Decred: Q&A

Jonathan Zeppettini, International Ops Lead

1. Why DCR?

Because cryptocurrency is about empowering people and allowing for financial disintermediation. Decred takes this one step further by letting stakeholders (the people who actually own the coins) decide on the future of the project. I think it’s become clear over that last few years that if your project doesn’t have a real mechanism for making decisions and resolving conflicts you’re going to be going nowhere fast. Buying expensive mining hardware and competing with people who get free electricity isn’t a viable means of expressing one’s sovereignty for most people.

2. DCR specs and how this translates to English for non-crypto speakers?

Decred uses a unique hybrid Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Stake system to validate blocks. This essentially means that while “miners” still construct blocks they must have the approval of stakers in order to receive their reward. Thus Decred can never be technologically paralized by the inaction of PoW miners. All power lies in the hands of stakeholders. Decred is in the process of becoming the first ever DAE (decentralized autonomous entity).

3. Why DCR is unique, and why it will thrive?

The concept of “skin in the game” and properly aligning incentives can’t be overstated. Developers will come and go, miners may only care about getting a short term return on investment for their hardware. In the end the most sensible way to govern a cryptocurrency is a method akin to corporate governance. The people who own the underlying asset get to exert their will through voting. As an incentive, coin holders receive 30% of the block reward if they choose to participate, while PoW miners receive 60% of the reward, and 10% goes towards the project subsidy ensuring the project remains sustainable for the long run.

4. How will DCR simplify the usage of smart contracts?

By recognizing that useful contracts terminate and don’t need to be Turing complete. This alone will go a significant way towards ensuring Decred doesn’t lead to smart contract dumpster fires. Lightning Network is one of the key elements to our approach. We will be discussing this in greater detail in the near future.

5. How will DCR tackle scalability? How will it stack up versus the rest?

This is a question for the stakeholders. In my opinion it will be a dual pronged approach. Off-chain scaling as well as on-chain scaling. We have already taken a significant step towards the former by having a consensus vote which activated all the primitives necessary for Lightning Network. We are able to also do the latter by holding a similar vote to increase the block size should that become necessary.

In terms of how we will stack up, it’s quite simple; Decred is designed to be extensible, we can add or remove any feature imaginable as long as it receives the approval of 75% of the stakeholders. We’re not stuck with our initial feature set or a bunch of technical debt from rushing to market with a half baked product. This will once again be exemplified in the near future by the addition of our privacy features.

6. How different is DCR from your closest competitor?

Very, Decred is the only coin that to my knowledge has working Consensus Voting. Governance is becoming a hot topic, many projects are theorizing ways that it can be added. Decred has a significant advantage as it was built into the foundation of the code, it is not an afterthought. Governance sounds boring as hell and maybe it is, but it’s also fundamental for any project that wants to be around in the long run. For most projects, by the time they realize they need it, they will already be screwed.

7. Who is behind DCR development? Backgrounds?

Decred is comprised of people from all over the world, this includes developers, designers, marketers and others. It’s a huge and diverse community that is rapidly growing. There are easily fifty people working on the project right now. Some of the founding members gained notoriety for their work as the Bitcoin developers who built btcsuite, a Golang full node implementation.

8. What is/will be DCR marketing plan? Funding?

It will be whatever the stakeholders choose, because 10% of the block reward goes towards the project subsidy which is controlled by coin holders there are ample funds to continue the development of Decred and undertake initiatives to promote it.

9. Plans for other exchanges?

Yes, and the Decred devs also wrote the atomic swap tools which allow for trustless exchange of cryptocurrencies, so I’m really excited about that code being the basis for some of the decentralized exchanges that have been announced.

10. What will the roadmap look like 2018 and beyond?

I’ve been hearing the R word (roadmap) a lot lately… Right now the short term holds privacy which will allow for true fungibility making Decred a better currency. We will also have Lightning Network, enabling microtransactions and smart contracts. In addition to that Politeia, our blockchain tethered proposal system will allow anyone to submit ideas and request funding for things they would like to build on top of Decred, which will be fundamental to our future growth as a project.

Decred is my long term, no compromise, stress-free, crypto I hold on to dearly. I am so impressed with the community, development, and ambition, that I have decided that it will be the first crypto I will mine, once @dcrASIC releases its mining unit.

Thankful to @decredproject, and @jz_bz for their time, approachability, and thoroughness with answers.

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