On October 24th, Team Atomic had an AMA session with , a decentralized ecosystem designed to increase user adoption of blockchain technology, in our . The team members present on the discussion with our community were Travis Walker (Co-Founder & Senior Manager), Matthew Cox (Co-Founder & CSO), and Justin Renken (Senior Brand Manager).
Here are the essential points of the AMA session:
Please welcome Travis (T), Matthew (M), Justin (J) and the questions from our Telegram chat members (Q).
M: We have a series of roundtables once a month where we discuss projects, give feedback, present AIPs and discuss ARK development features with our community of open-source developers. We also have workshops that we are developing ourselves on how to build decentralized applications and products using the ARK Stack. We also partnered with Major League Hacking for a series of workshops that they are presenting globally at their events to help introduce developers to not just ARK, but blockchain concepts in general.
T: ARK’s interoperability has been tested and proven over the years with our smart bridge tech. After our recent upgrade, we also added HTLC (hash timelock contracts). This is running now in our public testing and after our next upgrade, this will set the stage for our ARK atomic swaps and DEX, allowing every bridge chain to interoperate trustlessly. Our custom transaction creation and HTLC combined effectively eliminate the need for smart contracts as well.
J: The ARK MainNet offers a bloat-free experience where an ecosystem of linked chains handles the scaling issue, while interoperability still makes it feel like one system. We have what we call SmartBridge Technology when fully implemented will make it seem like regular users are just interacting with one asset called ARK, but they are getting direct access to other chains’ services via interoperability in the background. We think for a system that must remain free and open but also serve every human on earth, this is a good approach. The genesis block allows the creation of assets in any number, so long as the founders agree on an economic model. ARK allows anyone to easily create a new chain AKA bridge chain without much technical knowledge at all.
M: (1) ARK currently uses a custom version of DPoS that we have built up over the past 2 years. It uses some custom differentiation from other DPoS networks in the way we handle votes and tries to avoid collusion and cartel style behavior by voters and delegates (validators). We believe our system has done a good job in some areas, but can still use improvements in others and we have a current item on our roadmap to address some areas of our algorithm to include better finality, which will help with some of our upcoming developments like the ARK Swap Market (DEX).
(2) In regards to scalability, I think our belief in this is simple. The network can’t process everything and as we have said from the beginning and many are now realizing, the Ethereum model is broken and was never going to work. We have from the beginning been of the belief that each use case needs its own chain. We founded ARK with interoperability in mind before it was a popular buzzword and our ARK Smartbridge was demonstrated doing cross-chain transactions with Ethereum before almost anyone else in the industry. The thing is, that solution wasn’t the perfect solution and we have been refining that process ever since. Through the implementation of HTLC, we have a system that is being implemented that allows for any network being built using ARK Core to be able to communicate with one another in a unique and exciting way from the moment they are deployed.
ARK Utilities is a separate library providing common functions for working with data and performing frequent tasks while simultaneously increasing performance across the ARK Core. Elements of the ARK utility library replace many of the third-party dependencies on Core, and the dependency layer as a whole enables the provision of a common API. This allows developers to swap out or affect changes to the implementations as they identify performance issues and other shortcomings, all without affecting the API. Extensive real-world testing has proven ARK Utilities to offer improvements as high as 12x over other libraries such as Native and Lodash.
T: DPoS is much faster and leaner than PoW. By allowing a certain number of forging nodes to validate network transactions, ARK can be 8-second block times with less latency.
T: AIP is very similar to BIP’s in Bitcoin, making improvements and proposals to improve the technology.
M: We have several key areas of focus that we highlight in our whitepaper. I think all of the ones you mention are important to us, but I think unlike others, we understand that touting 1 million TPS and all of this other crazy moon shot numbers just isn’t realistic. We work on creating a strong balance between speed, but maintaining decentralization in our network with a focus on keeping things secure in the process. That being said, I don’t think we will ever feel like we are 100% perfect in solving any of those problems and so we are always analyzing our own solution, looking at advancements in the field, and finding new ways to optimize the performance of ARK Core.
T: ARK’s wallet is very secure. nothing is stored in the wallet. Your coins are on the blockchain, not the wallet. as long as you have your 12 seed words, you can access your coins anywhere and anytime. if you lose those words, then you lose your access to those coins in that address. There is no way of getting lost or burned coins back, blockchain is immutable.
M: We have an extensive marketing strategy that we have been building out with our marketing team. We are also looking to expand the team with a user acquisition specialist. Our strategy focuses directly on our key target audiences, Users, Developers, and Enterprise, with distinct flavors for each. The user acquisition specialist will be specifically focused on our user experience and new and innovative approaches towards expanding community involvement in the project. Our developer-focused strategies are currently largely focused on expanding our pool of open source developers, bringing in new partner projects whether they are new startups, ERC20 tokens looking for a better solution, or smaller-scale users with a great idea that we can help partner with a team and provide guidance and support through our Tier 0 program. On top of that, we will be launching an Enterprise focused solution next year and a lot of our focus has been placed on our B2B strategy to help grow and expand brand awareness and form larger-scale partnerships moving forward. We believe that from a technical standpoint, ARK’s platform can stack up favorably with anything else in the marketplace, we have a long road ahead to prove that to people and our marketing efforts will go a long way towards doing so.
J: In my opinion, ARK brings empowerment to people where they can do things they didn’t think they could. So many current ARK users used to think blockchain technology was so frustrating, scary, and difficult to use, that it even made them feel not that great about themselves. Using ARK and realizing our technology is very friendly and there is a community of support all around, this brought something to them they weren’t getting elsewhere. That’s one of the reasons I think people like ARK so much. On the developer side, there were developers who had been struggling with blockchain tech who was able to spin up a chain and build a PoC same day. Going from what is blockchain to that so fast is something awesome in my opinion.
M: These are all important to address as we have seen each of these situations impact other projects and their success. Luckily, I can say that ARK has answers to all of these, so let me outline our stance.
(1) If the CEO leaves ARK, we have a succession plan in place. We actually make almost all major decisions as a group among the Co-Founders (of which 7 are still with the company 3 years later). We have a strong leadership structure and no 1 person is critical to our success. This allows us flexibility in situations like this. We came together in the beginning as a group of community members who believed in the revolution that Bitcoin had started and the power of decentralization, but we wanted to build new and exciting business models and applications.
(2) This is a great question. A fund crisis is a real consideration in this industry. In our case, we actually failed our funding round and started with only roughly $900,000. We have since turned that into a $40 million war chest due to our CFO and the efforts of our team (and some luck in timing). We have plans in place that help us diversify and safeguard our holdings and we are currently working on new branches of our company focused on Enterprise, Products, and other areas with designed revenue models that will help us not only extend our reach but our funding models as well.
(3) Failing in our roadmap is something we have faced in the past. Our v1 of our technology just wasn’t performing the way we had hoped. Our throughput wasn’t where we wanted it, the P2P layer had issues, we saw forks of the network regularly, so we did the hard thing, we started over. V2 of ARK Core was actually a complete rewrite of V1 to address the problems we faced from how our original network was launched.
M: ARK Core V2.6 is definitely our largest release to date. It implements the first full implementation of our custom transaction system (We had a sort of beta implementation previously) and includes the first actual implementations utilizing the system. In this case, that is business and bridge chain registration. These updates allow the ARK Public Network (MainNet) to function as a form of a magistrate for all of the projects, delegates, applications, and plugins in the Ecosystem. While these are the first 2 new transaction types, the system being put into place allows anyone building on ARK, including other projects and bridge chains, to easily develop their own new custom types and applications. So basically, v2.6 implements our new transaction type model which allows the logic to be introduced into new ARK-based chains that fulfill a role similar to smart contracts.
J: In 10 years, I see consensus models such as DPoS playing a key role in most blockchain applications because it’s decentralized but easy to govern, use, and built fast apps with.