Perspectives | Issues exposed by the epidemic will become new business opportunities

Text | Interlink College

[Interlink Pulse] The comprehensive fight against the epidemic has lasted for two months. The blockchain has also played a huge role in the fight against the "epidemic". During this period, the digitalization and digital economy supported by the blockchain technology have also grown. Now, the epidemic situation has stopped the pace of rapid spread, and how will the digital economy develop after the fight against the "epidemic"? On February 24, Interchain Pulse invited a number of experts in the digital economy and blockchain field to discuss the opportunities of the digital economy.

In this roundtable, we have invited:

Partner of Random Capital, Master of Tsinghua University, expert in blockchain and big data technology-Liu Yi

Liang Wei, Head of R & D of China Telecom's Blockchain Business, Director of China Telecom Group's Blockchain and Digital Economy Joint Lab-Liang Wei

Digital Economist, Director of Shangtang Technology Intelligent Industry Research Institute-Liu Zhiyi

Li Hui (Moderator), Deputy Secretary General of the Blockchain Service Network Alliance (BSN) and Deputy Dean of Huobi Blockchain Research Institute

Li Hui: In this outbreak, digitalization has helped solve many problems, but there are still many shortcomings. What do you think are the shortcomings exposed?

Liu Zhiyi: The digitization of this epidemic has indeed solved many problems. We have also done intelligent research on solving some problems recently, but actually exposed some of our current economic structure in the face of sudden conditions. risk. It can be seen that the spread of this epidemic has caused a great impact on China's economy, with major impacts on key industries such as transportation, tourism, accommodation and catering.

Compared with SARS in 2003, the degree of economic impact is also very different. We are facing a slowdown in 2019. The GDP growth rate in the third and fourth quarters dropped to 6%. The reason is that the external economic recovery is weak, and the export growth rate has fallen. Compared with the SARS period in 2003, China's high-speed GDP growth and huge economic potential in the world market have very different economic backgrounds.

It is against this background that how to improve our ability to resist economic risks and modernized governance through online, unmanned, and modern methods is a problem that needs to be resolved after the epidemic.

Liang Wei: On the basis of Teacher Liu Zhiyi, I will talk about three shortcomings.

The first is the issue of transparency of information. For example, before the epidemic spread, why didn't we grasp the situation in time?

There is also a whistleblower system. Why doesn't the whistle sound? On the surface, these are issues of timeliness of information, and the essence is of transparency.

The second shortcoming, I think maybe our organizational efficiency needs to be improved. Especially before the large-scale spread of the epidemic in Wuhan, it is precisely because we now need to approve and report at various levels in the organization, which is stuck in the communication and coordination of people, so there is a poor efficiency.

The third aspect is the issue of social integrity. For example, after the outbreak, some people concealed their identity and location, which led to suspected cases not being controlled in a timely manner. Another example is the online violence and online rumors that led to official media even launching a special rumor block. For example, the flow of charitable donation funds from the Red Cross to the issue of transparency is a reflection of social integrity.

Liu Yi: Let me talk about some things I saw. Today is the first day of work for the company after the Spring Festival. Before that, I had been at home with the cat. As soon as I came out today, I felt that society had changed so much in twenty days. There is a squadron at the entrance of the fresh food supermarket. There are not many people, and the distance between them is more than one meter. There are not many people on the subway, everyone sits at intervals. Under the office building, the building is already using the Chaoyang District epidemic situation prevention and control system, using the registered information to obtain an electronic voucher, and then to obtain an access card. After arriving at the office, there are relatively few colleagues who can be on the job today, so we adjusted the work station a bit and tried to keep the distance as far as possible so that everyone would not face each other. At noon, everyone went to the restaurant to buy food and go back to the office to eat. I think we all felt it.

Although only a few weeks have passed, in order to respond to the epidemic, the production and life of our society and many orders have changed. Both information technology and the digital economy have contributed, but the question everyone asks is whether we should become faster and more efficient.

Just as Teacher Liang Wei just said, if we told everyone one day ago that the virus was very contagious, if one day in Wuhan the control staff would move, many people would avoid illness and death.

I have also worked in the system myself, and I have a relatively good understanding of the system. Our country has a very powerful state machine and management capabilities that penetrate deep into the society. Therefore, I have great confidence in the government to lead the whole society to overcome the epidemic.

But the problem is that our system machine is too powerful and it is too big. To spread from the end to the heart, there are many levels in the middle, and each level must be refined and summarized. Instructions must be transmitted from heart to heart, and the process must also be deduced and embodied before they can be implemented.

Most people do not understand that the adjustment of institutional machinery is more responsible and difficult. Informatization and digitization can certainly help improve the efficiency of the system's movement and enhance social management capabilities. This is what informationization has been doing for the past few decades, and the results are also reflected in the epidemic.

Then after the epidemic has passed, the society's informatization and digitization will certainly continue, and will be adjusted according to the gains and losses we see this time. But I think the biggest shortcoming of this epidemic situation is not that our system responds slowly and inefficiently. It is outside the system that we have nothing to rely on. Our fellow citizens are very dedicated and even sacrificed. Foreigners are also concerned about the domestic, buy mask protective clothing everywhere and send it to China. Han Hong was exhausted with her foundation.

But the system now tells us that there must be uniform standards. Outside the system, the eight immortals cross the sea and show their magical powers, but people are dissatisfied and slow. Is the individual's strength able to do all aspects of disaster relief work? But let's think about it. Is there any other way besides unified deployment? There are all kinds of hard-to-recognize news on the Internet, etc. Who can I trust at this time? Who else can you trust besides trusting the government? I believe in Zhong Nanshan, but there is only one person in Zhong Nanshan.

We have to make some choices and convince everyone that there are countless choices. For example, a hospital has only 200 beds and cannot treat 1,000 people at the same time, but there are 5,000 people outside the hospital that need to be treated. Who should be saved at this time? Who do you choose? What is fair? Who else can we trust besides heroes like the government and Zhong Nanshan?

Therefore, the system is very powerful, but it is not omnipotent. If it is to be forbidden and uniform, there will be no show of strength. Therefore, I think the biggest shortcoming of the epidemic exposure is outside the system, trust is scarce, and currently there is no good way to build trust.

Li Hui: After the epidemic, do you judge which areas in the digital economy will accelerate development and which areas will generate business opportunities?

Liang Wei: The areas exposed in this epidemic are those that will generate business opportunities.

To sum up, there are two aspects. The first is that the construction of digital infrastructure will be accelerated; the second is that the transformation of socialized governance models will also be accelerated.

For example, in this epidemic, the construction site was digitized by monitoring equipment, and then the high-definition video provided by China Telecom was used to make netizens the cloud supervisors of Thunder God Mountain and Vulcan Mountain Hospital. Then this is the intelligent, digital infrastructure that reflects smart cities. Meituan launches self-driving vehicle distribution, and guarantees the intelligence and security of distribution through operators and 5G networks and autonomous driving technology, allowing residents to meet daily needs with zero contact. This is also a digital infrastructure; for example, After the outbreak, Wuhan and Hubei resources were very scarce, which hindered diagnosis and treatment. Then the implementation of online consultation, telemedicine, high-precision medicine, etc. will bring the future medical industry to a higher level, which is still a digital infrastructure; as we are now back to work, we are using remote collaborative office, cloud classroom, etc. to improve The efficiency of our public and learning, this is the public, educational digital infrastructure.

At the same time, digital governance models will accelerate. After the epidemic, the government and business organizations will need to use an efficient, transparent, and distributed organizational model to improve collaborative organizational efficiency, such as using big data and AI technology for case analysis, same-city diagnosis, precision medicine, and so on. For another example, in the era of information explosion, the management of public opinion can ensure the timely and transparent information, and make this rumor nowhere to hide, which promotes the development of digital governance model.

Liu Yi: I think the new crown epidemic is not a direction guide for the business, but a pulse-like promotion. Because we know that in many business directions, the development of the digital economy is not limited by technology, but is limited by user habits. After the epidemic, the movement of social personnel has been greatly restricted. This is forcing everyone to break old habits and establish new ones. For example, I have been working from home for the past two weeks and have tapped the advanced features of the byte-beating "flying book". My mother-in-law has also learned to use cash without buying food, and my son has been using high school to use online classes. I think there is no shortage of examples around you. But which specific areas will generate business opportunities?

You can see which ones have shown their effect in this epidemic, and which will have business opportunities. On the other hand, if you are in the digital economy and the epidemic is so serious, your business is not improving. Should n’t you consider it? What is the fake demand? Or change the product and make some adjustments.

Li Hui: We know that last week the Libra Association added a new partner, Shopify (international e-commerce giant). Digital currency is also an important topic for everyone's attention. Then teachers will judge whether digital currency will be launched this year. What role does development play?

Liu Yi: The speed of the launch of digital currencies is relative. China should be the only big country that has decided to issue digital currencies so far, and it is generally expected in the industry that it will be launched today. Personally, I don't think it will be so fast, because some joint problems have not been resolved.

So no matter when it is launched, what exactly is China's central bank's digital currency DCEP used for? What changes will it bring? What role does it play in the digital economy? I predict that the short-term impact will be very small. There are two reasons:

The first is that DCEP is a replacement for M0 and is a new form of cash. But the problem is that we don't even need M0 now. I think I'm in my forties and I feel safe with a little cash when I go out, but I have no chance to use it. In the daily payment scenario, DCEP and mobile payment do not see any advantages over it, but this also involves the legal status of DCEP. If we define DCEP as fiat currency, then fiat currency will not be rejected by any unit. On the other hand, it is obviously not overnight that you require all Chinese merchants to accept DCEP payment.

The second reason is that DCEP is a central bank liability and there is no redemption risk. However, Chinese people in China believe that banks have government backing and there is no exchange risk, so they have no intention to convert deposits into bank digital currencies. What's more, even if it is demand deposit, there is still a bit of interest, so the most likely scenario is that the introduction of DCEP may be a big news, but it has been silent for a long time.

In the long run, it may take ten years as the unit, and the central bank digital currency may be a very important strategic thing. Because if we look at the endgame, all assets will be digitized and tokenized. Of course, the most important thing is currency. Digital currency is transmitted on an open Internet. This is an Internet currency, and it must be this form in the end.

There is also very fierce competition between fiat currencies. China's first introduction of digital currency seems to be a very aggressive and aggressive approach, but I personally think that it is actually a defensive approach. Because when all fiat currencies can be freely transmitted through the Internet, the network effect of the currency will become very powerful, and it will be difficult for small economies to remain independent.

The strongest thing on the Internet is that the US dollar is more than 60% of the reserve currency. If most countries encounter a currency crisis, the reserve currency that comes to mind is still the US dollar. Therefore, on the one hand, we hope to eliminate the hegemony of the US dollar and promote the internationalization of the RMB. On the one hand, it will also face the impact of the future digital currency issuance by the US dollar and Libra. Libra's news now is to change to 100% US dollar reserves, which is almost the only possible way to issue.

So there may be several more widely accepted currencies in the future as bookkeeping currencies. Then the RMB should be internationalized. In the past, it did not have an advantage in internationalization. Take a step first to avoid losing the status of the world's major bookkeeping unit in the future.

Liu Zhiyi: In the second half of last year, Mu Changchun of the Digital Currency Research Institute of the Central Bank expressed that for DCEP, its research and development is committed to achieving M0 replacement. So the epidemic as a black swan incident is actually an opportunity. This is the embodiment of the entire online and digital wave. Observing traditional financial institutions, we can see that the currency circulation channel and transaction turn online are a long-term trend. On the one hand, it is more convenient, and on the other hand, it saves manpower and offline operating costs of financial institutions.

So under this trend, the current major mobile payment platform is to serve the public through a diverse and online financial ecosystem, which is the direction of the entire transformation.

However, China's cash flow M0 has not increased significantly in the past few years. From 2001 to 2010, it was about 10% annual growth. The highest increase in 2010 was 16.7%. However, after 2012, no matter how the currency and credit fluctuated, the growth rate of M0 remained almost unchanged. WeChat Pay and Alipay Pay account for more than 90% of the market. If the huge M0 depends on the oligopoly mobile payment platform, then this potential financial risk and capital flow are still under great pressure.

No matter how high the credit of Alipay or WeChat is, it is still limited liability, and the DCEP of the central bank is unlimited. The digital currency of the central bank is essentially the debt of the central bank to the public. The debt and debt relationship will not change in any way from cash to digital currency with the currency form. Therefore, in the logic of the central bank as a digital currency, the most important thing is to control the risk of the entire social capital flow.

Regarding central bank digital currencies, two more points are emphasized. The first point is that we can see the digital currency of the central bank, in order to guarantee the role of the central bank's currency control. The dual-layer model it uses is a centralized management model, which is different from the decentralization of blockchain technology that we usually think of. It is not even necessary to use blockchain technology. It may use any current, paid, digital currency technology. The second point is that it manages the currency exchange by designating the operating agency to avoid over-issuing the currency of the designated operating agency. Because a single-tier operating structure will lead to financial disintermediation, banks face the public directly. A binary account system would make this transition seem very natural.

In conclusion, the central bank's digital currency system has actually had a positive and positive impact on monetary policy. We can see that through the dual operation system, the debt-debt relationship can be maintained as stable as paper currencies, and digital currencies are not over-issued. Commercial institutions promote the realization of the entire structure by paying 100% of the reserve to the central bank.

[Media question]

Mars Finance: Due to the epidemic, many physical industries including catering and logistics, which are extremely important to people's lives, have been greatly impacted, but at the same time we have also seen the emergence of high-tech fields such as Jingdong unmanned distribution. So I would like to ask, in the digital economy field, how can we improve production efficiency? And does the proposition of science and technology for good correspond to the development of the digital economy?

Liu Zhiyi: First answer the previous one, how to improve production efficiency?

Digitalization actually has three aspects.

On the one hand is online. For example, Tencent, Huawei, Jinshan launched their online office business;

The second is cloudification. Benefiting from the popularity of remote offices, the proportion of online education has increased. Cloud computing will grow rapidly, and server and IDC infrastructure business will increase incrementally.

The third is the most unmanned. After the epidemic, you can see the unattended parking, smart express cabinets at the entrance and exit, and so on.

We can see that society is promoting modernization through digitalization. A series of digital methods such as medical treatment, IT, big data, and remote government affairs have all improved the efficiency of our modern governance.

Carbon chain value: What specific improvements can blockchain technology bring to philanthropy?

Liang Wei: Charity improvement is the improvement of governance system and capacity. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee also mentioned that the modernization of the country's governance system and capacity is the fifth modernization based on industry, agriculture, science and technology, and national defense, which shows its importance.

Blockchain technology is known to be distributed, transparent and traceable. Well, it is conducive to the flattening of social governance structure and the transparency of social governance processes, as well as the modernization of governance systems and capabilities.

Charity is actually prone to a crisis of trust. Opacity of material donations is often a problem. Specific improvements can be considered from several aspects: On the one hand, instead of letting the Red Cross serve as the sole trust center, you should join the Red Cross, civil affairs, hospitals, and these civil society organizations to form a coalition chain to improve the credibility of public welfare and charity.

The second specific improvement can record and share donation information through the entire process of the blockchain. In fact, the most difficult thing is the donation, logistics, and distribution process. Can it be truly connected to the blockchain system? The blockchain system can only guarantee that the information on the chain cannot be tampered with, and the authenticity of the information before and after the chain cannot be guaranteed.

Then there is the use of smart contracts to increase automation in the entire charity process and minimize manual intervention.

Lianwen: The new crown pneumonia exposed many problems in medical and charitable aspects. People look forward to using distributed technology to solve the problem of "trust" and call for the real implementation of blockchain technology. In the eyes of teachers, what stage is blockchain technology now in? What problems do you think need to be solved before large-scale commercial use?

Liu Yi: On this issue, I recommend an article for everyone. It is called "Blockchain and Global Public Affairs Governance" and was published by Dr. Xiao Feng from Wanxiang Blockchain.

Mr. Xiao's point about blockchain being suitable for public affairs governance, I very much agree. Blockchain is not just a distributed ledger technology. From a computational point of view, it is a distributed computing model of Byzantine fault tolerance. It is an institutional technology, a new way of bearing social production relations and cooperative relations, and it can also accelerate the evolution of production relations and cooperative relations. When I answered the question earlier, I also talked about whether our society can form order spontaneously outside the system and complement the order in the system? It is the most important problem caused by the epidemic. I believe that the blockchain in the general direction of establishing trust and forming an order is very promising.

However, as practitioners of this blockchain, we should be truth-seeking.Blockchain technology is still very immature. Compared with the BS architecture of the Internet, blockchain is minimal, verifiable and fully auditable in order to gain trust Wait for these new features. The price paid is highly redundant performance, high cost, etc. The most intuitive manifestation of these costs is the poor user experience of the blockchain. It is particularly troublesome to use, slow and expensive, and users are accustomed to web2.0, which is difficult to accept such applications.

On the other hand, blockchain technology is relatively new and indeed quite complicated. It involves such difficult technologies as consensus protocols, P2P network communications, and so on. The development tools and programming languages ​​of the blockchain, including testing tools and auditing tools, are all immature, and the requirements for developers are very high. So I think that blockchain technology is now in the foundation stage. We need to solve performance problems, cost problems, oracle problems, and interoperability problems, and we must encapsulate complex technologies and provide good tools. Ordinary developers can also quickly and efficiently deliver blockchain applications with a good user experience. There is still a long way to go to achieve such a goal.

[Ask the audience]

Audience 1: Overissue of banknotes will cause inflation. M2 has exceeded 200 trillion. If the digital currency issued by the central bank is overissued, will it cause inflation and other conditions?

Liu Zhiyi: The first thing to note is that the digital currency of the central bank is a replacement for M0, not a replacement for M1 and M2. M1 and M2 have already realized electronicization and digitization. There is no need to use digital currency for fine digitization. In contrast, the existing M0 is that banknotes and coins are easier to forge anonymously, such as for money laundering or other illegal uses. Therefore, the central bank's digital currency is designed to maintain the properties of cash and meet the needs of portable and profitable .

Its functions determine that if smart contracts are loaded, digital currencies will be degraded into valuable tickets and the degree of use will be reduced. (Editor's Note: It may mean that if digital currencies use smart contracts to control the amount of issuance, the attributes of the currency will degrade) . Then pay attention to the issue of M2. The growth rate of M2 in 2019 is about 8%, which has dropped a lot compared with the double-digit growth rate in previous years. It reflects the state of credit. The decrease in growth rate was mainly due to the decrease in the trade surplus and the control caused by real estate, which led to currency derivatives.

Therefore, the GDP growth rate of 6%, plus the CPI of 3%, relative to the 8% M2 growth rate reflects the passive tightening of liquidity, which corresponds to the deflation in the production sector. In terms of growth rate, the central bank's attitude is to keep monetary policy neutral. If the growth rate is too fast, there will be inflation expectations and panic. Too low, there will be problems with liquidity.

The total amount of concern to everyone, the ratio of M2 to GDP in our country is about two, while the United States is about 0.8. This is not a problem, because our country is dominated by indirect financing by banks, while the United States is dominated by direct financing from the stock market. The use of indirect financing and direct financing requires an additional currency multiplier, which led to China ’s M2 The total amount is high.

However, in the future, the People's Bank of China hopes to change from indirect to direct. This is also the reason for the reform of the domestic stock market, including the science and technology board. If the stock market develops well, M2 growth will decline. So in summary, the increase in the total amount of M2 is related to the loosening of monetary policy to increase liquidity, and also increases the currency multiplier, which is different from the logic of currency finance that everyone thinks.

Audience 2: What are the biggest differences between assets in the digital economy and traditional assets?

Liu Yi: The asset in the digital economy, we first understand it as a digital asset, or I think it refers to a tokenized asset, so what is the difference between it and traditional assets?

First of all, I think that tokenization is an extension of securitization, so securitization is to improve the liquidity of assets, which means that your assets are valuable, but whether you can sell them depends on whether your assets are liquid. . Then after securitization and further tokenization. The liquidity of assets can reach a higher level because it is spread on the open network through the Internet. It can conduct real-time transactions, real-time identification, and no restrictions on clearing and settlement.

Transaction costs have been drastically reduced and asset prices can only go up after liquidity has been pushed up. This is why asset holders and token issuers are motivated to do this. These originally originated in Bitcoin and were implemented based on blockchain technology.

Audiencer 3: Based on the characteristics of the epidemic, how can asymptomatic infections be digitally detected and detected and prevented in a timely manner?

Liang Wei: It may be mainly about data sharing and data governance. Realizing data sharing through the blockchain can not only protect privacy, but also provide some finer grained and more dimensional management means. For example, you can share the operator's base station data, the bus system's ticket purchase data, etc., to do some suspected cases or correlation analysis. Then on this basis, do data governance, through big data and artificial intelligence, to predict the path of virus transmission, or to predict the ability of transmission.

Audience 4: Excuse me, what is the promotion function of the financial distributed ledger technical specifications officially released by the central bank for the entire blockchain and digital economy industry in Defi?

Li Hui: Let me talk about my opinion first. This standard emphasizes very important content such as the node access standard of the consensus protocol, the KYC requirements for identity management, and the requirements for supervisory nodes. The purpose is clear. For financial chains, government agencies must be involved in management. On the whole, the country has started to promote the underlying infrastructure of industry standards, which has a good role in promoting the development of the blockchain industry.

Liu Zhiyi: In fact, the normative materials we saw were promoted in conjunction with the fintech development plan and the 13th Five-Year Development Plan for China's financial information technology.

In this regard, I have three perspectives to share with you. The first is its basic role. The content of the entire 17 chapters is actually the core to regulate the security system of distributed ledger technology. For example, how to use it in the financial field, or how to apply the distributed ledger system to the financial field, and put forward some standard things, this is the basic content.

Secondly, it meets the requirements of regulation through consensus agreement, so from this perspective, it is the relationship between technology and regulation.

Third, because the main thing of this specification is to provide regulators with technical means of transaction intervention and knowledge of a technical standard for accessing underlying data. So the so-called decentralized lending relationship with everyone is not big. Because the more we go in this direction, the more likely it is that centralized lending will be regulated. I believe that domestic financial innovation itself is still very cautious, and the decentralized mechanism does not conform to the current central bank's basic attitude towards all financial technology, including blockchain.

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