The transcript below is from the Telegram ICON AMA session with Scott Smiley and Ricky Dodds on March 4th, 2021. Thank you to Ricky Dodds and Scott Smiley for taking the time to participate in this AMA and to Jenny and Jay from the ICON Pinas team for managing the session.
Q: Recently, we’ve noticed more and more prominent crypto exchanges adding support for ICX Staking. For example, in the past few weeks, we’ve seen Binance and now Bithumb making official announcements:
Is this timing coincidental or does it have more to do with an internal strategy to be particularly aggressive at this time? In regards to ICON partnerships and listings on exchanges, what else should ICONists expect to see as we progress through this year?
A: (RD): I think exchanges are always interested in supporting projects that have a strong technical foundation, use case, and community. And I think ICX ticks all the boxes there so I’d expect more and more additional offerings to come online as we continue to grow (listings, staking, custody etc)
On the partnerships side I think we have some really good things in the works that will be shared very soon. Maybe @benny_options can add some addl color on that
(SS): Sure happy to add more info on the partnerships side. With ICON’s DeFi infrastructure being built out and deployed over the next couple months, interoperability becomes more important than ever, and that’s where BTP, our interoperability solution, comes into play.
Not only does BTP make our own products more valuable, but it gives us a clear-cut collaboration opportunity with other protocols in the industry. A huge piece of being a successful cryptocurrecny/blockchain is growing your community, and I look forward to many partnerships in the future with other blockchain communities through BTP integration. BTP becomes an excellent gateway to rapid community expansion
Q: March is slated to be an especially busy and noteworthy month for the ICON ecosystem, with many big releases scheduled for arrival, such as DeFi products: Balanced, OMM, and Bridge. How does ICON plan to market these products to both crypto and non-crypto users to capture market share and push for rapid adoption of these core projects?
A: (RD): Yep, I think the next 3–6 months will be the most transformative months of the project to date
(SS): Ultimately I think word of mouth marketing, airdrips and airdrops, and social media campaigns are some of the most effective strategies in our industry. We’re in the process of getting more strategic partners as Balanced and Omm launch, and in the end I believe what attracts people to a network/product, and what gets the word spreading, is the opportunity to make money.
Might be a bit blunt to put it that way, but with Balanced, for example, this product is designed to give people the opportunity to earn a profit. The more profitable Balanced becomes for their users, the more people will talk about it and the more they will use it. The more success the platforms garner in their early days, the greater the network effect will be.
With so much coming these next few months, ICX holders should have many opportunities to put their tokens to work.
(RD): Additionally, we’re looking into opportunities with large crypto focused distribution channels (youtube mainly, but others as well). I’ve personally spoken with many of the top influencers on these channels and all are interested in what’s going on at ICON
Q: ICON 2.0: Batang is an ambitious undertaking intended to usher in a new era for the ICON ecosystem by offering significant improvements across many key performance parameters, such as: speed, scalability, security, reliability, being more programmer friendly, etc.
With all that being said, which ones are you most excited about right off the bat? What new opportunities will open up with ICON 2.0: Batang that previously wouldn’t have been feasible on ICON 1.0?
A: (SS): A few key things that I find most important about ICON 2.0:
- BTP by far the most important. We’ll have the technology to be able to built cross-chain applications and transfer tokens between networks. My goal is to have ICON connected to more blockchains than any other in the industry by the end of 2021
- Java Virtual Machine — For any developers in the chat right now, this is a huge step up from our current Python based contracts. It will make for a significantly better developer experience on ICON
Better economics — In ICON 2.0 our economic strucutre and inflation are more clear and more easily managed. As we get closer to the launch, we plan on discussing with the community on how to best utilize and minimize inflation
On top of all that, generally the code base is cleaner and the software is more stable, making for a better open source community
(RD): I’d echo those points above, with BTP being the major addition as well as fostering a better open source community around the project
Q: For those who don’t know, BTP 1.0 is a major technological innovation ICON has been working on that promises to bring interoperability to crypto. Guys, is there anything you can share with us at this time in regards to what other blockchain projects might be the first to pair with ICX?
A: (SS): I can say that we already have two specific targets in mind and that development has started for both chains. As I was saying previously, I’m actively trying to grow the number of chains, specifically targeting those with strong economic activity, large dev communities, and large online/social communities. I’m hoping to turn ICON into a community of communities through this initiative. Stay tuned for more details as we make more progress to share
(RD): That’s a good summary. You can probably get a sense where we’re headed 😉
Q: In recent months, there’s been a conscious effort to materially reduce ICX inflation, for the benefit of all ICONists, with i_rep now set at 10,000 (the lowest possible value on ICON 1.0). Given the recent surge of the ICX price, will a further lowering of i_rep (i.e., reduction in P-Rep rewards) be a top priority, beginning with ICON 2.0? Or, will more attention be given to things like increasing tx fees to further help combat inflation?
A: (SS): Overall token economics is a major focus for me, but I’d say it’s less about i_rep and more about answering this question (might be getting a little too deep here but bear with me):
“How much extra money should I make for running my own p-rep, governing, maintianing the node, etc. vs simply voting for somebody else? What extra return should I get for putting in this effort?”
Should it be an extra 1%? 2%? 20%? That’s the question we need to answer on ICON 2.0. There needs to be some incentive to do it, or everybody would sit around voting for other people and nobody would want to run a node.
From there, we can decide overall inflation numbers. My goal is to get baseline inflation at 4% or lower, and make it increasingly difficult to change. Economics should be sticky, people buy BTC because they have certainty in the supply, we need something similar. With more main p-reps, it will be increasingly difficult to change anything on our network. So we’ll have some time when ICON 2.0 first launches to see how things go, then try to grow the main p-rep set aggressively to lock things in.
So having said all that, the work that needs to be done is deciding where to allocate inflation. We have 4 things to consider:
- Relayers (They support BTP)
- Contribution Proposal System (money used to grow ICON Network)
(RD): And for me, personally, I’m more interested in directing network resources to the right parties within the ecosystem vs. an inflation target. Mainly I’d like our 2.0 launch to repurpose some inflation for more productive activities and I believe the CPS is a great start.
Let’s continue this in the forums 👍
Q: Can you explain Balanced for DeFi noobs? Why we should be excited and how we should be preparing for launch?
A: (SS): For DeFi noobs eh?
Alright well first and foremost as an ICX holder, simply by depositing into Balanced, your ICX will be auto-staked, auto-voted, auto-claimed, etc. for better compounding. Then if u want to unstake, there is a pool for “instant unstaking” for a small fee.
From there, very simple terms is this:
- Balanced let’s you deposit ICX and mint more money out of thin air. You can deposit $400 worth of ICX and create 100 bnUSD (USD stablecoin) out of thin air and use it to buy more ICX or any other asset
- Balanced let’s you trade ICX for other assets
For every $1 you mint, you need $4 of ICX deposited. Hope that helps!
Also, 0% interest rates on the money you mint (borrow)
When you mint 1 bnUSD, you need to pay it back eventually, but there’s no timeframe. You pay back when you’re ready
Q: Here is my question: when you gonna expand the main p-reps above 22
A: (SS): Shortly after ICON 2.0 launches, probably 1–2 months
1–2 months post ICON 2.0
The logic is about making sure we can change things up on ICON 2.0 if necessary. Less main p-reps makes it easier to change stuff
Having said that, ICON 2.0 will launch with 3 slots for sub p-reps to rotate into. So there will be 25 total when ICON 2.0 launches, but 3 of them will change every day
One thing I’m excited about is that the large income difference between main and sub is removed in ICON 2.0 so it’s not so devastating being on the border and dropping in/out. It becomes strictly about governance responsibility
Q: What is the strategy to attract and on-board more developers and teams to build on the ICON blockchain?
A: (RD): Good question.
We’re in the process of bringing on a new dev relations lead to help us broaden our developer resources (tutorials, outreach, etc). We think this addition will fill a huge void we’ve had in our ecosystem and help us onboard more activity with ICON2
Additionally, we’re working with Parrot9 on improving our developer documentation. Also, we have some events planned (hackathons etc) around ICON2 that we beleive will be a good jump off point for our new tech.
Lastly, we’re putting in pieces to incentivize builders on our network. We have the Foundation grants, the CPS, a new audit fund and unannounced initiatives to spur growth. So we’re making good progress
Q: What initiatives can we take to address voter stagnancy to ensure quality P-Reps who contribute heavily to the network’s wellbeing are more integrated on expense of the early voted ones who don’t contribute nearly enough and are still ranking high because of voter stagnancy?
A: (SS): I think what i’ve noticed recently is that voter stagnancy isn’t as big of an issue as we all previously thought. We’ve seen several new teams rise in the ranks rather quickly, which means it wasn’t a matter of stagnancy as much as it was a matter of not caring.
There was a recent proposal submitted by Transacranial solutions to help aggregate information into one place for voters to see, and I think this can help people care more about what each team is actually working on, right now it’s so hard to be in the loop. It’s a hard problem to solve but I’d like to see that proposal pass and see how it helps
I also like the recent additions to the tracker and iconex to show which teams are active participants in the contribution proposal system management
Q: The Foundation runs a node for oracle partner Band Protocol and vice versa. It generates income to further support the foundation activities. P2P chain interoperability partnerships will provide more opps to apply same strategy. Will this result in a dedicated node ops team?
A: (RD): Yes, I think we’ll continue to explore opportunities like the one with Band. We just announced our addition to Palette, an NFT based consortium chain in Japan, to further align our communities and work towards increased adoption of our technology. So short answer is yes, but I’d caveat that by saying ICON is not going to turn into a staking as a service model. We’re only going to partner with projects where we see further collaboration
(SS): Yeah I’d echo what Ricky said. We don’t need as robust as a team as these companies that are focused specifically on running nodes on as many networks as possible, that’s not our goal
Q: In your article, you stated the launch of the Contribution Proposal System (CPS) represent a significant milestone for the ICON network. Can you tell us more about CPS and how it improves better performance of ICON network?
A: (SS): The CPS gives the community a voice in the direction of the network. It’s a major community empowerment tool and I look forward to seeing how it goes
Q: Currently Defi and NFT’s are the hottest topic on the blockchain community. Do you have plans entering defi and to support NFT’s because I think this would really bring real users and investors.
A: (RD): Yes, we’re going to jump into these spaces very soon. Balanced and OMM will be launching in Mar/Apr
Craft Network will be launching on a similar timeframe.
We also have many other projects launching in these respective categories. Check out Project nebula for example.
Q: Being not high on tech myself, I can say I can relate more to non-crypto users.Can you give us insights/plan about this helping non-crypto users into the ICX space?
A: (SS): bridgepay.money is our plan for onboarding non-crypto people. Check out the website, I’m extremely excited for what this brings for not just ICON but the industry at large
Q: What do you think is the future of digital collectibles and NFTs and how then does $ICX plan to be at the forefront
of this innovation?
A: (SS): I think Craft will be launching at a great time. Me personally, I am excited to see how NFT’s begin effecting the real world. For example, if you have an NFT of your favorite singer, will they let you backstage? If you have an NFT of a certain basketball player, will it enable you to use that player in some sort of game? Personally I think the collectible side is just the beginning of NFTs
Q: What do you think is the future of digital collectibles and NFTs and how then does $ICX plan to be at the forefront
of this innovation?
A: (RD): Yes, I’m becoming more and more bullish on this space and the ability to branch into the mainstream perhaps even more quickly than Defi.
Q: We all know that the transaction in icx is fast and cheaper BNB have bsc which is cheaper too do ICX have plan to create their own exchange like BNB (Binance) have ?
A: (SS): Yep we already have exchanges built on ICON. Check out unifiprotocol.com and Balanced.network will have one soon
Q: What do you want to achieve by the end of this AMA session? What do you need and want from the community?
A: (SS): The goal here is to get a more informed and more engaged community. The community is the user base of a blockchain network, it’s the life blood of ICX. My hope is for the community to stay up to speed on current trends, become more entreprenuerial, and think of ways to contribute such as social media campaigns, development, etc.
Q: So with Rosetta API Integration, can you comment on possible Coinbase or Gemini listings? I know this is a pivotal component of ICON 2.0 and I see Rosetta being updated frequently. Have you been in contact with the teams there?
A: (SS): Can’t comment on stuff like this Corey come on man
Q: What is the vision and mission of Balanced?
A: (SS): To be the backbone of the financial infrastructure on ICON. To bring leverage to our network and allow anybody access to it. DeFi for the rest of us
Q: Do we see a cross chain with binance smart chain, polkadot, cosmos?
A: (SS): I believe it’s possible yes
Q: Why did you launched a dedicated audit fund?
A: (SS): It’s really important to not let audit costs get in the way of secure products for ICX holders / users of ICON products
Thanks again to Scott Smiley, Ricky Dodds, and Jenny & Jay from the ICON Pinas team for this AMA session.
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