An encouraging conversation with Jingyu Niu, Elastos’ Product Team Lead, Head of Carrier and Runtime development, and representative at the DIF and on the W3C Advisory Committee.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your technical background, and how you first got involved in Elastos and landed your position Elastos?
Hello everyone, I am Jingyu Niu. I used to be the CTO of Ketai and have been working on technology development and management of their OS platform. During the establishment of Elastos by Rong and Feng, I didn’t participate in it for personal reasons, however, I followed the project and felt optimistic about it. We also have had some cooperation during this period. Around July 2018, invited by the two co-founders, I officially joined the project. Elastos team is a very good team, and I am honored to join it.
How do you manage Elastos’ Product Team, Carrier Team, and Runtime Development Team? Leading three teams seems quite a task. How do you keep yourself and the teams you manage motivated? How many members are currently in each team?
Yes, it seems not easy to lead three teams at the same time. However, the goals of all three teams are clear, and each team is composed of good team players, so it is not as challenging as imagined. The Elastos whitepaper has also given us very clear goals. We are based on the goals of the whitepaper and the vision of Elastos to develop a project plan that realizes the Smartweb infrastructure. In the process, we’ve received a lot of community support. Our target and the support of the community are the driving forces of our team.
The management of technical teams is relatively simple. For the day-to-day management, we use some project management and collaboration tools to ensure that everyone can efficiently carry out the project goals and communicate clearly. We have worked well remotely, in different locations. We’ve adopted a model similar to agile development which is currently suitable for our team of this scale. In addition, according to the goals and engineering plans of each team, we will also set milestones to ensure on-time delivery of the progress and goals of the projects.
The sizes of the teams are not large. Concerning technical team members, quality is of higher priority than quantity. The current product team has six people, the Carrier team has nine people, and the Runtime team has ten people.
By the end of 2019, what do you and your teams hope to accomplish? Can you give us a rough roadmap for 2020?
The goal at the end of this year is very clear. The first thing is to ensure that the CR’s on-chain consensus is up and support community-based CR operations, and ensure that the official version of Runtime can be released at the end of the year to provide good support for the Elastos DApp ecosystem. In 2020, the first year of CR’s official operation, one of our most important tasks is to work for and support the smooth operation of CR.
Beyond that, our work focuses on the following areas:
- Promote the standardization process of related technologies of the Elastos platform so that the application ecosystem can be nurtured on Elastos SmartWeb platform and healthy development of the Elastos ecosystem can be promoted;
- Introduce more application-oriented standardized decentralization platform services to provide rich and convenient support for the application ecosystem;
- Re-examine the design and implementation of existing blockchain and platform services in terms of security, availability, etc., and enhance the security and availability of the Elastos platform;
- Promote the combination of Elastos platform services and blockchain economic models to provide the driving force for subsequent development on Elastos platform and ecosystem.
It’s been almost 2 months since Elastos joined W3C and DIF. You’re the representative for Elastos, can you update us regarding W3C and DIF? How big of an impact has W3C and DIF been for Elastos since joining?
The W3C is an international normative organization created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1994. The main goal is to develop information and protocol standard specifications for the Web to ensure compatibility and interoperability between vendors. Thanks to the contribution by W3C, everyone can enjoy a unified Internet today. With the development of the Web, the scope of the W3C’s standard specification has evolved from the earliest HTML to all aspects related to the Web, including the DID specification where DIF is involved.
DIF is a global institutional alliance that develops and builds an open ecosystem of decentralized identity (DID), as well as compatibility and interoperability among members’ systems. Members include technology giants such as Microsoft, Accenture, IBM and Hyperledger, as well as blockchain start-ups and open source projects.
Elastos’ mission and vision is to build the infrastructure of the next generation of the Internet. The reason why we joined the W3C is to promote the development of the Internet and actively participate in the standardization process of the next generation Internet. Joining DIF is to facilitate the compatibility and interoperability of Elastos DID with the industry’s DID ecosystem to build a secure, trusted and open Internet ecosystem.
Setting the standards is a time-consuming process, and a two-month period is not long. During the period, Elastos has communicated with the W3C several times, and also participated in the formulation of some relevant standard specifications under the W3C framework. In this process, we will also promote the standardization work of Elastos itself. I believe that there will be results of the on-going standardization work.
What are you most excited for in the near future regarding the developments of your teams and Elastos overall?
CR is very important for the future development of Elastos. I am very much looking forward to the official full operation of CR. This is also a major milestone for Elastos.
The fully community-based operation of CR not only has a profound impact on the community, but also provides an example of running a community in the blockchain industry. After the official launch of CR, all CR community members or teams, including the Elastos founding team, can participate in the development and construction of Elastos platforms, communities and ecosystems. I believe that under the framework of CR’s community governance, the space for the future of Elastos and its ecosystem will be getting better, and these will go further.
In the future, will there be anything similar to the Elastos TV Box for the West that will increase the Carrier Nodes available?
The TV box is just one of the mediums of adoption for Carrier. The positioning of Carrier is a general-purpose decentralized end-to-end communication framework. It has no specific form and can be used to build various applications, such as community-developed IM applications, IoT applications, and SmartHome applications. Therefore, the new form of Carrier nodes in the future may also vary.
From statistics of our Carrier network, the number of overseas nodes is on the rise, especially in Europe. Based on the principle of privacy and security, there is no way to obtain the device and application information of the nodes that utilize the Carrier, so the statistical information is only the quantity and geographical distribution.
At present, some good ideas and designs have gradually emerged in the community. As a member of the CR community, I welcome everyone to improve the Carrier and look forward to more and better DApps or business models in the community.
When you have free time, what do you like to do? Any interesting hobbies that you’d like to share about?
It is known to everyone that the knowledge in the field of computer technology changes frequently, and working in the field consumes a lot of time. Therefore, in addition to keeping up with some new technologies in my spare time, I spend with my family, especially my son. We have many common interests: music, movies, novels, and especially science fiction. These are all my favorite.