Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why did you get into crypto?
Raullen: It is my honor to be here with you and share the vision and story of IoTeX. I came from a cryptography background – I got involved in Bitcoin when I was doing my PhD at University of Waterloo about 10 years back, shocked by the beautiful protocol design of bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology.
After my PhD, I spent many years leading teams at Google and Uber, while driving various privacy and cryptography projects on the side. I have witnessed every tech/market cycle of Bitcoin and blockchain and realized the world-changing potential of this technology for the Internet of Things (IoT). In 2017, I founded the IoTeX Network together with two other Co-founders to create a dynamic, trusted, and privacy-respecting infrastructure to empower our vision for the Internet of Trusted Thing – great trip down memory lane!
Larry: Hi everyone, my name is Larry Pang and I’m a Founding Member and Head of Business Development at IoTeX. I graduated from MIT in 2013 and spent five years as a Management Consultant at Oliver Wyman before joining IoTeX. I got into crypto after doing a consulting project in 2016 with the World Economic Forum on global payments and learned about Bitcoin. I was fascinated by how the financial world could be designed to be P2P and human-owned – when I learned about IoTeX, I had a similar realization that the Internet of Things (IoT) aka our smart devices can also be trusted, private, and human-owned. After two years at IoTeX, my belief in our vision has only grown!
Can you give us a little history of IOTX?
Raullen: IoTeX began our journey in 2017 as an open-source project. IoTeX is a platform that was built 100% from scratch (no forks) and is tailor-fit to support the Internet of Things (IoT) use cases and to power the next-generation of human-centered, privacy-preserving smart devices and networks. The IoTeX team consists of 30+ top tier engineers and scientists from Uber, Google, Intel, Facebook, and other top tech companies. Currently, our platform is maintained by 60+ global Delegates including Blockfolio, CoinGecko, DraperDragon, and more.
IoTeX has a vision for the Internet of Trusted Things – an open ecosystem where humans and machines can interact with guaranteed trust, free will, and privacy. Our platform uniquely combines blockchain, secure hardware, and confidential computing to enable trusted data from trusted devices for use in trusted Dapps.
Could you please tell me what IoTeX is? What problem does it solve?
Larry: For those that aren’t too familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) — let me provide a brief explanation before diving into how IoTeX solves existing problems.
These days, all types of smart devices like cameras, thermostats, and virtual assistants are being installed in our homes and businesses at a blistering rate. Even traditionally “dumb” devices, such as beds, mirrors, and toilets, are now equipped with WiFi and powerful sensors to make them “smart” – this phenomenon is called the Internet of Things (IoT). Whether you know it or not, IoT is part of everyone’s lives and allows people to interact with machines to drive efficiencies and create value!
However, today’s IoT is owned and controlled by institutions (e.g., tech giants, governments) and not users (aka you and me). All of our highly sensitive IoT data, such as the videos from our home cameras, are owned by institutions and manipulated without our consent. Do we really have to accept a future where we are surveilled by institutions that collect our data, make our homes targets for hackers, and manipulate even the way we behave? No – we can build a better future with IoTeX.
IoTeX’s goal is to enable a future that is connected, empowering, and safe – no intrusive ads and surveillance, just privacy and peace of mind without sacrificing usability. The IoTeX platform enables builders to easily launch privacy-preserving IoT devices, apps, and networks. Just like Bitcoin has created a decentralized financial ecosystem, IoTeX is empowering a decentralized ecosystem for our smart devices – the Internet of Trusted Things!
Let’s talk more about Mainnet GA Launch, Can you explain what the main features and improvements are?
Raullen: IoTeX Mainnet GA “Machina” is launching later today on June 1 and is our biggest milestone yet! Mainnet GA represents more than just technology – it also comes with native staking, updated governance, and powerful developer tools. We are now ready to welcome the world to build the Internet of Trusted Things on IoTeX!
There are five core components of IoTeX Mainnet GA:
Platform 2.0: new and improved IoTeX platform for the Internet of Things
Pantheon: enterprise-ready consortium blockchain for IoT
Halo Program: official developer grants program from the IoTeX Foundation
Native Staking v2: new scalable, transaction-based native staking mechanism
Hermes: rewards system for IoTeX Delegates and voters
What projects are now using the IOTX platform? Tell us more about the companies currently building on IOTX?
Larry: This is something we’re excited to share — we have some serious partners building next-gen products already on the IoTeX platform. before we dive into that, let me share a bit more about the IoTeX platform itself!
The IoTeX platform is uniquely designed to support the unique requirements of IoT use cases. Our platform consists of multiple layers, including one of the fastest blockchains in the industry (5 second block time, instant finality), IoT-oriented middleware, and robust developer tools to make building privacy-IoT applications and services easy for all skill levels.
IoTeX is all about enabling Trusted Data from Trusted Devices for use in Trusted Applications
The IoTeX platform is already supporting REAL IoT products that are “Powered by IoTeX” and provide users full data ownership and privacy! #OwnYourData
Ucam is the world’s first private security camera built in partnership with Tenvis, a hardware giant that is currently Amazon’s Choice for cameras. Ucam is already in the hands of the IoTeX community and they LOVE it!
Pebble Tracker is a decentralized asset tracking device developed in partnership with Nordic Semiconductor, one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world. Paired with our Edge Oracle, Pebble Tracker writes verifiable, real-world IoT data (e.g., location, motion, climate) to the blockchain for use in smart contracts.
Finally, IoTeX is the Co-Chair of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) Blockchain Group alongside Amazon & Huawei, and a core contributor to IEEE’s Blockchain + IoT standards. This shows our deep understanding of Blockchain + IoT and how it applies to real-world problems.
We can’t wait to welcome more device+application builders to build on IoTeX
What are the future plans for IOTX? Do you have any exciting things down the pipeline that you can share?
Raullen: IoTeX is just getting started – as of today, IoTeX is already powering smart devices that allow users to own and control their data, but we have much greater long-term goals. Our next steps are to enable privacy-preserving Dapps that leverage the trusted data and trusted devices enabled by IoTeX, and eventually form diverse human-machine economies that will power new decentralized ecosystems where humans and machines can interact with guaranteed trust, free will, and privacy.
Our main goal for the rest of the year is to welcome the world to build amazing things on the IoTeX platform. With Mainnet GA, the IoTeX platform is now ready to support a wide variety of use cases across blockchain, IoT, and privacy. Our goal is to build our ecosystem of builders and contributors that will bring great network effects to IoTeX.
We are starting this process right now by launching our new developer grants program called Halo. We have already received many interesting proposals for new projects that people want to build on IoTeX, including asset tracking use cases, healthcare devices/wearables that let you own your health data, and industry-wide tools like DEX and wallet integrations. We encourage any developers out there to take a look at Halo and apply for a grant!
There are many competitors in the Blockchain & IoT space – how does IoTeX differ from them, especially IOTA?
Larry: This is one of the most popular questions we get during AMAs — glad to share some insights! Regarding the general Blockchain+IoT space, there are many projects out there but none like IoTeX. IoTeX has deep expertise in both blockchain and IoT, which has allowed us to launch the world’s first blockchain-powered IoT products. I have not seen any other project launch real products yet like IoTeX. We are way past the white paper phase — these days, the proof of real products matters a lot. Only two years after IoTeX launched our first code release in April 2018, we already have many devices powered by the IoTeX platform, not just prototypes or PoCs.
Just take a look at our co-founder’s — their expertise runs DEEP!
Regarding IOTA, it’s important to note that IoTeX and IOTA are not enemies. Yes, we are both working in the blockchain+IoT space, but we are actually working on different things. IOTA prides itself on enabling feeless M2M payments, while IoTeX is building a network for privacy-preserving, human-centered smart devices. Rather than debate IOTA vs. IoTeX technology, what I will say is that IoTeX in only two years vs. five years for IOTA has done things that IOTA has not:
Launched a fully decentralized Mainnet with DPoS staking maintained by 60+ global Delegates, including Blockfolio, CoinGecko, DraperDragon, and more
Launched REAL IoT products like Ucam, the world’s first private security camera built in partnership with Tenvis and Pebble Tracker, a decentralized asset tracker built in partnership with Nordic Semiconductor.
The best part is the software/firmware we built-in to Ucam and Pebble Tracker can now be applied to many other types of hardware — cameras, trackers, wearables, vehicles, and many other IoT devices. We are just getting started!
What is the advantage of keeping the IOTX token for a long and short term?
Raullen: There has never been a better time to get onboard with IoTeX! Over the past two years, we have pushed aggressively and proved that we are capable of building real technology with real impact on the world. Now that our platform is ready for the world to build on, we are so excited to see what the coming years will bring to IoTeX!
In the short-term, IoTeX has an exciting next couple of months planned – we will share new growth-driven tokenomics, exciting partnerships, and major research achievements. We are excited to give you a sneak peek of our upcoming tokenomics announcement in this AMA! To highlight our upgraded tokenomics, the IOTX token will have a unique utility that will bring IoTeX to the next level: 1) stake-for-governance, 2) network transaction fees, 3) stake-for-service (e.g., service providers stake IOTX to service “Powered by IoTeX” devices), and 4) device registrations (e.g., IoT builders stake/burn IOTX to register trusted devices). While 1) and 2) are already active in the IoTeX Network, 3) and 4) will unlock new interactions between service providers, IoT device manufacturers, and users. More details coming soon after Mainnet GA.
In the long-term, you can expect even more “Powered by IoTeX” devices to transform the way we interact with our smart devices – finally, we will be in control of our devices and data destinies. The state-of-the-art technology we built-in to Ucam and Pebble Tracker can now be applied to many other types of cameras, trackers, and other IoT devices. One industry we are especially excited to break into is the healthcare-IoT industry, due to the sensitivity of data collected by these devices. Our ultimate goal is to enable interoperability between all devices on the IoTeX Network to power borderless human-machine economies!
IoTeX uses a Roll-DPoS consensus mechanism-a variant of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS). How effective is this new mechanism? Do errors often occur during operation?
Our Yellow Paper has all details about Roll-DPoS - this is an efficient–yet-decentralized variant of DPoS which makes IoTeX blockchain able to handle 2K+ Txs per second and at the same time can have many delegates to operate the chain. For now, we have over 70 delegates running the chain, and the top 36 are selected as delegates where 24 out of these 36 are randomly selected to produce blocks. We do have the plan to expand to 48 delegates and eventually hundreds of delegates!
You can be compared with Apple in the world of blockchain, you build a blockchain and release a product (Ucam) a private camera. Why did you choose such a business model? Is selling a Ucam camera a separate business?
Good question — let’s make one thing clear: IoTeX is NOT a camera company. IoTeX works with camera companies (like Tenvis) where we build our firmware and software into specific hardware. Our first product Ucam is a great example of this — now that we have built the infrastructure to support cameras, now we can apply this framework to almost any other type of camera, whether it is indoor/outdoor/doorbell/dashcam/TV camera, etc.
Can you tell us about the security of IoPay mobile/desktop wallet? What are some of the security features incorporated into the wallet to make it highly secure and safe to use?
IoPay is our wallet (Andoird, iOS, and Desktop) — it has all the features the modern wallets have - encrypted key file, HD, and support hw wallet like ledger, feel free to download and use it!
As we all know every technology gets old one day, and as we approach 5G wireless technology, do you think it will be a threat to project like IOTEX?
5G provides connectivity at the physical layer while IoTeX “connects” things at a higher layer through the tech stack. I would rather consider 5G as an enabler for IoT and IoTT as we are focusing on! 5G has high capacity and low latency and is the ideal tech for enabling things to be connected, and once they are connected, they will need identities, need ways to integrate with ppl and other things — here is how IoTeX kicks in to enable and empower IoTT!
Are there currently examples of using a DID identification system that is claimed as a component in combination with a blockchain? In what practical cases will we be able to see the use of this technology? What makes a DID system better than what competitors offer?
Decentralized Identity (DID) is an important concept for the future of self-sovereignty — in other words, it will allow us to truly own our data, identity, and privacy. IoTeX has worked extensively on DID, but what makes ours unique is that we have DID not only for people but also for devices!
In the IoTeX Network, you can think of “users” as both people and machines — as such, all “users” must have an identity that is interoperable with other identities. this is how we will ultimately enable human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions and use cases! You can learn more about IoTeX DID via the links below:
As I know IoTeX was invited to join the IEEE. What is the importance of this invitation for IoTeX? Could you please shed more light on this?
Yes! IoTeX is an advanced corporate member of the IEEE, which is the world’s largest professional technical organization that develops standards for the entire world. Standards are crucial for many things — for example, the shipping crates you see on boats are all “standardized” to work with any boat/port. The same concept applies to IoT! There are standards for connectivity, hardware, software, etc. that make devices work better with other devices. Unfortunately, there are TOO MANY standards today developed by too many people — blockchain is a great place to normalize various standards
Learn more about our IEEE efforts here
Can you talk about the SWOT analysis of the project? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you plan to turn your weaknesses into strengths? Facing the threat of more opportunities? What gives you confidence in the survival and sustainable success of IOTEX?
Our biggest strength is that IoTeX has one of the strongest and most technical teams in the entire industry. We are at the forefront of cutting-edge tech in the blockchain space, but we are also equally cutting-edge in the IoT space, including hardware, connectivity, and large-scale architecture. The IoT industry recognizes our potential too - IoTeX was recently selected as the Co-Chair of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) Blockchain Group along with Amazon and Huawei. We built our entire blockchain and IoT middleware from scratch and launched several blockchain-powered IoT products in only two years. The best part is we are just getting started - there is so much future potential for IoTeX.
The biggest opportunity for IoTeX is the size of the IoT industry and the fact that nobody is doing what we are doing better than us. Many people are focused on DeFi projects right now because they see finance as a huge industry – finance is a multi-trillion dollar industry, but so is IoT! In fact, IoT is growing at a much faster rate than most industries. Today, there are 25 billion IoT devices around the world and there will be >100 billion IoT devices by 2025. We have big goals to power all types of devices in the future and be the decentralized infrastructure to enable the future of privacy and IoT.
The global IoT market is valued at more than $1 trillion. What percentage of the IoTeX market will be able to capture in the next 5 years? How strong are you to dominate this market?
Nice question — to give some more context on IoT, currently there are ~25 billion smart devices in the world and by 2025 that number will hit ~100 billion. Not only is the number of devices growing rapidly, but also the amount/variety of data these devices can gather is growing. There is a famous McKinsey report that details the IoT will generate anywhere from $4-$11 TRILLION in market value. You may be thinking why such a huge range between the lower/upper bound estimates? McKinsey says that an extra $7 trillion in market value will only be achieved if we achieve true interoperability in the IoT.
This is what IoTeX is trying to capture — we are not necessarily trying to fix the problems of the existing IoT, but we are creating a brand new way of thinking about our devices to be privacy-respecting, interoperable, and powered by blockchain. IoTeX will generate huge market value in this rapidly growing sector!
Besides Ucam, Tenvis and Pebble Tracker, does Iotex has any plan of introducing more Real IOT products in the future?
Yes we do — something that is coming up will be different form factors of cameras. Ucam is designed for indoor use to ensure nobody has access to the video fees from our homes. But people also need cameras for doorbell cam, outdoor cam, car dashcam, etc.
These other form factors of cameras are low hanging fruit for IoTeX — as I mentioned before, now that we have built Ucam, we can apply this framework to almost any other type of camera. And you should know that the camera industry alone is worth $1 trillion (and growing). In the future, one other type of IoT device we look forward to powering is health-related devices. IoTeX really wants to focus on the most sensitive types of data — the data from our homes and our bodies — and other less sensitive types of data will follow. we will be announcing some great initiatives to bootstrap the next wave of “Powered by IoTeX” devices very soon!
Kindly explain more on confidential computing and decentralized identity. What roles do they play in IoTeX ecosystem
These are the tech pillars of IoTeX — confidential computing basically means compute over encrypted data which has tremendous uses - make data useful without leaking them at all! DID is another pillar that ensures devices and ppl to enjoy self-sovereign identity/data — you totally own your data! So combine them all, we can realize cool stuff like Ucam! Where your home data is protected while still some AI/ML can be done without leaking your info at all!
Confidential Computing and Decentralized Identity are core middleware components of the IoTeX platform! The IoTeX platform utilizes a unique architecture to meet the unique demands of the Internet of Things (IoT) use cases. Our multi-layer architecture combines smart devices, IoT Cloud + decentralized storage, and blockchain. Let me describe each of these layers:
Device Layer: IoTeX is all about generating trusted data from trusted devices to enable trusted applications. A critical piece of this is the device layer. To trust a device, it must have a verifiable identity and its actions must be verifiable by others, which is exactly what IoTeX enables by combining secure hardware and blockchain, two tamper-proof technologies.
Storage Layer: IoT devices generate a lot of data, and not all of that can be stored on the blockchain due to cost/scalability reasons. But today, more and more data validation and processing is performed “on the edge” or on the device itself, reducing the need to store large amounts of unfiltered data on servers. A scalable and flexible approach is to store/index pre-processed data on the IoT Cloud (e.g., AWS) or decentralized storage (e.g., IPFS, Sia) and “hash” them to the blockchain, which provides timestamped verifiability and data provenance. When needed, this data can be written to the blockchain for use in smart contracts
Blockchain Layer: the root of trust for the entire IoTeX Network. Our blockchain is open source and one of the fastest in the entire industry – not only does it enable standard P2P transactions and smart contracts, but it is also used to register device identities and “hash” data (stored on Cloud/decentralized storage) to the blockchain.
The combination of these three layers provides great flexibility for developers and builders. For more information, please see our Blockchain & IoT Reference Architecture (http://iotex.io/reference-architecture).
Which application possibilities will IoTeX develop in the near future? And what will be possible with IoTeX’s blockchain when your vision is complete?
Over the past year, we have made many improvements to our blockchain. Just now, we launched the full production version of the IoTeX Mainnet, which is called Mainnet GA. The most important part of Mainnet GA is that we will establish full independence from Ethereum and become a native blockchain. All ERC20 tokens will be swapped to IOTX coins, and all staking/voting activities will be migrated from Ethereum to IoTeX. This is a big moment for IoTeX as we will be our own network with no reliance on anyone else, exciting! You can see our open-source code on our Github
Other blockchain-related things we have done over the past year is reduce block time by 50% (2x as fast) and also making several security enhancements to the blockchain. We also launched many new dev tools that make it easy to build on IoTeX (see https://docs.iotex.io). But Mainnet GA is not just about technology – we have been announcing new tokenomics, governance, and other items all throughout this month. You can see the full list of past/planned announcements in our IoTeX Forum thread: Official Mainnet GA Announcements
Blockchain + IoT + privacy is a fairly NEW market, but there are rivals aiming for the same use case. How is IoTeX better than them?
There are many people working on the intersection of Blockchain+IoT and Blockchain+Privacy, but the intersection of Blockchain+IoT+Privacy is quite complex – IoTeX makes it easy. Our team is uniquely positioned to not only take first-mover advantage in this budding industry but also to be the long-term market leader given our extensive technical knowledge in all three areas.
Most importantly, I have not seen anyone actually producing real products as IoTeX has done. Personally, I don’t care about what is in the white paper – anyone can tell a great story, but the proof of real products matters a lot. Only two years after IoTeX launched our first code release in April 2018, we already have several types of devices that are powered by our platform, not just prototypes or proofs of concept. I can list many of my opinions regarding what differentiates IoTeX from our competitors – our team, cutting-edge research, the pace of development, etc. – but the real thing that matters is we are the only ones building real stuff.
Can you explain a little bit more about the use cases of the IOTX token?
We shared a bit of this earlier, but we are going to announce updated tokenomics for IoTeX in the coming weeks, which comprises:
Gas fees (i.e., transactions/contracts on the IoTeX Network)
Stake-for-Governance (i.e., vote for Delegates to run consensus)
Stake-for-Service (i.e., providers stake to service users/devices)
Device Registrations (i.e., stake/burn to register trusted devices)
IOTX will be the fuel for trusted devices and trusted data!
What is the difference between Pebble Tracker and AvoBoard hardware, what advantages does one have over the other and what languages do they handle?
IoT devices are actually not so different once you break them down — they all have sensors, wireless modules, battery/power, and come CPU. However, the types of components and types of sensors that devices have differ based on their purpose.
Pebble Tracker is meant for asset tracking, while AvoBoard is an IoT gateway that connects to other low-power devices. Both will be powered by IoTeX and bring trusted data to the IoTeX ecosystem!
Security and privacy for every user is very important. How can IoTeX maintain its security and protect every individual user from the malicious software trying to invade their data privacy?
This is a great question — the simple answer is we must own our data. Many of the things that happen to our data/devices today are due to the fact that they are controlled by centralized parties like tech giants. By owning our data, we can choose whether to keep our data fully private, share it with others, or authorize its use to service providers. But it all starts with control of our data by default.
IoTeX is already creating the very first devices that enable us to own our data, identity, and privacy like Ucam. With Ucam, you are in full control and you are the only one with access to your data — not IoTeX, not Tenvis, not anyone!
IoTeX uses a Roll-DPoS consensus mechanism-a variant of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS). How effective is this new mechanism? Do errors often occur during operation?
Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) is an efficient, decentralized, and flexible consensus framework available in the blockchain industry. However, applying DPoS to decentralized IoT applications is quite challenging due to the nature of IoT systems such as large-scale deployments and a huge amount of data. To address the unique challenge for IoT based blockchain applications, IoTeX created our in-house consensus mechanism Roll-DPoS, a randomized delegated proof of stake algorithm. Roll-DPoS inherits all the advantages of the original DPoS consensus framework and further enhances decentralization as well as extensibility to support complex blockchain architectures. A number of modern cryptographic techniques have been utilized to optimize the consensus process with respect to the computational and communication overhead.
Read our Roll-DPoS yellow paper here
I know IoTeX has real products and it’s a unique project compared to others. What real-life problems will IoTeX solve and how people will benefit from it?
Good question — the problem that IoTeX is trying to solve is today we the people have no control of our data or devices. Just think about all of the times you say something and an ad pops up in your newsfeed. This is not only creepy but indicative of the fact that tech giants know literally everything about us. While you may not care about privacy for your digital apps, when it comes to our physical devices, the stakes are much higher. It’s not just your Spotify history, it’s video camera footage on when you leave your house every morning. It’s not the keys to your email, it’s the keys to your smart lock/home. There are so many risks with this centralized IoT that we must be aware of — luckily IoTeX not only built the technology to solve these issues but also understands the issues deeply. We wrote a great 10+ page report on the current state of privacy in our smart homes called “When Privacy Hits Home”, check it out here.