▲ Lior Yaffe at Blockchain News Korea studios
Blockchain News Korea had a one on one interview with Lior Yaffe, Ardor Blockchain Developer and Jelurida Managing Director at our offices recently.
Ardor is the next generation of NXT, an open source public blockchain platform that also works as a permissioned blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform for enterprises.
NXT is the first proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain in production since 2013.
Ardor's main value proposition comes from its innovative parent-child chain technology which enables efficient scalability through deployment of child chains while offering the usual security of the parent chain.
ARDR's native token (ARDR) is currently traded on global cryptocurrency exchanges.
Below is our interview with Lior Yaffe. The video version will be out shortly.
(BCNewsKorea): Hello. My name is Albert Kim here with Blockchain News and I’m here with Lior Yaffe, Ardor Blockchain Developer and Jelurida Managing Director. Welcome to Korea.
(Yaffe): Thank you.
(BCNewsKorea): So I’m just going to ask you a few questions just to let our viewers know about the project a little bit. So could you introduce yourself briefly for our viewers?
(Yaffe): Yes, so I’ve been a blockchain developer since 2014. I started with the NXT blockchain project but just when it was an open source project.
Later in 2016, the developers of the NXT project established a company named Jelurida. We gradually transitioned to working on a next generation blockchain which is called Ardor.
(BCNewsKorea): Alright. That’s great. And could you tell us a little bit about the Ardor platform and what it does?
(Yaffe): OK. So Ardor is about solving the several limitations of blockchain technology today. One of them is blockchain bloat that every transaction ever submitted to the blockchain has to stay there forever.
In Ardor, we have a solution to remove transactions from the blockchain once they are no longer necessary.
Another solution that Ardor brings is the ability to send transactions without requiring the end users to pay the transaction fees.
And a longer term project we are working on is the ability to remove the need of each node in the blockchain to process all the transactions. This is all achieved using our innovative parent-child chain architecture.
(BCNewsKorea): OK. And we’ve heard a little bit about how Ardor has that sort of proprietary technology with parent and child chains. Could you explain a little bit about, a little more in depth about child chain technology and maybe how it differs from side chains?
(Yaffe): Sure. Think about this. First of all, we claim that the existing blockchains with single blockchain-single token model does not scale, it has to be improved. So we already, NXT developers, we already realized this quite a while ago, years ago actually. NXT if you know is the first proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. It’s been working in production since 2013. It works excellent with proof-of-stake.
So we decided why don’t we take this proof-of-stake and actually separate the blockchain into parent-child chain architecture where the parent chain is dealing with the proof-of-stake consensus and provides security for the child chains where the applications (what people call smart contracts) will actually run on the child chains. So that’s the basic architecture, nothing to do side chains.
Side chains talk about different blockchains. We have a platform, an architecture, that contains parent and child chains. All of them are part of the same software package.
(BCNewsKorea): So definitely some people get a little bit confused with side chains and child chains. I think that was a very good explanation.
Now with blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS), Ardor also offers blockchain-as-a-service platform and it’s also a public blockchain platform. How do you think it sort of competes and what sort of makes Ardor stand out against those other blockchain-as-a-service platforms or public blockchains?
(Yaffe): Right. So what parent-child chain architecture allows us is to actually provide a public network which provides the security for the network. And then create child chain pair applications.
Let’s think about it. Our first child chain is called Ignis. Ignis child chain has all the functionality of NXT, functionality which was developed over five years. All of it is available in Ignis plus more.
However, some businesses that need their own token of value will be able to partner with us to create their own child chain. On their own child chain, they will be able to decide about the rules; who is allowed to participate and so on.
So they will have some kind of permissioned layer on the child chain but still get the security and network and scalability from the parent chain. So in this sense, we provide a blockchain-as-a-service by the child chain. So a “child chain-as-a-service.”
(BCNewsKorea): OK. And what do you think are some good uses for Ardor? Do you have any specific use cases for Ardor or any applications or companies that want to build on top of Ardor specifically?
(Yaffe): I can mention two use cases. One of them is if you heard about the Binance challenge for a decentralized exchange. So one of our community members just took the Ardor platform itself which already has a decentralized exchange running on top of it, packaged it nicely, and used it to apply for the Binance decentralized exchange demo because it already has everything or almost that everything Binance asked, [already] built on top of, built inside.
Other use cases are, [we do not specialize on any vertical] you can think of identity management, gaming, voting. For some of these applications, we already provide users the basic building blocks. We allow you to send messages between accounts, set up account properties, store data in the blockchain, things like that.
On top of that, we already developed the most basic smart contracts like as we talked, asset exchange voting/marketplace. We already have it running in production. So as a kind of a reference implementation that you can start from, all is available using very simple APIs that we like so much that we actually built a wallet using these APIs. So every feature we provide you, we also provide you with the user interface.
(BCNewsKorea): In regards to the Ardor roadmap for 2018 and beyond, what are some of the short term and long term things you can let our viewers know about?
(Yaffe): OK, so first of all our focus is on Ardor and to complete the Ardor promise. Right now, we still don’t have some of the key components working in production. We only have them working in our labs. Still shape perfecting them before we can deploy it on the MainNet.
First thing is the actual pruning – the removal of transactions on the blockchain and the snapshot that will allow you to start from existing balances and then only download the latest 24 hours or so. So this is the first thing that we plan to deploy to production in Q3, perhaps Q4 this year.
A more longer term project is the ability to dedicate certain nodes to certain child chains. This will allow us to remove this restrictive requirement of every node to process all the transactions. Instead, if you have a child chain working on identity and another child chain working on voting and another on CryptoKitties, each operator will be able to decide which child chains they want to support and which ones it wants to ignore. Something that is not available to anyone in the industry at the moment.
On top of that, we realize that the contracts we already have built in are a bit rigid for developers. [That] some places need some kind of, some layer of automation and for this, we came up with a new mechanism called the lightweight contracts which are unlike smart contracts, the traditional smart contracts which are processed by every node and have to be metered execution with special VM (virtual machine).
We have another approach. We have contracts you can program. You can program them in Java. You don’t need to learn a new language or so and it will only run on the nodes that run it. So if it enters an infinite loop, it’s not a disaster. It’s just one node that entered an infinite loop. If you don’t trust this node, multiple nodes can run the same contracts since the contract itself is saved on the blockchain.
So it’s a different kind of smart contracts platform which is kind of “compromised.” It gives you still less flexibility but it gives you better security since our lightweight contracts cannot modify the state of the blockchain. They cannot cause numeric overflows. A bug can still be exploited in some cases, but the output of our own contracts is transactions.
So we get input from transactions and the contract itself submits one transaction. So the transaction submitted by the contract still has to go through the normal validation procedure of the blockchain. It cannot just change balance of tokens and if someone exploited it, you cannot do negative balances. You still need to comply with every other rule of the protocol. You don’t need to run these contracts on 10,000 nodes at the same time. You just need to run it on one node and another node validates that there is no cheating or two out three or something like this.
So it also provides you much better scalability. You also rely on the Java VM and not on some VM that for which you have to pay gas for every instruction. For us, in our contracts, you can run as much instructions as you like. You can even write statements to the log file of your node.
(BCNewsKorea): I do feel like I should ask you about the Ardor token or ARDR token. Do you have any sort of words that you might want to give to people who are holding onto the ARDR token? Maybe we can get your thoughts on that.
(Yaffe): We [Jelurida] are the team that is thinking for the long term. So I would say forget about the short term market fluctuations. Some days you are good, some days you are bad. It doesn’t help.
I encourage you to invest in the long run and try to pick the teams that actually have technologies and not just vague promises, white papers, products that are going to deliver in three years and so on.
We have Ardor, it’s working in production. It’s working excellent and we are learning, we are learning from this platform. And we will continue to improve it and perfect it. We want to create the best blockchain technology that there is and I hope the value will come with the utility.
(BCNewsKorea): Any sort of final words you’d like to leave with our viewers about blockchain in general or about Ardor, anything that you’d like to offer?
(Yaffe): I’m a big believer in blockchain technology. I think it will take time until we see mainstream applications. I believe the most interesting use cases will be on the public blockchain with network effects, with crowd effects around it. It will take time but I think we will get there. Jelurida and Ardor will do our best to be there when it happens.
Thanks to Lior Yaffe and the Jelurida team for taking the time to have an interview.
[Blockchain News Korea Albert Kim]