IoTeX Tech AMA Livestream — December 7, 2018

Greetings everyone! Thank you for those who joined our tech AMA and livestream session on December 7th! We had a great time answering your tech related questions and talking about our technical progress so far and we would like to provide a brief summary for those of you who weren’t able to join, as well as, below you will find the questions that were chosen by the team and qualified for bonus points.

Session participants

Our co-founder Raullen and blockchain professional Dustin from the tech team and Larry, Head of BD, have hosted the livestream to communicate with our supporters and to let you know more about the IoTeX recent updates!

Livestream Recap

Our Staff Blockchain Engineer, Dustin, joins the session along with Larry and Raullen. Here’s a bit about Dustin’s journey and how he joined IoTeX:

Dustin is one of the early developers at IoTeX and joined the team almost from day one, about 10 months ago. He has definitely seen it all and if you look at our code repo history on Github, you can easily find Dustin’s code from the beginning. He has graduated from the University of Southern California and has background in security and cryptography. At the beginning of this year, Raullen was actively reaching out and talking about the amazing project he’s been working on. After studying IoTeX’s whitepaper, Dustin became impressed with the potential that blockchain has for revolutionizing many fields, in particular IoT.

High level explanation of the core features of Photon and why it has been an important milestone for IoTeX

In this release, we have introduced some major features, such as sub-chain provisioning, initial implementation of the cross-chain communication, which are very important features, if you want to have a very scalable blockchain infrastructure. We have also boosted our consensus scheme to make it faster, more robust, and more validation was done for the security aspect. Due to this, our Testnet runs very stably on the back-end infrastructure. Last week, we have opened our Testnet, launched our brand new software development kits (SDKS) and developer documentation, to give people a chance to setup a node, run transactions and to deploy DApps, so that’s a big milestone for our project. This release sums up the four key aspects:

  1. Scalability — we took another step forward to increase scalability by introducing sub-chains.
  2. Privacy — this is work in progress, that we will be focusing on during our next releases to keep enhancing the privacy of the blockchain, privacy-preserving smart contracts and transactions. We do actually, have our own in-house innovation, which is a combination of Plasma + our in-house cryptography, that forms a new privacy-preserving subchain, which we haven’t announced yet, but this is a good time to do that! Our engineers are working hard on sub-chains and once our Mainnet is released, we want to launch this privacy-preserving sub-chain with real uses cases.
  3. Developerability — we want to make this blockchain as a platform to be useful for developers and people. We have our engineers working on documentations, SDK’s, API’s so that people could connect to our blockchain and use our technology to build whatever they like.
  4. The last one would be our vision for the next 1–2 years and Larry is already working on some PR articles about blockchain & IoT which you can also find on our Medium page:

Mainnet Preview VS. Mainnet Alpha

There will be 3 main things we will be targeting for the next release — Mainnet Alpha:

  1. Security and reliability — once we launch this Mainnet, we will have real tokens/assets running on top of the blockchain and these two components would be super important.
  2. Supernode election program kick off — rules around BP’s election, who will be the maintainers for the entire IoTeX network and will be doing block production for the Mainnet and the sub-chains. This is very crucial to the success of the network, as we need to elect block producers who not only have a large stake but also contribute to the community side, marketing and development. Look out for staking requirements, governance and voting process coming soon!
  3. Improvements on the existing SDKs, APIs and documentation to allow developers to build something on top of our blockchain, as well as, introduce our own DApp, that is currently in progress.

Open sourced vs. private development of the blockchain

Dustin: Open source is definitely the spirit and the trend of the current developer community, especially in the crypto-projects space. If the project is in crypto, as practice shows, it needs to be open-sourced for public review and consensus and you only keep the private key. Same applies if you are a blockchain project, because it’s decentralized and you cannot do it in a private or closed way. And in the past 10 years, we have seen the open source community bring extraordinary changes to the industry, many popular data platforms and projects were open-sourced.

Raullen: So far there are two noticeable extremes of the blockchain projects. One is centralized teams and the other one is leaderless, for example bitcoin, that’s owned by the community. Open source seems to be in a transition mode, it’s controlled by a team and with time it gradually becomes owned by a community. Which is good, because at the beginning, we need a centralized effort to put everything together to make it work and once it’s launched, we can open it to other developers, ideas and cultures that will evolve it further. This is the stage where we are now actually. Right now most of the contributions come from the team but once our Mainnet is released, we would like developers to join and contribute their ideas to the IoTeX’s technology, that eventually will be owned by the community. For those of you who are interested in code contributions, feel free to contact the team on Gitter and see what are they ways you can get involved.

On trusted data & oracle

Blockchain has some internal data, such as ICO, token, smart contracts, but that’s not enough if you want to solve real word problems and interact with the real world, the outer layer. We think that a data oracle, especially in a decentralized way, would be very important. IoT is in a very special position and serves as a link between the digital and the physical world, where you can pour the data into this oracle and there are two layers of trust we can get. One — if the data from the IoT device is attested/authenticated, then we can pour it into the oracle. Another way, would be to allow people to vote in the oracle to check if the data is good or not by validating it. Once we have these two parts figures out, this oracle can serve as a source of truth for many things and blockchain can do computation on top of this. It’s crucial to keep the sanctity of the data and make sure that it’s fully trusted. If you are bringing unverifiable data into the ecosystem, it’s not really usable.

How our blockchain technology can support the growing number of IoT devices and what tech solutions we provide

From the beginning our blockchain design allowed for the support of many IoT devices, using lightweight cryptography, improvements to the existing crypto algorithms, to make everything very lightweight, so that less power and battery is used, the data size is compact and small, so this way our systems are tailor-fit for all IoT devices. Also, our consensus mechanism, Roll-DPoS, has instant finality, which means once the block has been proposed, agreed and written into the blockchain, it’s final, reducing the risk for failing or rolling back.

Competition or cooperation with projects in the blockchain & IoT space

We do want to have cooperation with high quality projects, and given the current market conditions, it actually opens some interesting possibilities for it. For example, there are some people that don’t want to continue running their current projects down the road and are thinking about joining IoTeX with their products and ideas because we are pretty well funded. So we are currently interviewing a few teams in the area. For other well-funded, high quality projects, we want to work with them very closely because blockchain industry is so large and we cannot conquer it by ourselves. Looking at Ethereum, who has hundreds of people, they are still struggling in the present time. Given that our infrastructure is almost built, 2019 will definitely be a year for DApps, that will allow creating various building blocks we have in mind.

Thoughts on bear market

This does affect tech development to a certain degree, as we are seeing less DApp developers in the space. In terms of the overall impact on the project, we can say that it’s limited. In the long run, all of the new technologies go through this cycle, either it’s AI, self-driving cars, VR, IR, 3D printing. They have the hype at the beginning, then it drops, as they realize there are limitations for this technology and use cases yet to be found for the tech, so the hype disappears, but there are still people left who stick by the technology and try to identify it’s real value and then it goes up again. So it all needs is time. We are working very hard to find a real use case for blockchain technology and we want to bring the real value to our users and customers.

Ways the community can help IoTeX

Over the next couple of months, whether you are a developer or a project enthusiast, there are a couple of ways you can help. We will be launching a pretty extensive bug bounty for developers, in the next coming month or so. And on the community side, we have started a Brand Ambassadors Program.

Right now we have a global footprint of people who are helping us regionally to develop materials or post on social media or any other way they could be helpful. So if you are interested, you can find all the information in our blog or message Alina or Lori on Telegram. And on the tech side, we have a Gitter channel for the IoTeX developer community, that you can join and share feedback on the node set-up, report any issues or share ideas directly with our team.

On hiring

We are definitely looking for high quality developers, engineers and researchers. The roles we are currently hiring for:Back-end Engineer/Protocol Engineer, Front-end Engineer, researchers with extensive experience in distributed systems, cryptography, economics; Graphic Designers and people who are passionate about BD in the blockchain and IoT space.

If you are interested in any of these positions, send us your resume at hello@iotex.io


Announcing the Winners!

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About IoTeX

IoTeX is the world’s first privacy-centric blockchain platform that is fast, flexible, and the Internet of Things (IoT) friendly. IoTeX’s global team is comprised of Ph.Ds in Cryptography, Distributed Systems, and Machine Learning, top-tier engineers, and experienced ecosystem builders. Designed and optimized for IoT, IoTeX uses state-of-the-art privacy, consensus, and subchain innovations to capture the full potential of IoT. By enabling trusted data, interoperability, and M2M automation, IoTeX connects the physical and digital worlds and brings trusted machine economies to the masses.

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