KardiaChain with CTO Huy Nguyen

This article was originally published on The Daily Chain, 10th June 2020.

“The IEO is a way to distribute our tokens to a wider and more diversified audience. We are not looking for money to operate. Our main income is from revenue sharing models with business partners who are using our technology. Apart from IEO, we have several schemes to distribute tokens, such as social mining.”

Huy Nguyen, June 2020

Cryptocurrency is big in Vietnam, and has been for years. From this 2015 trailer for a Bitcoin action movie, to news reported just last month that the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is establishing a blockchain research group.

So when a team of talented young Vietnamese working internationally for such luminaries as Google decide to head home and start a blockchain project, people should pay attention.

KardiaChain is a public blockchain focused on Interoperability, leading the race towards blockchain adoption in Vietnam by providing hybrid blockchain solution/infrastructure for major enterprises and government bodies.

KardiaChain website

Kardiachain (KAI) works with government officials in the public sector and some big names like LG CNS in the private sector in what is described as a “Hybrid blockchain solution/ Infrastructure for Enterprise and Governments.”

KardiaChain and LG CNS form a strategic partnership to drive innovation by combining each other’s blockchain technologies in large-scale real life applications, including Decentralized Identity (DID), Certificate Issuance, Smart City among the first major use cases of this collaboration.

KardiaChain Medium

The project has been in development for two years but has only recently begin to receive a lot of attention due to their recent Gate IEO (whose $1M sale of tokens was oversubscribed by almost 20x), numerous partnerships, exchange a plethora of listings, and looming mainnet release (Q3).

KAI comes with a unique dual-node technology to bridge different chains for interoperability. NEO, ETH and TRX are already supported with new additions coming in steadily.

This is accompanied by a novel technology dubbed Elastic Sharding With Incentive Mechanism, or ESWIM

KardiaChain whitepaper

Maximum transactional efficiency is ensured by utilizing ESWIM — an algorithmic approach in transaction routing in order to optimize costs and speed. The most suitable network in terms of performance is constantly scanned for and subsequently elected to process the transaction, ensuring that best performance will be achieved at the time of transaction submission.

KardiaChain website

The name “KardiaChain” stems from the notion that KAI will be at the heart of interoperability.

Dual Nodes

Dual Nodes have access to the ledger data of two chains simultaneously (KardiaChain and another blockchain of choice) to receive transactions between external chains and KardiaChain ledgers without compromising anything from both chains.

KardiaChain whitepaper

KardiaChain comes equipped with its own Virtual Machine (VM), its own scripting language for interoperable smart contracts, plus gateways and services for public and private sectors alike. It offers solutions for economizing on transaction fees and time, and the avoidance of having contracts siloed on one particular chain. Their solution provides flexibility and future-proofing.

Chief Technical Office (CTO) and co-founder Huy Nguyen kindly answered a long and detailed series of questions for The Daily Chain, covering topics including the tech, the history, the future, and the recent dramatic price action.

ABSTRACT — Blockchain offers an unparalleled level of decen- tralisation and transparency, with a tradeoff in performance and inter-connectivity. In the foreseeable future, it is believed that blockchain solutions, especially smart contracts, will help people reach a trustless agreement at ease in all aspects of daily situations. However, the current approaches to achieve this either are built to make others obsolete, or requires a significant change on the part of the participating chains .

Opening of KardiaChain whitepaper

The Interview: CTO and Co-Founder Huy Hguyen

Huy is a senior Tech Lead Manager at Google, with over 10 years of experience in building large-scale distributed infrastructures. Huy has a track record of leading many high profile projects, most notably Google Access Wireless Platform and Google Fiber Network Infrastructure.

Huy Nguyen

Please tell us about yourself: Your work at Google, robotics at Berkeley, and reasons for starting Kardiachain.

Sure! A little introduction about myself, after I graduated from UC Berkeley EECS program, I have been working for over 10 years in Silicon Valley, with a short tenure at Cisco and the last 9 years at Google. I joined Google when it was much smaller and saw its growth to become one of the biggest corporations in the world.

Over the years at Google, I’m the lead software architecture and engineering manager for a few high profile projects such as Google Fiber Operations System, Access Wireless Infrastructure, and more recently Android Hearables Experience.

What’s the origin story of KAI and how did the team assemble?

Tri (KardiaChain CEO) and I were classmates back in high school and we were still in touch for many years although living in two different continents.

We got the interest in blockchain in 2017 when we saw many projects doing exciting things with this new technology. Above all the big money raised and broken promises, we realised the potential of decentralisation when putting it to the right direction. That’s why we started KardiaChain, a public chain with interoperability and focusing on mass adoption.

Fascinated by this new startup, I convinced 3 other Googlers — Thien Nguyen, Nam Do, and DucHuy Doan — who were also my roommates back in college to join the project and lead different parts of the blockchain infrastructure.

We took over a year to build up the tech foundation for KardiaChain then returned to Vietnam to explore the local market. We used to have 20 people in our team, mostly living in London and Silicon Valley. Now we all relocated to Vietnam. Coming to our home market gives us a great advantage on network and support.

KardiaChain also has a unique board of advisors as well. We have government officials at ministry level to support us on policy and government approach, also 2 senior players in blockchain: Ryan Fang co-founder ANKR and Richard Yun co-founder Coinplug.

From your Linkedin profile I gather you still work at Google. How do you mange your time, and do you plan to go full-time on Kardiachain?

Since late 2019, I have been on sabbatical leave from Google to work on KardiaChain full-time.

And as our core blockchain technology is in pretty good shape now, I have moved my family back to Vietnam to help Tri focus on mass adoption and begin our mission to bring 100m Vietnamese into the blockchain.

You can probably see that we were very quiet in the past 2 years, only starting to make our presence in the blockchain world since early this year, beginning with the IEO on Gate and many more announcements on partnership, business, and adoption since then.

KardiaChain’s dual-node blockchain interoperability protocol is unique as far as I can tell. In the simplest terms, please describe how it works and the problem it solves.

You can think of Dual Node as a bilingual translator who can speak both Kardiachain protocol and another one e.g. ETH, TRX, NEO etc.

A KAI-ETH node can translate what happened in Ethereum to Kardiachain, and a KAI-NEO node can translate what happened in Neo to Kardiachain, thus allowing NEO-ETH communication to achieve

A “KAI-ETH Dual Node” means this node joins both Kardiachain and Ethereum network so it can receive the blocks and access the ledger from both Ethereum and KardiaChain.

A group of same Dual Nodes e.g. KAI-ETH forms a KAI-ETH consensus group which means they can watch and vote for all events happened on Ethereum.

Those same Dual Nodes could also be Validators for Kardiachain (if they have enough stake), where they can also vote for events happened on Kardiachain (in addition to Ethereum).

The most significant difference between Kardiachain and other interop projects (e.g. Cosmos, Polkadot etc.) is that Dual Nodes allow our nodes to participate naturally into the other chains (ETH, NEO, TRX etc.), follow their protocols, and require no change from the connected chains. Thus, we achieve “non-invasive” model. (Please note that Cosmos required all participating chains to follow their IBC protocol in order to be connected)

I read in your literature your technology is proprietary. Can you elaborate on this and tell us whether the code is open-sourced.

Our Dual Node technology is currently patent pending in Vietnam, and will soon be applied in WIPO. However, we already made our testnet github repo public and will open source our mainnet code when it is ready.

Tell us about KAI’s virtual machine (KVM). Why was it necessary to build you own virtual machine and why not use Ethereum’s EVM instead? How do you test the security of the KVM?

Kardiachain SMC is written in Solidity so the core compiler infrastructure of KVM and EVM is very similar. However, there are a few distinctions as laid out here:

  1. Instruction set:

Note: KVM compiler can support both CISC and RISC instruction set, but Ethereum mainly uses RISC architecture.

  • While Kardiachain and Ethereum shares a large portion of the instruction set, KVM doesn’t support many instructions used only in PoW consensus. Instead, KVM needs to add new instructions for our BFT DPoS consensus.
  • Moreover, in order to support more complex operations, esp. for cross-chain operations, KVM plan to add a few CISC instructions as well e.g. to auto-convert-and-release token for dual nodes which completed the cross-chain transactions.

2. Upgradeable smart contract

  • We are currently building our own version of web3js to work with KVM that supports deploy and upgrade SMC (aka Smart Contract versioning). It’s a pack of predefined SMC libraries / functions that help developers easily interact with DApp backend through a Master Contract and Proxy Contract (delegated contract call).
  • The Master Smart Contract will map the version to specific logic contract address so developers can choose the version to display data, track changes in data history or merge and display the data from multiple smc versions.

3. Cross-chain operations

  • Since Kardiachain Master SMC includes the bytecodes from different blockchains, KVM need to support the joint (or cross-chain) operations to glue these bytecodes together.

I presume when mainnet launches a similar concept to “gas” will exist for KardiaChain’s KVM. If yes, can we expect a secondary token (like NEO uses) or the use of the native token (like Ethereum).

Yes, we use “gas” concept for KardiaChain’s KVM. It will be native token. (like ETH)

KAI’s solutions could be offered world-wide, yet you are very much focused on the Vietnamese and surrounding markets. Why this focus on one region?

We would like to think big and start small. After succeeding and establishing a foothold in the local market, we will expand to other strong international blockchain markets.

Vietnam is a great market for blockchain. First, our country has no legacy system to compete with blockchain. We are still in the middle of digitalisation, no complete system in place, nothing like Europe or the US. KardiaChain aims to gain the market share quickly and establish a blockchain infrastructure for data and services in Vietnam. Second, our population is reaching the golden ratio with many young people who are tech savvy and eager to learn. Third, we can leverage our personal and professional networks to quickly explore business opportunities and collaborations with top enterprises and government bodies.

Please tell us which of KAI’s partnerships you’re most excited about, and why.

KardiaChain’s mission is to bring 100 million Vietnamese population on blockchain. Hence, we are very excited about our partnership with top local and international enterprises. Let me tell you more about our enterprise partners:

  1. LG CNS — LG CNS is a subsidiary of LG Corporation that provides information technology services including consulting, System Integration, Network Integration, Business Process Outsourcing, and Information Technology Outsourcing. The partnership was a highlight on a top South Korean finance news site https://www.mk.co.kr/news/economy/view/2020/05/523246/.

We will work with LG CNS to develop large-scale blockchain solutions such as Decentralized ID (DID), Certificate issuance, Smart city etc. for Vietnam’s top service providers and enterprises.

2. Geleximco — one of Vietnam’s leading conglomerates with assets totaling more than $2.2 billion, creating stable jobs for more than 9,000 employees.

The aim of our partnership with Geleximco is to integrate blockchain into Geleximco’s various businesses. Most notably banking, real estate, construction and agriculture industries. Geleximco is one of Vietnam’s most powerful conglomerates, KardiaChain will be able to leverage on our partner’s vast reach across various industries to bring us one step closer to our mission of bringing 100 million Vietnamese population on blockchain.

3. VTVCab — ON Sports (owned by VTVCab, Vietnamese National TV) is Vietnam’s top sports content focused on football news and media.

Our collaboration with ON Sports (VTVCab) is an ambitious venture, operating on a large scale, our partners include major organizations like Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), Vietfootball, KardiaChain Saigon FC. We will develop a complete ecosystem for football fans in Vietnam, our aim is to make KAI tokens the only thing that you ever need as a football fan to enjoy football to the maximum.

ON Sports have chosen to run their ADapp on KardiaChain, a live version is already running on our Testnet “Archi”, successfully onboarding ON Sport’s 200,000 user base and 800,000 football fans on KardiaChain. ON Sports is currently available on Google Play and iOS App Store Vietnam.

Describe the process for adding support for a particular blockchain. Does a project need either your cooperation or permission to integrate with Kardiachain?.

Since Kardiachain favors the “non-invasive” approach, we have to proactively blend into other chains which requires the heavy-lifting part i.e. conforming and proxying to other protocols be done in Kardia proxy. That means our engineering team needs to add support for any new blockchain architectures.

However, most of the blockchain projects only followed a few popular architectures such as ETH-like, NEO-like, EOS-like etc. Once we already integrated one architecture, all the projects using that architecture can re-use the SDK/API for free and can pretty much participate in our ecosystem with minimal work.

As of today, KardiaChain already supports ETH, NEO, and TRX architectures.

As I recall Kai was looking to raise $1M in its Gate.io IEO. You vastly exceeded this target, but why was your target so low to begin with?

The IEO is a way to distribute our tokens to a wider and more diversified audience. We are not looking for money to operate. Our main income is from revenue sharing models with business partners who are using our technology. Apart from IEO, we have several schemes to distribute tokens, such as social mining.

In the last month KAI has seen a massive increase in price. What do you attribute this to?

I would say it is because of the overwhelming support from our growing community. We actually didn’t expect that parabolic move, we were still doing what we’ve been doing over the last 2 years: build products and get more business deals.

It’s great that more and more people are getting a better understanding of our works. Listing on more exchanges is definitely a factor as it makes KAI more accessible. There is room for improvement in my opinion. Current usability of KAI is just picked up, more products and services will be the driving force for KAI.

Why would a business or enterprise connect with Kardiachain in particular?

Due to the rapid economic and technical development of Vietnam, there is an increasing demand for cutting edge technology in Vietnam. Partly due to the government supporting industry 4.0 and partly because enterprises seek competitive advantage through high-tech solutions/products.

Blockchain is a novelty technology, enterprises that seek to integrate blockchain solutions often face several entry barriers due lack of technological knowledge and expertise. This is where Kardiachain can become invaluable to Vietnamese enterprises as well as government institutions. Combining our cutting edge blockchain technology with our business acumen & expertise as well as local know-how. We are able to develop highly flexible hybrid solutions that are capable of meeting all enterprise demands including scalability, privacy and security etc.

Can you share some of KAI’s plans for the future, and tell us how you envisage Kardiachain in 2025?

By 2025, I see KardiaChain as already having achieved our mission of onboarding 100 million Vietnamese people onto blockchain.

Already this year (2020), our partnerships in Vietnam encompass a very wide range of industries. Our partnerships with top enterprises and government bodies are large-scale, their products/services have large existing user bases, allowing us to onboard large numbers of users onto blockchain in a very efficient manner.

We aim to achieve mass adoption by 2025 via 3 main components:

  1. Gateway: reduces entry barriers to onboard non-crypto users onto blockchain via user-friendly payment channels.
  2. Infrastructure: refers to the interlinked public and private KardiaChain blockchain network for users and businesses to operate, leveraging our unique non-invasive interoperability.
  3. Services: refer to traditional organisations that collaborate with KardiaChain to tokenize and decentralize their existing services/products to become more effective and efficient.

As you can see, our developments span from infrastructure to commercial services. KardiaChain has exceptional business acumen and is uniquely positioned to truly bring blockchain mass adoption to Vietnam, we intend to fully leverage our strength to accomplish this mission.

Thank Huy. Any final comments or advice for our readers?

If you are reading this far, thank you for your interest in KardiaChain. Our focus is blockchain adoption. We are still finding more ways to apply blockchain technology in real life. Please follow us and maybe you can bring one of our case studies to your cities or maybe you can share with us the way blockchain is used in your region. Let’s decentralise the world together.


In the rapidly evolving space of blockchain and smart contracts it behooves companies to pick solutions that are future-proof and agnostic.

Whatever platform is popular today may not be tomorrow, and transaction fees are equally unpredictable.

For these reasons, projects focused on interoperability have become increasingly popular in recent times, and KardiaChain is as well-positioned as any other to make meaningful moves in this space.

KardiaChain whitepaper


Thanks to Huy Nguyen for taking time to answer so many questions.


To @sherlockhashh on Crypto Twitter. Get better.



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The Immutable Network (DARA), founder. Immutable builds free blockchain products and platforms to fight censorship and stop data loss. Also a journalist/writer.