Crossing the Crypto Chasm (Brave, Helium, Coinbase) – Panel Discussion 07/19 San Francisco
Watch a recap of “Crossing the Crypto Chasm (Brave, Helium, Coinbase)” panel discussion and get first hand insights. Below is the article that has been created by transcribing and summarizing the panel discussion that was held at the Orange Silicon Valley on the 19th of July 2018. The content is sponsored by Solana
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WILL BARKIS, Principal of Smart Cities at Orange Silicon Valley:
The purpose of the conversation tonight to talk about how is the Blockchain Technology relevant to people on Main Street not just on Wall Street, to shed the light on how is this relevant for the consumers of it.
First let us introduce each of the panelists and projects that they are working on currently:
BRENDAN EICH:.. with Brave internet browser, we hope to do it again. Brave is also one app that uses the Basic Attention Token which we launched last year with a token sale on May 31st, 2017.
We also mean to pioneer future web standards that allow users to express attention honestly with a low fraud rate, give anonymous donations and contributions to their favorite sites, get ad revenue without disclosing their identity and help publishers make more money than they are making from the current ecosystem.
We see current web ecosystem as an unhealthy ecosystem. It’s one that grew by accident from the early 90s. In 1993 Marc Andreessen invented the image element in HTML, a typical marketing posting to the WWW-talk mailing list saying: “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we can write an image element in HTML that lets you link to an image somewhere?” (see the original post here). And Eric Bina, his coding partner, already implemented it and that became the image element that can be loaded from a server that’s not the server that’s serving you the page you’re visiting.
Next, in 1994 the cookie was invented to help you avoid having to log-in every time you went back and your browser restarted your browser.
So, what we do with Brave is we clear above mentioned by blocking everything and then makes the Web a lot faster. We’re eight times faster than Chrome on Android on top media sites. There’s a lot of over-advertising and over-embedding of scripts and then we build up using the Basic Attention Token options for people to support sites they love to get a fair slice of the ad revenue. We’re in the middle of growing where over 3 billion users and we’re going to take this as far as we can bring it to other apps try to standardize it.
- Paul Hainsworth is the CEO at Open Garden. He has been working in mobile communications for the last 15 years. He worked for BlackBerry and before that he worked for three mobile operators.
PAUL HAINSWORTH: The vision for Open Garden is to fundamentally change how we all connect to the Internet. Today you connect by using a phone that talks to a cell tower or maybe your phone or your TV at home connects to Wi-Fi access point provided by your ISP. With Open Garden protocol, anybody can share their Internet connectivity with people around them. Turn that connectivity into a Wi-Fi hotspot and people around you can connect and pay you for connectivity, peer-to-peer, using the blockchain. We want millions of people to use this protocol to share their internet. We call it the Internet of Us.
If you have millions of people doing this then you go from the current state which is a couple of companies that own how everybody gets online in “anyone market”. If you take that to millions of people you can reduce the cost of Internet access if I share my home internet connection with my neighbor next door, I could cut my bill in half. So, I’m paying less than internet becomes more affordable. We can also use our mesh networking technology to make the Internet faster. Our technology can enable multiple connections to hotspots at once, I get streaming from over here next door to my neighbor combined with my neighbor’s connection next door on the other side could give me HD quality video faster internet.
Our long-term goal is to make every Open Garden hotspot part of a decentralized VPN network so that every hotspot is an exit node on this network. We can make the Internet more private this way. If you have millions of people doing this you can also redistribute the profits for Internet access back to the community. So, cheaper, faster, more private. This is really what the Internet was meant to be.
Twenty-five years ago, I think people versioned internet would not be owned by a couple of companies in which they can monitor all your traffic, sell that to advertisers, give it all to the government if they want to. And we learned through Edward Snowden that they are. That wasn’t where we were supposed to get to. With the Open Garden protocol, we can help move in that direction by putting a protocol first into an app that turns your Android phone and sooner iOS device into a hotspot. So that phone can become a hotspot. People can connect and pay you directly. We think this will be really popular in the emerging world especially where people can create Wi-Fi hotspots and sell access to the internet in places like a teashop where many people can’t afford even a dollar for Internet access on a monthly basis.
With the protocol, you can sell what you’ve got to people in tiny-tiny pieces which would be really difficult to do if you’re a mobile operator. But with blockchain technology, you can use microtransactions to do that. The cost of transactions is so low using our protocol that it becomes really affordable.
Now, here in the Bay Area we want everybody to use it too. In the fall, you’ll be able to purchase a hardware unit, a Wi-Fi device, plug it in at home and share the Internet with your neighbors around you. It will be the first manufacturer shipping our protocol. And, of course, we want to build an ecosystem around the protocol. And this is really just the start. We want people all over the world to be able to use this in developed markets like this but also in the emerging world.
Today (as for 19th of July, 2018) we announced an airdrop if you download our app it gets you in line to start gathering our token you can earn our token just by downloading the app. We’re building a community around this. And later this year you’ll see more announcements about how the Open Garden network is growing.
- Lindee Xia is a product manager at Coinbase, specifically, she works on Coinbase Pro and that’s previously known as GDAX (GDAX was split into two products: Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime – focus on individual traders versus institutions).
LINDEE XIA: I primarily focus on the individual trader at Coinbase, and I see there’s a lot of interesting issues because the range of skill in our users is very high. For example, you have someone who barely knows anything about crypto trading and someone who is very versed in all different types of cryptos and/or they’ve been traders in the past. Therefore, we want to be the most trusted platform to trade crypto and the easiest way to use.
Prior to joining Coinbase, I’ve worked at various companies in the Bay Area large and small and how I got into crypto was during 2017 when the prices were going up and down and being crazy volatile I just started trading and I spent all my time researching various tokens and different things I could be trading, wrote a few bots to arbitrage between exchanges and realize that exchanges were just a really fascinating thing that we could make better as like product managers and engineers. That lead by joining Coinbase to help them to push forward the investment phase of crypto. And as more people hold crypto the further we can get into the utility phase.
- ANDREW THOMPSON, before working at Helium, used to work on VoIP, voice over IP, and then he spent five years in the trenches working on distributed systems at a company called Basho who made the NoSQL database Riak.
ANDREW THOMPSON: If I look back four-five years ago and analyze what technology was out there, what hardware was out there, we didn’t really move the needle very much. I remember Google thread was going to take over the world and it’s kind of been a bit of a damp firework. We haven’t really seen the 20 billion IoT devices by 2020 as was predicted by Gartner Inc – we’re running out of time (link to the source).
The question is why is this? Why is that a problem? So last year we decided to do a moon-shot and think about what would the ideal IoT system look like. And this is the direction the Helium is going right now – take on things that we wish existed ubiquitously. A big problem right now is there might be a network there but you may not have access to it or you might have a network and your neighbor wants to use it but they know the federation stuff isn’t there. And then federation itself has problems. And can you build a seamless mesh with a trustless system where effectively you don’t have to trust anybody because you’ve built a system in a decentralized way from the very beginning with absolutely very little trust built into the system. It enables you to effectively shoot a packet without logging on. The network will either say “okay, you know where you’re going and you’re willing to pay for it, I’ll send it”. I don’t have to authenticate you there’s no I don’t need to know about you at all. I’m just sending data and I’m getting paid to do so. So, where we’re headed and that’s what we’re working on at Helium.
WILL BARKIS asks a question to Andrew: Do you know how much money can I expect to make on a month monthly basis by being an operator for Helium?
ANDREW THOMPSON: I can’t answer that question, we don’t know what this is going to look like. But the idea is that we enable a new market, a new way for devices that are like a microchip on a board, a dollar worth of hardware that it can actually be a meaningful device and it can communicate and it can rely on a network being there and the whole package delivery stuff is taken care of for it.
That’s what we want to enable, and obviously, economically I can’t really predict anything but I think if it pans out it’s going to be really exciting!
WILL BARKIS asks a question to Paul: How much is the “new web” going to cost us and how much do content producer expect to make in this new world?
PAUL HAINSWORTH: Any of you probably pay sixty dollars a month for Internet service. Well if you could share that with your next door neighbor next door and they could pay you 20 or 30 dollars to split it. And there was a way that doesn’t impact your experience at home. These are no numbers. But this isn’t a hypothesis. Because It’s not our network.
The entire global market for what we’re calling “Internet access” is $2 trillion a year between fixed line and wireless that’s a lot of money. Could we carve out some of that by building our own network? Sure.
BRENDAN EICH is adding to the above mentioned:
I mentioned earlier $80 billion last year on gross digital ad spend in the U.S. if that’s maybe $250 million ad targets that are people or should be people, remember $16 billion of that 20 percent at least was fraud. 80 billion over 250 million people is 320 dollars a year. If it’s just spread evenly which it is not. $320 gross ad spend a year. Our model for revenue sharing to the user is the app store default – 70%.
We have to do price discovery for a given region or quality or audience, and we have to get away from these deadweight losses and flattening price criteria. 320 dollars a year gross ad spend is just a crude estimate and I think that the high-quality audience is worth a lot more and vice versa.
WILL BARKIS asks the question to the panel: To what extent is this about money versus the higher causes, high values of what you’re trying to do?
BRENDAN EICH: For us, it’s not about money. Users might want to take their revenue share out and they can. We want the users who want to let their revenue share trickle back to their favorite sites – i.e. to YouTube creators, Twitch Streamers, Reddit’s posts creators.
We let users by default without doing any KYC, without identifying themselves at all, they’re totally anonymous to us, their data never leaves their devices, steer the revenue instead of all these arbitrage players in the middle of the current ad tech space.
They can turn it off but by default, they’re browsing steers the micropayments and we do that on Ethereum without having high gas fees because we do it through a single transaction and we do anonymity separately.
Our view is this is not about getting rich or a basic income. This is about putting the user with a trusted open source browser or a set of browsers in the future or a set of apps instead of the current intermediation layer in the ad tech space which is full of companies, most you’ve never heard that they track you and sell your data or sell access to your data or more critically rent your data.
PAUL HAINSWORTH is answering the same question:
For Open Garden it is this intersection of a mission driven plan – bringing the Internet to the community, a community taking back ownership of the Internet but also the ability to make money and that is a big driver for a lot of people. We will enable that teashop owner to “cash out” their O.G (token dollar sign of Open Garden network) to stored value on their mobile phone – a stored value on your phone that you can use to buy more airtime or make other digital purchases. You can’t easily do that with bitcoin today or Ethereum but you’ll be able to do it with O.G.
LINDEE XIA is answering the same question about profits VS greater good:
From my point of view like any exchange obviously is a place to make money. But exchanges also facilitate a place for users to transact FIAT which is cash into crypto and once they have crypto they can do all these amazing things that you mentioned. So, the way I see the exchange is that, yes, it is a place to make money but at the same time it’s a place to get crypto into the hands of more people especially people who have the FIAT rails onto Coinbase pro.
ANDREW THOMPSON is answering the question:
All right, obviously I’m going to go with the greater good for the most part. We’re filling in the holes in the world and that’s really a cool thing because I’ve been in this space for five years and I was wondering where is the IoT, it still really hasn’t happened. The only ways to get this thing off the ground is to try something radically different. That is not top down. It’s bottom up.
WILL BARKIS: Each of you has chosen a different kind of blockchain to implement whether building your own or using EC20, or Stellar. Why did you choose one or another implementation?
BRENDAN EICH: We chose Ether C20 because we saw the opportunity to solve two problems. The number one, I wanted to do my own blockchain for 2015 but it was a lot of work, and I had to do the great browser first. Doing the browser gave us users but we couldn’t stake users with tokens gratis. And by using EC20 we could pre-create a pool of tokens for the user which we did before the sale, fungible and indistinguishable, which was floated with the sale price so that we could give those out to users. This user growth pool, social credit pool was a powerful idea.
I wanted to do Brave Coin in 2015, I wanted to do my own block. But when I talk to the Ethereum London folks and I realized it’s too much work and I can wait for Ethereum to evolve tokens and it came true.
Clearly, people have concerns – will Ethereum scale? What about all our hybridization to do anonymity Off-chain because there isn’t that good high throughput and anonymous approach On-chain? We’re pragmatists, Ethereum is still developing solutions like plasma. We’ll figure it out, and if we had to in extremis we could move the value because I think the value of a token is a human value it’s something that can hop-change if it needs to. To conclude, we’re not worried about that.
PAUL HAINSWORTH: At Open Garden we build our token on top of Stellar in the background, we’re giving away 35% of the tokens in our economy to the community to help grow the network, to be a reward system. It’s a really powerful marketing tool. You can’t do that if you just use someone else’s token. So that’s a huge reason to launch your own token.
Now there was a question about should we do our own blockchain? And maybe this is a controversial statement but I think that most people who are creating their own blockchain are doing it because they think they can get more money.
We realize there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. There’s nothing specific about what we’re doing that requires a unique consensus model.
We looked at Stellar, first of all, the team at Stellar is great. People who are not in it for the money. These are people who are really trying to do a cool stuff in the world. A lot of respect for Jed and the team.
The cost per transaction on Stellar if we rate your session time every megabyte is ridiculously cheap. We’re actually going to in the U.S. run transactions every 100 megabytes. This comes out to 5 cents in transaction costs for every 20 gigabytes of use. That’s like invisible to most people. And the validation times about two to three seconds, current throughput is closing 1000 transactions per second.
LINDEE XIE: We’re not building a blockchain or anything like that.
ANDREW THOMPSON is answering the questions about the reason of building their own blockchain protocol:
The reason we built our own blockchain is we did look at Ethereum, and we thought it wasn’t ready. Also, we wanted to put a lot more information on the blockchain (not metadata, not actual data. But we’re planning to do time delay of arrival location of the sending device. Meaning that if enough gateways see that packet come, you can actually solve for the location of the transmitter by looking at the delay in which the packet was received – a proof of location in another word.
The idea was what if we could turn a different sort of limited physical property into identity and build a consensus around that. So effectively we have a proof of coverage which includes a proof of location. This thing was providing coverage at this location at this time and the blockchain becomes the status map of the network. We need to prove that this device transmitted this piece of information at this time at this location – it requires a pretty high standard and lots of control of the consensus model and controls the transaction model, more work needs to be done than just operate on Ethereum.
Question from Garrett Kinsman of Nodle.io: What is the role of the telecom now that you can provide new internet? At the cost to the world where do you see this heading and how can these telecom companies know look at this?
PAUL HAINSWORTH: People haven’t really talked about blockchain as an outsource billing system. We’ve talked to operators who said we’d love to have a billion IoT endpoints on our network. It’s too expensive because we’ve got to pay ad-hoc connections licensing fees per seat, per endpoint and it doesn’t make sense economically because of ad-hoc connections’ costs.
Blockchain Stellar in our case is ridiculously cheap and it’s like outsourcing your billing system for almost free. People are at operators are looking around at the assets they’ve got and seen that deploying some of this technology. It’s not that hard to do for them. It’s actually much easier to do than it is for a tiny startup like us over here.
ANDREW THOMPSON: The carriers have to change. We have the same business models for the last 20 years where you have a very centralized deployment. If you don’t live where there’s a tower you know that’s tough, buy another house, seriously.
PAUL HAINSWORTH adds: I think you guys at Helium can change the status-quo of this because if there are enough people running your base stations and you have a super long range you can find backhaul and it doesn’t need to rely on Comcast or AT&T.
I think carriers need to worry about two things. One is the cost of all this tracking and surveillance capitalism. The other is what’s going to be an existential threat to carriers over time. If it’s not the decentralized approach to working on? It might be Google and Google’s and advertising company. So, carriers should block ads.
Question about the anonymous donations and censorship to Brendan: How possible can it be scaled and pushed to the extreme? How does a plan like in political anonymous donations and how you know nobody thought that social media can be weaponized for the election or anything?
BRENDAN EICH: I don’t have an answer for that. I don’t think society does either. Our job is currently to improve the way the web is funded which is badly broken. It’s to not only censorship but what’s called “brand safety” problems where you get a good add-on bad YouTube videos and the brand is degraded by the bad YouTube video. Google’s approach to this has been to basically cut ad revenue across a large number of videos whether they were bad or just use some salty language. So, I think we’re starting with the incremental approach, we’re not going to solve all the world’s problems at once. We do believe in a blockchain for decentralization not only of anonymous payments or donations but an anonymity for the publishers that are currently verified with us. We have over 18000 publishers over 14000 YouTube creators and we do censor. It’s an objective test.
We don’t care who you are because we’re aiming at decentralization. If it’s web scale if it’s standardized eventually we think there shouldn’t be a single censor and there won’t be a single censor. So that’s our position.