IoTeX General AMA — December 21, 2018
Hello everyone! Like usual, our next bi-weekly AMA will be a GENERAL one this Friday, December 21, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM PST. We will be granting 300 bonus points for up to 10 people for the “most thoughtful questions” we receive. Again, please double-check and make sure that you are submitting question with your unique IoTeX Hash ID to qualify for bonus points if selected. Any other Hash ID will be ineligible.
*This thread will be unlocked when the campaign starts!
How to participate in the IoTeX AMA
- Subscribe to the IoTeX subreddit r/IoTeX
- Visit the pinned “IoTeX General AMA — December 21, 2018” post in the r/IoTeX subreddit on December 21, 2018 between 11:00 AM — 1:00 PM PST. We will also post a link in the official IoTeX Telegram group when the campaign starts. *Note: We will only accept questions submitted within the official AMA timeframe announced here.
- Ask us a question and include your unique IoTeX Hash ID (PM @IoTeXBountyBot and enter /hashid, or follow the instructions here) — we will only give points for new questions (no duplicate questions)!
- We will answer the questions one by one in Reddit. If you have follow-up questions, please feel free to comment on our reply!
- We will also select the most thoughtful questions and give additional bonus points.
- We will transcribe the AMA and post the list of questions and answers to our Telegram group.
- “Most Thoughtful Questions” Bonus: 300 points (Up to 10 people, chosen by the IoTeX team)
- Points will be distributed no later than Dec 26.
- We don’t give bonus points for repeated questions. Please check our former AMAs here
- Shoot us any questions you’ve got related to IoTeX!
- Profanity and spam messages are forbidden.
Announcing the Winners!
Congratulations to those who won bonus points from this AMA!
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Most Thoughtful Questions
Q1: Lately I’ve noticed that there are many superb tech events to which IoTeX is the only blockchain project to be invited back-to-back latest being China Mobile IoT Alliance. That is very huge and may be overlooked by many as being the first and only means huge advantage in competition. How exactly does IoTeX continue to deliver on these things periodically in respects to as much as CAN be said?
A: Thank you! We are very honored to be the first and only “blockchain” company to join the China Mobile IoT Alliance. Our contributions will follow two directions. 1) contribute to technical and academic expertise and resources 2) More importantly, we will work with the other alliance member for real proof and concept, use cases, and commercialization of the blockchain for the Internet of Things industry. This alliance has members covering various IoT verticles and they are all very valuable resources and potential partners of us. During the quarterly meeting, we will sit down with the members and discuss the practical ways to target specific use case scenarios and and the real-life solution. It may take a lot of efforts but we will lead the blockchain application side to push the development progress.
Q2: Will IoTeX Blockchain support human readable accounts beside addresses like for EOS? And do you expect IoTeX blocktime could be as fast as 0.5 seconds?
A: On the root chain, we plan to use the raw address derived from EC private keys. Human readable account and account management is a platform-level feature, not an infra-level feature, that can be easily implemented at contract level (btw, IoTeX will come with some native contracts). For example, Ethereum has ENS which is, tho not as popular as, similar to EOS’s account management. The problem of natively integrating an account scheme into the blockchain is the sacrifice of extensibility — I believe different account schemes would be needed for different scenarios/applications.
In terms of the blocktime, I’d against to have it as small as 0.5sec for two reasons. 1. A normal RTT for a request/response over the internet is >500msec; producing a block within 0.5sec basically means the BPs need to be directly connected over a private or semi-private network, which introduces lots of concerns about centralization which IoTeX wants to avoid; 2. Producing block too fast introduces security risks such as EOS got attack few days ago. If we really want to make it fast, we need a subchain, e.g., in the form of a plasma chain, that could be a bit centralized but collateralized enough stake for users to build trust upon. Definitely being fast is not the priority for the root chain; safety and reliability are.
Q3: Hi, I started study IoTeX recently and so I wanted to study the Go source code (iotex-core). I found that it includes 2 closed source components (libsect283k1 and libtblsmnt) and that, currently, they are only builds for ubuntu (x86_64) and Mac OS X. Analyzing the first one I see that it calls functions like blake256_hash, ECDSA_sign, schnorr_verify so it seems it’s related to signature handling. Did you planed to release the source code of that components (so “paranoids” can be sure there are no cryptographic backdoors)? If yes, when?
A: The two crypto libraries handle the cryptographic protocols used in the IoTeX blockchain. The source codes of those libraries are being reviewed and improved internally at this moment and will be released early next year before the mainnet launch.
Q4: Will the team be able to handle the large scale of IoT really? We’re talking what could be millions of devices, are you guys taking into account like network overhead and bandwidth requirements for nodes fully?
A: Yes — we are committed to creating a protocol and environment that can support the entirety of the IoT industry. Unlike other blockchain platforms / protocols that are designing for general purpose use cases or other specific use cases (e.g., finance), we have made upfront design decisions for our blockchain to tailor fit it for IoT. We use lightweight cryptography to reduce the footprint / storage requirements for IoT devices (e.g., gateways / routers that connect to smaller sensors) running our blockchain protocol. We built our in-house Roll-DPoS consensus mechanism because DPoS is the most scalable consensus scheme right now. And we have a sub-chains architecture that allows for “separation of duties” — in other words, each sub-chain performs specific functions which do not affect the performance of other sub-chains. These are all design decisions that come together to fulfill the requirements of global IoT.
One misconception is that ALL data from IoT devices will need to be stored on the blockchain. IoT devices today are getting smarter and smarter — they are able to process data locally (e.g., data validation, light analytics) to reduce the amount of data that must be sent to the Cloud / blockchain. This is called edge / fog computing. When paired with blockchain, this allows for the most critical data (i.e., results of analysis, state change data) to be stored on the blockchain, while other data is processed outside of the blockchain.
Q5: A Kondratieff Wave is a long-term economic cycle believed to result from technological innovation and produce a long period of prosperity. For example before the invention of the internet there was an economy downcycle and it is believed that inventions in Information technologies spurred the rally up for few decades and economy of the world was growing at a fast pace and 30 years from then economy collapsed during the 2008 crisis. After that shortly bitcoin and blockchain was introduced to the world. What do you think: is it coincidence or blockchain and in that regard IoTeX as well will be the next stepping stone marking the beginning of the new Kondratieff Wave and bloom of world economy?
A: Very interesting question — this is something that we think about a lot. The world is changing extremely quickly — in developed countries, we are seeing the start of the “third industrial revolution” that is transforming how we power our society (i.e., renewables vs. fossil fuels), communicate (i.e., digital / social), and consume (i.e., [blank]-as-a-service). In non-developed countries, mobile-based technology is emerging and “leapfrogging” the traditional banking systems (check out M-PESA from Kenya). The theme in both developed and non-developed countries is transparency, automation, and trust — this is where blockchain will shine. Blockchain will create entirely new engagement models across several industries — we are already seeing it in the financial space, and we believe 2019 will be the year when blockchain & IoT really skyrockets.
Q6: Hi! Have you ever thought about creating your physical IoT device, thanks to which it would be easier to introduce the IoTeX blockchain into our lives? If so, tell us about it! If not-it’s time to think about it)
Merry Christmas and Happy New year!
A: Yes — this is something that we are working on (cannot share too much on this topic), but what we can share is we want to bring blockchain & IoT to everyone — hobbyists, professional developers, and enterprises. To do that, we must make hardware development / prototyping kits available to the masses, that can help anyone get started with their own IoT implementations. Already sharing a little too much here, but stay tuned ;)
Q7: Quite an interesting thing is that financial market strength of Iotex is correlating with resillience of the network because if price of Iotex token appreciates it starts to get more economically inefficient to attack the network and this perfectly alligns with Iotex investors’ reachabilities. What are the plans of the team to achieve this parallel goal not from the technological point of view?
A: You mention a very important point about blockchain protocols — the more “stake” in the network, the more resilient the network is due to removing the “nothing at risk” concern. Much of this is actually enabled by choices in the design of a consensus mechanism. By this, we don’t mean simply choosing DPoS or PoS or PoW, but even more granular, such as determining who is elected to produce blocks (i.e., voting in DPoS), what the rewards are for producing blocks, and . We aim to balance fairness so that block production is not centralized (i.e., Pareto distribution, 80/20 rule) as well as incentivizing block producers to continue to stake tokens. Along these lines, we have been designing and testing our consensus mechanism at an extremely detailed level, as well as observing other projects’ design decisions (especially other DPoS and PoS projects). We see many flaws in the balance of power in other projects (see example: https://cryptogo.de/en/lisk-the-mafia-blockchain/), and will make sure that our protocol is fair to investors, block producers, DApp developers, and users. Stay tuned for more announcements on our process!
Q8: Lately you have become part of the IoT Alliance mobile china. It is very nice to see how much this project is gaining importance in the Blockchain and IoT fields. Those who follow the telegram groups regarding cryptocurrencies know that IoTeX is a name that lately appears more and more frequently in chats all over the world. For this reason, I ask you if you intend to take advantage of the moment favorable to you and increase your marketing investments or do you prefer to focus on product development? In your plans there is also the idea of proposing a listing at some Exchange?
Not all the world’s population has enough money to buy IoT products. Are you planning to do something to bring technology to even the least developed countries?
A: Great question! Under the current market, we are sad to witness that some projects have left us or have fewer updates about the development progress. There are many reasons we don’t know behind the scene. As our early supporters know, we have a very detailed and ambitious roadmap and we always deliver on or ahead of time to keep pushing our progress to move forward step by step. Financially, we have also reserved enough fundings for the future 3–4 years development. It is a great time for us to do some precipitation (improving and revising the current code we have) and focus on our use case/DApp/product development and real partnership along with our coming Mainnet Alpha stage. In our opinion, the marketing investments will perform better when we have actual progress.
As for the “buying IoT products” — we can see it at a higher level. The IoT devices can be not limited to the general smart home, wearables, smart cars… It can also be smart machines in various verticals such as logistics, agriculture, energy, off-site verification system, etc. As an end user, we may not have the chance to see and use them directly, but they are largely used by corporations and ultimately benefit our everyday life. And these machines will also be widely used in those less developed countries. Many of our partnerships focus on this side.
Q9: Do you have future plans to change from Roll DdPos to yet another type of dPos?
A: You should think about DPoS as a family of consensus mechanisms — all DPoS schemes are similar, in that a voted committee of delegates produces and validates blocks, but apart from that most DPoS schemes are very different. For example, EOS uses a concept called “approval voting”, where any token holder is able to vote for 30 validators. If the token holder has 100 EOS, then all 30 of the BPs will get 100 votes (not 100 divided by 30). From our point of view, this is a recipe for collusion, as the top 21 token holders can all vote for each other 21 times and block out other potential BPs. IoTeX (and other DPoS schemes like Tron) do not use approval voting. This is just one example of the nuances of DPoS and consensus mechanisms in general.
Like other projects, we will be bootstrapping our network when our Mainnet launches, and will make adjustments to our consensus mechanism throughout 2019 to optimize performance and fairness. We will be unveiling the full details of our block producer requirements (e.g., HW/SW, ops, stake), block rewards, voting process, etc. in the near future.
Q10: do you think your technology will significantly improve carsharing, which is now gaining momentum. will you be able to improve this market and bring your technologies and ideas to it?
I read your news, tell in more detail about technology of the intellectual parking which allows operators of the parking remotely and to automatically keep track of employment rate of the parking in real time? whether you have competitors in this direction?
A: The Auto industry is a huge opportunity for blockchain & IoT. As more and more software is being put into cars (e.g., Tesla now has over-the-air automatic updates for their cars), the data gathered from cars as well as the data sent to cars must be fully protected. This is a huge deal — Elon Musk often says the biggest risk to Tesla is if someone is able to deploy an OTA update to the entire fleet of Tesla vehicles, which could take over control of cars. Blockchain will play a very important role in gathering trusted and shareable consumer data from vehicles (for use in insurance / compliance and data marketplaces) and also how cars consume new information.
A parking / smart city solution would utilize a combination of IoT and blockchain technologies. On the IoT side, RFID/NFC technology will likely be used to have cars communicate with infrastructure (e.g., parking meters), while blockchain will be used to create a foundation of trust between drivers and the city. Once this foundation of trust is established, multiple parties will be able to transact in a trusted way. This will lead to automation opportunities, such as fully automated “park and pay”.
Q11. In the future when Iotex will be the underlying base for vast number of devices how would the network/devices be affected in case of soft or hard fork if the system will need an update? Would the problems be hard to bypass with potential software transition?
The way that IoT devices integrate with the IoTeX blockchain is as follows: full nodes will be run on full-power devices (e.g., normal computers, IoT gateways / routers), and light clients will be run on smaller resource-constrained devices (e.g., sensors). These light nodes will not participate in consensus (due to their lack of compute resources), but given sufficient storage resources they will be synced with a full node (i.e., the gateway it passes data to) and periodically download the latest state of the blockchain. Given a fork, the latest state of the blockchain will be pushed to full nodes, and light nodes will be automatically synced.
IoTeX is the privacy-centric blockchain platform that is fast, flexible, and the Internet of Things (IoT) friendly. IoTeX’s global team is comprised of distinguished research scientists, top-tier engineers, and experienced ecosystem builders. Designed and optimized for IoT, IoTeX uses state-of-the-art privacy, consensus, and sub-chain innovations to capture the full potential of IoT. By enabling trusted data, interoperability, and M2M automation, IoTeX bridges the physical and digital worlds and brings trusted machine economies to the masses.
Telegram Announcement Channel: https://t.me/iotexchannel
Telegram Group: https://t.me/IoTeXGroup
Join us: https://iotex.io/careers