Viewpoint | The story of the public chain is not finished yet

Wen | Wang Ye Operation | Gai Yao Edit | Mandy 王 梦蝶

Production | Odaily Planet Daily (ID: o-daily)

From competing for millions of TPS, to competing with the DApp ecology, to taking advantage of Staking and Defi, from 2018 to 2020, bulls and bears alternate, from blowouts to batch failures. The public chain is the infrastructure of the entire crypto ecosystem, and it has also received much attention. Where it is.

Although the industry has experienced ups and downs and some "bad money" have been squeezed out of the industry, many practitioners are still struggling.

TokenInsight data shows that of the 71 underlying public chain projects it has included, 41 have been launched on the main network. Among them, the majority of projects that are online but have not yet undergone relevant ecological development.

As of now, the top ten public chain projects with market capitalization have been launched on the main network. Star projects also frequently announce project progress. Recently, V Shenfa tweeted that Ethereum 2.0 is likely to be released in Q1 or Q2 this year. In addition, projects such as Cosmos, Polkadot, and Cardano are mainly in test network and technology research and development; projects such as EOS and Tezos are improving development tools to reduce development costs.

At the same time, public chain technology has also made breakthroughs in some directions, especially cross-chain, sharding, privacy computing and other technologies that improve the performance of blockchains have begun to mature.

For example, the sharding technology represented by NEAR has improved the throughput of the blockchain, and a variety of technical solutions can support the performance requirements of the DApp at this stage; projects such as Cosmos and Polkadot represent a step forward in cross-chain technology; Grin and Further application of MimbleWimble protocol behind BEAM …

In addition, the enthusiasm of the PoS project has pushed the Staking economy into the industry's perspective, and Defi has also attracted more practitioners to introduce new models and gradually increase the value of locked-up tokens.

However, facing the two big questions of "Where is the user" and "When does it land", the next step of the public chain is still full of uncertainty.

When the new year begins, Odaily Planet Daily launches its annual planning report "Hello 2020" looking forward to the future series. In this issue, we talked with well-known public chain projects Conflux, Algorand, NEAR Protocol, Taraxa. They answered 6 questions and told 2019, also predicts 2020.

2019 of the public chain

Odaily Planet Daily: If you summarize the development of the public chain in 2019 with a keyword, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Conflux CTO Wu Ming: Just use the word "breakout".

The development of the public chain in 2019 is a breakthrough stage. This year, many public chains are exploring how to solve the problems of the underlying infrastructure of the public chain. Each of them has also raised technical bottlenecks such as how to improve the performance and security of the public chain. With my own ideas and solutions, I firmly believe that the public chain teams that have always insisted on technology development in the bear market in 2019 will get an explosion in 2020.

Chen Fangfang, head of the Algorand Foundation: Tends to be rational.

Many excellent public chain projects have been launched from 2017 and 2018 to 2019 and will be launched on the main network in 2020. These projects have their own breakthroughs in technology and practice different solutions for the technical barriers of large-scale application of the blockchain. At the same time, many public chain projects realize that this track is a marathon relying on strength. Without strong and continuous technology research and development, capital strength and application execution capabilities, it is difficult to go far.

Ilya Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol: From my point of view, 2019 is the year of the next generation of public chain explosion.

We have done a lot of experiments and research on the consensus recording mechanism of the public chain, inter-chain interoperability, and sharding and expansion. At present, the underlying technology and architecture of the public chain have gradually matured, and the distance from large-scale scenarios is getting larger near.

On the other hand, more and more public chain ecological developers have started to pay more attention to the usability of the public chain and began to pay attention to the user experience. The cost and effort of gas fees are to improve the user experience of using the public chain.

Taraxa CEO Steven Pu: The story of the bottom of the public chain in 2019 has made everyone think it is a false proposition, and the public chain that only uses technology and the community obviously cannot meet the needs of the real society.

Investors in Silicon Valley now like to invest in projects that can address the needs of a specific field. Of course, the premise is that this field must be mature and strong enough, but the blockchain has not yet solved the problem of demand in a certain field. So much time and cost to study the underlying infrastructure of the blockchain itself is problematic.

The immediate priority is not to make the public chain itself more secure and perform better. The key question is where can the public chain you create be used? What problems have been solved in the real world? This is the most urgent problem that the public chain currently needs to solve.

I want to emphasize that the public chain is an engineering field, not just a theoretical study. The public chain needs to solve the pain points for the industry, create value, and get out of the small circle.

The public chain track is becoming more rational

Odaily Planet Daily: Many people say that 2018 is the first year of the public chain, and public chain projects are blooming everywhere, but in 2019, the road of the public chain does not seem to go well. There are many public chain projects that have been announced to dissolve, or have become community-based, and many have initiated technology outsourcing. What do you think is the reason for the existence of such a living situation on the public chain?

Chen Fangfang, the person in charge of the Algorand Foundation: As I mentioned just now, the differentiation of the public chain is a natural result of the industry's tendency to become rational. The road of the public chain is long-distance running. The cultivation of "endurance" requires all aspects of support (technology, funding, clear strategic thinking, and strong execution). It is indispensable. Frankly speaking, in the long run, this should be a good thing.

Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol: In my opinion, the biggest problem of the public chain is still not able to solve its large-scale application in the real world. It includes two dimensions, one is the large-scale application of C-side users, and the second is the large-scale application of developers. Since the bear market in 2018, we haven't seen a large number of developers pouring into the industry.

Once, we chatted with developers outside the cryptocurrency circle, and they said that they were also waiting for a successful scenario to emerge. The developers of the public chain ecology have done a lot of experiments and research on the consensus mechanism and the underlying protocol, such as PoS, DPoS, PoH and other consensus mechanisms, and the underlying technology includes sidechains, layer2, and fragment expansion schemes. However, there is still a lack of experimentation and exploration on the improvement of the developer experience and the exploration of the scene. In addition, we also found that when application developers try to build and innovate products, they will be limited by the underlying infrastructure such as current public chain performance.

We believe that the current priority is to promote close collaboration between public chain developers and application developers to bring better decentralized experiences and infrastructure to users.

Taraxa CEO Steven Pu: We usually focus on projects with strong technology or commercial implementation, but I think the above status quo you mentioned will be encountered when any new technology is just beginning, in a new technology When it first started to appear, some technical geeks first came in. The technical geeks themselves were a group of people who were highly marginalized from the real society, and then the scammers rushed in. When the scammers frowned on the new technology Only then will the regular army enter the battlefield.

Business model of public chain

Odaily Planet Daily: Many people in the circle tease that the business model of the public chain is to issue coins (meaning there is no business model). Do you think there is a business model for the public chain? How should the business model of the public chain be designed?

Conflux CTO Wu Ming: As a platform, the public chain should support the application and application of the application, and rely on the system of the public chain to do ecology. This is the business model that the public chain should have. The main problems currently facing the public chain are the underlying infrastructure of the public chain, such as TPS and security issues.

Chen Fangfang, principal of the Algorand Foundation: It depends on how this "business model" is defined. Some people liken the business model of the public chain to building a highway and then introducing traffic to it. The value of the public chain is continuously and organically increased through network effects. From this point of view, the business model of the public chain is not a short-lived model. Of course, the public chain project can also choose a certain vertical field to independently develop the application. If successful, there are also short-term business profit models. However, I still believe that the value of a highly decentralized public chain with a strong ecology and real commercial applications is inestimable.

Ilya Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol: In the blockchain industry, business models and financing are tightly integrated. 1CO has pioneered a new type of financing model, which has lowered the threshold for financing and strengthened asset liquidity. On the other hand, some public chains require users to pay transaction fees (such as gas fees) for the use of tokens. In our opinion, this severely limits the large-scale landing of public chains.

The public chain itself plays the role of storing assets and value. The business logic of the public chain is that it can reach consensus on a global scale. The public chain also provides a new way for value storage. Token can be used as a certificate of public chain value. . However, the tokens issued by the public chain have not yet formed a complete set of business models and valuation models.

Taraxa CEO Steven Pu: I think the business model of the public chain is ultimately tokens, but there is no widespread consensus on the valuation of tokens.

The token is the value carrier of the public chain. The token is actually a fee. You ask me how to view the business model of the public chain. In fact, you are asking how the token of the public chain is valued. This is a very tricky thing. I personally think Before the large-scale application of the public chain, the value of this token is difficult to estimate.

If the public chain achieves large-scale application one day in the future, how should the value of the token be valued? How does it relate to the value of equity?

Token is not the same as equity, because equity is directly linked to the company's profit, but token is not a profit, but a use and service. At present, there is no consensus on the valuation of tokens in the market, because there is no large-scale application of public chains. .

Public application of public chain

Odaily Planet Daily: Some people say that the public chain does not need a business model, only the application layer. The protocol layer only needs to consider how to get value from the business model of the DApp. But when DApps have also become a feast for money, do you think DApps can also support the business model of public chains?

Conflux CTO Wu Ming: I think the most valuable place for a secure and high-performance public chain is to expand financial-related businesses, but this financial is definitely not a model of capital disk, such as public chain technology to solve cross-border For payment, you can use the native token of the public chain to make cross-border payments, just like Bitcoin.

If a stable digital currency is issued on a public chain with high performance and security, it will also make the transfer and transaction of legal digital currency faster and smoother.

Personally, I think Defi and other MakerDAOs are doing very well. Defi is still a very worthy blockchain application scenario.

As for other non-financial applications such as certificate storage and traceability, in fact, it can also be done on the alliance chain. It mainly depends on the security requirements of the data. If your data requirements are particularly reliable, you can also go on the public chain If you do this, if the security is not so high, of course, you can choose to do it on the alliance. In addition, I think the application itself can also drive the DApp ecological application.

Deposit certificate can not only be to B or to G, but it can also be to C. We are currently developing tools that combine contract data and social networks to enable our users to put credit data on the chain when using social networks. And let users use it practically.

Chen Fangfang, principal of the Algorand Foundation: As mentioned earlier, the public chain needs a business model, but it is not a traditional product commercial profit model, but a platform scale effect model. DApps do need a clear business model or value. The core problem is that the blockchain has not yet appeared as a real killer application. It's a process. I think that mainstream commercial enterprises' initiative to enter blockchain applications (even alliance chains) will bring some new ideas to the application of public chains.

Public and alliance chains are not competitive

Odaily Planet Daily: After 1024 last year, the alliance chain ushered in a wave of enthusiasm. Some people raised the alliance chain and sang the public chain, and some people said that the public chain and the alliance chain ended in a battle. What do you think of the relationship between the public chain and the alliance chain? ? What kind of roles do the two play in the blockchain world?

Conflux CTO Wu Ming: I personally feel that the alliance chain and the public chain are not competitive relationships. The two are actually mutually complementary relationships. There are many ways to combine the alliance chain and the public chain. The public chain has many off-chain and layer 2 expansion solutions. This side chain solution is actually implemented using the structure of the alliance chain. Developers can use the alliance The chain is regarded as a side chain of the public chain to achieve shorter latency and higher performance.

In fact, the process of users choosing the alliance chain and the public chain is also choosing security and performance. If users have higher security requirements, then they choose a public chain with lower performance, and users with lower security requirements can choose a higher performance alliance chain. User measurement of security and performance needs.

In addition, in my opinion, whether it is the alliance chain or the public chain, the current consensus mechanism is not the most urgent bottleneck for them. The next bottleneck is mainly local implementation, how to improve the efficiency of local execution. This is the issue we will discuss next. This problem is actually the same from the perspective of the public chain and the alliance chain, that is to say, the public chain and the alliance chain are only different in terms of the consensus mechanism. They are actually the same in terms of storage and calculation. Some of the technical difficulties that have been broken through can actually help the alliance chain.

Chen Fangfang, head of the Algorand Foundation: It is an immortal topic of debate. I don't think we should put the public chain and the alliance chain on the opposite side, as if they can only choose one. I think everyone should agree that the public chain is a strong technology (refer to the "strong technology vs. weak technology" concept of Union Square Ventures), but this is not to say that the alliance chain has no value. In fact, the vast majority of enterprises and even government applications in the blockchain are currently using the alliance chain.

I think the public chain and the alliance chain will coexist for a long time. The alliance chain can also be built on the public chain and enjoy the advantages of public chain technology upgrades and scalability. I think that the alliance chain developed for short-term commercial applications will encounter many bottlenecks in technological development due to commercial development in the future.

Taraxa CEO Steven Pu: I personally think that the alliance chain is not a chain, but an alliance or an enterprise software with some signatures in it. It has nothing to do with the blockchain. It is not a decentralized blockchain technology and does not have The public chain's credible and non-tamperable performance is easier to break than the public chain.

Sharding and privacy will be important directions in 2020

Odaily Planet Daily: What is your outlook for the development of the public chain in 2020? What new trends are you optimistic about in terms of technology and scene landing?

Conflux CTO Wu Ming: We will continue to improve the performance of the public chain under the premise of maintaining security. Similar sharding ideas are definitely needed, but we believe that the existing sharding technology will still sacrifice the security of the public chain. , So we are constantly digging for other ways to improve the performance of the public chain.

In addition, I personally think that the privacy technology to protect user data and information still needs to be developed. Blockchain technology and privacy technology are combined together through multi-party computing methods and zero-knowledge proofs. This is our next research and discussion Important direction.

After all, data is still valuable. Leaking data to others at will is a violation of the rights of the data owner. So I think people still need privacy.

Chen Fangfang, head of the Algorand Foundation: cautiously optimistic. The differentiation caused by the rationalization of the industry will continue. If some projects can be launched on the mainnet as planned, competition will be fierce and the fittest will survive. As some projects are eliminated, public chain projects that can maintain a leading position in technology, ecology and commerce will receive more funding support. In 2020, I also expect that more mainstream companies will increase their investment and emphasis on blockchain, and accelerate the breaking of the status quo of blockchain niche.

Ilya Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol: Sharding technology will be a major trend in the development of public chains in 2020.

For those public chains that are expected to be launched on the mainnet in 2020, I personally think that cross-chain technology is very important, because developers and users hope that the public chains that will be launched on the mainnet will be compatible with the existing ecosystem. . For example, we are building a "bridge" to Ethereum on the NEAR network to ensure that NEAR developers can easily use any smart contract on Ethereum.

In addition, I think there will be a new wave of traffic in the gaming and social space in 2020.