Rong Chen, the chairman and founder of the Elastos Foundation, recently shared his views and insights with Crypto Insider. The organization over which he presides is focused on the ongoing development of Elastos. Its main purpose involves building technology protocols for the “modern internet”.
Chen, a computer science postgraduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that Elastos’ unique value proposition involves “building a new internet of wealth and we are solving the digital asset double spending problem.”
Solving The Double Spending Problem “For All Forms Of Digital Assets”
He elaborated: “While Satoshi solved the double spending problem by creating bitcoin, we [aim to] solve the problem for all forms of digital assets on the internet. [We consider] this [to be] revolutionary.”
According to Chen, Elastos “proposes to build a new web that is free of any centralized parties controlling any part of the infrastructure. Elastos is building a smart web that consists of [a] blockchain and sidechains” which will form a set of “immutable ledgers.” This platform will be used for “running smart contracts” and it will also serve as a “decentralized carrier for all network traffic,” Chen noted.
Moreover, Chen explained that Elastos intends to offer a complete “way of running decentralized applications (dApps) without any intermediaries.” Although it was not entirely clear how this would be any different from other dApps launched on Ethereum, EOS, Tron, and other blockchain platforms which also do not require third-parties, the chairman claims that Elastos’ network helps connect “developers, teams, and businesses building real-world applications for a wide variety of platforms and use cases.”
Elaborating on some real-world scenarios, Chen noted:
- “First, consumer/enterprise internet-of-things (IoT), as the key Elastos feature is security. In essence, this is targeting the onboarding of infrastructure/industrial software. ‘DApps’ here would really be non-interactive secure software behind smart devices, not something you and I would really interact with on a tablet for example, but necessary to be secure if you want sustainable IoT.”
- “Second is consumer DApps, i.e. business-to-consumer (B2C). This really takes advantage of the (peer-to-peer) P2P network aspect of Elastos and user IDs on the blockchain, with the security being an added plus but not the prime driver per se. These DApps will have their own sidechains/tokens for whatever utility they serve. Elastos has a number of DApps already building on the platform – Zapya is a good example on the consumer end for P2P file sharing with 500 million users.
- “Elastos often talks about facilitating a real digital asset economy where ‘scarcity’ and thus re-sale/trading of digital assets is possible (today, if you buy a movie or a song on the internet, you can’t resell it like you can in the real world, which Elastos thinks should be fixed). Again, a big market with essentially the whole eCommerce market as a target market, underpinned by the security of Elastos.”
- “[Another use case] is enterprise DApps, i.e. business-to-business (B2B). Again this makes use of the P2P network, a good example here is ULink (China rentals) or the seed company Elastos has building DApps on it. Here the emphasis really is the ability to track supply chain or information across the value chain and uses sidechains again.”
Elastos’ Contributions To The Evolving Web 3.0 Standard
Responding to a question about how Elastos is contributing to the development of Web 3.0 or the new internet, Chen remarked: “The Elastos team is taking part not just in creating a project but in creating an entire ecosystem – an ecosystem for the new web era. The Elastos Foundation is an entity that employs various teams to contribute to this effort.
As such, first and foremost is the base infrastructure and this is the blockchain and sidechain piece. The blockchain provides trust to all the layers that sit above it. This layer consists of the main chain that is merged mined with bitcoin thereby borrowing a huge amount of hashpower from the bitcoin network itself which guarantees the security of the base currency, ELA, a token that is used throughout the entire ecosystem.”
Decentralized Digital IDs, Devices, DApps, Fungible/Non-Fungible Token (NFTs)
He continued: “This layer also consists of various other sidechains, a DID sidechain to issue decentralized IDs to users; devices and DApps; a token sidechain to issue fungible and non-fungible tokens, an Ethereum sidechain that can run any Ethereum compatible smart contracts and a new sidechain that can run any NEO compatible smart contracts.
With this flexibility, the Elastos ecosystem can port any existing revolutionary blockchain platforms to work as a sidechain of Elastos, thereby increasing the network effect even more.”
The Elastos Carrier Runs Autonomously, Without Any Central Servers
He added: “At this same base infrastructure layer, there is also Elastos Carrier – a decentralized peer-to-peer, end-to-end encrypted network that runs without any central servers and runs autonomously. Carrier is involved in providing communication of files and digital assets between two parties in a peer-to-peer manner.
Above the base infrastructure layer, various other frameworks are built on by numerous teams. One such example is the DMA (Decentralized Digital Marketing) framework that makes it easy for developers to easily develop their DApps that involves managing digital assets.”
Plug-And-Play Platform For Building Smart Home Networks
Going on to describe other types of proprietary technology developed by Elastos’ team members, Chen, a former senior software engineer at Microsoft stated: “Another example is HyperConnect framework, an IoT framework, that serves as a plug-and-play platform for developers to build smart home networks and various applications.
Any projects or businesses can build on the base infrastructure to provide their own services. It’s the interconnecting and separation of these various layers, that makes the Elastos ecosystem, whole. When you combine all the projects, teams and frameworks all utilizing the Elastos infrastructure, you get the modern internet that Elastos is striving to create. Projects can use Elastos, build on Elastos or join Elastos.”
Achieving Distributed Consensus
Responding to a question about which consensus algorithm – proof-of-stake (PoS) or proof-of-work (PoW) – is better or has more advantages, Chen said: “I think it’s disingenuous to prefer one consensus algorithm over another because every consensus algorithm has its own benefits and flaws.
PoW is very decentralized because it gives everyone the equal opportunity to contribute to the network but at the same time, it also gives rise to centralized mining pools that may control the majority of the network because of the huge amount of hashpower they can provide when combining all their mining machines in the pool.”
PoW Is More Decentralized Than PoS
According to Chen: “PoS is also decentralized but not as decentralized as PoW because the more coins people hold, the more power they have over the network. Elastos, therefore, chooses to implement a hybrid consensus of AuxPoW+DPoS. Blocks on the Elastos blockchain are packaged by AuxPoW miners (which are merged miners of bitcoin network) while blocks are signed by DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake) supernodes that are elected through the community votes. In addition, Elastos also has a community of Cyber Republic that is a consensus in and of itself.”
Explaining how the Cyber Republic consensus model works, Chen noted: “It’s here that any member in the community can submit a proposal to make certain changes to the core infrastructure and if it’s accepted by the majority of the council members of the Cyber Republic, and there are enough approvals from the wider Cyber Republic community members, the proposal is implemented in the Elastos base code and is pushed throughout the network.”
He continued: “If any miners choose to not implement this new proposal, their blocks are not signed by DPoS supernodes which prevents forks from occurring in the first place. The hybrid consensus of AuxPoW + DPoS + Cyber Republic Consensus creates a finality of blocks in the Elastos infrastructure and prevents division in the community that we regularly see in famous blockchain platforms such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc.”
$100 Billion Gaming Industry
When asked about Online Gaming, which is a thriving industry worth $100 billion and what impact, if any, will blockchain have on this, Chen said: “Gaming has gained traction in recent decades and it’s estimated that it’ll only continue to increase over the coming decades and I believe blockchain is at the forefront of this industry.
Through blockchain, the gaming industry can be revolutionized because it means all the gaming assets can be turned into digital assets via the blockchain and smart contracts and because of this, each person has a chance to own their digital assets and no intermediaries can take this away. The code protects users’ rights and digital assets and blockchain enforces it, thereby leading to a more flourishing economy of its own in the future.”
Running Web Services Without A Website
He further noted: ”Also, since we at Elastos want to run web services without a website, there will be no website operator or middleman to manipulate your data in gaming. You do not want the ‘house’ to manipulate your data. I think this is really critical in gaming.
When asked about what are the main things that Elastos’ team is working on and how is this relevant to the larger crypto industry and/or blockchain ecosystem (both long and short-term), Chen said: “Crypto and blockchain do not need to interact with the consumer as a product. The product needs to be the new web, the platform, with crypto and blockchain as important pieces, but not the whole. We need a new ecosystem. An engine is important, but it is not the whole car. We are building the whole car, not just selling engines.”
Planning On Going Live Soon With Hybrid Consensus Model
He further explained: “The most immediate progress to report is the fact that in the next month, Elastos will truly be decentralized. Over the next month, the Elastos team plans to complete the vision they have had for the last decade or so.
First is the hybrid consensus of AuxPoW+DPoS being live and open to the entire world. This means, anyone can start to merge mine ELA with BTC and anyone can participate in the DPoS election. As I mentioned earlier, the Elastos network is protected by the hybrid consensus and it’s robust and this is what will create more decentralization and give more power to the community.”
Porting Ethereum dApps To Elastos
Going on to reveal that the DID sidechain has already been launched, Chen told CryptoInsider: “DID sidechain is already live and businesses can already issue decentralized IDs to their users that are backed by some sort of KYC if needed.
Ethereum sidechain will go live concurrently which means any current DApps running on public Ethereum blockchain can be ported over to Elastos and thereby gain access to the vast amount of services Elastos offers. NEO sidechain will go live which means any current DApps running on public NEO blockchain can be ported over to Elastos and thereby gain access to the vast amount of services Elastos offers.”
Cyber Republic Will Truly Go Live In August 2019
He also pointed out: “Any application that is built on Elastos has the ability to provide a complete decentralized solution to their users which is not controlled by any third parties. In August 2019, Cyber Republic will truly go live and thus have democratically elected council members who will take part in the decision-making process of the Elastos ecosystem.
Over the long term, businesses will have access to decentralized storage provided by Elastos. Elastos Carrier is already live and can therefore already start to get implemented for peer-to-peer applications. There are already over a million Carrier nodes that are part of the Elastos Carrier network and there have been over 300,000 DID users already registered using DID sidechain.”
Looking Forward, A New Era Of The Internet
Looking ahead to 2020, Chen said: “In 2020, the vision of the Elastos Smart Web will truly take off and it’ll be a new era of the internet where every person controls their own property and rights protected by the blockchain and thereby have a chance to take part in the Web 3.0 revolution.”