Chris Trew: Stratis come about from my experience in Bitcoin and blockchain technology and also my day-to-day corporate experience. I could see a huge gap in the market and we basically wanted to fill that gap. And that was where Stratis was founded from.
Did you see that? There was a niche that needed to be filled in the Cryptocurrency market? Was there a gap that was missing or was it a problem that was unsolved? What did you see that inspired you to come up with the Stratis platform?
Chris Trew: Yeah, I mean there are several points. But the main one being, in corporate environments the dominant language, the majority of a corporation’s development resources are usually C#.NET.
So as of now, the C#.NET development communities don’t have any full node framework to develop blockchain applications on. I mean, we’ve got NBitcoin, which was developed by Nicolas Dorier, who’s also part of the project and that did give developers the opportunity to develop blockchain applications. But there wasn’t actually a full end-to-end development platform for that purpose.
So the idea was to build the Stratis platform which will allow businesses to develop test and deploy their applications all under this one platform. With our full node framework, developers are able to develop applications and platforms with our blockchain as a service platform that enables to provision nodes that they can test the application on.
And then, on the same blockchains the service platform, they can actually deploy that application and then scale it out as the demand requires.
Tai Zen: Okay. Just for the people that are non-technical and our channel, because of our channel’s consists of mostly Crypto investors and Traders.
So when you say that, C#.NET is the dominant language in the business world and the computer world, can you compare to like, let’s say, for example, English is the most popular spoken language in the world.
And then are you saying that the all the Cryptocurrencies, none of them or Bitcoin is written in that dominant language so that it’s accessible to everyone, is that what you’re saying?
Chris Trew: Exactly. Bitcoin core is written in C++. It’s very hard to find skilled C++ developers in this day and age.
But with C#.NET, there is way more accessible and the other part of it as well ways. In a corporate environment, if you look at the desktop on the desk of all of the employees, the majority of those line of business applications that run on those desktops are actually .NET applications.
So what this platform actually allows us to do is it opens up the door for all of the existing .NET line-of-business applications, to actually integrate blockchain technology into that application.
If I’m a Microsoft’s C# developer and I basically live in Visual Studio. Could you describe what would I see as a developer if I’m one of these corporate developers that I do C# day in and day out, what do I see if I’m trying to use Stratis?
Chris Trew: Yes. I mean, I’ll go back to NBitcoin at this point because currently in NBitcoins actually in production news.
So if you’re a C#.NET developer and you’re developing your Visual Studio, there’re the package manager inside Visual Studio called NuGet and you can actually go to this package manager and install NBitcoin into your .NET project.
And that gives you the full functionality of NBitcoin. It will be the same with the Stratis full node framework, so it will be a package of the installer via the inbuilt package manager in visual studio. And that will allow you to go and use that full functionality.
One of the things that we’re trying to do is simplify the development process for but chain applications, so as part of this platform we’re going to have a blockchain university that reduces the learning curve for C# and .NET developers to actually pick the Stratis platform to start developing blockchain applications.
Leon Fu: Okay. So it’s more like a framework or a library or a plugin that C# developers just can add to the visual studio. Like I’m sure the visual studio has many others of these such libraries. Is that correct?
Chris Trew: That’s correct, yeah.
And at this time, the only library or framework in existence, I would say it is fit for purpose, that I could actually recommend somebody to use in production is NBitcoin.
And we’ll probably cover how that actually came about, but when I decided to actually move forward with the Stratis project and this whole C# and C#.NET, one of my first steps was to actually go out there and do research: is there any competition doing this already? Anyone is doing this already? That was how I found NBitcoin and Nicolas Dorier.
So Nicolas Dorier actually released a blog post in the early hours of this morning to explain how the relationship with Stratis has come about because it’s a very funny situation with Nicolas. I’m not sure if you are aware of him, but he’s actually Bitcoin Core developer.
And when I first approached him, he basically laughed at me, he basically said you’ve got no chance. But when I actually explained what we were trying to do and what we are trying to achieve, he actually sat back and said: okay, maybe I need to look at this closer. And it ended up with him actually join in the project and being with us on this journey, which is brilliant.
Tai Zen: Okay, but before we go into the questions about Nicolas, I do have some questions and so does Leon, about Nicolas’s involvement. I just want the audience to understand, when you say that the C#.NET is the dominant language in computers and business and stuff, can you give us an idea like, what is their market share?
Is that like 90% of the business applications out there are written in C# and Bitcoin is written that something like 10% of the market? Or do you have an estimate or an idea?
Chris Trew: Yeah, as far as a percentage of the line of business applications, I don’t believe there is an actual figure for that. The C# development community is actually comparable to the likes of Java, which is a huge, huge development community.
When it actually comes to corporate environments, line of business applications, C#.NET is definitely the dominant language.
For instance, if you look at the market share of actual desktop estates, that’s got to be 80% Windows PC on desktops. I mean most organizations do have some Macs in there. But if you work in a corporate environment, the majority of the desktops are Windows-based desktops.
Tai Zen: Okay. So basically, the audience can just look around and see how many desktops and PCs that are on the market, and that’s how dominant that computer language is. If that’s the case, then it’s pretty dominant.
My first thought is why didn’t Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin or the Bitcoin code developers, why didn’t they write the Bitcoin code in that language? Why did they write it in a language that is not dominant in the market? Is there a reason for that? Is there a security reason or?
Chris Trew: That’s a very good question actually.
Tai Zen: Because if Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the Bitcoin software in C#, like you said which is the dominant business computing language, then there would be no need for the Stratis platform. Correct?
Chris Trew: Yeah, that’s a very good point. I guess it comes down to skillset.
I mean you always will try to develop in the language that you are most proficient in first. If it’s not fit for purpose or there’s some technical reason you can’t use that language, you then look over languages.
So Satoshi must-have look at C++ and said, “yes it’s fit for purpose, I can develop this, I can develop bit and went ahead reviews”. And there was probably another factor. One of the gripes that many people have had with Microsoft and .NET framework over the years is it’s been a closed source, so when Satoshi developed Bitcoin, .NET was a close source.
It doesn’t make sense, developing a decentralized platform on a closed source framework doesn’t make any sense. And in the last year, Microsoft released the .NET core, which is their new version of .NET that runs natively on Linux and Mac OS.
Previously, in order to run .NET code on Linux and Mac OS, you had to use an emulator called Mono. Now, Microsoft removed that requirement totally, so it’s actually going to run natively on OSX and Linux, so that gives you access to the full capabilities of the underlying OS. And the other thing that you’ve done is they’ve actually open-source .NET for the first time.
So, that was a huge factor. In my decision, you have to go ahead with this project because I didn’t want to release a project, then come up against roadblocks with people saying whether you are a decentralized open-source project on a closed framework. So I thought .NET open source is a very big deal.
Tai Zen: Okay. So basically, if Satoshi Nakamoto is working on this project, releasing this project at this moment in time, then he may have considered the C#.NET because now it’s an open-source computing language instead of being closed source like it was in the past.
Chris Trew: I believe so, yes.
Shaka Daniel: I have a question. Why does Stratis start university? How this provisioning of other blockchains add value to Stratis?
Chris Trew: Because the blockchain is a service platform. It just gives it more reach. If we only provided Stratis nodes, that would only apply to the use cases for Stratis.
But, at the end of the day, I don’t share this capitalistic mentality. As far as I’m concerned, blockchain is still in its infancy, so there’s no need for blockchain projects to see each other as enemies at this moment. There’s enough room for all projects to collaborate together.
So if we have blockchain nodes to be developed on the platform to allow developers to develop applications on an innovative platform, then we look forward.
Leon Fu: Speaking of blockchain as a service, as you know, Microsoft Azure is a kind of endorsing many blockchain applications.
For example, Ethereum, Factom, Lisk, and there’s about half a dozen of these that are hosting on Microsoft Azure. Are you guys trying to get on Microsoft Azure or any sort of partnership with Microsoft?
Because when we were watching the Lisk ICO, it was kind of like just fewer Bitcoins, not too many Bitcoins and then, they announced that Microsoft was going to post them on Microsoft Azure and it just exploded.
That was the pattern and it happens repeatedly for every coin, every Crypto project that Microsoft got behind.
But you guys seem to be focused on Microsoft, on C#, but I don’t see any partnership or connection with Microsoft as of now. Are you working towards that and how are you working towards that?
Chris Trew: So as far as getting added to the Azure, blockchain is a service platform. We are working on it, but to be honest, it’s not a huge priority for us because although we are focused on Microsoft .NET technologies, the Azure is a competitor for Stratis.
Tai Zen: Okay. I have a question about your Stratis technology. My understanding is you saw there was a gap in the market where the Cryptocurrency technology is not being written in the most dominant computer language, a business computer language, right?
How come you are the first person to see this? I’m sure there are other programmers out there and developers out there that must have seen this too.
I mean I’m not a computer coder but if I see a really popular book that’s written in, let’s say Vietnamese, where I come from in Vietnam, and I know this story or this book or this novel is extremely famous and very popular as a top-selling novel in my country and then I come to America and I know that English is the dominant language here and in the world.
Why I would want to translate that into English as soon as possible? How come someone has not tried to translate this project into the most popular computer business language yet?
Chris Trew: Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean I can’t profess to be in first because Nicolas did see the gap and he started working on NBitcoin in 2004, about two years ago.
But we’ve spoken about this at great length because when I first started speaking to Nicolas, I was very disappointed that he had not built more traction into NBitcoin because I could see the gap that he was filling.
But, the problem with Nicolas is he is an out-and-out developer. He’s not a marketing guy. He’s not a business guy. He’s just development. So that’s what he does. So NBitcoin is strong technically and it provides great functionality, it doesn’t have that marketing behind it, that’s required to actually bring it up to that next level.
Tai Zen: Okay. So I read some stuff on Nicolas and he’s your core developer, right?
Chris Trew: He is a lead developer of our Bitcoin full node framework.
Tai Zen: Okay. From what I’ve read about him, he seems to be a die-hard Bitcoin maximalist, meaning that the Bitcoin maximalist only believes in Bitcoin, no other Cryptocurrency or Altcoin.
So how did you get him to transition from being a Bitcoin because he states all over that he does not support any altcoin or any other Cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin? I mean he’s like the Tone Vays of Bitcoin developers.
Chris Trew: He is yet and to be honest, he hasn’t transitioned and I haven’t changed the fact that he is still a Bitcoin maximalist. As far as he’s concerned, there is no such thing as all kinds and there is no such thing as blockchain technology.
There is only Bitcoin but I made such a compelling argument of the value that we’re going to add to Bitcoin, that he just could not turn down the opportunity. And then there’s another side to it as well because we’re effectively paying him to work on something that he loves.
His own project that he invested the last 2 years, now he’s actually getting to work on it in a paid capacity. So he hasn’t changed his opinion on altcoins. And for him, I guess the difference between Stratis and other altcoins is that we’re actually a development platform rather than just being an altcoin.
There are many components to this platform. They’re actually being built-in. We get asked this question a lot: “You’re developing this Bitcoin full node framework that Nicolas is working on, but how does that benefit Stratis?”
My answer to that is always this. The reason why we’re using Nicolas and building on top of NBitcoin is that we want to build our platform using the proven architecture of Bitcoin.
Now as far as I’m concerned, Bitcoin over the last 7 years has proved to be the most secure Cryptocurrency out there. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s a good starting point for any startup wanting to offer blockchain services to corporations.
And the work that Nicolas is doing on our full node framework will then be translated to the Stratis platform. So all of that good work that Nicolas is doing is going to be translated into the Stratis platform.
I mean if anyone gets a chance to read Nicolas’s blog posts from this morning, he actually touches on that subject and basically says that Stratis is going to add value to Bitcoin and Bitcoin will add value to Stratis. And I think that’s a brilliant relationship and a great position to be in.
The other point for having Nicolas involved in building on top of the Bitcoin architecture is somewhere down the line, I would like for Stratis to be seen in the same light as a company like Blockstream. So as far as I’m concerned to be seen in the same light as those guys, we need to be innovating on the block, on Bitcoin.
Tai Zen: So if you’re using the software code that Nicolas is working on, you call it NBitcoin. N as in November and then Bitcoin, right? It’s just a list of the audience because sometimes if somebody’s new, they might not recognize what you just said there.
So if you have Nicolas working, he’s writing the code and building the code for the NBitcoin software and the Stratis team is going to use that NBitcoin, wouldn’t that make it that you guys are working on the Bitcoin blockchain?
I mean, I don’t know, I’m not a technical person, but it sounds like to me that you’re just working on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Leon Fu: Yeah. That was a question I had. If you could follow up to that Chris, how is the Stratis token since you guys seem to be building on NBitcoin and on Bitcoin, how is the Stratis token that us, the investors bought during your ICO, how is that tied into Stratis?
That’s the question. Like, what are these tokens that we bought going to be used for?
Chris Trew: If I explain the actual in a very high level, the process of how we’re actually going to develop on this platform and then migrate over to, it’ll probably give you a better understanding.
But what Nicolas is doing now is he’s taken NBitcoin and NBitcoin is a rewrite of Bitcoin core in C#.net. It provides probably 80% of the functionality that Bitcoin core provides. The last 20% it does not provide us a full node, full validation so keeping a full copy of the blockchain and also validating blocks and transactions.
So he’s working on the Stratis. Bitcoin full node is going to be that last 20% that provides things like the network layer for peer-to-peer communications that it settles on. Once that’s complete, we will then take that, we will then multiply it for Stratis.
We will implement the private chain technology over the top of it. And then, that will actually form the base for the Stratis parent blockchain moving forward.
Leon Fu: So what you’re saying is that you’re going to create a private chain. I guess anchored to the Bitcoin blockchain.
Tai Zen: Hey, just real quickly, can you back up from the camera? Because all I see is your eyeballs.
Leon Fu: Yeah, so you’re saying that you’re going to create the Stratis chain, what I just heard from you is going to be somehow anchored to the Bitcoin blockchain?
Chris Trew: No. Sorry.
Once Nicolas has completed that works to that 20% loss, we will actually take that full node framework and we’ll actually fork it. So it will be completely separate blockchain, completely isolated the blockchain.
Then, we implement our private chain functionality into that codebase so that businesses can deploy a private chain pegged to the Stratis chain.
Leon Fu: Okay. It’s going to be a completely separate chain.
Chris Trew: Exactly. The only relationship that we have with Bitcoin is that we’re developing up this full node framework to actually work with Bitcoin.
So moving forward, we’ll maintain a Bitcoin full node framework and also a Stratis full node framework. The idea is any innovations that we make on the Stratis full node framework can be implemented into the Bitcoin core framework without a hard fork.
Nicholas will actually create bits for. So in Nicolas’s blog post, he actually talks about a BIP, he’s at a Bitcoin improvement proposal, that he’s actually already put in and it works with enough full node framework so you could see BIP coming back from Stratis into Bitcoin and that’s where the value comes from the Stratis project for Bitcoin, just quickly.
The other real benefit that we’ve got of developing our bit full node framework is it allows us to market in the Bitcoin areas, Bitcoin community. You would just not be able to market it if you’re an altcoin and don’t have this Bitcoin element your project. So let this is like the Bitcoin Reddit for instance.
I mean I challenge someone to go on and repost the link to their own projects and see if it ever gets onto the first page because it won’t. But, having enough full node framework and this value that we bring to Bitcoin allows us to market in those areas.
Leon Fu: Okay. So you really are developing. So these are almost 2 completely separate projects that you’re developing. Stratis has its own blockchain. It’s going to be like, If I’m a C# developer, I’m going to be using this Stratis blockchain.
But, you also have this implementation of your first building Bitcoin full node in C#. Once that’s complete, you’re going to fork that into what will be the Stratis blockchain and then develop the visual studio and .NET tools on this separate chain.
Chris Trew: Correct.
Leon Fu: I guess this separate chain but what did we just buy during your ICO?
We bought this token, Stratis tokens and this doesn’t exist yet, right? That’s why you raise the money. Are you eventually going to?
What is the blockchain that exists today where the Stratis tokens that we are all holding and trading? When is that going to be thrown out? When’s Stratis replaced? Could you explain how is that? I’m confused. I’m very confused.
Chris Trew: That’s a good question. This is going to be great information for the investors.
We decided to release an interim wallet shortly after the ICO completed. The reason why we chose to do that is we wanted to kickstart the blockchain and be decentralized straight away. We didn’t want to see all our investors have to trust the third party a.k.a us.
The simplest way to actually get around that was to release an interim wallet, which is literally just a clone of Bitcoin core that would then allow everybody to secure their own holdings.
Once the actual full node platforms released, they’ll actually be a very very simple upgrade process that you’ll actually download and install a new wallet, open the new wallet and it will actually put in your private keys from your old interim wallet.
We’re trying to make it as simple as possible. When a new full node framework comes out, you should just be able to download the wallet and carry on as you have been.
The token that everybody purchased during the ICO is going to become that Stratis blockchain. There will be no additional coins minted. There’ll be no premise. It will be one of one Stratis as you see it now into this Stratis blockchain. We’ve had a very simple migration path.
Leon Fu: What really happens is the Stratis wallet we have right now is just a fork of Bitcoin core. When Nicolas and your team complete a project, you will issue another wallet written in C#, right, that’s what you are doing.
Then, that will just upgrade the Stratis wallet that we currently have. With this quote, that will replace the wallet that everyone’s using today from purchasing the ICO tokens.
Chris Trew: Exactly. I’m also going to ensure that we’ve got backward compatibility as well.
Leon Fu: Okay, I see. So you’re doing 2 projects. You’re doing one a port of Bitcoin core to C# for the Bitcoin community so that if I, for some reasons, want a C# Bitcoin wallet, I can use that to manage my Bitcoins.
There’ll be another fork of that to mean, to do this Stratis blockchain that you’re working on. And also, the tools that you’re building for the visual studio will use the Stratis blockchain and not the Bitcoin blockchain. Is that correct?
Chris Trew: Yeah, there’ll be 2 versions. We’ll have a Bitcoin version and Stratis version. We’re going to offer complete flexibility. The developers will be able to develop for the Stratis blockchain and also for the Bitcoin blockchain if they choose to.
Leon Fu: Okay. But the Bitcoin blockchain, as like you said, is very fixed. It has its specifications. You have to follow it.
So if I’m a .NET developer, I would get more features if I chose to develop my blockchain app with the Stratis blockchain. Correct?
Why would I choose the Stratis blockchain over the Bitcoin blockchain if I had that choice?
Chris Trew: I guess for some it’s just going to be a matter of preference. There’ll be no technical reason as to why they choose Bitcoin over Stratis. It would just be a matter of preference but Stratis will provide additional functionality that will not be provided in the Bitcoin version.
And that’s simply because some of these changes just will never get implemented into Bitcoin. So the functionality is not going to be available in the Bitcoin blockchain.
Leon Fu: Okay. One of the things in your white papers is you made a big deal of private chains. That was a section in your white paper. That’s something Stratis can offer, is that you can create your own private chain having your own specifications.
That was one thing that you wrote in your white paper but my thought on that was, if it’s a private chain, I mean the strength of blockchain is decentralization and censorship resistance. That’s why people started using Bitcoin.
If this is a private chain that no one else can look at it, why do I need a blockchain in that case? Why can’t I just use an SQL database if it’s going to just be a private chain that I control?
Chris Trew: That’s a very good point. Stratis was in the planning stages and the conceptualization stage for about 5 months before we actually even announced the project. I guess when it came out, a lot of people thought Stratis was just trying to capitalize on the ICO hype. But that was not the case at all.
We would been working on this project for months before we even actually announced it. Everything you see in the white paper is stuff that we can deliver. I did not want to put things into the white paper that we’re innovative or we were not 100% sure that we could actually deliver.
So the private chain tech, we are 100% sure that we can deliver. We will be making innovations in any area of side chains. So we won’t just be referring to private chains.
There will side chains that are completely decentralized on the side chain and it’s going to be a lot of different options available to corporations that want to deploy whether it sides chains or private chains.
That’s a very good point that you raise about why you would want to use blockchain, why not use it as a database instead.
But there are some use cases where a private chain is actually fit for purpose. I mean some financial organizations just not deploy that application on a decentralized platform if they can get the benefit of blockchain technology without some of the risks that they foresee with decentralization.
I see this sort sitting in one new case. If a company had regional offices and somebody aged regional trophies that they need to consensus for a toss between all of those people, it would actually allow them to do that on a private chain.
Although everybody conscious, but I load the source code and run a node, they still get the benefits of blockchain technology.
Leon Fu: Okay. I would see a private chain being useful, like among entities are parties that don’t trust each other.
For example banks, like I’m bank A. I’m doing business with Bank B and C and D and we don’t trust each other.
That’s where I see maybe a private chain could work, in among groups of people, group of entities that, you know, during the financial crisis, the banks stopped trusting each other. I don’t believe that you actually have my money, right?
Chris Trew: Exactly.
Leon Fu: That’s where I see an application, but one thing I would challenge you on.
Let’s say 6 months or 1 year from now, you finish building the Stratis platform. What type of applications, like if I’m one of the corporate developers are in charge one of these projects, could you give us an example of an application that I would develop using Stratis, instead of the traditional 3-tier client-server database, SQL database model that we have today?
Could you give us an example of an app that I would write if I’m a corporation and I’m starting a new project, why would I use Stratis versus what I’m using now? What type of applications would I use Stratis for? Could you give us an example?
Chris Trew: Yeah. We’re actually working on it right now. I can’t really share any of the details because it’s not been defined. But if you had an organization that had, for instance, regional offices all around the world and they had to say a small regional office in Singapore now, they didn’t want to install any infrastructure in that regional office.
They didn’t want to install any servers, any kit. That comes with problems around authentication. So how do they authenticate the user if there’s no infrastructure there to actually process that authentication?
That is a great use case for this technology because it would allow them to issue the individual with a private key. As long as that person had the private key, they could then authenticate their identity by using the blockchain.
Leon Fu: Okay. So I’m thinking, maybe something like in the government or the CIA, where they have this agent that they don’t really know who they are. Then, they just say: “I’m going to drop by a private key in a garbage can or something.
And I don’t want to know who you are and I can still authenticate you even though…”, you know, it’s more like a mission impossible type.
Chris Trew: Well, sound much better. Your sound looks good.