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Exclusive Interview with Quras CEO Shigeki Kakutani

How the Japanese entrepreneur went from the Japanese House of Representatives to CEO.

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1. Please tell us your story and what brought you to become an entrepreneur. 

Early on in my professional career, I worked for a member of Japan’s House of Representatives for three years. The representative was an experienced financial minister and wanted to be a vocal politician to change Japan. Through that job, I gained an understanding of the dynamic variables that move our national economy and financial markets. I also learned how to manage an organization. However, without practical business experience, I thought that I didn’t have the skills needed to become a good politician who understands the business and economics side of the equation. So I decided to start my first business in late 2008 to gain the experience of growing my own company while also gaining independence at the same time.  

My first career in business was in the IT services industry. Now I am working on a unique blockchain protocol to change the blockchain industry as we know it today. I am passionate about the technical side of blockchain technology and its potential to change the way we live.

2. What are your core principles that guide your life and business?

The guiding principles of both my life and business are:

1. Focusing on my heart and soul to make good decisions

2. Concentrate on creating value for society 

3. Understanding that trust comes from the heart 

4. Belief that both good things and bad things won’t last forever

3. What was your inspiration behind starting Quras? 

Digital privacy is a concept of our modern era, and there has been a lot of conversations about the meaning of “individual rights” at a time where internet use and social media has exploded. These days, there are many cases of data leaks and abuse of private information as we have become exploited by the very companies that we trust. Protecting privacy has become of greater importance in recent years, yet it wasn’t being discussed much in the blockchain industry three to four years ago. I saw this as an opportunity to start Quras and shine a light on practical, responsible privacy through blockchain technology. 

4. What differentiates Quras from other blockchain projects?  

We are unique in a number of ways, but two value propositions really stand out that differentiate us from other other blockchain projects.

First, we use two powerful anonymous technologies, zk-SNARKS (zero-knowledge encryption) and ring signature to provide wider solutions for privacy protection needs. Zk-SNARKS allow transactions to be shielded on the Quras protocol while still allowing the data to be verified as valid. Ring signature is suitable for group anonymity. Quras administrators will be provided with the option to use anonymous technology in various ways in the future. 

Secondly, the Quras protocol shares smart contract transaction fees with nodes as well as projects, so the project who use the Quras blockchain can run a more sustainable business. 

5. As a business leader, how do you inspire others to believe in your (company’s) mission?

At Quras, we aim to provide secure and practical privacy protection through blockchain technology. Today, privacy protection in our industry is discussed however it is not a common practice yet. By being leaders in this space, we hope to inspire others to believe in Quras. We are also committed to share smart contract transaction fees with projects built on Quras, which shows a reciprocal belief in those that believe in our platform. 

We are focused on developing technology that can be used as a genuine all-purpose protocol, which is truly needed to gain real adoption in our global society. Our foundation is rooted in the concept of common good, to benefit society as a whole, and the expectation of delivering real value for our protocol users.

Our embrace of proper incentives and options to promote co-existence within the Quras platform that balances everyone’s rights and benefits will build trust from others. 

6. What are the 3 things that excite you most about where the blockchain industry is heading?

The three things that excite me most are:

1. The growing use of blockchain technology and the prospect of mass adoption of blockchain, which can be similar to the initial growth of the internet 

2. The promise blockchain brings to global financial growth as an alternative option to stock markets, forex, payment, etc.

3. The direction of decentralization vs centralization, and how the systems can co-exist with one another

I look at the balance of regulation and de-regulation with a long term view. I also enjoy researching the ideology of various schools of economics, like Marxian economics, New Liberalism, and Modern Monetary Theory, and how they fit into blockchain and the future of our society. 

7. What are the top lessons that you’d like to pass on to aspiring entrepreneurs?

It is important to have conviction and structure to your vision and future business goals. It is also very important to work with good people. Business expansion without direction can be very dangerous as your core values may not align with the business as it expands. Having a well thought out approach to your business will increase your chances to realize your vision significantly.

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