Interview with ViaBTC CEO Haipo Yang on Mining Technology & User Experience
1. ViaBTC is a pioneer in the crypto industry, having been around since 2016 — what was the idea behind launching ViaBTC?
A: I had my first introduction to Bitcoin and open-source software around 2011. At the time, fascinated by the technical principles of Bitcoin, I supported the view that we should facilitate industrywide progress by lowering the threshold of tech development via open-source coding. This led me to blockchain technology and the blockchain industry. Later on, I started to have some insights into the blockchain space. Back in 2013, I started running Bitcoin nodes and joined the building of the Bitcoin community. In March 2016, I completed all the code of ViaBTC Pool on my own in two months.
At the time, the inception of ViaBTC was motivated by factors relating to technology and product. Back then, the blockchain industry was in its infancy, and many technologies and products, including mining pools, were immature. Though the technical requirements for a mining pool are frequently underestimated, BTC mining pools are tech-intensive projects. Mining pools demand high stability and strong performance, which makes it a challenge to build a pool that’s sufficiently stable and efficient. In addition, mining constitutes a major part of the maintenance of the BTC network, and I wanted to drive Bitcoin toward a better future by building a mining pool.
These were the initial motivations behind ViaBTC Pool — I wanted to build a great product that would become the infrastructure of the blockchain world. Later on, more and more users chose to trust us, and our team expanded. Right now, ViaBTC is not just a mining pool. It is an ecosystem that covers CoinEx, ViaWallet, CSC, and ViaBTC Capital. The final goal of all these products is to facilitate blockchain progress by providing reliable services for crypto users across all categories.
2. Your mission statement reads “Via Blockchain, Making The World A Better Place,” — can you tell us about what this means?
A: The advent of blockchain and crypto technology has established a new order. Unlike traditional sectors, in the crypto market, smart contracts are strictly enforced by code, which is what we call “code is law”. This approach has created a more credible, transparent, free, and open market.
We believe blockchain technologies that advocate open-source development and freedom could foster more innovations. For example, popular crypto categories like DAO, DeFi, and GameFi are all blockchain-enabled innovations that can break the monopoly held by the giants and the existing market landscape by granting access to more ordinary users. ViaBTC’s job is to build the infrastructure of the blockchain world. As the gateway to the blockchain world for global users, ViaBTC helps more people enjoy the dividends brought by innovative blockchain technologies, thus making the world a better place.
3. How Does ViaBTC fit within the broader ecosystem of products such as CoinEx, ViaWallet, and ViaBTC Capital?
A: At the moment, ViaBTC Group runs 5 key business segments, including an exchange, a mining pool, a wallet, a public chain, and an investment branch, and provides services for more than 4 million users across the globe. The 5 segments cover the issuance, value discovery, circulation, and application of cryptos and their underlying technology, as well as ecosystem-enabled project incubation.
Without doubt, these business arms are integrated and interconnected with each other. For example, miners using ViaBTC Pool can benefit from free, real-time withdrawals through CoinEx. This, coupled with mining revenue settled on an hourly basis, allows users to trade and transfer cryptos anytime at no cost.
ViaWallet also offers multiple block explorers, covering BTC, LTC, DOGE, etc. In addition, when transferring BTC in ViaWallet, users can tap into Transaction Acceleration, a function provided by ViaBTC Pool.
In a nutshell, with our ecosystem, users can mine, trade, and transfer cryptos and use DApps. This meets most crypto demands from a product level. CoinEx Smart Chain (CSC), an infrastructure as a supplement to the ViaBTC ecosystem, offers developers and users a secure, efficient, low-fee underlying public chain. Backed by ViaBTC Group’s blockchain resources and tech advantages, ViaBTC Capital facilitates the progress of technologies, applications, and the entire blockchain ecosystem by providing funds, basic tech instructions, market promotions, etc.
4. How does ViaBTC manage to offer low transaction fees and high mining profits?
A: To earn high mining profits, miners must first ensure stable block yield. As Bitcoin is itself a distributed network, it takes time to transmit and broadcast blocks in the network. If two mining pools discovered a block at the same height almost simultaneously, an “orphan block” will be generated that pits the pools against each other — the pool that mined the orphan block would have been working in vain and could not receive the block reward.
To address such concerns, ViaBTC Pool optimized the broadcasting and transmitting process of the BTC network through its independently developed BTC client. Thanks to its high-speed block updating networks distributed around the world, miners can discover and broadcast new blocks more quickly. These efforts have lowered the orphan rate and improved the utilization rate of the BTC network. To date, ViaBTC remains the mining pool with the lowest orphan rate, which allows it to offer more steady mining revenue.
In addition, ViaBTC also boasts superior stability. During the 6 years since its inception, ViaBTC Pool has witnessed zero technical accidents and provided global users with a safe, stable mining environment that runs 24/7. Moreover, we provide the most versatile selection of payment methods in the entire mining industry, meeting the needs of different miners. For example, the PPS+ payment method that we invented not only ensures stable block rewards but also distributes miner fees to users, allowing miners to enjoy a bigger profit margin.
5. What else does ViaBTC offer that competitors cannot?
A: ViaBTC’s advantages mainly lie in technical stability and its superior product & services.
As mining pools evolved over recent years, we have seen many changes in the landscape of top pools. Many new pools attempted to seize the market with subsidies but finally failed because when it comes to mining, stability outweighs everything else. If no block can be mined, all efforts would go in vain. Therefore, ensured stability, superior performance, fast block synchronization, and low orphan rate are the keys to earning the trust of miners.
Of course, products and services also matter. ViaBTC Pool has provided many industry-first services, including PPS+ and Transaction Accelerator. Moreover, we have always insisted on openness and transparency by offering mining statistics that are obtainable through various visual representations. The pool introduced Auto Conversion to ensure the mining revenue during market swings; it rolled out Hedging Service and Crypto Loans to help miners lock in profits in advance and ensure the smooth circulation of funds. Always focusing on miners’ interests, ViaBTC strives to offer more practical, effective products and services.
6. What is the biggest milestone ViaBTC has reached so far? And what is the next major milestone ViaBTC is striving for?
A: In May 2021, our BTC hashrate share ranked №1 among all pools. I stress this record not because I want to brag about our ranking, but because I wish to thank all miners for trusting in ViaBTC and believing in our products. As you all know, miners are not always tied together with one pool and can withdraw their hashrates at any moment as they want. However, the hashrates of ViaBTC Pool have been growing steadily and exceeded 20EH/s last month, which indicates the extensive recognition for our products and services among miners.
When developing a product, instead of getting obsessed with ranking and hashrates, we strive to improve our product and offer better services so that miners would be happy to stay and refer ViaBTC to their friends. Such word-of-month reputations are authentic. Therefore, for us, the most important milestone is every moment when our products & services are recognized by users.
7. How will ViaBTC remain competitive in the future?
A: In terms of the mining pool, we will keep refining our products, building a global presence, and providing first-rate, stable crypto mining services for users around the world. Our efforts will extend to optimizing product experiences, including a series of improvements and upgrades in visual interactions and product functionality. Apart from that, we will also keep enhancing our bottom-layer tech structure, adopt solid security measures, and provide an efficient, stable mining network for miners.
We will continue to explore other business segments of ViaBTC Group from multiple dimensions, enhance the connections between the different products in the ViaBTC ecosystem, grant users easy access to the crypto industry, and provide more blockchain infrastructure services for crypto adopters.
8. How have changes in the Bitcoin mining industry over the last several years changed the ViaBTC business model?
A: Over recent years, the mining industry has received growing attention, and the BTC hashrate has also grown higher at an ever-faster pace. At its core, ViaBTC Pool seeks to provide miners with stable mining services, and there hasn’t been much change in its business model. Instead, the pool focused on product updates. Right now, we aim to offer more innovative financial services like Hedging Service and Crypto Loans to meet a wide range of demands among miners.
9. What do you think about the recent downtrend in cryptocurrencies?
A: The current crypto slump is subject to multiple internal/external factors, including excessive inflation rates around the world and the decline of global financial markets due to the stringent monetary policy adopted by the Fed. Meanwhile, the meltdown of Terra and the related ecosystem has also resulted in extreme market panic.
Under such circumstances, we should focus on development over the long run. For years, ViaBTC has always focused on long-term prospects, getting itself through 6 years of ups and downs in the crypto industry and earning extensive user recognition. Meanwhile, looking back, we have noticed that the crypto market has always spiraled upwards. Today’s market has progressed in terms of technical maturity, market scale, and user base. As such, we remain prudent but also optimistic and will continue to build better products for users.
10. What do you think the future of Bitcoin mining holds?
A: As the №1 cryptocurrency standing at the center of the crypto spotlight, Bitcoin and all Bitcoin-related businesses will receive more market attention and be favored by institutional investors. In North America, some BTC-mining-focused funds have been created. Meanwhile, many listed companies are also buying Bitcoin or even venturing into BTC mining and building large mining facilities. As a result, more institutions have forayed into BTC mining.
In an industry increasingly dominated by institutions, all BTC miners, mining farms, and mining pools have to enhance their tech capacity and build better products. Through intense competition, BTC mining will grow more specialized, and companies with inferior technologies and sub-par services will be outdated over time.