Angela Tong is one of the most influential media executives in the international crypto community. She has turned Jinse Finance into the №1 blockchain media in China with 500 thousand+ monthly visits in 6 months only and has brought CoinTime into many countries and regions of the world including the US, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia, and the Middle East, continuously producing premium content for users all over the world.
Promoting Freewallet to Chinese users, we had the opportunity to chat with Mrs. Tong in an exclusive interview and got know what motivates her to to be successful, what she thinks about the role of the media in the industry’s development, and user-generated content, which regions she finds more promising for cryptocurrency and many other questions. These are Angela’s unconventional, truthful, and sincere answers.
Hi Angela, nice to have you on board. So, let’s start this interview for the community of Freewallet.
Before becoming Chief Editor of Jinse Finance in 2017 you worked at NetEase, a leading China-based technology company, which, among other matters, runs one of the largest and fastest-growing cross-border and private label e-commerce businesses. Was getting into the blockchain industry fruitful for you? Why did you choose to focus your main activities on crypto?
Well, first I would like to thank Freewallet for interviewing me, so that I can have the opportunity to talk about my blockchain experience and opinions with the Freewallet users and community.
I have been working at NetEase since 2011, covering the technology field, so I have been exposed to Bitcoin from a very early stage.
At that time, Netease had a unique attitude towards certain topics, it was particularly sensitive to controversial topics, such as Bitcoin, a new and topical technology product.
In addition to making reports, we also discuss Bitcoin privately, such as what is it, what is its principle, what is consensus, is it valuable at all, what can it do, how does the price rise or fall compared to stocks, and so on. These are the hot topics we discussed. So definitely my first knowledge of bitcoin was built up during my career at NetEase Technology.
In 2017, I got all into crypto for several reasons. The most important reason was my boss, Jun Du, who filled my brain with his belief in crypto, wanted to contribute his strength to filling in the information gap in this new industry, and so he trusted me to do that. Besides these facts, my heart also guided me to be an entrepreneur, to be part of a starting business, the more I got curious, the stronger my enthusiasm grew.
It took you just 6 months to make JF the №1 blockchain media in China with 500 thousand+ monthly visits. Did you expect the outlet to become so popular so soon?
To be honest, I had thought about it, but instead of just saying that I thought about it, it’s more about our determination. When we joined Jinse Finance, we gave ourselves an ultimatum to make outstanding achievements within 6 months.
At that time, we were a small team, every team member was busy from dusk till dawn, each of us had to fulfil the responsibilities of many in one. No one felt that they only needed to do part of their job.
For example, as the Chief Editor back then I also had to do BD, media relations, and events. The team members trust each other, so everyone felt safe and comfortable with sharing rather than being frightened of being replaced. Achieving the task together is the end goal rather than who achieved what alone.
And I have to say that the diligence and emulative spirit of the Chinese are far ahead of others in many nations.
You created a bridge between China and the global blockchain market as COO of CoinTime, bringing it into many countries and regions, including the US, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia and the Middle East. Why did you concentrate on these areas? Did you believe they were areas most conducive to seeing blockchain flourish?
The technological development in the US is at the top of the world, and blockchain is no exception. Japan introduced clear regulations at a very early stage, and there are already many shops that support Bitcoin payments. In South Korea many cities even plan to create their own token with the name of the town. The regulation in Singapore is very mature and clear, it is known as a gathering place for high-net worth clients. In Russia, Putin publicly supports cryptocurrencies, and the environment and electricity prices are suitable for building mines. Indonesia's blockchain market is much like that of early China, with unlimited potential. The Middle East has always been a place where capital is gathered. Therefore as you may have seen, these choices were made strategically.
For the selection of overseas markets, “the potential growth” is always the key element in our strategic decision. Because only by finding out the potential and planning in advance can we maximize the market opportunity seizure.
As we know, Jinse has launched its own educational project called jinse.org. Compared to other similar initiatives, what special opportunities does it offer to blockchain users, and how do you plan to enhance it
There are a lot of blockchain education programs on the market. Jinse Finance is one of the earlier ones that planned blockchain education. As a media outlet, we have wider market spectrum views and understand the market, on top of this, we can also reach more industry practitioners in various fields. So the courses we provide are more of a comprehensive entrepreneurial guidance, not a simple single educational training, such as technical training.
In the case of the 2020 epidemic, on site courses are very difficult to achieve, so we have opened online public courses so that those interested in entering the blockchain industry will achieve this smoother and faster. When the epidemic is over and offline courses can be held again, we can also learn more about their potential needs through online interaction with readers, paving the way for designing courses.
As a member of the crypto community with almost a decade of experience reporting on blockchain, how do you think media and social networks contribute to crypto industry development? Do you foresee media platforms functioning on blockchain technology?
Although blockchain technology has been reported in the media for over a decade, blockchain technology is still a young technology that few people understand today. Because in the early part of the report, neither the media nor the readers really realized the "real" value of the technology. Bitcoin also does not have the consensus and price that it does now. Therefore, there are only a few media outlets with very little space for reporting, and their attention is very low.
However, thanks to the Geeks and Blockchian/Crypto KOLs that have a strong belief in Bitcoin for continuing to preach in the form of communities and self-media. As Bitcoin and blockchain technology’s attention and communities continue to grow, the mainstream media will begin to frequently report on the industry. Then naturally the communities continue to grow then again more media reports it, as the cycle continues to develop positively with faster acceleration.
Nowadays, people promote blockchain technology in various ways. Many of them are cheaters, using people's curiosity about new things and the desire to get rich quickly. These scammers include some bad projects, exchanges, wallets and so on. At this time, the real media is particularly important. They are a vane, a tool to remove these fake news, and provide a channel to expose these scammers. So I think that the media and the community have contributed to the popularity and promotion of blockchain technology.
I don't know if I am right or not about the second question. You mean you want to discuss the possibilities that blockchain technology brings to the media, correct？If so, I think it's definitely yes. First, there are many types of media platforms. Many media platforms are already empowering platforms with blockchain technology, blockchain ideology, and token economics. Second, the identity of users is also changing, and it is no longer just about getting information on the platform. They get paid for each advertisement. For authors, traceability can also be used to protect their copyrights and royalties. These are just a small part of the blockchain's ability to empower media platforms. And for more functions, we can also think and explore together.
Among the most popular formats within Chinese media are user-driven blogs and columns, which, are not prevalent in Japan and Korea. Why do you think the Chinese media market is more friendly towards user-generated content despite the fact that it has much stricter controls in place? Does this feature seem useful for crypto coverage?
First of all, the personal column continues from traditional media. KOL is widely accepted by readers. Different from traditional media, the personal author's speech will be sharper, more critical, and Chinese readers like this writing style.
Chinese media also attaches great importance to the content produced by individual authors (non-media reporters). They respect those people who have the courage to express their different opinions. Therefore, the media public platform is gradually established, and excellent individual authors on the platform have grown to KOL. As a blockchain media, Jinse Finance also retains this "tradition".
The blockchain industry is a very "big" industry that includes a variety of subdivisions including projects, exchanges, technology, wallets, and so on. The number of reporters per media is limited and it is difficult to cover every detail. And a large number of individual authors and columns play a complementary role at this time. Allow readers to receive more different content. So, I think the personal column feature is very useful for crypto coverage.
Apart from being a member of the editorial board, you helped write the best-selling blockchain book Blockchain+. Was writing it more of a job or something you enjoyed on a personal level? Had you ever dreamed of becoming an author?
Joining the editorial board and writing the book "Blockchain +" is actually a self-promotion process for me. While writing this book, I continued to learn the concept of blockchain + and the various fields it applies to. I think it should be more of interest and since then, it has also helped me in my subsequent work and allowed me to become an expert in the blockchain field.
I have been writing novels since junior high school. Short stories written in high school were also published. Writing has always been my interest. But as I grew, I realized that I am more inclined to be a journalist. If I have to say that I ever dreamed of a career, it was being a war correspondent. I have dreamed of doing war correspondence for many years.
Looking beyond the crypto media sphere, how do you see the future of the whole blockchain market? Will today’s three pillars — anonymity, privacy, and decentralization — remain fundamental?
First of all, I am very optimistic about the future of the blockchain industry. Blockchain technology is an underlying technology. When combined with other technologies, it can emit infinite charm and create immeasurable possibilities.
In China, we see that in addition to anonymity, privacy, and decentralization, the immutability of blockchain is also very valuable. Traceability has developed very rapidly in China and the Middle East. The application range of smart contracts is also amazing. Another leading global developer is overcoming TPS.
It seems impossible to many crypto enthusiasts, but, in your opinion, will a real alternative to Bitcoin ever appear? What does the market need to create it?
I think Bitcoin is “core faith”. It is the origin of blockchain technology usage and the ancestor of the concept of "equality and fairness". I don't think there will be any other currency that can surpass it at the consensus level, feature is a different question.
If it only has functions, cross-chain, high TPS, and non-POW. More environmentally friendly algorithms are likely to be another story.
Do you consider the Chinese cryptocurrency industry to be a major part of the global market or a special zone with its own trends?
First of all, China has strong creativity and manufacturing capabilities. At this stage, China is already a major player in the global blockchain sector. But it cannot be ignored that China is special. In China, the speed of blockchainization among firms and governmental organizations is very fast, and the government's support is also far ahead of other countries. I am very optimistic about China's outstanding achievements in the future development of the blockchain industry.
According to a statement from the People’s Bank of China, digital yuan integration testing is “almost complete”. How could the appearance of the Digital Currency for Electronic Payment benefit people?
I want to make it clear that the digital currency mentioned by People ’s Bank of China is not a token in our cryptocurrency industry. But what features does it have and what type is it? We can't judge how it benefits the people until it comes out.
Blockchain technology has always been looked upon more favourably in China thanks to its impressive scientific potential. In 2017 Chinese companies filed the most blockchain patents worldwide. Where can you see blockchain technology being applied most successfully outside of the cryptocurrency market?
As mentioned earlier, traceability and copyright are few major ones. In fact, there is another particularly important area, Shared Secret Data. Shared Secret Data empower existing industries in many areas, such as medical care and lending, to cooperate with smart contracts to maximize the effectiveness of data.
And the last question. Do you have any words of wisdom or wishes to share with the Freewallet community?
I especially hope that everyone perceives Bitcoin not as merely a financial product with a simple price value, but instead seeks the essential value meaning as Bitcoin represents the origin of blockchain. I also hope that everyone in the Freewallet community will continue to support Freewallet, blockchain technology, and progress with Freewallet and Jinse finance, together we are stronger.