From the birth of Bitcoin, to the emergence of smart contracts, to the cross-chain cross-chain, public chains have led almost every major technological innovation. However, from the TPS competition, to the Dapp ecological competition, and then to the beachfront DeFi, the road to public landing has never been smooth. At the same time, major manufacturers and giants have entered the market, and the alliance chain is unstoppable. The starting gun was fired at 10.24, and the crisis and opportunity coexisted. How will the public chain break through in 2020?
In this context, Babbitt SheKnows planned the online themed activities of “Dangerous Machine 2020 Public Chain Breakout”, including “Self-evolution, Public Chain Leading Technology Innovation”, and “Out of Virtuality, Where Do Public Chain Applications Breakthrough? "," Together with each other, alliance chain, public chain have the same goal? " 》 Three themed activities . Invited the founder of Quantum Chain, Shuai Chu, Findora CEO Charles Lu, Biyuan Chain CTO James, IOST co-founder Terry, Conflux founder Long Fan, Yunxiang Blockchain CEO Huang Butian, Bystack leader Ma Qianli, and Xita Technology Marketing Director Kong Qingyang, focusing on the core issues of technology, applications, and the development of public and alliance chain paths, talked about the "crisis" and "opportunity" of the public chain, and explored the way to integrate the public and alliance chains.
At the special event of "Self-evolution, Public chain leading technological innovation" on December 5, Charles Lu, founder of Quantum Chain and CEO of Findora, accepted questions from Babbitt Academics to the translator. From a technical perspective, How the public chain leads technological innovation.
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Has the technology described in the white paper been implemented?
Moderator: From the release of the white paper to now, which technologies have been successfully implemented and will there be changes in vision?
Findora is a platform that wants to use blockchain and zero-knowledge proof as a smart investment fund. This platform can not only protect the privacy of all participants, but also allow people around the world to review. We have been working in this direction, and the white paper has been changed several times, and we find that the platform we make can be widely used. It is not only suitable for the investment industry, but also can solve the pain points of many other applications in the financial industry, such as P2P loan fraud. Improve the efficiency of secondary market transactions.
The underlying protocols on the first version of Qtum's white paper were fully implemented when the mainnet was released. Qtum's big vision has not changed, and it is focused on the underlying technology of the public chain. However, the specific technical direction will of course be adjusted with the development of the industry and its own understanding of the industry . For example, Qtum also mentioned some application-layer related content in the early draft of the white paper, but as the project progressed, we realized that the underlying protocol of the public chain was the core of the project, so we further focused on privacy, virtual machines, and expansion of the underlying protocol. And other technical directions, and the actual implementation of the application layer should not be the focus of the public chain.
What are the most pressing issues?
Moderator: What is the most urgent problem in the public chain field?
I think the most important issue is privacy. Blockchain does bring great advantages of transparency, but the most basic blockchain has lost privacy protection.
Real-world users need privacy. For example, if your company pays in bitcoin, everyone will know the specific amount of your salary. Similarly, if an enterprise invests, other companies can also see the direction of this enterprise's investment, causing unnecessary Dispute. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to have no privacy, and the public chain must solve the privacy issue before it can be widely used . Shuai Chu:
Public chain has two levels of meaning, encrypted digital currency and blockchain application platform. These two different levels have different problems to solve.
As a cryptocurrency, there is a need to promote clarity in regulation worldwide.
As an application platform, the public chain is currently limited by many design ideas. It is necessary to jump out of the global verification thinking of Bitcoin and Ethereum and start from the application perspective to creatively design the underlying architecture of the blockchain . Currently, Bitcoin has become the industry's digital gold (not digital cash), and Ethereum has become a clearing and settlement financial agreement.
At present, there is no platform supporting large-scale blockchain applications in the industry, so it is difficult to expect a large-scale application explosion in the industry, but one or several infrastructures for blockchain applications will inevitably emerge in the future.
What technologies are worth watching?
Moderator: There is a saying that describes the status quo of the industry, called "the bear market of prices, the bull market of technology." Of the price bear market in the past two years, what new technologies have been born in the public chain field that are worth your attention?
Although the price of the previous two years has encountered a bear market, blockchain and cryptography technologies have made real breakthroughs. I think one of the biggest aspects of the breakthrough is zero-knowledge proof.
Zcash appeared three years ago. Zcash was one of the first applications of zero-knowledge proofs. They used a breakthrough that is very advanced for zero-knowledge proofs, zk-SNARK. However, Zcash's application scenarios are very limited and only involve single asset confidential transfer. Because it uses an older zero-knowledge proof method, there are some disadvantages, such as the need for a trusted setup. Why do I think Supersonic is the biggest technological breakthrough this year? Because Supersonic does not only need trusted settings, but also fast and small capacity. Shuai Chu:
The realization of various privacy technologies represented by Mimblewimble on the blockchain is the new technology that I think is the most noteworthy in the past two years.
Data privacy and asset privacy are just needed in real business applications. Since Qtum supports both the UTXO model and smart contracts, both privacy solutions based on UTXO and smart contracts can be implemented on Qtum. We will also open source the recent progress on privacy assets in the near future, providing a basis for subsequent richer privacy calculations and applications.
What is the cross-chain problem?
Moderator: Qtum, BTC, and Beam have successfully implemented cross-chain atomic exchange transaction experiments. Are there many people using such cross-chain transactions? What cross-chain problems will Cosmos and Polkadot cross-chain solutions encounter?
Like many projects that support cross-chain atomic swaps, not many users actually use atomic swaps . The direct reason is that the threshold for use is slightly higher, and the most fundamental reason is that users do not have the need for cross-chain atomic swaps . If the exchange of value on different chains is to be achieved, the current types of centralized exchanges, etc. can fully meet the needs, and the user experience and choice are more advantageous. Users do not actually have an urgent need for cross-chain atomic exchange.
What Cosmos and Polkadot want to solve is not the cross-chain needs of different existing public chains, but to establish a new ecology, and then build a new chain on this basis, so in the strict sense is actually not a simple cross-chain problem. The problems faced are also more complicated.
As far as cross-chain itself is concerned, it is still in the initial stage of demand. This is also related to the fact that there is no complete ecology on the public chain. Cross-chain as I understand it is not only cross-chain of assets, but also data and logical operations. Can operate across chains. In addition, many cross-chain needs are partially addressed through centralized exchanges and decentralized exchanges.
How to balance privacy and regulation?
Moderator: Many existing privacy public chain projects that use zero-knowledge proof protocols have difficulties in supervision. What kind of ideas does Findora use to solve this problem? What technologies are involved?
We don't consider compliance and privacy to conflict. The first generation of privacy coins, such as Zcash, Monero, could not be tracked at all, but it also brought a lot of difficult supervision. We have designed more sophisticated zero-knowledge proof tools that allow users of Findora not only to keep their transaction privacy, but also to prove to third parties that their transactions are compliant or meet the rules of smart contracts.
For example, issuers of assets can use our confidential asset tracer. In this way, although the assets can be arbitrarily circulated on the secondary market, the issuer can let the regulator, the issuer itself, or other third parties check the owner of the asset at any time. In terms of identity, we also have a cool technology called selective disclosure credential. We use our technology to make our "financial passports" so that users can prove that they meet certain conditions, but selectively disclose information without disclosing other identities. Moderator: Allowing supervisors to monitor user information by viewing / supervising keys is a way to balance privacy protection and supervision. How can we prevent supervisors from abusing this power? Or, is complete privacy protection undesirable?
This is indeed a very important and urgent concern. That's why we can't get around zero-knowledge proof technology.
Zero-knowledge proofs only need to prove a small part of the information, and do not disclose any other information, so even if there is a regulator, the regulator will not get too much information, so there will be no problems such as privacy abuse. For example, our Ben Fisch recently researched zero-knowledge taxation. For example, the user can prove to the government that he paid the correct amount of tax, but does not disclose his income.
Which tiered approach would be better?
Moderator: At present, many public chains have adopted a layered architecture, that is, layer 1 and layer 2, and even layer 0 and layer 3 attempts. What tasks are these layers responsible for and what are their characteristics?
Qtum actually put forward the idea that the blockchain needs a layered design in 2016, but the industry was still at the earliest and was not well known.
Layer 1 generally refers to the underlying protocol of the public chain, that is, the consensus layer. Its task is simply to reach a consensus on the value transfer / state change on the chain; Layer 2 generally refers to the solution that completes the value transfer or state change off the chain.
Layer 0 generally refers to the data transmission layer, such as transaction and block propagation, which can be optimized in a certain way; Layer 3 is actually closer to the application layer, which generally refers to being built on Layer 1 or Layer 2 and can be used for users. A layer of architecture that provides services.
Layer 1 and Layer 2 have a lot of discussion and consensus, but there is no extensive consensus on Layer 0 and Layer 3. Moderator: There are many layer 2 technologies on the market now, such as Lightning Network, State Channel, Plasma, Rollup, etc. Which of these solutions is the most promising?
Many layer2 solutions have been implemented on Qtum early: Layer 2 solutions including Lightning Network, State Channel, and Plasma. But like many other projects focused on Layer 2, there are not many users who actually use Layer 2. These technologies are still in relatively early stages.
Personally, I think that the future Layer 2 will be more oriented to applications and oriented to real needs. It may not be a certain technology that wins, but a fusion of multiple technologies, which ultimately achieves a real application requirement. For example, the integration of Lightning Network and Bitcoin's other technologies, the realization of DeFi and smart contracts on the BTC network is very promising, but this direction still needs to be explored.
What are the obstacles to the difficulty of landing the pieces?
Moderator: In addition to the off-chain expansion method, the sharding scheme is also used by many teams, such as the much-watched Ethereum 2.0, but it seems that the implementation of such a scheme is very difficult. This technical route?
I am personally skeptical. I think sharding cannot guarantee the security of the previous consensus, and there are many unresolved issues in cross-shard communication. For example: All tokens on Ether are run using smart contracts, such as all stable coins (DAI, USDC, USDT, etc.). But these stablecoins will definitely be used in other smart contracts. If the stablecoin smart contract is only on one shard, it is difficult to enjoy the efficiency of sharding.
I'm not saying that sharding is not completely unachievable, I'm just a bit skeptical . Our co-founders of Ben Fisch and Benedikt Bünz have invented several new ways of accumulator, so that we can completely separate the consensus layer from the storage layer. For example, a simple mobile phone can be a network verifier . Shuai Chu:
Sharding is also essentially the process of decomposing global consensus into local consensus.
Specific to the sharding technology, after sharding, how to ensure the security of the underlying funds and the flexibility of applications in different shards are the most fundamental issues at the same time. Flexibility and scalability depend on local consensus, which often implies a compromise in security, while security is the foundation of all capital-related applications.
There are still many problems to be solved, so the fragmentation scheme has not been implemented. I personally think that the more likely future blockchain application platform is a set of systems that deeply integrate cloud computing and blockchain technology.It can provide the same experience as most apps deployed on the cloud, and it can also have a blockchain. Fundamental characteristics. For example, a unified account system and clearing system and meet all application requirements in a wide range from single-point verification (cloud computing nodes) to global verification (wide network verification). In a sense, BTC and ETH are a set of single-threaded synchronous logic cloud services. It is difficult to expect any large-scale applications to erupt above, because the logic of full-network verification and full-network synchronization limits the development of applications. Or it must be deployed on other networks, which will weaken its network effect. We are optimistic about blockchain technology to reconstruct the underlying layer of cloud computing to serve blockchain applications of any size.
Are open source and patent contradictions?
Moderator: In the public chain world, open source seems to have become a consensus, but zooming into the entire blockchain world, you will find that many blockchain companies apply for patents. How to look at the difference between open source and patent?
Let me give you an example first. The inventors of TCP / IP did not choose to apply for a patent, but chose to make it public, so they have the possibility of widespread dissemination. If their choice at that time was to apply for a patent rather than open source their results, then they succeeded. The chance is slim.
There are many similar examples in the development of blockchain, such as Schnorr signature. This signature protocol has very great advantages, but in the end, you did not adopt this protocol in Bitcoin, and the only reason it was not adopted was because the protocol was patented. Therefore, the underlying agreement must be made public in order to have the opportunity to be widely adopted and used in the world stage, and everyone can use it, so as not to harm the potential interests of relevant stakeholders.
However, this is not absolute. In terms of application layer, it makes sense to apply for a patent . Shuai Chu:
Open source and patents are not completely contradictory. There is no difference between the two. The patents here refer to patents that are truly innovative, not patents that are "mass-produced" in order to fulfill some indicators. I personally think that Bitcoin has provided a very successful case for open source projects. Even without patents, you can protect your own interests, which will redefine the open source project. The Qtum project is a project from the open source community. All our code has also been open source. I believe that the spirit of open source will become more and more vital in the future.
Is technology important to drive project success?
Moderator: How important can technology be for the success of a blockchain project?
Technology is important, but not all technologies are necessary. The reason why Findora uses zero-knowledge proof is not because of the innovation of this technology, but we believe that zero-knowledge proof is inevitable. We believe that technology only needs to address the pain points of users and meet their requirements.
At present, for most people, blockchain technology projects different technologies proposed by different projects into an abstract transaction symbol. Of course, this is at an early stage with the industry, and it is homogeneous, competitive and non-differentiated. Service related. One cannot understand the technical differences behind different trading symbols. So in a sense, technology only accounts for a small percentage of the project's "success" in the short term, which is a cruel reality.
But in the long run, as the industry matures, projects without independent research and development capabilities will be gradually eliminated by the market, and projects that drive market demand through technological innovation will achieve true development and success. At present, the industry is still in the early stages, and it is still in the exploration stage, and there may be many wrong tracks in the industry itself, so the technology made on the wrong track is leading, and in the end it is not of much value.