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Elastos 4th Anniversary WeChat AMA | Rong Chen, Founder of Elastos
On August 30th, Rong Chen, founder of Elastos, spoke at the “Elastos Web3 4th” to the Chinese community about the near completion of the Elastos Web3 infrastructure. Elastos will now continue to improve the network, making it more efficient and at the same time, focus on adding Web3 business models such as building a decentralized network with Carrier and decentralized e-commerce. The goal for the next two years is to have the independent operation capability of the World Wide Web (WWW).
The following is a translated transcript of Rong’s presentation:
Welcome to the 4th Anniversary of Elastos. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you what Elastos has done in the past four years and what it will do in the future. What I share today includes three aspects: Firstly, what exactly is Elastos; Secondly, the relationship between Elastos and Web3; Thirdly, the next development direction of the Elastos core team.
Recently, Elastos launched Elastos Essentials, including a wallet, decentralized identity function (DID), CR voting (DAO) and other functions. In September, it will support public chain assets such as HECO, BSC and ETH, which is a bit like MetaMask, and will provide more support for public chain assets later. In addition to the basic work of cross-chain, Elastos also did DID, and established the website Profile.site, which is similar to a decentralized Linkedin, and has released the Alpha version to support users to create their own self-sovereign identity. In the planning of Elastos, there must be a wallet, which serves as the unique identifier of the user’s identity. The next step is to do ID. If Huawei were to participate in the Elastos platform, for example, as Huawei has a WeChat official account, the authenticity of the WeChat official account could be confirmed through ID verification.
In fact, one of the most important ideas from the early Internet is decentralization. Since the first Hello was issued in December 1969, the TCP/IP protocol was rewritten by Kahn and Vint Cerf of Stanford University in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The initial research and development of the Internet was supported by the US military. At that time, it was possible to turn the Internet into a center like NASA in the United States. However, scholars believed that the Internet was a platform for world communication and should not be controlled by a center. Hence, TCP/IP laid the embryonic form of the Internet today. During the Cold War, there was a saying that the Internet needed to resist atomic bombs, which meant that atomic bombs could not completely destroy the Internet. If you pay attention to the Dfinity project, you will know that this project also emphasizes resisting atomic bombs, repeatedly.
After so many years of research and development, the Internet began to develop in 1969, and it basically took shape in the early 1980s, with functions such as mail, TCP/IP, and FTP. By 1995, WWW entered the mainstream Americans’ vision, and in 1999, it entered China. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu began to appear at that time. It was Web1. In about 2008, iPhone and Android appeared, which meant Web2 began. After 10 years, it has developed from the Internet of Web1 to Web2 of the mobile APP.
Now, the Internet is entering the Web3 stage. First of all, we should clarify the concept. The Internet is for ordinary users and is not the same as blockchain. Blockchain is only a core technology, just like the relationship between electric vehicles and batteries. Batteries are not cars, but electric vehicles must have batteries. Similarly, there must be a blockchain in Web3, but the blockchain is not Web3. Web3 decides whether applications like WeChat, search engines, and e-commerce can be developed or not. Although blockchain can do decentralized transactions, it is essentially different from decentralized e-commerce.
So, what is Elastos doing? Elastos includes what I have been doing with the Internet operating system, and the operating system is creating the ecology, such as the Android and Apple ecology, Microsoft Windows PC ecology, and background service ecology. Therefore, creating the Internet is actually different from creating projects. Take WWW and Netscape Communications Corporation for example. Netscape was the first company to promote WWW, but it disappeared after two to three years. Then Google and Yahoo began to appear and continued to promote the development of the Internet. It can be seen that the Internet has little to do with the survival of a company.
The basic design of Elastos is to create the initial scheme of Web3. I need to emphasize here that the Web is definitely not made by one company. For example, Tencent’s WeChat has nearly one billion users and Facebook has about two billion users. Do you think Tencent, or Facebook is an Internet? Obviously not, they are just companies in the Internet industry. The Internet is a platform for everyone to communicate, and Tencent, Google, Facebook, etc. can all be on it. Not only one company can be the Internet, Alibaba can be the Internet, NetEase can be the Internet, and Sina can also be the Internet. It can’t be said that what A does is called the Internet, and what B does is not called the Internet.
Elastos made a DID conforming to W3C standards, and Microsoft also made a DID compatible with W3C. After W3C is compatible, the DID we created can interconnect with each other. For example, I use Elastos DID to register, while others use Microsoft DID to register, and these two accounts can interact. Like email, the one registered in Yahoo can communicate with the one registered in Google. There is a slight difference. Email can be decentralized to a certain extent. No matter which email is used, everyone can communicate with each other.
The original Internet was designed to be decentralized. In 1995, a cartoon was popular, in which a man surfed the Internet with his dog. The caption of the cartoon was: You don’t know whether the man or the dog is the one surfing the Internet behind the screen. This also reflects the false identity on the Internet. Because the Internet is free, so long as it attracts attention, it can earn advertising fees. As for whether news is true or false, no one cares. If you pay attention to hot spots and bring network traffic to the platform, the platform has your data. Moreover, when you buy something on a certain platform and bring activation to the platform, the platform and merchants can earn money. Therefore, as the whole Internet goes on to be decentralized, the contradictions begin to intensify, the communities begin to be antagonistic to each other, and it is easier for everyone to argue on the Internet. As for what is the truth, there is no truth on the Internet now.
However, if Elastos does ID, it can solve this problem. For example, through your account, you can know whether you have credit on the Internet, how long your account has been created, whether you repay your loans on time, whether you follow the rules. This is credit, and credit is our wealth. We can basically judge a person’s credit through these big data points. Then, after having an identity on the Internet, you can identify whether you are a real person on the Internet. It turns out that these things are not available on the Internet, currently.
Therefore, Elastos implements DID. Microsoft has DID, Ethereum has DID, and other projects have DID, so what’s the difference between Elastos and the others? This is the second point, where is your data stored? Although many projects are doing DID, few projects focus on where the data should be stored. Just like a computer must have a user ID, there must be a personal folder for storing personal data. As you can imagine, Web3 is also like the operating system we use. After having an ID, it will have a personal folder, which needs to be stored.
Then, the Web is involved, which can be divided as two parts: dot and line, whether it is 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0. A dot is a node, which refers to the intersection of several lines; A line is used to connect two points.
We think that on Web3, each point represents a personal cloud computer on the Internet. This doesn’t exist in Web1 and Web2. As for Web1, website servers connect and network with each other, and users are not on the Internet. For instance, is our mobile phone still on the Internet after it is turned off? When the mobile phone is connected to the Internet, an Internet node is connected first, and the mobile phone is not a node. Many people don’t pay attention to this point. They think that the mobile phone is on the Internet, but in fact it is not. The mobile phone should first be connected to a portal website or portal cloud, which brings us online.
If I send a tweet, is my data then on my own computer or on Sina’s computer? It is on Sina’s computer. What should I do if my data is to be confirmed right? Whether I accept it or not, after I upload the video on YouTube, my copyright will belong to YouTube, so can I own the copyright myself? This is key. If we don’t have a node, the data has nowhere to be stored. This problem cannot be solved.
Elastos is doing this. For instance, if we put a Raspberry Pie in our house, we can put the data on our own Raspberry Pie, or if you trust A, we can put the data on their node. If you have a good relationship with B, you can move the data to their node, that is, your data must be controlled by yourself, which requires a private key, without which you cannot control your data.
Next, after you can choose to store your own data independently, you need to transmit the data to others end-to-end. Thus, Elastos built Carrier, our P2P network. If you are an online celebrity who wants to broadcast live to hundreds of thousands of people, how can you do it with Carrier? What if the broadband is not enough to broadcast to 100,000 people? Can you broadcast it to 10 miners first? Then one of them transfers it to other 10 miners, and so on, and quickly enlarges it into 100,000 videos to broadcast? These miners have helped us expand our personal cloud computing capabilities and should be rewarded accordingly.
Now you should understand what Elastors is doing. Elastos is building a peripheral node of the Web3 peer-to-peer network, that is, the personal node. If we don’t want to have a centralized website to control the communication between two people, we ought to do a decentralized cloud. For instance, Dfinity makes a decentralized cloud composed of blockchain. The decentralized cloud is a loose center, and not completely decentralized.
Many projects talk about Web3, which uses a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) instead of a centralized company, ignoring the core idea that individuals own data on Web3. The essence of Web3 is personal home computer networking, followed by the decentralization of company websites and organization clouds.
As you know, we started four years ago, and now we can basically know the positioning of Elastos.
So, what is the relationship between Elastos and Web3? At the beginning, we made the intelligent contract of NEO, and later chose the intelligent contract of Ethereum. After that, no matter which project is developed, Elastos can support them, such as Ethereum, NEO, and Dfinity.
Lao Tzu said, the “one who does not fight can never be conquered”. By analogy, when we do ecology, we need to cooperate; when we create a project, we need to compete. We support the most popular one while doing ecology, and we eliminate the inferior while doing projects. Similar operating systems are not applications, but they can promote each other and form ecological prosperity, so Elastos hopes to cooperate with all blockchain projects. Moreover, Web3 should not only support blockchain projects, but also the application of traditional websites and the mainstream mobile Internet. For example, Lightning Network is popular recently. So, can we use Lightning Network as our asset transmission channel to generate value? In the ecology of Elastos, these can be integrated.
In the first four years, the core team of Elastos basically did Web3 reference design. Next, there are four directions for the projects supported by the Elastos Foundation.
Firstly, Elastos will continue to build its Internet infrastructure in the future, making it more efficient and more useful.
Secondly, be the DeFi of Web3 in real life. Can e-books and movies be made into NFTs? Financing, trading, and sharing are carried out through the application on the Elastos platform, and the algorithm of DeFi is integrated into the Internet to promote the development of a decentralized Internet business model.
Thirdly, the decentralized Carrier, if users who are unwilling to build their own nodes, will need someone to provide the node service, and everyone will build the network together. On the traditional Internet, we use telecommunications to access the Internet, and pay for it. But it is free at the Internet level. How do we share the benefits of Internet development from the bottom facilities to the superstructure is a great issue, and there are many new business opportunities.
Fourth, all the codes on the Internet are open source, but in life-threatening directions such as the industrial Internet, smart city, and automatic driving, it not only needs to be open source, but also the person needs to bear legal responsibilities. When many companies participate, they need to make credit endorsements. Personally speaking, the top-level designs such as how companies use open source to do business operations are a new round of huge business opportunities brought by Web 3.0.
To realize these needs not only the Elastos development team, but also the members of the global community need to explore and work together, so we can build a real business model for Web3 on Elastos.