Zilliqa is in top gear with announcements, collaborations and product launches in 2020. Just in the last three months, Zilliqa made multiple strides in advancing its position as a pioneering blockchain project. First came the launch of StraitsX, a stablecoin pilot pegged 1:1 to the Singapore dollar and the Indonesian rupiah. Then came Aqilliz partnership with global advertising technology firm Moving Walls to launch the world’s first blockchain-powered digital-out-of-home campaign for food delivery giant foodpanda. Apart from these two, Zilliqa also announced its partnership with Hummingbot and Switcheo.

Colin JG Miles, the new marketing head of Zilliqa, spoke with CULT.Today about the organisation’s new products and partnerships.

What excites you most about Zilliqa?

Over five years, I had researched so many blockchains during my studies, and experienced quite a few through buying tokens, I realised that Zilliqa was far in advance of most of those blockchains claiming to be game-changing. Given Zilliqa was real, running millions of transactions, and aggressively delivering on its white paper. I was all in.

Recently, Zilliqa collaborated with Southeast Asian fintech payments provider Xfers to launch StraitsX. Could you throw some more light on this partnership? Also, can you tell us what problem would StraitsX resolve?

Our relationship with Xfers dates to June 2019 when we first announced that we would be enabling blockchain-powered payments to their network of over 500,000 enterprise clients and users throughout Indonesia and Singapore. Since then, our partnership has evolved to form StraitsX, a stablecoin pilot consisting of XSGD and XIDR with both currencies respectively pegged 1:1 to the Singapore dollar and the Indonesian rupiah. Though a large number of stablecoin projects today are pegged to the US dollar, StraitsX looks to provide an alternative to the growing community of token holders and traders across the Southeast Asia region.

‘StraitsX is a blockchain-powered response to the underlying ethos of open finance’

Spurred on by a shared vision to enable a more open, transparent financial ecosystem in the region, StraitsX is a blockchain-powered response to the underlying ethos of open finance which looks to pioneer equal access and opportunity to those underserved by banks as well greater transparency between legacy infrastructures and fintech projects. While stablecoins have often been utilised to mitigate volatility on cryptocurrency exchanges, XSGD benefits from an immediate real-world utility. Given Xfers’ flourishing network of businesses, these stablecoins can be leveraged by e-commerce merchants and retailers looking to benefit from greater transparency and liquidity. Meanwhile, users across the region would benefit from low-cost funds transfers that are accessible 24/7 that can take place seamlessly and cheaply without needing to rely on intermediaries in the traditional financial ecosystem.

How big is the team at Zilliqa and what are they focused on right now?

The team at Zilliqa is spread across two continents and now consists of 24 people with myself as the newest addition. Given the team’s emphasis on security, there’s definitely ongoing development on that front being done by our Platform team—as we grow, the challenges that we’ll experience and the needs that our partners have will continue to evolve and we need to ensure that our infrastructure is up to par. Beyond that, our newly formed Usability team is focusing more on core areas of user experience and developer resources in order to ensure that all of our users have what they need—whether they’re looking to build Dapps on the network, join as a node, or are token holders looking to better understand what we do and how we do it. The Growth team, on the other hand, is focusing on driving our OpFi-related initiatives across the region while engaging with talented teams through our ZILHive Grants. As for us at Marcom, it’s an ongoing process—we handle everything from internal communications to external interactions with content creators such as yourself to our community.

Aqilliz is making a lot of progress in introducing blockchain-enabled marketing solutions on an enterprise level

We’ve had the release of Hummingbot recently. Who is this targeted at?

Our recent partnership with Hummingbot allowed traders and community members to build their very own algorithmic trading bot. This helps provide greater liquidity to the ZIL token on participating exchanges as this both maintains buy and sell orders on the order book. While aimed at our existing community of traders, Hummingbot provides an easy introduction to those new to trading, incentivising them to participate as they’re able to gain passive income by providing liquidity to their tokens of choice.

Most businesses have migrated to centralised platforms for their marketing needs. This structural change in revenue models for publishers have altered the industry. It’s been an existential crisis for this sector for over a decade now. How is Zilliqa going to help?

While this is the case, we can’t forget the fact that the rise of social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have allowed for the proliferation of independent content creators, largely democratising the marketing playing field for brands and creatives. This, of course, pre-dates decentralised alternatives and there are many projects in the space that are doing exciting things in that arena. As for Zilliqa, our sister company Aqilliz is making a lot of progress in introducing blockchain-enabled marketing solutions on an enterprise level.

Small publishers, Youtubers are reliant on Facebook and Youtube and run the risk of being censored or losing their audience. We see this happening across platforms regularly. What is your view on censorship carried out by large social media platforms and how do you think we can resist such censorship?

Mainstream social platforms are indeed a double-edged sword—while they’ve enabled brands and individuals to have better control over their marketing endeavours, no longer reliant on agencies or providers, they come at a cost. The unfortunate reality is that in order to reach the greatest number of viewers or listeners, you usually need to leverage the most widely accepted platforms—whether it’s Facebook or YouTube. One can’t deny that these platforms are now an integral part of our social fabric as a medium of communication, of knowledge sharing, or of entertainment. As large corporations often part of listed companies, the rules they’re forced to play by, are different.

Switcheo will democratise and grow trading across additional pairs for ZIL and boost the stablecoin usage

In my view, it’s less about resisting censorship, but more about showing folks that they do have a choice to support less constrained alternatives. For those who value censorship-resistance, letting them know that they can join platforms that have less rigorous content moderation practises—if any, at all—is an option.

You’ve worked in the mobile advertising space for long. Are you bringing in any synergy into this space for Zilliqa and associated developers?

Advertising has been a core area of focus for Zilliqa since its founding, with our partnership with leading global media agency Mindshare coming to fruition in November 2017. This later became Project Proton, a blockchain pilot that aimed to address some of the perennial challenges of the programmatic advertising space, resulting in a landmark pilot campaign with PepsiCo in May 2019. Upon the founding of Aqilliz, all advertising-related use cases are now being carried out by Aqilliz. As their exclusive blockchain provider, we power all of Aqilliz’s projects, effectively demonstrating the suitability of the Zilliqa network for enterprise-grade use cases for the advertising space.

I am fascinated by the application of the blockchain to the mobile advertising business in particular, and companies I know will be looking to tech like ours in order to solve some significant fraud and payment issues across the board.

Hummingbot provides an easy introduction to those new to trading, incentivising them to participate as they’re able to gain passive income by providing liquidity to their tokens of choice

Any other upcoming products or plans that you can share with our readers?

We definitely have announcements in the pipeline, it’s in our blood! We announced an improvement proposal to introduce staking to the network which I know was very much anticipated by everyone for quite some time—we’re definitely looking for feedback from the community as well as developers on this, so please do take a look! Additionally, the Aqilliz team recently announced that they had partnered with global advertising technology firm Moving Walls to launch the world’s first blockchain-powered digital-out-of-home (DOOH) campaign for mobile food delivery giant FoodPanda. There was another recent announcement concerning our new DEX development with Switcheo, which will democratise and grow trading across additional pairs for ZIL and boost the stablecoin usage. Upcoming products or plans are usually in stealth mode, so you’ll forgive us not being candid; however, there will be multiple updates from Zillacracy and ZILHive for sure. The marketing machine never stops!

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