Skycoin is one of the oldest projects in the cryptocurrency space. Started in 2014, as a fast alternative to Bitcoin, the project quickly expanded its offering and is one of the few projects building a totally decentralized internet (complete with its own special hardware).
Skycoin’s team is completely decentralized. The project is supported by some amazing developers and is lead by “Synth” an early Bitcoin core developer. We at Blockmanity had a chance to catch up Synth and understand his ambitions and goals for Skycoin.
Blockmanity: You were one of the few developers who contributed to the early Bitcoin project. What attracted you to Bitcoin in the first place?
Synth: It was really interesting to me. Prior to working on Skycoin, I was working at a Hedge fund and I was also a developer. I have been following virtual currencies before Bitcoin such as Tomcash, Hashcash, etc. Bitcoin was the first project that really took off. I got involved in Bitcoin after it took off and people started asking me about Bitcoins. And I started playing around with the source code.
I liked Bitcoin as it was a digital currency that was decentralized, that is it did not need any company or an agency to issue it.
Blockmanity: Why did you leave Bitcoin project, and how did you get the idea of Skycoin?
Synth: There were some problems in the Bitcoin network which I noticed early on. The number one was there was no one to take decisions. There were 8 different opinions regarding one thing. Developers were too afraid to change anything as they were afraid something would break. No one was powerful enough in the Bitcin community to make the changes that were needed to fix the early problems with Bitcoin.
There were three seperate projects following up and fixing the problems with Bitcoin. I was involved with them. These three projects merged together to form Skycoin. And then there was a huge fight between the developers and I had to mediate the groups as a project manager. People came people left, and I ended up staying in the network.
Skycoin, if you look closesly, is basicially fixing Bitcoin. We improved the consensus, the blockchain, etc. Skycoin was one of the first coins that could do half a second transaction (credit card speed).
Blockmanity: How’s the Obelisk consensus (Skycoin’s consensus) algorithm better and both PoW and PoS?
Synth: If you look at PoW and PoS they are consensus algorithm which can achieve one thing at a time – security or speed. To improve the transaction speed, both are giving up on security. PoW is a very interesting algorithm. It works in a way that whoever has the most hashing power controls the network, that is whoever has most money controls the network. Satoshi thought it was decentralized but it’s not. Bitcoin was initially controlled by Ukranian mining pool “Gigahash” and now it’s being controlled by three miners in China.
PoS is like a bank. It says if we hold your coins we will pay for the new coins that are created. PoS does not lead to centralization.
Obelisk the consensus algorithm in Skycoin was developed by “Chan”, who was one of the first developers on the Ethereum network. In fact, “Chan” wrote PyEtheruem. He left Ethereum and joined Skycoin.
Obelisk originated from the idea of achieving fast consensus on a decentralized model. It is based on the “Web of Trust” model. Each user has a public key and they choose nodes that they trust. Each user publishes messages in a cryptographic format that is replicated in a peer to peer format. It can mathematically be proven that the network stays secure while being fast and also being decentralized.
Blockmanity: Skycoin is one of the very few projects that has its own miner as well. Why did you build your own miner.
Synth: We have a hardware platform called “Skyminer”. It has 8 CPUs on it. It is like a mini supercomputer. We call it a miner, but its really a mini cloud. Companies can buy a Skyminer and plug it in, and they have their own personal cloud.
We have a lot of hardware, a hardware wallet, an SoC, a mini computer. Each of these computers is designed to run a blockchain based cloud. The idea is that companies can deploy it and have their own private blockchain network. The computers are designed to automatically replicate data in a cluster.
Blockchain just by itself is quite basic and doesn’t do much. They require a language, cluster of computers, SDKs, etc to full function. By deploying a Skyminer, a company or a university can easily deploy a blockchain running on their very own supercomputer. In fact, students and researches at Peking University loved our product as it was so simple to use and play around. Ethereum requires a fee per transaction and EOS has expensive storage, both of which makes it difficult to experiment with.
Blockmanity: What’s your favourite cryptocurrency apart from Skycoin.
Synth: I studied a lot of blockchains and cryptocurrencies when developing Skycoin. If we like a feature we try to get that implemented on Skycoin. Most of the projects in this space aren’t focused on development but rather they spend the majority of their funds on marketing. Tron is an example of this. While projects with great development failed, projects with great marketing like Tron survived.
My personal favorite projects are the one focused on development. I like what IOTA did with DAG (directed acyclic graph) called Tangle. In Skycoin we considered adding a DAG but we couldn’t run a scripting language on top of it.
There are a few more projects I used to like, but unfortunately they shut down due to the 2017 crash.
Blockmanity: Does Skycoin plan to be listed on other exchanges? Which exchanges do you plan to come to?
Synth: During the bull market of 2017, it was impossible for any token to be listed on an exchange. Some exchanges were charging an insane amount of $10 million. But now it’s very much possible to get listed on exchanges. We have a listing agreement with some of the biggest exchange in the space. I cannot mention it because of News embargo. I am very interested in getting Skycoin listed on Poloniex, but I could not get them to take our request.