By Michael Chen
For those of you who have been missing the Medium recaps (because we’ve only been doing recaps on the Binance Chain forum) we’ve got good news, we’ve been doing daily updates again so that goes hand in hand with a recap to give you all a better view on what’s been going on over the past month or two.
As you may know, October has been quite the month internally as we were preparing the DeFi modules, SSTORE research paper, and fast peer selection paper in silence, which were all released recently. And the beginning of November has brought us a scurry of daily updates and renewed efforts towards pushing Fantom Consensus towards the masses.
In this Fantom recap we’ll shed a light on what’s been going on if you haven’t been following, but we’ll also elaborate on the decisions we’ve been making for those who have questions about all the daily updates that weren’t answered in the recent AMA’s.
Soul searching, lots of soul searching.
If Fantom is known for one thing, it’s probably the fact that we keep reiterating and changing what we’re doing as we adapt to the demand of the market. That’s caused quite some confusion with our community, as we recently introduced a full stack decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem which raised some questions, but we’ve also been in need of clearing up our stance on what a consensus-as-a-service platform is.
As a means to this end, our technical advisor, Andre Cronje, released an article on the status of Fantom at the beginning of October. The article underlined that Fantom is not focused on building the best blockchain available, but on building the best consensus available. In that same article we also shared the reasoning behind our support for the EVM and Cosmos SDK, and the possibility to plug and play most of our technology as each chain issuer can pick their modules and issue their own blockchain on top of it with relative ease which allows for versatility.
All of the above was very exciting for the developers and institutions interested in building their own blockchains with Fantom, but that also led to a lot of questions from the community about the state of our proof of stake model and what role the FTM token plays in an ecosystem where most of the substantial users of the platform would have their own blockchain. Those questions made us rethink the way we approach different mainnets, and what the consensus participating nodes are looking for as well rather than banks and developers.
Stable tokens for stable rewards
We found that the operating expenses of node runners are represented in an US dollar or fiat value, whereas most proof-of-stake models gave its stakers more of the same token they were already staking. This introduces a lot of downwards risk to validator nodes, especially high quality validator nodes such as reputable staking-as-a-service farms which would not retain their position within the network as it wouldn’t be financially viable to them to keep running a node if the token value were to fluctuate. This led to us introducing Collateral Stable Debt Tokens to the mix, similar to Maker’s DAI and SAI, where stakers would use FTM (or BNB/BTC/ETH) as collateral to mint USDF which is used for staking purposes in the XAR Network mainnet for example, so that stakers can get stable and predictable rewards.
Creating lasting value through research
With the release of multiple new research papers we have been focusing on creating lasting value for other projects as well instead of just building our own ecosystem in a selfish manner. No ecosystem is guaranteed to live forever, so by creating academic content which can be eternalised and used by others we believe that we can produce more value across the board and engage others to produce research which we can also benefit from. The team at the University of Sydney and Yonsei University recently published a paper about the economics of smart contracts where they suggested a new gas cost model for any EVM related use cases. The theories in the paper could reduce EVM execution time, which would lead to higher throughput for smart contract related transactions.
Aside from that, our core developer and researcher Quan Nguyen released a paper on fast peer selection in proof-of-stake systems which will be integrated in Go-Lachesis, and our partners at Sikoba Research launched Isekai 1.0 which is a framework for formal verification which will be utilised in our LLVM.
We recently shared more information about the first integrator of Fantom Consensus, XAR Network, which will be issuing a blockchain which a South African bank will be minting a fiat-backed stable coin on top of. In a recent blog post by the team from XAR Network they shared a high level overview of how Fantom DeFi plays a role in the XAR Network mainnet.
We also had the pleasure of hosting and judging the XAR Network x Fantom blockchain challenge at AfricArena 2019 together with the team from XAR Network, in which the three finalists of the contest (Lightency, HouseAfrica, and ChekkitApp) took the stage to present their blockchain based solutions for economic inclusiveness and real world adoption of blockchain technology on the big stage in front of large institutions and technical unicorns. We were incredibly proud to choose HouseAfrica as a winner in this contest, but we will be providing more details on our involvement and our intention to accelerate all the other finalists as well in future blog posts.
While we’re on the topic of acceleration anyways, we also shared a development contest recently in which we are rewarding cash prizes and the chance to get a full time contract with the foundation to talented developers and teams whom can present interesting proof-of-concepts. After completing the CryptoBazar Serial Hacking events over the last year we’ve grown increasingly passionate about tapping into the concept of hackathons to obtain quality code and cool use cases building on top of Fantom tech, and we’re excited to see what our community can come up with.
New website and ecosystem tools
Over the past month we’ve had the huge pleasure of working with one of our most loyal community members, Simone, whom has finished designing our new website (Riya is coding it right now and it’s looking slick), and is also working on our official wallet and native explorer. It’s been an amazing journey and we’re excited to show you guys the results in the coming weeks as we move towards the final versions.
A few words from Michael Chen
Only after finishing this recap I realised how much we’ve been getting done over the past one and a half month, and it’s always a huge pleasure to know that we have the support of the community while we’re being a tiny bit crazy (the good kind) in our ideas. I know I didn’t get everything on paper in this recap yet, but I hope that this article will also push the readers whom haven’t been keeping up with the flurry of daily updates to actually go out there and read each and every blog post we have published recently.
I personally think these recaps are more important for us a team than the community sometimes, as writing these lets us rethink how the ecosystem really fits together instead of being a loosely tied together set of modules, and it lets us reflect on what we’re doing right and what needs improvement.
Thanks a lot for bearing with me throughout the article, and please do let us know where you want us to improve, may it either be in the writing or in the way we are moving towards our first mainnet launches this quarter.
Michael Chen from Fantom