Here’s our 101th AMA recap!

Thank you to the Infinity Chain for participating in Ask Me Anything (AMA) with TARAXA July 8, 2021. This guest star,

INTRODUCTION

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
My name is Steven Pu, co-founder of Taraxa. Prior to Taraxa I founded a few startups in IoT and mobile health, and was a partner at Monitor Deloitte spearheading their innovation strategy division. I co-founded Taraxa with my Stanford roommate Justin Snapp. He went on to get a PhD in EE at Stanford and was later a senior engineer at Qualcomm working on 5G network infrastructure.

Taraxa provides Layer-1 infrastructure to track informal transactional agreements and data. The vast majority of the world’s transactions are informal, uncaptured, and unverifiable, often leading to costly confusion and disputes. Taraxa captures & secures these transactions at the source, and makes them trustworthy through audit logging to minimize transactional friction.

We have also built two application platforms on top of Taraxa, Marinate — tracking everyday agreements between people, and Helio — securing machine states. Both application platforms are fully functional and market-tested!

QUESTIONS MODERATOR

Could you give us a details description of the TAXARA? What is the vision and mission?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Sure. You can see our vision statement here: www.taraxa.io/vision. I’ll give the response in two parts, the first is the immediate operational value Taraxa aims to provide, and the second is the longer-term financial value.

To explain the operational value.

Taraxa is actually quite unique in that we’re solving a problem that has been extremely difficult to solve, which is how do you track informal transactions. This sounds a little strange, let me explain the origin of the pain-point, how the world’s currently solving it, and why Taraxa brings a unique solution to the table.

I came to understand this pain-point from the convergence of my career experiences launching very small startups as a founder, and advising Fortune-500 company executives on innovation strategy. One of the core missions of mine while advising these executives was to teach large companies & organizations how to innovate quickly like small startups. This turned out to be extremely difficult, but it was difficult because these larger companies couldn’t get access to the right information, nor do they trust the information they already have. What I realized was that larger organizations cannot trust most of the transactional agreements and unstructured data that’s being generated during everyday business, not in a way a small startup could, due to the coordination cost that comes with size and complexity. Hence these larger companies and projects couldn’t respond quickly to the market, and ultimately cannot innovate.

Today, the world’s solution to this problem is simply to try to force everyone to start doing data entry into some big project management or ERP system. This doesn’t work out very well because most of the time, people do not want to do so much data entry, and even if they did, the information captured is unverifiable.

This is the core, unique insight upon which Taraxa is built — that blockchain technology, by enforcing accountability, is able to make informal transactional data trustworthy.

Taraxa was created to specifically realize this vision. We take a full-stacked approach, creating both the Layer-1 protocol as well as application platforms that sit on top. This gives us both the flexibility of being able to design and adapt the underlying infrastructure to suit the applications’ needs, as well as the credibility of being able to prove to the market the financial viability of a business tracking informal transactions, making it much more tangibly attractive to developers.

OK so that was the short-term operational value.

In the longer-term, we can leverage the informal transactions we’ve collected to build a quantifiable reputation score. These informal transactions are evidence of connections and working relationships, they prove that a person or a company is doing work in a specific field, and are working with trustworthy partners. This data could be leveraged to create a quantified score that could be used to create a whole new class of financial instruments.

So think about today’s DEFI, it is 100% collateralized finance, purely based on how many tokens you lock in. But in the REAL world, a financial institution never just considers your collaterals (e.g., your house, your car, your paycheck), but they also consider your reputation, or your credit score. With the same collaterals, a good vs. bad credit score can make a huge difference in the type of capital and the terms you can get access to.

But in DEFI today we have no concept of reputation. It’s all about how many tokens you lock in. Why do we have no reputation signal? Because there is no one collecting it. You need to start bridging real work and activities from the real world into crypto before you can create instruments and assets tied to reputation.

Taraxa aims to the first protocol to provide this bridge and this signal to help create a whole new class of financial assets. That’s the long-term goal =)

So the short-term operational value will help our apps spread and grow, and as a result of that growth we get access to a ton of activities that can be used to realize our long term vision of reputation-based financial instruments & assets.

TARAXA part of its project is based on the first next-gen Block DAG ledger, many of us are not aware of this technical characteristic. What is Block DAG and how to strengthen TARAXA services?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Sure, I’ll give a simplified answer to this question and provide some resources.

We chose to implement Block DAG because it is the only technology stack that can massive scale throughput and minimize latency without sacrificing security and decentralization. A super simple explanation of how this is possible is that Block DAG allows many blocks to be proposed simultaneously while making no sacrifices in security, where a single-chain topology can only admit one block at a time.

Taraxa’s choice of the block DAG topology, is heavily influenced by a series of papers written by Zohar and Sompolinsky — GHOST, Spectre, and Phantom. In these papers the authors laid out the inherent tradeoffs between network throughput and security of a single-chain topology, and that a block DAG topology can increase throughout without sacrificing security. While many aspects of our technology are different from what was described in these papers (e.g., ordering mechanism, VDF/VRF driven proposals, transaction jurisdictions, PoS instead of PoW), it was nevertheless inspired by these seminal works.

For more details we have a technical article series that describes why Block DAG is necessary here: https://medium.com/taraxa-project/single-chains-tough-trade-offs-1-5-55a407a1eb10?source=---------5-----------------------. The rest of our consensus articles are here: https://medium.com/taraxa-project/tagged/taraxa-tech.

You can also get an overview of our key technical articles on our website as well: https://taraxa.io/tech/.

Security is a major concern in cryptospace that needs to be improved. What does TAXARA offer in this regard to its users?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Security is our #1 priority here at Taraxa, and we have several layers of checks in place to make sure of that.

First, it goes through extensive testing by our own team on our internal development network. We have an ever-growing set of attack vectors in place to stress test any network updates. Next, it goes on the testnet where we have lots of community volunteers running the network in a much more heterogeneous networking and security environment. Then we’ll work with independent security teams to audit the new changes, only after that will we push the changes to the mainnet.

About Economic Model, can you explain about the utility & use-cases $TARA? How $TARA tokens comes into play in TARAXA ecosystem?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Here are some more details around the economics: https://docs.taraxa.io/tech-whitepaper/economic-model.

TARA is used for gas fees and staking on the Taraxa network, later on it will also be used to vote for changes to the network.

When we roll out staking, we expect there to be ~20% annualized yield on staked tokens to gain the privilege to become a block-producing node. We’re also in the process of designing distributions proportional to staking from our DApps down the road.

Could you tell us about TARAXA roadmap for now? How far has this project been developed? what are the planned for the future?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Please check out the roadmap here: www.taraxa.io/roadmap.

Our immediate focus right now is to get the community engaged in our testnet as soon as possible. We’re crushing bugs everyday and rooting out a lot of security edge cases to improve the stability of the network. We will be launching with a slew of interesting activities for the community to participate in.

For the short-term future, we have two primary goals for 2021, one is mainnet deployment, the other driving adoption for our application platforms.

For mainnet, the most important thing to note (even beyond performance) is security & stability. We will be closely involving the community every step of the way as we roll out a phased approach to large-scale stress testing of the network. First, we will incentivize the community for simply running a testnet node and reporting errors. Second, we will roll out a mirrored staking on ETH that projects onto our testnet’s staking mechanisms, and enable community members to stake their tokens, participate in tests, and earn yields. Lastly, we will transition from the ERC20 tokens into native tokens and conduct final rounds of stress testing and security audits before releasing our mainnet candidate.

For our application platform, we will be rolling out a series of integrations with baseline communication tools such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and WeChat to help the community engage with our product, get a better understanding for their uses, and help source additional use cases. In addition to focusing on our existing customers from the non-crypto mainstream world, we are putting in a lot of resources to develop a crypto-native use case.

QUESTIONS TWITTER

Investigating Taxara project governance, I see that they will implement a council system where users can vote. I would like to know what requirements a person must have to be proposed to the council?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
First of all, thank you for reading our documentation so closely!

The materials in the governance section are highly preliminary, we’ll need to solicit our community and token holders’ opinions when we launch our mainnet to finalize the designs. Because we live in a decentralized world it may take a while before these decisions can be finalized.

But for now, I don’t think there’s any requirement necessary to propose something to the council. As a principle the council should be open to any and all good suggestions, no matter where they come from. So I think anyone should be able to propose suggestions to the council.

Taraxa is built to track informal transactions. How can you tell a transaction is informal or not? In what way can you track it? Currently, do you think that informal transactions greatly affect the people who transact?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
This is a very good question. Let me explain what we mean when we say “informal transactions”.

If you take people / companies who are working, they typically work in a continuous stream with milestones embedded inside. So something like,

— — — -O — — — — — — — — — — — — — — o — — — — — -o — — — — — — — — — — — — -o — — — — — — — — o — — — — — — — — — — — — — -O

Where the big O might be a big contract, like a contractor has won a bid, and the small o’s might be smaller adjustments to that contract where significant changes are agreed upon — e.g., time, materials, manpower. But all those little dashes “ — — “ in the middle, that’s where the ACTUAL WORK happens, people laying bricks, mixing cement, erecting wooden frames, etc. That’s where the informal transaction happen, and those are not tracked, hard to verify, and results in a lot of delays, confusion, and disputes — all of which are very risky and costly.

What is an informal transaction? It can be anything that facilitates coordination during work. The person building the windows needs to tell the person building the walls that they changed the size, the person digging into a road needs to tell their colleagues that they hit a gas pipe, etc. People are constantly coordinating back and forth “hey I’m doing X, are you two OK with it?” with others during work, this is simply how we communicate. We don’t constantly sit down and sign 30 legal contracts everyday, we just call / text someone and that’s it. That is an informal transaction, and the vast majority of the world’s transactions / agreements are informal (> 80%), and they’re typically not captured and almost impossible to verify.

Why track these informal transactions? Because they can lead to a lot of confusion, delays, and disputes. Because there are so many of them, it’s very easy for stakeholders to forget or lose them, and then that leads to confusion and delays where the stakeholders are trying to remember, dig through mountains of texts / emails, and figure out who said what when. This is very costly and adds a lot of risk to projects. When these confusion / delays don’t get resolved, it could even turn into a legal dispute, and then that adds even more risk & cost.

This is a huge problem that no one is solving. In fact the inability to track & verify informal transactions is why large projects / companies / organizations can’t innovate and make decisions so slowly, it’s because they are unable to tap into this treasure trove of data. Taraxa aims to make the 80% of wasted data useful, and help everyone to streamline their operations.

What types of partnerships does Taraxa have and what benefits do they bring to its ecosystem? How does it apply to some of with use cases that your project has done?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
We have customers who are an automotive OEM, in asset leasing, construction, and automotive supply chain. We are working to develop more customers into these verticals we’re already in, as well as looking into new ones, including marine maintenance and shipbuilding. We’re also prioritizing a more crypto-native use case so that our crypto communities can more easily engage.

All of these customers need to close trust gaps when it comes to informal transactions. In the automotive and asset leasing customers’ cases, they need ways for stakeholders to trust machine-generated data. In the case for the supply chain and construction customers, they need to track frequent change orders between large groups of stakeholders.

I have understood that Taraxa gives the opportunity to the user to become a Validator, so everyone have the opportunity to become one of them? What is the requirements to apply as Validator?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
We’ll be rolling out these requirements later on as we introduce staking, but basically to run a block-producing node (what you call a validator) you need some minimal # of tokens delegated to you — we’re keeping that minimum very very low so that more people can participate, and we definitely want more nodes.

Taraxa is a purpose-built, fast, scalable, and device-friendly public ledger designed to help businesses make better and more responsive decisions. How does your platform generate income to sustain the many services and functionality of Taraxa? How can we earn revenue in Taraxa?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
The more traditional business customers will be paying fees to cover the cost of operations, for the more crypto-centric use cases revenue will happen on a protocol level and will be transparent to all.

That being said, here’s how the revenue will impact token holders. The applications we build will consume tokens as gas fees, some of the crypto-native use cases we’re building also require staking, so all of that will naturally be deflationary and all token holders will benefit as a result.

For the crypto-native applications, revenues will be distributed to those who have staked tokens and those who are doing work — data collection, analysis, etc. Over the long run the crypto-native applications will be decentralized and all revenue will be distributed to those who do work to make the apps a reality.

QUESTIONS TELEGRAM

@sleepingbeauty_oO-Are you a global project or a local project?
-Can anyone use your project anywhere without any restrictions?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Our team is all over the world! We have team members in the US, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Argentina, Brazil, China, and Japan. Our project always abides by local laws and regulations.

@dontcallyHow do you handle some of the market’s challenges and challenges to meet the market’s Supply-Demand when building a project?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
Well our project team really just handles the technology and helps to drive adoption. What we really believe is that the market should reflect positive traction on our apps and protocol. So far we’ve seen projects with real traction well reflected in their market caps, so that’s what we’re focused on — building the product and real traction =)

@sleepingbeauty_oODear Sir, 
I’m a developer, and I’m interested in contributing to your project alongsides earning, Do you have any Bug Bounty to check for vulnerabilities?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
We have one tech bounty live right now: https://twitter.com/taraxa_project/status/1408481606977736704?s=20, so please go check it out! You can also check out our public ledger repo on Github: https://github.com/Taraxa-project/taraxa-node, and if you see any issues you think you can solve please submit a pull request! We’ll reward those as well =)

@Sowrov101Do you have a Token Burning plan to increase token value and attract Investors to invest?!

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
We are investigating into a scheme in which the protocol could burn part or all of the transaction gas fees. Although it was designed more for security purposes, but it does have an interesting side-effect to deflate the token supply =) More to come soon as we approach mainnet.

@badluck35Every project has a story behind their name, Can you tell us more about the story behind this? Who are the team behind this project? can tell us their background?

Steven Pu | founder of taraxa :
We thought that the dandelion is a very interesting symbol for decentralization, with its seeds flying around, taking root, look like nodes in a decentralized network =) So the Latin name for the common dandelion is: taraxacum officinale, so we just took the first part of that name and named our project Taraxa =)

Thank you for trusting Infinity Chain as the organizer of the event today, hopefully everyone can understand about TARAXA.

Join our Telegram Group and you can talk directly with other Communities and enjoy some of the events that we created. We are always here to support.

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