Byteball: Exclusive Interview with developer tonych in English


Byteball has gained a lot of attention from the Crypto Community since it was announced one month ago. Main reason is because it’s a 3rd Generation Cryptocurrency without any Blockchain based at a Direct Acyclic Graph (DAG) structure. The DAG concept was introduced by Sergio Demian Lerner in September 2015. At the moment there is with IOTA just one other crypto project based at DAG. An other reason for the great attention was, because Byteball will be distributed for free with an airdrop end of this year. There will be no ICO, you just need a Bitcoin-Wallet to participate at the distribution of Byteball.

The developer of Byteball (Anton Churyumov) was willing to answer me my questions in an interview:

Hi Anton, any words about yourself?

tonych: I founded or actively participated in a few internet businesses, some were sold, some were failures, some are still under way. In most of these businesses, I was focused primarily on the technical design and implementation. Before 2001, I was a scientist, I hold a Russian equivalent of PhD in physics and math but I abandoned science in favor of my first business project where I saw that I can produce an impact.

When did you start developing Byteball, is it your first Cryptoproject?

tonych: Byteball is my first cryptocurrency project. I started thinking about it in November 2014 when I saw that the blockchain design can be significantly simplified by replacing it with a DAG. I was fascinated by the cooperative democratic nature of the DAG where every new transaction implicitly secures all previous transactions by referencing their hashes. At the same time, the author of the new transaction depends on his peers to confirm the transaction, not on miners he has no control over. Once a new transaction is released into the network, it gets referenced, hence implicitly confirmed, almost immediately, and the number of direct and indirect references grows like a snowball. Snowball was the first working name of the system.

Byteball uses a Direct Acyclic Graph (DAG) structure. Was this inspired by the DAG-Coin concept of Sergio Demian Lerner?

tonych: I came to it independently. Sergio developed the DagCoin concept in 2012 but published it only in September 2015, almost a year after I began working on a similar idea.  However, the interest to the concept by one of the great minds in crypto space supported my belief that DAG is something worth working on.

In the whitepaper you mentioned also the book 1984 as BCNext did in the Nxt-Code. Is there any relation between you and him?

tonych: Don’t speculate about the relation, it is just a good book. And if BCNext is Russian, this book has a special significance for Russia.

Where do you see the biggest advantages of DAG instead of a classical Blockchain?

tonych: I see two advantages that are common for all DAG based designs. First, a new transaction starts gaining at least partial confirmations from peers almost immediately after it is published, no need to wait that a miner finds a new block. Second, DAG is inherently more scalable than blockchain. When new transactions are issued too often, the DAG just becomes wider, there is no block size limit, there is no orphaning when the interval between blocks is set too small, there is no need to consider large delay in pushing large block to peers.

There are also important advantages of the DAG design employed in Byteball. In all other cryptocurrencies, there is no guarantee that a transaction is ultimately recognized, even when it is absolutely valid according to the protocol, also reorgs are possible and transaction finality is only probabilistic. These properties look somewhat odd to ordinary users and are not compatible with the requirements of the financial sector, where certainty is expected. In Byteball, forks and reorgs are impossible by design, and every transaction attains a final confirmation, which is deterministic. This is very important advancement in crypto space which brings Byteball closer to what ordinary users and the financial sector are used to expect from money.

What are the main similarities and differences with the other DAG-like Crypto IOTA?

tonych: IOTA also uses DAG, and this is the only similarity.
Everything else is different:
– IOTA uses PoW. In Byteball, the ordering of transactions is based on main chain
– In IOTA, parts of the DAG can be orphaned. In Byteball, there is no chance of orphaning
– Byteball has transaction fees, in IOTA there are no explicit fees (but users still have to expend resources for PoW)
– In Byteball, there are deterministic criteria when a transaction becomes final. In IOTA, there are no exact criteria, it is still probabilistic
– IOTA is a single token currency with only plain payments, Byteball has multiple assets and smart contracts
– In IOTA all payments are public. In Byteball, there are assets that are transferred privately

Can you bring a nice example how Byteball could change the life of an average person in a positive way?

tonych: Byteball enables banks to issue assets that can only be moved when co-signed by the issuer (the bank). That allows banks to open bank accounts that are tracked on the Byteball database (rather than the bank’s internal database) and still follow the KYC/AML regulations that exist in the financial sector: the banks will co-sign transactions automatically once all the checks are passed.

That means that fiat-pegged bank issued assets and all other assets issued on Byteball now exist in a single common environment, the exchange happens by the two parties signing a single transaction that executes both legs of the exchange, it is instant, risk-free, and doesn’t require any third-party custodians. The environment is highly competitive, hence the exchange is affordable. The assets that users buy in exchange for bank issued money can be e.g. securities, such as bonds.  Users can also instantly send bank issued assets to each other or to merchants to pay for goods and services.

With this change, it becomes so easy for an average person to move value across multiple markets, globally, through a new type of account at a usual bank, and all the bank has to do is track this account on the Byteball decentralized database.

Delays are happening quite often for new projects,  what are the biggest challenges before you are ready to the lunch Byteball?

tonych: The biggest challenge is to get as many people as possible to know about Byteball and participate. We already have all the pre-requisites: we have this great technology that appeals to a much wider user base than any earlier cryptocurrency, and the distribution mechanism that invites every Bitcoin holder to participate without paying anything.  Despite all that, this is still a challenge for me, because I know the technology and its implications fairly well, but I’m less knowledgeable in communities and media.

Speaking about delays, it is something that can never be excluded, and apart from technical reasons which are quite common and familiar in this field, we might also have to delay the launch if we see that we are getting too few people on board, hence we don’t get the desired network effects right from the start.  In this case, there is more work to be done before we can Launch.

There have been some critic because you want to combine the distribution of Byteball with the amount of Bitcoin somebody owns at a specific address so somebody with 10 BTC will get 10x more than one with 1 BTC. Any comment on that?

tonych: Well, first of all, I want to recognize those early adopters who were first to believe in Bitcoin as the right direction in which the financial system should evolve. Second, the rules should be simple enough if we want everybody to understand the rules.  And third, the rules should be simple enough if we don’t want somebody to find loopholes that we did not foresee and game the rules in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage. If you think about it, the simplest ungameable distribution method that can be practically implemented, is the one that distributes bytes proportionally to BTC balances.

Any additional words for the German speaking community?

tonych: I do see a lot of activity in the crypto space from the German speaking community. I think it is a good sign: your financial systems are among the most advanced in the world, which together with the active demand for more open and decentralized financial services creates a good environment for the change to actually happen.

Many thanks Tony and good luck with Byteball!

More Information about Byteball:

Nächster Blogbeitrag selbstverständlich wieder auf Deutsch, keine Sorge. Aber seht es mir nach, ich hatte schlicht nicht die Zeit auf Deutsch zu übersetzen.