An interview with Anthurine Xiang, Founding Partner & CMO at QuarkChain
Blockchain marketers face a very unique challenge. Not only do they have to compete with thousands of other platforms to attract a limited set of developers, but they also have to raise awareness about nascent (but powerful!) technology that the mainstream still associates with hackers and criminal activity. To top it off, they have to grow this product globally from the get-go, to keep the network decentralized. All that, without any playbook of course.
Anthurine Xiang is a Founding Partner and the CMO at QuarkChain, a permissionless blockchain platform that aims to solve blockchain scalability issues through state sharding and multi-chain technology.
Anthurine made the list of the best marketers in Blockchain for 2020 – a list of 35 individuals whose organizations were measured by the lift in FCAS Rating, which indicates user and developer activity as well as overall market risk, and growth in Twitter mentions as measured by The Tie.
Rochelle: What were you doing before going into marketing for QuarkChain?
Anthurine: Before co-founding QuarkChain, I have 2-year of experience in financial consulting in New York and 5-year experience in the tech industry in Silicon Valley, with roles including product strategy and analytics. Unlike many traditional marketing people who are keen on content generation, I have a more diversified background that can help me understand blockchain technology better and know how to simplify the theory so that people do not know coding can understand complicated infrastructure as well.
Rochelle: Do you remember the first time you learned how to market? What was it that clicked for you?
Anthurine: Data-driven is the key word I learned when I worked in tech companies. Every project has to set up KPI before implementing, like ROI (Return on Investment), conversion rate, churn rate etc.
Rochelle: How is marketing in crypto different from what you were doing previously?
Anthurine: Unlike other tech companies that everything needs to be data-driven, the marketing in the blockchain industry, especially public chain is quite unique. It has something called consensus, that is to say, community. Blockchain marketing is not a direct process of “acquiring” users through digital channels, but instead a process of educating the users. You can treat marketing in this industry as a bridge, which can convey what an engineer wants to achieve in a way that people without technical backgrounds would understand. As the marketer in this industry, you need to have a good understanding of technology and know how to simplify it as a good story. The combined background in Technology, strategy and finance do help me to fit in the blockchain industry pretty well.
“Blockchain marketing is not a direct process of “acquiring” users through digital channels, but instead a process of educating the users.”
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
Anthurine: Yes, Change is the only constant in life, and we always make our marketing strategy keep up with the times. The scalability problem used to be one of the most challenging problems in the blockchain world, and QuarkChain was born to solve this problem. So at that time, all our marketing strategies and activities focused on promoting QuarkChain’s high scalability. For example, TPS is a good measure of scalability, so we held TPS competitions and provided our users a quite straightforward way about how fast QuarkChain is.
Later, with the development of QuarkChain and the growth of the blockchain industry, we realized that flexibility, which was implemented as one of the main features, should become the core competitiveness of QuarkChain, and be the key of the next generation of blockchain. QuarkChain is able to support multiple transaction models, various consensus algorithms, different ledgers, and even multi tokens economics in one network – that is flexibility. And again, our marketing strategies all worked for this change. Since flexibility is an abstract concept, we created educational videos and wrote article comparisons with Eth2.0 and Polkadot to help our users understand how flexible QuarkChain is.
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts for a public decentralized network?
Anthurine: There are two things came to my mind:
1) The first most challenging aspect is how to train your users. For example, flexibility is the core competitiveness of QuarkChain as I mentioned above. However, flexibility is an abstract concept, and it’s quite difficult for our marketing team to deliver the concept to our community users. So we did lots of marketing efforts to transform the abstract concept into concrete things, such as educational videos. Another example is multi-native token. We’re the first and only blockchain to support multi-native token. We organized native token auction campaign and native token miner Dapp game to help the community to understand.
2) The second most challenging aspect is the token price. The blockchain market is very specific with the traditional one, and almost all the blockchain projects have their own token. However, the token price is highly impacted by the overall market, and the price can’t accurately reflect the quality of the project. For example, Defi is the hottest trend currently, and the prices for Defi projects go up like a rocket, but the public chain tokens won’t over-perform. In turn, the price also affects the marketing result.
Rochelle: What was a failure in marketing that taught you something new about how this industry works?
Anthurine: I won’t say there’s a failure, but yes, we always learn from the previous experience, and gradually optimize our strategies. For example, the growth pattern of community members affects the composition of members. The rapid growth brought by simple airdrop often lead to big churn rate and low adoption, bounty program with entry bar will be more beneficial to the community.
Rochelle: What do you focus on to differentiate QuarkChain from other blockchain networks?
Anthurine: When talking about QuarkChain, we have two keywords: one is scalability, and the other is flexibility. These are our unique functions that differentiate QuarkChain from other blockchain networks. High scalability means a high TPS. Super flexibility means customization available for four factors: consensus, token economy, virtual machines, and ledger model.
QuarkChain is the first public chain to have implemented state sharding. Sharding is like a multi-lane highway. ETH 2.0, NEAR, Elrond, HARMONY, Zilliqa are all using sharding technology. QuarkChain is beyond that. QuarkChain is a next-generation heterogeneous sharding platform. Heterogenous sharding is a more advanced sharding technology.
For sharding, all the lane has to be exactly the same. But for heterogeneous sharding, it is still a multi-lane highway, but each lane can be customized.
You can learn from this 2 min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTZznY9ziz8&t=34s.
Compared with a single lane, multi-lane will be faster and more scalable. Allowing each lane to be customized makes it much more flexible in different scenarios (in public or consortium or even hybrid public-consortium cases).
What’s more, heterogenous sharding can be a good way for cross-chain solution.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze QuarkChain’s growth on social media. Looking at Twitter, they found that your number of mentions grew by over 3800% since the beginning of 2020, from an average of 8 mentions a day to 309. What would you attribute to such growth on social media?
Anthurine: Good catch. Yes, we did a lot of marketing efforts to improve our social media performance. Two most impressive things for this year are:
1) Educational videos. The educational videos aim to provide all the people, no matter if they have blockchain knowledge or not, can learn a basic background of blockchain, sharding technology, heterogeneous sharding, and more. We did this for long-term value because we want to educate people with blockchain technology, not only related with QuarkChain. By this way, we attracted lots of new and loyal followers on Twitter.
2) Game of Defi Campaign. We launched a one-month long campaign in August, to provide all the participants a complete view of QuarkChain and our derivative Dapp products. Through auction, longest Twitter transaction game, and bounty program, we successfully gained 5,000+ followers at Twitter and 500+ mentions per day.
Rochelle: $QKC’s FCAS has also increased 4.10% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in QuarkChain’s fundamental data. What do you think of crypto ratings that measure the health of networks? Do you use them to measure growth? What type of KPIs do you look at otherwise?
Anthurine: We are a big fan of FCAS, it helps us to measure the health of the entire network, as well as the growth. Also, we care about the change in a longer time period, not the short term change.
“We are a big fan of FCAS, it helps us to measure the health of the entire network, as well as the growth”