We would like to thank Binance for inviting us and hosting this AMA session and community for asking such interesting and high-quality questions! Our congratulations to the 10 winners, who came up and asked us valuable questions! Make sure to join our next AMA :)
Raullen Chai, co-founder & CEO of IoTeX. He has received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2012, where his research focused on cryptography, specifically in designing and analyzing of lightweight ciphers and authentication protocols for IoT devices. He is a member of the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research (CACR), International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR), and IEEE Communications Society since 2010. In 2013, Raullen joined Google as senior software engineer leading many security initiatives for its technical infrastructure, including mitigation of SSL attacks against Google such as CRIME/BEAST/POODLE, privacy-preserving SSL offloading, enabling of Certificate Transparency for all Google services. He was also the founding engineer of Google Cloud Load Balancer (GCLB), which now serves thousands of cloud services with 1+ million queries per second. In 2016, he joined Uber as the head of cryptography R&D, leading the research and development of credential storage system, authentication system, risk management, and in-house cryptographic tools. In 2017, Raullen founded IoTeX together with Qevan and Jing to focus on the building of auto-scalable and privacy-centric decentralized fabric infrastructure that is designed and optimized for Internet-of-Things (IoT).
Founded as an open-source project in 2017, IoTeX is missioned to build the next generation of decentralized fabric for the Internet of Things (IoT) to enable intelligent IoT services and machine economics. Backed by a global team of 30 top research scientists and engineers, IoTeX combines blockchain, trusted computing and edge devices to realize the full potential of IoT. The scenarios that IoTeX technologies have already been applied to are real-time asset tracking, logistics & supply chain management, and smart cities & buildings.
Q1. Every epoch the validators are being randomly selected?
Raullen: Yes, intuitively, we have a pool of qualified Delegates (have enough tokens staked and have the hardware/software setup); at the beginning of each epoch, a subset of Delegates (say 24) are selected by the distributed algorithm randomly and verifiably to validate blocks for this epoch (which is 1 hour for now); at the beginning of the next epoch, another subset of Delegates will be selected and this process goes on and on, which is the essence of Roll-DPoS.
Q2. What is the role of the VITA token in the IoTeX ecosystem?
Raullen: The main purpose of VITA token (which is not pre-mined, no ICO, no fundraising etc.) is to engage with the community and to bring vitality to the community! Actually, our definition of the community is much broader, such that, we want to engage with users/developers who are not already in the crypto space. For example, on the VITA Discord channel, we developed some fun experience of using the tokens — the users don’t have to install any wallet or manage keys to use the tokens, e.g., users can use a simple command like “!tip bob 10 VITA” for tipping others, similar for airdropping tokens and starting polls. The intrinsic value of VITA relies on how large and active this community would be and how many users are using it (without hassling with wallets, keys). The speculative value of VITA I cannot tell :) Check out more here: http://iotex.io/vita
Q3. What can IoTeX do to promote adoption of blockchain in the world?
Raullen: In terms of helping the massive adoption of the blockchain tech, we start from a different dimension rather than financial-oriented scenarios such as DEFI. We do think blockchain is a great tech to connect not just people but also devices, applications, and business.
IoTeX’s role is clear — it connects the physical world and the blockchain world by leveraging the machines/devices and things. To make it highly adaptable, IoTeX has this blockchains-in-blockchain structure that we encourage applications/scenarios to have their specific subchains that acting like adapters to specific verticals. It is interesting to see that Polkadot adopts similar designs which they call parachains.
Q4. What is IoTeX’s approach on privacy-preserving solutions for smart contracts?
Raullen: If you look at the privacy-focused blockchains as Monero, Zcash and Grin — they are all slow, hard to use (like in Grin, sender and receiver should cosign a message before transferring coins) and has limited privacy (like Monero has limited anonymity set). Most importantly, they set a high bar for developers and users to embrace this privacy technology. What we want is to set a privacy-preserving enabled platform so users and developers can enjoy using it without hassling with the hardcore techniques underlying. So compared to ZKP, ring-sig approaches, our TEE-based contract provides a faster and easier user experience.
Q5. There are many IoT based projects like IOTA, or HDAC.. etc.. What’s the strong point for IoTeX in the IoT ecosystem?
For the tech differences, please see the picture I sent above.
At a high level, the team’s main innovations include Roll-DPoS consensus, blockchain-in-blockchain architecture, cross-chain governance, and trusted computing. Besides the innovation side, we see our key strength in team, vision, and execution. Our core team has more than a dozen top-tier engineers and researchers with super-efficient communication and execution capabilities. Within only 18 months, we built everything from scratch and successfully launched the Mainnet ahead of schedule. Within 2 months after the launch, various tools, SDKs, and wallets on chain are relatively completely as well. All of us share the same vision and are very committed to bringing it to the real world with full trust of each other. Check outhttps://www.iotex.io/product.
Q6. What is the business model of IoTeX? How can you create benefit and what is the share profit to validators?
Raullen: Great question.
In the long term, by serving as the infrastructure to unify all “things”, the IoTeX Network will power the new decentralized economy.
In the short term, IoTeX is being served as the identity management platform, data and analytics platform from the eyes of many hardware/smart device manufactures, who stake/burn IOTX to get their devices on-chain, computation, storage, interoperability, and privacy facilitated by the IoTeX network. The more devices get on the chain, the more IOTX are staked/burned, which benefits our token holders. We are making very good progress on this end, you will see hot-selling devices get to our chain soon.
Q7. How many AvoBoards are being released and what types of companies are interested?
Raullen: We have manufactured 20+ such boards and sent some of them to the research labs, colleges, security/hardware companies and some IoT developers for evaluating, testing, building apps. There are quite a few companies interested in this one — especially IoT companies that want to provide end-to-end privacy and trust because this will essentially solve their problems in the European market where GDPR is enforced.
Q8. What is the roadmap for the next 6 months and 12 months? What kind of use cases or challenges are you looking to solve? What is the future orientation of this project?
Raullen: The past 18 months is a great start for the project and we are working even harder since then. Check out https://www.launch.iotex.io/For the coming 6–12 months, we will be working even harder. On the chain side, we will launch Mainnet Beta in September and Mainent GA in February, 2020. On the secure hardware side, we are working on the trusted IoT gateway, and trusted trackers pretty aggressively, since some companies want them really bad. Check out the tweet below:
On the trusted oracle side, we will launch a basic version — the mission for the trusted oracle is for holding a big amount of time-series data from devices and conduct privacy-preserving computing on top of it. Our ultimate goal is to enable smart device manufacturers to use blockchain and internet tech frictionlessly, connect them with end-users, and connect devices to devices.
Q9. Can you tell us what IoTeX Analytics Playground use cases are the most popular? How can it help developers? How will you encourage developers to create applications in your blockchain?
IoTeX Analytics is the project we finished in the past month for exposing chain related data and metrics to the developers and other services — we have developed iotexscan.io on top of it which is pretty cool. Please come and try it out, you can find the docs here: docs.iotex.io
To attract developers, we are making our chain different from the other public blockchains — more ready for real-world uses. To start with developing meaningful things on IoTeX, check out codelabs.iotex.io
Q10. Although there are not many IoTeX listings introduced in Korea yet, I am curious about IoTeX’s global marketing and strategies to enter Korea.
Raullen: Korea is one of the most important countries IoTeX is focusing on. Here are several dimensions to our involvement:
- We work with the Korean crypto exchanges/media pretty close. IOTX is listed on Gopax, Upbit, and other exchanges and will add more in the future. I have been to Seoul multiple times and love the city!
- We work with the Korean government (ICT) to introduce IoTeX tech to the IoT industry in Korea and help to cultivate blockchain talents.
Q11. How can IoTeX deal with large sizes of data for small IoT devices? How small devices can handle large data on IoTeX’s blockchain and what are the incentives instead of VITA? Why did you split VITA/IOTX?
Raullen: Great, great question. To handle large scale time-series data from the devices, we are developing a layer2 solution aiming for trusted storage/computing — with it, data can be retained for a period of time and can be used for computing in a privacy-preserving way.
VITA is used for community and e-commerce — checkout vitamart.io which is a great example. IOTX is used to facilitate IoT applications. They are designed for different purposes!
Do you have any message for the Korean audience?
Raullen: The entire crypto market is highly speculative until now. I am not surprised if Bitcoin grows 10x this year. It is usually true that at the initial stage of a bull market Bitcoin is dominant. People will shift their intention actually back to other coins/tokens once Bitcoin finishes its sprint. But what people will be looking at after bitcoin’s sprint is the “blue chip” — some real impact projects that have the intention and capability to change the world and make it better from a certain perspective. I have no doubt IoTeX is one of them!