Elastos CMO Fay Li on Bitmain Merged Mining, Trinity, and Beyond

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re somewhat immersed in the Internet world and digital economy. You’ve likely purchased songs, movies, and books that all live online. These digital assets are “yours” in as much as you have rights to access them at any time. This seems like a fair reasonably contract, although slightly less empowering than the physical and tangible objects of the traditional world (dead trees, plastic CDs, etc).

Your agreement with your digital assets gets a bit hazy when it comes to your data. This data comprises of things such as who you are, what your interests are, how you interact with the Internet, and what you purchase. Once your data is out there, it can be leveraged for anything like innocent ads to sell you stuff, or otherwise, manipulate you to act in ways you otherwise wouldn’t.

There’s a deep rabbit hole when it comes to learning about the issues with the modern Internet and how a decentralized Internet can solve many of these problems. A good starting point would be to understand one of the front-running projects in the space.

Fay Li
Fay Li

Elastos (ELA) is a blockchain-powered Internet that empowers users to have complete control of their digital assets. It is also one of the few blockchain projects that has actually hit its projected milestones and is rapidly striving forward. The project is currently hovering at around a $50 million market cap and has attracted investments from prominent figures such as Bitmain’s CEO Jihan Wu.

We connected up with Elastos CMO Fay Li and went over recent Elastos partnerships and the near future for the project.

Elastos recently announced a partnership with Bitmain for merged mining. Was this implemented in response to increased demand on the Elastos network, or is it a pre-emptive measure?

The partnership between Elastos and Bitmain was announced almost a year ago and the plan to utilize their mining pools for merged mining was also established several months ago before the announcement. The exact start date for merged mining however, was undecided until a few days before merged mining went live with one of the largest of Bitmain’s mining pool: BTC.com. Elastos is still in its alpha stage, so this was a strategic decision that was made by the Elastos Foundation to ensure the security of the Elastos network by utilizing the huge hashpower from the bitcoin network.

During August, Elastos sold 100,000 TV boxes through a partnership with Shanghai Shiju TV. For the benefit of our readers outside of China, can you explain how this partnership works? How do users of these TVs benefit?

Actually, our most recent figure for consumer-owned Tv Boxes using Elastos Carrier is 230,000, which means Elastos has just reached 230,000 users to support our new internet infrastructure. We are a truly decentralized web.

As for how it works, the TV box by itself is a typical device, however, because they have Elastos Carrier embedded in them, they are very different from other TV boxes. Every one of the 230,000 TV Boxes can be considered a node in the Elastos Carrier network, which is our P2P network. At the moment, the only benefit for the end users of these TV boxes is that the Elastos Carrier network is utilized for the remote control of the TV from the user’s mobile app. However, in the future, these same TV boxes may be utilized to be part of the distributed file storage system in the Elastos network that will provide some space where users and dapps on Elastos can utilize them to store data in a decentralized manner.

In addition, these same TV boxes can be utilized for a wide variety of other services that Elastos plans to bring to the masses in the future. Similarly, this Elastos Carrier can also be installed in other smart devices such as smart speakers or numerous other IoT devices that can utilize the Elastos carrier and also provide similar services to users and dapps in the future.

And in return for providing their box for this IPFS/storage network, the users of this box can earn our coin ELA and spend them in the process as well.

CEO Rong Chen likened the connection of these TVs to Elastos as being like a mobile phone carrier. Given that phone hacking continues to happen, can you elaborate on the privacy protocols in place for the users of these TVs (or other devices connected to the Elastos network)?

The only use case for these TV boxes that applies to Elastos is that they’re using Elastos Carrier, for the remote control of the TV boxes from their mobile app. In the future however, this will be expanded to utilize numerous other services and provide services in return for earning ELA in the process.

The communication protocol for the TV boxes that utilizes the Elastos Carrier feature protects users, as only their friends can communicate to them. The ownership of data that might be stored in these TV boxes may be stored on the blockchain while the communication is protected using Elastos Carrier – a decentralized peer to peer network. In this way, Elastos provides a complete sandboxed ecosystem to protect user’s data and privacy.

Elastos is pushing towards a consensus mechanism called AuxPOW+dPOS. Can you explain a little more how this works? (As non-tech as possible please!)

Elastos employs a hybrid consensus model of AuxPoW + DPoS. What this means is that because Elastos has merged mining with the bitcoin blockchain we share the immense security of bitcoin with the Elastos network. But in addition, the DPoS nodes are also used to protect the Elastos network in cohesion. The merged miners for PoW produce blocks and package blocks while the DPoS nodes sign these blocks. This creates a finality in the blocks in order to prevent any sort of hard fork.

It’s paramount for an infrastructure project like Elastos that has main chain and sidechains architecture that its main blockchain is very secure. The public chain cannot fork or it would lead to tremendous failure in securing all the different sidechains that will be running on the Elastos network. So, Elastos employs a hybrid consensus model of AuxPoW + DPoS to provide multiple layers of security and to prevent hard forks from happening in the first place.

The partnership with ioeX was announced in June. Can you explain more about the specific benefits for Elastos and ioeX in this partnership?

One of the biggest problems we are facing when it comes to mass adoption for a blockchain product is whether the data can be stored, transferred and traded efficiently. IoeX was designed to reduce IoT data transfer costs significantly (by 70%). And the IoeX team is very connected in the IoT industry, including designing, manufacturing and sales.

They are working on embedding Elastos into smart devices globally. We are excited to see more IoT devices using Elastos as a new decentralised network through IoeX. IoT is the future and with Elastos we intend to secure and connect these devices that are poised to see exponential growth in the next decade.

The CR100 initiative is aiming to have developers create dApps for the Elastos network in more than 100 areas. Can you tell us more about which specific areas or the kind of apps we can look forward to?

The first thing I want to clarify is that the CR100 initiative is not only aimed at developers, we are looking for well-rounded teams of entrepreneurs, designers, marketers and many more global talents to build truly great dApps that can introduce the Elastos decentralised web to different industries and regions.

The 100 directions are broad and meant to spark creativity. We are already in discussions with teams on a wide variety of apps and will have more info shortly. The goal is to make “Elastos,” as ubiquitous as “the internet.”

Elastos is looking to bring in 35 community managers through the Empower 35 program, in a move to foster talent within the community. What does talent look like at Elastos? What specific traits or competencies are you looking to develop from the initiative?

Before answering your questions about Empower35, I would like to introduce “CRcles” to you because it is actually the key to the success of Cyber Republic. CRcles are specific categories of talent pools within Cyber Republic that focus on creating decentralized smart networks to support the entire platform and even blockchain as a whole.

These are circles include business development, partnerships, marketers, videomakers, designers, dapp analysts, administrators, lawyers, writers, and more to support the development of Elastos and its dapps. Cyber Republic will eventually become a social app built on Elastos and the CRcles will be a core venue for talents to meet each other, to form startup teams together and to advise projects/CR100 in the CR ecosystem.

Eventually, we’ll have a sort of voting power for electing managers of the CRcles. Instead of applying for Empower35 positions, every member in any CRcle can propose work for paid projects or take tasks before being able to be elected to be E35. The goal is to have people from all over the world in specialized areas build a body of work, stand out, and lead first before electing the managers of each area. When the momentum builds and we have each CRcle expanding, the E35 roles will be elected by the community along with the first CR council.  CRcles and Empower35 are created for fairness, openness, collaborations and of course, fun.

To comment on the name “CRcles,” Apple put “I” in front of all their products to represent that everything is about me/myself. However, Elastos is not about what we can make for the community, it’s about what everyone can collectively create for together, for everyone. We value our community and want everyone to join and build Elastos together, not only the infrastructure, but also the whole ecosystem that will make this new internet the world needs so much right now.

Trinity, the Elastos browser, is soon to enter its beta-testing stage. What can users expect from it at launch?

It will be as easy as downloading an app from app store that the user is already using, such as the Google Store or Apple Store. All that users need to do is download this app and then they can enter the Elastos world. There, they can install other Elastos dapps and start using them right away and very easily, the same as using any other apps on their Android or iPhone. Providing a good user experience is paramount for any product, therefore Elastos is going to focus on this and dedicate more time to user experience before the beta release.

The company recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and so much has happened over that time. Can you share more about the next steps on the roadmap and how is progress looking against the plans?

Elastos has hit all of the technical goals that were set on the roadmap in the past year and the team will continue working hard on the tech. The most significant moment of the anniversary was the official launch of Cyber Republic.

Elastos has given all the ecosystem development fund (about 16 million ELA) to Cyber Republic for the community to build the ecosystem for Elastos. The next step would be for the Cyber Republic citizens to join, contribute and to build together. As you can see, the 16 million ELA is all for doing this and everyone has a chance to gain ELA by contributing in any way they can using their own unique skill sets.

One thing that I would like to clarify again is that Cyber Republic is not a part of Elastos and Elastos will not be able to control Cyber Republic in any way, which also means that it is not Elastos employee’s job to build Cyber Republic. We have about 70 full time employees and the team’s power is just too limited to build the whole ecosystem for a new internet, that is why the decision for the community to build the ecosystem together with Elastos was made a while ago.

Thanks and good luck!

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