It’s likely that you didn’t wake up this morning and think: What the world really needs is yet another blockchain protocol. And, of course, another cryptocurrency.
And yet, look where we are.
Bitcoin and Ethereum are free-falling in value. Proof of work has been exposed as an environmental catastrophe. In spite of numerous efforts to improve blockchain scalability to something approaching Visa’s or Mastercard’s ability to manage transactions, we’ve seen varying levels of success in shipping products.
And while there have been some bright spots of innovation using blockchain in actual real live working applications like this crypto REIT in South Carolina and IBM/Walmart’s food safety project, much of the innovation in the crypto space has been of the financial shell game type, and not the kind lawmakers like.
And about that food safety project … can anyone say ROMAINE LETTUCE?
So it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in desperate need of blockchain innovation that is scalable, eco-friendly, and most importantly of all, addresses real business and social needs.
A smart college professor friend of mine in the Netherlands thinks that Devv, which bills itself as “the enterprise blockchain,” might just be it. So I interviewed Devv’s CEO, Tom Anderson, who has a refreshingly real background in actual tech, shipping product, and making good old-fashioned USD.
He thinks Devv has solved the biggest issues blockchain has: scalability, stability, security, fraud/theft, and privacy … all at a tiny fraction of the cost of Ethereum transactions.
Here’s our interview:
Koetsier: What is Devv?
Tom Anderson: Devv is both a blockchain protocol and a cryptocurrency. The Devv blockchain is the fastest and most scalable blockchain in the world. It is primarily addressing scalability, cost, stability, fraud/theft/loss, and privacy. Devv is unique in our sharding solution (we have recently benchmarked at over 8 million transactions per second, which is arguably the fastest blockchain in the world), our privacy solution which is meant to work within government regulation, our fraud/theft/loss protection capabilities, our efficient and inexpensive Smart Contract solution (using Smart Coins), and our stable coin implementation. Devv is the only blockchain to solve all of blockchain’s biggest challenges in a single solution.
Blockchain as a field will be as significant to society as the Internet has been. I think many people have heard the hype, but they don’t really understand why blockchain will be so significant. The fundamental reason is that blockchain allows trustless transactions. It’s not more complicated than that – but why is that important, and what does that really mean? Transactions that are trustless do not rely on someone (in blockchain terms, a central authority) to say they are valid. Your bank wire transfer goes through because your bank approves it, using their internal records on their internal databases. Your Visa payment goes through because Visa approves it. Your medical records, internet search history, DNA test results, friend’s lists, music purchases, etc. all are held by companies that profit off of that data and its use. Imagine a world where you don’t have to trust those companies to hold your data. Imagine a world where there is an infrastructure where anyone can exchange any type of value, directly. Just like it was for the Internet during the mid 90’s, it is hard right now to really envision what impact trustless computing will hold, but it is a fundamental shift in how many things will be done.
A broader answer, then, to “What is Devv?” is that we intend for it to be the world’s infrastructure for transferring value. It is only when a blockchain solves all of the problems we solve, in a single solution, that it can fulfill that vision.
Koetsier: Why does the world need another blockchain technology?
Tom Anderson: I’m going to answer this question second, as the story of how we got started is a good foundation for what we’re doing, and why (and why the world needs us).
I come out of the tech industry, and I am an experienced entrepreneur. In my last company, a robotics company, I raised over $34 million, took the company public, created the world’s first consumer 3D Touch robotic controller, got national retail distribution, and licensed on the order of $100 million of video game software that we sold with our hardware. Ultimately, we sold our IP to Facebook. The reason I mention that, is I think I have a different mentality and viewpoint for the crypto space than many who are currently in the space. I came into the space, and didn’t just accept all of the wild concepts that many accept as innate to the industry.
When I first got into the blockchain space we were looking to leverage some intellectual property. We initially created plans for a cryptocurrency that could be used in a developer store (thus the name of our blockchain – we kept a variation of the name as a nod to the folks who are really creating things – developers!). However, when I first started looking at blockchain technologies in detail, I saw there were gaping holes in how things are done.
These are the same issues that anyone wanting to grow a real business in the blockchain space, will face.
- One can’t build one’s company on a platform that can’t scale. Scalability was one of the main factors leading us to design our own protocol.
- The idea that hundreds of millions of dollars can disappear in an online theft in the blink of an eye is ludicrous, but yet everyone simply shrugs and says “that’s just the way it is.”
- Privacy is a critical part of growing a technology business, but there are no solid privacy solutions in the blockchain space. A privacy solution needs to be acceptable to governments. As brilliant as zero-knowledge-proof based approaches are (they really are amazing) they won’t thrive if governments won’t accept them.
- Volatility is one of the biggest challenges for cryptocurrencies. Stability is needed to actually use cryptocurrency for transferring value rather than just storing value. If the price is going up people won’t spend it, and if the price is going down people won’t accept it. You also need to work within government regulation if you actually are becoming a currency, particularly with fiat-backed coins (i.e. stablecoins). In my view, this is obvious and undeniable to thrive long term(this is the point of our Dallocation concept) – I think it is naïve to believe that governments won’t be able to have significant influence on cryptocurrencies.
- Cost for DApps is absolutely crazy – you can’t be millions of times more expensive than standard databases and expect anyone to use it for real world purposes.
All of these concepts seem to me to be basic common business sense, but almost none of it is how the blockchain industry works right now. When we looked at the space, like any real business will do, there were no solutions on which one can build a real business.
Therefore, we designed a protocol to solve all of these issues.
I feel we have the best technology in the space. To answer the question of “Why does this solution exist?” … it is because the world desperately needs it. Whether it is us or someone else, it will surely be an approach that solves all of these problems, that will become the leader in the DLT space.
Given our IP and lead time on many of these areas, our experienced team, and our long-term vision, I believe it will be us.
Koetsier: How are you planning to use it?
Tom Anderson: We plan to be THE Enterprise blockchain solution. Many different organizations will be able to implement their blockchain needs on our platform. The single biggest driver for large corporations is going to be cost, and we are very strong there.
We expect we will cost on the order of 1/100,000th of Ethereum, to implement our smart contracts. Other factors like our consensus algorithms and governance, fraud/theft/loss protections, and our privacy solution, as examples, will be very appealing to enterprise use as well.
Really, you have to have a solution that works with features that people are accustomed to, to compete.
Koetsier: What is the theoretical maximum processing speed?
Tom Anderson: Devvio has solved the sharding problem, a large area of research in blockchain technology. We scale horizontally, meaning that in order to scale we simply add more shards. Each shard is an independent blockchain, so we can add as many shards as needed.
The complexity comes from having transactions move between shards, and this is the clever aspect of our solution. We have what we call a Wallet Designation, where every wallet is assigned one and only one shard. Then we separate payment and settlement.
We have one shard (which we call our Tier 1 network) that works differently than the rest. It collects all of the blocks from all of the other shards (Tier 2 networks), adds them to its blocks, and then all of the T2’s handle settlement from the T1 blocks.
We haven’t yet reached a theoretical maximum in scaling this way, but we will be able to process over 10 million transactions per second on-chain on a public, global blockchain, using the designs we currently have working. It is a very scalable design, not only in throughput, but also by geography and use.
Koetsier: How does it differ from standard blockchain technology?
Tom Anderson: The vast majority of blockchain projects have been focused either on a particular application area (cryptocurrency, supply chain, gambling, identity, etc), or on solving one or two of the main challenges in the space (privacy, scalability, smart contracts, etc.). There are no approaches, other than Devvio’s, where the solution was designed to address all of blockchain’s challenges in a single solution.
Additionally, the majority of projects have accepted some base assumptions that originated with Bitcoin’s design, but which are not absolutes and which create a solution space in which it is very difficult to solve problems. Many projects still have a naïve belief and design where blockchains will overcome any type of government regulation, based on the field’s cypherpunk roots. Governance is a significant problem in blockchain, and even projects specifically targeted at governance are unproven.
Another example are the problems of fraud, theft, and loss. Nearly everyone in the blockchain industry simply accepts those problems as unsolvable, because blockchains are immutable. However, Devvio has shown that one can have an immutable blockchain that still implements clever designs to address those issues.
A blockchain approach that solves all of the field’s biggest problems in a single solution is critical to the success and growth of blockchain as an industry, and Devvio is the first to do so.
We have the fastest blockchain in the world. We have the least expensive smart contract system. We have a solution for fraud, theft, and loss. We have a privacy solution that will work within government regulation. We have a stable coin that can be implemented within KYC and AML constraints. It is not until one has solved ALL of these problems that blockchain can truly fulfill its potential and become a world changing technology.
Koetsier: You have a currency built on Devv as well… when are you planning to launch that?
Tom Anderson: We will launch the Devv cryptocurrency when we launch or live version 1 production blockchain. We expect to do so in early 2019.
We have already created our genesis block for Devv (and included some easter eggs in it, including a note that says “Thank you Satoshi” — Bitcoin showed us the way, and I feel we will take the baton).
Koetsier: Why would people adopt it versus Bitcoin or Ethereum?
Tom Anderson: Our solution does the things one needs to do, to truly have blockchain become what we all want it to become.
It’s just not realistic for mass use, enterprise use, and institutional use if a blockchain doesn’t scale, if there is massive theft with no recourse, if there is no privacy solution that governments will accept, and if the price of a cryptocurrency is extremely volatile.
Again, coming from the tech space, this is just common business sense. Additionally, in the case of Ethereum, Ethereum has too many fatal flaws. It is a brilliant project, and like Bitcoin, showed us the way, but it is not a practical solution for the future. Cost alone will make Ethereum unusable in enterprise use.
Koetsier: Talk about smart contracts on Devv. Is that implemented, or part of what you’re planning to implement?
Tom Anderson: I am very excited about our smart contract solution, which we implement with a concept called Smart Coins. There are two things that blockchain does well, and only two things: robustness and trustlessness.
If you want to use blockchain, you should need both of those concepts. If not, you’re better off using a traditional database.
We designed our Smart Coin approach around that philosophy. I think having a Turing complete Smart Contract solution is an enormous mistake. Don’t get me wrong – our solution is built on C++ which is Turing Complete, so we can implement anything that we need to, but having it where anyone can implement anything on a decentralized blockchain leads to a network that is not scalable and not secure.
I believe our solution will be received by the community similar to how Ethereum was received – I feel people will be very excited by the concept.
We have designed our Smart Coin approach, submitted a great deal of information on them in our patents, and are currently implementing our first Smart Coins.
Koetsier: How do you plan to make it a standard or default?
Tom Anderson: I think one of our biggest strengths is in the problems we solve for those looking to build real businesses on the blockchain. We create solutions that actually enable many businesses that are otherwise not possible, and I think that alone will create a lot of buzz and help us to establish our solution.
Perhaps more importantly, though, we have a lot of business development and corporate development experience on our team. Our President, Ray Quintana, has many contacts in the global 500, and they are very interested in our solutions. Our team is very experienced across the board, so building relationships with other companies will be one of our real strengths. I feel we represent a second generation of entrepreneurs coming into the blockchain space, with a bit more traditional experience and formality in growing the business.
Finally, we intend to grow our own fund to support our ecosystem. Again, our President is a very experienced Venture Capitalist. He was a general partner in one of the best performing early stage VC’s in the US over the past 8 years, and has an excellent track record in creating strong returns. In raising a large venture fund to support our ecosystem, we will greatly enhance our position as a leader in the space.
Koetsier: Thank you for your time!