NITI Aayog, in collaboration with Nucleus Vision and the State Governments of Goa and Telengana, has hosted International Blockchain Congress in Hyderabad. As you know inside the Pramati lab, a lot of researches are happening with this technology, like developing fail-safe smart contracts, creating side chains, developing secure wallets etc. hence it was obvious for us to participate in the conference. Our one of the goal was to understand the technology from the perspective of mass adoption and to know what kind of solutions that are coming up using the tech.The conference was divided into a couple of tracks like talks, workshops, hackathons, expo, ICO pitches. etc. We split ourselves into groups and started exploring so that we can get maximum benefit out of it.
Track 1 was mostly talks and presentations on general topics like “Blockchain Initiatives”, ” Inside the Mind of an Indian Investor”, “Blockchain & Smart Economy” etc. from various speakers of government and non – government bodies of India and abroad. But we were more interested towards to the implementation of Blockchain, so we headed towards the expo area.
The Expo hall was filled with many stalls of different blockchain based companies where we got chances to understand their solutions and also got opportunities to talk to their lead developers and CTOs to get more insight of those solutions from the technical standpoint. I am going to talk in about some of those solutions in brief which we find interesting.
Let’s start with Spatium, according to them, Spatium is ultra secure software and hardware multi-currency wallet that provides support over 100 of cryptocurrencies. The main thing which attracts us towards them is their tagline ‘No Private key’ and hence there is no single point of failure. But the question comes is, how they are signing the transactions if is there is no private key? Yeah, that’s the question we asked at their stall. And we got the chance to talk about the ‘Spatium protocol’ with Dilya Zhanispayeva, who is one of the co-founder of Saptium.
According to Dilya, Spatium protocol talks about creating multiple secrets keys and storing them into multiple devices and then syncing up in order to sign the transaction after one round of message passing over a set of devices. But this is to keep in mind that secret never leave the device. What happens that transaction data is partially signed by using the first secret. After that data is encrypted and passed to next device where it gets again partially signed without decrypting it and passed to next device and so on from one device to other. Once all of the devices have participated, a result is obtained that is equal to the result of the mathematical manipulations that would have been done using the private key, but without that private key. More about the Spatium protocol can be found on their whitepaper.
She was also claiming that this idea was taken from the concept of Zero-knowledge proof(ZKP) and 2-millionaire problem. As ZKP allows one party to prove to other that he knows part of secret key without even exposing the secret he has, but only the fact that he knows it. Still, have to do more research on this front.
Moving ahead we reached BlockCluster stall which had an eye-catching tagline which says ‘Build blockchain application without writing a single line of code!’ After talking we came to know that they are offering Blockchain as service (BAS) infrastructure. As per one of the guys in the stall, the platform is built on top of Quorum blockchain. One can come to the platform with an idea and by doing some configurations they can get blockchain networks of a specified number of nodes up and running in some time.
Drivezy is Bangalore based company similar to Zoom who provides cars for rental. They wanted to incorporate the Blockchain tech by storing user rating on to blockchain. They were also talking about bringing RentalCoin for sharing economy for giving rewards to agents in the application.
Adara is a hybrid decentralized exchange. On asking the question how the application is hybrid, a guy in the stall explained, transactions can be stored in a centralised database or on Ethereum network using smart contracts depending on the willingness of users. Which provoked me to ask two more questions, one, who will pay for the gas and what motivates the user to store the transaction on blockchain? But none of my questions got answered.
Diro offers Decentralise Identity and Access Management (DIAM) platform which proposes a way of eliminating identity and document fraud. It has a browser plugin that captures any web page along with SSL certificates, hash them and stores them on to blockchain and stores encrypted copy of the document on IPFS, to make it tamper proof and immutable. Later on, it can be verified by the third party if required. We found this concept to be very interesting too. You can read more about the protocol in their whitepaper.
There were few other stalls as well, like Param, Zagg, Hosho, Idap.io etc. where we visited and tried to understand their solutions
On the other hand, ICO pitching was going on which allows innovative entrepreneurs to present their idea/roadmap/plans to the investors and get chance to quickly sell a portion of their upcoming tokens. I thought that pitching is for marketing and investment guys only but I was wrong. I came to know how to present your idea in only 10 mins in the front of investors and how to tackle questions once asked. I also noticed that they ask tough to answer questions (sometimes very technical too), like Why do you want to raise x amount of money? How your application is different from your competitors? How are you going to spend money once raised? Where do you store the private key? etc.
Apart from this we also participated in Workshops conducted by IBM and Neo. Those were very basic and introductory workshops, and one should not expect more out of it. But still, we managed to ask our questions to the instructors.
Neo supports multiple languages like c#, python, java etc. We asked the question, how they are achieving deterministic nature of smart contract using non-deterministic languages? But could not get the answer from them.
All operations in the Blockchain has to be deterministic in nature since same operations are performed across multiple nodes and they should produce same result. Difference in result for same operation leads to failure of consensus. I think this is why Ethereum came up with completely different language called Solidity which is deterministic language and does not support random number generation and time.now() methods but yes there are other ways around to achieve these.
A couple of more workshops were happening on cryptocurrencies but we were not interested.
Overall it was a very informative conference, we learnt a lot from it which will certainly help us planning in our next move in the Blockchain space.