Transcript of AMA with Bluzelle’s CEO Pavel Bains
It was great to have Pavel Bains — CEO of Bluzelle — on our Telegram channel for a live interaction with the Zilliqa community on April 16, 2018.
Pavel is an entrepreneur and investor in exponential technologies. Pavel was the co-founder of Storypanda, a digital book platform that published critically acclaimed titles by the world’s best independent authors and media brands (Dreamworks, Warner Bros, Peanuts and more). He was previously in GM and CFO roles for video game studios, including Disney Interactive Studios. He is a frequent writer for Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post and others.
Q: How do we access the database management tool to alter the database scheme? Is it through a user name and password like the traditional DB tool? Or through private key? Is there a UI? Like a client tool or Web portal?
A: The validation will be done through a private-public key pair. That’s how we authenticate. It will begin with a web portal. We are also going to build an explorer.
Q: Does it support NoSQL like Hive?
A: It is NoSQL, So yes, it will be similar to Hive.
Q: Many of us who have invested in Zilliqa have invested in Bluzelle too. I personally think Bluzelle is akin to what Zilliqa is doing with blockchain. My question is with regards to Zilliqa and Bluzelle. Zilliqa is a high throughput platform and as a Dapp developer what are the challenges you foresee when using Bluzelle?
A: I believe given enough time and the appropriate talent we can solve the technical challenges. Plus we do have some expert advisors in Prashant Malik and Alex Leverington.
So the main challenge I see right now is building strong developer support. A community that can be evangelists and help us grow. That’s my main concern.
Q: In the whitepaper it says that the pricing is not deterministic. From what I understand that means depending on the size of the swarms, the balance between demand of storage and supply and the BLZ trading price, the cost will vary in BLZ terms. Is this common in the data storage world and if not how do you think in the long term, companies/customers will be receptive to such a pricing model?
A: By ‘not deterministic’ we mean we don’t see a set price right now. We are working on a pricing model that can bring balance to the users and the producers.
But it won’t be fixed on the BLZ price. For example, if BLZ goes up, the cost of the service should not. We’ll have the price fixed in USD. So if it BLZ goes up, it will just cost less BLZ to use the service since price is relatively stable in USD value
Q: How do you plan to achieve that? Using a stable coin or just some price oracle?
A: We are exploring both.
Q: I have two questions:
1. How many levels of token holders are there? eg. Fox Swarm, etc.
2. How do Zilliqa and Bluzelle complement each other technically and practically?
1. Yet to be determined.
2. We can’t say right now publicly but both us and Zilliqa are working on some exciting technical collaborations that we believe will be breakthroughs for other blockchain projects.
The main ways we complement are that we can provide data storage layer to help Zilliqa increase throughput.
For us Zilliqa has some technical aspects that will allow us to to build a payment and processing system better than we had planned on our own.
Q: How will the initial costs be for storing data of a smallish Dapp on Bluzelle versus existing centralised solutions?
A: We anticipate it to be around half the cost. We will be doing some programs for people to earn storage.
Q: Will there be any scenario where smart contracts in Zilliqa get slowed down due to Bluzelle network congestion, if so, what is the backup plan?
A:That should not happen as we will be the database layer for the dApp and not processing the smart contract. Plus our system isn’t technically a blockchain so we don’t anticipate the same network slowdowns.
Q: With Vitalik recently planning to have a rent-based system do you think Bluzelle could have an upper hand for Ethereum Dapp developers to use Bluzelle. What are your thoughts ?
A: Honestly, this space is still so new it’s hard for me to look into the upper hand. What we try to do is look at how projects can be complementary with one another and grow the whole space. I think right now we all just want to see working products out there being consumed.
Q: I understand you really can’t give too much away but should we expect more details regarding this collaborative project with Ziliqa this year?
A: We expect to give more details July/August.
Q: How far would you say the company is in the development of the pricing model? And how much impact does it have on the commercial viability?. My background is in commercial modelling, and have seen more than a few ideas fail when the pricing model is considered too late, probably just my built up paranoia.
A: The first major milestone is to get the Alpha out in June/early July. We want Dapps using it. From there we can start working on the pricing mechanism. It will be worked on early though. I echo your same concerns from the past.
Q: Should BLZ and ZIL increase their promotion to the Chinese community?
A: We both have plans to do that. We plan on doing joint tours and hackathons together in the coming months. This will include China.
Q: Pavel are your partnerships with Zilliqa, Neo and others exclusive or are you open to engaging in partnerships with further platforms? For instance EOS has been gaining a lot of traction in the developer community and should also be a target for Bluzelle.
A: We’re designed to be platform agnostic. We want to be the de facto database for all. But with the strategic partnerships like Zilliqa we’ll be solving certain challenges that make each other’s products better.
Q: Do we already know when we’ll be able to join the swarm and start producing?
A: Not yet. We’re holding a hackathon in Vancouver April 28/29. After that we can tell more. We’re excited to see what types of projects emerge that weekend from the community.
Q: Will you be continuing with Ethereum as gateway for BLZ? How are you planning to scale your transactions? State channels?
A: We spent good time on looking at state channels. But for now we are using an external and internal token (BNT). BLZ will be easier for everyone to get and exchange. When they come to use the Bluzelle service, we’ll take the BLZ and swap it for BNT. That way we aren’t reliant on Ethereum to process data updates, queries etc. Then, when the user wants to exchange out, we simply give them back the BLZ and keep the BNT.
Q: How will you incentivize people to join your network as nodes? What kind of data farm are you envisioning?
A: We have some marketing ideas. Spending time analyzing other web platforms and how they get network effect going. Sometimes blockchain projects forget that some of these challenges were faced by companies before blockchain and we can learn from them.
Q: Is the BNT tokens for payment of append only transactions? Query is free right?
A: Query will be free. It’s only a charge for Create, Update.
Q: That dual token system does seem a bit confusing. If demand for Bluzelle is high, couldn’t exchanges just list BNT directly?
A: Only if we allow BNT to go outside the network. We could do that later. Right now BLZ as an ERC-20 was done for usability and lowering friction for people.
Q: Blockchain itself is a transaction database, so I guess BLZ is to store non-transaction data? Therefore the censorship and immutability is not an issue right? Because, data in BLZ is not decentralized, private key holders can alter it.
A: You are right. We aren’t a blockchain in pure tech terms. the holder is able to change.
Q: Is there any functionality to trace data modification history?
A: Yes, I believe Neeraj (the Bluzelle CTO) is building in history.
Q: Can a Dapp data stay on Bluzelle forever? If yes, what would be the cost of storing data forever? If no, how should DApp developers handle eventual data unavailability?
A: Neeraj is designing it so data is available for a good length of time. We work closely with the target market to find out what is good.
Q: Question to both Pavel and Amrit, when will be the first reference implementation be available for Zilliqa smart contracts, storing application data in BLZ storage?
Pavel: Should be able to provide that with more clarity in May/June.
Amrit: If I remember my conversation with Neeraj correctly, the API on the Bluzelle side is almost ready. On our side, we should be able to have part of our smart contract layer ready by end May/June. We can then test some sample Dapps.
It was great having Pavel on the channel. We hope we can hold similar sessions in the future to bring the two communities together. This AMA wouldn’t have been possible without the active participation of the Zilliqa community. We thank the community members for their questions during the AMA session.