Interview with the Skycoin team ($SKY)

This time I have the pleasure to interview the Skycoin team. This project claims the original perspective of Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper. Skycoin aims to fix the problems of Bitcoin, through the Obelisk consensus algorithm. Designed to achieve a true decentralisation ending with the actual mining pools oligopoly over BTC.

How would you describe the main pillars of the project?

The two main pillars are our blockchain “Skycoin” and our mesh network “Skywire”.

Skycoin was developed first, before Skywire was fully conceived.
We created it because we foresaw long term issues with Bitcoin centralization and attacks from governments. We are attuned to these sorts of problems, having been involved with the P2P scene for most of our lives.

Skywire was developed to address problems with internet centralization.
Ultimately, there needs to be a way around the current internet, otherwise no P2P system will survive as intended. Skywire also provides a utility purpose to Skycoin, by using Skycoins as a payment mechanism for bandwidth over the network.

About the share of the SKY tokens, how is the distribution (share for team, investors, development..)?

The allocation percents aren’t precisely defined. We don’t know what will be needed over the next 15–30 years.

It’s about 5% for the team. This hasn’t been completely allocated yet.
Another 20–30% is anticipated for funding the Skywire network development with Skywire node operator subsidies. But we don’t know how much will be needed to subsidize this, so we haven’t set a number. Coins for investors are coins for development. So the remaining coins go here.

We have a “timelocked” distribution, in terms of how coins become available for spending.

The first 25% of coins are immediately available. Once this 25% is distributed, another 5% unlocks for distribution, after a network upgrade which will hardcode the 25% block timestamp. For every year after the first 25% was distributed, another 5% unlocks. We expect 1–3 years to reach 25% distribution. 10–15% of this will be for Skywire. The remainder will be used for development costs, either paid directly to contributors or sold OTC through our wallet.

There is no requirement that 5% be distributed each year. That is only a cap on the distribution. This schedule leads to 100% distribution in a minimum of 15 years (75% released at 5% per year). We are considering extending this schedule to 25 years, by reducing the percent unlocked by 1% every five years.

For now these tokens are listed at Cryptopia and C2Cx. Is Poloniex or Bittrex on the horizon?

We have had contact with Bittrex for a few months, but they stopped listing coins during the August BTC fork and then changed their listing procedure due to the SEC announcement. So Bittrex listing has been delayed. Ultimately, getting listed depends upon the exchange, we can’t force Skycoin on to it.

What’s the role of the tokens in the Skycoin project?

To be clear, Skycoin has its own blockchain and does not use ERC20 tokens.
Skycoin is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Originally, we developed Skycoin
because we saw issues with Bitcoin long term due to mining. Later, Skywire was developed to give Skycoins a utility purpose and drive adoption. Skycoins can be used to pay for bandwidth on the Skywire network.

About the team, what are your strengths? (relevant backgrounds and experience…)?

I don’t know everyone’s backgrounds but I can tell you what the devs are working on.

  • Synth is the architect and project figurehead. He has a background in mathematics and cryptography.
  • gz-c / @tokenc / Steve (me) is a developer and now project manager. I wrote most of the original Skycoin software in 2013–2014.
  • iketheadore / @eorad is a developer working on Skycoin core for a few years.
  • montycrypto / @xano137 is a developer working on the Skycoin wallets (desktop, mobile, web).
  • Erich Quist / @erichquist is designing the new Skycoin wallets
  • evanlinjin / @shinogo is a developer working on the BBS application.
  • johnstuartmill wrote the most recent Obelisk consensus algorithm whitepaper and is working on an implementation. He has a background in mathematics.
  • feifeiwoye / @nyf is a developer doing frontend work for the bbs and sky-messenger.
  • vyloy / @zhiyiweng is a developer working on Skywire
  • amherag is developing our CX programming language
  • logrusorgru is developing CXO, our distributed object storage system
  • Then there’s 2 or 3 people working on the Skywire miner hardware.

We have a handful of people helping with marketing and promotion, mostly from the community, but also including Michael Terpin (Coinovate, CoinAgenda) and Richard Kastelein (Blockchain News, CryptoAssets Design Group) in advisory roles.

Thinking about the future, do you have any roadmap with relevant upgrades?

The important development milestones coming in the near future are:

- New wallet
- Mobile wallet
- Web wallet
- Skywire network software
- Skywire “miner” hardware
- BBS application

Our web dev is working on a roadmap for the website now. We have a graphic roadmap but we can’t keep that up to date.

Personally I am focused on improving Skycoin core and the wallet.

The new wallet will be released in two phases. The first release should come in a few weeks. The second in 2–3 months.

Skywire is very important to the project but I do not know the release timeline. Hopefully in the next few months.

The BBS application has been released. That will see regular improvements. @shinogo in Telegram is leading that. The BBS app relies upon CXO, the object storage system. This is invisible to end users but requires as much or more development as the BBS. It is in a continuous release. Once Skywire is ready, BBS will be integrated with it, to run over the Skywire network.

What’s the added value of SKY in comparison with other competitors?

I will exclude all of competitors with no working software in this comparison.

I’m not aware of any project that has as comprehensive of a scope, and also has working software. See here the projects in the Architecture Overview. I don’t follow most of the competitors, because what they do is largely irrelevant to Skycoin.

Our main competitors are Bitcoin and Ethereum. The advantages over Bitcoin are covered here.
Ethereum has long term issues with its scripting language and that it stores everything in a single blockchain. So we are not concerned about it in the long term. Although I think coexistence of strong blockchains is beneficial, so there is no reason to destroy them, only to outlive them.

I expect most of these ICO projects over this past summer to fail on their own.
I would be surprised if any of the ones that collected money without software will go anywhere. I expect most of those funds to be squandered. That kind of money brings in a lot of sharks that have no intention of delivering, even if they could.

Valuation of the current scenario for Skycoin and the crypto industry.

Skycoin was designed for longevity.

We have a lot of work to do in terms of awareness and explaining the project clearly to people. It’s been obscure for too long.

With communication improvements, better exchange listing, better wallet, and skywire released, Skycoin will be in a very good position.

Thanks for your time

See you at Twitter

Crypto Rand