We collaborated with Coin98 and had our first AMA in Vietnamese community on June 6! Steve answered 30 questions raised by Coin98 community members.
Q1: Before we start, could you please introduce a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in the blockchain world?
Steve: Let me take a little time to introduce myself. Basically, I’m an programmer, or was.
23 years ago, I met a guy who later became the co-founder of WebEx. He asked me to join him to develop an Internet conference software. However, I turned down this offer.
Later I set up a R&D team in China for him, and we were developing a Internet conference software in China. One year later, the company raised funding and I sent the whole team to U.S. WebEx became very successfully and the company was sold to Cisco for 3.2 billion dollar. But I left WebEx in 2004 and started my own company, a video conferencing service provider. The company was quite successful and later was acquired by Huawei in 2010.
Around 2012, the mobile Internet was super hot, and I foresaw big opportunities. So I left Huawei and co-founded Dingtone, which is also very successful. It already went public in China.
In the past 23 years, I have always been in the communication business. I realized that the communication should be decentralized. That is why I entered the blockchain space.
Q2: For anyone who hasn’t heard about TOP Network yet, can you tell us just quickly what TOP Network is? What problems are TOP trying to solve? And how does TOP solve them?
Steve: In short, TOP Network is a decentralized communication network. Everyone can contribute their servers and bandwidth to the network. Any communication apps can connect to the network. If IPFS is for decentralized storage, TOP is for decentralized communication.
Q3: What time in June will TOP launch mainnet?
Steve: We will launch the mainnet at the end of this month. Typically, a mainnet will go though three stages:
1) Trial stage
2) Token map
3) Token transfer enabled
Q4: When will your have your first customer?
Steve: Very good question. We already have customers. We built a decentralized VPN, which already have users. The decentralized VPN is the first app on TOP Network.
Q5: What will you do to attract users to your dApp? Can you tell more about your plan to acquire customers?
Steve: In these days, attracting high quality developers is not easy. Probably over 20 blockchain platforms will go live this year. Each of them will try hard to attract developers. It won’t work out. We will take a completely different strategy. Before we started TOP, we already own over 60 million users on three communication apps. We will migrate those users to TOP Network. So, we will have lots of users from the beginning.
Q6: PBFT is a poplular consensus right now. I wonder why you didn’t choose DAG or other consensus algorithms?
Steve: Hardcore technical question. Actually, we are not using a regular DAG. We are using a simplified version of DAG data structure. We call it unit lattice. Essentially, each account has a micro blockchain, which means each of its transactions are linked into a tiny tiny chain. We are using pBFT for consensus. I don’t think pure DAG chain will have a future. It is extremely difficult to implement Smart Contract over DAG.
Q7: I know one of your partners is Tripio. How will you partner with them? Regarding an announcement of TOP Network on Medium “Tripio To Integrate TOP Token As A Method Of Payment For Over 450,000 Lodgings”, TOP is a utility token, but not currency payment, what did you think while letting TOP Token become a method of payment on Tripio?
Steve: Tripio basically wants to integrate any popular token into their platform. Obviously, TOP is super hot since TOP is listed on Huobi Prime.
The definition of the utility token is that the token can be exchanged for some services. So, TOP can be consumed on Tripio for travel service.
Q8: What is advantage and disadvantage of PBFT-DPoS Consensus?
Steve: The advantage is instant confirmation of transactions or blocks. For example, a block is confirmed in 0.5 seconds in EOS. TOP has similar speed.
The disadvantage is the system may have few number of delegations. But, with a optimized staking economy model, it is still possible to have a big number of nodes. We will release our staking economy very soon. You will see the advantages of TOP Network compared to EOS, Cosmos and other DPoS chains.
Q9: Is TOP inflation or deflation?
Steve: Remember, we reserve 38% tokens in our token distribution. Those tokens will be mined in about 25 years. That being said, there will be no inflation in the first 25 years. Beyond that, there will be a minor inflation, less than 1%. BTW, TOP Network does not charge gas fee.
Q10: In theory DAG can reach 100,000 TPS, but TOP’s testnet actually only reached 8864 TPS, is it too low?
Steve: Our testnet has only two shards. We can horizontally scale out performance by adding more shards. Each shard can provide 400–1000 TPS. 100 shards probably will have 40K to 100K TPS.
Q11: Who is your direct competitor?
Steve: Telegram is our main competitor. They have some technologies and they also have a lots of users (more than us). So we always treat Telegram as our only competitor.
Q12: TOP Launched IEO on Huobi, right? Why not after completing the mainnet?
Steve: TOP was the first project on Huobi Prime. Technically, it is not an IEO because we did’t raise fund from there.
Q13: Currently the world has 5G and many services are developing on this. Is there any reason for them to switch to TOP’s platform?
Steve: In 5G era, TOP Network will have more use cases. 5G application requires huge bandwidth. 5G solves the last-mile issue. However, the backend will become more challenging.
Q14: What TPS do you expect to achieve on TOP Network?
Steve: Based on our technical design, TOP Network can achieve 100K TPS.
Q15: So many projects out there are trying to solve scalability problem. What makes TOP Network stand out?
Steve: Scalability is not a huge, difficult challenge. Remember, EOS already supports 4000 TPS. The key question is, does the scalability of a blockchain sacrifice decentralization, security or functions?
EOS sacrifices decentralization. Some sharding-based chains have weird requirements, for example it may require a user to have a wallet on each shard.
TOP is a truly permissionless, decentralized blockchain. That is why we stand out.
Q16: Hi. can you tell me the real use case of TOP Tokens on TOP Network?
Steve: For example, you build a communication app on TOP Network, let’s say a VPN app. When you use that VPN app, the app basically needs to use TOP tokens to access the communication services on TOP Network. So, TOP token is a true utility token. It has real use cases.
Q17: TOP Network has 60 million users already. That’s a good number, but can you let me know how often the users are active? If there’s a lack of activity what will TOP Network do to improve that?
Steve: These 60 million users are on the communication apps we developed in the past. We will migrate them to TOP. The process has not started yet.
Q18: TOP Network has multiple service chains, how much will TOP Network charge for service chains?
Steve: TOP Network does not charge for a service chain. As long as the service chain uses TOP token, it does not need to pay any fees.
Q19: When will TOP get listed on new exchanges?
Steve: Yesterday, TOP was listed on Coinsuper, an exchange based on Hong Kong. They have the fiat license. We will list TOP on more exchanges in the future.
Q20: What is the difference between Cross-shard/Cross Zone and Cross-chain? Why doesn’t TOP Network use cross-chain solution?
Steve: Cross-shard, Cross-zone all happen inside TOP Network. Cross-chain means transactions between two blockchains.
Q21: Who will benefit from transaction fee of TOP Network? What is the transaction fee used for?
Steve: TOP does not charge transaction fees.
Q22: How does TOP Network deal with a 51% attack?
Steve: Excellent question. TOP deploys a two-layer network. The consensus network verifies transactions. The advanced network audits transactions. Two networks work independently.
Even if the consensus network is attacked, fake or double-spent transactions won’t be able to go through the advanced network. The advanced network is DPoS, which means a high percentage tokens are staked into the advanced network. The attacker won’t have such a large number of tokens.
Q23: About VM, Why doesn’t TOP Network use EVM instead of building a new VM?
Steve: The way the EVM is designed does not work in a sharding-based chain. EVM only supports single shard.
Q24: Can you talk a little bit about the result of TOP Network testnet?
Steve: Our testnet 4.0 will come out very soon. Welcome to participate in Testnet 4.0. Later, you can participate in our mainnet to earn tokens. Remember, TOP is permissionless, so any person can participate in the mainnet.
Q25: I found that your whitepaper was made from 2017. Have there been any changes since then?
Steve: Frankly, lots of changes during our implementation. We will revise the whitepaper once the mainnet is launched.
Q26: Can you share the latest updates on your project?
Steve: We are really busy preparing the mainnet. I have not shown up in our community for some time, because I’m spending 90% of my time with the engineers.
Q27: What is the next dApp after Dingtone, CoverMe, SkyVPN? How do you acquire developers and users for these dApps?
Steve: We have assembled a very large team to build many exciting real apps (not those DeFi, gambling apps).
Q28: What is the weakness of TOP at the moment?
Steve: We are not good at marketing. I guess that is the biggest weakness.
Q29: For a “Full-Stack Decentralized Cloud Communication Services”, Does it have any problem? And how will TOP Network tackle that?
Steve:It takes a lot of time and resources. We will roll out one by one.
Q30: If it’s a public chain, why do you think the real-world business will use it? Because if I have a business I don’t want anyone to be able to track my company statement.
Steve: “Real-world business” simply means non-financial apps.