Raullen: Zoom meetings definitely became a part of our life since everyone is working from home during these testing times. There are a couple of initiatives that keep us very busy. The first one is Ucam because its so close to launching and the entire team is very focused on the launch. We are going through final testing, manufacturing, talking with Amazon and opening up distribution channels. The protocol team is trying to integrate Ucam with the protocol. Everything’s going so fast, nothing slowing down as far as I can observe.
Larry: Just to share few things that are going on right now, just earlier today we announced that IoTeX has been selected along with Amazon and Huawei as the co-chairs of the Industrial Internet Consortium Blockchain Task Group. This is a very important part of our enterprise efforts and IIIC is a consortium consisting of 300 of the world’s top. premier tech organizations and our Head of Cryptography Dr. XinXin Fan was chosen alongside the global blockchain practice leaders at Amazon Anoop, who is our friend from trusted IOT Alliance, and mike McBride from Huawei. So this is really big news for our efforts to kind of bring IoTeX technology and standardize it to introduce it to real end-users.
Raullen: Ucam is obviously a big priority. As an update on Ucam we’re expecting to ship the pre-orders this month so all those folks that pre-ordered Ucam you should be receiving it soon and we’re really excited about this. We’re really focusing a lot on the UI fixes and the user experience to make this product not just a blockchain product but something that everyone can enjoy whether they know blockchain or not and finally the last one here is about Pebble Tracker, which is really an interesting device, focused on developers and prototyping. We partnered with Nordic Semiconductor which is a very large semiconductor company they make some of the best chips in the world and we’ve basically designed this asset, a tracking device, alongside them. So you’re starting to see IoTeX’s reach extend from just our immediate community into a lot of different enterprises and even different forms of partnerships right, whether it’s more work on systems with Amazon, Huawei, and IIIC, working directly with security camera manufacturers to build out Ucam and also working with semiconductor companies to build out brand new types of secure Hardware enabled devices.
How does IoTeX’s development help to deal with challenges in the future regarding the automated word around privacy situation with covid19?
Raullen: Generally speaking covid19 had some impact on us but not too much because anyway like we are operating as a blockchain team with lots of production teams spread out, so we are pretty decentralized. We have teams in different countries with most of the team here in Silicon Valley but. We realize that remote collaboration became a big part of our life already, so this covid19 is not too bad for us. It’s even better actually for me right now, because. I feel like I can work even more efficiently because I’m working at home and saving the time for commute allowing me to concentrate on really high-level strategy things. The privacy I’m sure you guys saw the news about zoom going through a lot of troubles right now lots of people blame that zoom leaks video conferencing information.
We also do have lots of concerns around privacy especially given this remote collaborating since the communication channel gets extended and course information leakage could happen. Ucam is definitely one thing we’re working on very actively like I already mentioned trying to solve this privacy issue in the context of smart homes.
Larry: Another thing on the COVID side of things, we were starting to see a lot of discussions around civil liberty rights getting most specifically policies right and in this kind of trying times when you know data from an individual may be helpful to the greater good whether it’s to you know provide health information that can help with COVID kind of response. It’s important to think about you know short-term benefits of providing this data is obviously very important to help people but also the long-term implications once your data is out there it’s out there forever right. So in this kind of times it’s important for us to know also consider the long-term repercussions of sharing our data and how we share with corporations. A lot of these privacy regulations are helping but they’re not going to bring us to the full solution, so we at IoTeX believe we need to use technology in order to maintain our civil liberties especially in times of crisis like corona and covid19.
What are the main difficulties you encountered when starting this project to bring success like today and what’s your motivation to continue?
Raullen: I think that blockchain is very different from a typical startup here in Silicon Valley. You know startups here in the Silicon Valley find a very specific problem to address, for example how do people collaborate remotely, right so, very specific problem and then they have like a very small product to address this problem and get positive feedback from the audience, users and whoever uses the product. Then if they see okay so this product has a market fit, they will like a double down on the product to make it bigger and add more features until it grows out to be like Zoom, Airbnb, Uber, and others. But blockchain actually starts very differently, we all have like an ultimate vision of how this world will be organized and maybe managed without centralized parties but the solution may not necessarily have the market fir today, maybe in a few years from now. I strongly believe that the future of the device world will be managed by just one blockchain, it’s the same as with the ISP network we are using every day for all the phones or the world right, same for the Internet infrastructure. IoTeX actually started with this vision and we always keep pursuing this automated vision of IoTeX which is like a world of Internet of Trusted Things. That’s why we started back in 2017, cofounded with 3 co-founders, onboarded lots of good engineers, research scientists from top companies to bring in a lot of skills knowledge, thoughts, you know even philosophies. We combined them all together to build the first version of the IoTeX blockchain from scratch and in one year we actually launched the blockchain, last year around April, which has already processed like four million transactions up to date and is run by 71 delegates across the world.
Raullen: In 2019 we launched Mainnet Alpha and Mainnet Beta the initial version of the IoTeX Mainnet and throughout 2019, we’ve made some really important decisions and improvements on the technical side right most notably bringing down block time from 10 seconds to 5 seconds with instant finality
making IoTeX one of the fastest blockchains in the industry. We’re also focusing on the usability a lot in Mainnet GA, so you know things that are coming in GA span not only technology on the public blockchain side but also the private consortium type of enterprise blockchain side we have something very special coming on that side. Mainnet GA also represents a very big shift in IoTeX future governance tokenomics and independence we’re gonna have a new Delegate program with new ways for Delegates to be involved and we hope that community will become Delegates as well
we’re going to officially deploy ecosystem funds kind of share the plans for that and start to you know to branch out to IoT developers anyone that’s focused on really trusted data and trusted devices we want to connect with. So this is a really big initiative for IoTeX as well another major part of it is independence right native IOTX only and a brand new staking mechanism that will make staking and voting not. only more transparent but also much more scalable.
Using Mainnet GA to ensure trusted devices through both blockchain fundamentals and also some IoT and security fundamentals will ensure that devices are trusted, they have an identity the scope of their work is understood and open. GA is a big prerequisite to have trusted data and trusted devices that generate trusted data ultimately will form the foundation for builders like those in the blockchain industry to build trusted processes and trusted applications. That’s why data provenance and the traceability of data and kind of the fundamentals of blockchain are important and we’re really focusing on stringing these capabilities together, which is why blockchain and IoT and privacy are very important for IoTeX to think about collectively.
Raullen: I got an estimation from my market team that there will be around 1 million Ucam users in North America by the end of this year and all Ucam devices will be orchestrated by the IoTeX blockchain. We have lots of ideas tossing around internally about how we design token economics around Ucam and assuming 1 million Ucams out there. I think the initial idea we do have is for each Ucam that gets activated on the IoTeX blockchain there will be a certain amount of IOTX token that will be either burned or staked or bought back to make the protocol more reliable and scalable at the same time.
How would you differentiate IoTeX compared to other projects?
Raullen: Obviously the biggest one that people compare us to is IOTA. Before I speak on this, first I want to back off a little bit and talk about the competition before we started IoTeX. Lots of investors told me if something is too hot and very crowded don’t do it right but after two years I feel like things are very different. If things are hot there’s definitely something in it and worth looking into. At the same time when we started
It was very crowded but there will be very few serious players who will continue pushing to the end. Most of the projects just disappeared in the last 2 years so that’s a good thing in terms of competition. In terms of the CMC ranking, IOTA is one of our biggest rivals because they are ranked like the top 20 but on the tech side, I don’t think it’s very solid. For example their Mainnet has been paused for 12 days or 13 days because of the bug and people were asking how can you pause a blockchain protocol? If you can pause a blocking protocol then what’s the purpose of having a blockchain protocol right? So that’s kind of another story…
The uniqueness of IoTeX is that basically we very organically combined blockchain trusted hardware and also some usability technologies to create something that a user can feel and can use.
Is Google’s blatant disregard for user privacy what inspired Raullen Chai to become the co-founder of IoTeX?
Larry: So you know this is an interesting question right like with your insider experience working on Google obviously building very important and impactful systems but also seeing some of you know I guess the downsides of capitalism especially surveillance capitalism right from the big tech giants how do you think about this balance on your previous life working for you know the centralized technical organization and now your current life working for decentralized blockchain network?
Raullen: First of all is a very good company they’re a great company actually, the two founders Larry Page and Sergey they are the two people I have like very high respect for they are really nice people. In terms of Google’s internal privacy, I think Google has a very rigid control of user data. For example in order to access your data for debugging or product development you would have to go to probably ten layers of approvals, all the way from manager, director, senior director to VP and then you can access user data. I think that’s very good for Google’s right but it’s not Google’s problem it’s the capitalists behind Google that are very greedy and it’s the same for every company like Amazon and Facebook. The capitals behind the companies are actually very greedy and they’re always asking the company can you do more, can you earn more money for me, so I think that’s basically the root cause for those companies trying to touch on users data to monetize more, more advertisement, more accurate profiling of a user. It’s not the company, it’s the capital behind it so that’s why I think if we have a centralized company no matter like how noble the founders are or how advanced the technology is, if the company is eventually controlled by such big capital behind then, it will fall into the same thing of invading users privacy for some purposes. The blockchain would be very different as its purely decentralized, it’s not owned by me, not owned by IoTeX’s team here, it’s owned by everyone in the world!
How do you see the project develop in three to five years from now both from a business and company perspective? Does this include expansion to different regions and what are the plans over the next five years?
Raullen: In three to five years I think IoTeX will be a top ten project in the CMC list because we are the ones who’s connecting the physical world with the blockchain world. For now, the blockchain world is very self-contained, everything you do is just awaiting this blockchain container right but we will you know branch out to different versions of the physical world by using IOTT. I think that will bring us lots of value, lots of opportunities, not just in America and Asia, as well as Europe.
Any plans from the IoTeX team to release a privacy-centric home assistant like Amazon’s Alexa?
Raullen: There are already lots of vendors coming to us saying I have an outdoor camera can you guys do the same own your data idea on my other camera, can you do this on my doorbell, can you do this on my speaker? I think lots of things are actually floating around right now, so privacy-centric home assistant like Alexa, I actually like a lot because I do have Alexa at home but I do have concerns about it. Technically speaking there are some challenges we will have to address first to build a little bit more infrastructure, so we will be able to do Alexa type of devices.
Larry: Absolutely! I think this is really interesting to think about is how blockchain will fit into the existing devices that we come to know right. And you know Ucam is a great example of this it has all the features that you would expect from the best security cameras out there you can buy on Amazon or Best Buy or whatever retail store but it also comes with privacy by design so you know the intellectual property and technology would be built into Ucam. I would say now we have the know how to enable full privacy for users on all different types of devices so it’s really exciting for us!
How will the privacy features of IoTeX be suitable for enterprise businesses especially if there are some regulation requirements?
Larry: I’ve been doing a lot of research on these privacy regulations and things like that so you know the biggest ones you probably know them GDPR and CCPA. GDPR applies to Europe and CCPA is for California in the United States. Basically these regulations require corporations to disclose what information they collect from you how they use it and whether or not they sell it or not right. So it provides a lot of transparency for users but the truth is that for every single corporation that holds your data users will need to submit requests one-by-one to each one of these corporations which you know and if they misuse your data you have to pursue them in legal action. So this is more prone to people that have a lot of money to fight these cases a lot of time, in other words not the vast majority of us right so rather than relying on regulations to secure our privacy. IoTeX really believes in the ability for technology to build in private privacy and human centeredness from the beginning. So we don’t really need to even think about regulations to provide our privacy, we can rely on technology that openly and transparently delivers that to us so you know IoTeX has I think an even higher standard than some of the privacy regulations that are coming out today.
What is the most important and main component when you considered creating Mainnet GA?
Raullen: I think on the tech side definitely doing a blockchain protocol is very hard its rocket science right it’s very different from you know doing an app or website. Building a decentralized system in a very secure and reliable way requires lots of professional knowledge in computer science so that’s why we have these top-notch engineers in the core team who can do this from scratch. It’s not easy sometimes as we’re seeing problems unexpectedly, lots of firefighting is happening and we have to go down very deep into the code to find something that we haven’t considered before and fix it.
So I think that’s the challenge one, challenge two is fine tuning some of the tokenomics, that’s non-trivial work, that needs lots of inspiration, intelligence and also some luck I would say.
Mainnet GA also represents an important milestone for us to bring the community into more decision-making around IoTeX and we’re starting to see more community polls around you know Delegate slashing, IoTeX foundation bonus, so expect more of those in the future and we really want to bring you guys into the decision-making process on the governance and tokenonomics and technology.
What other products are you excited about? If you had to pick one future product powered by IoTeX that you’re really excited about, what kind of product would that be?
Raullen: I like cars, so this is the thing I want do. We have an investor who promised to introduce us to Elon Musk, Tesla’s father, so if such a thing can happen and we can have own your data idea applied to Tesla and autonomous vehicles that would be like my dream come true. I really like to be honest
Are you planning to collaborate with Google and where can I view future contracts with your business partners?
Raullen: Google probably will come next, we are talking with Amazon, especially the computing aspect of Amazon, so there will be some news coming out soon, stay tuned for that, as I cannot talk too much yet.
Larry: The nature of these partnerships with the biggest names in the world like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. you got to understand that these corporations are huge, right they have so many different business units. So when you see people say we partnered with Google or we partnered with bla bla bla, you have to also look into the details of a partnership a bit. I think this is a thing that’s very popular in the crypto industry to get very excited by the names but you know not to call any projects out there but I think looking into the meaning of the relationships is something that we think a lot about at IoTeX.
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