you went really deep in that have helped shape who you are as a person with respect to  your engineering. Yeah, thank you Conor. Thank you for a very brief concise intro, that's very  nice. Yeah I have a PHD in physics with focus in science education. Basically I know that with  advances of physics it's more important to teach kids about sciences and engineering so I took a  lot of lessons on cognitive science, educational psychology, computer science so that I can use  cognitive sciences combined with computer science to teach science and technology that we call STEM  to young kids and young people. Then after I got my PHD, I went to Arizona State University  to work as a post-doctoral researcher on cognitive research and that was funded by National Science  Foundation. We actually have a very good modeling program for teaching sciences and then I noticed  that education program won't sustain without a very good commercial foundation so I started to go  to the private sector. Actually, I worked for Dell for many years over 10 years. Most of my papers  were published on enterprise software and also some education as well and then in 2013 and 2014,  there was a time when Dell actually transferred from a private public company to a private  company. Then engineers were given opportunities to live there to start their own businesses.  I was a principal engineer so I took that package and founded my own startup for education  which is to teach STEM for k-12 students doing the labs and doing a lot of computing and IO  devices for sensing the physical parameters and then model them and then the kids learn from it.  That's good science and research but it doesn't sustain. It's just very difficult to make money  in America for science educational companies. So then in 2017 October,  I met Jack and then he introduced me to Wanchain and that's how I started a blockchain job. And  Wanchain certainly, for those people who aren't aware, your focus really since day one has been  around interoperability with other blockchains. Seeing the need, in the same way that you have  routing protocols with the internet and allowing organizations to communicate with one another or  transfer data across multiple networks you sort of envisage similar technology being an absolute  necessity of course for blockchain. Yeah, I think Wanchain is a very, how do I say it, it's a very  engineering the technology focussed project. If you look at the white paper for Wanchain, it  started in the white paper saying that Wanchain is a cross-chain focussed project. Then if you look  at the architectural diagram, basically it has the Wanchain layer that's connected to different  public blockchains and then on the bottom layer the Wanchain is connecting to different  private blockchains and then we do exactly the same thing that's described in the white paper.  We connect Wanchain with the Ethereum blockchain, with bitcoin blockchain, EOS blockchain and  other blockchains and then for private blockchains we also connect with the different private  blockchains, we call it consortium blockchains, with public blockchain as well. So we would  connect these blockchains. Now we're advancing to layer two blockchain as well so that you can  connect a layer two blockchain with another layer two blockchain and that has advantage because with  layer two to layer two you do not need to worry too much about the scalability and performance.  The finality is much shorter, the finality time is much shorter when you compare with  the layer one. So Wanchain is a very engineering focussed project. We focus on the engineering  side of connecting different blockchains with either homogeneous or heterogeneous blockchains.  Yeah, and where do you think we are with respect to the evolution of interoperability  technology because it's an area that's come up again and again as interest in the technology  has increased. Of course, more and more people have looked at it and there's multiple different  approaches there too and everyone of course talks about the ability to atomic swaps as being sort of  the holy grail of it so to speak. But how far along do you feel we are in this the evolution of  it? Yeah, I think in the term interoperability has been an overloaded word right? A lot of people use  interoperability for different things. As you know with the EEA, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance,  I'm a co-chair of the cross-chain and interoperability working group and and  initially I was using the term interoperability as well. I noticed that the word is too broad  so we decide to use cross-chain interoperability so when you talk about interoperability you could  be talking about client interoperability which is actually client compatibility  and then you have technology interoperability, or source or the EVM interoperability or wallet  interoperability, those are different things. What we are focusing here is the  cross-chain interoperability which means that we're building bridges to connect different  blockchains for asset, messages, data and command transfer. So that's what we mean by cross-chain  interoperability. In terms of progress, when we first started this one, you probably still  remember it in the Seattle meeting, you were there, we said about cross-chain interoperability  and not many people had an idea about the use cases for that so we ended up writing  a use case document and then we started to build specifications and guidelines for  cross-chain interoperability. Today there's so many cross-chain bridges now it kind of feels  that it's grown too much too fast and not many people actually think about the security and the  decentralization and other things, critical things that need to be thought through. Some people just  build the bridges without too much thinking! So we need to go back to the basics and define almost  like a standardized cross-chain interoperability and that's what we are doing with the EEA's  cross-chain interoperability working group. We are trying to standardize that and make it more  of a holistic rather than piecemeal solution for building bridges to connect different blockchains.  Yeah and so certainly with the EEA approach of course, people listening to this they'll hear well  if it's the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance doing it, they're going to be thinking about how you  primarily focus on Ethereum compatible chains. But  of course, you're looking much wider there with respect to the work you're doing.  With Ethereum, do you feel that there are certain challenges with that type of blockchain network  with their account based model and so on, which creates big challenges for you or is it something  that actually is a bit simpler than you think with some of the other comparable blockchains that are  out there? When you were originally looking at say bitcoin in the earlier days you said about  you know linking up with EOS of course and there's more and more protocols emerging all of the time.  Yeah, I think with Ethereum we feel that is the best one to bridge with because Ethereum has the  EVM, Ethereum Virtual Machine, it has smart contract support and the Solidity is very, very  stable now. So connecting EVM compatible blockchain with another EVM compatible  blockchain is very, very easy. Then there are different ways to do it,  you can have a lock account method, you can lock an asset on the source chain and then bend the  asset on the target chain or you can use smart contract to control that or  you can use liquidity pool to control the transfer of assets or you can do the remote  cross-chain function call for smart contract. I think the challenge is right now is on the  cross-chain function call, which ConsenSys is taking a lead on. They're doing the GPACT  which is a cross-chain function call and if that one is achieved then the question becomes very,  very easy but there are challenges with that, with the scalability and also security because  that's an atomic transaction cross-chain function call. So that's what I see with the EVM compatible  cross-chain interoperability and then for the other one, non-EVM compatible,  you either need to have a simulated EVM or you can use the lock account  to facilitate the asset transfer. So I think both are doable but with EVM compatible  blockchains it's much, much easier and straightforward. So you mentioned there about  how with some of the non-EVM-based blockchains you could potentially simulate the EVM. So would that  enable you to make use of the cross-chain function call type technology? For instance with Polkadot,  they of course have these pallets that you can run up an EVM there, almost all of the  big protocols are saying we can support the EVM, Hedera said it with their Hashgraph,  Avalanche said it with theirs and so on and so forth. So does that does that simplify the problem  somewhat if they have that EVM compatibility? Yes, yes, definitely that simplified the problem  and then other chains like Cardano, they have a smart contract engine as well but they're  not compatible with the EVM so there's still things that need to be worked out over there. Absolutely, and when you talk about, this is just for giving a bit more background to the people who  are newer to the world of interop, the idea of a cross-chain function call,  of course that enables you to take code that's running on a smart contract in one blockchain and  call, in effect, code that's on another separate blockchain. When you talk though about the lock  and account asset transfer, would that be the traditional approach you often see where people  creates like a wrapped version of a token on a different network  to facilitate transfer? Yeah, yeah. With the lock and mint method, what I call it is the lock, mint,  burn, unlock method which means that when you want to transfer an asset from a source chain  to a target chain, you send the asset to a smart contract or an account or lock account  and that asset becomes locked over there and then there's a layer or transfer mechanism  that notifies the target chain about the action and the result of that last source chain  and once it's confirmed then the smart contract on the target chain actually mints the same value of  a token on the target chain and that's why I call it a transfer token because it's a token that's  minted on the target chain has dependency on token that is locked on the source chain  and this has implications for security right, because both the security of source chain and  the target chain are important. If the source chain gets hacked and then the asset on the  target chain gets hacked as well because there is a dependency over the source chain as well. Yeah,  so that is a very straightforward methodology and you can do either the atomic transaction or you  can do the trusted relayer. If the relayer is trusted then when the source chain is locked,  the asset is locked in the source chain, then the target chain can mint  the same value of token on the target chain but that has a dependency on the relayer. The relayer  needs to be secure. When you talk about the trusted relayer, of course people talk a lot  with respect to blockchains and decentralization removing the traditional layers of trust there,  so what are the benefits and the disadvantages with such an approach? Yeah, the advantage is  that it's faster when you compare with the atomic transaction. Atomic transaction is very, very  tedious. It hasn't got a good user experience. The usage screen is not very good and also it has  performance issues as well. With a trusted layer and decentralized layer, if you can make that  layer with multi-party computing and also decentralization with randomness then that  layer can be both secure and decentralized. Also there's another factor here, you can also let the  the relayer, we call it Storeman at Wanchain, that layer can have a mechanism for staking which means  that the layer needs to put some stake through the smart contract to secure the bridge so that  the node for that bridging will not collude. If they collude then their asset will be slashed so  that is another way to secure the bridge through this staking and slashing mechanism. So sorry,  just to confirm those are with relay bridges where you can actually have staking with them? Yeah, yeah I use the term relay, actually in Wanchain it's called Storeman and you can also  call it a bridge node, it's the one that detects the events in the source chain and then mints the  same amount of asset on the target chain and that could be both secure and decentralized.  For example you can have like 25 nodes, 13 nodes to carry out one transaction from source chain to  target chain. So do you see that as being a big area of growth potentially for people who are out  there looking for yields say with their various tokens and assets and actually staking for these  for these relayers because it's certainly not something that comes up much in conversation at  the moment. More generally in the industry people talk about yields from DeFi yield farming and also  participating on proof of stake networks but do you see that as a big potential growth area?  I think so. It's the asset transfer from chain A to chain B, that thing is going to grow that's  for sure because if you look at the history of a blockchain just in the recent years we always  think that one blockchain will become the king and then the other ones are going to die right?  But that's not the case. Okay it seems that it'll be like the internet. There'll be different  servers popping up and in the future blockchain will be just like a server right? Initially a new  blockchain is just like building a server, it's so easy right? Then you need to look at the bridging  of private blockchain with private blockchain, private blockchain with public blockchain, public  blockchain with public blockchain. So there's no way you can have a single blockchain, that's  the king right? So the bridging will become more and more important. It's just like today's  internet. The internet is becoming more important than the server itself, than the mainframe that  IBM used to build so that's why I think it's going to grow for sure. Now the question is which one  is going to dominate? Which bridging method is going to dominate right? I think they're going to  coexist. You're going to have cross-chain function core, you're going to have atomic transaction,  you're going to have relayer - the storeman mechanism, the lock and burn and mint and then  burn and unlock, and you can also have some centralized control. I think if you are talking  about consortium and consortium, the CBDC with a CBDC, then two banks if they want to connect  together they just need two nodes over there. Each bank provides one node because they're  trusted then that's easy, right? Then for public blockchain you probably need to have more of them,  have more bridge nodes and you also need to decentralize them for example you can use the POS,  Poof of Stake mechanism to select those bridge nodes and then to prevent the collusion. Some interesting news, I think that came out the last week on the bridging of CBDCs  was Visa talking about doing a proof of concept with specifically that - the technology for  the central bank the digital currency bridging. So I think as well, that sort of raises an  interesting discussion point. Whether you know, with the internet you have common protocols  that underpin so many, that they span all these different industries you don't have them really  too tightly coupled to specific verticals in terms of the network layer  but then once you get into the application layer you start to have these protocols that are very  tied to specific industries. So in the finance industry for instance, you have like FIX,  FpML and these these sort of data interchange formats but then they ultimately run on top of the  internet protocol behind the scenes which is that common layer. So I guess with blockchain  you're in this interesting place because you have the smart contracts that can be bespoke  for solving problems in specific industries but then you also have a sort of agnostic  protocol underpinning it all. It's like, where does that common layer end up emerging?  Yeah, yeah. I think that's a great point. I think we are both familiar with the EEA architecture.  We know there's a blockchain layer, there's a network over layer and I think for cross-chain,  the key point is to have something like TCP/IP and I think if we talk about challenges,  that is a challenge. How can you let different institutes and different public blockchains  to adopt a TCP/IP like cross-chain protocol without government involvement?  And that's challenging! So I definitely see that coming and then there's other things as well  when you talk about Visa and another, actually I know that company - a fintech company right, and  sometimes some banks are running Corda, it's not just Ethereum, so you need to deal with the  heterogeneous cross-chain as well. And those things are going to evolve. Today we're just  dealing, a lot of time we deal with EVM compatible but we need to go broader to cover the case where  there are a Corda blockchain, the different kind of blockchains that we need to bridge to. Yeah. Absolutely. And so bringing it back to one other topic here, atomic transactions,  which you spoke about and how problematic they are from a user experience perspective.  Of course, given that you need a degree of, well you need transaction finality on the two  underlying blockchains in order to facilitate this transfer of assets. Do you think that once the  transaction speeds get to a place where they are just faster, I mean it's a big criticism of course  for a lot of DeFi users for instance, that with Ethereum it takes a long time for transactions to  go through, so then Binance Smart Chain emerged, lots of people jumped over there because they had  a much smaller network. They were able to achieve that really rapid transaction time because it was  in effect a centralized network. Do you think that it is as simple as that? Once the transaction  speeds go up, the actual sort of more atomic transactions will become more commonplace or is it  more nuanced than that? Yeah, I think it's both the technology itself and the use case as well,  right. We used to say that atomic transaction is a must-have, this is something that we must have  for cross-chain. Later on we find that no, it's not a must-have because if the bridge is secure  there's no need for atomic transaction. For example, in two trusted blockchain,  in private blockchain, there's no need for that because the bridge is guaranteed to succeed.  Then in terms of performance, I think layer one we know it won't improve too much  even with ETH2. You have to wait until sharding comes in then sharding itself is a cross-chain  also. Of course different, it's a cross shard. So you have that concept already  and I think at this time we are talking about for cross-chain, it's in terms of performance,  if you cross chain a layer 2 with layer 2, yes you can do atomic transaction, probably okay. Then  in the future, when you have sharding, yes you can do atomic transaction as well but I think even  when there's no performance issue, when automatic transaction is all good to go, there is a need  for non-atomic transaction. If you can trust the relayer, the layer that facilitates the transfer  of asset because that makes it much easier. You don't need to wait for the other side, for the  handshake, for the return. For example, for the cross-chain function call you need to wait for the  target chain to respond back and that callback may take some time. So I think in terms of use cases,  atomic transaction and non-atomic transaction are going to coexist for a while. Yeah, yeah,  absolutely. And of course like you say, it's a very different proposition when you're looking at  two enterprise consortium talking to one another versus Ethereum talking to bitcoin or Cardano or  Polkadot or wherever else. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, going back to Wanchain and  the bigger strategy here, you support a number of the major protocols already  and from your perspective as an organization what's the key area of focus now? Is it getting  more compatibility with more chains or is the focus still quite very much about the specific technologies and just refining  what you have there - getting it better or getting it faster, getting more people using it?  Yeah, I think the cross-chain is expanding right? This technology is expanding and  Wanchain is trying to expand as well and make it more flexible. So as I mentioned earlier  in the white paper, Wanchain intends to bridge different public blockchains and then bridge  private blockchains. Today, we have layer two comes in as well, so Wanchain needs to bridge with  layer two and then in the future if ConsenSys is able to do the cross-chain function call, Wanchain  want to endorse that as well. Then there are other cases that Wanchain thinks are very, very useful,  especially when you build bridges to heterogeneous blockchains and Wanchain is also developing some  of the methodologies for that as well. So Wanchain is becoming more, even more bridge focused  and then once you sponsor some of the projects, they actually can build ecosystem  for cross-chain applications. So two directions, one is to build more bridges,  advanced bridging technology. Another one is to kind of support cross-chain applications. Yeah, would it be fair to think of it as almost creating the Cisco for the web 3 world?  Yeah, yeah, I think that's probably Jack's goal but it's so challenging! I think you just have to  grow and just see and grow the technology. Yeah and it's like when you look at the history of  the internet and how the protocols and many of these applications that  became standards, it was almost just luck in the end right? It wasn't that you had this huge push  from everyone saying 'yeah let's get behind the TCP/IP'. Some people did, it got traction, it got  momentum and it snowballed and we ended up where we are now. Yeah, you're exactly right and to do  this if you look at the the history of TCP/IP, one of the first things you need to do is to define  the unified the resources, right? Then today we cannot even do that with blockchain. Today,  how do you identify blockchain? How do you know this blockchain is a real one and not a fake one?  So we have this blockchain ID and blockchain ID is just a number. How do you prevent the  condition of blockchain ID? We have EIP155, but that's just a number - it's not good enough  and there's nothing. I can just start a blockchain in one hour and I call this EIP equal to one and  then when people connect to my blockchain there's a blockchain ID equal to one, they thought it's  the Ethereum blockchain but it's not. So we have a lot of things to do with that, with kind of  TCP/IP definition so we actually submit the EIP3220 to define a cross-chain identity.  So we want to start from basics. The first thing that needs to be done is to have a common  definition of blockchain identity and therefore blockchain identity should be unique and should be  identifiable. So it should be linked to the block so that you can verify whether that blockchain has  the correct blockchain ID or not automatically. So those are the things that need to be done in our  blockchain community and we are trying to do that as well. Yeah, and it's a very key point there,  that notion of how do you have the equivalent of the URI to identify blockchain. I presume  as well there's a lot of crossover there with the work that's happening in the identity space like  with the Decentralized Identity Foundation and the decentralized identifiers because  in effect where you have a verified credential that lives somewhere on a blockchain or data store  somewhere you need to address it in a way that can point to it. So, is there much cross-pollination  between those ideas at this point in time or are they kind of evolving separately? Because, as you  rightly say, being able to address something on an arbitrary blockchain be it the network identifier  or a smart contract on it or a cryptocurrency account, these are key things that need to be  there. Yeah, yeah, I think you're exactly right. DID has been explored by different blockchains.  They all have DID and then you need to have a unique ID for the blockchain itself. So they are  together, they are kind of on different areas right now but at some point they are going to  converge and come together. The DID has to sit on a blockchain and that blockchain has to be unique.  The identity of that project has to be unique so it should be DID plus blockchain ID at some point. Yeah, hopefully we can start seeing something sooner there because it makes me think as well of  the work that's happening on Ethereum with the Ethereum Name Service and trying to take something  like DNS which underpins much of the internet and providing a way to arbitrarily address these  accounts. But if you could take ENS and add this common blockchain identification  layer you've got your equivalent to a DNS entry that can point to any computer on the internet.  Exactly right and that's what with EIP3220, we define blockchain identity and then on top of  that we're trying to submit another one which is smart contract based. Then we need to link  that with EVM, the Ethereum Name Service as well so that we can look up more metadata through the  name service. So we just need to define identity for blockchain identity specification and then  from that point on you can use the identity to define different parameters for that blockchain  by using ENS. And is it something that you're also engaging with other blockchain communities  for the equivalent? Because the EIP, well the Ethereum community are very well engaged with the  Ethereum improvement process. Are you doing similar things with other ones or are you just  focusing on Ethereum for the time being until you can get this the traction that it deserves before  starting to try to get it over the line with other communities as well? Yeah, I think the work is  proposed with EEA, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and they were submitted as EIP3220 to the Ethereum  community and I think that definition is blockchain agnostic, any blockchain can implement  that. So at this time we only approach this Ethereum type of blockchain. We did not approach  how to add blockchains yet but that is compatible is any project can implement that specification. Yes, certainly be a great initiative to get the whole community behind because  these are very crucial building blocks that you're putting in place here. Yeah, yeah, it really is  very critical and it needs to be built early on. So apart from interoperability, which is a  big and very relevant topic for Wanchain, are there any other areas that you're very interested  in of the applications of the technology outside of the interoperability space? Yeah,  I think we published a paper on use cases for cross-chain interoperability so Wanchain itself is  mainly focused on the cross-chain application and interoperability but there may be other projects  that want to build the ecosystem and and Wanchain is interested in supporting those as well. Cool! And if you were to predict when you think we'll see more widespread  interop and it becomes a normal thing that you can take for granted that 'oh i've got this this NFT  on this wallet, I'm just going to send it to you' and you're using a different blockchain,  how many years away do you feel we are until that sort of moment where you can do that  without having to go through intermediaries? Yeah, I think, well with blockchain,  one of the challenges is it's very dynamic. It's very difficult to predict anything! I noticed that Vitalik published a post, he called it 'Cross-rollup NFT wrapper and migration ideas',  I responded to his post as well. I think, we saw through this many times way before Vitalik,  the NFT has a value that's very arbitrary. If you look at the NFT and the source chain and  they say this NFT is a million dollars, then you mint it on the other side and then there's  a liability there of one million dollars for the cross-chain, right? And that's a challenge  because you do not know if their value is real or not so that's one thing. The second thing is that  the NFT is the data transfer and today what we are doing for cross-chain is mainly asset transfer.  So with NFTs we need to go beyond asset transfer, we need to go for data transfer and then of  course, there's also cross-chain function call so if I'm giving a time, I think one or two years is  a must to do the NFT. But, if you do a centralized transfer, of course, it's easier but you want to  really have decentralized and secure NFT transfer. It's going to take one or two more years.  Talking about the data transfer because of course, with NFTs that's a very significant thing because  most NFTs do actually represent an image or some sort of file that exists somewhere.  Where are we right now with respect to the ability to transfer these things or interoperability so to  speak, to transfer between these different stores? Of course, IPFS has established itself as the de  facto place for storing data on a decentralized distributed file system but no doubt, they're not  going to be the only one and it would be good to get your take on that world. Yeah, so in terms of  data transfer, there are two things here. One is to transfer the raw data, the whole data, from a  blockchain to another one. Another one is just to transfer a handle of the data, for example the url  link and that normally happens with NFTs. But the challenge is that if you transfer the data handle  to another blockchain then the data handler which is off chain, may not recognize that. For example,  CryptoKitties may recognize a gene on the Ethereum blockchain but if you transfer the NFT  to another blockchain the engine may not recognize that. So that is a challenge, I think there are  different approaches for that and I noticed that Chainlink is also going for cross-chain,  they're also proposing a cross-chain interoperability protocol based on their  oracle node so that's another mechanism. I think that that area is going to still going to evolve.  So the transfer of a handle, data handle for the raw data and through a relayer or through  something, that oracle mechanism and so that is something that's still going to to evolve.  Absolutely. It certainly feels like this year the blockchain space has heated up a lot but also  interop's become a much bigger topic as well. As you say, being able to transfer NFTs that  have arbitrary values on certain networks, it does change things a bit because you're  not just transferring some random data from one place to another. Yeah, yeah. So,  if you weren't working with Wanchain or you've solved the interoperability stuff, where do you  think your focus would take you? Would there be areas associated with edtech for instance,  that you mentioned earlier, that you think there could be some good opportunities? Yes, when I  joined Wanchain I was telling Jack that I want to reserve my right to build an education blockchain,  so yeah, I am very still very interested in education. Actually, I'm teaching smart  contract development as well so I am very on to education still, yeah. I hope we can,  if we solve the interoperability, the following challenges and then I can spend my time  working on blockchain education. That's an area I'm interested in.  Yeah, absolutely and hopefully years down the line you can imagine they'll be 'yeah, I helped  build out this key protocol that underpins much of today's blockchains' and when you transfer  these assets, once upon a time this didn't exist and we really made it possible! It'd be a fun  thing to have there! Yeah it would be great. I have talked to you many times about cross-chain  interoperability. You visited us in the past as well, so I think this needs different people,  collaboration. It's great to work with EEA, it's a very good platform and a lot  of good colleagues to work together on the cross-chain interoperability.  It's been going for a long time as well hasn't it now? It's about two/ three years old this working  group? Yeah, it used to be a task force and then it became a working group. Yeah and for those  people listening definitely, if you want to get more involved in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance,  they're always looking to get more people contributing to these initiatives. Weijia,  one of the things that I'd love to hear as well is, are there any books that  have really influenced your thinking around this space or they've really captivated you?  Yes, yes, I do read books and this is a 'Blockchain: A Practical Guide to Developing  Business, Law, and Technology Solutions' and this is by Joseph Bambara and Paul Allen. I bought this  book, I thought this was Paul Allen of Microsoft! I actually bought this from an MIT bookstore  but it turned out it's another Paul Allen but this is a great book!  It's a great book for Ethereum. If you like Ethereum this is a book you should read  and I actually read a lot of these chapters on the airplane so a good book! Then I also have this  

'Mastering Bitcoin:

Programming the Open Blockchain' by Andreas Antonopoulos and  then everybody knows about this and this is a good book as well! Yeah. And I also  do a lot of white papers of different projects. I actually spend a lot of time reading white papers  and also the Ethereum Foundation, the EEA website, a lot of those medium papers as well and I also  read the EIP specification, a lot of the low-level specification codes and I also notices that Conor,  you are publishing a book and I look forward to reading your book as well! Oh, cool, thank you!  Yeah it should be out by December this year, 'The Blockchain Innovators Handbook' so I'm looking  forward to that and it will be fun to have it out there! How do you manage to keep up though with  what to read in terms of white papers and so on because there's so many coming out all the time?  Yeah and actually I'm teaching and sometimes we ask students to read as well  so I normally select good ones and one of the challenges with blockchain is  it's a fast-paced technology and there's so much information that you need to absorb, right?  I have to pick good authors, good projects and they read the good ones, all the kind of  trusted ones and trusted authors and I really do not read just random publications. Yeah,  no that's it and certainly it's easier for us technologists to be able to at least know whether  some people seem like they're legitimately authors fairly quickly but there's a lot of noise there.  So, Weijia, if people want to reach out to you or follow you or just keep up with what  Wanchain's up to, what are the best mechanisms for them to do that? Is it Twitter, LinkedIn,  whatever else? Wanchain's website is wanchain.org and then we also have Telegram and also Wanchain  has a Twitter account as well. I normally do not send too many posts with Twitter. Also,  you can reach me through email and look at Wanchain's website and and contact us.  Just go to wanchain.org. You can get a lot of information out of there  I'm sure. The preferred way for people to reach you as well, would be by participating  in the cross-chain interop working group for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance? Yes, yes,  I really look forward to people, experts joining the working group to work together to develop  this protocol for cross-chain interoperability. Yeah, it's exciting times definitely! So Weijia,  thank you so much for your time, it's been really awesome catching up and I just love hearing how  this space is evolving and heating up more and more every year! Yeah well thank you Conor, it's  always great to talk to you. I really appreciate this opportunity. Thank you, speak soon.