Yee CEO Zhang Lei: “Blockchain Will be the Next Generation Infrastructure.”

Originally written by Hao Fangzhou and published on 36Kr on January 11. The original article:

Yee CEO Zhang Lei

Since last weekend, Zhang Lei has not had any real sleep. He first lighted the spark in Xu Xiaoping’s heart unintentionally during a blockchain technology sharing session. Then he received numerous questions after Mr. Xu called for embracing the blockchain revolution. The questions were mainly about how to quickly understand and utilize the blockchain technology.

Yee CEO Zhang Lei is an IT professional who used to work in Baidu and Huawei. He also founded several startups and has rich experience in mobile search and mobile security. He has been researching the blockchain technology since 2012. He found that many people had a strong need to learn the blockchain technology, but they did not know much about how to apply the technology to reality. When he provided the technical support to them, he researched lot of research on current economic system and believed that the blockchain technology would become the next generation infrastructure.

Recently, 36Kr came into contact with Zhang Lei and had a talk about his thought on the blockchain technology which has attracted the attention from the world, how to find the core value of a blockchain project and what Yee team have achieved.

The delivery of the internet information is a top-down one which does not apply to “the scenario in which centralized organizations can be left out”. With the emerging of Bitcoin, value can be decentralized and delivered via the C2C model. Later, Ethereum solved the problem that exists at the infrastructure level. These two aspects enable users to deliver value in a top-down way, which means that users can enjoy benefits while they manage the community.

Take global transfer as an example. In the traditional way, if we want to gain trust from new users, we need to cooperate with large banks or agencies and learn about policies in different countries. This can lead to high costs. Some products try to do C2C exchanges without centralization, but they fail to solve the crisis of consensus and trust.

In the past year, we have seen so many ICO projects coming out, the chaos they created, and lots of projects dead soon after strict regulations implemented.

Zhang Lei said, to fully understand the project, we could look at the layers of the blockchain separately: the base layer is the blockchain technology, mining machine, and exchange platform; the ecological layer is the development environment (tools like IM, wallet, etc.); and the top layer is the application layer. Of course, each layer is embedded with opportunities, but it also comes with huge bubbles before the industrial revolution starts (just like the earlier internet revolution). Only 1% of the blockchain companies are the great ones with value creation. They will come into being in the future, rather than being involved in the bubbles by the “debris flow” brought by capitalists.

Zhang Lei thought that a valuable project must have technology genes and reserves, and besides, the project must have a solid application scenario and provide excellent user experience. “The user experience of Ripple is quite good. I learned about a European company that utilizes the Internet of Things and the blockchain technology in the renovation of smart door locks. I also learned about a pork traceability project which integrates AI image recognition, the Internet of Things and the blockchain technology.”

Zhang Lei gathered scientists and an engineer team, and set up YeeLab in Singapore. From the point of security and algorithm, he cooperated and researched with Princeton University and the Quantum Control Laboratory of Tsing Hua University, and discussed blockchain’s application in the financial system with regulators like Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Zhang Lei hoped that the research of YeeLab can lower the development threshold and offer the platform, community and basic services. In the bottom layer, YeeChain will improve the security of the infrastructure. On another layer, YeeNet will open up the network ability by using API interfaces, development tools. The top layer has the ecological container which includes IM, wallet, browser, and applet.

YeeCall has more than 400 distributed nodes in the globe to upgrade virtual data and improve the efficiency of gateway and overall operation. It was revealed that in the second half of this year, YeeCall probably will donate the key LGPL to the community to speed up the construction of community.

As the founder and CEO of YeeCall, Lei naturally considered what blockchain could do to acquire a large number of overseas users for YeeCall.

Yee application, YeeCall is the earliest instant messaging app which support free HD video calling feature that goes global. Lots of immigrants, foreign labors and international students using YeeCall app everyday to stay connected with family and friends abroad or at their home countries. Since 2016, the product has gradually added some social elements. Now, YeeCall app has more than 30 million users from the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, etc. The average staying time of users is 40 minutes each day.

At the beginning of 2017, having seen the potentials of YeeCall in its user value and social scenario, Ripple found Zhang Lei and hoped to communicate further in terms of the “international transfer system based on the blockchain technology”.

It is estimated by the World Bank that, the scale of global international payment increases by 5% each year with a market scale of $601 billion in 2016. However, the average commission rate of remitters is as high as 7.68%. Can blockchain technology reshape global money transfer and replace Western Union, MoneyGram, SWIFT, and Visa?

Zhang Lei remarked that Yee application YeeCall team will make international transfer the core application scenario of the blockchain technology, and create an IM that is open-ended and supports multiple crypto currencies, gaming, and social features. After one year’s infrastructure construction, the new version of IM is scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of 2018. The business model of YeeCall will transfer from the earlier ad-supported revenue to financial service.

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