Kenta: The main reason why I got started was because one of the biggest problems in computer science is that nobody is really focused on the fact that the world wide web today is very in-scalable. Websites go down every day. Microsoft, Google, Amazon - trillion-dollar companies yet they still can’t scale-up their services. They crash, they go down - it’s problematic.
The key motivation for working under distributed systems came from when I was working on cloud services with Naver back in the day, essentially building a Korean version of google.
So going through a whole bunch of distributed systems, and learning about all sorts of pain points made it evident that there were no good solutions out there in computer science. But of course blockchain came up with this whole new way of thinking; a new methodology - What if you replicate the logic and create a system that could work on all devices?
Overall blockchain has given a really interesting perspective to solving this problem - making the web more scalable. Ethereum introduced the concept of Dapps, Blockchain was the one to start out with all the safety and security scalability bits. Taking that forward on, that’s what started Perlin in the first place. It’s all about taking tech and restructuring the foundation of the web so that it’s more scalable and cheaper to run.
Dorjee: Before 2017, I had been working on a bunch of startups and been fortunate enough to exit a few of my positions. In 2007 I got really passionate about climate change and carbon trading, and did around 10 years in that space.
What was interesting was when the governments were unable to come to the next phase of the Kyoto protocol trading mechanisms. What that meant was we were taking a binary bet on what ended up being instruments for carbon, which were government-dependent instruments. This ended up with Copenhagen failing and the Californian bill failing to include international forests.
Leading to 2014 I was left pretty disenchanted by the way governments worked, so around that time I started looking into decentralised instruments, such as bitcoin. I did my first Bitcoin startup around 2014 - that didn’t quite work out. Then I continued to do more projects around the space - ICO’s, advising and investing. And that’s when things took off in 2017. I was the COO of Santiment (SAN Token) and then I advised a bunch of ICO’s and companies, and worked with Republic Protocol (Now REN). And then we came up with this idea of using the un-utilized computing power around the world, like PlayStations and mobile phones. A mind-blowing statistic is that in India you’d have 500 million mobile phones connected to broadband doing about 8gb of data a month, which is 3 times that of the average American. So you’re starting to see these huge increases in this type of computing. So we were looking at how to unlock that value. So as we evolved, we went to Korea and grabbed Kenta who was working as a researching for Naver. There was a seed round and we started moving forward. It was only when we started commercialising Wavelet that the team started forming.
And what happened was we started to develop some unlikely allies. So we continued the project, built wavelet, and we started talking to the international chamber of commerce (ICC). The ICC, if you don’t know, is 100 years old, and they’re quite amazing - they created the standardised platforms for trade (the INCOterms) in 1926. They create all the courts for arbitration, so if your container gets lost in the ocean between point A and point B, these terms determine whos fault it is.
So one of the biggest use cases of blockchain is really looking at international trade. The international documentation around trade is incredibly cumbersome. You’re looking at 600 pages of documentation just to ship goods from country to country.
So we’ve put together a phenomenal team. I mean, Ajay was a Forbes 30U30, Kenta won the university medal for HK University of Science and Technology. Going around the table, we have such a great team who will generate more opportunities. Just to finish the thought on international trade, for a shipping container to move from Singapore to Indonesia, it takes 2 days. But for documentation, it takes 5 days. All the documentation can go onto the blockchain, $11+ trillion in world trade, $1.1 trillion go through Singapore, and you know, we’re based here! So that’s why we’ve been really fortunate to have strategic support, and strategic introductions, even given grants and funding from various bodies such as Singapore Government and related bodies. We’re already generating ledger fees for some of our projects looking at supply chain transparency.
We’ve launched the project, and with every project you know - we’re figuring it out. And with this live stream, we wanted to do a big one with Binance launchpad, and we wanted you guys to see that we’re a real team, we’re committed, and we’re funded for a long time - we’ll have more than 10 years of runway after we do the IEO. We’re committed to this project and we’ll build it out.
Q: How does someone win a dinner with the Perlin team?
Dorjee: We’re actually thinking of doing this regularly, say on Friday nights. If you’re in Singapore and you’re a PERL holder, you can join!. Believe it or not, we have some very significant figures from the crypto space sitting outside, so who knows they could feature.
So come to Singapore, be a PERL holder, be fun, don’t be weird (we get a few weirdo’s), and we’ll invite you!
Q: Kenta, Vitalik has underestimated the DAG solution for scalability. He thinks sharding and plasma is a lot better. What do you think, and how would you convince Vitalik if he was in the room right now?
Kenta: So the sharding can mean a whole lot of things. But when you think about it, it’s really talking about horizontal scalability versus vertical scalability/partitioning of the ledger state. If Vitalik was in the room right now, I’d say “The very moment you partition a network in any way via sharding (typically horizontal partitioning of the ledger), you’re going to be splitting up the security model one-for-one with regards to exactly how many shards you partitioned the network nodes into. So security is significantly weakened for one.
However, there have been a lot of new approaches with how sharding works and how you go about splitting up the network. In the crypto space when we talk about sharding we tend to fumble it when we really mean horizontal or vertical partitioning of the ledger state. When we talk about these Ethereum 2.0 solutions and Plasma solutions, we’re talking about vertical partitioning of the ledger, so that we’re physically splitting up the ledger state and randomly assigning nodes to specific shards. When you do that, effectively each shard’s security model is no longer with respect to the number of nodes in the network, but instead with the number of nodes with respect to the number of nodes in a single shard.
This makes those nodes in a single shard responsible for the security in the ledger state that I’m personally managing. Vitalik has been talking about decentralised governments, economic, cryptonomic studies. His belief is that when you introduce all kinds of incentive schemes, all of a sudden you can reinvigorate the security model upon every single shard as if you had a large population of nodes in a shard, even though the security has been weakened down to a lower number of nodes. What actually happens is with these incentives the security would still be to as though you had a small node population shard.
If you do that, you’re assuming you can trust economic incentives in virtual systems. My biggest argument is that a lot of incentive systems have been tried in virtual settings, and it’s not only limited to cryptonomics or blockchains. I’m even talking about the past, where forums or even stack-overflow had reputation systems. In a lot of these sites, the reputation system is there to filter out who are the best community contributors, but in reality, in regards to these systems, they should not be relied on for more than just mere ‘hand waving’ that you can trust somebody. You wouldn’t trust somebody solely because they have a high reputation score on a forum right? But what sharding is proposing is that they would use the same mechanism of reputing somebody but instead let’s trust somebody with all our money, all of our transactions, all of our ledger states and our ledger security model. That doesn’t work no matter how you look at it.
But there are new sharding models being developed, so if you find one that can disagree, then please, by all means, message us, send over the papers and I’d love to talk.
In talking about that, there has been some interesting new research in sharing lately and we’ve been thinking about applying it to wavelet. In particular, we’re thinking of splitting up the ledgers state into multiple sub-wavelet networks. Think of it as a main wavelet hub and smaller sub-wavelet chains. However, although this sounds like sharding, it’s not sharding by how the blockchain space has defined it to be.
TLDR; we’ve got a new interesting way to fix the fact that the ledger state can keep on growing larger and larger. We’ve got ways for a node to still have limited amounts of disk space and it can still run a full node without any means of conventional sharding by blockchain terms. It’s via another mechanism of sharding which I would consider to be a vertical partitioning of the ledger state.
Q: I don't see salad. Don't you have any?
Q: Can anyone balance a donut on your nose? Dorjee: Shuki will balance one on her nose if we reach 350 viewers! My nose is too big to fit inside the donut hole.
Shuki later attempts to balance a donut on her nose… successfully!
Q: When is the Perlin team going to Dubai?
Dorjee: We will definitely come to Dubai. Maybe we’ll come to the future blockchain summit in November!
Q. How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?
Darren: ABOMINATION! Pineapple does not belong on pizza! I feel very strongly about this.
In the team, Dorjee, JJ, and Ajay are pro-pineapple. The rest are not.
Q: Why is Staked listing your cryptocurrency for staking even when it isn’t ready to go live? Article here: https://www.coindesk.com/this-crypto-asset-doesnt-exist-yet-but-soon-youll-be-able-to-stake-it
Darren: Terrific question. Staked is going to play a huge role in Perlin’s model going forward. Staked is up-and-coming, but already playing a huge role in the staking PoS market. They’re working with us because they see the huge potential in Perlin and PERLs to plug into the emerging market. DeFi is obviously a big market for us, and a huge vertical in blockchain which is showing potential. We’re really excited to be working with them, and we have a lot of common investors and users.
Dorjee: The most important thing guys, is that we’re super serious about expanding the ecosystem. We could talk extensively about Leaderless PoS, but what’s really important for us is how do we make it the most democratic staking mechanism so that the most number of people get the most number of staking rewards. If you compare it to some other blockchains, they will have delegated proof of stake, and those methodologies have more committees and block producers earning most of the rewards. We don’t think that’s the right way to go about it, and it’s even reflected in our Launchpad. The launchpad will have the most amount of winners, followed by an airdrop component where everyone that didn’t have a winning ticket will still receive PERLs.
The most important thing about Staked is that we just want to make this as widely distributed as possible.
Q: Are you guys Super Saiyans, because you’re really good at AMA’s.
Half the team: Super- what?
Ajay: c’mon guys… Super Saiyan… from Dragonball Z!
Darren: oh… (sarcastically) cool man!
Q: Who do you see as your main competition in this space?
Dorjee: I’ll give you a business answer: I see ourselves as an investable, open-trade hyper ledger, except we’re open, trust-less and public. So if you think about all the big trade blockchains that are getting a lot of adoption, they’re mostly done by R3 or Hyperledger, but none of those have a token where people can participate in, so that’s where we see ourselves on the business side competing with deals on.
Kenta: (Technical answer) Cardano and Algorand. By no means, they are a threat or anything (chuckle). The main reason I see it is because we mainly pride ourselves into the research as to how we can go about designing a consensus protocol. Algorand is also in that space alongside Cardano. I’ve looked thoroughly through the Algorand paper quite a number of times, but it seems like all correct up until a few certain key points, to which I’m significantly worried that Algorand by itself will not scale properly within a large network in terms of security. Primarily because looking into it, there’s a methodology where voters get selected via a verifiable random function, get shuffled around, and afterwards, they gossip out their votes. During this period where gossiping is occurring, there’s a lot of attack vectors that can occur.
Cardano I see a much more significant issue in that they user a leader election process which still has the fact that you’re trying to select one node to make decisions. This is a really bad security model.
We, on the other hand, focus more on the leader-less proof-of-stake aspect. There's no leader election, there’s no notion of selection of committee via some verifiable random function. Instead, we let each node preserve their own security model. We let them sample out ‘opinion’, tally up those opinions and find the network majority believes what is the valid transaction or invalid transaction. And nodes still have the right to have the final say as to whether to put in the transaction into the ledger state or not. Because of all that, it makes me wonder, is there anything else the Cardano has up their sleeve, or Algorand? Is there still something they haven’t come out with yet? Because from what I see, there are some very big questions that are not yet addressed in their whitepapers, and I’m really curious about finding out more. Hence why when it comes to this level of academic rigourousness, we strongly have a play in it - we work with many professors for designing wavelet, alongside some very interesting guys from different backgrounds that have worked on compilers and distributed systems that all have their own unique attack vectors.
Q. What is your most useless talent?
TJ: I can talk nonsense and make it sound like you are saying something.
Dorjee: He’s still fooling us!
Darren: My degree in English literature… I also did a law degree! I’m qualified!
Dorjee: Actually he also got first-class honours in English!
Darren: I love what I do though!
Shuki: I can balance anything on my nose.
Dorjee: Kenta can produce music!
Kenta: You say that’s useless but I made money from music when I was young.
Dorjee: I was just kidding hehe.
Proceeds to beatbox for the viewers…
Ajay: I have the ability to breathe underwater when I’m not underwater. (reluctantly) I can also power lift 180kg
Ryan: I can clap with one hand.
Ryan proceeds to clap with one hand and blows everyone’s minds.
Q. How do we encourage developers to build on Wavelet?
If you make a blockchain that can support WebAssembly, and I must emphasise that Wavelet is one that does, all of a sudden you unlock these developer communities who build web apps and apps, and all of a sudden they realise that the very same way they make typical apps, they’re now resilient, well structured decentralised applications.
Q. Kenta, you’re Asian but you have a British accent. Explain!
Kenta: I don’t think I have a British accent... I studied in a Canadian school when I was in high school. So I have a Canadian accent.
Q. Will there be a Perlin Hackathon? And what are the plans for developer adoption in terms of the event.
Kenta: Rather than making a new hackathon, we’ll sponsor existing large hackathons which already have tens of thousands of hackers from universities and companies because that’s the easier way to reach the tech community.
Note these hackathons are not limited to blockchain hackathons, because blockchain tech shouldn’t stay in blockchain tech, we should be trying to merge the two communities together.
Q. Will Perlin continue to depend on investor funds for 10+ years without having any sustainable revenue-making model, or do you have one?
Dorjee: We’re utilities based. We already have a client, and it’s public. If you go to followourfibre.com, you can find a DApp we made on top of wavelet to trace the traceability of seedling all the way to product to show that it’s certified. This ledger fee which is collected for that service is being put through the main net as a node reward.
Because we’re fulfilling a real service for big companies, for trading multinational corporations, that income will be distributed to people who stake.
What’s important is that we have the funding the last us until adoption. Unlike many projects we’re very conservative with our money, so we really think it will take a few years. If you look at the team tokens, we have a cliff from TGE, even though many of us have been working for far longer, and we also have 4-year vesting. So it’s a very typical silicon valley vesting structure.
Q. Why is the Perlin team full of men and only one woman?
Dorjee: We only have Shuki with us today, but we have a lot more female members who couldn’t make it today. But we are recruiting women, and we would absolutely love to have a more diversified team. It just is in crypto and in tech that it’s mostly med right now.
Q. Amongst all of you who can drink the most and not get drunk?
Dorjee: Definitely Kenta
Q. What is your next immediate milestone?
Kenta: Wavelet’s second release. It only currently supports smart contract execution and basic features, but you can’t have your own nodes. To make your own nodes you have to connect them up to the testnet to get staking rewards and whatnot. This release will be coming out at the end of August. Then we also have the mainnet coming out in January 2020.
Ajay: Get ready to stake! because that’s coming out next month.
Q. Who’s the biggest foodie on your team?
Dorjee: That would definitely be Kenta. Last Sunday we were having small celebratory lunch with the team to kick off the IEO process, and Kenta happened to choose a location that was 2 Michelin starred. Fortunately, I was in charge of the budget, so that was OK.
Q. Perlin has a partnership with Telkom Indonesia which is the largest telco in my country. I’m curious about the partnership could you explain?
Dorjee: I worked in and out of Indonesia for the past 10 years. Our first client there was the biggest rayon company, Royal Golden Eagle Corporation. So Telkom Indonesia has 183M handphone users and so our hope is to create a pilot there because we have such a light requirement to stake. We’re hoping to use those mobile phones to stake and secure our network and also earn rewards.
We’re also looking at the supply chain because we care about the supply chain traceability and modernising the trade system, so that’s the main goal.
Short term we did a hackathon with them, and we’re planning to do a bunch of other stuff with them.