In this update: ⁂ NEW: Roadmap! ⁂ Orbs goes to India ⁂ NY Blockchain Week ⁂ 1st Hackathon ⁂ NEW: Validator monitoring tool ⁂ Co-founders AMA ⁂ WEF Membership ⁂ Ministry of Finance ⁂ IEEE Conference ⁂ Block TV Interview ⁂ Techstars Demo Day ⁂ Events
Welcome back to our monthly recap everyone! @Nate here. Perhaps it’s because so much has been happening this past month, but it feels as though it started a long time ago. Fortunately, this is exactly why I love posting these updates; refreshing our memory and keeping the whole community of Orbs participants in the loop with what is going on with the Orbs project.
This segment was contributed by Gili Ovadia (@gogogili)
As we did last year, Orbs core team attended the annual global gathering of the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology world. Since 2015, Consensus has attracted every major company, developer, founder, and participant in the industry to engage in an annual discussion about the future of the industry. Orbs was among the sponsors of the event and operated a very busy pavilion throughout the conference days.
Ethereal Summit took place in New York City on May 10th-11th, championing those building the infrastructure and applications driving blockchain tech, all around Ethereum. Orbs representatives attended several high-caliber meetings during these jam-packed two days.
This satellite event was attended by some of the most interesting stakeholders of the industry. Orbs Co-founder Tal Kol gave a talk on stage as part of a fascinating panel on the topic of ‘The Idealists’ Dilemma: Building Sustainable Decentralized Protocols’.
The network effects of shared ledgers require broad buy-in and trust, which in turn requires true decentralization and shared governance. But building these systems requires capital investment and, according to existing models, the expectation of future revenues.
The panel explored how blockchain projects fund development in a sustainable way, and how those paths can possibly lead to true decentralization and community control. This panel brings together leaders who have grappled with these questions and come to different answers. Moderator: Matteo Leibowitz (The Block). Panelists include Jake Yocom-Piatt (Decred), Alexander Zaidelson (Beam), Ryan Taylor (Dash), and Tal Kol (Orbs).
Some conclusions from Orbs’ crazy busy week in NY:
Those we’ve spoken with seem to realize Orbs is uniquely positioned and could be a leading project.
Use cases remain a significant challenge; there is a clear need to prove 2-3 use cases and pursue them as much as possible. Fortunately, we believe we have a solid understanding of who those winners will be.
On the tech level, the all-hybrid concept of Orbs PoS over Ethereum was received really well and left a very good impression with the enterprises we’ve talked to.
Orbs’ Identity model was very helpful in having concrete discussions while generating a lot of interest; it appears to be a good way to onboard enterprise partners.
In terms of market maturity, an increasing number of enterprises are past the exploration phase and are actively doing PoCs for blockchain related projects (if not already beyond that point).
Private vs public arguments were a huge success, and it felt like we are able to really convince with our position of the need for an external 3rd party to generate guarantees and trust. It appears as though the industry is beginning to understand that private blockchain is not a sustainable solution, which seems to indicate another important step in the majority of the market.
In last month’s update, we mentioned Orbs was chosen as a technical partner for the exclusive blockchain program run by Techstars and Alchemist. The crown jewel of that program was the Demo Day during which all the top players of the American blockchain space gathered together to witness the projects pitched.
Orbs played an important role in the mentoring practice of the program, consulting each and every project in a 1:1 meeting and shared general overviews on various topics such as governance and PoS.
At the D-Day, Orbs’ logo was on the main stage and mentioned several times throughout as the technical partner of this program. We are proud to have been part of this luxurious program and remain in contact with some of the project’s graduates regarding potential collaboration based on Orbs’ technology.
@Dannyhbrown spoke at the CryptoChicks Blockchain & AI Conference & Hack•A•Thon in Toronto with Vitalik, Vlad, and other real and honorary Crypto Chicks.
The topic of the talk was ‘Proof of Stake Architecture’, but Danny decided to take it to a less obvious place, and discuss all the PROBLEMS of different PoS designs, and what to consider when analyzing governance and economics of PoS networks.
Masters of the Crypto Universe panel
Silicon Valley Blockchain meetup moderated by Marco Santori aka ‘Father of the SAFT Agreement’; President of Blockchain.com and Managing Partner at Blockchain Ventures, and Tony Perkins, Founder & Editor at Cryptonite.
I gave a 20 min talk about Orbs in front of an audience of about 100 people composed of developers, enterprises, blockchain fans, and other projects.
India, a leading global source of software innovation, houses some of the world’s top blockchain teams. Many of the largest System Integrators responsible for the software running some of the largest enterprises are managed from India. The country’s technology industry views blockchain as part of the future of corporate IS, and they have founded blockchain centers-of-excellence with teams of business experts and developers in India. So naturally, we felt it was vital to hear what local experts think about corporate use cases and the current infrastructure. I spoke to them about Orbs’ technology and its advantages to hear a fresh take on its potential value for their customers.
During mid-May, some of the leading global system integrators had the opportunity to see the Orbs technology firsthand. We met with local teams that already delivered hundreds of blockchain-based PoCs and tens of production/trial projects. We then presented to SIs (spread across the country from New Delhi to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and all the way south to Kochi in Kerala) the Orbs PoS ecosystem and held in-depth discussions regarding the addition of permissionless validators to improve the overall security of the networks without exposing private data.
We also discussed the shortfalls of the current blockchain infrastructure they are relying on, and how Orbs – as a 3rd generation blockchain – can help them overcome these limitations even in a completely permissioned environment, in addition to the value created by allowing the gradual, controlled move towards permissionless networks when the need arrives.
On May 14th, I spoke at the First International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency organized by the IEEE organization gathered in Seoul, Korea.
Participants included faculty members and students from universities such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Massachusetts, Singapore University of Technology & Design and KAIST, Republic of Korea. Participating industrial companies and research labs included IBM USA, IBM India, and Theta Labs, Inc.
At the conference, I presented a paper on ‘Enforcing Fairness in Blockchain Transaction Ordering’. This work further strengthens fairness aspects in the way transactions are selected to be included in blocks as first suggested in Orbs’ Helix paper from last year.
In particular, in the new work we suggest three novel mechanisms to reach that goal:
An accurate block validation process among committee members. We show that a joint decision of the committee can be more accurate than a conclusion based on the independent votes of each member
A new reputation system to encourage nodes to honestly follow the protocol upon proposing blocks or in voting as committee members regarding the fairness of other blocks
A technique based on Bloom filter and Merkle trees that enables nodes to concisely declare on the set of pending transactions they are aware of for reducing transaction censorship
After some ado, Orbs’ core team decided to split into teams and conduct what will hopefully be the first of many Orbs hackathons. The teams basically locked themselves in for 48 hours, emerging with the first real-use apps on the network. The goal of the exercise was threefold: Create useful apps, put the network to the practical, real-world test, and learn lessons on how to approve its usability and functionality.
The event was fun, coming to its final conclusion with lighthearted presentations in front of a panel of judges and a few rounds of beer.
Orbs has become a member at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum. I am particularly pleased to announce that we were the first startup from Israel to be chosen for this honor!
Orbs was invited to join World Economic Forum's network of Members & Partners at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution! As the first start-up from IL to become a member, we're proud and looking forward to doing great things together!@wef@wef4irhttps://t.co/h4epOX0kab
My work at Orbs involves using our blockchain technology to create social impact. For this purpose, we created the Hexa Foundation. Our projects at the Foundation seek to solve some of our region’s most pressing issues, using blockchain as a tool. We are very excited to be working with the WEF, and together make progress towards making the world a better place one block at a time.
Meeting with IL Ministry of Finance
As part of our effort to enable a healthier global blockchain ecosystem, Hexa Foundation focuses on three goals: Education, research and special projects.
This month, as part of our effort to educate regulators, we lead a professional meeting with Israel’s Ministry of Finance to explore and demonstrate the value of blockchain. Along with my co-workers at Orbs – Andrey Dulkin, Ilan Sterk, Shiran Hodeda & Ran Hammer, we delved into the basics of blockchain and also discussed potential real-world uses and benefits of the technology to state representatives. We have held multiple seminars in the past for various government offices, and we look forward to continuing working with the state as educators while this technology gains better understanding and traction.
On May 6th, Orbs and our partner Yozma Fund had the privilege of hosting the Honorable Mayor of Seoul and his delegation in Tel Aviv for a special lunch, attended by high caliber members of the Israeli entrepreneurial tech scene (and some 20 journalists). The event consisted of several VIP guests who were asked to advise the Mayor on how to turn Seoul into a start-up hub and input on how to launch a $2 billion Seoul Innovation Fund.
Orbs’ Co-founders @Netta_Korin and @urielpeled gave short speeches welcoming the diplomats in praise of ongoing partnerships between members of the tech and business sectors on both sides of the continent. Some notable names from the gathering include Yigal Erlich, aka ‘founding father of Israeli VC’, renowned inventor Dov Moran, and Saul Singer, co-author of NYT bestseller Start-up Nation.
Orbs was honored to guide Mr. Park during his educational visit of Israel’s local technology startup scene and we were pleased to discuss the potential for the collaborative launch of an entrepreneurial hub, aimed at accelerating cooperation between the two countries’ industries. We look forward to doing great things together in Seoul!
Northeastern MBA visit
Orbs hosted a visit by MBA and Masters students of International Management students of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.
The visit was a part of an International Field Study course in Israel, during which the students toured Israel and met leading companies within the Israeli tech and startup ecosystem.
Orbs’ co-founder Tal Kol (@talkol) met the students and engaged in a long and open discussion. Tal shared his experience as a veteran of IDF’s 8200 unit and described how he thinks his military service contributed to his achievements in the high-tech sector. He also explained to the students the fundamentals of blockchain technology and Orbs’ unique approach to designing a blockchain infrastructure.
It was a real pleasure hosting such wonderful, inquisitive people during International Field Study Course at Orbs' Tel-Aviv HQ! Thank you to @NU_Business's MBA and Master's of International Management students at @Northeastern, you are welcome to visit anytime :) pic.twitter.com/NbdB6qpxwM
After community demands requests for another Q&A session with the co-founders, I set up another AMA (Ask Me Anything) with @talkol and @urielpeled. The questions were submitted via Orbs Community on Discourse and the Korean language Orbs Telegram group over the course of a week and answered on camera in Orbs’ HQ in Tel Aviv.
Another exciting update is the Orbs technology roadmap for the next year or so which was published last week. This should give everyone a glimpse as to how the Orbs core team envisions further development of the project following the mainnet launch we celebrated 2 months ago:
We’ll go over the roadmap in detail in the next R&D post but as you can see, it is focusing on three main aspects: Development of tangible business use cases on top of Orbs, improvement of developer experience to help app developers build great things on the platform, and maturing the production environment and protocol to meet the needs of these apps in production.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post which will dive deeper!
In the past month, there has been a lot of activity around two propositions we touched upon in the previous update: Digital identity and document notarization.
First, we have completed the first step of scoping for our digital identity proposition (see blog post). Orbs is preparing for an Identity Week in London, where we will participate in several events, present the identity concept and discuss its potential implementations with various companies, from identity startups to banks and telcos.
During the London trip, we will also plan to meet several system integrators that expressed interest in using Orbs, educate them on the platform and explore potential use cases.
The document notarization SDK is nearing completion of its design, and work will begin this month on a reference product that will demonstrate its capabilities while starting to get the word out for potential users.
Orbs was selected to be part of Fn Idoedu Group, a company specializing in online education and software consulting selected by the Korean Government as the de facto educational org for blockchain engineers (Our Korean fans can see the announcement here).
Some background: Fn Innoedu Group has been selected by Korea’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Information and Communication and the Information and Communication Planning and Evaluation Agency (IITP) as the education agency to head the ‘2019 Innovative Youth Talent Growth Concentration Project.’
The project is a nation-led talent fostering project aimed at nurturing industry-tailored professionals through project implementation and practical training in eight leading sectors including blockchain which will be central to the fourth industrial revolution.
The project is expected to be led by a consortium of more than 100 partners, as well as global companies which include Orbs from Israel, TrustVerse from Singapore, and Eleven01 from India.
Korea Guardians & Community
About half of the Orbs network’s guardians are now managed by Korean teams! We believe it’s crucial for a blockchain community to have a strong community of participants in Korea, which is by all accounts the hottest country for the industry right now.
Orbs’ Korea community has grown quite big, since its early days, counting over 2K community members in the Kakao group, while Telegram has more than 2.2K members!
One of the Orbs Network’s Guardians from Korea recently released a neat tool for the PoS ecosystem: It sounds an alarm when every election is completed, while also verifying delegator reward by registering to the delegator staking Ethereum address. Add the @ORBS_Delegator_bot on Telegram and try it out!
There are 17 active Guardians currently registered and 14 Validators running in production. There are now over 1300 Delegators participating in the Orbs PoS ecosystem. Up until now, there were 18 election rounds and no Validators have been voted out by the Guardians.
The next big event coming up, according to the protocol, is reward distribution. As you may recall, the spec is available here. Many community members have been inquiring in the forums about the technicalities of the process, how exactly it works, and how to better understand the spec. To help clarify all of this, I’ve decided to put together a proper explanatory post, that will be published in June.
Several Guardians have been deliberating over what exactly it means to be a Guardian, what the responsibilities are, what makes a great Guardian, and so forth. Since this information is important to all, especially those who wish to become Guardians, I’ve taken the liberty to assemble these discussions in the form of a “Guardian Responsibilities” post to be published in the upcoming weeks.
Stratx introduces a new Orbs Validator monitoring tool!
Stratx Consulting Inc. is currently an elected Validator, and has recently become a listed Guardian in the Orbs Universe. Stratx is building an active monitoring tool for the benefit of all Validators in the Orbs universe.
The tool will allow Validators to monitor their performance and health. The goal is to empower all Validators with an intuitive dashboard for inspecting the status of their node and the overall Orbs network. Stratx believes that by sharing this tool, more members of the community can collaborate to include features valued by Orbs Universe participants.
Stratx looks forward to applying its technical experience to continue to support and collaborate with the Orbs community going forward.
If you’re going to be in town and want to schedule a meeting with an Orbs representative, send a message us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come say hi!
That’s all from me today, be sure to follow our regular channels for a constant stream of updates, and join the Orbs Community if you want to get more involved and/or reach out to someone who is. Also, stay tuned for R&D updates and news which will be coming out next week.