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“Imagine BC can do for Blockchain what AOL did for the Internet” says Erik Rind, the Founder and CEO of Imagine BC

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ImagineBC

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“What keeps me going every day, unfortunately, is disgust”, says Erik Rind. “Being a new grandfather, I am now always thinking about  what kind of a world will my grandson be living in 20 years from today. If projects like Imagine BC don’t come out and do something to change our current course, we are going to have a big problem.”

Erik’s company Imagine BC is aiming to put individuals back in control of their personal data and help them monetize it on their own terms.

We at CryptoTapas have been blessed to have had the opportunity to speak with executives who are visionaries. Each of these individuals are on a mission to change the world for the better. Today’s interview with Erik Rind is in line with the visionaries we interviewed before.  

Erik is driven by a mission to bring cutting edge technologies like blockchain and AI/ML into every aspect of our daily lives so that everyone can own their own data and their creative intellectual property, and make money off of it, if they so choose.  

Having run successful companies and even selling one of the companies that he built from the ground up for 22 million dollars, Erik brings a lot of experience to this enterprise. It is needless to say that his ImagineBC is not a whitepaper dream.

Imagine BC can do for Blockchain what AOL did for the Internet

Erik envisions that Imagine BC will do to blockchain what AOL did for email and the internet.  Before AOL, the internet was a cryptic thing that was a domain for only techy guys with proficient coding ability.  

AOL changed that to the simplicity of “you got mail” through by deploying access to the Internet through a Graphic User Interface. In turn, users did not have to break their heads with the intricacies of the technology behind the emails. 

Blockchain too, at this time, is the domain of nerds and anarchists, with enterprises testing the waters. Its world changing implications are not reaching the audiences where its amazing potential lies.

Projects like Imagine BC breathe fresh life into the latent potential of blockchain for the masses to adapt.

Comprehensive partnerships, zero employees

Erik Rind Imaginebc

Erik is a veteran when it comes to building a company from the ground up and it shows from the partnerships that he has put together to broaden Imagine BC’s reach.

What is unique about Imagine BC is that they are infusing blockchain technology, AI integration, and identification verification into an easy to use app, all without a single employee.

That is right – ZERO employees. 

In Erik’s own words, “if we tried to build an internal organic team, we would probably still be looking for people, a year and a half later, who can do all that is needed to make our vision a reality.”

Erik has a point.  

Many blockchain companies have failed because of heavy fixed expenses and models that never had a chance to scale or adapt to the changing technology landscape.

Imagine BC’s philosophy is to find the best partners with world class talent, and then deploy them towards various aspects of the project and scale it up or down based on business needs.  This helps Erik focus on design, architecture and deployment instead of worrying about running the next payroll.

How else can you assemble a team that can scale the programmer pool while developing AI tools, or while at the same time designing a massive marketing campaign that is based on behavioral science?  There is just no way to put such a team together without breaking the bank. Yet, Erik has succeeded in putting together the dream team through these partnerships.  

Take a look at the partners that form the team for Imagine BC.

ImagineBC Team partners

How do you make money on Imagine BC?


YouTube makes money off its user content.  Users in return get rewarded dream dust and peanuts.  

In Erik’s own example, “a relative is in the gaming space. His video on YouTube crossed a million viewers and he got a check for $3,000, which he thought was fantastic until I showed him how he got robbed. With our platform model, he would be able to  upload the video to the Imagine BC platform and subsequently, set a price for people to watch that video.

Users can quickly go watch an ad or fill out a survey and earn the necessary currency to view the video . This is how assuming a price of $0.25 per view, those same million viewers would translate to $175,000 for the content creator instead of $3,000. That is how we envision our ecosystem to work. It is essential for our future that Intellectual property holders receive fair compensation for their work”

That is powerful.  

Individuals must rise up and realize that the implications of platforms like Imagine BC place control back in the hands of those creating the content.

Facebook may piss off the Governments

“I don’t think they will be successful” Erik opined talking about Facebook’s Libra coin, “they are going against a powerful entity who has a monopoly on money, the United States Government. Clearly, our Government is pissed off.”

While the massive numbers are behind Facebook, in Erik’s view, that is just not enough.

“Facebook will run into many adversaries when they are trying to take on the government and central banking systems,” Erik said.
 

Democratizing Artificial Intelligence

Companies like Google and Facebook use artificial intelligence to run gigantic data sets to make money for themselves.  We had to democratize AI, in a way, to bring efficiencies to Imagine BC’s platform.

As the platform goes live and catches on, it will be impossible to manually process member verifications or to monitor behavioral aspects on the platform.  That is one of the reasons Imagine BC is embedding artificial intelligence within the core architecture structure of its platform.

Addressing the GDPR from the get go

Imagine BC does not house any personal identifiable information.  During the initial verification, information is held for 48 hours or so. Once verified, a referral ID is assigned and the user’s data is then deleted from ImagineBC’s systems forever.  

This helps address almost all of the GDPR aspects. Imagine BC is not holding any information, whether it be user’s email addresses or other information.

Setting itself apart from the rest from design

Blockchain confidants may wonder what makes Imagine BC different from Minds.com or Basic Attention Token (BAT) or Hu-manity.  

Those companies are tackling the ideas of privacy and data monetization from social media, advertisement, and healthcare data, as well as some other specific aspects.

Imagine BC looks at privacy and data ownership from a much broader perspective. The chart below summarizes what sets them apart.  

ImagineBC Applications

Imagine BC’s vision is bold.  If it succeeds in executing on its mission, people will realize how they have been taken advantage by social media giants as well as companies operating  in other areas.

Read or listen to the full interview to learn about:

  • Parallels between 1890 and 1914, and why it matters
  • How your data and creative intellectual property are making money for YouTube and Facebook
  • Example on how what could have fetched you $3000 on YouTube could fetch $170,000 on Imagine BC
  • And much more.  

Enjoy the interview.
Interview with Imagine BC-Erik Rind

CryptoTapas: What got you into the Blockchain space and where did the idea behind Imagine BC stem from?

Erik: I have spent the majority of my career in human capital management space, that is, traditional HR space.  About 2 years ago, I met a guy in Washington DC who was a real Blockchain zealot.  By the end of the conference, I did a complete 180 and became very impressed with the concept. I touched base with him after the conference to explore next steps and take things forward. 

At the end of my research, I knew that blockchain could bring serious changes in the business world.  At the time, I talked to our parent company called One Touch HCM about how we could use this technology in the HCM space.  

HCM businesses sit on a tremendous amount of private information.  We sit on personal information, we do payroll, we have their social security numbers, we know their bank information. So as you can imagine, the industry juggles highly sensitive information on all it’s users.  

From the blockchain perspective, we have a single point of risk, that is, a centralized database.  If we get hacked, we are in big trouble. We could not withstand that kind of risk.  

After learning about blockchain, we asked ourselves, what if we gave individual’s private data back to them so that individual never loses control of that data and we only access it for verification purposes, about 48 hours or so? Once the verification is complete, that information is wiped clean and even we don’t have access to it any longer. 

When we need their information, users would grant us access on a need base. That was how we started thinking about blockchain as a way to give the data back to the individual(s) and avoid the risk of acting as the single source of sensitive information.  We have never dabbled with the crypto aspect of it, just the blockchain technology. This made a lot of sense for our HCM business model.

We were six months into building the prototype when we stopped and said, this concept of pushing sensitive data back to the individual does not just change the way we do our business, it changes everything.  This was about 1.5 years ago. Back then this concept of an individual owning data and monetizing it was not popular. We hear about it now in the news but back then it was unheard of in most business circles.

We have to teach people to take back control of the data, and to do that, we have to come up with something more exciting than just confining ourselves to an HCM solution. That is how Imagine BC was born to ensure that individuals owning the data are the ones making the money. That goes not just for the data, but for the intellectual property and creative rights for the content that is created.  That is the message that resides at the core of Imagine BC.

That’s how we migrated from an HCM solution to saying that everybody needs to be in control of their data and learn to benefit from it. That is what shapes our vision today at Imagine BC.
 

CryptoTapas: We heard about your idea to leverage a gig economic model instead of investing heavily in employing permanent staff on the project. Talk to us about that.

Erik: We are a new type of company that has no employees.  If you think about what we are trying to do, if we tried to build an internal organic team, we would probably still be looking for people a year and a half later. We have all the individuals that are needed to reach our vision.  

Instead, we went out in the market to find people who are experts in the areas in this ecosystem, quickly and cost effective.

In India, we work with a company called Harbinger who have deep expertise in everything technology.  In fact, I was looking to find opportunities to work with them before, and this made the most sense. We put a team together, we do all the design here and Harbinger does the programming and development side of things, it’s been a marvelous partnership.

For Imagine BC to work, we have to ensure that we verify that people are who they say they are as well as ensuring  that they are not gaming the system.  The other responsibility we have is to make sure our members make money from their data.

Giants like Facebook and Google are using Artificial Intelligence to make money for themselves.  We needed to democratize AI for the individuals using Imagine BC.

Next crucial partner, this is one of those situations when luck favors you, this partnership is really lucky for us. I was at a conference in California where companies were talking about how they leverage AI and the benefits.  On the second day, this guy named Shan comes on stage and says “everything you just heard is complete bull shit.”

All I was hearing was about how robots are going to take over the world, take our jobs and how everything is becoming predictive, and this guy comes and that’s how he starts his pitch.

He talked about how AI can do certain things very well and for others, it is not there yet.  One thing AI does exceptionally well is pattern recognition.

My ears perked up. We needed pattern recognition in our platform and I decided to follow up with Shan. He had just  quit Netflix at the time and started a company called We are AI.  

It was a match made in heaven. They had the tools that can integrate AI to carry out pattern recognition for 1/10th of the cost.  This was nirvana to me.  So we struck up a deal.  They bought into our value proposition and it has been a marvelous partnership.

Between Harbinger as our mobile app development team and We are AI as our AI/ML team, progress has been incredible.

That is our technical side.

Every time I pitched the idea of Imagine BC, and I have done it more than 600 times by now, I have not heard anyone say no to the idea. In fact, people ask me – ‘you are telling me that if I download this app and protect my privacy, I will make a load of money? where do I sign up?’.  It is easy to do that in front of 600 or even 1000 people, but if you want to bring millions of people onto the platform, you need a good marketing team.  So, on the marketing side, we have Hackels. They run the show on the marketing side.

Other major partners we have include Ipsos. They bought a company on the behavioral side.  That’s what caught my attention.  If you think about it, we are going after the masses, and if we piss anyone off, they will not use the app, they will just throw it away.

So it is very important to know why people do what they do. This is the behavioral sciences aspect of it.

While we were looking for companies specializing in behavioral science background, Ipsos looked at our specs on the app.  Our proposition at the time was very simple – users would specify how much they would like to make on the app.  Ipsos people said to us “you are dead”. 

They told us that we are asking people to quantify their self worth. People will throw it away because it is too hard.  They suggest that we at least start off with a number with room to change.

Ipsos is not driving the marketing side of things but they backtrack what we are doing and make sure that we are not tripping over.

Another big partner is TrainSMART.  

While influencers like yourselves have been shining light on what big players are doing to our data and how they are benefiting from it, we still need to ensure that individuals are educated to entertain our app.

TrainSMART are helping us to ensure that our app is easy to understand and use.  They are also helping us with gamification of certain aspects to make it easy for new users.

Of course, Brawner helps us with public relations.

We also have partners that are building their applications on top of Imagine BC. Syntoniq is one such partner, they are like google maps for your financial life.  Their assessment takes 2 minutes that produces 7 key aspects of financial profile.  I took it myself and the results were perfect.  

Their service is now integrated into Imagine BC.  Think about the implications of that integration.

Think about a Casino business.  Wouldn’t they like to know how much of a risk taker you are before you walk into the Casino?  Absolutely.  

Banks can use this data too. Instead of throwing flyers at random people – banks will pay you for providing this kind of insights into the users before they make the first contact.  

We also have another company in the partners list called AGS-Health who are in genomic testing.  

We have companies like 23andme, who took the genetic data of people and sold its company for 400 million dollars. AGS-Health on the other hand never sells their data.  We now have a genetics partner on our platform.  If there is $1000 is to be made on genetic data, AGS-Health help our users make that money using Imagine BC.

We also have another local partner in Washington area called Health Wizz.  They are helping us on the health side.

We also have John Hopkins on the lifestyle/health side. They have projects on cancer and the diabetes area.  We are their marketing arm.

Then we have one partner on social work and another on the education side.  

On the social work front, we have a partnership with bhs. They are like Uber for social workers. They match social workers to a cause.  They have 60000 social workers and want to act as an Uber for social workers. Imagine BC is going to be the platform that will make this happen.

Our partner on the education side is called Pathevo. They want to be the Uber of educational services. They match students with those who can help them achieve whatever is that they are trying to achieve; whether it is getting into Harvard or finishing a project.

When you look at the partnerships we have in place, the possibilities are limitless.

CryptoTapas: All of this is really fascinating stuff.  Our next question to you is, how are you going to bring this in front of the masses who do not understand or care about what blockchain is?  What is your strategy around it?

Erik: Great question.  We never mention blockchain.  We are what AOL was to the internet.  I am not sure if you are old enough to know this, but I am old enough to remember when the internet was used to send messages across in 1980. It was difficult. Cryptic commands were required to send a simple message.  

But along came AOL and it was all about “you got mail”, their Graphic User Interface was a game changer.  At that point, no one cared about how the internet worked.  All they cared about was that they can use this thing called AOL to send messages across the internet.

That is what we are trying to do, Imagine BC will be for blockchain what AOL was for the internet.  
 

CryptoTapas: With Facebook going into the cryptocurrency/blockchain space, do you think it will distract people from the decentralization conversation and privacy aspects that blockchain was poised to change?

Erik: I am very interested in this space, so I was following that news closely.  Facebook is not going to give away its revenue streams.

But think about financial institutions like banks.  They would be very concerned about what Facebook is trying to do.

You are right, RK, that Facebook is hijacking the decentralization and privacy discussion to merely the idea of moving money.

I don’t think they will be successful.  They are going against a powerful entity who has a monopoly on money, the United States Government.  Clearly, Government is pissed off.

When you touch the financial side of things, then all of the anti-trust and privacy laws are going to be important.  Although Facebook is trying to get into this space, social influencers like yourself are going to keep the conversation alive and keep the blockchain and decentralization ideas in the forefront.

Facebook will run into so many adversaries as they begin to take on the Government and banking system.

If I have a business model that depends on selling the data, and now the Government comes along and says you have to stop it completely since you are dealing with financial aspects, then I have a big problem.

CryptoTapas: That is where we are glad to see companies like Imagine BC leverage blockchain technology to keep the data in individuals’s hands, while still helping them connect with advertisers in a mutually beneficial model.

Erik: That is only part of what Imagine BC does. If you look at platforms like YouTube, it is sad how much people creating the intellectual property for YouTube are exploited.

There is a German researcher named Mathias Bärtl who found that even YouTubers that average 1.4 million viewers per month only average about $17,000 a year.  To sustain that kind of viewership up, you have to work 14-16 hours a day.

The research essentially concluded that there is a better chance for your kid to be a major league baseball player than for you to be a YouTube success.

That is the other aspect we address.

For example, my relative is in the gaming space. His video on YouTube crossed million viewers and got a check for $3000 which he thought was fantastic until I showed him he got robbed. On our platform model, he would have uploaded the video to the platform and put a fees to watch the video.

The users can quickly go watch an ad or participate in some activity to earn those fees.  For instance, that same million viewers would have translated to $170,000 instead of $3000. That is how we envision our ecosystem to work.

We want people making money on the platform, but at the same time spend that money on content created by other individuals. That is power of Imagine BC ecosystem.

CryptoTapas: If you are going after models like Facebook or YouTube, how are you going to address the issue of scalability and how are you going to manage infrastructure?

Erik: Imagine BC is a private blockchain because we are not a crypto based platform, we are USD based.

So, we are using Microsoft Azure to address the scalability.  Additionally, we do not store any data after identity has been verified and confirmed.

Users will create their profiles on the app and then complete 5 basic steps to establish their identity.  We only keep the information in our systems for 48 hours to verify the identity. Once that is done, we delete that information forever from our systems after assigning an alphanumeric referral code to the user.

This code becomes the universal identity on Imagine BC everywhere.

We call it a referral code and this is used when a registered user invites another person to join the community.  Every direct invitee’s activity will yield 10% to the referrer. At any point, users make 70%, referrer makes 10% and Imagine BC makes 10%.

CryptoTapas: How do you handle the GDPR, looks like you guys are managing the ‘right to forget’ aspect by design by deleting the information within 48 hours, however, if the user decides to delete their information from the wallet, is that possible?

Erik: GDPR is about unauthorized use of your personal information.  If users want to delete their wallets, they cannot, they just have to destroy their private keys to make them inaccessible forever.

CryptoTapas: What is your elevator pitch for Imagine BC?

Erik: We never pitch blockchain and that makes our elevator pitch simple, and it is this: 

Do you think its fair for Google and Facebook to make the money off of your data?  

Generally people say no.

Would you like to use an app that allows you to make that money, if yes, that is what ImagineBC is – we use blockchain to ensure your anonymity and no one else makes money from your data.
 

CryptoTapas: Are you geography centric or are you global?

Erik: We are currently establishing our model in the US.  Once successful, we will naturally transform into a global platform.

CryptoTapas: How do you manage work-life balance? How do you stay away from digital noise?

Erik: I am in a different stage in life. I am married for 34 years, my wife is also a professional. We both have our own careers. My boys are grown up now, in fact, I became a grandfather recently.

I do not have a lot of commitments like other young people have. So, I commit a lot of time on the projects.

In terms of digital noise, I am not bothered by social media.  I am an avid news reader and I am always reading news on my phone because every single news out there might have some impact on what we are doing at Imagine BC.

CryptoTapas: One final question, what drives you every day to invest your time and energy on Imagine BC?

Erik: Answer to that, unfortunately is, disgust.

I look at the world and it concerns me a lot.  It may also have to do with the fact that I am a grandfather.   That makes you look at the world differently to say ‘what kind of a world will my grandson grow in 20 years from today?’.  If projects like Imagine BC don’t come out and do something, we have a big problem.

We see news everyday, nothing is going to stop robotics and AI is going to wipe out jobs.  

Well that means, there will be a lot of unemployed people, that is scary, that’s how revolutions start.  I am a history major – so I can think through these.

I see unbelievable parallels between the world we are living right now and the world from 1890 to 1914s.  Robert Barren, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, now we have Zuckerberg, Bezos who are much bigger than those guys at the time.

We see ourselves as organizing people to counteract these Robert Barrens of the modern world.

Decentralization and Blockchain promise a better world, and Imagine BC is participating in that, that is what drives me every day.

Every negative headline drives me everyday.

Thank you for reading the article.

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CryptoTapas does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.
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About the author

RK Reddy holds two Masters degrees, one in Accounting and another in Business Administration with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.

RK Reddy is an ardent fan of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. You can see the excitement about this new blockchain technology in every article on Cryptotapas.com. Sometimes this excitement leads to an overly optimistic view. Guilty as charged. RK Reddy says what may seem like an ‘overly optimistic expectation’ today may become an everyday norm in 5-10 years; look at the history of cars or airplanes, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies belong to a similar frame of reference.”  Of course, that is just his opinion.

 

Interview

“Coda is world’s lightest Blockchain,” an exclusive interview with Emre Tekisalp of Coda Protocol

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Coda Protocol Interview

What happens when the miners decide to pull out their support of a public network? What
happens when nodes find a project not-profitable and they abandon the project?

It makes the blockchain network weak and vulnerable to attacks. In theory, all public blockchain
networks that rely on network strength to sustain face this existential threat.

Coda Protocol “addresses blockchain’s scalability problem at its source by utilizing recursive zk-
SNARKs to ensure the blockchain never exceeds the size of a few tweets, making it the world’s
lightest blockchain.”

Coda wants to provide a viable scalable solution without sacrificing the decentralized nature of
blockchain.

We asked Emre Tekisalp, Director of Business Development at O(1) Labs, the team behind
Coda Protocol, a lot of questions about Coda Protocol and his answers are below for anyone
wanting to learn about Coda Protocol.

Emre spent two years at Coinbase’s Business Development team where he led a number of strategic programs during a period when the company grew 10x. Before Coinbase, Emre was a Product Manager at Intel’s wearable devices group. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Emre has an MBA degree from Columbia University.

Q&A with CryptoTapas

In a world of 1000’s of blockchain projects and protocols, how do you envision Coda
making its mark?

Coda addresses blockchain’s scalability problem at its source by utilizing recursive zk-SNARKs
to ensure the blockchain never exceeds the size of a few tweets, making it the world’s lightest
blockchain.

Legacy blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are incredibly heavy chains from a data
perspective. The heavier the chain, the greater the data processing requirements placed on
nodes, which limits the number of nodes eligible to participate. As the pool of potential nodes
diminishes, decentralization declines, jeopardizing the strength of the network.

Decentralization is not a sacrifice blockchains should be willing to make, yet this is
precisely the danger facing blockchains that focus solely on scalability. Coda confronts this
problem by using recursive zk-SNARKs to encapsulate the entire history of the chain in a single,
lightweight zero-knowledge proof.

To ensure sufficient decentralization upon mainnet launch this summer, we launched Genesis, a
token program to prepare members of our community to be block producers. With more than
500 users joining our testnet, Coda is now one of the largest layer 1 testnets by peer count. It’s
the strength of our technology and commitment to our community that differentiates us from
other protocols.

What would you say to convince the team of a project that is already on another protocol,
say Ethereum or Tron, to move to Coda?

Coda is designed for developers and for projects to use it as an easy tool to enable value
exchange in their existing apps. It is incredibly lightweight and prioritizes decentralization and
security. Already more than half of all web traffic can be attributed to mobile, and so it is
absurd to believe any blockchain system that does not work on mobile will be able to meet
the needs of the increasingly mobile digital economy. Coda’s inclusive and lightweight approach
will allow the protocol to be useful for the existing mobile internet ecosystem.

Who is behind o1Labs.org? How big of a team is working on Coda?

Emre Tekisalp founder of coda protocolCo-founders Izaak Meckler and Evan Shapiro created Coda with the goal of solving the
scalability problems that have plagued blockchain since its inception. We now have 28 full-time employees and hundreds of dedicated community members. The first cohort of validator teams participating in our Genesis program includes Bison Trails, Figment Networks, dsrv labs, and Sparkpool.

Coda Protocol Team

[CryptoTapas Side note: Bison Trails is a Libra Network member]

How does SNARKs make Coda better than other projects, can you explain in a way that a
non-blockchainer can understand?

The basic idea of zk-SNARKs is that they allow one to verify the result of any computation
without having to redo or acquire any detailed information about said computation. For example
you can prove “you are who you say you are” to a website without sharing any sensitive
information like a password. Coda uses zk-SNARKs to enable anyone to easily connect to the
blockchain from any device just by downloading a couple kilobytes of data. In contrast,
traditional blockchains like Bitcoin require expensive desktop machines to download hundreds
of gigabytes over many hours.

In the whitepaper, we read “The resulting consensus protocol is consistent and
responsive as long as at most 1/2 of the mining power is malicious,” can you elaborate
what this means?

In order to function, blockchains require all nodes connected to the network to periodically come
to consensus regarding the latest state of the world. The way this consensus is achieved varies
from blockchain to blockchain.

Coda Consensus

Bitcoin, for example, also requires at least half of the nodes participating in consensus to stay
honest. Unlike Bitcoin, which is a Proof-of-Work network, most Proof-of-Stake networks like
Cosmos or EOS require at least two-thirds of the nodes to stay honest. This higher requirement
makes such networks less resistant to attacks. The specific consensus mechanism we use in
Coda, a variant of Ouroboros, allows Coda to stay secure as long as half of the nodes are
honest, similar to Bitcoin. This is one of the factors that allows Coda to be more decentralized
than other blockchains out there.

Will there be a token sale? What will be the maximum supply of Coda?

We have not disclosed any plans for a token sale before the mainnet release of Coda. Coda will
not have a maximum supply, as it will have ongoing inflation per our Economic Whitepaper. At
mainnet launch, Coda will have an initial supply of 1 billion tokens.

Can non-technical members become Genesis Founding members? How many of your
1000 slots are still available?

Absolutely! We see Coda as a decentralized network and currency built by its participants, and
this includes users with many different sets of skills. The majority of the 1,000 Genesis
Founding Member slots are still open, so hop on over to our website to start getting active on
our testnet.

If you were to meet all of your goals, what would Coda look like in 5 years? What kind of
clients would it have on board and what kind of social impact does Coda have in the
blockchain space?

Coda is built first and foremost for developers.

In 5 years we see Coda enabling internet users to exchange value from any app. This will allow
any developer and business owner to easily accept money and new novel types of tokens from
anyone around the world from any device. We recognize that such a future is not built just by
one company. This is why we emphasize inclusivity above all else and are encouraging people
of all backgrounds to participate at this early stage through our Genesis program. Only by
supporting diverse participation today can we be sure the system will be equipped to serve the
diverse, global population of internet users.

CryptoTapas wishes all the best to Coda Protocol.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article and if you have spare satoshis lying around – consider donating.

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Interview

“The Asensys system delivers 1,000 times the throughput and 2,000 times the capacity of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks” Says Dr. Brendon Wang, founder of Asensys

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Asensys AMA with CryptoTapas

There are over 5100 crypto projects that are listed on CoinMarketCap. This is not a complete list though, there are 1000s of other blockchain/crypto projects that are out there that are not listed on CMC yet for various reasons (one big one is they may not have their own cryptocurrency to trade). 

With 1000s of Crypto projects already existing – it is difficult to get excited about new projects.  However, when you hear about a project that is conceived and built by a Lead Researcher who lead the team at Microsoft on Distributed Systems, you want to learn more.  

Brendon WangDr. Brendon (JiaPing) Wang, along with Co-Founders Minghao Pan and David (Xiaobing) Zhang, has conceived of an idea that could increase the current transaction speeds by 1000s of times that of Bitcoin or Ethereum. The exciting part about Asensys is its performance increases with the user base. The more users who use the network the faster the network becomes.

This counterintuitive novelty could give Asensys the edge in the blockchain space.  But, is it all hype or is there mettle in this project?

We wanted to find out directly from the founder.  This exclusive Q&A with Dr. Brendon Wang is geared to provide great insight to the reader about Asensys.

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CryptoTapas Q&A

1) How would you describe Asensys to an already confused novice with 2000 odd projects in the market?  What sets it apart?

To understand Asensys, you first need to understand the problem we are solving. Bitcoin revolutionized finance by introducing the first peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Its brilliance lies in the fact that two individuals can exchange value without verification from a third party intermediary, upending the system we’ve relied on for centuries that gave undue power to trusted, centralized entities like banks and governments to validate transactions and provide legitimacy to currency itself. The way Bitcoin circumvents the need for trusted, centralized validators is by outsourcing verification to a decentralized web of computers, called nodes. This means that every transaction and action on the network needs to be broadcast and replicated by all nodes, a process that takes time—too much time to meet the needs of the fast-paced digital economy. This issue of how Bitcoin and all blockchain networks can scale has been one of the biggest roadblocks to adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain systems to-date.

One obvious way to improve the speed at which blockchain networks can process transactions is to decrease decentralization. The more centralized a system, the fewer nodes need to be communicated with to replicate the action. However, decreasing decentralization compromises the security of the network, making it more vulnerable to a 51% attack—when a majority of nodes collude against the whole to update the chain of transactions in their own interests (AKA: cheating). Incentives are designed to deter nodes from weakening the network, as they stand to benefit from a fully-functioning blockchain, but most members of the crypto community believe weakening security is a bad idea. Furthermore, decreasing decentralization is contrary to the spirit of cryptocurrency that drew so many of us to cryptocurrency in the first place. 

What we’ve done with Asensys is introduce a way to dramatically reduce over-redundant actions across the network (the main culprit contributing to blockchain latency). Our novel solution utilizes Asynchronous Consensus Zones to essentially “divide and conquer” all intra-network tasks into “mini” networks, which are independent and parallel zones.

Dividing workload produces substantial performance lift for the entire network, but it raises two problems: cross-zone transaction handling, which is when a user in one zone transacts with a user in a different zone, and mining power dilution. Asensys addresses the efficiency issue of cross-zone transactions with eventual atomicity and the security threat of mining power dilution with Chu-ko-nu mining.

Eventual atomicity enables transactions to be verified and executed in the zone where the transaction’s first state was initiated. Groups of operations are then conveyed to other zones in relay transactions, but the data pertaining to the transaction remains in the zone in which the initial state resided.

Chu-ko-nu mining protects each zone and the entire network against a 51% attack by incentivizing miners to create multiple blocks for different zones with a single nonce, which enforces even distribution of mining power across zones.

2) Most projects do well in a test environment but fail miserably when it comes to real world application – what factors contribute to this variance and how is Asensys going to circumvent these very issues?

We have conducted an in-house experiment to simulate how Asensys will scale as more users are added to the network and greater capacity and throughput are required. The results demonstrated that performance by the Asensys protocol increases proportionately to the community size. This means that as the user base grows, Asensys becomes even more efficient at processing transactions. In a test including 1,200 virtual machines worldwide to support 48,000 nodes, the Asensys system delivers 1,000 times the throughput and 2,000 times the capacity of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. The below graphs are from our whitepaper.”

Linear scaling

cross zone transactions

3) Your claims are in line with companies like Credits, Hedera Hashgraph, etc., all of which have raised substantial capital to fund their projects.  How big is your team to gain traction for Asensys and how are you going to fund it?

I lead a global team working from the United States, China, and Germany. Co-Founders Minghao Pan and David (Xiaobing) Zhang are based in Frankfurt and Shanghai, respectively. Michelle Chuang leads Audience Engagement and Customer Experience for Asensys. She comes to us with over 20 years of experience in marketing and customer engagement and has led key initiatives for companies such as Starbucks, Chevron and Staples Inc. We have funding from angel investors who are also high-profile leaders in technology, news that we will be [releasing] very soon.

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4) Will you have your native currency on Asensys?

Asensys will have its own currency just like Bitcoin and Ethereum to incentivize miners to add blocks of transactions to the chain. Ultimately, however, Asensys intends to be the underlying system powering a decentralized web of applications, each capable of issuing their own tokens.

5) Is your network designed to support micro transactions, and will it be blockchain platform (bitcoin/ethereum/ripple/etc.,) agnostic? 

Asensys is its own infrastructure layer, distinct from Bitcoin, Ehtereum, Ripple, etc.

6) How does Asensys’s unlimited scalability translate to a real world business use case, can you give an example that can be understood by a non-technical business person?

Asensys will be the system powering the decentralized web, which will be comprised of dapps for entertainment, finance, healthcare, e-commerce, education, and more. Just as developers can build on Ethereum, they will be able to build on Asensys without concern for its capacity to scale as the number of users grows. Asensys has a programming language, Parallel Relayed Execution Architecture Language (PREAL), specifically designed for blockchain systems and based on asynchronous consensus zones (just like nVidia has CUDA language to GPU programming). PREAL is based on a functional programming model that allows developers to describe transaction logic without concerning themselves with the underlying parallel blockchain system. 

7) We only saw Academy research reference on your site, is there a white-paper or document that describes Asensys and contrasts it with existing projects?

If you’d like to learn more, please refer to our whitepaper, which describes the details of our system in great detail. This research was also presented at the prestigious NSDI’19 conference. We are continuing to add to our website and build our community. Feel free to follow us on LinkedIN and Twitter channels for updates on news and developments:

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Interview

A Crypto Crimes Database Is Here, and It’s On to Something

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Crypto Crimes regulations

If you have ever seen crime shows from the 90s or early 2000s, you inevitably saw a frustrated detective wring his hands and say, “there is no record of the crimes from the other state.”

Even to this day, a national crime database is not a thing in many countries.

In the United States, there is no simple search system to scoop records from national, state, county, and federal databases. These databases operate on a different search parameter.

However, blockchain and crypto space may be able to circumvent the painful lessons from this lack of a single-source reference.

Murphy & McGonigle, a financial services law firm with a focus on blockchain and crypto litigation, has built a database to act as a single-source reference for specific case laws, verdicts, and fact patterns.

Blockchain Litigations Expected to Rise

Daniel Payne, Murphy & McGonigle

              Daniel Payne

As more and more companies are now venturing into the blockchain space, Daniel Payne, a shareholder in Murphy & McGonigle’s FinTech & Blockchain Practice expects an uptick in the number of cases in the space and for the relevance of the database to be more prominent. “As the economy drives toward a blockchain future, we think the litigations in the space will follow,” Daniel said.

The database tracks the trend line of litigations in the space. For instance, the 2017 and 2018 trend line shows a massive increase in blockchain litigations, which has subdued in 2019 as illegal and unauthorized ICO’s died down.

According to a report by Murphy & McGonigle, securities-related fraud lead the litigation list, while Texas leads the charts for the most number of blockchain-related litigations in the US. The report also notes that “the SEC issued a warning that it has put market participants on notice and is now focusing on non-fraud violations.”


Comprehensive Search Functionality

CryptoTapas had the opportunity to preview the Blockchain Litigation Database with Daniel Payne. The search criteria are quite comprehensive, with options to search for a specific case by plaintiff, lawyer, code, verdict, or any number of parameters. All the charts and statistics on the database are hyperlinked, helping to take the users straight to the details of whatever information interests them, depending on their search.

The database lets users narrow down their searches to the minutiae of a specific type of complaint. For example, if you want to see only criminal cases within a broad category, you can do that. You can further narrow down the search to a particular jurisdiction. You can even find cases by law firm or attorney. “One interesting aspect of the database is it helps you find the law firms that dealt with specific case types,” said Daniel. “One of the interesting aspects is that a particular attorney in Florida has been very active in finding plaintiffs to file a specific type of litigations.”

“Our database helps tie the incidents together that lead to a case,” Daniel said. “A case is otherwise just a case; however, learning about the incidents helps us advise our clients so that they don’t fall into the same pitfalls.”

Bitcoin and the Blockchain Litigation Database Have Common Roots

The idea behind the database came from the mortgage litigations the firm dealt with during the 2008 financial crisis. To help the clients they represented, Murphy & McGonigle started tracking all the mortgage litigation cases, whether their clients were involved or not. This database gave them the edge in terms of finding case laws and rulings to leverage in their cases.

The utility that the firm drew from tracking mortgage litigations sowed the seeds for the Blockchain Litigation Database. Bitcoin was also born during the recession, which was primarily caused by the subprime mortgage crisis.



Smart Contracts Are Legally Binding

“Smart contracts can absolutely be legally binding, and because of that, parties entering into smart contracts need to be careful,” Daniel said. “They should consider getting the legal advice they need before entering the contract.”

All the aspects of a legally binding contract are present in a smart contract. For instance, an offer, conditions, an acceptance, and an execution are all part of the smart contract’s protocol, and as such, they can be just as binding as any other contract.

“Parties should be aware of the ramifications of entering into a smart contract before they enter into them,” warned Daniel.

Education Is Needed in the Space

“I do not think that the attorneys or the courts have the full understanding of this new technology necessary to get questions right that are being presented to them in every case,” Daniel said. “However, we have seen that many of the verdicts on the cases we are tracking are absolutely correct.”

Daniel said that there is a need to educate the individuals working in the blockchain space, especially in terms of the law. “We have seen instances where failure to really understand the technology has led to the decisions that we question,” Daniel clarified.

There is no one to blame here because this technology is so new that many people do not have the required understanding. This lack of understanding is part of the growing pains that any new industry goes through. It is part of the evolution.

“Many of the undertakings of the companies within this space fall within the purview of the existing laws, while few specific aspects need some updates,” Daniel said.

Talking about the efforts made in the space by the blockchain community, Daniel said, “I am happy with the efforts by the blockchain communities in educating the Congress so that they have the background necessary for dealing with the issues that come before them.”

The database is not available for public viewing, but they do offer subscriptions for those who want access.




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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

About the author

RK Reddy holds two Masters degrees, one in Accounting and another in Business Administration with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Read more about the author here.



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