Interview with Dr John Gan from Crypto Commonwealth What is your own background briefly? I’m currently a researcher at Harvard Business School, with interests in asset pricing in emerging financial sectors. Particularly, I focus a lot on crypto currencies. Cryptos (especially those so-called utility tokens) as an asset class has its own characters. It inherits
Interview with Dr John Gan from Crypto Commonwealth
What is your own background briefly?
I’m currently a researcher at Harvard Business School, with interests in asset pricing in emerging financial sectors. Particularly, I focus a lot on crypto currencies. Cryptos (especially those so-called utility tokens) as an asset class has its own characters. It inherits some features from commodity and currency, yet also adopts characters of securities when traded on secondary market.
Before joining HBS, I obtained my Ph.D. at Harvard, during which I applied machine learning algorithms and statistical inference to solve big data challenges. The solid training I took at Harvard has equipped me with not only analytical skills but also a logic and rigorous way of thinking.
Besides research, I designed and implemented a course on financial technologies, or FinTech, at Harvard. The course links AI and big data to financial services with real world cases. FinTech is a fast growing and fascinating area. Start-ups, armed with the latest technologies, are disrupting all areas of financial services, and are reshaping people’s daily life and bringing new experiences that we could not imagine even five years ago.
We have a very diversified student group here at Harvard, with course participants as industrial leaders, senior executives, and new graduates coming from all over the world. As the lead teaching facilitator of the course, I always enjoy interacting with my fellow students and learning from their unique and valuable experiences.
Crypto Commonwealth aims to Disrupt asset managements and the scientific publishing industries
How would your background help in what you are doing now?
At Crypto Commonwealth, we are building an ecosystem that disrupts asset management and scientific publishing industries. The two industries are linked in essence by the flow of knowledge. As a scientist I have worked for many years in the frontier of human knowledge, have seen the production of knowledge everyday, and have pushed the boundary of knowledge myself.
My academic background allows me to see the full cycle of knowledge production. My work at Harvard Business School creates the opportunity for me to see how knowledge spreads and be applied to bring real value to our community. Here at Crypto Commonwealth we honor knowledge, and believe in its power. My background and experiences give me the right mindset in building the ecosystem.
How was the last 12 months?
The last 12 months was busy and fruitful for me. I have been working closely with the team, and it has been a wonderful experience. As a start-up, the working pace is fast here. It sometimes takes only a few days before an idea is changed to a product, well polished to be put online. Twelve months ago we barely had a prototype, now we have a full ecosystem and all fundamental pipelines working.
The team is highly productive. Yet instead of seeing high pressure working atmosphere, I see an energetic group taking an adventure full of joy. After work we would hang out and try local restaurants, which we would call as “the foodie empire strikes”. We would talk about science fictions and movies, and how to win a war against robots. Those were some of my great memories.
— Crypto Commonwealth (@CryptoSmartBeta) March 1, 2020
Why did you get involved with Crypto Commonwealth?
Dr. Wayne Yee is a good friend of mine. We share the same philosophy on consensus and the power of knowledge. We both obtained a Ph.D. in science, and we both know how inefficient the scientific publishing industry is.
His determination on disrupting that industry touched me, and I firmly believe that the innovative changing Crypto Commonwealth is about to bring to the industry will benefit the science community and will foster a sustained development in scientific research and publishing. We are creating the world’s first scientific journal on blockchain. We are making history here. It is an exciting adventure, and I’m honored that I take this adventure with Dr. Yee.
What will your role be?
As a machine learning scientist, my expertise lies in applying this powerful tool to find hidden patterns in vast data. With many years of experience working with big data and asset pricing, my insight is helping a lot in identifying ideas that are valuable for asset management from scientific research. I will supervise the scientific publishing, making sure that we deliver high quality publications, and that the ecosystem attracts the brightest minds to contribute knowledge.
What are your goals for 2020 with Crypto Commonwealth?
We’ve got a great start so far this year. The ecosystem is built and working, the team is energetic and determined, the market is upbeating, and the community is spirited. I’m optimistic that we will consolidate more use cases by the end of this year.
With our ecosystem becoming known to more scholars, there will be more knowledge produced within here. This will strengthen the consensus in the scientific community, and will create value for all members. We now have collaborations with around a dozen institutions, and my goal is to triple that number by the end of 2020.
BTC and ether seem to be rising again, what does the crypto world look like for 2020 and beyond?
History has shown that it usually takes some time before emerging technologies and new things are fully embraced by the general public. Beyond the rise and fall of the prices, I see wide adoptions of crypto currencies and the underlying blockchain technology, not only in financial services, but almost all sectors.
The blockchain industry is still in its infancy. The upside is bright with huge growth space, yet this will be an arduous journey.
Who and where do you get inspiration from?
My philosophy in scientific research is mostly influenced by Sir Karl Popper, who is considered one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers. I have taken as motto his philosophy that only theories that can be falsified contain valuable information. And I’ve been conducting my research with the idea that a theory can and should be scrutinized with decisive experiments.
When faced with new challenges, the career path of Edward Witten has inspired me most. Witten is well known for his contributions in string theory and mathematical physics, yet fascinating enough is that he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and minor in linguistics. His experience gives me no excuse to recoil whenever I try to enter a new area.
Last but not least is the inspiration I’ve got from Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. It is his hard training and phenomenal leadership that led the NBA to become a well known sports game and a prosperous industry. His success has also taught me that when you try so hard to master a skill, it becomes an art. So does scientific research.
Every time I take a small step beyond the frontier our knowledge and into the unknown space to human civilization, I do that with both hard working and aesthetics, as Jordan would.
My twitter is : https://twitter.com/DrJohnGan
My linkedin is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-gan-7ab30482/
— Crypto Commonwealth (@CryptoSmartBeta) February 29, 2020
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