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Interview with Ryan Fang, COO of Ankr

By 22-Dec-2019 February 9th, 2020 No Comments

Interview with Ryan Fang, COO of Ankr

By Daniel Dal Bello, Director.

December 22, 2019 – 6 min read.

Distributed cloud computing has become a well-represented blockchain use case with many competing startups building infrastructure to provide a global marketplace for compute power. Since public fundraising in 2018, Ankr have launched their mainnet and marketplace platform, and have recently had their ANKR token listed for trading on Binance.

Ryan has previously worked in various top-tier investment banks and is the co-founder and COO of Ankr.

Daniel Dal Bello
Can you tell us about your journey into the cryptocurrency space and how you became involved in founding Ankr?

Ryan Fang
My former college roommate and now CEO of Ankr, Chandler Song, introduced me to Bitcoin and blockchain in our freshman year back in 2014. He talked me into buying 22 Bitcoins together, which eventually in 2017 became the seed funding of the Ankr project.

While I have a background as an entrepreneur and data scientist, and experience as an investment bank analyst at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and China Renaissance, Chandler had been studying Computer Science at UC Berkeley and started developing his computer and blockchain programming skills at the Blockchain@Berkeley group.

During my time in finance, I was fascinated by the rapid growth of Amazon AWS. I recalled my college time, where I ran highly computationally intensive code for statistics homework assignments, which was either really slow or very expensive; I once spent 2,000 USD in a [single] month on cloud computing resources, when I was doing machine learning models. I then started thinking about a better and cheaper way to provide cloud computing.

Ankr CTO Stanley Wu was Chandler’s supervisor while he was an intern at Amazon. Stanley was one of the engineers who designed the AWS EC2 instance back in 2007.

Together, we acknowledged the enormous potential of the cloud computing market as an infrastructure which would drive global innovation in the years to come and decided to focus on building a cheaper decentralized cloud.

Daniel Dal Bello
What is your brief introduction to Ankr for those who are just hearing about your company for the first time?

Ryan Fang
Ankr is building a cryptocurrency-based distributed computing network that leverages idle cloud resources in top-end specification servers, hosted from data centers all around the globe.

The compute marketplace unlocks the sharing economy for cloud computing by benefiting both sides of the market. With technologies like Kubernetes, Docker containers and blockchain, Ankr is making the new cloud affordable, secure, eco-friendly and very easy to use.

We have built a distributed cloud platform, where providers can monetize their idle resources and end-users are able to easily deploy compute tasks on the Ankr Cloud. One of the first use-cases we have made available is the deployment of various blockchain nodes in 3 easy steps.

Daniel Dal Bello
Ankr as a startup is essentially a service provider where you enable idle compute power to be offered for use in exchange for Ankr tokens. There are a lot of other platforms and startups that are also either active in or building solutions to be active in this particular space.

What makes your solution different and a better choice for both the supply and demand side?

Ryan Fang
First of all, our distributed cloud computing platform is built for real-world usage, initially focused on enterprise customers and high profile blockchain companies. The best thing is that it is already being used at the moment by many well-known blockchain companies, such as ZilliqaBluzelleFusionFetch.ai, and Harmony.

People may see projects such as DfinityGolemiExec, and SONM as our main competitors in the blockchain-space. The main difference with them is that they focus more on compute power generated by regular PCs, where we are focusing on both blockchain companies as large enterprises and resources from their worldwide data centers.

Some of these “competitors” combine the blockchain with external computing containers and Docker integration and focus on their own niche markets of 3D rendering, fog and edge computing and using the Desktop Grid Network to build a decentralized cloud.

We look at Ankr more as an enterprise ready solution, without the performance limits caused by smart contracts, and not focusing on any niches, but offering a whole spectrum of real-world use cases, increasing our chances of acquiring real retail, blockchain and enterprise customers to use our DCCN [decentralized cloud computing network].

Daniel Dal Bello
There is competition for you in two different worlds. The various blockchain-based competitors and perhaps the more important traditional enterprise competition. These are players like Amazon and Microsoft who dominate the cloud computing market.

How do you position yourselves against traditional enterprise solutions for cloud computing? Why is provider-decentralization an important part of your difference?

Ryan Fang
The Ankr cloud platform is connected to top-end specification servers, hosted globally from the data centers owned by some of the largest companies on the planet, to provide the highest quality to the Ankr nodes. At the moment, our data providers include BCP, Digital Ocean, telecom giant Telefonica, FairSquareLab and more which are spread out over 5 continents, and we have many more world-class providers to come.

These data centers guarantee a tremendous global scope to our platform. While services such as Amazon’s AWS offer only 20 global locations, Ankr can offer many times more, by virtue of each data center provider being a location in their own right, each with different global configurations. This results in the latency of, for example, Ankr-hosted blockchains being minimized and the compute power maximized, meaning transactions will be smooth, efficient and lightning-fast.

Finally, the ecological benefits of using Ankr, as our platform utilizes idle compute power, these servers will be switched on and available whether used or not. The model of utilizing this idle time, minimizing the ecological impact of providing this service and also allowing organizations to monetize their idle (and therefore costly if not utilized) compute time is a great benefit, for us, you and the planet!

Daniel Dal Bello
Ankr have now announced Zilliqa, BOID, and Bluzelle, Lition, and Fusion as blockchain customers that will be hosting nodes on the Ankr distributed cloud. How important are these relationships for you and the team, and what benefits are there for blockchain projects in using the Ankr?

Ryan Fang
Indeed. It is quite shocking to know that over 95% of public blockchain companies, who all boast decentralization, are still hosting the major part of their blockchain nodes on public clouds, such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. As these services are highly centralized, this makes them subject to single point of failure.

Did you know that 60% of Ethereum nodes are hosted on the top 10 public clouds, while 34% of these nodes are hosted on centralized servers in the US? There is simply no single public cloud provider that can achieve geo-distributed availability zones for node hosting.

Next to the single point of failure issue, potential blockchain node hosts are usually held back by the high pricing and poor user experience of existing cloud services. Current cloud services and their support teams are not very blockchain-friendly, and it might require a lot of time and knowledge to configure and manage a blockchain node.

These struggles form a major obstruction to blockchain adoption.

Daniel Dal Bello
Providers on the network are the parties that connect their idle computational power and make it available for use. As part of the compensation for customers deploying their tasks on those servers, Providers can choose to get paid in Ankr or fiat currency.

Can you give us any insight into what your Providers prefer for their payment? Do you have any incentives for Providers to accept ANKR over fiat money?

Ryan Fang
Our providers come from many different areas and with different backgrounds. We find the larger institutions struggle to pay using crypto because their finance departments aren’t geared up for that. In these cases we are happy to accept fiat in order to facilitate the payment and establish a business relationship. We don’t want the method of payment to become a barrier for adoption.

The younger, more dynamic organizations are more flexible, and crypto-aware. Many of our current users are actually blockchain companies. We find they’re happy to pay using cryptocurrencies and of course this is ideal for us.

But we want–and need–both of these types of customer of course.

Daniel Dal Bello
From looking at your online resources it seems as though commercial enterprise is your main market for Providers being onboarded to the network.

Can individuals be onboarded to offer their computational power too? Do you have barriers preventing everyday people from joining and contributing their spare resources?

Ryan Fang
Our current focus lies with the enterprise platform, where companies can tap into the idle resources provided by the high-end data centers connected to our distributed cloud infrastructure. We have implemented a very straightforward and low barrier use case for blockchain node hosting, which provides many advantages to blockchain companies and their communities who want to secure the network and earn token rewards in the process.

We are now aiming to expand this business model and become one of very few blockchain-integrated companies to generate real revenues, by providing affordable and easy to use hosting services for blockchain products.

Daniel Dal Bello
Your revenue model at a high-level is quite simple. Within each transaction for computing resources on the network, Ankr will charge a transaction fee. Part of that fee is held to be paid to those staking Ankr tokens.

Can you breakdown the staking component of your token economic model as it is currently?

Ryan Fang
The Ankr revenue model is based on transaction fees of the platform, which is basically a percentage of every deal. The platform transaction fee is made up of three parts: a fee paid to the resource provider, a fee paid to the Application provider, and finally, a fee paid to Ankr.

The staking model of Ankr tokens will be based on the revenues generated by the Ankr platform. By bringing more public chain nodes onto the Ankr cloud over the coming months, we expect to generate a steady revenue stream, which will automatically serve to bring value to the Ankr token.

A key element of this model is the direct correlation of the staking rewards to revenues generated on the Ankr platform. This is the only way for us to provide a sustainable and long-term business model and bring intrinsic value to the Ankr project.

“By bringing more public chain nodes onto the Ankr cloud over the coming months, we expect to generate a steady revenue stream, which will automatically serve to bring value to the Ankr token.”

Staking will require native Ankr tokens, which can be safely stored in our native desktop wallet. The wallet is available on our official website ankr.com and can be downloaded for MacOS, Windows and Linux.

Daniel Dal Bello
Now that you have finished your fundraising, launched your platform, and have your token tradable on one of the top exchanges in the industry, what will you and the team be turning your attention to moving into 2020?

Ryan Fang
On the business development side, our purpose has always been to balance the equation, which means connecting end-users with idle cloud resources. To ensure that every customer of our cloud network is able to carry out the tasks they signed up for, we are always looking to connect more data centers and their idle resources to our platform.

We are shortly launching our “provide a provider” program, which has been announced at the Binance Super Meetup in Moscow recently. This program will offer high rewards to community members who help Ankr growing bigger, better, faster and stronger!

Our aims for 2020 are to expand our global footprint with data centers in strategically important regions such as Africa and LATAM, to onboard more blockchain companies as customers of the Ankr cloud platform, and to attract SME’s who are looking for secure and affordable hosting solutions.

We are also closely monitoring the US crypto-market, as we want to cater to our US community by having our token available on US-compliant exchanges. We feel that for building a global business it is important to comply with rules and regulations of all regions we are operating in.

“We are also closely monitoring the US crypto-market, as we want to cater to our US community by having our token available on US-compliant exchanges.”

The Ankr platform is aiming for a better and more affordable distributed cloud, which is globally available, and we will never exclude any countries or areas from our solution. The cloud is our limit!

Ankr is a blockchain-based cloud computing platform that aims to utilize idle compute-resources to fuel their distributed cloud network. For more information about Ankr, visit https://www.ankr.com.