ICON AMA Update (March, 2019)

Hello ICONists,

Every month Ricky Dodds, ICON’s Head of Institutional Markets and Contributor Relations, participates in a community AMA session on the Official ICON Subreddit. Below is a transcript from the March 2019 session. The content is divided into 4 sections (Business, Development, Marketing and Other). If you have any questions, be sure to tune in to the next AMA session which usually occur in the 1st week of each month.

Business

Q: In the past, we saw MOU after MOU being announced. ICON is working with X, ICON is working with Y, week after week.

While it is clear that some of these relationships are still being developed, can you tell us of any MOU that did not work out in the end, and what lessons ICON learned from those situations?

A: Good question. With most partnerships or MOUs you have high expectations going in and sometimes it doesn’t always go as planned. Most of our relationships are roughly a year (or two) old so it’s still early and even though you haven’t heard anything recently, there’s a lot of progress going on in the background. In short, I think it’s too early to tell but eventually we’ll be able to do post-mortems on each one.

Q: I’d very much like to know more about what is happening between Line + ICON and with Unchain? Henry said in an interview last year that things were progressing well and there was exciting things happening but that he wasn’t able to share more. Is it possible Link Chain will be a C-Rep? Is it possible that Link will be using ICON’s DEX or NEXUS?

A: I think you’re referring to an interview with Blockchain Brad? As far as I know, our relationship is still as solid as it was then and we’re progressing as planned. I think its definitely possible that link chain could become a C-Rep. I’ll revisit this question in next month’s AMA as well.

Q: Blocko (Aergo) claims they are the biggest blockchain company in Korea, according to sources they’ve deployed the most blockchain projects. Is this true and how does ICON and ICONLOOP compare to them?

A: I think we’ll stay away from these sorts of comparisons at this time. We are a top-tier project not only in our home market, but also globally.

In the same vein, we haven’t lost sight of our goal which is to create the largest decentralized network in the world.

Q: Don’t you feel that the interoperability alliance (AION, WAN) hasn’t progressed much since inception? Can you shed some light on this?

A: This is a fair point. The interoperability alliance pre-dates when I joined, but personally I feel like we could do a better job working with AION and WAN going forward.

As Matt (AION) noted in a recent interview, we’re still very friendly with each other. We just haven’t collaborated as much as we’d hoped for in the beginning. Ultimately, we had competing priorities/objectives and went down different paths as projects. But I’d love to revisit and reinvigorate the interoperability alliance again soon and find ways to collaborate more closely moving ahead.

Q: What’s with Cosmochain are they or are they not moving to icx?

A: In the case of Cosmochain, its unclear when they will swap their ERC-20 to IRC-2.
The token is currently traded on exchanges that only support ERC-20s (not IRC-2). However, as that changes over time, we will revisit the swap.
That said, they are expected to upload data onto the ICON Network and generate transactions for the network.

Q: You mentioned on Telegram within the last three weeks that ICON is looking into getting on more exchanges. I think many in the community feel strongly about this. Other projects are on 40–50 exchanges, and ICON is on twelve or so (rough estimate). Can we expect more exchanges in the near future? I’m assuming the new fiat gateway was a part of the “more exchanges” initiative.

A: Yes, it’s an important initiative to drive adoption and reach, particularly given our global aspirations.

Q: Smilegate Stove and the gaming industry. I see this as a huge market and want to know what’s going on with Smilegate and anything else ICON could tell us about their work in this market? Is this something that ICON is looking at outside of Smilegate, perhaps this is something an ICX Station has a priority towards?

A: Thanks for the question. Yes,the gaming sector is a high priority at ICX Station. The guys touched on this in a recent ICONist article.

https://theicon.ist/2019/03/14/icon-puts-pedal-to-metal-in-silicon-valley/

Q: I was curious about the status of smile gate stove the marquee feature of the genesis conference . Is this going ahead , if not what problems were encountered during the process.? Holding since ico , keep up the great work . :)

A: Smilegate has tabled it’s blockchain business for the time being (for internal reasons). However, we are continuing to communicate with the team.

Our CTO, Edward Ryu, recently gave a keynote speech at the Korea Blockchain Game Show (KBGS) on Jan 30th. We will be happy to share on-going process with gaming Apps in the future.

I believe governments and gaming companies will drive adoption.

Q: What are the progress updates regarding the enterprise collaborations. Last year we saw some significant ones working with ICON but since then we have not heard much about (except Line that has done significant progress in such a short time). Some specific ones I am relating to are: Sk Telecom, Smilegate, Kyobo life, the three Universities, the banks and so on. Will there be status updates on all of these (Similar to Link) that is updated more regularly any time soon? How much focus in terms of developer deployment are on the private chains versus public chain.

A: Currently, most of the development team is focused on the public chain. We plan to release more details on the relationships as we launch specific applications/use cases.

Q: What is the optimal Employee count being aimed for before settling down a bit?

A: I don’t think we have an optimal number (in my opinion). In general, I think we’re always in the market for top talent and would add incrementally to the team if there was a fit/need.

Q: How well is ICON in terms of economics? Most projects are set until 2020 unless more money starts pumping in which we’ve kinda seen recently, is it realistic to consider ICONLOOP at a similar or stable than others since it’s a for-profit company behind ICON with more incomes such as government funding other than ICO? What other sources of income does ICONLOOP have?

A: ICON Foundation is well positioned. ICONLOOP is a private company that doesn’t disclose revenue figures.

Q: Excited to see the new Security Token standard from ICON but I’m curious if ICON is doing this as a result of immediate demand or attempting to capitalize on a potential market rather. Aside from Dapps have you been approached by VC funds or Institutional Real Estate investors looking to tokrnize etc and is there a decent opportunity for Tokenizing Digital Assets in the Korean market specifically?

A: Yes, we see a good opportunity in Korea.

There are a number of projects that are interested in pursuing tokenized assets. Thus far, we’ve seen interest on the real estate side, along with other more traditional investments. We’ve also had interest in pursuing non traditional assets (such as artwork).

Q: Which private chains do we expect to see connecting through the public chain and what is their use case?

A: We expect to see a number of use cases in government, financial institutions and insurance.

I can’t point to specific entities given confidentiality but as we’ve stated before, we view every private network as a potential use case for the public ICON network and consider public chain integration in every private blockchain implementation of ICONLOOP.

Q: In October 2018 there was approximately an 18% increase in the ICX circulating supply (appx. 400m -> appx. 473m). This increase was related to the contractual release of coins that were allocated for community groups/strategic partners as well as the team, advisors and early contributors. Another portion of the increase went to the foundation, although this was not contractually obligated.

Can you advise if ICON has any additional contractual obligations to distribute coins allocated to any of the groups listed above and if so, what that schedule may be?

A: Contractually, there’s 10% of tokens that are distributed to team members, early contributors and advisors. Generally speaking, these tokens vest over 2 years in 6 month increments.

As far as community groups/strategic partners, those are typically contracted on a deal by deal basis. Those vesting schedules can be flexible (and range from 6 months — to several years) and are mostly based on extent of the relationship, results and the size of deal etc.

The foundation can also utilize funds for operational purposes if needed. These ‘costs’ are harder to predict.

Q: How are the ICX Stations progressing in terms of dApp recruitment? I know there are now four ICX Stations, but have only heard of a few new dApps (Zensports, Somesing, VELIC, to name a few). Is the goal to have a significantly higher number of dApps on the public chain by the end of the year? Is the focus on quality over quantity? What other tasks do the people at the ICX Stations (Scott, Daeki, Hyun) do other than dApp recruitment? Thanks; I appreciate this opportunity.

A: As you may know, DApp development has slowed considerably given market conditions. In general, only top tier projects are able to raise funds (and these are typically equity based). That said, ICX Station is still seeing good deal flow both in the US and abroad.

As you noted, we’re primarily focused on high quality projects (for investing purposes). The team is also focused on migrations/integrations (as seen most recently with AC3). Outside of this, ICX Station partners with the foundation on education, business development and developer related initiatives.

Q: Could you elaborate on your partnership with Samsung? How exactly are you partnered up?

A: Sure. Korea Financial Investment Association(KOFIA), which ICONLOOP is participating as a technical partner to develop CHAIN ID, has signed an MOU with Samsung Electronics to incorporate CHAIN ID in Samsung’s ‘Samsung Pass’ service.

We continue to explore other ways to collaborate.

Q: Any updates and news on weBloc? I haven’t been able to find anything lately of them

A: I was going to post this AMA from webloc.

https://medium.com/@webloc/webloc-story-2019-1st-q-a-c2fa49aaf5d2

Q: Will you try to build a stronger partnership with SAMSUNG???

A: We will always look for ways to build stronger relationships with top companies

Development

Q: When will we see the first community (private blockchain) connect to ICON main net and represented with a c-rep?

I am here referring to either Icon loop privately deployed chains (universities etc..) Or something like LINE block chain.

A: Thanks for the question. We expect this to take place in Q4, after the election of P-Reps.

Q: What is happening with all the dapps announced in 2018? Alot of them are still on ETH like Bluewhale, logistics X, Cosmo chain etc.. Why are they loose when it come to swapping to ICON?

Also, since all those ICOs where raised with ETH, will they be mandated to swap their ETH reserve to ICX? Or will they issue their token and only pay for the contract creation fees (~20icx)?

A: Thanks for the questions. Please see below:

  1. As you know, the market has impacted a number of projects across the space (eg from a funding standpoint, securing strong development talent etc). Therefore, each Dapp is progressing on their own respective timelines (ie as they see fit). We expect migration to come. Hopefully sooner rather than later. But ultimately this is up to the DApp projects themselves.
  2. Regarding raised funds in ETH, there is no requirement to swap to ICX.
  3. They will swap their respective ERC-20 tokens to IRC-2, similar to AC3.

Q: Can an existing Dapp deployed as IRC2 contract be converted into the recently released IRC16 standard (STO) ? or is there no migration path between the two?

I believe Zensports who are now deployed as IRC2 are treating their token as a security and so it makes sense for them to switchover to IRC16

A: Interesting question, thanks! A migration path is possible, but in our view the cleanest way to do it will be a traditional token swap.

Q: What’s ICON’s take on privacy? I personally value some privacy a lot since recently and would never share my Icon public address with this account since I don’t want to be judged based on my funds, rather on the thoughts I share. Are there plans on implementing features such as Zk snarks in the core protocol or will it be built as layers on top of smart contracts?

A: Privacy is a focus and we are always considering privacy features that could be implemented at a later date.

Q: What focus is on Iconest at currently? On the roadmap it’s evidently available but from my understanding it’s not available for public use. Are there plans on integrating more common features such as token burns, issuing, locking?

A: I’ll circle back on this.

Q: How is ICON currently positioned in terms of interoperability? When is a realistic timeframe being aimed for where we can see an alpha version of two chains connected through Nexus?

A: From 2Q through 4Q we plan to make significant progress. The progression will be connecting private loopchains, then private loopchains to the ICON public chain, then connecting ICON’s public chain to other public chains (with C-Rep features and BTP).

Q: Does the Icon team have plans to develop a desktop wallet that allows users to store their ICX and stake via ledger?

I’m aware of ICONex wallet, but I don’t feel comfortable using a chrome extension wallet. I would prefer to store my ICX in a desktop wallet that is completely separate from the internet. In addition, I’m hoping to store my ICX in my ledger nano S and be able to stake when this function becomes live on the network.

A: This question has come up several times and it’s something we’re considering. Anecdotally, I had heard ICONation is building this sort of functionality. NorskKiwi’s comments below confirm.

Allow me to share this with the dev team and circle back with more detail.

Note: ICONation has completed the development of Svalinn, an ICX desktop wallet. Check it out here.

Q: I for one am excited about the development of the DID. I’m sure there’s a lot of information that can’t be released to the public at the moment, but how much can you tell us about this protocol and what kind of magnitude it will effect the icon network within the dapps they’re being used in?

Will this be ICON’s version of chainID?

A: We plan to announce additional details on DID soon. Maybe even earlier than May.

I’ll flesh out the implications for ICON once we release that detail. Perhaps in next month’s AMA

Q: Ecosystem Expansion Projects (EEP’s) are defined as “a project that contributes to the growth and expansion of the ICON Network and ecosystem. The scope of an EEP includes ICON mainnet development, 3rd Party App development, community growth, educational initiatives, and so forth. All ICONists can propose and execute EEPs and receive a reward when they are delegated certain amount of stake from other ICONists. This allows all ICONists to contribute to the ICON Network by delegating their stake.”

Can you provide a brief summary on how one might go about creating an official EEP and expand on what the qualifications for doing so may be?

A: Yes, EEPs will be critical for improving the network. As you noted, EEPs focus not only broadening the marketing reach (via education/community etc) but also mainnet upgrades, app development and other new feature implementations etc.

As a team, we are still tinkering with the platform and what sort of restrictions (if any) will be put in place in order to submit a proposal. We hope to provide more details on this in the coming months. Sorry if that doesn’t answer the question entirely. We’re still fine-tuning the process.

Q: Will you mandate all ICONEX users to register using DID? Or will you keep it optional for those who want to user a KYC compliant dapp /service on Icon?

Asking as there are those privacy enthusiasts who prefer to keep their identity secretive onchain

A: This will be optional.

Q: What happens if there are not 22 candidates for P-Reps?

And what if there are >22 but most of them are not elected by the community?

A: We expect more than 22 high quality P-Rep candidates by September.

Q: Don’t you think annual issuance rate of 7 to 20% is too high? Is there any plan to adjust this to lower value? Since circulating supply will double in around 5 years at currently planned rate and increase exponentially there after.

A: Personally, yes. I think a 20% annual inflation is too high. I think most Iconists and P-Rep candidates would agree. 7% is debatable. In the early years, that may make sense.

P-Reps will be the deciding the inflation rate based on the variables outlined in the IISS yellowpaper. That said, currently, the max inflation rate will be 15% annually.

Q: Any plans to improve UX/UI and add additional features to ICONex, or the ICON block explorer?

The designs are quite simple and bland. And feature wise as an example of something that could be added right now to improve the block explorer, it could provide charts/stats of current and historical data of ICONs blockchain like Etherscan or even TRON has.

A: I personally like Tron’s explorer and the resources you can gather from it (eg charting/comparable analysis etc.). It’s something that the development team is considering. Also, I believe some of our community members are working on improvements as well.

Q: Ricky, you mentioned an updated white paper on Telegram within the last couple months. How is this progressing?

A: This is definitely in the pipeline. The ‘platform team’ is working on it. Timing is still TBD. Perhaps I can provide more clarity in next month’s AMA.

Q: Why is daily transaction so low only 1800 per day?

A: The number of transactions fluctuate on a daily basis. We would expect on-chain transaction volumes to increase steadily over the course of the year.

Q: I have read that there will be around 720000 ICX rewards for being a candidate per year. Imagine Icon reaching 10 usd again. That would be 7.2 million USD minus the costs for server etc per year…wouldn’t that be too much as there will be many candidates also? Any plans already if the rewards will be changed according to for example the change of the price? I know until staking it is far away, but it’s something to consider. Thanks.

A: Good question. P-Reps will be able to toggle their respective rewards on a real-time basis. Rewards aren’t fixed. Therefore, as a ICONist, you’ll need to take that into consideration when delegating.

To provide some game theory for P-Reps, we are considering penalties for P-Reps that vote for rewards that are outside a standard deviation (or 1.5) of the mean of the entire group. This is still in the early stages of discussion, but ultimately we want to limit a P-Rep’s ability to input very high rewards for themselves and skew the ‘average reward’ higher to their benefit.

If you have any follow-ups, let me know.

Marketing

Q: Are there plans to create real vending machines in for example universities or other real world useable machines based on ICON? Would it be possible and lucrative?

A: It’s definitely possible. We have a video demonstrating the technology being used in a vending machine that I’ll try to share.

Payments adaptations are always interesting. Although, I’m not sure how lucrative it would be in a vending business.

Q: Have you any news about buyback?

A: Nothing new to report

Other

Q: Who will have the final say in development and business decisions? How much will the elected representatives be able to influence when it comes to business and development decisions? Will the the company have some kind of veto when it comes to decision?

A: These are all very interesting questions and questions we ask ourselves every week in our token economics/governance meetings. Simply put, the point of decentralization is to limit the amount of power any one entity has over the network. As such, we’re designing the IISS and governance system to operate without a central authority. However, I think the genesis of the question may be “what is ICONLOOPs role in the network post decentralization?” or similarly “what is ICON Foundation’s role?” I think those questions should be addressed is a more formal manner at a later date. Generally speaking, the network will be governed by the community via delegation and consensus among Representatives. ICONists will be able to vote on business or technical decisions proposed in EEPs.

Q: I’ve seen other projects who run on delegated proof of stake (I know icon is POC, but it’s similar), where the elected representatives form “coalitions”, where they all vote for each other in order to stay elected. Because the voting power is correlated by the amount token you hold this results in electives becoming more and more powerful because of the rewards they gain as representatives. Have you thought about this and how do you intend to prevent this? This is a prime example of what has happened to the Lisk ecosystem.

A: Absolutely. We’re aware of these types of issues impacting other DPoS platforms. Unfortunately, we can’t escape off-chain politics. That said, we are devising ways to negate these sorts of attacks. More details will be released in due course.

Q: Another note, lets be honest — people are greedy. The general Iconist will only care about the reward gained by staking and not care about the “good of the network”. If representatives will be able to share rewards with their voters this will be a problem — resulting in Iconists voting for the representatives who share the most rewards and not the ones contributing the most to the network. What’s Icons take on this? Solutions?

A: Unlike other projects, where Reps can payout their block rewards to their voters (essentially paying for votes; incentivizing voters to vote for the highest reward), ICONist who delegate their stake will receive rewards from the Public Treasury, based on an individual’s respective i_score. While P-Reps will ultimately decide what % delegators receive for each category, this mitigates some of the risk associated with solely running campaigns based on how much reward you will pay out.

Q: What is the single handily most exciting thing going on at the ICX headquarters (project, accomplishment, future plan, development etc)

A: In my view (which may differ from others), it’s the P-Rep campaign and the build out of the features in IISS (Dapp booster, EEP etc). I’m headed to Korea in two weeks. I’ll circle back if there’s a different ‘consensus’ response at our home office :)

Q: Can ICON foundation prevent centralized exchanges (holding ICX for their customers) from abusing/misusing the votes in the upcoming elections in September?

A: Good question. 1) It’s unclear if centralized exchanges would vote (although there is precedent (EOS for example). 2) If they do, there are some potential ways to mitigate it. One is by increasing the staking lock-up period whereby exchanges wouldn’t be able to stake the entire portion (given liquidity restrictions). We are exploring other options as well.

EOS is different in that EOS doesn’t provide staking rewards for voting. Therefore, EOS holders are not missing out on anything by leaving their tokens on exchange (other than governance rights). As ICONists, leaving on exchange would likely cause you to miss out on rewards (a clear incentive in our view).

Q: What role can someone who isn’t a software developer play that is highly incentivized? For example, doing something that provides similar incentives as those that are P-Reps or dApp developers without being a coder.

A: There are a number of ways. First is delegating to P-Reps, DApps and EEPs. The second is proposing an EEP and receiving funding through delegation.

In my view, the majority of the total reward distributions (in % terms) should go to Iconists who delegate.

Q: What is ICON’s biggest achievement in the last 2 years in your opinion ?

A: There’s a lot of business relationships (MOUs and Partnerships) I could point to. Additionally, I could point to advances in our technology. But for me, personally, I’m most excited about the relationship with Seoul Metro and expanding the scope.

Q: What are you most excited for in the near future?

A: For me it’s onboarding more Dapps and decentralization.

As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you ever have questions about ICONation and thank you for stopping by our Medium for the latest!

By Iconists, for Iconists

ICONation

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