Today we are talking with Michael Ng who is the co-founder of StakeWithUS.
- StakeWithUS is a Singaporean staking-as-a-service provider that is building the infrastructure for the future blockchain economy, and is currently staking projects like Loom, Cosmos, Terra, and running Testnets for Kava and Skale and IOV.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
I spent the majority of my teenage years working to make ends meet. During my free time, I am a cardboard nerd who plays Magic: The Gathering. I loved every aspect of the card game, be it deckbuilding, theorizing strategies for specific metagames, all the way to the actual gameplay.
I took up volleyball for a change in high school. I had to give up on the sport because of an injury, so back to being a cardboard crack again - until I fell into the crypto rabbit hole.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
My volleyball coach - Besides caring for my well-being, he shared a lot of his life experience and wisdom (he was around 60+ years old at that time) which still resonates with me today. The most memorable one being: “Listen to others, but always make your own decisions. Don’t regret that you didn’t do something when your time is up.”
And also my cousin, for showing me what true responsibility looks like when shit hits the fan. He sacrificed the majority of his life to make ends meet for his entire family (won’t go into details) - He’s a real superhero.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
I came from a divorced family (since 5 years old) with limited support from my parents during the teenage years. There were many key junctures where close friends played crucial roles to help me get by.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
Don’t worry too much about what the future entails. Work hard, work smart and enjoy life. Everything will eventually be settled in the end (船到桥头自然直).
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
The crypto narrative changes very quickly (we call that the blockchain pace). What works currently might be useless within the next few months. The ability to adapt to changes quickly and plan ahead is what I think makes the team at StakeWith.Us unique.
I also think that luck is a very underrated attribute for success. I have been very lucky to have met, worked and learn from talented people around me.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
While many think that speculators are bad for the crypto market, I think otherwise. It is probably true that 95% of the market are still speculators, but they help to bring in new people who might learn a thing or two about cryptocurrency, the technology empowering different projects, and then stay on to become a #BUIDLer.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
We drown in bubble tea(s) and comfort food at our favourite eateries such as Carl’s Junior and Pizza Hut!
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
I try to hit the gym twice a week to stay healthy. Also listening to mandopop songs (I love to attend concerts, the atmosphere is crazy) and podcasts.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
Probably everything written by Coin Jazeera. And this - tips on how to win IEO tickets.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Probably his real name, and i’ll thank him for kick starting this industry.
But hey, he is already dying! let him rest in peace..
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
Besides the Ethereum community which has set the standard for all other projects, I personally love the Cosmos community, which is by far one of the fastest growing communities within the crypto sphere. They have successfully built developer mindshare and attracted lots of #BUIDLers to build alongside them. Cosmos SDK, Tendermint and IBC are going to revolutionize the whole Proof-of-Stake based blockchain ecosystem.
13) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
No favouritism on this because I utilize different platforms for different reasons.
Telegram is very fast paced and most suited for conversations, but not for in depth discussion of multiple topics at once.
Slack/discord is perfect for multiple topics to be discussed on different channels via a single platform (imo slack is better designed because you can open a thread to reply to a person).
WeChat for the chinese market, Keybase for secure messaging and Twitter for daily updates on the market.
14) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
For sure. The strength of a blockchain project depends on the kind of community they have built up. Besides that, the crypto community will definitely be incentivised to play an active role for governance issues post-adoption.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding StakeWithUs.
15) What do you feel sets StakeWithUs apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
We think that best practices for maximum security and uptime will eventually be commoditized in the staking space, which is why we shared most of our setup learnings and HSM research with the wider community. As such, we think that it is difficult to differentiate between validators at the current moment.
We are spec-ing out designs for our implementation of a product that we think will be very useful for most Proof-of-Stake based projects and will update once the POC is ready - you can take that as the differentiator when it launches!
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
16) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
To me, permissionless blockchain networks will be the machine to disrupt social norms. For example (list not exhaustive):
- Giving anyone a trustless, immutable and transparent way to exchange resources and information in a peer to peer manner;
- Bringing data ownership (privacy) back to users - walled gardens built by big tech firms capture user data as part of their monetization strategy.
Cryptocurrencies works in tandem with the features provided by blockchain technologies as an incentive layer (like fuel) to attract users.
It will take time for users to shift over because many still value convenience over everything else - there will be a time where users want to opt out of walled gardens and unwanted eyeballs.
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