2020 interview with Denis Jazbec, 4thTech CTO
Denis hello, as you have been with the project from the beginning, when did the development start and how long did it last?
DENIS: The development started already in late 2017 with Andrej and me programing 24/7 before other developers came on board. The first blockchain W2W data exchange platform BETA was released in April 2018, using meta mask as the blockchain gateway wallet. The 4thtech Google Chrome extension (add-on) was later developed and released in December 2018. The updates followed and the testing phase lasted until December 2019. In March 2020 the SI-Chain implementation began.
There are talks regarding SI-Chain, can you explain what is that about?
DENIS: The second 4thTech product implementation is currently underway on the Slovenian National Blockchain Testing Infrastructure called SI-Chain, which will enable testing of existing and new blockchain applications for the public and private sector. SI-Chain was established by the innovative technology provider company Hashnet in cooperation with Telemach, the telecommunication solutions provider, in November 2019 (Slovenia launches national test blockchain infrastructure and Slovenian Blockchain partnership | GOV.SI, n.d.). HashNet is an innovative consensus platform which provides a novel solution to computational and communicational difficulties of maintaining large-size public distributed ledgers. (Tolar — Next-gen cryptocurrency, n.d.) The Si-Chain implementation of 4thpillar technologies W2W data and documents exchange protocol (i.e. FOURdx) and identity protocol (i.e. FOURid) is underway with the due date 10.6.2020. The blockchain data exchange protocol (i.e. FOURdx) accompanied by 4thTech wallet add-on (i.e. FOURwaL) will be utilizing SI-Chain to execute email, data and document exchange. The main benefits among others are also very fast transactions. Potential users: government, public and private sectors.
At the moment we will be one of the first application that will use Si-Chain.
What happens next, what are the future development plans?
DENIS: If all goes according to plans, we start the cross-platform client development in December 2020, we hope to finish in 16 months. The blockchain data exchange UI will provide a way to make mass adoption possible. But in general our focus goes to establish privacy enabled W2W communication infrastructure.
I have prepared the project scope — The current CEF (i.e. Connecting Europe Facility) eDelivery (i.e. data exchange) solution is based on a model, where the Access Points of eDelivery implement an electronic data and documents exchange protocol which ensures secure and reliable data exchange. Trust is established between two public administrations Access Points and the electronic data and documents exchange is activated. 4thTech solution proposes a blockchain data exchange protocol that leverages trust directly from the blockchain. The protocol is based on a distributed model where the data and documents exchange process runs between blockchain wallets, where private and public cryptographic keys are used for transaction authentication. To provide an option for blockchain address ownership verification, the verification mechanism was created, which can lead to individual digital identity and authenticate verified connection between a blockchain wallet and a person.
Can you explain how 4thTech connects to Ethereum & SI-Chain?
DENIS: The 4thTech blockchain data echange protocol (i.e. FOURdx) uses hosted Ethereum node on Infura over JSON-RPC protocol, to connect to the Ethereum node. In the case of SI-Chain, the protocol uses gRPC (i.e. universal RPC framework) to connect to Si-Chain node. Regarding the DLT and Multi DLT interoperability, the same connection principles with specific modification apply.
As you use different blockchains, how will you economically justify the transaction payment in native currency?
DENIS: To conserve blockchain network transactions, a settlement service was developed, which bundles signed multiple transactions together and settles them on the blockchain (i.e. as one transaction). Once the transaction has been settled, the transaction is concluded. The bundling of transactions enables our platform to scale as the overall number of transactions generated on the designated blockchain network is kept at a minimum.
In your opinion, where is the soul of innovation?
DENIS: The innovation and ingenuity reveal from the fact, that the FOURdx protocol does not store the transmitted data files and documents on the blockchain. The data and documents are stored off-chain. The protocol records links to encrypted files and hashes of the encrypted content on the blockchain. This safeguards the rights of individuals to confidentiality and privacy. Designed and built completely by the 4thTech, the protocol is fully operational, ready for testing and also provides the core technology solutions for further development of the W2W E2EE blockchain data file exchange.
Can you explain the FOURwaL add-on?
DENIS: The FOURwal or 4thTech add-on is a Google Chrome Extension wallet, that allows you to visit the distributed web of tomorrow in your browser today. It is one of our main innovations, a first system on the market capable of handling not only digital assets but also other assets such as links to encrypted electronic data and documents. It was designed and build from the ground-up, and it is fully operational. It offers a secure identity vault, providing a user interface to manage digital identities and sign blockchain data exchange transactions. It contains a pair of public and private cryptographic keys. A public key allows for other wallets to execute W2W dMails and data exchange to the desired wallet’s address, whereas a private key enables the decryption of data and documents from that address.
What are the main technology components used?
DENIS: Blockchain with Solidity applications, Laravel-PHP web framework, smart contracts, digital wallets, decentralised database, four-token, the add-on, and the central platform with encryption service and API interface.
What is central data encryption?
DENIS: Data and documents encryption is the process by which electronic data and documents are protected with a cryptographic key (i.e. public key) so that only individuals with the corresponding decryption key (i.e. private key) can read them. When a user (i.e. an individual or an organization) wants to send documentation, he or she must first select the electronic data or document and encrypt it with the user’s public key stored in a database of registered users.
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