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Dr. Raullen Chai

Dr. Raullen Chai is the CEO and co-founder of and MachineFi Lab. is a decentralized network designed specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).[1]

Education

Dr. Chai pursued his Ph.D. in cryptography at the University of Waterloo from 2008 to 2011. [1]

Career

Dr. Chai began his career through a research fellowship at the University of Waterloo from February to September 2012, focusing on lightweight cryptography, security and privacy in the Internet of Things (IoT), and privacy-preserving techniques for blockchain. [1]

Following his research fellowship, Dr. Chai joined Oracle as a Member of Technical Staff from October 2012 to July 2013. In this role, he led the design and implementation of security features for Oracle Enterprise Search, including Auth{N, Z}, identity management, encryption, and privacy enhancement. [1]

Dr. Chai then transitioned to Google, serving as a Senior Software Engineer/Tech Lead from August 2013 to August 2016. While at Google, he was the founding engineer of Google Cloud Load Balancer, contributing to high-throughput distributed data-pushing, SSL offload, HTTP load balancing, stack driver logging, backend authentication, and auto-scaling. He was also a leading contributor to Google’s reverse proxying system, handling user traffic termination, application-level load balancing, and caching, as well as contributing to Certificate Transparency. [1]

Moving forward, Dr. Chai joined Uber as the Lead of Crypto R&D and Engineering Security, serving from September 2016 to August 2017. In this role, he led the team in designing and developing cryptography platforms, services, and tools to address business needs, such as Key Management Service (KMS), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), Identity and Access Management (IAM), Auth, and crypto SDK. [1]

In September 2017, Dr. Chai, alongside and Dr. Qevan Guo, co-founded IoTeX, serving as the Co-Founder & CEO. is a decentralized network designed specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT). Dr. Chai guides the strategic direction of IoTeX, emphasizing scalability, cost reduction, and privacy within the blockchain space. Concurrently, he is leading MachineFi Lab, also a co-founded venture dedicated to advancing the combination of machine and known as MachineFi. [1]

Interviews

IoTeX

In a 2023 interview with TechFlow, Dr. Chai discussed development journey, offering an objective perspective on the challenges and strategic considerations in creating the intermediary layer that links decentralized networks to real-world applications. The conversation began by delving into the fundamental goals of the company: [2]

“Our primary goal was to build an IoT blockchain on a technical level, but more importantly, how to better connect cryptocurrency to the real world. We realized that if cryptocurrency is to truly become a mainstream technology, it needs to establish an interface with the real world.”

He later outlined the company’s efforts to address the integration challenges between the Internet of Things (IoT) and by conducting two strategic experiments: [2]

“The first experiment was about the combination of IoT and blockchain in terms of privacy. We realized that the data generated by devices could be owned by users through decentralized identities (DID) on the blockchain and monetized in the future. Therefore, we conducted the first experiment and launched a smart home camera product called Ucam. This camera is fully combined with our own blockchain, allowing users to own all the data captured by the camera.”

“Then we started the second experiment and launched a product called "Pebble Tracker". This is a very small open-source hardware GPS tracker, which also has some other sensors attached to it, which can monitor speed, direction, air quality, humidity, light, and so on.
Then we promised that this tracker could be used for DEPIN, and also for token mining.”

When asked why he decided to become the CEO of a decentralized physical infrastructure network (DePIN) project, Dr. Chai responded: [2]

“The goal of me and our other two co-founders is to do something that can change the world. We want to make the world a better place: DePIN and distributed technology may be a very good entry point.”

In response to how the average person would use DePIN, he provided an example of how it would work in a different field: [2]

“I think DEPIN may ultimately present itself in this form, where it's buried in some layer of the entire tech stack. And for most ordinary users, there might be several layers in the middle that they don't need to perceive at all. Just like the example I mentioned earlier about buying electricity, as an ordinary user, I may not understand what Crypto is. But I only need to pay a little electricity bill each month, and what I'll perceive is just that my electricity bill is cheaper. That's it, I don't need to delve into how tokens operate, nor do I need to care whether it's issued by a certain company. These are irrelevant for ordinary users.”

He then moves on to discuss how IoTeX works with other founders and developers in DePIN to solve problems and figure out what needs to be added to IoTeX’s Infra: [2]

“For example, we ask them for their opinions or suggestions on our Infra? What features do they need? What are their current pain points? How can we help them? Do we need to add other features, and so on.
This interaction helps us better understand their needs and also helps them make better use of our Infra, enabling their projects to run smoothly.”

Real-World Utility: DePIN

On June 6th, 2023, IoTeX’s official Youtube channel published an interview with Dr. Chai, where he discussed the first public release of W3bStream’s Devnet, a web stream middleware developed by IoTeX to enable the connection of real-world devices, compress and validate data, and produce proof on the smart blockchain. [3]

He explains the primary goal of Devnet and what he hopes it will do for other DePIN developers and projects: [3]

“We aim to abstract away underlying elements like hardware and middleware for developers, allowing them to innovate with reduced time, cost, and effort when creating new DePIN projects.”

Later, he talked about how DePIN could be used in the real world and provided an example using Uber: [3]

“Consider Uber – every time you need to use it to book a car, right? If you want to go somewhere. I believe WebStream can become a reality. Decentralized services similar to Uber will emerge in various regions globally. Entrepreneurs, drivers, and even investors, including retail investors, can collaborate in a DAO structure using WebStream as the underlying infrastructure. This would lead to having a decentralized ride-hailing service everywhere, ultimately reducing costs and enhancing efficiency.”

Towards the end of the interview, Dr. Chai discussed why he thinks DePIN will be important for the world of crypto: [3]

“To me, real-world utility is a must-have. Consider, for instance, the experience of paying a utility bill - the UI and UX may be terrible, at least for me. However, you still have to use it because there is genuine utility behind the scenes. That's precisely why I believe DePIN is substantial and a must-have for cryptocurrency to effectively showcase its potential to the world.”

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Dr. Raullen Chai

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