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“Everyone is overcooking the potential of Blockchain” says Sascha Ragtschaa, CEO of Own Platform

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Blockchain Overclocking

Humble yet energetic, and conscientious yet pragmatic, the impressions that Sascha Ragtschaa, CEO of WeOwn platform, left on us during our interview.

“Everyone is overcooking the potential of Blockchain” said Sascha while talking about how the hype around blockchain and cryptocurrencies has hurt the true potential and adoption of Blockchain and Crypto space.Highlight and Share any text
He said that the bear market is only helping to weed out the bad and/or weak players so that technology can find stability and adoption.

While the public blockchains have their advantages, they are not customizable for mass adoption. Own platform has its own blockchain platform that can be customized in its functionality according to the market needs while fully carrying the trust and immutability that comes with blockchain.

With a team of 20 people and multiple locations around the world including Hong Kong, Germany, and The United States, Sascha is very confident about the security tokens, tokenization of assets and future of blockchain and hopes to grow his team to a size of 100 people by end of 2020.

That increase in people will also align with his vision for WeOwn in the space of security tokens, share registry and tokenizing assets to raise capital without having to pay out huge commissions to traditional financial institutions.

While The United States is still working on its blockchain framework, Own offers its solution platform to enterprises that already carry required permissions and licenses.

Every disruption goes through these cycles

Undeterred by the bear market, Sascha said that every technology goes through the Gartner hype cycle. “It is not an IF question, it is more of WHEN” referring to the potential of Blockchain and how businesses, governments, and people are realizing the true potential of this technology.

Yes to Blockchain, no to cryptocurrencies

Current sentiment in the enterprise world is that everyone wants to explore Blockchain technology for their businesses and they are very receptive about the ideas of implementation. However, if you even so much as mention the name of cryptocurrencies, you will be immediately boycotted. This is the misinformation and fear about cryptocurrencies in the enterprise’s circle.

cryptocurrency blockchain Sascha RagtschaaDuring interview, Sascha states “When we talk to businesses, let’s say larger enterprises, I think the interest is definitely huge in the sense that people want to know about tokenization, they want to understand about blockchain and so you’re in the sales cycle where they are very receptive because they heard about blockchain, they understand the benefits, but they are absolutely not interested in cryptocurrencies.”

Don’t hype the STOs to the moon

Sascha thinks that the overhyping of blockchain technology coupled with extensive media coverage of inflation and bursts of cryptocurrencies has worked against cryptocurrencies.

Moon talk generally fires back. Moon

He hopes that this bear market will stop people from moon talking the STOs. “I hope it’s not being hyped to the moon because that’s always bad,” he commented.

Our competition is not other tokenization platforms, it’s the traditional middlemen

When asked about the competition from other players in the tokenizing equity space – Sascha was quick to correct us. According to him – the competition in the tokenization space doesn’t bother him at all. Own’s focus is on capturing the services that are offered by middlemen in the traditional market.

Why not – traditional equity, capital and asset market is a multi-trillion dollar industry.  Even a fraction of that industry will mean a massive business opportunity.

“The competition is with the traditional guys – competition are the stock exchanges, the registrars, the transfer agents, the clearing houses and all those kind of middleman in traditional markets. They are our competition. I don’t care about other security token or tokenization platforms. The traditional market is our focus,” says Sascha with unwavering confidence.

Work-life balance is a bigger struggle with a startup, but its needed

Hardworking Team Weown

Sascha is no stranger to long hours, weekend travels, living out of suitcase – he has done that for more than 17 years. He was a software engineer at the age of 16 and had his first software development job at 18. He was a CIO in his twenties. Right before leaving his former role to start WeOwn, Sascha was managing teams of 500+ software developers across multiple continents.

“Startup is a 24/7/365-day job”, said Sascha with a sense of humor “but I am no stranger to such demands” he added.

Talking about the importance of striking a work-life balance – he talked about how he tries to stay away from the digital noise and finds quality time for his family.  He also finds time for sports and gym.  Sascha is very passionate about Basketball.

Moon talk dwindles but open markets always correct themselves

MarketSascha is careful about getting too hyped about the potential of Blockchain and STO space.  WeOwn has managed to stay away from the hype or moon talk.  Sascha believes that the open markets always correct themselves.

“I think we’re still at the early days and over the next few years, it will mature. Services will become known as the systems and products become stable and then we’re basically adding something to the economy, improving business activities and we will be improving the liquidity of illiquid assets.

We’re doing all these different things to just improve everyone’s wellbeing and improving the bottom-line for the business. I think that’s important, but I just hope it doesn’t get hyped too much.”

Below is the full transcript (edited) of the interview, if you are a blockchain and cryptocurrency aficionado – you will enjoy this conversation!

Cryptptapas Interviews Weown CEO Sascha Ragtschaa

CT: Obviously, you’re very busy, so we appreciate you taking time. We think STOs are going to be the biggest thing that happened in the crypto space. So, before we get started, do you just want to give us an overview of what’s been going on since you finished your ICO and how are things progressing, beyond just a quick update?

Sascha: Things are progressing really well. We’ve done a lot in terms of software development to really build the whole ecosystem.

We are finishing all our main products. We released the TestNet from our blockchain, our test wallet, and we’re working on the finishing touches for our Fast Platform upgrade. This platform enables businesses to generate and issue tokens, invite investors, and servicing around it. You have the whole marketplace and ecosystem all available and simple to use.

We also released our Decentralized Share Register towards the end of last year. Through this, you can track and manage a financially backed asset token or security token, including changes of ownership.

We also have My Own, an investor mobile app that allows investors to participate in security tokenization. You can also see your portfolio, your holdings; everything that investor would have.

On the business development side, we’re obviously quite active in selling our services to enterprises. We’re selling our services to issue, run and manage tokenization and its procedures. It’s not just about STOs. It’s about effective transactions and an asset trade

We’re also still recruiting people, mainly engineers.

CryptoTapas: That’s great. I do have two follow-up questions, Sasha, in terms of regulations and government interference in the space – which jurisdictions are you currently working on? Do you have restrictions as to which countries you offer these services to or are you operating in all jurisdictions?

Sascha: We’ve got a global focus. To give you examples, we are looking at Hong Kong, Singapore, Southeast Asia and mainland China, the whole European economic area, and the US.

We’re incorporated in Lichtenstein, which is very, very crypto friendly and we are operating a lot in the UK. If you issue security tokens or you do anything with equity backed tokens, you need to comply with local securities laws, so you need to engage with the regulators, which we do through the FMA in Liechtenstein, which gives us EA access in the UK.

There is also the FCA in the USCF, the FCC, and then, you have a multiple in Asia. We engage and deal with all of them, partially directly and impartially indirectly through legal firms and those sorts of bodies.

CryptoTapas: In terms of SEC in the US, are you getting a relatively warm response? Or, are you hitting a wall? How has the response in the US been so far?

Sascha: In the US, we don’t do any issuances directly at the moment. We basically sell our services to enterprises – for example, private banks, broker-dealers, etc. They already have all the right licenses and all SEC engagements. However, over the next few months, we will do issuance directly with the US. It’s not just about STOs. It’s about effective transactions and an asset trade.

There’s a lot of interest around tokenization because it increases profit margins and reduces complexity. They’re already used to a clearinghouse or a registrar on these sorts of things and they would like to reduce these fees. Tokenization offers cost-saving opportunities, with speed of issuance and higher liquidity; it’s very, very interesting for enterprises.

CryptoTapas: It just seems like the blockchain, or at least the emergence of blockchain will eventually solve the problems that have been thought as impossible to solve, using a DAPP.

Sascha: Yeah. Blockchain allows you to trade without an intermediary instantaneously. Intermediaries certify that the counterparties have received the item. However, the digital footprint of blockchain technology does that for you. And that’s the exciting thing about blockchain technology.

Other than that, businesses don’t care if you’re using blockchain or anything else. They want speed, they want fewer fees and they want immediate liquidity. If you can offer that and then it’s a home run.

CryptoTapas: Do you foresee that the governments and their record keeping will be going onto blockchain and then it’ll be layered onto all the blockchains available so that public and private blockchains exchange information seamlessly to help a truly decentralized economic model? 

Sascha: Absolutely. If you look at the UK, the government was the first to issue a paper on how distributed ledger technology and blockchain will improve governmental organizations and services. For example, it can track Land Registry ownership (a legal title) and ensure 100 percent accuracy.

Governments have centuries-old documentation on paper and storing paper certificates is expensive. With blockchain technology, you can digitize all of it.

It’s an immutable tamper-proof record set so it’s a huge opportunity. It is not a question of if it’s going to happen; it’s a question of when it’s going to happen.

CryptoTapas: That’s pretty interesting. I think the public awareness of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and what this technology can potentially bring forth is very limited, and part of that I think has to do with the media. Media only shows news of speculation, fraud and hype bursts. Do you think educating the public in the mainstream about the potential benefits of blockchain will change the outlook toward this technology in the future?

Sascha: Yes. I keep saying this, but everyone is overcooking the potential of the blockchain.

Yes, it is new technology. It is groundbreaking. It offers so much more, but like any new technology that comes along, it gets overhyped. I’m sure you know the Gartner hype cycle where you have overinflated expectations; we had these last year and the year before, but now we have the opposite.

The Internet went through the cycle, cloud computing went through the cycle, smartphones went through the cycle and the same thing is happening with blockchain. And the media jump on anything that creates a good story, whether it’s good or bad.

People are quite negative about blockchain in this bear market. But we will get to a phase where it’s about stability and adoption of technology.

CryptoTapas: How are you making business connections and how easy is it to convince people who have been using traditional market tools for hundreds of years? How easy is it been to convince them to move to?

Sascha: When we talk to businesses, let’s say larger enterprises, I think the interest is huge. People want to know about tokenization, they want to understand about blockchain. We’re in the sales cycle where they are very receptive because they’ve heard about blockchain, they understand the benefits, but they are not currently interested in cryptocurrencies.

I think this media and the market are doing. If you go into a business and you want to talk about cryptocurrency, the doors are shut. But if you talk about blockchain technology and actual use cases, they listen. That’s what we do. We talk about the use cases and about benefits. We don’t actually talk about blockchain as such, just mention it.

Blockchain is the underlying technology platform, but if you cannot explain to people why this platform is adding benefit to your business or to your clients, then you’ve got a problem. You have to be able to explain in simple words that you know how many transactions you can process and how a smart contract is written – this sort of stuff.

People within businesses are humans; they just want to know what problems it solves and whether they are better off with that technology or worse off.

Cryptotapas: What is your elevator pitch for WeOwn platform about the tokenization of assets or issuance of capital?

Sascha: I pitch for the services that we provide. If you are a business then you always have financing needs, right? Either you get capital through the existing markets, the traditional markets, you go to VCs, you go to banks, or you go to a fund. But you know it’s always a compromise in terms of getting funding right. It’s either privately arranged or it’s publicly sourced, but expensive and onerous.

We don’t compromise with our solution. We use our private blockchain and Own ecosystem to tokenize financial assets and we make them infinitely tradable, but also inexpensive. We’re solving a problem from a capital raising perspective that you cannot get on the existing marketplaces. That’s my pitch.

Cryptotapas: That was good. I was actually listening very intently and I’ve been really surprised even in 2018, if I have put like thousand dollars or $100 or whatever in a traditional stock investment, every time there is a change of any sort, they actually mail physical notification even though I opened it, I feel it very awkward. And to receive that kind of notification and then mail in 2008, nine. I think one of the services that you can provide is to give updates to the investors and notifications you can communicate with the investors on your platform. Right? So, I think it’s not just reducing the communication time, I think it’s also going to have a good in a good footprint on the planet as such, I think. And that, that, that was really fascinating.

Sascha: You’re creating a true digital certificate. If you’re talking about shares, you don’t need paper anymore. You have a record that is unalterable, a single source of truth, that cannot be altered by a central party and that means a lot.

Certificate contracts get constantly altered, modified, and changed, and that is a huge risk for both parties when they go into a transaction.

CryptoTapas: When you go to a traditional business, and they say, for the next round of capital we want to raise using Own platform. How do you then layer Own with the existing traditional systems? Do you create a brand new one or is there some kind of bridge that you can take their existing model to your Own brand? How does that work?

Sascha: An established business will get capital and money from multiple sources and multiple places. Right? So, for example, if you have equity and you give out 10-20 percent of the business, maybe 10 percent came from venture capitalists or private equity or some other funders, and the next 10 percent can come from the Own marketplace.

We want to be the only source where people get money from both. But, if companies want to go to a VC or a private equity network, they can.

We are complementing what’s already available, but ideally, we show people that it’s much cheaper, more liquid and quicker to get to that stage through tokenization and that usually always beats everything else.

The competition is with traditional markets – the stock exchanges, registrars, transfer agents, clearing houses and all those kinds of middlemen. I don’t care about other security token or tokenization platforms.

Cryptotapas: Does the Own platform have the ability to translate information into a standard accounting report, so that others can use it, like accountants, auditors, and government? Has it been embedded into the existing technology or is it something that’s coming depending on where you onboard the clients?

Sascha: That’s one of the key features that we have because we’re building compliance tools, reports, financial reports, and tax reports. We want to make life easier for an investor.

For example, if you invest in two or three companies through our FAST Platform, you should get an automatically generated report at the end of the year that can be submitted into their financial systems.

Some of it we have available today, some of it is on our roadmap, but ultimately, we are making everything much easier for the investors. We’re giving them the toolset, so they can comply with tax authorities and government regulations.

We want to build automated lodgments in the background so that businesses can just submit them to the tax authorities in one click. We are also trying to generate reports that you can immediately upload to government facilities, to make things easier.

CryptoTapas: How Nimble is we own platform to accommodate any changes in the regulations or changes in the law?

Sascha: The biggest advantage for us compared to other tokenization platforms is that we have our own blockchain. Any change that we want to do, we can do, because we understand the code and technology. We’re not built on theory and we are more flexible than anyone else.

Our backend is built around ownership and assets. It’s not built around smart contracts or financial assets as such. We don’t have any scalability issues because there isn’t a CryptoKitties or some casino running in the background, increasing the gas prices or grinding the network to a standstill.

Our Blockchain is built for tokens, ownership, digital equity, funds, and all supporting processes. And that is the biggest advantage we have over all the others who are using a backend that they cannot control.

CryptoTapas: Is your platform prone to 51% attack?

Sascha: No. We have a private and public component. The public blockchain manages and stores all transactions and deals, and the private component deals with the issue, investment data and information centers, including sensitive information.

We believe in full decentralization but up to only a point. We still want to remain in control of what’s happening in and around the network. We want to be able to penalize bad actors. We run the whole thing like a financial services organization.

We have financial crime reports, audits, logs, and all that information. The platform is built for enterprise scale, but also the need for law enforcement, review, and regulatory compliance.

CryptoTapas: How easy or difficult is it to find people in the space? I mean, I think you just said at the beginning that you are hiring more people, how is that going?

Sascha: It’s not easy, but it’s also not difficult.

We have a core team and they’re super engineers. They make up the heart and soul of Own. We bring on experienced people and graduates, and we have multiple locations. We recruit in the UK and Bosnia, which is our engineering and software hub in Europe.

We also have people in Munich, Germany, and we’re expanding now into Asia and into the east coast of the US. The bigger global footprint you have, the easier it is to hire people, and we’re not hung up on locations. We have people that work in an office, we have people that work remotely and a really good strong core team that can manage all of that.

If you don’t have a strong engineering core team then you’re not able to scale from an engineering and tech perspective. We know how to build great teams that build and deliver projects. We’ve been doing it for more than 17 years.

CryptoTapas: How big of a team is it right now and what is your vision for your team and global presence by 2020?

weOwn Team & Advisors CEO Sascha Ragtschaa

Sacha: We have about 20 people at the moment and everyone has multiple roles. Our engineers are absolutely great and they’re always going over and beyond; we can do much more than other, larger teams and we’re quite proud of that.

I think by the end of 2020, we would like to have at least 100 people. If our business is even more successful then absolutely we can recruit and hire more. But the aim is to build up the team and to really have robust areas covered.

 

 

CryptoTapas: I really appreciate you bringing that seriousness to the space Sasha and Kudos to the team.

Sascha: Thanks for the feedback. I mean, we never had a lot of hype around us. We started in 2017 and no one knew what equity backed token was or what security tokens were at that time. We’ve just basically done our thing.

We never spent much money on marketing because we wanted everything to go into software development. Getting attention is nice but at the same time can distract you. We preferred to build the services and the platform, to really hit the faith in traditional players.

We do have a strong community and get really good social media feedback. Sometimes that feedback is instant and it’s quite hard to keep the community happy, especially when things are volatile. But every one of us is having an absolute blast and we wouldn’t have wanted it to be any different.

Now we have really great supporters and people that believe in our idea and approach. It sounds cheesy, but we really want to give something back to people and that really motivates us.

CryptoTapas: Why compete for the billion-dollar market when you can compete for the multi-trillion-dollar market. Right? Before wrap up, I wanted to shift gears and talk about your personal life. I know you said you started Own in 2017, so talk to us about your personal life, what do you do outside of WeOwn? How do you find time for family and personal life? Can you talk about that a little bit?

Sascha: It’s a good question. I never get asked that and I’m actually quite pleased.

I’ve worked in enterprises for a long time. I was very young when I became a lead developer, architect and then I was a team leader. In my early twenties I was already managing the teams; at 28 years old, I was a CIO managing global development functions in Australia and overseas teams in the US, UK, and Canada. I had already had a long career. It was really, really busy, and I was traveling every week.

I thought by starting my own business I’ll have more time for my family, now that I’ve got a young son and wife. But with a startup, it’s quite a full schedule as well. I think every one of us so passionate about what we’re doing is that it’s basically 24/7 days job.

CryptoTapas: How do you stay away from your phone or how do you stay away from the digital noise when you’re spending time with family and friends? Any suggestions? Anything that works for you? Because we do want to include this as part of our articles so that people who read it to get an idea of how do you stay back because obviously for people who are as busy as you can do it, I think others can do. So. What is your take on that?

Sascha: If you asked me, my family, they would say I don’t. They will tell me “you’ll always have your phone. You’re always looking at things and all that.”

I had to learn. I mean, switching off and not letting things get to you is something you learn.

The more responsibilities you have – the more experience you get.

You have two choices.

Let it kill you OR you can effectively change your habits.

I take timeouts. I switch the phone off sometimes when I go on holiday. I haven’t been on a holiday in a long time, but when I used to go on holiday, I used to just switch off my data services simply to have my mind free.

You have to force yourself because if you don’t do – it will affect your sleep, it affects your energy levels and then you just can’t give the best of what you need to give.

I also encourage all the staff in our business to not check their phones when they’re on holiday. I know it’s tempting everyone’s on telegram and twitter, but I always keep saying to them, don’t do that. I try not to send my staff emails on the weekends and at nights. I’ve never done that in the past because it feels like, ‘oh the boss is sending me an email on Saturday, I need to immediately respond’.  

You have to build these little methods to check your energy levels and then exercise. Sports help. Going for a big cycle ride or, or playing basketball with friends or going snowboarding, all help.

The biggest tip I can give is to “take a digital timeout”, otherwise it slowly wears you down and when you’re in your twenties it’s easy. You have so much energy, but the older you get, the more careful you need to be with your energy levels. It doesn’t go on forever.

CryptoTapas: Absolutely, Sasha. I have one last question: what is your vision for this STO space and I know WeOwn is broader than just STO, but what is your vision for STO space and how excited are you about the future of Own in this space?

Sascha: I’m very excited because tokenization of financial assets is becoming accepted across the industry. I hope it doesn’t get hyped to the moon because that’s always bad – that’s why we are quite careful about not being too thrilled.

Everyone writes blogs about it now and all the ICO advisors are now STO advisors, even though they have no clue. I think we’re still in the early days and over the next few years, it will mature. Services will become known, and the systems and products will become stable. Then we’re adding something to the economy, enhancing business activities and improving the liquidity of illiquid assets.

We’re doing all these different things to just improve everyone’s wellbeing and increase the bottom-line for the business. I think that’s important, but I just hope it doesn’t get hyped too much.

People learn to adapt and usually an open market always regulates itself. Just like the ICO space to cryptocurrencies and crypto communities, everything just balances out.

CryptoTapas: Absolutely amazing, Sascha. I’ve learned a lot and I am more excited than I was before this interview. I can really see and sense a conscientious leader in you. I wish you all the best for WeOwn and the space in general.

Sascha: Likewise, I wish you all the success. I like media outlets like yours; you focus on supporting the projects that are actually in it for improvement rather than just filling their own pockets. We need more guys like yourselves that are able to talk about the real use cases rather than just the hype.

I really appreciate you taking this time, Sascha, and I hope we’ll catch up later at a future date once you guys onboard some big brand names.

____________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading this article.

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.

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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 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

Published

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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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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.

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