Node Operator Spotlight: Forbole

Forbole is a professional Proof-of-Stake validator based in Hong Kong. We started in late 2017 by Kwun Yeung and Terence Lam and it’s now a team of 8 running in 3 different time zones speaking in 6 languages.

This is a series highlighting the amazing work node operators on the Oasis Network are doing. To learn more and to become a node operator on the Oasis Network, go here.

Tell us about your team — who are you, where are you based

Forbole is a professional Proof-of-Stake validator based in Hong Kong. We started in late 2017 by Kwun Yeung and Terence Lam and it’s now a team of 8 running in 3 different time zones speaking in 6 languages.

What made you interested in Proof-of-Stake networks? What was the first network you ran a validator for? What other networks are you running validators for?

We originally wanted to develop a decentralized social network which is a business referral network on blockchain. After studying different solutions, we found Tendermint and Cosmos and started studying PoS to see how we can develop the project using PoS. We realized that we need validators to run the network. Kwun and Terence have been partnered in a digital agency for 10 years. With our previous experience, we understand that we need to understand well being a validator before recruiting any validator. Kwun joined the Cosmos validator Riot chat in early 2018. He then started learning and sharing techniques and experience on running validator. We participated in HackAtom and the Game of Stakes. We gradually understood the responsibility and business model of PoS validator and this was how we decided to become a validator. The first network we ran was obviously Cosmos Hub. We have followed the growth of Cosmos SDK and the Cosmos Hub since late 2017. We are one of the genesis validators on Cosmos Hub as we won a place in GoS. Besides Cosmos Hub, we are also validators on IRISnet, Kava, Terra, IOV, e-Money, LikeCoin, Band Protocol, Aion, Solana, V Systems and Kusama.

Tell us about your business model and how you think about delegation and commission rates

As a validator, our business model is based on both recurring (commission income) and non-recurring (grants/service fee). The main driver of non-recurring income comes from customization of Big Dipper, a popular open-source blockchain explorer.

In terms of delegation, we strive to become the top 20% on the list. Generally speaking, our range of commission is 9.5% to 20%

In addition to running nodes, does your team focus on other aspects of the blockchain ecosystem? Community efforts, building tooling, token economic research, etc?

We have initiated an open source block explorer for Cosmos, Big Dipper. It was originally a tool we submitted in HackAtom 3 and it has become one of the major block explorers on Cosmos Hub. Projects developing with Cosmos SDK can easily deploy a copy of the Big Dipper to monitor the activities of their networks. We are active on Twitter, Medium, forums and chat groups to spread what is happening in the blockchain industry and our views on certain issues on different networks in English and Chinese. We have restarted our decentralized social network project earlier this year. It is called DESMOS. DESMOS is a decentralized social network protocol that enables censorship resistance. Users can communicate freely on DESMOS via any dapps running on it. We are building the first DESMOS dapp which is a Twitter-like application called Mooncake.

Tell us about why you joined the Oasis Network. What made you interested to join?

With the popularity of data science, data privacy has been a great concern in recent years. We have been keeping an eye on Oasis network since listening to the presentation of Prof Dawn Song at the Global Blockchain Summit 2018 in Shanghai. We are glad that Oasis Network is trying to solve this issue in a decentralized way. The idea of having different committees on the network also opens up a new shared economic model where different actors can contribute in different roles.

Anything that’s made you particularly excited about the Network — technology wise, community-wise, etc?

We are excited about the serverless computation on Oasis Network. We are looking forward to what developers can do on building applications with data manipulations while data privacy is being protected.

Any feedback or things we should work on?

It will be great if Oasis Network will support IBC. We are also looking at the possibilities to develop applications on Oasis Network where the social activities happening on DESMOS can be used for any data driven computation where the result will benefit the back to the end users.

In 5 years where do you hope to see the Oasis Network? What kinds of problems would you like the community and foundation to be focused on solving collectively?

We hope Oasis Network can be a driver to educate the community to understand the importance of data privacy and the value of data. If using personal data is something that we cannot avoid, users should understand that they have the rights to choose what and how the data are being used. They could even choose to monetize the data and the entities using the data should respect the users.

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