Subscribe to the RCast podcast: iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify
Darryl Neudorf 1:11
Welcome to a special edition of the RChain RCast. This week we present to you the entire AMA interview from June 3 2021 with RChain’s Greg Meredith. So grab a coffee, or whatever liquid refreshment you prefer. Sit back and enjoy.
0:01:32 Question 1
Okay, so let’s start with the first question. So as we all know, Greg, you recently represented RChain’s participation in the international financial forum. And as the only invited blockchain project, this conference is obviously very important in the world. This is the organization led by the former Chinese central bank, Governor Joe Xiao Chuan. And so many senior government officials and financial celebrities from many countries participate. So would you please talk about why you were invited?
Greg Meredith 2:05
Oh, it’s a wonderful question. Thank you. So to be honest, I really feel that this was largely the work of our team in China. We have a remarkable team, and they were responsible for this opportunity. They put forward our message to the IFF. And that was the reason why we were accepted. And, you know, I just want to emphasize that RChain was designed from the beginning to be an environmentally responsible and sustainable, smart contracting blockchain.
To build so what we’re trying to do is to build a decentralized world computer and global database, we developed a version of proof of stake consensus coupled with a concurrent virtual machine that scales nearly linearly, and with a much lower power consumption profile. So I think this was of interest to to the IFF.
0:03:24 Question 2
Okay, so Greg, so the second question is very interesting that we heard from the RChain community that you used to be paid zero, during our tenure as our chain CEO. So is that true?
Greg Meredith 3:24
Well, let me give you a more accurate account. So for roughly the first six months of operation of the company, I didn’t take any salary. And then after that, the board and the compensation committee felt it important for me to receive sort of regular compensation. And then, in 2018, during the crypto winter, I really wanted to commend all the RChain staff who agreed to take a 20% cut. And then at the end of 2019, and into the beginning of 2020, as COVID was affecting everyone. I stopped taking, and so did many other people in the RChain staff, and use what money I had to keep the project going.
0:04:12 Question 3
Okay, thank you. It’s very impressive answer. So there’s also rumors saying that Facebook’s Libra project approached you many times during RChain’s tough times, but was turned down by you. So would you please tell us more details on this one? Thank you.
Greg Meredith 4:30
Sure. Another interesting question. So I was in talks with the with the folks in Libra. The reality is that the Facebook recruiters regularly approached me they they you know, it’s like, I think I show up in their, their queue every so often they and they reach out to me. So at one point I used one of the recruiters to gather more intelligence on what Facebook and Libra were doing for RChain. But I never had any intention of going going to work with Facebook and Libra.
0:05:05 – Question 4
Wow, that’s very smart steps. Okay, so Greg, so we come to the fourth question. So it’s also about your charity. So RChain’s token REV, is about 871 million so far. As the founder and chairman of RChain, there’s also a rumor saying that you only took 7 million REV and donated half of it to the development of the project. So many people are concerned that you only took such a small amount of REV. And they will definitely leave RChain due to the lack of value tied to it. So would you please tell me more about this to our friends? Thank you.
Greg Meredith 5:47
Again, thank you for the question. So just to be clear, in 2020, I spent about half of what I could get for the REV that I was awarded to keep the project going. As for the REV. I was awarded, initially, I took none, I’m not doing this for the money. And we’ll talk about that, then several members of the board and the community were concerned in much the same way you just expressed concern that I had no incentive to stay with the project. So because I wanted the best for the project I listened to their concerns and followed the guidance of the compensation committee. There was the compensation committee who set the total that and but they also set it to come in in milestones. And I use the second milestone payment to keep the project going about about half of it a little bit more than half. So my motivations are not about money. Essentially, I’m working on RChain for my children. I have four beautiful children and I can tell from the climate science that they’re going to live during a time of great upheaval. In roughly a decade, we may see as many as 2.8 billion people forced to migrate due to such a mass migration will make the Syrian refugee crisis look like a walk in the park. Meanwhile, less we think it’s all about the humans 80% of insects by biomass are gone. So this is a planet wide emergency situation, all hands on deck. And then to address the situation of this scope and scale, planetary coordination mechanism. And I mean global coordination greater than what was seen during the World Wars. Then I see a scalable, smart contracting blockchain platform as pivotal in developing the kind of coordination layer, we need to augment our ability to work together. And that’s why I’m working on RChain.
0:07:44 – Question 5
Okay, thank you, Greg, for this very explicit explanation. So, Greg, so the fifth question is very straightforward. So when did you want to create RChain and for what purpose?
Greg Meredith 7:59
So, again, thanks for the question. I’ve been aware of the issues that we’re trying to solve for several decades. But it wasn’t until an entrepreneur, Fred Fisher convinced me to build a decentralized social media platform that I realized that I had within my scope, the ability to build a scalable world computer. So in about 2014, I shifted the work on the decentralized social media platform to that focus and began to work in earnest, deliberate, but in some sense, the work I did on Rosette, at MCC, and then Biztalk for Microsoft. And then also the discovery or invention, however you want to say to the rho calculus, we’re all stepping stones towards this goal.
0:08:52 – Question 6
Okay, thank you. Okay, so, Greg, I think many people are curious about your math enthusiasm. So when did you first get into math and computers? And why did you stick to this path?
Greg Meredith 9:08
Thanks for asking. So I’ve always been in love with mathematics, my pre verbal memories. So this is before I could talk, I became directly aware of the notion of dimension. By the time I was in second grade, I completed the math textbook in two weeks, and then the teacher started me on algebra, and we moved up to West Virginia and no one knew about, you know, my mathematical inclinations until I tested out of high school math in eighth grade. From then on, I began studying mathematics at the University where I discovered topology and that was my first real love in mathematics. By the time I got to college, I was ready for deeper study. And so I was given the opportunity to do private tutorials in modal logic and topology. Around that time, Rich Salter joined the Oberlin College faculty in computer science and, and through him, I discovered that there were these connections between topology and computer science, such as the Scott topology, and that there were programming languages like Scheme that illustrated some of those connections. And when I started playing with Scheme I was hooked. Later while I was at MCC, which was the first US based Industrial Research Consortium. I heard Samson Abramsky talk at one of the oops laws about the computational interpretation of linear logic and the connection between proof program and concurrency.
0:10:51 Question 7
So this is about a battle of dialogue. So there is a video over here that saying you having a heated academic discussion with Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum in about 2016. So do you still remember anything from that time? And what inspiration did that conversation give you? Thank you?
Greg Meredith 11:19
That’s a good question. I don’t remember it as particularly heated. Vitalik and Vlad and I several others. From the end of 2015, to about the spring of 2016, we discuss different effects of Casper, I think that the particular conversation you’re referring to is one where I introduced Vitalik to the PI calculus. And the main thing I was trying to get across was the importance of concurrency. And if you get the computational model for this right, then a whole lot of other seemingly unrelated problems are solved all at once. For example, in the mobile process calculi like the PI calculus and the row calculus, you have a single phenomenon competition on a channel that accounts both for sharding. And for DAG based acceleration. And these ideas are difficult to see until you’ve had some experience with it, I can tell from my conversations that Vitalik is smart as he is, wasn’t going to be able to come up to speed on these things fast enough without proper motivation. And I felt that the best motivation is just to build the solution, then he would be able to play with it and understand much better, I still think that he will come around, and I hope that he will begin playing with RChain soon.
0:12:30 Question 8
So Greg, so the next question is very in depth. So what are the trump cards of RChain? And how is it different from other public chains? And besides, what has some of the plans that you’re still looking forward in a very short term? Thank you.
Greg Meredith 12:49
Great question. It In simple terms, there are two basic features that that makes the architecture suitable for the kind of coordination substrate that we’re aiming to build. The first of these is that RChain scales nearly linearly, as you add hardware, so all the other block chains either remain the same or get slower as you add nodes to the network.
Greg Meredith 13:15
RChain gets faster.
Greg Meredith 13:17
If you stop and think about it, we’ve been scaling system way of adding hardware for the last half century. And the reason is very simple, it’s common sense. You can’t know when your team is going to come up with the next software breakthrough, right? You can’t budget for that, you can know exactly how much it’s going to cost to order 1000 more boxes, and when they will be delivered. This means you can do resource planning and a host of other crucial things associated with running and maintaining a network. So the only way to be able to scale by adding hardware is for the software architecture to be concurrent at the foundation. Now, the second of these ideas has to do with safety and security of the smart contracting platform where users can write smart contracts on their own. When they can do that, then they can introduce bugs on their own, even if the core protocol layer is perfect, written by the angels from on high. So imagine if Etherium had been running at 40k TPS, when the Dao bug hit in one second the entire 150 million worth of ETH would have been drained. So like that. Gone.
Greg Meredith 14:35
Instead, the community had an entire month to respond to the problem, right because basically, because Ethereum was so slow, so in the next phase where 2.0 blockchains are going to be competing at hundreds of K’s of TPS, there will not be a grace period afforded to Etherium to face another Dao bug, but they will be there nonetheless. So unless there are important tools put into place to catch many of these kinds of errors before they’re are deployed. So, for example, in the case of the Dao bug, when you when you rewrite the buggy contracts and rholang, the reentrancy error becomes a race condition. So there’s a race between updating the state and accepting the next request. With the critical tool of spatial behavioral types, we can catch these kinds of race conditions, as well as certain kinds of blindness and security errors. at compile time before the code ever gets deployed, we can do this automatically. I’ve heard of no other blockchains even talking about this, let alone implementing it. And this has been our on our roadmap from the beginning. We have prototypes already checked in that people can play with.
0:15:52 Question 9
Okay, so Greg, the next question is also about a dialogue between two giants. So we heard that you recently wrote a letter to Tesla’s CFO, Open Letter to Tesla’s CFO(Click to Jump), about the BTC as payment. So would you please reveal more about your initial thoughts on this? Thank you.
Greg Meredith 16:11
Yeah, thanks for asking about that. So I was very encouraged by Tesla’s behavior. First, they openly and practically recognized and signaled the importance of blockchain by accepting BTC as payment. Then, as they began to understand the irresponsibility and unsustainability of proof of work, they flipped and stopped accepting BTC. Even though that meant the value of their own BTC holdings would drop precipitously, which is what happened? They showed that they can admit when they’re wrong, and hold to principles. And this is incredibly rare in today’s business environment. Given this very encouraging sign, it stood to reason that they might actually look at a realistic solution. Further, since it was a rare opportunity to take some of the attention focused on Tesla and blockchain to a broader and more inclusive discussion of the real engineering issues it made sense to craft that letter. So far, it has gotten RChain a lot of attention and new members are joining the cooperative every day.
0:17:24 Question 10
Okay, thank you. Greg. Okay, so, Greg, so we came to the 10th question. So the RChain seems to have crossed a lot of crisis in the past. So does that mean that you your current opinion, is that RChain is in a safe field?
Greg Meredith 17:45
No. Please, please understand the environmental crisis that we’re all facing. All of humanity. In fact, the entire planet from the humans to the insects are facing extinction. Unless we work together. The little ups and downs that RChain faced are nothing compared to what we will all face. The difficulties RChain faced were perfect for finding out who was in it to get rich quick, and who was in it to put in the work to help build a planetary solution. But even if RChain delivers perfectly under time and under budget, there is still no guarantee that as a species, humanity will pick up the tools and begin to use them. For sure, there are some encouraging signs. The RChain community, for example, built RVote in six weeks with no one in charge, the community built a cryptographically secure on chain voting mechanism that can be used by any organization on the planet. Likewise, in six days, the community built an on chain COVID passport, which expands nicely to self sovereign identity credentials and data solutions. But these are no guarantees that people will hear the call in time. So no project, no person, no living creature is in a safe field now.
0:19:08 Question 11
Okay, thank you, Greg. Okay. So Greg. So the next question can make you very relaxed, because it’s not about like blockchain. No, actually, it’s about it. But it’s also about that, we have heard you are very big fan and fond of Chinese culture that you are even very well versed in the Tai Chi sword and the Tai Chi spear. So in your life, do you compare the art of Tai Chi to your RChain? So would you please say something about this?
Greg Meredith 19:48
Thanks for asking. So it’s an exaggeration to say that I’m I’m well versed in sword and spear I have studied a little sword and spear and actually recently I’ve begun adding chin to my regular Yang practice, but I am far from well versed in any of it. To be honest, I really love the fact that I can always learn something new about Tai Chi forms. They seem endlessly deep. But yes, there is a deep connection between Tai Chi’s view of the world and the Rho calculus. In the same way that Tai Chi is always aware of the kernel of yang in the Yin, and the kernel of yin and the yang, rho calculus is aware of the kernel of process, ie behavior in the name, the communication medium, and where the kernel of name in the communication medium in process. And this was designed with this idea in mind.
Interviewer Question Twelve 20:48
Okay, so thank you. Thank you, Greg. And so, from the host, we have already finished the questions. And so far, we have more than 3000 people to watch and join our live talk. And so, next one, we like to collect some questions from the audiences and to see whether they can ask something. Right. Okay, so there are a lot of old fans in our audiences. And they also proposed some suggestions, and but the most focused question is about the pricing. So they heard recently, the, the coin will be list on ??? exchange, this is huge. So is this convenient for you to say more about this?
Greg Meredith 21:56
Sure, we’re trying to go slow with the listings for a number of reasons. First of all, the regulatory environment in the US has been very murky. And so listing on exchanges, is the one area where our business organization can be challenged with respect to, you know, some securities laws. But that said, as long as the exchanges are willing to prevent U.S. trading, then it’s relatively safe. The other thing that sort of makes us want to be slow and careful about listing on exchanges is we want to make sure that there are external nodes. So right now, the co op runs all the nodes for the network. And while the co op is a global organization, and there’s reason to consider it decentralized, we would like to have a lot more nodes being run outside of the co op. And so what we want to do is that most of our listings, happened after there are more internal nodes, but but we’re going carefully and cautiously making you work with certain exchanges, who have shown to be good partners and good stewards of, of the trading behavior within the community. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Okay, thank you. So Greg, there are many audiences publicly and get agreement that you are indeed a god like person on the blockchain. But they suggest that maybe you should focus more on the market in the future, so would you agree or not with this statement? Thank you.
Greg Meredith 23:55
Oh well, first of all, I appreciate the sentiment, I do understand that there are some some good reasons for thinking about that. And one of the things that’s really satisfying about working in blockchain is that you have a market and software and legal issues and organizational issues all coming together. So that makes it a you know, a very interesting space to work in, we have to be at least until we have external validators external nodes, we have to be very, very careful about anything that that even slightly hints at market manipulation or, or anything like that. So we have to be very, very careful that there are no appearances of anything like that, and indeed, no no behavior of that kind either. That said we are aware that carefully cultivating the right kind of market responses are important. We certainly believe that that RChain has been not as skillful as it could have been in getting the message out. So if you if you track the graph of the price against the announcement of features in RChain for three years, every time RChain announced the completion of a feature, the price would go down. So obviously, we were not, we were not communicating the message well, so we definitely want to, we want to get to a better marketing and message. But we also have to be very, very careful about not looking like we’re manipulating the market. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Okay, thank you. Okay, so due to all the time constraints, so this is our last question from the audience. So as you so this is like about very similar about our previous question. So and the RChain does have a tough time previously, so. But currently, do you have a plan that to introduce more investor on the RChain? So maybe you can explain on this one?
Greg Meredith 26:21
Oh, thank you. Yes, yes. Yes. That’s that’s a great question. So yes, actually, what we’ve been noticing is that we’re getting more and more interest in what our team is doing from both individual investors. And we’re beginning to get attention from institutional investors. There’s an interesting kind of fine line to walk here. I’m actually very proud of the fact that to date, RChain has been entirely community funded. Up until this point, there has been zero institutional investment, as we move into the next phase where we are likely to get institutional investment. I think it’s really important to work with institutions that understand our situation, and are values aligned. So for example, you know, in at the beginning of 2020, the hedge fund the world’s largest hedge fund, BlackRock announced its major shift into climate related investments and away from investments like oil. So this is happening all throughout the financial world. And I want to make sure that RChain continues to to work with investors who have that view in mind.
So Greg, so our time is up. And thank you for coming today. And I think both our including me and our audiences, in the live talk, we both achieve many fruitful results. And we looking forward that we have some similar things, like talk like interview in the future. And so but we have concluded today,
Greg Meredith 28:11
Thanks again, so much for for inviting me and hosting a discussion about our chain. It’s really a privilege, an honor and a privilege to chat with you.
Greg Meredith 28:28
Okay. See you take care