Cyber Republic Newsletter
Oct 28, 2019
Welcome to the latest snapshot of Cyber Republic history!
In this edition, we recap a recent podcast episode discussing the Elastos whitepaper; compare Elastos dApp Hyper with some of its peers; have a chat with Ben Lee, one of three Elastos directors; and report on community activities, Suggestions & Proposals, and more.
Happy reading 🙂
Mining pool F2Pool, currently ranked third largest Bitcoin mining pool by hashrate, has launched merged-mining support for the ELA token.
The latest version of Elastos’ Native Carrier (v5.4.2) has been released.
On October 31st, Elastos will be hosting a booth at San Francisco’s Blockchain Week event. Both Clarence Liu and Kiran Pachhai will be present; Clarence will join a panel to discuss scaling in 2020, while Kiran hosts a smart-web developers workshop.
Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that China needs to accelerate the development of blockchain technology as a core innovation. The comment reflects China’s awareness of the value of blockchain and has sparked an increased interest in the technology, particularly into Chinese blockchain projects.
Tian Mai, Project Lead Strategist of NeoWorld, has held a community meet-up at ELA Talk recently. Being a themed island in the game NeoWorld, ELALAND uses ELA as the official currency.
To learn more about the details, read the article here (Chinese).
In the world of centralized messaging services, user data and privacy are being compromised on a daily basis. Each popular mainstream messenger app has had issues with security.
In the world of centralized messaging services, user data and privacy are being compromised on a daily basis. Each popular mainstream messenger app has had issues with security.
WhatsApp has had a multitude of cyber security concerns. Early this year, a bug was discovered in the app which allowed hackers to install spyware on user devices. As recent as last week, hackers have been sending malicious GIFs. These GIFs contain harmful code which allows hackers to access the user’s phone, as described in a recent Entrepreneur article.
Last month, an article about a vulnerability in the Instagram security protocol left millions of accounts and phone numbers accessible to hackers. An attacker could create simple algorithms which allows them to bypass the Instagram login form. Once logged in, the attacker could then cross check phone numbers tied to Instagram accounts. More than 1,000 phone numbers could be accessed each day with one single algorithm. Once this step is completed, the hacker searches for the account name and number linked to the phone number. The hacker then uses a bot to set up a new account which takes advantage of the platform’s “Sync Contacts” feature and can then sync up all the user’s details, phone numbers and contacts through this two-pronged attack.
Last year, USA Today reported that over 30 million users were affected in a sophisticated hack of one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, Facebook. Information such as email addresses, phone numbers, recent Facebook searches, types of devices used, and location history were exposed to these bad actors. As stated by the Federal Trade Commision Commissioner, “These companies (Facebook) have staggering amounts of information about Americans. Breaches don’t just violate our privacy; they create enormous risks for our economy and national security.”
Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and others, have a large majority of Amerian and international user private data. All of these social media conglomerates have a big target on their back because they hold the key to goldmines of user data. Is there a messaging app that people can safely use that isn’t susceptible to hacks as these mainstream alternatives are?
Peter Strauss believes that Hyper Messenger, a decentralized messaging app built on top of Elastos technology, may be the solution to everyone’s problems. Peter explains the differences between Hyper Messenger and other mainstream apps, “From a technical perspective, Hyper Messenger differs from Whatsapp, Telegram, Viber or Facebook Messenger in that Hyper generates unique public and private keys used for message-encryption locally on the users’ device instead of centralized servers. The advantage of such solution is that no single point of entry to the network exists. In the case of centralized systems, if the server holding the public and private keys is hacked, hackers are able to identify all users and first decrypt, then read all messages in plain text.”
Hyper Messenger is a dApp anyone can use. No central authority can block or ban anyone from joining the network. Hyper Messenger also sets itself apart from the rest of the competition in a privacy sense. Peter explains how privacy is better protected on Hyper, “From a privacy perspective, peer-to-peer networks allow any user to join the network with a randomly generated address that is not tied to any personal data such as phone number, email or any ID. As an example, the same approach is true for Bitcoin address generation.” Hong Kong is a prime example of centralized authorities blocking people from using services to communicate with each other. Hyper and the Elastos Carrier are still in development and need to be audited by experts to test its ultimate privacy and security. If and when Hyper Messenger passes these audits and comes out with its final version, citizens of Hong Kong won’t need to use VPN anymore. Hyper Messenger can be the messaging service they use to communicate with one another without the threat of a centralized authority lurking in the background.
How do the overall features compare with other centralized competitors? Peter explains the variety of options users can tap into using Hyper Messenger, “While still in beta phase, Hyper already allows many features included in common chat applications such as audio, video and file-sharing, live voice and video calls, and soon, in-chat cryptocurrency payments as well. Crypto payments will be authorized through the Elephant Wallet integration to allow maximum security and flexibility.”
Hyper Messenger offers the security, privacy protection, and a plethora of communication features that rivals all centralized options in the marketplace. As Hyper Messenger transforms from beta stage to full-fledged release, the masses are ready for a better and safer messaging solution.
Randall Raymond, a Harvard graduate and Software Engineer at Google, has recently released a podcast covering Elastos project in which he eloquently breaks down the Elastos whitepaper.
Randall Raymond, a Harvard graduate and Software Engineer at Google, has just released a podcast covering Elastos project in which he eloquently breaks down the Elastos whitepaper. Randall went over the advent of blockchain, how the internet protocol is structured, and how Elastos is set to change the internet as we know it with a new Smart Web.
At the beginning of the Elastos Whitepaper episode, Randall explains how the innovation of Bitcoin introduced blockchain technology as a peer-to-peer mechanism of exchanging money without any intermediaries. He goes over Vitalik Buterin’s invention of Ethereum which utilizes blockchain technology in the form of smart contracts and decentralized applications.
Randall goes further and illustrates the limitations of Ethereum’s blockchain. Due to Ethereum’s reliance on transactions working on one blockchain, it results in a frequently clogged network. There’s also inflexibility with Ethereum and difficulty in reversing bugs in smart contracts. Randall compares the Elastos infrastructure and explains that instead of having dApps run on top of the blockchain, dApps will run separately and be supported by the blockchain.
Mr. Raymond then talks about the fundamentals of the internet and compares it to the operation of the postal system. Items are transferred from point A to point B. There are five layers he describes when breaking down the internet protocol.
- Physical layer: This is where the language of computers, the 1’s and 0’s, are converted into electrical, radio, and optical signals and are transmitted into hardware. This is similar to USPS sending your package on a plane to its destination country.
- Data link layer: Grabs the raw bits from the electrical wire, packages them, and sends it to the next layer. In our metaphor, workers grab the packages from the plane, bundle them together, and ship them to the nearest post office.
- Receive information from layer 2 and route packages to individual addresses. The third layer acts like an actual post office. Once packages reach the building, they still need to be directed to the right room. The building is like the computer, the room is the program running inside the computer and the room number is the port.
- Messages are routed to the appropriate program running within the computer using something called a port, which is a number that tells us what program in a computer to go to.
- The application layer compares to the person receiving mail. Computer programs adopt protocols responding to and interpreting messages, which is what the HTTP protocol is precisely used for.
Randall also discusses Rong Chen’s (founder of Elastos) idea of preventing apps from directly accessing the internet. In 2017, Rong incorporated blockchain as the secure channel which acts as one of the main foundations in building a secure and safe new internet, also known as the Elastos Smart Web.
Mr. Raymond expounds on the four pillars of the Elastos Smart Web:
- Blockchain: Registers a unique DID for all users and items on the platform. It is used to record basic transactions on the web.
- Runtime: Virtual operating system that lives on a computer or mobile phone that prevents the computer from directly accessing the internet in a safe, sandboxed environment.
- Carrier: Peer-to-peer network layer that exists on top of the 5-layer architecture of the internet that ensures that traffic can be sent from computer to computer and doesn’t rely on going through big centralized servers like Amazon. Data can only be sent based on authentication from the blockchain and nothing else.
- Software Development Kit (SDK): The SDK is a tool that developers can use so their dApps can communicate with the more technical aspects such as the blockchain and Carrier.
Randall also elaborated on the Elastos merge-mining partial consensus mechanism. He makes the point that people can mine BTC while also being able to mine ELA at the same time without using any additional electricity.
Sidechains are a major part of the Elastos infrastructure. Sidechains are one of the key aspects of true scalability on the Elastos Smart Web. Side Chains along with Elastos’ additional Designated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism achieves true scalability. As stated in the Elastos Academy Side Chains & Scalability article, “In the case where a sidechain uses DPoS, it can utilize the pre-established DPoS supernodes of the Elastos main chain to run the DPoS consensus for its sidechain, thereby achieving a faster block time and superior TPS.” Most services and dApps occur on their own sidechains. Smart contracts are delegated to sidechains. Randall uses an example of someone reading an ebook: They’d invoke a transaction on the mainchain that delegates to its sidechain which is delegated to the book reading dApp. That sidechain would ensure the user has access to the book reading dApp.
Randall finally concludes his podcast with Elastos’s ultimate vision to make the internet safer and more secure. Elastos wants to give people ownership and power over the data they produce. Rong’s plan is to change the internet from a web of info to a web of wealth.
Thanks to Randall Raymond for the comprehensive coverage of the Elastos ecosystem.
Please check out his podcast here. He plans on covering more about the Elastos project, so stay tuned!
“The Elastos founding team adopts holacracy. Each team is responsible for their disciplines. Our common goal is to realize a safe, credible, and resource-scarce Smart Web driven by blockchain.”
Can you give us information about yourself, your background, and your education?
I graduated from the Shaanxi University of Finance and Economics (now merged with Xi’an Jiaotong University) in economics information management. I have had more than twenty years work experience in financial, IT, and real estate industries, and I have been engaged in human resources management for ten years.
What were you doing before becoming involved in Elastos? How did you find out about Elastos, and why did you join Elastos?
At the beginning of 2017, I resigned from my job in human resource management, and decided to travel. I learned about blockchain technology during my travels and started to learn about Bitcoin.
In a community meetup event, I met Mr. Rong Chen and learned about the Elastos project. I was invited to join the team.
You are one of the three directors of Elastos Foundation. How did you become a director and what are your roles and responsibilities?
At the anniversary meeting on August 25, 2018, it was announced that CR was beginning its preparation phase. The operations of CR and the Elastos Foundation are independent. For this reason, Mr. Yipeng Su, the former director of the Foundation, resigned as a director of the Foundation and recommended that I take over as the director of the Foundation. The suggestion obtained the consent of both Mr. Chen and Mr. Feng.
My responsibilities are mainly in the day-to-day operation management and inter-disciplinary coordination within the founding team.
Do you talk and communicate with Feng Han and Rong Chen regularly or have meetings to align yourselves to make important decisions together? How do you decide what the next steps are for Elastos?
Yes, the Council often communicates and exchanges ideas in a variety of ways.
The Elastos founding team adopts holacracy. Each team is responsible for their disciplines. Our common goal is to realize a safe, credible, and resource-scarce Smart Web driven by blockchain.
Regular meetings are held to communicate work progress and problems in different disciplines. I participate in the discussions. On the whole, we follow the advice of the individual teams. When we encounter issues related to several teams, we will all come forward and discuss the issues and reach an agreement, eventually.
How do you stay informed of Elastos News and Cyber Republic news? Do you read Elastos Biweekly Updates, CR Biweekly updates, or do you get your news from other sources?
I learn about Cyber Republic news primarily through the website. Yes, I will read about the CR-related news whenever I have time. Due to my native language, I participate more in Chinese WeChat groups, telegram groups, and Huoxin groups. By doing this, I also learn more about the recent activities of the community.
Any particular projects you’ve seen that you would like to be built on top of Elastos?
Smart Web is a new, decentralized internet that provides a secure, trusted, and scarce business environment. This new business environment requires business rules (i.e., code or programs) for decentralized operations, and also, users own their personal data. The former explains the mutual benefits of business rules, “Business on Smart Web must be mutually beneficial,” (Rong Chen) and the need for decentralized operations to build trust, “The attributes of DApp code are public,”(Yipeng Su) and the latter realizes value by endowing private ownership to digital property “Smart Web is an Internet of Wealth,” (Feng Han).
Along these lines, we can imagine that there will be many projects built in the Elastos ecosystem in the future. They serve their users by running their own business rules through their respective consensus. These consensuses are not only on the several servers run by the project (of course, this is also a way), but run on the many nodes in the community. These nodes may run several commercial consensuses at the same time, or only one specialized consensus. These nodes may also be the Elastos DPoS consensus nodes. You can now see on chat apps like Hyper, AnyPeer, etc., that only users can terminate them and no other entities are able to restrict access.
The above mentioned new business environment may look too much like an ideal, but it is the future to decentralize running code and securing data on a Smart Web. Of course, the ecology is rich and diverse, and the development process is gradually evolving. We strongly look forward to everyone actively participating in building the Smart Web ecosystem in various ways.
What are the three biggest obstacles for Elastos? From your perspective, how should these obstacles to be dealt with?
It is more appropriate to use the word “challenges” than “obstacles”. Elastos has achieved many achievements and encountered many challenges over the 2+ years. Fighting off each challenge involves everyone’s united effort and the cooperation of the many teams. When talking about the current challenges, they can be briefly summarised as follows:
- Further development and improvement of the Smart Web infrastructure are needed. If treating the internet as a computer or a computer that is started on demand, it is not an easy task to present a new internet that users can actually see and use. This requires a deep understanding and comprehension of the underlying architecture of computers, operating systems, etc.; it requires knowledge on how to clearly put the technology into practice; and it requires the practical knowledge of the engineering team to write the code. Fortunately, we already have these three elements. The next step is to achieve the goals according to the project plan.
- The prosperity of the Smart Web is inseparable from the construction of the ecosystem. It needs to attract a large number of developers and teams, not just for building code. They should have the ability to conduct operations, and they can be regarded as the startup teams on the Smart Web.
- It has to promote the stable operation of the CRC.
What other ecosystem projects or teams are you part of?
Presently, I have devoted all my efforts to the internal operations of the Elastos founding team and do not participate in any ecosystem projects or teams.
You lead the Elastos Operations Team with Rebecca. Can you explain what the team does day-to-day?
The responsibilities of the operation team include human resources, finance and digital asset management, legal affairs, etc. Human resources handles recruitment, assumption of duty, salary payment, social security payment, resignation, etc., and assisting team management. Administrative work is to ensure order in the office environment and to handle legal risks of business cooperation, together with the legal affairs team. Financial and digital asset management, on the one hand, maintains the daily expenses of the Foundation, while ensuring the safety of digital assets and security. These are to ensure that the Foundation can run smoothly.
The operations team provides services to the founding team, as well as paying attention to cost savings, process management, and compliance. The internal work of each professional team is managed by the team itself. When encountering cross-disciplinary or multi-team work, the operations team will participate in it, facilitate reaching agreements as soon as possible, and supervising implementations according to plans. In terms of compliance, the operations team promptly reminds teams to pay attention to their work, and actively communicates with compliance-related bodies to ensure that the Foundation can legally carry out their work throughout the process.
What are your thoughts on the recently released CRC Whitepaper?
The CRC whitepaper is the third layer of consensus on the Elastos mainchain. In the blockchain industry, a consensus mechanism is provided for community governance.
CRC is a community-run governance that does not have a bias in itself.
Personally, I see CRC as a practical model that puts communal autonomy and community-run projects into use.
Do you have any plans to run for CR Council in the future?
Currently, I devote all my efforts to the internal operations of the Elastos founding team, and I haven’t considered running for Council at present.
Who will represent Elastos and CR at the W3C and DIF after the Elastos Foundation disbands? What will you do after the transition?
At present, it is the Elastos Foundation that is representing Elastos in the W3C and DIF. It is not clear who will represent Elastos in these two organizations after the dissolution of the Foundation. I would say the community team most familiar with W3C and DIF will represent Elastos.
Since the beginning of CR, the Foundation has focused on infrastructure development and this will last for a while. After the CR interim period, I’ll still assume the current duties at the Foundation.
Anything else you’d like to say or share with the community?
Elastos is a very large project that provides a brand-new business environment. Its success is inseparable from the expansion of the community and the development of the ecosystem, which requires the efforts of all community members. CR is a good mechanism for brainstorming collectively, motivating communities to actively participate, and harnessing community power. I hope more and more people will come to join CR.
Suggestions & Proposals
In conjunction with the CR Regions initiative, Australian Blockchain Incubator and event organizer “Block Labs” has assembled a new Suggestion. Block Labs is a leading blockchain establishment in Sydney, Australia.
In conjunction with the CR Regions initiative, Australian Blockchain Incubator and event organizer “Block Labs” has assembled a new Suggestion. Block Labs is a leading blockchain establishment in Sydney, Australia, that currently runs the largest blockchain community in the area, leads the board of Blockchain Australia, and hosts workshops for dApp developers.
Block Labs is looking to establish a strong local Elastos community in Sydney. The team also seeks to increase market presence, introduce existing developer and workshop communities to Elastos, align and onboard Elastos technology for business associates, and provide services to the current Block Labs community.
The CR Regions Sydney Australia initiative sets four goals in its Suggestion:
- Block Labs will host an Elastos meetup at the Crypto Sydney – Intelligence Traded meetup in Sydney on November 12th. Elastos’ presence at this event will help grow the community and market presence amongst the mix of attendees, featuring crypto enthusiasts, corporate representatives, and startups.
- The second goal of the Suggestion is to collaborate with Next Genius, a local blockchain community, in efforts to coordinate a developer training program to recruit developers to build on Elastos. Block Labs and Next Genius will then attend a local Ethereum developer workshop to promote Elastos. It is hoped that these events attract a total of thirty developers to build on Elastos, with a select ten competing in a Hackathon. The objective is to enter the finalists’ dApps into the CR Suggestions process.
- PR, marketing, and community growth is the third goal of Block Labs. The team will utilize their robust network and marketing tools such as social media, email marketing, meetups, media partnerships, and banners in order to expand Elastos’ market presence. Block Labs will look to increase the growth of the Elastos community by 25%.
- The fourth goal will be to promote and establish an Elastos Business Development Fund. Block Labs will leverage their business connections in the Sydney region and set up face-to-face meetings with prospective clients and host educational courses highlighting the many benefits of the Elastos technology. The team already has relationships with two businesses looking to utilize blockchain in their respective business models. Block Labs will visit three businesses per month in pursuit of signing at least one to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a commitment to build a pilot project by Q1 of 2020.
Block Labs is highly motivated in promoting blockchain technology throughout the Sydney, Australia region. After learning about Elastos, Block Labs has decided to prioritize its efforts in promoting and marketing its technology to the Sydney community. The community has already responded well to the last Elastos meetup in September and are seeking more events to continue learning about the ecosystem. Block Labs has fostered some unique strategic partnerships with other blockchain projects and will look to do the same for the Elastos ecosystem.
The implementation plan will be as follows:
- Conduct an AMA with the Elastos team during the November 12th meetup. This is planned to take place in front of the largest crypto community in Australia while promoting various use cases to prospective business clients
- Host two Elastos developer workshops in October and November
- Prepare promotional material for meetups and coordinate online campaigns
- Evaluate all connections, projects, blockchain and tech startups that are suitable for utilizing Elastos technology
- Incorporate Elastos into community programs and work with developer workshop organizers and blockchain educational groups
- Evaluate exchanges in Australia for potential listings and refer them to Cyber Republic
- Host events with other emerging blockchain projects and communities to broaden market presence and explore collaborations
- Grow a large community to host an inaugural Elastos Hackathon in December 2019 or January 2020
Block Labs is seeking a total of 10,600 ELA for the entirety of its initiative. Here’s the breakdown:
- November Elastos Meetup (2000 ELA)
- Two Elastos Developer workshops (2000 ELA)
- PR, Marketing and Community Growth (2000 ELA)
- Promoting and Establishing an Elastos Business Development Fund (4500 ELA)
Block Labs would like to engage, develop, and build the Sydney community in the way Bitwork has done in the Hong Kong region. Please like and comment on Block Lab’s CR Regions Suggestion if you’re interested in getting it passed on to the CR Proposal Stage.
A blockchain week will be held in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, from November 18-22. The highlight event during the blockchain week will be the INBLOCKS conference which will occur on November 19th and 20th.
Elastos community moderator, Multastoy, recently wrote up a Suggestion for Elastos to participate at an event in Indonesia called INBLOCKS 2019.
A blockchain week will be held in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, from November 18-22. The highlight event during the blockchain week will be the INBLOCKS conference which will occur on November 19th and 20th. INBLOCKS will focus on educating enterprises and the public on sustainable development and enterprise adoption of blockchain technology in Indonesia.
There are a handful of goals Multastoy is looking to achieve in the Suggestion. He would like Elastos’ VP of Development, Clarence Liu, to do a 30-minute presentation at the conference and participate as an expert panelist. Elastos would also have a booth at the event in efforts to increase overall brand awareness of Elastos technology to the blockchain community and entrepreneurs. There will be a target of 10 leads based on the event’s targeted audience of 500+ attendees. Multastoy will lead this initiative at blockchain week in Indonesia.
As a leader of the Indonesia CR Region, Multastoy sees significant untapped potential in the area. Indonesia has the 4th most populated area in the world and almost a $1 trillion GDP. The Indonesian government has adopted a positive stance on blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency trading is legal under commodity trading laws. Indonesia has a very tech savvy population with 117.9 million mobile users, 132.7 million internet users, and 130 million active social media users. All of these facts give enough motivation to get a foothold in this growing and prosperous region of Indonesia.
The budget for this Suggestion is $5,000 USD (2,778 ELA) to pay for a Gold Sponsorship at INBLOCKS 2019. This sponsorship includes a 3x3m exhibition booth, logo (feature) on the welcome booklet, logo (feature) on registration table, logo (feature) on event backdrop and stage, logo (feature) on INBLOCKS website, two mentions on social media, introduction during the opening ceremony, a thirty minute keynote presentation, and, if possible, a position as a panelist.
The final signing date for INBLOCKS 2019 is October 30, 2019.
Any community members interested in Multastoy’s Suggestion may vote and comment in order to move it into the Proposal stage for the interim Council to vote on.
That concludes another tremendous two weeks of Cyber Republic and Elastos events!
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