“Start at any time. We are all learning and developing something new for the next generation, so never think that you are too late.”
– Kwun Yeung, Cofounder Forbole
We’ve been fortunate to partner with leading companies and teams who share our vision for an open, safe, and unstoppable cloud that enables the creators of the future more freedom to build, and gives people sovereignty over their data.
We recently connected with Kwun Yeung, cofounder of Forbole, one of the top validators in the Cosmos Hub, as well as a highly valued and regarded partner of Akash, for a Q&A.
We’ve admired the thoughtfulness and commitment with which Kwun, Terence (his cofounder), and the Forbole team approach their projects and their communities. The Forbole team are tireless in materializing a decentralized future. In addition to being validators for the ecosystem’s top projects, they develop The Big Dipper block explorer, and Desmos, a decentralized social network that includes Mooncake, it’s DApp counterpart.
Q&A: Kwun Yeung, Cofounder of Forbole
How did you start Forbole?
Terence and I have been partners for 10 years, and we originally ran a digital marketing agency together. We built apps and websites, and guided clients on online advertising.
In 2017, a client introduced us to Internet of Things (IoT) and through research on IoT, we learned about blockchain. We didn’t know anything about blockchain at the time.
We were amazed and surprised by the potential of blockchain, and continued researching it further. We realized that we could leverage it to build a social network in a decentralized way. We didn’t like the centralization authority and control by companies like Google and Facebook.
Since 2013, we’d been trying to figure out if there was a way we could change the status quo. When we learned about blockchain, we realized we could build a decentralized social network, and see if the market would adapt. That’s how we formed Forbole.
Forbole in Chinese means “someone who can pick talent”.
We started building a decentralized social network that helped people find talent–similar to LinkedIn, but through referrals. Through chance and multiple opportunities, we also became validators.
In late 2019, we started building and running a decentralized network called Desmos. We built an app called Mooncake that builds on Desmos.
What makes Forbole different from other validators?
Our background and experiences in digital marketing, communications, app development, and user experience make us unique. Communication is a strength, as we know how to communicate to the mass market, and as a global team, we speak multiple languages.
How do you choose what projects to work with?
We focus on the technology and the team, and look for founders with a similar vision to ours. When we were looking at different technologies to build a decentralized social network, we started with Ethereum but realized it wasn’t possible.
In the search for a new technology we could use, we discovered Steemit and its consensus engine. Through that, we found Tendermint, and learned about Jae Kwon. After reading his paper and learning more about him, we decided to work with Cosmos.
We try the technology first, before we decide to work with the team.
We learned about Akash through a tweet from Jack Zampolin. We researched Akash, learned more about Greg Osuri, and through participation in Akash’s Founding Member Challenges (Testnet Alpha), we were able to play around with Akash’s technology, and found it to be incredibly user-friendly.
We saw the potential for Akash’s applications to open up a shared economy. This aligned with our vision, and we knew that this team shared a similar approach with our team.
What are current projects you’re working on?
We’re validators and developers.
For validation, we work with Cosmos, IRISnet, Solana, Kava, and a few others.
We develop The Big Dipper, a block explorer. Anyone using Cosmos SDK can leverage the Big Dipper to easily explore the chain.
We also develop Desmos, a decentralized social network, and we built a DApp on top called Mooncake, a mobile app.
What new developments in the ecosystem are you excited about?
I’m excited about decentralized VPN, like Sentinel. What happened last year in Hong Kong and China showed us the importance of being able to speak freely. One of the reasons we built Desmos is to enable censorship-resistance.
What are your future plans?
For The Big Dipper, we’ll be developing a separate dedicated dashboard to delegate or monitor from different networks, and we’ll be working on a mobile version.
For Desmos, we started an incentivized testnet early this year and will release in different phases to attract validators and users. We’ll bootstrap first before seeking venture capital funding.
What advice would you give to someone interested in entering blockchain?
Follow your passion and your heart. Start at any time. We are all learning and developing something new for the next generation, so never think that you are too late.