Lior Yaffe from Jelurida on How Covid-19 Uncovers the Flaws in Our Money System
Technology Lawyer working on code and everything law.
Founder : Blockchain Research
"What I see is how the pandemic is exposing the inefficiency and inequality of the existing fiat system. Governments are printing money to bailout those who recklessly spent it during the good years. Banks lending government-backed money to those who don't need it instead of helping businesses in distress." - Lior Yaffe, Co-Founder, Jelrurida
1. Hi Lior, welcome to our series "Behind the Startup". Tell us about your story and your journey into the blockchain industry?
I have always been a fan of computers and mathematics, I lived through the personal computer and the internet revolutions, after graduating in computer science I worked for over 20 years as a software engineer. Prior to establishing Jelurida, I led the development of a leading mainframe integration product at Software AG.
I knew about Bitcoin for a while, but only in 2014, I decided to truly study the technology. Looking for how to contribute, I joined the Nxt core developers in the development of the first proof of stake blockchain, which was back then way ahead of its time.
The developers of Nxt later incorporated Jelurida in Switzerland in 2017, where I am the co-founder and mostly working on the development of the Ardor project these days.
2. For our readers, Jelurida has contributed significantly to the blockchain industry and has developed successful blockchain platforms such as NXT, Ignis, and Ardor creating the whole blockchain ecosystem around it. Please tell us more about the story behind Jelurida - How did you start the company, and what is your vision?
The roots of Jelurida can be traced to the Nxt open-source blockchain project and the 2016 kick-off of Ardor.
As developers of this groundbreaking technology, we needed funding, legal protection, marketing, and business development.
Jelurida was established to help companies, startups and big organizations, including academic institutions to incorporate blockchain technology in their businesses and projects. Our vision is to make blockchain technology robust and scalable but also simple and accessible.
3. Can you explain how the Nxt and Ardor blockchain ecosystem work to our readers and what the concept of parent chain – child chain architecture?
The Ardor Parent-child chain architecture enables companies to utilize their own independent chain and token of value while reusing the proof of stake consensus, permissioning model, network of nodes, and development tools provided by the platform. Thus, enjoy the numerous benefits of a secured, scalable, bloat-free blockchain platform.
4. How can corporations utilize the side-chain functionalities for their corporate purposes, and what benefits does the functionality offer?
First, side-chains and child-chains are two different technologies; Ardor uses child-chains which is solely an innovation of Jelurida on the Ardor Multichain platform. Jelurida developed the child-chain concept to enable blockchain technology to attain mass adoption in areas of interoperability, security, ease of use and of course scalability while maintaining a single multichain platform, the Ardor blockchain. The first child-chain is Ignis which provides a permissionless chain for all the Ardor functionality and a reference implementation for developers of other child chains.
A company interested in a simple turnkey blockchain solution for their business can use a child-chain to focus on its decentralized application. At the same time, Jelurida takes care of scaling, network and operations and all other technical concerns of a blockchain platform.
5. I have heard that Ardor is aggressively expanding in the decentralized applications sector ('Dapp'). What types of applications is the company going to focus upon? Further, how is the company planning to make its space in this ever-competitive Dapp market?
We view Ardor as a comprehensive development platform for decentralized applications and do not plan to focus on any specific vertical. We distinguish ourselves by providing development tools which are simple to use and rely on a proven and corporate-friendly technology stack (Java / JVM / IntelliJ IDE) which does not lock-in developers into a proprietary/esoteric development environment. Our approach promotes integration with existing tools and reuse of "off the shelf" libraries and services. We believe this approach reduces the time to market and improves ROI.
6. Various child-chains projects are operating on the Ardor platform; can you elaborate on a few of such projects such as Max Property Group which is standardizing real-estate funding and digitizing the real estate assets life-cycle and documentation?
Quite a few projects have shown interest in the child chain business model
integration putting their establishment on the blockchain through it: Max
Property Group (MPG), Triffic, Bitswift, among others with more coming. MPG, which is a decentralized, blockchain-based, real estate lending platform, is made possible on the blockchain for all, wealthy or not. MPG utilizes the blockchain solution to provide easy crowdfunding for projects, tokenize the investment in real estate property and share revenues among others all transparently on the distributed ledger. They have decades of experience in the real estate and property investment, rentals, and fund management space. Their child chain allows them to build a fully decentralized and well-regulated property financing, listing and management platform all transparently on the blockchain.
7. How does interoperability function between the child chains work and what type of governance model is implemented?
Ardor is partitioning the blockchain into child chains using a technique commonly known as sharding per application. Interoperability between child chains relies on a unique bundling system which bundles multiple child chain transactions into a single transaction on the parent chain thereby allowing businesses to sponsor the child chain transaction fees for their users who may not even be aware that they are using a blockchain. Child chain transactions are prunable to prevent blockchain bloat, and in the future, the network would be partitioned into subnets so that not every node has to process every transaction. This whole structure is governed by a simple and efficient proof of stake algorithm which has proven secure for over 6+ years of mainnet operation. Each child chain has its own token of value while a decentralized coin exchange is used to transfer value between chains.
8. How is the scalability of the blockchain ecosystem ensured in Ardor? Can you further explain the concept of pruning to our readers?
Since the proof of stake consensus of Ardor is running on the parent chain, child chain transactions, which do not modify the stake of the block generators, can be pruned after they are nested deep enough in the blockchain. The state changes made by the transactions are saved by each node and shared with new nodes using a secure snapshotting mechanism. Users interested in the full transaction history for a specific use case can still set up an archival node and keep all their transaction history for a particular use case. We estimate that pruning can potentially reduce blockchain bloat by a factor of 50 for a heavily used chain.
9. What is consensus-as-a-service (‘CaaS') and why do corporations implementing blockchain solutions require it?
The same way that corporations save costs and improve their efficiency by using cloud services, they can use child chains to save themselves the need to deal with the inner workings of the blockchain and focus on the development of their decentralized application.
10. What business strategy is Ardor and Nxt adopting in the year 2020 and has the current Coronavirus outbreak affected its operations?
The pandemic did not seriously affect our operations, we are used to working remotely using digital tools and information systems, and most of our staff remains healthy. Our strategy was and remains to add more child chains to Ardor by partnering with organizations who develop decentralized applications. Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone a few initiatives related to promoting the adoption of child chains technology, which we will likely announce later this year.
11. Can you enlighten readers about the existing and ongoing partnerships and collaborations by Ardor and Nxt platform? Is the company diversifying and expanding into other territories and sectors?
There might have been rumours of company focus diversification. And as much as most of these other fields such as IoT, Blockchain among others are, Jelurida is focused on blockchain technology-enhanced solutions and the strive to being the best at something doesn't stop at being the best, but continuous. Our mission is to endlessly provide our clients, present and future with the best there is of out-of-the-box blockchain solutions anywhere.
As far as the partnership goes, there have been numerous interested parties and proposed opportunities more than we can mention. We have also taken the time to come to a bilateral conclusion with some that we share the same vision for the industry enough that we fostered a long term planned relationship. Most recent of our partnership is with eSignus, a Spanish company that produces an innovative hardware wallet in the form of a smartcard. We also partnered with the Australian based blockchain
development company Labrys to foster the expansion of Ardor's adoption in the APAC region. There are other partnerships with marketing firms, hardware companies, exchange related service companies, education and learning foundations across the globe and some coming soon.
12. What is your advice to entrepreneurs and corporations who are facing problems such as liquidity crunch, disruption of order cycles, etc.? According to you, can blockchain technology help in reducing some of these challenges?
While I still think that crowdfunding is a valid use case for blockchain, I am not optimistic about using it in the short term to solve liquidity problems.
The wild west style ICO is no longer an option and its IEO replacement are not doing much better, the STO model which was supposed to make regulators happier, does not seem to gain popularity due to lack of support from authorities and lack of priority.
Specifically, for blockchain developers, various incentive programs can help with seed funding, and the recent increase in Bitcoin price may provide some opportunities in this regard.
Regarding other aspects of the pandemic such as decentralizing some of the controls related to social distancing and increased tracking of people's movements. I do see some potential for blockchain technology, but there are difficult problems related to security and privacy that need to be solved before such solutions can enjoy widespread adoption.
13. What are your views on the regulation of cryptocurrencies around the world and what challenges do we still face that need to be addressed?
While I do see a lot of progress in the technology of the main blockchain engines, wallets, and the cryptography mechanisms required to back them and I also see a lot of progress in the understanding of the benefits of blockchain technology by enterprises and startup companies. The regulators seem to be left behind. I cannot think of any cryptocurrency-related process that was simplified or made more transparent in the last three years. In fact, in most cases, regulations become more difficult to handle, just look how Facebook Libra is struggling and the fate of the Telegram token.
What I do see is ordinary people that are voting with their own funds to use blockchain technology in-spite of all the uncertainty after understanding the inherent limitations of the existing fiat system.
14. What major trends and challenges do you see in the year 2020 for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry?
What I see is how the pandemic is exposing the inefficiency and inequality of the existing fiat system. Governments are printing money to bailout those who recklessly spent it during the good years. Banks lending government-backed money to those who don't need it instead of helping businesses in distress. The zero or negative interest rates who destroy people's savings and push ever more money into risky investments. This makes people furious. It seems blockchain technology is one of the building blocks that can help in this regard by creating "money" supply fixed and known in advance instead of controlled by politicians and their whims and I think that investment in blockchain tokens is becoming a sort of vote of distrust in the current system.
The purpose of this article is to remove informational asymmetry existing today in our digital markets by performing due diligence and by equipping readers with knowledge to make informed decisions. The views in these articles are purely personal and educational, and does not constitute any investment, financial or legal advice. Please do your research and due-diligence before investing in digital asset, token or cryptocurrency. The writer does not have any vested interest or investments in NXTor Ardor.
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