IoTeX Town Hall +AMA Livestream —August 2/19

We had a great talking about products, trusted hardware, AvoBoard, new initiatives & collaborations, roadmap updates and we would like to provide a brief summary for those of you who weren’t able to join.

IoTeX Town Hall +AMA Livestream —August 2/19

Thank you to those who joined our general AMA and livestream session on August 2! We had a great time answering your questions and talking about products, trusted hardware, AvoBoard, new initiatives & collaborations, roadmap updates and we would like to provide a brief summary for those of you who weren’t able to join, as well as, below you will find the questions that were chosen by the team and qualified for rewards.

Session participants

This AMA was hosted by our co-founder Raullen, Head of Cryptography Xinxin, and Head of BD Larry.

Shortly after the livestream session, we will provide English subtitles for the video & a written recap in the form of a blog and of course will announce the winning questions.

Livestream Video

Livestream Recap/Highlights

  • Updates from the team
  • The prototype & overview of AvoBoard
  • SDKs & Mainnet Beta updates {L2 chains & SDKs for side chains}
  • Thoughts on the crypto industry & new partnership initiatives

Questions from the community:

Q1: Given the market conditions, how can IoTeX differentiate itself and what can it offer that’s different from other projects?
Q2: How many AvoBoards are being released and what types of companies are interested?
Q3: More details around NIST standard & IoTeX’s involvement & implications
Q4: What’s the release date of the mobile wallet?
Q5: On Delegate of the month Voting — DOTM

Updates from the team

We have some very cool announcements for you related to Avoboard and some other secure hardware that we’re building in-house that’s all coming over the next few months. Also, we have some great updates for you on Mainnet beta, as you know, we launched Mainnet alpha in April and it has been running very smoothly. Mainnet beta will be innovated upon Mainnet alpha in the sense that we will be introducing Layer 2 chains and a very basic SDK, so that people can start to build not only their own Dapps but also their own blockchains in the IoTeX.

The prototype & overview of AvoBoard

Let’s start talking about the IoT device security, as you know, during the past years, we have seen a lot of data breaches in the IoT system. When building the IoT system, people didn’t think about security from the very beginning because they were after large volumes and low costs and if you add security features, the budget for the project will be increased. This kind of design mindset has caused a lot of problems when being deployed. So that’s the reason why we have considered to review the IoT security at the very beginning and have secure devices bootstrap the security for the entire systems. At that time, we came out with the idea to build the Avoboard, which is a development board and an IoT gateway with XP Cortex-A53 processor that’s integrated with trusted technology.

It looks like a single board computer, however, this chip has a lot of security features that you can play with during the development. The main differentiator of this board is that it’s more focused on the IoT application, network communication, acceleration of the package processing during the IoT communication, which are pretty unique features.

Avoboard is able to grab data from different sensors in a trusted way as an IoT gateway and also do some data processing at the edge, being a computation engine. So you know, Avoboard is really the key to a lot of privacy and trusted computing in the IoTeX network.

We have originally expected to open pre-orders for Avoboard around now but we decided to have a new focus and make Avoboard more usable, as it’s very raw right now and only hardcore hardware developers can make great use of it. That’s why we want to add a lot of middleware and some more application layer features so that people that purchase Avoaboard can start to develop right off the bat. So the new timeline for pre-orders is to start 1–2 months from now.

SDKs & Mainnet Beta updates

We already have the SDKs for web dapps that let people build dapps on the IoTeX blockchain and a new SDK is coming for sidechains. Software development kit allows making it easier to program and build things and provides the interaction between your client-side and the blockchain. We will be releasing the SDK for L2 chains in different languages, such as JavaScript, Golang, C++, and others will be added over time.

In the Mainnet beta release will have some incremental improvements over alpha version, such as adding new features, basic framework to spin-off L2 chains, reduction of the block period down to 5s, now its around 10s, meaning every block is produced every 10 seconds and after observing and we feel pretty confident we can reduce it to 5–3 seconds and have a very good user experience. Also want to mention that every block produced in the IoTeX blockchain has an instant finality, meaning that you don’t have to wait until the block is produced. In addition, we are expanding the footprint of Delegates to 36, which is already in production. As you remember, we started with 12 and then we gradually opened to 24, 36 and we even have a more ambitious plan to expand to 100 Delegates in the future.

Looking back at the past three months, since we launched Mainnet, we’ve been launching different kinds of things with constantly improving the Explorer, wallets and launching different types of tools for Delegates. Speaking of our Delegates, we are implementing some small features for them. One is the incremental backup, meaning they do not have to copy the entire file, that could be several gigabytes to another place, they can just take the chunk of data and save it.

Also, as a part of this beta launch, we will have NUSD integration, which will be the first stable coin actually token running on top of IoTeX network. You will be able to use NUSD to purchase something in the VITAmart and gaming.

Thoughts on the crypto industry & new initiatives

It’s been a while since we’ve updated a roadmap and you know every few months the entire crypto scene kind of changes a lot. Given this, we’re not really changing our roadmap, just kind of resequencing it.

Last year, people were very interested in the technology aspect of crypto, lots of people talking about consensus, layer 2, plasma, sharding, even if they are not understanding what sharding is. The trend now is more about thinking how to use blockchain to improve one’s productivity, have better security, generate profits or at least mitigate some of the risks in the production. So people’s mindsets are shifting and that’s a really good thing.

Given the value of the application use case scenarios, we’re looking into the identity of the devices and recently we started a new initiative with a very big IP camera manufacturer, they have a store on Amazon and sell about 10,000 cameras per month. Together we are working on backing the decentralized ID which is issued on the IoTeX blockchain into those cameras, so hopefully, when you buy such cameras from Amazon in the near future, you will see that it is powered by IoTeX technology ;)

By having an ID, the IP camera will get an identity so it will be able to talk with others, including its owner and others, so basically opening up like an entire marketplace. The second one is data, once it’s produced by this IP cam, sensor or trusted tracker, we will create the ways to monetize this data or use it in a certain way to realize its full potential value. It’s very important for this initiative to be backed by our trusted computing technology.

Q1: Given the market conditions, how can IoTeX differentiate itself and what can it offer that’s different from other projects?

I think we all know that the crypto market for all cryptocurrencies, for now, is mostly hyped, most of the projects you see have a very high valuation of the market cap, which is because they have lots of people with high hopes supporting this project. The market is actually cooling down a little bit and the hype is kind of going away and that’s why all the altcoins are actually sinking down very rapidly. But that’s a good thing, I feel that it’s basically like a filtering process, maybe the project that gets down here we’ll probably just go and die out if there’s nothing really they can offer, then those will die out. But for us, it’s very different as we have very concrete use cases and applications of the blockchain. As talked about a new initiative with the IP camera manufacturer earlier, if every month 10k of these cameras get deployed in users homes then we are talking about almost 1 million devices a year and if all of these devices carry the IoTeX identity on top of them, this will be a huge deal in terms of the future and open up other applications for us and our products. We do have a lot of concrete use cases and this camera is just one of them.

We believe now is a good time for building the real applications because companies gradually starting to understand what blockchain can bring and how it can replace some of the components in their existing solutions and provide better features for their users and reduce the costs. Blockchain allows to solve certain issues, such as interoperability, more efficient device management and can effectively prevent some certain attacks with large-scale IP systems. IoTeX has a lot of collaborations with different industry partners trying to understand the requirements from each other and also create new solutions based on our platform to fit their certain needs, how to use our technology to combine with what they have already built and created new features.

Q2: How many AvoBoards are being released and what types of companies are interested?

For the first batch, we may have tens of them released, but it will be mainly targeting developers. In order to use it for the different IoT verticals, we will need to customize this board more after we talk with more of the industry partners. This hardware is based on the open-source technology and we’re trying to have people use it as an open-source tool, but for people that are not familiar with hardware development, this release may be a bit too complicated. It’s important to note that the hardware development cycle is usually long, as we need to do a lot of testing and iterations with manufactures to collect and test the issues on the hardware side to make it reliable once a user gets it. Also besides the hardware design and testing, lots of work needs to be done to build the firmware, make security and other functions.

Q3: More details around NIST standard & IoTeX’s involvement & implications

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 and provides standards for every industry, such as AES for symmetric-key algorithms, RSA for hash functions, and many others. The main purpose — to have a standard and give instructions to related service providers, software developers, device manufacturers, to exploit the technology in the same way/use the same algorithm to ensure collaboration and make it easier for all the parties involved to work together.

Raullen, Xinxin and IoTeX’s advisor Prof.Gong along with UWaterloo researchers started the work on the design of WAGE — a 259-bit lightweight permutation based on the Welch-Gong transform that has an efficient hardware implementation for authenticated encryption with associated data while providing sufficient security margins. In short, the idea is to design a stream cipher using this neat architecture and make a lightweight transform to make it secure. We have done lots work for this one, including the search for the base transform over different finite fields to implement those things on top of the hardware, and maybe design some authentication encryption protocols using those primitives to see how it works in a real-world environment. Also, cryptoanalysis, of course, trying to bridge the cipher somehow.

What are the implications for IoTeX if WAGE gets accepted?

Given the fact that NIST sets out the standards for the industry players, they will start to pick up the algorithm standard and build dedicated crypto processors for that to accelerate the operations. For IoTeX blockchain that means if WAGE gets standardized, then all the devices having this algorithm by default, will naturally become clients of our blockchain.

Q4: What’s the release date of the mobile wallet?

Specifically for Android we already have a beta version that some of our close contacts and Ambassadors are testing out and an iOS version is coming soon. As we are having the internal testing for the android wallet, we want to make sure that everything is fully working and polished out before we release the product to the public. It is called IoPay and it’s a wallet, that lets you claim VITA and a lot of other features will be pushed on overtime. Speaking of the off-chain things or IoTeX products, we have been continuously updating them:

  • the Explorer is looking better and better each day with more analytics and, metrics being added and improved, sleeker design
  • The voting portal is being constantly improved in terms of the design & functionality, and we want to make it more secure and more decentralized.
  • We have also implemented the poll on the voting portal, where all the networks stakeholders can come together and vote on the decisions going forward.

Q5: On Delegate of the month Voting — DOTM

This is a very important new initiative, the concept around it is to better connect the community, Foundation and Delegates. A lot of the things that Foundation does, community knows about, but we also want to have the same kind of free information flow between all of our Delegates and the community and we want the community to recognize the Delegates that have contributed, whether it’s development work, marketing or business relations for IoTeX. Soon, we will open the voting via smart contract and encourage all the community to take a look at all the great things our Delegates have contributed, whether its creating new Python libraries, or different types of wallets, Explorers, educational materials, etc.

Announcing the Winners

Telegram ID’s: @shinichiconan214, @Geliner, @Luke, Crypto Andrew.

We have a total of 4 winners and each will receive 300 VITA.

About IoTeX

IoTeX began the journey in 2017 to build the Internet of Trusted Things, where all physical and virtual “things” — humans, machines, businesses, and dApps — can efficiently exchange information and value at global scale. Backed by a global team of research scientists and top engineers, IoTeX combines blockchain, trusted hardware and edge computing to realize the full potential of IoT.

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