Data & Research

How the Social Network Destined to Conquer Facebook Started in Poker

Despite Bitcoin grabbing the vast majority of the headlines en route to making cryptocurrencies a buzzword, it’s the technology behind Bitcoin which has lit the light bulb in the minds of many entrepreneurs. As a decentralized ledger, the blockchain offers a huge range of different applications, from the use of cryptocurrencies to the pharmaceutical industry, via Ethereum’s blockchain. The technology is revolutionary and will have a massive impact on the world as it begins to be regulated by more governing bodies, like Malta.

One industry which has its hands in the lives of almost every person over the age of ten and under the age of 70 is social media. The phenomenon has connected people across the world like never before. However, a scandal concerning how the social network Facebook has used its users’ data has created distrust among the public.

Luckily, there is a savior for those who wish to connect with others while their personal data is protected. Ke Xu is a 24-year-old Chinese entrepreneur hell-bent on giving freedom back to the people. To do this, she developed the world’s first blockchain social network, which has been forged with the direct intention of taking down Facebook.

Simply named Ono, Ke Xu’s social network and her other blockchain-based ventures come from a rather peculiar funding base: poker.

The Birth of Ono

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Now available in the Google Play Store, the Ono app logo looks set to become a recognizable image in the future of social networks. Source: Maryjane Madubuobi, via Twitter

In 2013, Ke Xu moved to the University of Riverside, California as an exchange student, and discovered a talent for the game of poker. Due to online poker and lenient laws in the area, Ke Xu was able to play the felt and digital tables to develop skills that would enhance her business career.

The tables enabled Ke Xu to hone her risk assessment and probability calculations, allowing her to spot a great opportunity when it came her way. At the tables, she heard of cryptocurrency and became intrigued by the prospect of Bitcoin and its technology. So, she began mining, read deeper into its philosophies, and became hooked on the idea of blockchain decentralization – but not just in finance.

Throughout her university career, Ke Xu invested her poker winnings in Bitcoin and eventually cashed out in 2014 for $4.8 million from 20,000 Bitcoins at $240 per Bitcoin. If she had waited until the Bitcoin boom at the end of 2017, she would have netted just short of $120 million. Nevertheless, Ke Xu got to work developing blockchain-based applications for release in China.

After her initial social app ERA, which she sold, Ke Xu created Nome Lab which, in turn, made CryptoDogs. The blockchain-based game pulled in a massive 1,000 Ethereum in CryptoDog sales on day one. Now, her efforts are all on bringing down Facebook by developing the social network Ono – the first decentralized app for social networking.

Ke Xu began by investing poker winnings in a promising cryptocurrency before unveiling the true majesty of the new tech. Now that she has built a team that shares her views on the ethos of Bitcoin and the power of blockchain technology, she is set to compete with the likes of Facebook and win over the public. But, her involvement with the game of poker didn’t end when she returned to China as she can deploy her table skills in the world of business.

Entrepreneurs Utilizing their Skills from the Table

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Ke Xu in a magazine shoot after impressing with her entrepreneurial skills. Set to become a major name in social media following the launch of the blockchain social network Ono. Source: SanemMavcil, via 
Twitter

Poker is a very simple game, be it Texas hold’em, Omaha hi/lo, or stud poker. Generally speaking, the aim of poker is to have the highest scoring hand combined with the community cards from the deck of 52 cards. Due to the limited number of cards and winning hands available, players can weigh the odds and risks of betting and eventually come out as the winner of the game.

There are many key skills that budding entrepreneurs can pick up from the game of poker, from being able to evaluate risk, playing without 100 per cent of the information at the table – as opponents always keep their cards close to their chest – to conquering the mental side of poker and being able to outmaneuver and manipulate opponents even if you’re in a disadvantageous position.

In any walk of life, the mental aspects are very influential, especially in poker. Take Texas hold’em, for example; the aim is to use your two cards, along with up to three community cards, to best everyone else at the table while also trying to lure them into betting more money. Confidence can be a major weakness for poker players and entrepreneurs, which leads to them chasing the high of an incredible result to correct the confidence deficit. It’s a major part of the poker mental game and one that needs to be recognized to allow players to see and correct their weaknesses, which likely results in the player getting too much confidence when achieved. It’s the same in business; one incredible win doesn’t make them a permanent success and can hinder their development if sought out in the future.

Ke Xu certainly utilizes these skills. She took her poker winnings and invested in a budding prospect. With ample returns, she began to develop new software with the intent of utilizing the ethos of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Despite the immense popularity of her CryptoDogs games and the hype swirling around Ono and blockchain technology, she isn’t chasing the high of being wildly correct once again; she’s keeping her head down and focussing on getting to the ultimate goal of winning it all, not just winning one game.

The 24-year-old Chinese entrepreneur isn’t the only businessperson to find their roots and establish a strong mental capacity for business in poker. David Daneshgar won $30,000 in a poker tournament to launch BloomNation, and David Sklansky won three bracelets at the World Series of Poker to go onto share his knowledge of the game through a series of 13 books. Then, there’s Bobby Baldwin, who took his 1978 World Series of Poker championship winnings to become the CEO of MGM’s City Center complex in Las Vegas, Nevada. One entrepreneur who made a name for herself around the poker tables as opposed to at them is Molly Bloom. The world-class skier created the world’s most exclusive poker game that had incredible buy-in prices of $250,000 for a regular game. She found that being the banker herself returned lucrative tips for extending credit.

Is Ono merely a flash in the pan?

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Graphic sent out on social media by the creator of Ono to show 3.25 million users for Ono at the 100-day milestone. Source: Ke Xu, via 
Twitter

Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin may eventually turn out to be a flash in the pan, but the technology produced by blockchain and Bitcoin will change the world. It’s now up to developers and entrepreneurs to incorporate it into their industries to stay ahead of the curve.

Ke Xu has gone head first into one of the biggest industries in the world and has made no secret of pouncing on the industry’s titan while it’s licking its wounds. People have long had discrepancies about the way that Facebook works, but the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal blew all of that out of the water and was the last straw for many. In Great Britain, five percent of users deleted Facebook, a further six percent intended to once the scandal broke, and more have ended their accounts since. Privacy and the protection of data is a major concern of the general public, which is why Ke Xu’s Ono – or a sister site based on the same principles that is more Western-friendly – has a shot at rising to the top of the social media pyramid.

She knows how the social media giants have betrayed their users’ trust and that the blockchain technology utilized in her app will allow users to trust social media once again. With blockchain, users own the data themselves, the data is incorruptible, it’s decentralized, and the company can’t manipulate the user data for their own financial gain. Ono, which launched a beta version in April of this year, is decentralized and has a self-governing system that rewards its users who are sharing quality content.

Many people may simply stick with the likes of Facebook because it’s convenient and all of their friends don’t want to lose communication with each other. However, there will be a strong following of people who do feel wronged by the acts of existing social networks and will switch to Ono or another blockchain-based social network.

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Syed Ali Mudassar
It was when he was pursuing his graduation in Computer Science that he found his flair for writing about new and existing technologies. He likes researching about technologies and how they could help people. Currently, he works as the Content Manager at CoinFrenzy, a leading blockchain news, and media publication website.