The Daily Illini

Graduate student dedicates herself to keeping cryptocurrency under control

Brian Nguyen

Brian Nguyen

By Yifan Gu, Staff Writer

There are many facets to Katt Gu. She is both prudent and motivated. She is professional, yet easygoing. She is a first-year doctorate student in informatics at the University who is cultivating a new field that could influence countless investors and transactions.

Standing in the Legislative Yuan, a legislative institution in Taiwan, Gu, the scholar representative, gave the perspective speech on blockchain legislation. It is summer in Taiwan, and the discussion of blockchain legislation is heating things up.

Gu has completed the University’s Juris Doctor program: a doctorate and the first professional graduate degree in law.

Gu is a legal adviser of blockchain regulation for Taiwan and Malta government, and a researcher at Strategic Coin, which is a U.S.-based crypto market research and analysis company.

Over the past year, blockchain has become a hot topic and has piqued the interest of consumers worldwide. The skyrocketing price of Bitcoin has attracted a wide range of investors.

“Too many people just focus on gaining the money. Few people are dedicated to actually regulating and controlling this domain,” Gu said. “In every field, legislation always lays behind the actual development. I devote myself to starting it earlier.”

With experience in projects regarding legislation of biofuel sustainability certification and probabilistic risk assessment, Gu has acquired sophisticated knowledge about legislation in high-tech fields.

“I encountered this field by accident. At first, I had a translating job and did some PR work in China for Blockstream in 2016. Then, I gradually began to know about the blockchain field,” Gu said.

Gu shared that her work at Blockstream was an incentive and its influence was perpetual. As a Blockstream employee, she devoted herself to studying the fundamental technology of blockchain intensively, especially about SegWit, which is an implemented soft fork change in the transaction format of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

During that year, she followed up and participated in the projects that heightened her interest in taking things further in the blockchain field.

“When I (first) encountered the market of blockchain, every researcher was rigorous and travailed in this field. Such circumstance is attractive, which pushed you to devote yourself,” Gu said. “However, from the end of last year to this year, too many people have focused on using the technology to make a quick buck. Someone even created some Ponzi scheme to attract amateurs and speculators.”

From Gu’s perspective, the blockchain society has turned out to be a place where most participants are pursuing money. These unfortunate circumstances have stimulated Gu’s ambition and idea to create a legislation, to regulate cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. However, it hasn’t been an easy obstacle to tackle.

Katt Gu’s law professor Xifen Lin, who is a professor of law in KoGuan Law School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said, “Regulation of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a niche area that no scholar has ever delved deep into.” Lin worked at the University as a visiting scholar from fall 2016 to spring 2017.

In recent years, particular technologies have reached advanced levels, and many wonder if a form of regulation is necessary. There is no intrinsic right or wrong to technology, but it can be used for good and for bad.

Gu is dedicated to using legislation processes to prevent malicious or otherwise unethical behavior.

The purpose of her legislation is to control and limit blockchain technology usage when it is being abused. Gu stressed that the issue is not the technology, but some of the people using it.

“From the perspective of a professional, it is very important that there is some legal standard about Token, ICO and the ‘foundation’ for token sale,” said Suji Yan, the founder of the Dimension Chain Project. “Different countries view Token currencies in different ways: virtual commodity, security or completely illegal. Also, after the ICO, what is the best way to calculate the ‘revenue’ and audit it?”

The project aims to build a bottom level decentralized data system based on blockchain technology. Suji Yan studied electrical and computer engineering at the University from 2014 to 2017.

According to Yan, one of the largest barriers for legal researchers is that many of them have little or no experience in this domain, especially because the crypto industry is moving so quickly. The field is in dire need of some sophisticated players with strong backgrounds in engineering, investment and law.

Gu has worked on several papers independently on whether Bitcoin should be regulated as stock, or a commodity of currency in China, and how to establish a stabilized governance system with the crypto community to facilitate consensus. She is currently working on creating a code, called Kleio, that tracks the legislative history of every country on cryptocurrency and blockchain.

The complexity of issues twisted within the blockchain domain makes regulation appear onerous or even unapproachable. Gu has worked tirelessly and proven her devotion to the field of blockchain technologies, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Through writing legislative code, Gu makes efforts to maintain a fair cryptocurrency market by spreading blockchain knowledge and understanding worldwide.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment