A Q&A with Justin Renken from ARK.io on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE
Hello Justin, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Please give us a brief introduction to the project. What have you created, why have you created it, and how do you plan on making it? How will your project make an impact on the world?
My name is Justin Renken and I am ARK.io Communications Specialist. The ARK Ecosystem is a spiderweb of teams, operators, users, participants, and other blockchains united in a common goal to bring the power of blockchain to as many people as possible. ARK empowers everyone, regardless of their aim or technical background, to quickly and easily leverage blockchain technology. ARK achieves this through a high-performance mainnet blockchain, with block times of eight seconds. This mainnet is powered by what are called ‘delegates,’ nodes run by people or teams of people who secure the network and deploy ever-expanding community services. These delegates are voted in by the people of the ARK community, and ARK.io does not run the network. The consensus model of ARK is known as Delegated Proof-of-Stake.
ARK also has intuitive, instant-launch wallets geared for the common user, including full-featured mobile wallets available for Android and iOS. ARK caters to all developers with a powerful sandbox of tools and modules, enabling any developer to create a customized blockchain in mere moments, and enhance their new chain with well over a dozen different programming languages. Finally, ARK enables interoperability with both ARK ‘bridgechains’ and other blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, by way of its unique Smartbridge technology. ARK’s end goal to impact the world is to make creating and using blockchains so easy, it becomes an afterthought.
Tell us about your accomplishments so far, and tell us what you are most proud of having accomplished in the history of the project.
The simplest way to highlight all of ARK’s many accomplishments is to visit the community resource www.ArkTimeline.com, which is a vast, interactive experience tallying every ARK event since its inception in late 2016 and mainnet launch in early 2017. All ARK events are searchable, easily categorized, and filterable, giving anyone an immediate bird’s eye view of ARK’s ability to deliver. www.ArkTimeline.com was built and deployed by the ARK Community Committee.
What is the single coolest thing about your project? It can be something you developed, or something you achieved.
I would be remiss to try to answer this on my own, so I’ll start with something most community members would probably say, given the chance. The coolest thing about the ARK.io project is very likely the wallets. ARK has beautiful desktop, mobile, paper, and web wallets focused on ease of use for the general public. The wallets run instantly without needing to sync, and users receive voting rewards even when their wallets are offline. Voting rewards are similar to ‘staking’ rewards, and they are a voluntary aspect of the ARK delegate system. ARK.io does not control the ARK network. Delegates give voting rewards voluntarily and voting rewards are not part of the ARK protocol. I strongly recommend experiencing our wallets, as they are a big reason our community has grown so large.
Give us a quick run down of the future of the project. What are you seeking to bring to life and what will it mean for the overall project?
In the short term, our goal is to complete the newly rewritten core codebase, dubbed ARK Core v2. This new Core, which will be at the heart of ARK and ARK-based chains, achieves monumental strides in reliability, power, versatility, and convenience. This is the next logical evolution of ARK’s grand vision and it will deal away with the old Lisk and Crypti code beneath the current ARK codebase. ARKv2 is a bottom-up redesign built by ARK with love- no forks, no derivation. ARKv2 sports unique solutions to complex blockchain architecture problems.
Once ARKv2 is purring along on the mainnet, our next major plan is to complete and implement powerful plugin modules that can interface directly with the new ARK Core- namely, ARKVM for smart contract execution, similar to Ethereum, and ARK IPFS, for decentralized large-format file storage. Concurrently, we will be completing and releasing a Core 2.1 release for new transaction types and protocol functionality, as well as complete our Push Button Blockchain GUI, for intuitive customization and deployment of impressive blockchains. All ARK products have ‘easy’ baked into nearly every aspect, and anyone can check ARK’s efforts and progress at ARK.io/Roadmap.
ARK’s vision will be realized when anyone who needs blockchain technology can deploy their own custom implementation of the tech in a reliable and secure manner, all without much (or any) programming knowledge at all. These user-deployed chains are all optionally linkable, forming the larger ‘ARK Ecosystem.’
Tell us about your team. Who are the people behind the screens?
Meet the ARK team at ARK.io/Team. There are 27 original ‘founders’ of ARK, and currently over two dozen team members collaborating all over the world within ARK.io. This of course, does not include the countless community teams working on ARK-based products and ideas of their own, or contributing on our Github. This also doesn’t include the delegate teams, constantly developing, deploying, and enhancing valuable and unique community services which, of course, utilize ARK technology. Even the average ARK user is contributing to the project via valuable feedback on our Github and social media channels. Participation is a cornerstone of the ARK culture, and we all strive for a common goal together. Sure, the team has the coveted ARK.io email address, but our community supports us just as much as we support them. Some other crypto projects may have mentioned they’re a touch jealous of our strong community, but let’s keep that between us…
What partnerships have you formed so far, and which ones are the biggest?
We tout about a dozen and a half partnerships and growing, and we are listed on over a dozen and a half exchanges as well. We are pleased with our partnership with Ledger, allowing users to send ARK as well as vote using the ARK desktop wallet in a secure environment. We are rubbing elbows with some projects that have huge potential to change the crypto landscape as we know it, in our opinion. We provide a helping hand, and they help us, as well. For example, our partnership with Marachain, a project for secure GDPR-compliant document transmission, opens doors to collaboration on our upcoming Interplanetary File System module. Our blog has articles describing all of our many partners, and those articles and more can be found at https://blog.ark.io, or www.ArkTimeline.com after choosing only the ‘Partnerships’ tag.
What kind of marketing do you practice to let the world know about your project, your product and your mission? Do you attend to any events or conferences?
On the whole, we tend to place a bit more emphasis on partnerships, hackathons, and organic growth over traditional marketing tactics you may have seen in the crypto space. Our aim is to expose our products and our culture to other individuals and groups on a more personal level, and let quality and curiosity take over. However, we have also been known to attend and sponsor many notable conferences around the world. ARK commanded a massive presence at Consensus NYC 2018, and sponsored more than a handful of hackathons globally to entice developing talent to dive into our codebase. This comes full circle by way of our partnership with Major League Hacking, a large organization fostering computer science competitions totaling some 60,000 participants to date. www.ARK.io also enjoys doing interviews with online magazines, hence! On the community side, the delegate culture breeds outreach for ARK as well. The supplemental services that delegates deploy have been known to draw newcomers into ARK.
We also have some founders using their personal funds for pet projects in ARK marketing, namely co-founder and board member Travis Walker sponsoring multiple race car teams including the ARK72 NASCAR. The ARK.io crypto funds are ample, yet best served in development at the moment. You could say ARK’s philosophy is “build fast, and outlast.” ARK does not have to spend exorbitant amounts of money competing with the marketing of other projects who may run out of money in a matter of months, or simply implode. ARK has been in the game for quite a while (in crypto terms), and possesses enough funding for 10+ years of operations. ARK is a very ambitious project with the long game in mind.
What is the best article that has been written about your project so far? Throw a link below and let us know why.
From a technical standpoint, Mario Vega’s ‘Dipping Our Toes Into the ARK Core’ series is a dream of a read. It familiarizes developers with ARK’s codebase and approach, and pops the hood on our brand new core. At that time, Mario was a community member, and since then, has been hired onto the team to assist with documentation and other writing. That is a common theme with ARK. Community members can’t help themselves, they just want to get involved. One day they wake up with a job interview. I was the same way, having been very active with ARK for about 10 months now, building resources on my own and running services like ArkStickers.com, delivering ARK sticker packs anywhere in the world. Now I am proudly on the ARK team as a Communications Specialist, and it’s a new adventure every day. Whether team, delegate, or community, there are always fun challenges, exciting opportunities, and great people. Here are the links to Mario’s 2-part article:
What are the coin metrics, and how do they lead to a stable and balanced system?
The ARK genesis block, circa March 21, 2017, created 125,000,000 ARK, with some locked for the team, and some other ARK reserved for special development in a fund called ARKShield. To reward delegates for their node operations and delegate services, 2 ARK are forged in each block, which clocks in at a brow-raising 8 second block time. This results in approximately 7,884,000 new ARK per year. Because this number is fixed, this results in a healthy, declining inflation rate instead of a harmful fixed inflation rate.
This arrangement combined with the delegate system comprises ARK’s Delegated Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm. ARK has made a number of critical improvements on DPoS that gives it the edge over other DPoS-based projects, albeit the details may not be appropriate for an abridged article such as this. There is a helpful presentation though, available here:
If people want to follow you on social media, visit your website or read your important documents, what are the links they need to visit? Please list them below.
However, for the more visual people we also have informative yet concise videos at our official Youtube channel, https://www.youtube.com/arkecosystem.
If audio is more your tune, https://TheARKCryptoPodcast.com is where you can hear me speak about ARK every Friday, and it’s easy to subscribe using multiple platforms.
To communicate and chat with me directly, or to join the ARK Community Committee and collaborate on ARK projects (mostly non-programming) and earn ARK, locate me on https://Discord.ARK.io.
Where is the best place for people start acquiring your currency?
While this article isn’t intended as investment advice or to convince anyone to buy the ARK mainnet token, and all investments carry risk and may lose value, a very easy way to obtain ARK would be to buy it on Binance, Bittrex, Upbit, and over a dozen other exchanges, viewable on ARK.io at the bottom of the homepage. Our partnership with Changelly allows you to buy ARK from directly inside our desktop wallet- even with fiat depending on your country region. However, a truly rewarding method to obtain ARK is to earn or win it! There are over a dozen ways to do that, outlined in The ARK Crypto Podcast Ep. 5, and this presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1TkTxOSCXFCZriubn4fVAU-AEBADIN1OsyHQlGkc0p6A/edit?usp=sharing
Do you have anything to add before we finish?
Sure! Learning more about ARK on Medium is easy, by visiting https://blog.ark.io or following one of our more notable team members on Medium: BoldNinja, Matthew DC, Travis W, and me at Justin Renken. Our ARK Desktop Wallet v2 is on its way, so make sure to stay up to date with the latest announcements to get a notification once it is out.
Thank you for including me in Altcoin Magazine, and please let me know if there is anything ARK can do for you in the future!
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