Dear TOMO community,
1. Some personal observations
I am happy to see that TomoChain’s client 1.3 was released today which marked more than two months since TomoChain’s mainnet was launched; close to one year since the public ICO was conducted, and about two years since the project originated. Two years of hard work, dedication and fun, and the TomoChain project has gone from an idea to a certain level of maturity supported by a global community with hundreds of full-node operators, and thousands of stakers, holders, and users. I have been in the crypto space since 2013 as a researcher, an investor and a practitioner with a variety of commitment levels in different roles. The crypto space does offer something genuinely interesting that is worth pursuing. I want to draw parallels between the birth of the Internet and World Wide Web with the current developments of the Internet of Value and Open Finance. The former led to an explosion of information dissemination, learning and technology entrepreneurship, and the latter I believe will lead to an explosion of financial literacy, opportunities and financial entrepreneurship at the same magnitude. Along with almost everyone, I benefited from the Internet through activities such as communicating with TomoChain’s global community and learning useful and niche things from YouTube, Netflix, podcast and blogs. The world is not limited to the local purview anymore, and for that, I am thankful for the Internet and all the capacities it enables. The impact of the Internet is still spreading to other aspects of life such as ecommerce, retail, entertainment, and transportation. In this view the crypto space offers a path for the Internet to penetrate financial and political domains in a way it has never been done before.
Today, If you look at the global commerce and capital movement, corporations are moving capital to China, India, South East Asia, etc. where labor and materials provide a cost arbitrage; and capital is lacking, so they can have much better interests rates, special treatments, and tax exemptions. These conditions are for the likes of large corporations such as Walmart, Nike, and Apple, but if you are a small entrepreneur or an average citizen, the window for financial opportunities are limited to a mere 0.5% interest per annum by sending your funds to some intermediaries who invest for you. On the reverse side, capital and finances from other sides like China, cannot easily access or invest in talents and innovation in places like Silicon Valley or Israel unless they are are as big as Tencent or Alibaba. The situation is the same when you have to send money for some other money intermediaries who invest for you and generally take out half of the earnings as commission. These layers of intermediary can be eliminated as the ethos of Open Finance is to remove these frictions, and allow for independent and capable talent to control their own destinies and make the best of a permissionless global financial system. It is a way of overcoming the barriers of traditional systems, national/regional politics on the global economy, and it can empower 2 billion of unbanked people in our world, and help them flourish.
Furthermore, a blockchain based economy, crypto finance and the decentralization paradigm will counteract the powerful force toward centralization of the current World Wide Web as Google, Amazon, FaceBook etc. amass a majority of the world traffics, data, and Internet users. These monopolies lead to malpractices as these giants can destroy third party developers to bring the biggest benefits of the platform in-house, or potentially suppress world views that do not fit their own narratives or financial gains. These problems are real, big, and global which are being dealt with today by law makers, and users worldwide. Alternatively, a decentralized public chain offers a platform in which developers and users do not need to trust the good will of a company, but can instead put their trust in mathematics and game-theoretic modeling. Initial public chain rules are immutable which reduces conflicts, and are conducive to building and scaling even more valuable products and services. The fact that we are here today shows some new possibilities that public blockchains and crypto markets can bring to the world. While the 2018 bear market was wiping out recent ICO financial excesses, the crypto market is still 10 times bigger than it was 3 years ago. I believe the long-term trajectory is definitely upward.
2. TomoChain’s core development
TomoChain’s client 1.3 with the inclusion of an effective slashing mechanism, as well as further optimization of checkpoint block reward calculations marks a maturity of the POSV consensus mechanism. To recap: POSV is an unique consensus algorithm at the heart of the TomoChain public blockchain. POSV security is guaranteed by game theoretic modelling and innovative techniques such as double validation and randomization. POSV follows a delegative approach but with a maximum of 150 block creation Masternodes, and consensus built-in voter’s rewards (compared to 21 block creators in EOS and 27 super representatives in TRON). The push toward further Masternode decentralization does not impede TomoChain’s performance as we are already at a 2–4 second average block speed, and exceed 1000 TPS. Masternode proposing and voting are done via smart-contracts and easy to follow even for people new to TomoChain. TomoChain is already one of the most secure, stable and performant public blockchain in existence today.
The next major milestone for TomoChain is the 2.0 version which incorporates the TomoX protocol. The overall vision for 2.0 is continuing to build critical software and tools that make TomoChain the infrastructure of choice for the next-generation of global Open Finance. The 2.0 version will continue to be based on POSV consensus. On one hand, we are focusing our efforts on further infrastructure security and stability with features such as efficient data pruning, and on the other hand, we are making the network more conducive for financial products and financial entrepreneurship. TomoChain will be a strong contender to attract further financial innovations in this nascent crypto finance segment. Other products in the Open Finance category include: TomoX’s relayer manager, decentralized marketplaces and exchanges, TomoSwap, “Pay by any Token” protocol, algorithmic stable coin, P2P lending market, prediction market, ICO template, securities token platform, liquid token lending market, and other financial derivative products. That’s the mandate for TomoChain in 2019.
Afterward, the next major stage of development will focus on expanding TomoChain 2.0 to further support real demands for scalability, privacy, and private chains with technologies currently at the research stage such as sharding, ZK-snark, side-chain and private chain generation. These developments will make TomoChain’s technologies more palatable to enterprise developments and other fields such as IOT, supply chain, e-government, and further the adoption of TomoChain. There are no fixed schedules for these developments at the moment as we focus on delivering the 2.0 version into production. Starting from March, we will publish monthly realtime information on TomoChain’s development activities and roadmap for public consultations. Furthermore, the majority of TomoChain live development activities can be found in our Github repositories at https://github.com/tomochain
3. Ecosystem development and global collaboration
We recently started to focus on the blockchain gaming ecosystem, and the effort will continue in 2019. Trading, building digital stuff, and digital ownership are particularly attractive aspects of blockchain gaming. We expand TomoChain gaming ecosystem by targeting multiple segments in a gaming developer’s journey from Introductory Gaming on Blockchain workshops, to Gaming contests, and Gaming Hackathons. There will be at least ten of these events happening in 2019 for TomoChain. TomoChain’s current infrastructure is sufficiently developed and mature enough to satisfy almost all if not all blockchain game designs. We are also very hands-on in assisting any technical concerns from game developer communities in our Gitter chat or Discord game dev channel. There are also collaborations with other industry partners to promote a healthy blockchain gaming ecosystem, particularly in Asia. This is our dedicated TomoChain’s game hub page https://tomochain.com/tomochain-game-hub/
Enterprise outreach is also a priority for TomoChain’s further adoption. We have been consulting and collaborating with a dozen of medium and big enterprises in the last few months. In most cases, we help them understand the values of blockchain and TomoChain public chain, and design customized solutions that best fit their goals and needs. Enterprise and public institution adoption cycles generally take a long time, and we will update the community as soon as an agreement is finalized. Strategically, TomoChain core team does not prioritize working directly with enterprises, but via our network of partners such as TomoChain Japan, Alpha Blockchain, Savvycom etc. We help our partners in solution design, training, and consulting as needed. There will be a dedicated page with enterprise’s information and use-cases in TomoChain’s homepage in a few weeks.
At the moment, TomoChain’s client governance standard is “governance by forking” similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. TomoChain’s public chain is maintained by 150 Masternodes who run the client software following POSV’s consensus. Each Masternode has a full-control of where they run the full-node, what kind of hardware or cloud services they are using, and even the variants of clients they are running as long as the software is following the protocol accepted by ¾ supermajority of the Masternodes. Governance doesn’t need to involve complicated rules as the consensus is formed when Mastenodes follow their own interests, and collectively work together to maintain and secure the network. As Adam Smith put it:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens.” — Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nation.
TomoChain’s core team is running 5 Masternodes, and providing multiple DApps and softwares to the public chain such as mobile TomoWallet, TomoScan, TomoMaster, and a public RPC’s channel for third parties to deploy smart-contracts. As of right now, TomoChain’s core team is developing the only open-source client implementation, but a new client update can be accepted or rejected by the Masternode’s community. A split can happen if a sufficiently large enough no. of Masternode refuse to update or decide to accept an alternative version of the client. In these cases, any token holders would have tokens on both chains after the split. These situations have happened many times before, for example, in Ethereum’s split to Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, and in Bitcoin’s split to Bitcoin Core and multiple other implementations such as Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
Further governance changes will be considered in the future. For example: setting up a TomoChain Research Foundation, a formal Masternode Council, a decentralized funding mechanism for community projects, a way to deal with a major hack or losses of fund, or a way to prevent a chain split preceding a major change of consensus rules. I don’t have a detailed plan or timeline for these initiatives as recent failures with Bitcoin, Tezos, or NEM foundations show that these new institutions need to have a clear mandate and operating plan to succeed. The guiding principles on these issues are these questions: “How do proposed institutions create values to the ecosystem?” “Are people behind these proposals capable, trustworthy?” “Are the action plans well-thought out?” We are welcoming other blockchain teams, researchers and entrepreneurs to collaborate with us, address these questions, and build a stronger TomoChain ecosystem. We will gradually introduce more elements of governance upon further discussion and consideration with the community, and the engineering team in 2019.
Cryptocurrency is a decentralized and uncensorable money. TOMO is also the reserve fuel and stake in the TomoChain’s economy and ecosystem. These are undoubtedly important properties for the future of the global Open Finance and blockchain based economy. Our public chain is also a massive global collaboration platform that is attracting more and more talented developers and entrepreneurs. TomoChain will aim to strategically align the best teams and third-party development houses globally with us by developing a secure, stable, and performant infrastructure, the best user community, a value creation approach to development. Furthermore, giving third party projects sufficient stakes in TomoChain’s ecosystem will help them and TomoChain prosper over the long term. TomoChain core team has been proven to be first-rated product developers in the crypto space, and we will keep this quality in all of our ecosystem products by offering guidance and support wherever they are needed. An excellent product sense combined with engineering precision, and a laser focus on a defined strategic direction is our strongest competitive advantage to other blockchain ecosystems. 2019 will mark the year of TomoChain’s Open Finance area, and objectively we will set a goal of having over a dozen major Dapps on TomoChain this year.
4. Answers to some frequently asked questions:
- When sharding is implemented on TomoChain? We focus on TomoX and features such as “fee by any token” to pursue the vision of Open Finance in 2019, consequently it is unlikely sharding will be implemented this year. However, sharding is one of the key research areas, and we closely follow current efforts on sharding’s implementations, and will be ready to adopt the best practice relatively fast whenever real needs arise. We will publish an evaluative article on overall sharding progresses soon.
- Why focus on TomoX and Open Finance? We believe Open Finance is the strongest use case of a public chain taking a full power of the composability concept as the sum of multiple financial primitives (products) leading to multiplicative effects to the whole ecosystem. TomoX is one of the key concept within the Open Finance paradigm. See more in references.
- Can we expect third party teams working on TomoChain? We already have several third party teams working on TomoChain or TomoChain’s tokens such as the TomoSwap team, TomoChain Japan focusing on enterprise adoption, Midas team developing TomoDice and Mcash dice, Triip Protocol working on a traveling app, etc. We expect to expand the ecosystem further in the future as we spend more efforts on evangelism, and as we move closer to the completion of key financial primitive products such as TomoX, fee by any tokens, etc.
- What’s the marketing plan for TomoChain? There will be more marketing activities and user acquisition strategies by the end of 2019 when TomoX is completed and there are a few important Dapps running on top of TomoChain. Our plan is to make sure that the core TomoChain products find the market-fit, and resonate with a defined set of mainstream users before spending more money on marketing and user acquisition.
- How can I help TomoChain? Anything that can create values to TomoChain’s ecosystem helps TomoChain. Even anything that create values to the broader crypto ecosystem also helps TomoChain. It would be great if you can do anything in these two categories. If you can create values in these two categories but need help now in term of funding and guidance, feel free to contact TomoChain and me as we are always ready to support you.