We’ve recently conducted an AMA event in Valucop Crypto Academy, a Nigerian active Crypto Community. The AMA session was held with Helen IMAH, Lead at Cartesi Nigeria, and moderated by the host, Victoria Ukpaka.
The AMA session went live on the community’s WhatsApp channel where Helen discussed several exciting facts about Cartesi, especially the need for Off-Chain Decentralized Computing and the role Cartesi is playing to ensure Nigerians have scalable products of decentralized applications while maintaining Scalability and maximum Security.
Some of the questions, answers, responses, and sequences may have been edited or modified for clarity and readability.
We present the Recap:
Victoria – Today is going to be very educational as we will be learning about one of the most innovative platforms, Cartesi from the Lead at Cartesi Nigeria. Let me welcome, Helen IMAH.
Helen – I’m glad to be here. Thank you.
Q1: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start your crypto journey?
Helen – Okay, great question!
I’m Helen IMAH by name, a Computer Science graduate and Lead at Cartesi Nigeria.
The first time I came across Bitcoin was in 2015 while surfing the Internet that happens to be my most prized hobby, then I was still an undergraduate.
I read related articles and watched YouTube videos that got me started on my blockchain/crypto journey. Fast forward, in the Q2 of 2017, I became an ICO (initial coin offering) investor, from there I moved to crypto trading and now I represent notable blockchains as brand ambassador. It has really been an interesting journey so far.
Q2: Can you shed some light about Cartesi and why was the project started?
Helen – Cartesi is building an operating system for DApps.
The project enables complex and intensive computations to run in a Linux environment, outside the blockchain, without compromising decentralization. Cartesi aims to make DApps significantly more powerful, cost-effective, easier to develop, and portable.
At Cartesi, we empower DApp developers by helping them build products that are ever more compelling to users, bringing us all closer to a future in which decentralization becomes less burdensome.
For the second part of this question, Cartesi is being developed so as to close the gap between centralized and decentralized applications, both in terms of possibility, convenience and security.
Q3: Why off-chain Decentralized Computation?
Helen – Interesting, thanks for coming up with such a question.
No software application is built in isolation. Mainstream mobile/desktop/web Applications today depend on multiple software dependencies that took decades to mature on operating systems like Linux. Cartesi brings all this software infrastructure to blockchain applications. Whereas without Cartesi, blockchain applications cannot use mainstream software, libraries and services, unless they sacrifice decentralization in some way.
Then, there’s the second problem. Besides being hampered by insufficient software infrastructure, decentralized applications also suffer tight on-chain processing limits. So, they can hardly offer a compelling alternative to mainstream centralized applications. They are often hard to build, being clunky and limited for developers and DApp users.
Cartesi solves these three problems by:
1) offering developers the software and tools supported by a full Linux OS;
2) moving off-chain all the heavy computation over large amounts of data, that blockchains cannot do;
3) offering services and a token economy that allows users to securely rely on the network and remain free from inconveniences of blockchain tech (e.g. slow confirmation times, requirement to remain online to resolve disputes, and others).
Q4: Tell us a bit about the Cartesi team and tell us about some key members of the project.
Helen – The most important asset for Cartesi is a team of very strong researchers and engineers extremely excited to create and implement novelty in the blockchain space. A highlight of the founders can be seen below:
- Our CEO, Erick de Moura is a technical leader with deep experience in system design and development. Erick’s specialties include software architecture, process definition, and execution. As a consultant, developer and business owner before Cartesi itself, he has dedicated 20 years to the software industry and was pivotal in the success of several tech companies in different verticals such as Fintech, Healthtech, E-commerce, and Infrastructure.
- Augusto Teixeira, PhD (Chief Scientific Officer)
A mathematician with a Ph.D. from ETH-Zurich and a post-doc from Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. Augusto is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Rio de Janeiro where he specializes in probability and graph theory. Expert in crypto-economics and is connecting the Cartesi architecture to Ethereum and Turing-complete blockchains. Throughout his career, he published 28 publications and academic papers. Website: http://www.impa.br/~augusto/
- Diego Nehab, PhD (CTO)
A computer scientist with a Ph.D. from Princeton University and a post-doc from Microsoft Research. Diego is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Rio de Janeiro where he is a member of the visual computation group. An expert in computer graphics, image processing, and massive parallelism (GPGPU), was granted 3 patents, published 36 articles and scientific papers, and received more than 1900 citations. Website: http://www.impa.br/~diego/
- Colin Steil (COO)
Execution master with years of experience in community and business operations across the globe. Colin is a previous venture capitalist and start-up founder with a specialty in the Asian ecosystem. Colin first got involved in blockchain in early 2017 and began working with blockchain technology, crypto exchanges and ICO projects in the venture capital industry.
You can learn more about the brains behind Cartesi from here: https://cartesi.io/en/about/#founders
Q5: Could you please tell us the vision of Cartesi is in Nigeria.
Helen – Cartesi Nigeria is a subset of Cartesi project. We have a clear vision and goal; closing the gap between centralized and decentralized applications for Nigerians in terms of power, possibility, convenience and security.
We have a digital presence in Nigeria via social media both on Twitter and Facebook which is one step to gaining awareness in the country. We really hope to have an active community in this part of the world.
I will be sharing our community links before the end of this event and tell you about an ongoing program that Cartesi has just launched and Devs from any part of the world can participate including Nigerians. Ensure to wait till the end of this event so as to have the full details, there will even be a reward for winners!
Q6: So to the final question of this first session… What is your view of the present crypto market, are we in a bull or bear market?
Helen – The crypto market has gained more awareness and of course adoption during this pandemic lockdown most especially in our dear nation and Africa region. A lot of media talked about this. I feel many seize the lockdown opportunity to learn stuff online, I guess a greater % of these people came in to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The crypto market did experience some bullish movements last month but obviously not the main bull run. Let’s hope for better.
Segment 2 : Community Questions
As a DApp fan and user, I would like to know if there are currently other DApps (games) running on the Cartesi network apart from Creepts.
Helen – Creepts is currently the only DApprunning on top of Cartesi in addition to the tutorial DApps found in our technical documentation (https://cartesi.io/docs). The Cartesi team is tirelessly working to onboard more solid DApps including games for the blockchain gamers to enjoy, and other use cases. A number of use cases around DeFi and gaming are being explored.
You may want to learn more about Creepts most especially the gamers in the house: https://creepts.cartesi.io/en/https://creepts.cartesi.io/en/
Cartesi also recently launched it’s DApp Incubation Program which aims to fund 3 projects with over 80,000 US in prizes. Find out more here: https://gitcoin.co/hackathon/cartesi-incubator/onboard
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone about to go in Cryptocurrency?
Helen – Well I’m not a financial advisor but I’ll only like to tell the person to acquire the necessary skills that he or she may need as there are diverse areas in the crypto space, should tread with caution, and make enough research when & where possible. That would be all for now.
What approach is Cartesi bringing to the DeFi ecosystem with regards to tools and solutions to improve the promising decentralized finance ecosystem?
Helen – Cartesi applications will be able to perform complex and intensive computation involving large amounts of data, potentially from multiple sources. This will release DeFi from the current scalability constraints of blockchain.
The Cartesi’s protocol will enable DeFi and exterior DApp creators to solve future problems for the unbanked, by enabling them to create applications that rival traditional banks, while guaranteeing the security of blockchain technology. People could use Cartesi to build any financial instrument that involves computations that are too complex to be performed on-chain. One example for that would be to build services for options and other derivatives. Cartesi would also make it possible to build a “verifiable centralized exchange”, where a currently centralized exchange could have its computations verified by any interested party.
Cartesi will also help interoperability between blockchains and services such as the futures and insurance markets.
The team is currently exploring a number of projects.
How are the unlearned going to participate in this ecosystem?
Helen – Cartesi has done so well by providing its community with comprehensive documentation that anyone can easily follow irrespective of whether the person is a developer or not. Here is the link: https://cartesi.io/docs/
Some people understand more with visual material, if there is anyone who falls into this category then I think you should feel special because Cartesi has got you covered as well, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGkd48vo6UI&t=6s. From this video, you can learn how to start building DApps in Linux with Cartesi.
What Future economic development will CARTESI offer to make it one of the Top demanded and recommended Coin in the world?
Helen – Cartesi is a unique project on its own. We have Crypto economic incentives in order to fulfill our vision. Similarly, Cartesi has been doing well in following up with their roadmap. You would quite agree with me that any solid project that does this will definitely see the light of the day.
Of course, a thing like this would have a positive impact in its native token/coin making it more relevant in the crypto space most especially when such a project has functional use cases. At the end of this quarter, the proof of stake prototype will be launched on the testnet. For Q4 of this year, part of our plans at Cartesi are these ones:
- Launch mining on Mainnet
- Release of P2P Service GRPC (Google Remote Protocol Core)
What exactly is the difference between Forex and Crypto trading?
Helen – Forex and Crypto trading involve trading/exchanging currencies for another one. The two of them require proper risk-management, perseverance and a strong desire to continuously learn.
Although both are distinct in that;
– Forex has been around for a very long time and its market is larger while the Crypto market is relatively new, less than 15years in existence.
– Forex involves middlemen, brokers and various other institutions that usually collect fees at almost every step of the trading process whereas Crypto doesn’t involve all of these, it’s decentralized in nature, and has no central authority.
I hope my answer is able to do justice to your question. You can also delve more about these two markets from online resources. I’m more into Crypto but I have never once trade Forex.
Running complex computations off-chain, does Cartesi have bigger plans for the future to secure and retain decentralization and ensure security especially in order to be free from attackers, considering hackers do more research and they advance just as technology does?
Helen – Cartesi is not only about bridging the gap between a real OS and blockchain. It provides virtually unlimited computational power. Cartesi has designed and redesigned itself several times, and a necessary space of experimentation has allowed us to understand better and better where we want to get, and our priorities.
Scalability is a multidimensional problem. With Cartesi Core and Descartes, we can empower computation. With upcoming roll-ups, we can essentially have smart-contracts being implemented and running on Linux (the most secure operating system).
With these systems in place, we can get something that could be analogous to general-purpose Linux servers, however, decentralized, efficient, and with the same security.
Cartesi will ensure a high level of security due to the following:
- The nodes cannot talk to each other at the current stage, however, they can do this through the blockchain. Later on, we will implement a verified networking port in the Nodes which allows for secure timely data.
- The native DApp components run inside individual containers.
iii. The reproducible DApp components run inside an emulator within these containers.
For a better understanding of the key principles that make Cartesi secure, we recommend reading our article “On Linux and Blockchains”: https://medium.com/cartesi/on-linux-and-blockchains-a955a49a84e1.
Is there any possible way of Cartesi nodes having disputes and how can that be solved?
Helen – In rare cases of dispute, Cartesi Nodes that engage in disputes are required to make collateral deposits in CTSI. This protocol guarantees that if a dispute resolution occurs, honest parties are indemnified while dishonest parties are punished.
In other words, Cartesi uses the blockchain as a supreme court, identifying and punishing dishonest parties. When such occurs, the blockchain runs an interactive dispute resolution and is left to run a single step of the original computation with a negligible amount of data.
We are also glad to receive all security-related questions on our Discord channel: https://discord.gg/Pt2NrnS
Cartesi helps developers build scalable dApps with Linux OS and mainstream software stacks. Why has Cartesi chosen Linux over every other operating system?
Helen – If you have been following the tech trends, you must have noticed that Mainstream Applications today depend on multiple software dependencies that took decades to mature on operating systems like Linux.
Besides being hampered by insufficient software infrastructure, decentralized applications also suffer tight on-chain processing limits. So, they can hardly offer a compelling alternative to mainstream centralized applications.
In addition to avoid confusion, Cartesi can run on any computer. The OS is emulated to develop DApp logic on.
It’s the most relevant OS nowadays in many aspects. Also, Cartesi and public blockchains have an intimate relationship with open-source software. Linux and RISC-V are very good representatives of the open-source (and open standard) worlds with more and more adoption. (Even Microsoft is embracing open-source and Linux, which is an interesting factor to consider).
Finally, it’s important to say that in principle, Cartesi’s architecture and platform can also (easily) support other OS’s. But at this point, we don’t see a need to invest or to promote this possibility.
Recently I learnt Cartesi partnered with MixMarvel and other game industries, in what way(s) will Cartesi add value to these game industries?
Helen – Yes, Cartesi has recently partnered with MixMarvel, a gaming platform and content community powered by blockchain.
Cartesi is a platform to endless possibilities and is not limited to one specific area. At Cartesi, we do not create the DApps, but we work alongside developers to assist them in implementing our technology. We currently have 1 fully functional Testnet gaming DApp built on top of Cartesi, it is called Creepts.
Creepts was not only the first DApp on Cartesi but also a first for blockchains in general. Creepts is a tournament over a tower defense game. Creepts is currently available via its website in a read-only version for easy access, or the fully decentralized version on the Testnet by installing the Cartesi Node and setting it up through instructions. https://creepts.cartesi.io
Cartesi is looking up to building more strategic partnerships with several public blockchains where we will benefit each other to rapidly increase adoption and release the killer DApps the community is searching for including Games.
Cartesi is a two-layer platform, how does it achieve this? Also, what level of expertise is required to deploy a DApp on Cartesi?
Helen – The Cartesi Core is a layer-2 solution for moving intensive computations off-chain.These computations run inside an open-source Reduced Instruction Set Computer Version 5 (RISC-V) emulator, the Cartesi Machine, which runs an embedded Linux operating system.
The Cartesi Machine enables developers to manipulate large amounts of data with computations that are several orders of magnitude faster than those executed directly as smart contracts. Moreover, developers can build on traditional software packages they are already familiar with.From the point of view of the blockchain, a Cartesi Machine’s entire state is represented by a single hash. Users commit their agreement to the initial state’s hash, and post the final state’s hash to the blockchain once the computation has been completed off-chain.
At the moment, Cartesi will still require knowledge of smart contract development however we aim to isolate developers completely from the idiosyncrasies of the blockchain.
The Descartes SDK makes it possible for developers to build computationally intensive DApps with all software tools available for a full Linux operating system. DApps preserve full decentralization and the security guarantees of Ethereum.
Developers and software enthusiasts can access the Documentation Portal immediately through Cartesi’s redesigned website: https://cartesi.io/docs. The portal provides tutorials and the information needed to begin coding with Cartesi.
Now that Cartesi incorporates proof-of-stake, how do they plan to curb it’s disadvantages such as BRIBE ATTACK where malicious actor executes a spending transaction intending to reverse it later and also MONOPOLY PROBLEM where the key stakeholder can implement modifications without taking the views of the community, enterprises, miners, and developers?
Helen – We’ve recently released an innovative staking system different from other PoS mechanisms that looks to solve some of the major issues and opportunity costs of staking.
In summary, Cartesi Side Chain node operators can stake cartesi tokens by buying staking rights. These staking rights keep CTSI locked until the end of a staking cycle after which it pays the owner the locked principal plus a reward in CTSI. Staking rights are acquired through periodic Dutch auctions and give the owner the rights to execute rewarded mining tasks until their expiration date.
The full details can be found here: https://medium.com/cartesi/the-ctsi-macroeconomy-ea60a35ab2f3
In addition, just like I mentioned earlier, we have an ongoing Cartesi DApp Incubation Program in partnership with Gitcoin. Application phase will run through September 14 to October 12, 2020. You can participate as an individual or as a team with as many members as you wish.
The essence of this program is to help developers build on top of Cartesi using our SDK. The selected individuals/teams would benefit in many ways such as funding, mentoring, support, and more, all from Cartesi.
This is How it Works in Brief:
- In phase I, between September 14 – October 12, 2020, submit your application to join the program. You may request a budget (up to 20K USD) that you think will be enough to fund your project for three months and set your own development milestones along with delivery deadlines.
- In phase II, three teams will be selected out of all the applicants to build their Cartesi DApps, which must be submitted latest by February 1, 2021. This gives you the privilege to build your DApp in your preferred industry, while receiving mentoring from top experts in the field.
- In Phase III, between February 8 – 19, an additional award will be determined by a Quadratic Funding system from Gitcoin. Cartesi will invest additional 20K in a matching pool (plus any extra amount raised by the community) to be distributed across the three projects in accordance with the number of votes each one has gathered.
Note: This program is available open to all regions and English Language is the mode of communication.
So, if you are a Dev in the house, I think this is an opportunity you must have been waiting for. I will advise that you key in asap. Feel free to share with your Dev friends and relatives.
Read more here: https://gitcoin.co/hackathon/cartesi-incubator/onboard
We would like you to be a part of our growing community if you aren’t already. We’re inviting you to join us on our social media platforms, and on Telegram:
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CartesiNigeria
Join us on Telegram: https://t.me/CartesiProject
See our Official Website: https://cartesi.io/
Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/588520218517225/
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