OCEAN Protocol AMA with Bruce Pon
Eric: Welcome everyone! let us start now. Welcome @brucepon, founder of Ocean protocol
Can you introduce yourself first? Tell us your background and your journey to becoming a founder of @oceanprotocol
Bruce Pon: Sure. I’ve been in blockchain since 2013 and started ascribe.io and BigchainDB.com. Before that I founded Avantalion, a consulting firm helping automakers to build banks. In 2013, ascribe.io aimed to put intellectual property on the blockchain and make digital collectibles scarce.
BigchainDB combined the best of blockchains with databases, turning data into tradable assets.
Eric: Great products. In your own words, what is Ocean Protocol?
Bruce Pon: Ocean Protocol allows people to buy and share data securely while preserving privacy.
Our goal is to be the protocol that supports the global Data Economy.
We envision a world where data is an asset that is accessible to everyone. Individuals can share their data transparently, and receive compensation. Companies and researchers can connect to build AI tools, driven by data.
Eric: Why is there a need to create these data exchanges? How is it working now and why does it need improvement? Can you name some legacy companies you’re trying to disrupt.
Bruce Pon: Society is becoming increasingly reliant on data, especially with the advent of AI.
A small handful of organizations with both massive data assets and AI capabilities attained worrying levels of control which is a danger to a free and open society. We aim to unlock data, for more equitable outcomes for users of data, using a thoughtful application of both technology and governance. Today, data isn’t shared because people are scared of losing control and the economic reward isn’t clear.
Eric: DATA is the new oil as they say. Who are your main customers for the platform?
Bruce Pon: Developers — those who want to build applications that are needed in a Data Economy — like data marketplaces
We want people to be able to quickly launch data marketplaces, using Ocean software components and connected to the Ocean decentralized data sharing network. We also need to attract the AI practitioners and data scientists.
Eric: AI would really benefit from Ocean Protocol.
Bruce Pon: They need data for research to improve research and business outcomes. Particularly to access valuable private data that was previously inaccessible and for better auditability for data and algorithm execution.
Eric: You have partnered with many big names, most recently Mercedes Benz Daimler, what is the main thing attracting major brands like this to partner with you?
Bruce Pon: Reid Hoffman talks about hand-crafting the experience for early adopters. On one hand, the first interaction can be clumsy and a bit chunky, but for people that really want to move forward, we work very closely to ensure that their needs are met.
Over time, as the Ocean product matures, we will have more documentation, simpler on-boarding, integration partners that can work with enterprises and a developer community that can build applications. All of this will allow the Ocean community to scale and grow.
Eric: Now that the PoC has been delivered with Mercedez Benz Daimler, what is the roadmap to bringing them the full product?
Bruce Pon: We’ve delivered the PoC. All activities are still under NDA, but I can tell you that we’re proceeding with the next phase. We’re happy that Mercedes-Benz was open to issue a joint release, so we could share the success with the community
Eric: Can you tell us what the token’s utility is?
Bruce Pon: Given our long history in blockchain, we observed the initial wave of token projects in 2016/2017. Throughout, we asked how a token can help to improve adoption of the technology or governance of the protocol. It was only when we had a clear answer, did we initiate Ocean Protocol.
The Ocean token has utility value for staking, activating Ocean smart contracts, is used in the network reward and for governance of the protocol. Over time, we will activate each capability, in parallel with increasing adoption and functionality of the network.
Eric : You’ve recently launched an ecosystem fund, what is the aim and are there any good prospects already for that?
Bruce Pon: We want to let ideas bubble up on how to improve the Data Economy — to help fund them so people can devote the time to build out their project on Ocean
Through a series of grants, bounties, and hackathons, the Ocean Protocol Foundation has allocated 20 million OCEAN tokens for this fund and we’re ready to hear from developer teams, start-ups and service providers that are interested in building on Ocean.
We’re excited to announce this week that D5 received a grant from Ocean to further their work on building a marketplace for blockchain data using Ocean Protocol. We’re excited to see the results from that.
Q: There are lots of Project coming these days & The Main problem with many project is Adoption, Why do you think that ocean protocol will Achieve #Mass_Adoption?
A: If 2017/2018 was laying the foundation and fundraising. 2019/2020 is building the core tech. Then 2021 is all about adoption. Here we see the ecosystem funds being instrumental to attract and support developers. As part of this, we need easy-on-boarding, documentation and a lively network of co-creators. Our best model for this is how the Ethereum community grew and scaled the protocol. If Ocean can follow a similar path, we see a pretty bright future. After the developers show up, then we think that enterprises will get more comfortable and start to unlock their data sets.
Q: What is main potential Threat do you see in the Blockchain Technology Currently? What is the real life problem Ocean Protocol is aiming to solve with Blockchain?
A: I think that blockchain and crypto is unstoppable. Why? Because today, with crypto — you can become a market maker for the cost of $10. In the past, it would have cost you $100,000 or more. This is a 5 order of magnitude reduction in cost to get started. Just like the internet made it so that anyone could become a publisher for $100 without sinking $1m into all the infrastructure. Crypto is a massive game changer to re-build out financial system and economy — and it will disrupt a lot of large companies.
Q: Can You talk about some Dapps development on your Platform?
What role its token plays in the ecosystem?
A: We’ve already started to gather ideas on DApps for Ocean. Some are trading specific, related to crypto. Others are about how people can share their personal data securely. And of course, we have several projects underway to help enterprises unlock their data. We were very happy with the ideas that came out of #Covidathon. Ideally, it’s the community that decides what ideas to support and ensures that resources are deployed to them. We know there are tons of developers out there just waiting to start a new business to unlock data.
Q: Can you share with us why DeFi Ecosystem needs interoperability and how will @oceanprotocol bring interoperability. What advantages does your project have over other solution? #oceanprotocol”
A: The great thing about #DeFi is that it is designed to be interoperable. Starting with the Ethereum substrate for smart contracts and ERC tokens, we’ve seen an explosion of innovation already. Adding in Cosmos and Polkadot, along with other cross-chain technologies, and oracles like ChainLink — we’ll have scaling and interoperability — to help with adoption
Q: How to prevent Companies selling their Data against $OCEAN from dumping their $ocean against Fiat? Is there any incentive for them to hodl $ocean ?
A: Hi Shideneyu, $OCEAN is the currency of the Ocean ecosystem and we hope the currency that will power the Data Economy. First, we’re still working on adoption so the risk of an enterprise “dumping” Ocean is a luxury problem in the future. When we do get adoption, the $OCEAN token will be held by people for a variety of reasons — (1) for staking on data and services, to earn yield (2) for governance of the OceanDAO — to help decide where resources are deployed. As time goes on, people will hold $OCEAN if they want to have a say in the direction of the protocol. So right now, I’m not worried about companies receiving and dumping $OCEAN. I think that every company will eventually integrate crypto into their standard treasury management where they are holding a basket of international and crypto currencies
Q: Ocean Compute-to-Data was recently launched. Can you explain, in layman terms, how it works and how does it enables data providers to monetize their data while preserving privacy?
A: Compute to Data (CTD) was built to meet the #1 request of enterprises — how can I share my data while keeping it private? In simple terms, a data provider uses Ocean to define the terms and conditions where their data can be accessed, including the provisioning of compute services that they can provide on-premise. A data buyer sees this, accepts the conditions to access the data and then sends their AI algorithm across to the data provider to be trained. Once executed, the data buyer gets a result. Meanwhile, the provider’s data has stayed private and safe.
Q: Recently, the concept of DeFi is very popular in the market. We all want to know whether Ocean Protocol will cooperate with some DeFi projects?
A: #DeFi is critical to the success of Ocean Protocol. One of the main reasons why data isn’t shared — aside from the safety and privacy reasons — is that until now, the pricing for data hasn’t been established well. There hasn’t been enough data flowing, being shared and sold to provide a proper price signal. #DeFi allows data to be monetized, securitized, and collateralized — so that the tools of the financial system can be applied to a new asset class. #DeFi is a path to kickstart the Data Economy, in all its potential.
Q: You collaborated with @Daimler Singapore on a #PoC that explored decentralized data orchestration, explain Proof of Concept and are you resistant to the recent CLOUDFARE issue #oceanprotocol
A: Cloudflare protects against DDOS attacks and helps deliver content consistently. In a decentralized world, ideally there’s a host of tools and services that are resistent to DDOS attacks. For instance, IPFS/Filecoin/SIA/ArWeave will ensure that object stores will be available globally via multiple repositories.
Q: How does Ocean Protocol keep my private information safe while allowing access to public information without any problem?
A: We are focusing on delivering on the vision we set out because we think the world needs it. There are many other projects working in different areas that are complimentary to Ocean Protocol and we will always seek to collaborate to get the best for the entire ecosystem. If Ocean is part of a healthy, broader ecosystem — mass adoption will happen. If we ensure that the Ocean ecosystem is nurtured and stays healthy, then it’s only a matter of time until data silos start to get unlocked and the Data Economy opens up for everyone.
Q: What role developers will play on Ocean Protocol platform? Why should they choose this platform over others?
A: Developers are the new “means of production” in the knowledge economy. Data is the oxygen that will attract them to build new products. Ocean is the technology and enabler. Ocean wins when we engage three groups — developers, crypto-enthusiasts and the broader economy of enterprises & governments
Q: Are there any plans for the Ocean Protocol team to run “access control token” exchanges in a sector like logistics?
A: Hi Serg — this is a great idea. It’s a key part of financializing access to data by making data access tokens tradeable. My view is that there will be small, niche “data token exchanges” that get set up, and as the space grows, then decentralize crypto-exchanges will have a trading platform, finally Binance, Coinbase, Kraken and others might launch the Data Token Exchange
Q: Ocean looks good but it confuses me that there are so many other Blockchain projects. What should I pay attention in Ocean to give it the importance it deserves?
A: I was speaking with a friend a couple of nights ago and he said that it was intuitively obvious to him that data is an asset and that an open, transparent economy should be built around it. Real-estate, factories, financials — they are all assets. Why not Data? If you believe this, then look for those projects trying to unlock a Data Economy.
Q: Ocean Protocol claim be handle by a Singapore NON-PROFIT foundation, so from where Ocean Protocol obtain its personal Revenues?
A: I just put together this example for our accountants and auditors: “Ocean Protocol is a like a charter city for a specific purpose — the Data Economy.
Ocean Protocol Foundation (OPF) acts as the city administrator, with no profit or dividend to be paid out
Investors put money in to kick-start the city, and those funds are deployed under the direction of OPF
The city has its own currency. All services within the city use $OCEAN.
Neither the city nor OPF charge for basic services — like water, utilities, roads — anyone can use the city infrastructure without limitation.
The OPF is charged with growing and nurturing the Ocean Protocol “city”, but OPF doesn’t own or control the city.
Over time, the role of OPF in the governance of the Ocean Protocol ecosystem will recede and its envisioned that the broader community will assert stronger control
The role of OPF now is to direct the resources of the community to grow and nurture Ocean Protocol. No profits or dividends will ever be disbursed — everything until now and in the future will be deployed into the Ocean community
Q: Why did you decide to base the Ocean Token on the Ethereum network? The Ethereum network has presented certain limitations, what makes this network profitable for the Ocean ecosystem? Do you have any plans in the future to develop your own network to support your token? Thank you!
A: Ethereum and ERC tokens are the basis for #DeFi right now. This can change in the future with Polkadot, Cosmos and others, but we made a conscious decision to stay very close to Ethereum because the pace of change and technology advancement is so rapid, the installed based of solidity developers is around 250,000 and most of the #DeFi tools rely on Ethereum.
Q: This year Ocean Protocol did a COVIDathon that is basically a hackathon destined to support Medical community, but do you have plans to do other Hackathon this year? To do 2 events like 2019 ( Odyseey and Difussion) ?
A: Hackathons are where startup ideas germinate. Ideally, we have so many hackathons that we lose track of them, like Ethereum. One community driven hackathon per month somewhere on earth would be my personal goal.
Q: What is the structure of the company, is it a decentralised, open sourced protocol where everybody can contribute? If so, how does the governance plan on being handled?
A: We’ve been very closely observing token designs and governance in the past 3 years. For #tokenengineering, we helped to kick off the community with the knowledge that if we could get people to share their token design ideas, it could feed into the Ocean token design and make it more robust. For governance, we have been involved in several DAOs in the background and corresponding with teams like Aragon to glean their learnings.
Q: Why the token need 2 enviroments ETH and POA? Which benefits brings this ? Also you have plans to extend to others Networks like Tron?
A: PoA was built to satisfy three goals (1) low cost (2) performance (3) control — enterprises had expressed a desire to maintain more control in their blockchain applications. After building it, we re-considered. Ethereum is the chain that currently has the fastest pace of innovation, largest community and the most resources — if we want to build a data economy, its best if we focus solely on the tools for data sharing, and let all the other #DeFi, ethereum tooling be built by others. So v3 Data Tokens will radically simplify the Ocean architecture — bringing us squarely in the Ethereum community, into #DeFi and allowing us to focus on data sharing, adoption and nothing else.
Q: From research I noticed most users/supporters often care less about technology, but rather the value of the token. How do you manage to strike a balance between developing the technology alongsides improving the value of $OCEAN ?
A: To succeed, we need three main groups — developers, crypto-enthusiasts and enterprise. Crypto-enthusiasts follow promising projects and the best way to be promising is to deliver real value for developers and enterprise. I don’t see a need to over-complicate the thinking. So we will focus on making on-boarding as simple as possible. We will make it so that enterprises can engage with us faster so they can demonstrate to their organizations the value of data sharing. And the crypto-enthusiasts — will dig up excitement, create memes, educate others, and welcome every new member with open arms. We’re all on the same team.
Eric: Awesome! Really in depth stuff! @brucepon Please invite everyone to your official telegram group and twitter account.
If you have anything to tease or remind people here. You are most welcome to do so.
Bruce: Hey everyone. Thank you for being a great community. Keep welcoming everyone with open arms. Follow us on Twitter @oceanprotocol and @oceanprotocol_community on Telegram
Bruce Pon: We always try to please the community by bringing a steady flow of technology upgrades, partnerships and announcements.
Thank you everyone. You are what makes Ocean special