Exclusive Interview with Fantom Foundation
Directed Acyclic Graphs are data structures that many believe may hold the answer. They can be used in a similar capacity as the blockchain, but with some very interesting distinctions. If the blockchain is a deck of cards all stacked one on top of the other, then DAGs have the cards organized to play a game of Pyramid. This arrangement of data allows much higher potential for scalability and transaction speeds than could ever be achieved with blockchain technology.
Korean based Fantom is one company that has big plans to apply DAG tech to revolutionize cryptocurrency. Moreover, they just may do it. Dr. Ahn Byung Ik, the CEO of Fantom, was not alone in his dream to see cryptocurrency expand its role in day to day life. However, he and his team have created a means to make this a reality.
Thanks for joining me today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Fantom?
Thanks for the warm welcome Uzi. To kick it off, I’m Michael Chen and I’m in charge of marketing at the Fantom Foundation, I’ve been in the space for a couple years now as an investor and I’ve always been really excited about projects with good vision and strong technologists to back it up such as Fantom.
Fantom is a new network that solves the existing scalability problems in traditional blockchains such as Ethereum, and we use a newly pioneered consensus mechanism which uses gossip to propagate consensus.
Through this neat consensus mechanism we’ve been able to achieve aBFT (asynchronous byzantine fault tolerant) consensus which is considered to be the gold standard in security for distributed systems.
What does a normal day look like working with Fantom?
I work on a remote basis so a normal day of working with Fantom usually starts off from the comfort of my office-at-home.
My usual day is filled with connecting to the community on all channels to find out if there are any problems or points for improvement, vetting marketing proposals from third party service providers, talking to ecosystem partners, and chatting to our developers about the progress on the R&D side. Crypto is an industry that lives 24/7, so it’s very normal to work past-midnight as well for me and my colleagues.
Where are your current team members based out of? How do they usually collaborate with each other?
We have team members based out of Australia, Europe, and South Africa, and Asia, mostly working on a remote basis. All of the departments and teams across the world are interconnected, and we use Slack, Telegram, and conference calls to collaborate on all the action items. I feel like it works really well because everyone is available throughout the clock, and we don’t really experience any trouble with the difference in time zones or lack of physical representation because of the conference calls and telegram responsiveness of my colleagues.
Tell us about how the idea for Fantom originated.
Fantom originated as an idea between our friends in Australia at Digital Currency Holdings, Dr Ahn Byung Ik, and our advisor Matthew Hur, as an alternative to the existing blockchains that are struggling to scale. The upgrades and developments around Ethereum have taken significant amounts of time, and getting consensus between miners and developers on what direction it should go into has just led to tons of Ethereum forks coming to market and raising money without solving any of the existing problems. All of this led to the team becoming fed up with the state of the industry, and we came together to solve this.
In the current cryptocurrency ecosystem, why do you think there is a gap for Fantom to fill, and what makes Fantom stand out from the rest of the pack?
We believe that aBFT consensus is ridiculously sexy tech, there are many interesting use cases that can be explored because we can manage to achieve a low time to finality and high throughputs without compromising security or decentralization in our network.
Most projects that claim to have aBFT consensus are either permissioned networks with all validator nodes known in a trusted setting, or just flat out lying from what I’ve seen. We think that’s a gap that we can fill for them because our network is trustless and permissionless (anyone can come in and run a validator node if they meet the minimum staking requirement, anyone can lease/delegate their token to a validator node for staking), unlike our competitors who claim to do the same thing.
What do you think is the biggest problem Fantom will solve and why is the problem important to solve?
We believe in this industry and all the use cases that can be powered by blockchain technology, but we don’t believe in the existing infrastructure that seems to slow down significantly or crash because of a dApp with housepet concept based collectibles (I mean cryptokitties). If we want the mainstream public to take our industry seriously we to fix the bottlenecks that are holding back the people from using the technology that’s being built in this industry.
Can you give your opinion as to why a solution to this problem can only be covered by Fantom? Why were there no solutions before that could solve this problem?
Lots of the research in this industry about distributed ledgers and blockchain dates back to the 20th Century.
We aren’t reinventing the wheel, but we are in fact using amazing research from some of the greatest minds in cryptography, and implementing it into our product.
I believe that there haven’t been any good solutions to the problems in this industry yet because networks with a large amount of stakeholders are too wound up in their internal feuds, and the lack of good developers and researchers in the entire space to actually implement these cool concepts that have been publicly available research for decades. There’s a lack of education for blockchain developers, and that’s slowing down the growth of the good projects in the industry.
What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishments with Fantom to date?
As a non-profit foundation, the main focus of Fantom is the development of it’s tech, and that’s why I think our biggest accomplishment to date is all the code that we’ve managed to churn out over the past year. It’s a symbol of our hard work, and I can’t wait to see our mainnet launch this year.
Aside from the non-profit foundation, we also have our innovation lab which is focusing on use case studies and smart city pilots, I think they’ve accomplished a lot as well in regards to providing strong business development connections and getting the word out about Fantom to institutions that could potentially use the technology to improve efficiency.
What are some of the use cases and benefits of holding the FTM token? Can you tell us more about future use cases FTM will have?
The FTM token is the fuel and onramp to the wider Fantom ecosystem, our community of users will be able to tap into the applications of our technology by utilizing the token. More importantly though, the token will play an essential role to securing the network through our Proof of Stake implementation, and by contributing to our onchain governance.
There is a huge buzz around 5G now with the chances being good we will be using 5G by the end of 2019, how much of an impact do you see 5G having on IoT and how will that impact Fantom/smart cities?
Having faster down- and upload speeds, lower latency, and generally more stable connections, is a big plus in pushing for smarter cities. A smart city built upon a foundation of unstable connections can only fail, reliability and trust are everything when it comes to new technologies. For that, we need stable connections so the people can trust the technology that’s powering their daily lives.
The cryptocurrency world has seen extraordinary growth in 2017 and 2018, what have you learned in the last year that will inform the Fantom team for 2019 and the years ahead?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the extraordinary growth and hugely misallocated capital in the space, it must have been the ability to budget and keep your head on the ground.
Teams get tempted to buy their way to the top when they raise shitloads of money, and they burn their treasuries to nothingness within no time when they forget the growing pains of traditional startups. So no bad third party marketing firms, no below average blockchain development consulting firms, and not agreeing to pay for anything that doesn’t add long lasting value to the ecosystem.
What are some of the goals Fantom is looking forward to accomplishing the most this year?
We’re looking to accomplish the launch of our mainnet in late Q2 or early Q3 this year, I think that’s when the real use case building and community engagement start because we can finally start giving people a product that they can use. Quality speaks for itself, the network effect is the best way to accomplish the flippening to the top that we dream of.
Can you give us any details on any new partnerships with Fantom?
I’m personally not a fan of hyping up partnerships and such without any product or concrete use case to present to you today, I would like to show you more when our mainnet launches 😉
With many known projects coming from South Korea such as ICON, and Samsung implementing a crypto wallet on the new S10 phone, describe what the crypto craze is like in South Korea.
Honestly? I think the South Korean government does a great job at pushing blockchain technology, but they seem very anti-token to me. On the other hand, the South Korean population seems to be extremely excited about crypto because it offers them a possibility of escaping the economic inequality that we see in cities such as Seoul nowadays.
Housing is expensive, young people are burdened with the financial maintenance of their parents, and the corporate ladder seems to be a difficult climb. I think the ‘’crypto craze’’ that the western media portrays is blown out of proportion for a bit though, I personally haven’t seen people check their Deltas or Blockfolios in the subway or the local café.
Tell us about Fantom’s Proof of Stake model, for those that are experienced and those that are new to cryptocurrency and would like to try staking for the first time.
Fantom uses proof of stake to secure it’s network, we believe that proof of work is energy inefficient and isn’t a sustainable model for a network that we believe will be used for a long time to come.
Opinions about PoW/PoS aside, we’ve decided that anyone can join the network to run a validator node if they hold 3.175.000 (0.1% of the maximum supply) as a stake. Worry not however if you don’t have that many tokens, because anyone with 1 FTM token or more can also decide to delegate their tokens to a validator node and receive staking rewards as well, minus a fixed delegator fee. We’re trying to make the staking process as easy as possible, but we assume that to run a validator node you’ll need to have some technical knowledge.
When does Fantom plan to release Fantom Pay? What are the advantages of Fantom Pay compared to other cryptocurrency payment apps?
We’re planning to launch FantomPay after mainnet, likely in Q4 2019.
We think that there aren’t many, or any, good crypto-to-fiat payment options currently that aren’t charging astronomical transaction fees so we decided to create FantomPay. Our advantage will be the ease of use, seamless integration of multiple currencies, and competitive rates of use.
What do you think is the biggest obstacles or challenges Fantom will have to face down the road? How do you plan to tackle those challenges?
The biggest obstacle for any good technology is the public perception, any project is a sh*tcoin until it has proven not to be. People can be irrational, and will not even give a chance to a newer project sometimes if their first impression has been bad, may it be a 4Chan post or a reddit thread. We’ll work diligently, for years upon years to ensure the quality of the technology and to sway the public perception into our favor so newcomers may feel comfortable with using Fantom.
Neither Rome, nor Ethereum, were built in one day.
Where do you and Fantom see the world of blockchain being in years to come?
I think that we won’t see mass adoption as soon as tomorrow, I think we have long ways to go, but I definitely think we’ll get to a future where more and more people will start using the technology for what it’s intended for, and I’ll think we’ll see huge improvements in user experience so that newcomers do not have to interact with the entry barriers such as bad wallets, confusing public keys, and lack of seamless integration between dApps and the blockchains they run on.
Thanks again for all of your answers. If people want to follow Fantom, where should they go?
I may be biased, but I really like the lighthearted element of Telegram groups, so I think that you should definitely join us for a chat in our official group. We’re really active on twitter as well, and we’re planning to start using reddit more for developer community engagement too.
Check out our official Telegram at: https://t.me/Fantom_English
Check out our official Subreddit at: https://www.reddit.com/r/FantomFoundation/
Check out our official Twitter account at: https://twitter.com/fantomfdn