Ergo — Telegram AMA — December 12
On Thursday December 12, we had the pleasure to welcome to our Telegram chat:
Alexander “kushti” Chepurnoy, Core Developer and
Justin Simpson, Community Manager from Ergo.
Some sentences have been slightly edited for readability, but the meaning has been conserved.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Can you introduce yourselves and tell us what your role is with Ergo, Alexander and Justin?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo:
Hi, I am Alexander “kushti” Chepurnoy, core developer of the Ergo Platform team. I’ve been working on it since day 1.
A — JSimp from Ergo:
I am a “Community Member” with Ergo. In doing research on numerous crypto projects back in mid to late 2017, I came across peer-reviewed research papers published by core members of the Ergo Team like Alexander Chepurnoy and Dmitry Meshkov among others. After reading around 10 of their papers, I became very excited about what they were building, although it was still super early — pre-testnet I think! I got to meet the team in Moscow during Genesis Moscow in 2017 and meeting was confirmatory of all the positive views I had of what was still an early stage project at the time. I became actively involved in the project in the 2nd half of 2018. I am based in Hong Kong.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Can you tell us what you did before Ergo and how you got into crypto?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo:
I worked as a developer on distributed systems and peer-to-peer networks even before getting into the blockchain space. I discovered Bitcoin in early 2011. My initial thought was that it will be another toy for 200 enthusiasts around the globe for the next 20 years or so. Happily, I was wrong! I started to work on cryptocurrency projects from Spring 2013, and from May 2014 on core technologies. The first cryptocurrency core I worked on was Nxt, back in 2014–2015. About the same time, I used to be cofounder of smartcontract.com (now known as ChainLink). In February, 2016, I joined IOHK (developing Cardano, Ethereum Classic client, and doing a lot of state-of-the-art research) as a research fellow among the first 5 employees. Then there is Ergo, my last big project in the space probably.
A — JSimp from Ergo:
I was an ex-Investment banker — specialization in convertible bonds — at bulge bracket. I got into crypto in mid-2013 between jobs. I even worked at a Bitcoin-mining ASIC design company briefly in summer 2013 in San Francisco.
Q — Alexandre R from GAINS: Can you explain what Ergo is in a simple way?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Ergo is a PoW-based digital gold focused on long-term survivability, but also with efficient support for custom tokens, complex cryptographic protocols and financial contracts! So it is good as store-of-value but also a lot of things could be built on top of the digital gold!
Here are a few latest news:
1) The team behind first semi-decentralized pool is starting private testing and inviting 1–2 miners with AMD GPUs.
2) New protocol client 3.2.0 finalized and we hope to release it before New Year. Improved wallet, much more efficient bootstrapping and support for external applications!
3) Security audit report is ready and will be published in coming days.
4) Christmas gift for community is coming around next week.
There are a lot of published papers behind Ergo actually.
A — JSimp from Ergo: My brief perspective: Ergo is the logical evolution of Bitcoin and sticks to the same core fundamental principles while delivering a whole slew of tech innovations that are not practical to implement on Bitcoin in this stage of its development. We were promised a lot of things with Bitcoin like true decentralization, colored coins (assets on blockchain), scalability, some governance model that is decentralized but works. Most of these have not panned out or only partially. Ergo when fully developed with full user base has potential to deliver on all these fronts. It excels at so many things…and it’s a totally new code base from the ground up. I am not aware of anything comparable to Ergo in potential if Ergo gains user awareness.
Q — Telegram user Jerry: Does your dev team have enough qualifications and experience to deliver a world class project?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Yes! We have highly skilled devs, crypto PhD holders, and guys doing PhD in compiler theory leading ErgoTree/ErgoScript implementation. For crypto stuff we got help from a crypto professor at Boston University, and most critical parts of the code were checked by well-known guys in the field (report is ready and will be published soon).
A — JSimp from Ergo: There are TOP PEOPLE in the space on this project. It’s hard to believe because so few people have heard about Ergo but it’s true. Honestly, I don’t think Charles Hoskinson would have this to say about it if it was just another crypto project.
Q — Telegram user promotor: What makes Ergo Blockchain different from other coins?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo doesn’t just talk “decentralization” like many platforms but really seeks to achieve it. In my opinion, it is not so much about a future plan. Decentralized platforms don’t “plan”. After all, it is about the platform that has been built to-date and the fact that ANYONE can make a “plan” to do something on Ergo. That being said, the core Ergo team is continuing to work on the platform and have their own ideas, but anyone can do their own thing!
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Our most recent positional article quantifies that.
Q — Telegram user Jerry: Do you have any partnerships with other projects in the near future? What are your goals and plan in 2020?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: The Ergo Team is already working with external entities. The only thing needed now is to figure out a framework to make them recognizable partnerships!
Q — Telegram user Rohit (wHaLe): I see one of the competitive advantages of Ergo is the dev team who assures speedy developments of different functionalities on the Ergo ecosystem. Can you tell more about your organization?
A — JSimp from Ergo: To me the biggest advantage is not the current dev team, although they are amongst the very best in the world, but rather the fact that anyone can come develop on Ergo and contribute as it is an open DECENTRALIZED platform.
Q — Telegram user AK47 (investor): Not too many blockchain projects have survived since 2015. What keeps you moving forward?
A — JSimp from Ergo: The team is very dedicated and love what they do. They thought they could do something to solve problems they saw in existing platforms.
Q — Telegram user Red Z: Can you explain what’s the use/utility of ERG token in your whole ecosystem?
A — JSimp from Ergo: ERG is used for transaction fees and storage rent fees. The storage rent fees are key, because they create an economy around STATE which resides in high cost memory. This economy doesn’t exist in Bitcoin or Ethereum and is arguably more important than blockchain size constraints.
Q — Telegram user Kai @23: What are Ergo’s competitors in this market?
A — JSimp from Ergo: There are projects that at least pretend to have the same idea I guess. I’m not aware of any real competitors to Ergo myself, having looked at recent PoW coins like RavenCoin/Beam/Grin etc. They either focused on single areas (privacy?) or just fork Bitcoin with limited value added as opposed to Ergo which is built from the ground up with an original code base.
Q — Telegram user Emily GD: Can you list 2–3 killer features of Ergo that makes it ahead of its competitors?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Ergo for the first time in the space has:
1) Storage rent
2) Stateless clients (you can run a full node with much less effort)
3) Powerful applications in the simple Bitcoin-like transactional model
But all these things sound much better together as a project survivable in the long-term.
Q — Telegram user Emily GD: What is Ergo’s business model?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo is not a business. It’s a decentralized blockchain platform with massive functionality. We welcome any business who wants to build on top of it. They can do that with or without input from any Ergo “core” team members.
Q — Telegram user Gr Gr Gr: Ergo is currently developing many services such as wallets, exchanges, block explorer, developer tool, software, wikis. Do you think developing so many services at the same time makes it impossible for Ergo’s team to develop each of the best services?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: In Ergo, core developers are willing to focus on the core and integration frameworks, and let external teams do their business to avoid conflicts of interest. So far, external teams and devs delivered notarization tool, decentralized (no-platform) crowdfunding tool (we ran an initial crowdfunding campaign successfully), oracles, there’s first example of mixing done in the network. There are work-in-progress about efficient and secure mobile wallet with atomic swaps (with Bitcoin and others), mutual credit systems, tokenization platforms, a wallet in the form of a browser extension, semi-decentralized pools etc.
A — JSimp from Ergo: The Ergo team is incredibly competent at developing all these different things and I think they can handle it. That being said, it does seem marketing/promotion gets left behind sometimes. But that’s not just Ergo team’s responsibility. The entire crypto community should be making sure platforms that are truly exceptional get the attention they deserve!
Q — Twitter user @hiep12323: One of the biggest problems with DApps is the inactive and useless state. People only create DApps but it has no use case or contribution to the blockchain ecosystem. To prevent and solve this problem that can occur on the Ergo platform, what will your team do?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: This is a huge problem for all the known smart contract platforms in the long term. And it is solved in Ergo! First, you need to pay for the state to be stored in the blockchain (every four years).
Secondly, Ergo has support for authenticated structures in the smart contract language, so in many cases you can keep just very short digest of dataset and reveal only parts of it when needed during transaction execution.
Also, Ergo allows for stateless full node, so only miners need to keep state in an extreme case, but the nodes are still secured.
Q — Telegram user Dun- Devloper NG: Quantum Computing is one of the new technologies that has been growing and innovating. How will it affect the blockchain and what challenges could this bring for Ergo?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: We’re using efficient cryptography for signatures, and it is not quantum-resistant then. I’m following QC topic a bit and it is still unclear whether quantum threat could be real or not at all.
Q — Telegram user Aqib: What is the crucial thing, in your opinion, that would increase adoption of ERG and possibly the rest of crypto?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Ergo supply is capped like in Bitcoin, about 97M will be issued within the first 8 years. Ergo has storage rent economy also: if you do not touch you coin for four years then the miner can charge a little bit of its value. Because of that mining income is secured after issuance is done (unlike Bitcoin). Ergo is a utility token. You are basically paying with it to be in the system (which is fair as thousands of computers are storing your coin with data embedded and miners are working also).
Q — Telegram user FOREST™: What was the reason to build and use ErgoScript? How is it superior over Bitcoin Script?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo Script is just as secure as Bitcoin script (maybe more…) but allows MUCH more functionality and even soft ‘forkable’ changes down the road.
The consensus protocol of Ergo is Autolykos- A proof of work based Consensus algorithm! Why did you choose PoW consensus Algorithms instead of PoS or any other consensus?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: ErgoScript is a super-simple subset of Scala, so simple that we’re ready to show some results in formal verification of contracts! It is a top-level language translated into a low-level language called ErgoTree, which is translated during execution into cryptographic protocol. That’s how Ergo supports ring and threshold signatures and much more crypto protocols with no special cases made in the core!
Autolykos is a variant of Equihash used in Zcash, but totally different settings (to consume much more memory), it is also pool-resistant, so there are no centralized pools as we know them in Ergo but some semi-decentralized are coming.
Q — Telegram user Harley: Why would any developer create smart contracts on Ergo platform, as developers would have to learn ErgoScript Programming language before creating smart contracts on Ergo!
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Ergo contracts are made highly “templatizeable” for that reason. The plan is that in a typical case you will just use a template with your own parameters (keys, deadlines) etc. Also, the language is made simple!
Q — Telegram user Sujit: Why does Ergo platform use Proof of Work Consensus, as we know that PoW Consensus consumes much electricity & may be harmful for the environment?
A — JSimp from Ergo: There is a blog post on emission that lays out simply how Ergo creates a new economic model around state and why the emission schedule can securely only be 8 years as opposed to like ~140 years or whatever in Bitcoin. It’s in the last section briefly and you can learn more on the other materials.
Q — Twitter user @SamCryptoTrader: A project’s security is the most important factor for any Blockchain! There are many possibilities of security breaches like 51% attack / Double spending attack! What are some of the security measures of the Ergo Platform?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: We can’t improve over PoW it seems, so 51% security is the same. But Ergo is doing a lot under the hood in regards with known attacks against PoW, such as time-drifting attacks (someone already tried to perform in the network), coin-hopping attacks (we have a paper on that even (https://eprint.iacr.org/2017/731.pdf). For language, we seriously considered spam attacks (like happened in Bitcoin in 2012 or Ethereum in 2016) and have a lot of simulations of them. The most critical parts of the code are covered by security audit; a report is ready and will be published soon! We considered possibly all of the issues found in existing networks to improve over the current state of the space.
Q — Telegram user Infinite Crypto: Every contract needs security & scalability. How does Ergo solve that problem?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Security is something the Ergo team obsesses over and have spent years thinking about. Scalability limitations are still present in Ergo, but many things have been done to mitigate this and make Ergo more scalable in a more secure manner than other blockchains including:
1) Economy around state via storage rent fee;
2) on-chain voting to increase block size in a gradual SECURE manner.
Q — Telegram user Milli: Recently, a white hat hacker reported a big bug which may destroy MakerDAO ecosystem. Can you define which types of advanced security for funds Ergo has?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo:
In the first place, Ergo does not have such complicated contracts as ETH with so messy high-level language, also it uses ahead-of-time cost estimation, so no issues with out- -of-gas on the way. In short, DAO ($40M loss), parity multisig lib ($35 M) and so on simply could not happen in Ergo. Also, formal verification is much easier!
Q — Telegram user Jimmy: How will Ergo’s economic model architecture ensure scarcity of the token and help the growth of the coin price?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Scarcity is guaranteed in the code. It is slightly different from Bitcoin but just as robust. There is a set emission schedule. There won’t be any developer monetary gatherings like in Ethereum to decide any sort of inflation rate. There’s more on this here.
Q — Telegram user zafer metin: What does Crowdfunding mean for Ergo? Are you satisfied with the support provided by Kickstarter and Gofundme platforms to your project?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo doesn’t crowd fund itself, BUT it does allow for better crowd funding than other blockchains like Bitcoin because of rich context. ErgoScript can reference more parameters and so can do more sophisticated crowd funding with timing, funding amount restrictions where crowdfunding would unwind if it doesn’t meet requirements. Note you don’t see much/any crowdfunding done directly on Bitcoin.
Q — Telegram user zafer metin: Do daily trading volumes make you happy? What are your plans for more users to engage in continuous barter trading and more volume growth?
A — JSimp from Ergo: No, volume doesn’t make me happy. For a project with Ergo’s potential, it should be VASTLY higher. That is why we are doing this AMA and are trying to raise awareness.
Q — Telegram user AK47 (investor): How is the Ergo team earning from the decentralized platform?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo derives revenue from treasury (“mining tax”) like in ZCash but less. So it’s good if price rises. Then Ergo can do more, and then the price rises more.
Q — Telegram user Aqib: How does Ergo handle the issue of negativity when the price falls? Also, what are your plans to grow and strengthen a product-oriented, not price-oriented community? Finally, what is the main motivation and energy that you can give to Ergo holders for the long-term?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Price does matter. After all, it funds the project via treasury, and higher price = more interest = more funds for treasury = more development and excitement = higher price and so on…positive feedback loop. The product angle will happen naturally when awareness rises. There’s just so much people can do on Ergo. The community can figure that out, especially with the help of the core team and materials they put out there!
Q — Telegram user Jerry: What are the ways that Ergo generates profits/revenue and what is its revenue model?
A — JSimp from Ergo: Ergo is not a business. It doesn’t generate “revenues” / “profits”. It does have a treasury that collects ERGS to fund development. So it’s great if Erg price goes up. Then the Foundation/Team has more to spend on development/awareness campaigns etc.
Q — Telegram user 🇵🇹Apple: What plans and marketing has the Ergo foundation team put in place to truly get Ergo being used by the masses?
A — JSimp from Ergo: We did road shows in Asia and there are many more road shows planned or in idea stage. We are looking for opportunities to present at conferences. There’s no substitute for face-to-face…even great AMAs like this one.
Q — Telegram user Jerry: DeFi could be a trend in the near future with all the projects and technologies around this field of interest. Could you share with me your view about DeFi and how will Ergo be suitable with DeFi in the future?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: Ergo already has example contracts for DeFi stuff like bonds, tethering, interest-free loans, community currency systems like LETS, auctions etc. So Ergo is fully DeFi-ready!
Q — Telegram user Sena: Why should I pay attention to Ergo to give it the importance it deserves? What are you planning to achieve with your project?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: A lot of projects are dying now in the middle of the crypto winter yes. Some are doing crazy hard forks which makes things even worse in the long term. Ergo is pretty much ready for long-term growth, the protocol is set in stone, basic polishing is mostly done, so now the team is starting to promote Ergo heavily and help to deliver applications. Ergo is not for short-term speculations about unrealistic things like 1M transactions per second. Ergo is about long-term store-of-value and useful applications (not cryptokitties).
Q — Twitter user @coins_alert: What’s next for the Ergo platform, after its mainnet launch recently? Which developments and targets can we see in the next 2–3 years from Ergo platform?
A — kushti khushi from Ergo: First of all, the protocol is set in stone and no hard forks are expected. So the team will work on improving reference client, introducing light clients (already supported by the protocol), documentation, tutorials, and helping external teams with their applications. Later on, the devs may propose some non-breaking soft-forks to add some features to the protocol.
A — JSimp from Ergo: I am an impatient person, so I don’t consider July 1, 2019 which was when MAINNET was launched “recent”. As a non-developer, what I want to see is more people realize the great potential of Ergo and stop looking at nonsense projects that fill up the crypto market lists (like on CMC etc). You don’t have to be a genius blockchain developer to read the white papers/intros/website of projects like Ergo and see the differences and what might work in the long-term!
Q — Telegram user Kai @23: What are the best ways for the community to help out with adoption?
Thanks for taking the time to share your passion for Ergo, crypto and decentralization! I think it goes without saying that Ergo is an outlier, a project really different than all these ICOs we’ve seen, and just for trying something different, I can only command you. I also think we need some of that original crypto spirit back. — Alexandre R from GAINS
To learn more, please join our Telegram group or forum. Also, visit our website. It contains a lot of documents and links needed to get into Ergo! We would be happy to see more enthusiasts and contributors in our community, so please join us! Help us by spreading the word, mining, doing applications on top of Ergo, or just holding the tokens! — kushti khushi from Ergo
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