Beyond Beta: Recapping Our Fireside Chat With Some Of Crypto’s Foremost Pioneers

Last week, OKCoin hosted speakers from three exciting cryptocurrency projects at an invite-only event we called Beyond Beta. Speakers from Interstellar, Basic Attention Token (BAT), and Cardano came together to discuss the state of their projects and the contrasting roads ahead.

In just a few short years, blockchain has gone from being a taboo fringe topic to having its own thriving startup ecosystem. But for all their progress, the majority of blockchain projects remain at least partially experimental, in a beta state. Most companies are still wrestling to find their place in the market, but that takes time and cooperation.

For that reason, we invited representatives from Cardano, Interstellar, and BAT to attend a fireside chat we called “Beyond Beta”. These companies represent three of the five new tokens OKCoin launched in September, and are in prime position to discuss the near-term challenges and long-term opportunities of the industry as a whole.

The full hour-long discussion can be viewed on our YouTube channel, but we’ve provided this event summary to highlight how our esteemed guests plan to benefit multiple industries in unique and exciting ways.

Interstellar

Speaker: Boris Reznikov — Director of Partnerships at Interstellar

Interstellar’s story begins with Stellar, an internet-level protocol for digital payments. Stellar was designed to resolve the friction of cross-border payments with a distributed ledger designed to allow banks to issue fiat currencies across a decentralized exchange, making payment systems interoperable in ways that were difficult under SWIFT’s traditional messaging protocol.

Stellar recently acquired Chain, an enterprise blockchain company, and the two combined to form Interstellar. Interstellar aims to deliver a platform built on Stellar’s global public ledger that allows organizations to issue, exchange, and manage assets across a highly-scalable public network. Stellar’s ultimate goal is to take advantage of asset liquidities across multiple industries — such as oil, bitcoin, or real estate shares — to find equity that lets each transaction have value.

The Future: Interstellar’s immediate plans are to feature more tradeable asset classes and continue its work with upcoming high-quality projects. The platform is also pushing further into the payment space with the aim of solving current inefficiencies that exist within Stellar’s protocol.

The key point Interstellar hopes to address is scalability, and Reznikov says the company’s initial goals are in sight. From there, continued growth will depend on how effectively Interstellar can be scaled to additional markets in a rapidly changing payments landscape.

Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Speaker: Brendan Eich — CEO of Brave Software, creator of Javascript, co-founder of Mozilla

The vast majority of web-based publishing businesses generate revenue through online advertising, with overall spend on track to exceed $1 trillion annually in the coming years. Unfortunately, digital advertising models sometimes pose unique risks for creators and consumers. Users can be unknowingly tracked and monitored, publishers suffer revenue loss from ad blockers, and fraudulent advertisements can slow down the entire browsing process.

The Basic Attention Token is an ERC-20 token integrated and distributed alongside the Brave internet browser. Brave automatically blocks advertisements and tracking scripts that slow down browsers, but anonymously confirms user attention on web pages. These views are then translated into publisher rewards with security tokens, providing revenue to the site. The entire process allows users to maintain their privacy while validating creator revenue that would typically come from advertising view metrics.

Advertisers are still a crucial part of this process, but will need to opt-in to meet Brave’s technical and user-focused standards. With almost 5 million active users, Brave has the potential to lift the best parts of the visible web into a clean ecosystem.

The Future: The BAT project itself is decentralized, while various processes of Brave’s platform are currently semi-centralized. The organization is currently migrating towards decentralized processes wherever possible, while making tradeoffs for regulatory processes.

Brave’s immediate plans are to encourage growth and attract more publishers. One challenge will be engaging with publishers to help users past various “X articles per month” paywalls. Another will be convincing high-value users to consent to private apps that don’t track activity, but match them with targeted advertisements.

Regardless, advertisers are ready for any technology that will help them get around ad blocking with the user’s consent. Doing so is the only way online advertising will continue to flourish in the coming years.

Cardano

Speaker: Nico Arqueros — CTO of Emurgo (One of three organizations contributing to Cardano)

Cardano has a simple goal: to be a smart contract platform with more advanced features than any existing protocol developed so far. It’s an ambitious plan, especially considering Ethereum’s head start, but one its team believes can be achieved through diligent engineering and scientific research.

As a technological platform, Cardano will be able to run financial applications that can be used by individuals, businesses, and governments. The platform is built using modular layers which can be easily maintained and upgraded, while avoiding the security vulnerabilities that have allowed $350 million to be stolen from similar ecosystems. Cardano is built on the ADA cryptocurrency, which is now available on many digital currency exchanges, including OKCoin.

More than any other platform, Cardano emphasizes academic research: a significant portion of its team is made up of crypto research leaders. Academic papers written by the team are often submitted to peer review before they are presented at conventions like Crypto2017 and ACNS. Cardano also seeks to balance the needs of users and regulators, which can be achieved through open access and regulated computing.

The Future: Cardano’s current plan is to complete the settlement layer which runs ADA. Next, the organization will launch a separate computing layer that handles smart contracts and dApps.

We’d like to thank Boris, Brendan, and Nico for speaking at Beyond Beta and sharing how their project fits into the blockchain landscape. We’d also like to thank our moderator, Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat, and everyone who attended in-person or online!

The full panel is now available on YouTube, and we hope to see you at our next event!