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AMA with Titan’s CEO, Ryan Condron — Part 2/2

All the questions you ever had about Titan, answered by our very own CEO. To read the first part of the interview, click here.

Q: Who will benefit the most from the Lumerin Protocol?

A: It’s going to take a while for the ecosystem to mature. Probably for the next six months to a year, it’s most likely going to be more lower-level users.

We’re working on engaging some financial institutions but when it comes to real-time markets, options, and futures, it’s going to take a little bit of time for that to mature. We’re still a year out for seeing true financialized products built on top of hashrate.

Q: What other coins besides BTC will be supported?

Eventually, Lumerin will support different kinds of data flows.

A: Any coin that can be mined that uses the Stratum Protocol can be validated and streamed through a Lumerin node.

Eventually, as the community wants to onboard other types of data flow, as long as they can build a validator system or a cryptographic way of validating the data flow, you could stream any type of data.

It could be any type of network. It doesn’t have to be Bitcoin or Stratum Protocol, although we’re limiting the first rendition of the validator network to the Stratum Protocol because it’s consistent and it covers probably 99% of the proof-of-work networks out there.

Q: What made you decide to build in the mining space instead of DeFi?

Many altcoins can be mined using GPUs.

A: Simple answer to that. DeFi didn’t exist at the time. DeFi came around a little bit later in late 2014, early 2015. It took off when Ethereum launched and even then it took time for the lending applications and the collateral systems and stablecoins to come along.

It takes time for these things to mature. In 2012, when I got in, we looked at BitcoinTalk, at all the “Bitcoin cousins” and new altcoins coming online, trying to figure out where to acquire the coins. Most of them aren’t even on exchanges. […] The only way to acquire a lot of these altcoins was through mining, so that was where the profitability calculators came in. Trying to know what was the best thing to mine at any given moment based on network saturation and profitability targets.

Essentially, DeFi wasn’t that big yet and by the time it was I felt like this old guy in the space, and I was so focused on the mining protocol that I stuck with what I knew well.

Q: Building on Bitcoin is undervalued considering the importance it has…

A: We do see a lot of DeFi, Layer 2, payment channel, sidechain projects… Projects that are looking to scale the current ecosystem. We don’t see a lot of projects devoted to underlying infrastructure or solving ongoing scalability problems on the “underside” of the networks, if you will.

We don’t see that issue on proof-of-stake networks, although centralization on proof-of-stake networks is a real thing. There, you have large wallets hoarding huge amounts of tokens, and they control a lot of power.

On the other hand, the underlying infrastructure of proof-of-work networks and using hashrate as a commodity hasn’t been tapped into to its full potential at this point.

We have mining device marketplaces where you can rent devices from a centralized service. We have cloud mining contracts, but we’ve never done any of this in a decentralized way with a provable, trustless, fulfillment method and that’s what Lumerin is going to bring to the table. Allowing these proof-of-work networks to continue to scale in their hashpower contributions while maintaining a certain level of decentralization.

Q: Do you see a future where dApps could be used for Medical purposes?

A: I worked as a consultant for a company for a little while whose premise was storing financial and personally identifiable information on the blockchain. The general consensus that we tried to live by was “all cryptography will eventually be broken.”

Blockchain technology has great potential for many applications.

When you actually start encrypting data and storing it on the blockchain, if we just go by that premise, you have to be very careful with what you store on a public ledger, especially when it comes to medical information.

Do I think it’s a good idea or will we see it? Yes. Just because eventually it might get cracked doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a big part of the future ecosystem. The health information and its portability, mainly in America, is very inefficient.

I wrote software for insurance companies and learned about medical formats for transmitting health information. Knowing that different medical providers use different formats and that there isn’t standardization is an uphill battle.

To answer the question: eventually, yes. We will do it. It’s going to take a lot of work and coordination.

Q: What do you mean by “all cryptography will be broken”?

A: As humans, we come up with patterns. Regardless of how complex they are, we’re trying to hide data. The difference between hashing — which is what secures the Bitcoin network — and encryption is that encryption is reversible. Hashing is not.

By hashing, you’re actually throwing away information in order to generate a hash specifically on SHA256. You can never take the input and return to the output.

With encryption, you can take the output and return to the input given the encryption key. That’s where the danger comes in. Eventually, the encryption key may be broken.

It’s more of a risk-averse mindset to sensitive data. If you operate under the idea of “all encryption will eventually be broken” you’re never going to expose encrypted sensitive data on a public ledger. It’s really a design principle in some of the most secure systems.

Q: What implications will Lumerin have on the energy industry?

A: I started talking about the energy topic years ago and it’s fun because people are finally catching up. Everyone is talking about Bitcoin mining counterbalancing renewable energy. This was one of the original visions when we started talking about Titan in late 2017: the idea of accessibility to hashrate and the ability to counterbalance renewable energy grids with mining. And it’s all from this premise of load-following.

I have a background on nuclear power. My dad worked in a nuclear power plant for 35 years and I ended up working at the same power plant for a little while. I learned a lot about the aspects of a power grid and load-following and how we actually keep the grid balanced. It’s interesting and concerning at the same time.

Stateline Solar Farm, California

We have to keep balanced at 0.05Hz. If we go over or under, it’s going to change the frequency of the grid, which is when you start having blackouts. Essentially, we have to keep the grid balanced. We can only produce electricity when we are using it. […] When it comes to electricity, the only way it will flow it’s when there’s a load.

The problem with renewables, then, is that they’re always on. They are always producing electricity. If they’re connected to a grid, they will constantly push electricity to it. And if we don’t consume that electricity, we will raise the frequency of the grid and we will start breaking things and get blackouts.

That’s why we call it load-following: we have to match the production with the load. So if we build a solar-panel farm in the middle of the desert for the summer — when everybody’s running their AC units — , then in the winter — when consumption drops significantly — we would still have all those panels pushing energy to the grid. We would actually have to protect the grid from the excess energy.

You’d have two options: you either close the circuit to disconnect solar panels, which is very difficult to do with renewables; or you offload the electricity somewhere else.

With that in mind, you can build mining facilities to take up 100% of the load of any renewable grid that enables you to ramp up or ramp down the load. Instead of doing load-following, you’d do production-following, which is only possible when you have a consistent load that can be ramped up or down.

Historically, nobody did production following because it seemed like a waste of electricity. Now, we have a use for that excess electricity: confirming transactions in global, decentralized crypto networks.

Are you interested about how Bitcoin mining can fix power grids? You can read more about it on our article below.

Q: What would integration of the mining and energy industries look like?

A: We’ve already seen some companies like Core Scientific already partnering with local power producers. They’re basically saying, “give us cheap electricity and we’ll help you balance your grid.” This allows power producers to increase their production, which in turn means more profit for them.

Miners, on the other hand, get an amazing deal on electricity for counter-balancing the grid.

The downside to some of the miners here is that they may not get 100% profitability from their machines, because they may not be running permanently. But at the end of the day, when you calculate profitability and costs, it’s actually a pretty good deal.

The oil and gas industry would be a perfect fit for Bitcoin mining, especially when dealing with toxic wastes. Want to know why? Check out our article below.

Q: What would you like to see happen in the crypto space moving forward?

A: There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in crypto space. We’re changing the rails of a financial system that was invented hundreds of years ago. There’s a lot to be done and a lot we haven’t even tapped into.

We’re dabbled with changing markets, lending, payments, and how to use this technology in a lot of different ways. We haven’t seen anything yet. We’re barely scratching the surface.

We’re barely scratching the surface of blockchain technology.

We have so many different areas, whether it be supply chain, official document storage, chain of custody for evidence, birth and death records, certifications, personal identity… A lot of this stuff can be secured and transacted through blockchain. We’re still just exploring this.

There’s a lot of cool stuff happening. I don’t think there’s just going to be one blockchain to be the rails of all of this. I don’t think one network will be handling all these different implementations and infrastructures.

The space is still very young, and there’s still a lot to be built and really cool projects out there that people haven’t even thought of yet.

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