Blockchain markets are seeing signs of recovery, with bullish sentiment reemerging early in 2019. Many blockchain projects have been working hard behind the scenes and are now delivering solutions to the market. Unlike the juvenile environment of 2018, the world is now demanding commercial applications from blockchain projects and to see quality adoptions. The public chain project “Ultrain” has made several breakthroughs in this regard.
Founded in 2017, Ultrain focuses on the development of public technological infrastructure for trusted computing. Its mission is to provide trusted, secure, efficient, and cost-effective distributed computing services to businesses and individuals. Ultrain has announced many recent milestones, such as partnerships with streetwear e-commerce giant YOHO!, blockchain game developers Unitopia Gaming, and energy company Great Resource Energy.
Mars Finance recently interviewed Guo Rui, co-founder and CEO of Ultrain, in response to Ultrain’s latest developments.
Mars Finance: Tell us about Ultrain’s latest development status.
Guo: Ultrain’s team has nearly 40 fulltime technical staff, most of which are from Ant Financial’s Blockchain technology team, including the technical lead of the original Ant Financial Blockchain team. We also have cryptographers and core architects from Google ChromeOS. Most team members have more than 10 years of system development experience, and more than 2 years of blockchain development experience. We released our proof of concept network back in July 2018, which ran with 3000 transactions per second in a cloud environment on 1000 machines. Our public test network went live in October 2018, allowing global users to install the Ultrain software and participate. Our commercial main network system was completed and went live on January 1st this year, and is currently providing services to commercial clients. All of our code is open source, except for consensus code, which will be open sourced by the end of 2019.
Mars Finance: As a public chain, how does Ultrain differentiate itself from Ethereum, EOS and other well-known public chains? From a technical point of view, what are some of important highlights? For example, what innovations are there with the consensus mechanism? How is TPS being improved?
Ultrain’s key innovation is its consensus mechanism, called Random Proof of Stake (R-PoS), which is based on a cryptographically secure Verifiably Random Function to achieve TPS performance improvements. Take EOS as an example, which uses a Delegated PoS consensus mechanism. A group of people choose a fixed number of others to make decisions based on the number of tokens they hold. R-PoS, on the other hand, randomly selects valid nodes from the network to automatically make their own block proposals, and then randomly selects 10 times as many verifiers to determine whether the previous proposal is correct. The verifiers then decide on which proposal should be added to the chain. This helps Ultrain achieve a 10 second block time, with higher security and decentralization than DPoS. There are no special nodes in the Ultrain network, and all machines are treated equal. Our method can be compared to Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses a hash to implement randomization across the network, while we use a VRF function to implement randomization.
Mars Finance: There are many public chains out there in the market, what is Ultrain’s unique advantage?
Mars Finance: How does Ultrain position itself? What problems do you want to solve in the blockchain industry and traditional businesses?
Guo: Ultrain is positioned as a commercial chain to provide trusted computing services to businesses and commercial clients, leveraging Ultrain's high performance, low price, and privacy protection scheme to help enterprise customers develop blockchain solutions.
Ultrain provides enterprises with a service that we call "trusted computing." Trusted computing is the core value proposition of all blockchain technology, which Ultrain has improved upon. We integrate distributed scheduling technology, resource management technology, micro-service technology and other core technologies to form next generation computing infrastructure.
The core function of trusted computing (and point of differentiation with cloud computing) is that after the data of the enterprise enters the trusted computing platform, the data cannot be tampered with, cannot be destroyed, and is transparent to everyone. This data can be naturally trusted.
Ultrain retains similar flexibility to modern cloud computing services, such as a “pay as you go” flexible model for enterprises, providing companies with a technology-based and low-cost form of trust that facilitates business transactions. This is unimaginable in the traditional business society. In China, the only enterprises with the ability to form low-cost trust are the four major state-owned banks.
We also provide design services for business model upgrades. We serve a wide range of industries and are now commercializing in a number of industries including new retail, logistics, energy, healthcare, advertising, philanthropy, gaming, and data markets.
Mars Finance: It has been historically difficult to find the direct commercial value of DApps. Although Ali Cloud has been established for many years, it still does not directly generate profit. What is Ultrain's business model and how does it generate revenue?
Guo: Alibaba Cloud's large operation cost comes from server procurement and is a model that requires significant asset management. Ultrain adopts a lighter model of operation by creating a decentralized network. Our trusted computing nodes are run by the general public, to which 80% of network fees are received by miners, and the remaining 20% is paid to Ultrain. Enterprises pay service fees one year in advance, which are locked in a smart contract. The smart contract will automatically perform the service fee allocation according to the above criteria.
Changing smart contract code is only possible via network consensus, which means no one can change or violate business rules once they’re deployed, guaranteeing security for all participants.
Mars Finance: What is the uniqueness of Ultrain in terms of community governance? What are the advantages of Ultrain's market expansion?
We are addressing community growth and governance with a two-pronged approach. Firstly, 25% of Ultrain’s mining revenue (20% of all fees) is allocated to community project funding and growth. Allocation is directly sent to a public address for transparency purposes. Secondly, we are adopting a voting governance method, which is provided naturally by the Ultrain system. When there are disputes on the network, votes are made according to the amount of UGAS held by each miner, and the voting result is automatically updated to the Ultrain system.
Another key part of growth is Ultrain’s growth is landing key partnerships, such as massive streetwear retailer YOHO!, who joined Ultrain in January. There are now roughly 400 sneaker transactions on chain every day, with a projected 400,000-500,000 transactions this year. Others partnerships include Electric Soul Network, and Great Resources Energy's two Chinese listed companies who will launch applications in the near future. Customers in new retail, logistics, medical, advertising, philanthropy, data market and other industries will gradually launch applications on Ultrain in the coming months. Ultrain is also actively cooperating with international top 500 companies. It has already launched the Microsoft cloud service market and is connected to Microsoft's Azure joint sales system. Microsoft will also help Ultrain to expand its customers in blockchain enterprise services.
Mars Finance: What is Ultrain's business goal in 2019? What is Ultrian’s future vision?
In 2019, Ultrain hopes to serve benchmark enterprises in multiple industries, with established blockchain business models that drive commercialization of 100 DApps. We also hope to establish a secure foundation of the main network by selling 1,000 mining rigs. Our future vision is to serve more enterprises and industries, apply trusted computing services to upgrade business models across a number of business verticals . I expect that Ultrain will integrate blockchain technology with emerging IoT and AI technology to create the programmable business society of the future.
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