Sarah Zhang is the CEO and Founder of Points (PTS). Points (PTS) is building a KYC and credit rating blockchain protocol in partnership with the Chinese government’s MIIT . In this interview, Sara will be sharing with us, her intimate knowledge on the chinese gov’ts blockchain initiatives and the future of Points (PTS) project.
1) Please tell us your name and about yourself?
My name is Sarah Zhang, CEO and Founder of Points (PTS), which is a blockchain protocol for secure multi-party computation. Prior to founding Points (PTS), I was COO of Segway Robotics, the robotics division of Ninebot. I’ve been involved in the blockchain space since working for Tim Draper’s accelerator, where we assessed the feasibility and potential of blockchain projects. Eventually, with the encouragement of Shoucheng Zhang, who is a renowned physics professor at Stanford University, I decided to found Points (PTS) with my co founder, Kate Shen.
2) What is Points (PTS) and what specific services do you provide at Points?
Points is a scalable, secure and configurable data collaboration protocol that encourages trustless entities including banks, institutions, tech companies and more to participate their data for better credit scoring and inclusive finance.
Currently Points (PTS) has developed two applications on top of this protocol including a KYC system in collaboration with Teleinfo, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China, and a credit rating system in partnership with Points (PTS)’s investor, Zhong Cheng Xin Credit Technology, one of the largest credit ratings firms in China, enabling our customers including banks or other financial institutions to build more robust credit profiles for banking customers, thereby reducing the risk of offering loans to customers, while giving customers access to more favorable loans.
3) What is the market size of blockchain-based data sharing market and what unique difference is Points making from the others?
Currently the blockchain-based data sharing market is one that’s being explored but few have been launched publicly, but more importantly none have shown viability as a protocol that could be used in the real world.
This is one reason why Points (PTS) is unique in that it’s already piloting large scale applications with traditional institutions. At the same time however what also sets Points (PTS) apart is its large data set of one billion identity profiles and 500 million credit profiles, which means highly accurate credit scores and more reliable outputs when a Points (PTS) customer searches for an identity profile.
Now, looking at its technology, the Points (PTS) protocol uniquely uses what we call a secure postman service, which encrypts and sends participated data to collaborators that compute the data and return the result for the Points (PTS) customer. For instance when a financial institution requests a computed credit score on the Points (PTS) credit scoring protocol, when multiple data contributors (whether credit scoring agency, startup, or others) may be requested to participate their data through the Points (PTS) protocol. This data is encrypted and temporarily carried by the protocol’s postman service to credit score algorithm providers that crunch the data, before outputting the score for the financial institution.
4) Points (PTS) is a Chinese government partnered blockchain-based data sharing protocol, could you tell us more how this partnership works and the benefits?
One of the applications that Points (PTS) has developed on top of its data sharing protocol is a Know Your Customer (KYC) system developed on top of a decentralized network that securely eliminates the need for other organizations or institutions to repetitively run KYC checks on customers. Points (PTS)’s KYC in partnership with Teleinfo, a subsidiary of MIIT, offers the Points (PTS) protocol a large set of data on one billion identity profiles in China.
5) Tell us more about the KYC system and the credit rating system in partnership with the Chinese government, at what stage is the development of the systems and what is next?
Currently the KYC system is running thanks to the support of our validator, Teleinfo. The credit rating system on the other hand is in partnership with one of the largest credit rating agencies in China called Zhong Cheng Xin Credit Technology and our partnership involves access to 500 million credit profiles.
6) Points recently raised $8 million in funding from traditional and blockchain VCs , who are these major investors and how will you use this fund?
Points (PTS)’s latest funding of $8 million include Danhua Capital, Cherubic Venture, Onotology Foundation, Zhong Cheng Xin Credit Technology, and Ceyuan Ventures. The funds will be used to continue building our engineering and operational teams to build new applications, while encouraging the growth of a developer community to also build their own applications on top of the Points (PTS) protocol. At the same time, Points (PTS) will use these funds to expand its partnerships to more data participants and customers.
7) Big Data projects like Points are always targets for Cyber attacks, how will your company make sure your data is protected?
Blockchain itself isn’t secure, and as you pointed out is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Security is a priority for us and something we take extremely seriously. This is the very reason for why we use decentralized storage to avoid single point of failure) and our proprietary SDK and ‘postman service’ to obfuscate and encrypt data, before transferring it through our protocol, so that no one individual would be able to get access to the original data that’s participated through the network. As security is the primary concern for our partners as well, we would not have had the opportunity to work with these partners had we not had a secure solution that they could trust.
8) Tell us about your team and the brains behind this project?
Points was first started in 2017 when I met with Professor Shoucheng Zhang from Stanford University. Professor Zhang is also the founding chairman of renowned blockchain VC, Digital Horizon Capital. We discussed what might be some problems that blockchain could be a true solution to, particularly one that utilized my background in public policy from the Kennedy School, and previous experience with Draper Dragon. We came up with Points (PTS) as the answer to that question.
Today, our renowned team is comprised of twenty people based in Singapore, Beijing and San Francisco that hails from companies including Google, Amazon, Xiaomi, Hulu, Toutiao, Keep, CITIC Bank, and more. Many of these are some of the top engineering minds that have helped pull this together which includes our co-founder Kate Shen and Yupeng Liao, our Chief Architect.
We’re also supported by our advisors including Shoucheng Zhang, founder of Digital Horizon Capital and professor of Physics at Stanford, Bin Zhang, CEO of Zhong Cheng Xin Credit Technology Ltd., and Jason Lu, a former VP/Chief Risk Officer at Ant Financial.
9) Does the Chinese government also support International Blockchain Startups?
Blockchain by nature is often seen as a borderless technology but where blockchain is concerned, in fact the government has been open to foreign blockchain startups that bring value as a technology as we’ve seen with Consensys and Hyperledger. The government also regularly puts out a ranking of blockchain technologies, which also feature non-Chinese blockchain companies.
10) Do you have more information to share with our readers today?
Points (PTS) is naturally a global blockchain protocol and even in the process of building and delivering a GDPR-compliant version of the protocol for the European market.
For more information, visit the Points (PTS) website: http://points.org/.