Interview with Michael Sung Bridging The East & West - Leading The Revolution in Fintech, AI, Blockchain 

By Hernaldo Turrillo - Jun 04, 2020

Interview with Michael Sung, founder of CarbonBlue on Bridging The East & West, Leading a Innovation Practical Revolution in Fintech, AI, Blockchain 

Professor Michael Sung is a bridge maker between East and West. He has a mission to create and bring technology to the development world and democratise technologies, special fintech, Blockchain and AI. He is the founder and chairman of CarbonBlue Innovations, a tech transfer platform for commercializing internationally sourced blockchain, fintech and digital finance innovation in developing countries. He is also co-director of the Fintech Research Center at the Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University.

Prof. Michael Sung is a technology venture builder and investor, having founded various companies in diverse high-tech industries ranging from AI, blockchain, semiconductor, and new materials industries. He has a strong background in cross-border technology transfer, strategic industry engagement, commercialisation strategy, business model innovation, and hi-tech entrepreneurship.

Interview Focus

1. Biography, professional background
2. Academic background and research focus as Director of the Fintech Research Center at the Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University
3. About Fintech: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities
4. Dynamics of innovation in the Fintech space
5. 4IR Technologies: blockchain - decentralized systems
6. 4IR Technologies: blockchain and AI applied to cities and smart city projects
7. About CarbonBlue project

Quotes and Highlights

· Education and Innovation. I always tell my students the importance of high-tech entrepreneurship and innovation. In fact, in my class I have MBA and Ph.D students coming from the business school and from engineering and I think that is the right mix for the entrepreneurship style that I try to teach. In today’s world, all the interesting things happen at the intersection of things.

· Bridging the East and West. I position myself as a bridge between the East and the West. I try to understand what works well in every world and bring those interesting dynamics together to get the most out of them. This idea can be exported to everything, for example between industry and government, finance and other industries, etc. This kind of interconnectedness approach provides a lot of flexibility to innovation, business models as it adds value to all of them.

· Geopolitical context: is the East taking over? I am culturally entrenched between the two worlds. Being born and raised in the US but from a Chinese heritage that I am now trying to connect with. So I have seen both worlds and I truly believe that the future of humanity lies in the ability for both sides to play nice with each other. They need to collaborate if we are as humanity want to win, other scenario would mean that any of those would lose and that is not desirable.

· Integrating technology and blockchain tech on cities. We cannot go from total centralization to full decentralization. It would bring too much disruption to our world. It is not desirable even if it were possible. The best way is to meet these two concepts somewhere in the middle. It is to create a hybrid system where control is shared between institutions and governments and the private sector and individuals.

Likewise, decentralized systems don’t really exist. Ethereum is not completely decentralized (Bitcoin, for instance, is controlled by the whales). This is a long process where governments and states (like China is now exploring) will be adopting blockchain and its ideas in an orderly way.

· About CarbonBlue. Our mandate is being the go-to strategic partner for technology licensing, developing joint-venture partnerships, and internationally-sourced M&A. Our core area of expertise is in cross-cultural business development together with an extensive international strategic partner network and platform for key stakeholders in both the IP and technology licensing field in China. CarbonBlue has a proven track record in implementing successful technology transfers companies in the US, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.

· About the BSN launch. This is the leading world major new blockchain initiative called the Blockchain-based Services Network (BSN) that uses a Hyperledger Fork to create a blockchain node with smart contracts that offers blockchain cloud node set of blockchain as a service solutions for cities and companies.

The BSN is an ambitious critical part of China's national blockchain strategy that was announced by President Xi in late November 2019, but went largely under the radar as the simultaneous announcement of China’s digital RMB currency, called the DCEP, swept the world by storm and is a cutting edge innovative major technology breakthrough. The main BSN founding consortia partners are the State Information Center (China’s top-level government policy and strategy think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission), China Mobile (China’s largest national telecom with over 900 million subscribers), China Unionpay (the world’s top payment and settlement provider with eight billion issued credit cards), and Red Date Technologies (the main blockchain architect for the BSN).

Only recently has the Western media recognized the significance of the BSN, which sees its mainland commercial launch April 25. The portal’s global commercial launch is scheduled for June 25. now in China Mainland and in June worldwide, what it is and how it will allow companies to access ultra-low cost blockchain cloud computing services. Target pricing is less than $400 USD/year, which would allow any SME or individual access to the critical tools to participate in the digital economy and drive adoption and financial inclusion opportunities.

The scale of the BSN is breathtaking, with a hundred city nodes across China at launch and participation by all three major national telecoms and major framework providers on the mainland. The central government has developed a master top-down plan to connect all the major cities in the country, rolling out to 200 cities over the next year and rapidly to all 451 prefecture-level cities thereafter. This is by far the world's largest scaled blockchain testnet global experiment.

There are various blockchain-as-a-service applications being developed simultaneously, many of which are already being deployed by city governments to provide services for citizens across the mainland ranging from paying utility bills to registering company credentials. As example, the Hangzhou government has launched a blockchain pilot for unified digital identity, for faster authentication of individuals using government services.


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Michael Sung Biography

Prof. Michael Sung is a technology venture builder and investor, having founded various companies in diverse high-tech industries ranging from AI, blockchain, semiconductor, and new materials industries. He is founder and Chairman of CarbonBlue Innovations, a leading intellectual property, technology transfer, blockchain/cryptotoken innovation, and investment company focused on bridging international innovation to resources, strategic partners, and investors in China.

Prof. Sung is also an expert on crypto-finance innovation and works on spearheading the development of the Fintech ecosystem and education pedagogy at Finance at Fanhai International School of Finance. Advisor to the National Belt and Road Research Institute. Founder and co-director of the Fudan Fanhai Fintech Research Center (FFFRC), a leading applied Fintech research center focused on connecting the rest of the world to Greater China. Associated with the Fudan-Stanford Financial Big Data Research Center. They are engaging with top international experts around the world to set up applied research programs on topics such as digital currencies, digital asset innovation, cryptoeconomics, asset-backed securitization, digital finance, and crypto-token business model innovation. Sample projects underway include real estate tokenization and fractional ownership financing, crypto-bond and blockchain auditing for infrastructure projects, computational trust systems for credit risk analysis in the financial markets, digital RMB policy, etc.

Prof Michael Sung is a Faculty Professor in The China Institute of Economics and Finance. This is a national-level think-tank that conducts research for government policy on topics such as digital currencies, finance innovation, Fintech strategy, and digital asset regulation. They are working to modulate the best practices from the emerging policy leaders of the world (e.g. SEC in the US, FINMA in Switzerland, and MAS of Singapore) to give policy recommendations for China’s regulatory bodies such as the China Banking and Insurance Reform Commission (CBIRC) and People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank. Spearheading CHIEF think tank thought leadership for central government on policy topics such as blockchain innovation, digital currency policy, digital assets/STO regulation, and tokenomics business model innovation.

Prof. Sung serves as a member of the China Digital Finance Advisory Group for the United Nations Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the years, has established strong reputation as a thought leader on technology ecosystem development and high-tech innovation strategy as an advisor to various high-level government officials and organizations, notably including the Taiwan Minister of Technology (AI and startup ecosystem strategy), Taiwan Minister of Justice (data privacy policy), a number of Taiwan congressmen and universities (blockchain, technology and startup ecosystem, technology transfer strategy), various Shanghai and Beijing officials (Fintech and blockchain strategy), Shenzhen vice mayor (international technology ecosystem development), HK Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (IOT ecosystem strategy), HK Science and Technology Park (robotics and high-tech ecosystem strategy), National Belt and Road Institute (blockchain and fintech strategy), China Institute of Economics and Finance (finance innovation policy), etc. Has previously engaged in various high-profile consulting projects for international champions such as Airbus' China innovation strategy, etc. Was previously the long-term chairman of the steering committee for the HK MIT Emtech Conference and advisor for the setup of MIT's first innovation node in HK. Frequently speaks on AI, blockchain, and high-tech innovation at international events including at the UN, Vatican, Money20/20, and CFC and has organised high-profile events including the One World Blockchain Forum and Future of Fintech and Finance Forum at Davos as well as hosting the Swiss president's visit to Shanghai prior to meeting with President Xi Jinping. Advisor to dozens of startups as a very active startup ecosystem advocate and entrepreneurship educator at Fudan and HKUST.

Prof. Sung is a venture partner at the Fundamental Labs is one of Asia's top pure-play blockchain funds combining US$500mm AUM. Among the earliest and most active funds in the space worldwide, Fundamental currently has over 50 early-stage strategic investments in the top blockchain/crypto ecosystem companies in the world including Binance, Coinbase, EOS, Powerledger, Vechain, Decentraland, Steemit, Omisego, BAT, Filecoin, Golem, etc.

Prof. Michael Sung has received various awards for technology entrepreneurship, including MIT Enterprise Forum’s Most Visionary Technology Award and Google’s Solve for X Prize. Prof. Sung received his Ph.D. in EECS at the MIT Media Lab/Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as well as a graduate financial engineering degree from MIT Sloan Business School.

Links / Sources

https://www.coindesk.com/chinas-national-blockchain-will-change-the-world

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelsung99/

https://fisf.fudan.edu.cn/en_show-112-107.html

https://medium.com/cfc-st-moritz/dr-crypto-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-blockchain-66defaeaaa75

https://youtu.be/79SxmXcxtZU

https://www.blocksocial.com/people/michael-sung/

https://youtu.be/JIdyADiTa-c

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