KuCoin AMA With Radix (XRD) — A Unicorn’s Race to Solving the Blockchain Quadrilemma
Dear KuCoin Users,
Time: May 4, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:04 PM (UTC)
Official Website: https://www.radixdlt.com
Whitepaper: Click to view
Adam Simmons — Chief Strategy Officer (RDX Works)
Adam leads the teams responsible for driving strategy, marketing, and developer ecosystem growth for Radix, a Layer 1 network. Prior to Radix, he joined the senior leadership team of a video sharing and adtech platform at a pre-seed stage that then soared to over 35 million Monthly Active Users in under 4 years. Then, building on that success, he made his professional foray into the crypto space in 2017 by co-founding and successfully launching Verasity and the VRA token, both of which continue to grow today.
Q&A from KuCoin
Q: How do you view the current state of Web3 and DeFi, and what opportunities do you see for Radix to contribute to this space?
Adam: DeFi can potentially obsolete much of the traditional financial system by providing a more automated, competitive, and accessible alternative. Web3, as a whole, promises to give users complete control over their identity and assets online, from gaming to NFTs to logging in to any application and sharing your user data.
But the current state of DeFi and Web3 is like aviation in the 1920s and 30s. Bitcoin demonstrated we could fly, and Ethereum demonstrated that bi-planes could be made to do many different things. But you would feel uncomfortable flying across an ocean in a bi-plane or putting your pension in Aave today.
We see three core problems holding back Web3 and DeFi from mass adoption, or using the plane analogy, being ready to fly millions across oceans safely and affordably. These are:
● User Experience
● Developer Experience
Q: Can you tell me about the problems in today's Web3 user experience?
Adam: Here's for everyone. Who here has seen this before?
For those that guessed seed phrases, you're right! It's an all-or-nothing password you must keep secure, or all your funds can get lost.
Now, what about this?
Yup. Blind signing is like writing a blank cheque, so you never know what your transaction is doing.
If you've used DeFi, you've had to approve an application like Uniswap to spend all your funds. This is called a "spend approval."
Now, can you honestly tell me that seed phrases, blind signing, and spend approvals are the experience that will bring your friends, family, and colleagues to Web3? Is this the experience to convince millions of people to give up on their bank or fintech mobile app and go all in on DeFi? – Not a chance.
Q: How about Developer Experience?
Adam: Here's another quiz for everyone. Who can tell me what this is?
For those that guessed that it's the top 10 hacks on the rekt.news leaderboard, you're right!
The numbers are huge. It must be terrifying being a DeFi developer, thinking you could lose so much of your user's money at any time of the day or night.
The problem isn't that DeFi developers aren't talented. On the contrary, they are some of the best in the world. The problem is that platforms like Ethereum must give developers the right tools to build secure Web3 and DeFi to improve the developer experience. In addition, developers need help to build secure dApps.
Q: Scary stuff. How about Scalability?
Adam: You may have heard of a lot of claims that solve this age-old problem, from "layer 2s" to "subnets" to "modular" blockchains.
But these are effectively each a separate network, and so they create confusing user experiences.
Users must "bridge" between the various layers (and pay even more gas!), which fragments applications and liquidity. This scaling solution will only work well in the short run. Isn't it better to scale layer 1 infinitely without using L2s or subnets?
So that's the current state of Web3 and DeFi. There is a huge amount of potential. But today's user experience, developer experience, and scalability must be improved.
So we have been thinking about this at Radix for 10 years. That's right; the Radix project started in 2013 to solve these problems. And now Radix is ready, with a radically different solution to solving user experience, developer experience, and scalability that will allow millions of developers to build the next wave of safe and intuitive Web3 dApps for billions of users to use those dApps safely and easily. And it's going live in less than 3 months with the Radix "Babylon" mainnet upgrade.
Q: Please tell me about your upcoming Babylon mainnet upgrade. How does it solve the challenges you mention above?
Adam: The Babylon mainnet upgrade is scheduled for July 31st, and Babylon will bring two core innovations to the Web3 and DeFi space:
- The Radix Wallet - providing a radically better user experience
- Scrypto smart contract programming language and Radix Engine execution environment (virtual machine) - providing a radically better developer experience
Let's start with the Radix Wallet. Remember those UX issues above? Like seed phrases, blind signing, or "approving" applications such as Uniswap? Those are all solved in the Radix Wallet.
This is because the Radix Wallet leverages technologies from throughout the Radix stack, such as:
Every user on the Radix network will have their smart contract on-chain that "physically" holds their tokens inside it. Because the account is a smart contract, you can configure access and recovery through a native multifactor, such as 2 out of 3 of the secure enclave chip on your phone, your Yubikey, and your partner's secure enclave on their phone.
None of these require a seed phrase, but you still have ways to access your account where if you lose one factor, there are backups available.
Every transaction on Radix will be presented and signed in human-readable language. Something like: "Take this token from my account and send it to my friend's account." There's no more "blind signing" where you don't know what your transaction is doing. On Radix, you have complete control of your transactions.
Things like approving Uniswap disappear on Radix. Security is far better because every token or NFT on Radix is a native asset you "physically" send between accounts. This means that the Radix platform, through Radix Engine, provides all the accounting and security for every token. It's not created from scratch by smart contract developers inside ERC20 tokens.
The result? Users have custody of their tokens inside their Smart Accounts, and when you send a token, you are physically passing it to someone else. As a result, you don't need to approve the Uniswap smart contract to spend your tokens inside the USDC or Dai smart contracts anymore. This massively improves safety. These are just three examples of how the user experience on Radix is better. There are many more.
Q: So that's how you solve user experience. So how does Radix improve developer experience?
Adam: I'll quickly go over Scrypto and Radix Engine. Developing Web3 and DeFi today is like building a computer game in the 1990s. Back then, developers were given few specific game-building tools. Instead, they were given only a programming language, C, and an operating system, such as Windows.
Everything had to be built from scratch. From physics and gravity to graphics, game developers had to build their own physics engine and graphics engine, which could take hundreds of days, and then only when those were in place could they build their game, such as Doom.
Everyone was building their engines for each game. It was a bit mad. And bugs were common.
Then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Game Engines such as Unreal Engine came along. They gave developers tools to make games, such as graphics or physics. As a result, every game developer no longer had to have a Ph.D. in physics to build a game. This opened up the world of game building to a much bigger audience, made it much easier to build games, and reduced bugs and errors because everyone was using a common engine.
DeFi and Web3 today are like the games industry in the 1990s. It hasn't had its "Game Engine" moment until now. That's basically what Scrypto and Radix Engine are.
Q: Is this resulting in many developers building new Web3 and DeFi dApps on Radix? How do you plan to grow the ecosystem? What kind of traction are you showing?
Adam: Well, Radix is making inroads in terms of awareness. For example, at our recent Consensus conference in Austin, Texas, the Radix booth was consistently one of the busiest, and most people I came across had heard of Radix. In addition, a good percentage of them knew about Scrypto and the Radix Wallet, and quite a few were new developers beginning to build in the ecosystem.
But back to how we plan to grow the ecosystem. Our main focus is growing a strong and capable grassroots developer community in Web3. We want to ensure that it's the best place for developers to build their future Web3 business or dApp.
In addition to creating a safe and intuitive programming language, Scrypto, we're also supporting the developer community through public support channels, courses like Scrypto 101, hackathons, the Radix Grants Program, and the sustainable automated developer royalties system. We're already seeing fantastic feedback from developers and have had over 12,000 developers try Scrypto since it launched in early access form in December 2021.
We've also got more than 50 projects currently building in the Radix ecosystem, which is exciting. And even before smart contracts go live, we have applications you can use today on the Radix platform, such as exchanges like Ociswap or CaviarSwap.
Q: What about scalability? How does Radix solve that?
Adam: Scalability is the subject of our next mainnet upgrade after Babylon, called Xi'an. We started with the best possible user and developer experience first, and then once we have that, you need scalability.
Now unlike other networks, Radix was designed with sharding from the beginning.
What do we mean by sharding?
That's when you break the ledger and network into many parts called shards. Each shard is looked after by only a subset of all the validator nodes. This allows you to scale because now you can have many different groups of computers processing transactions in parallel.
Sharding gives you linear scalability
You add more nodes and can process more transactions. But as I mentioned above, when most networks share or use "layer 2s", it fragments the ledger. You break "atomic composability" between the shards or layer 2s. This results in a much worse user and developer experience, as applications get split in two, e.g., one instance of Uniswap on Ethereum and an entirely separate one on Arbitrum.
Radix's form of sharding took seven years of research and didn't do that. Instead, it maintains "atomic composability" across the whole network no matter how many transactions the Radix ledger is processing. As a result, Radix will have infinite linear scalability with atomic composability. And that means if you deploy a dApp to Radix, you will never have it split in two (or even more) as you use L1s and L2s.
Q: XRD is now one of the most popular tokens available on KuCoin. Can you tell me more about XRD?
Adam: So XRD is the native token of the Radix Public Network, and it uses the ticker XRD.
There are three main ways that you can use XRD:
- First, you can stake it. XRD is a crucial part of Radix's Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) system, which uses XRD to keep the Radix Public Network secure against a Sybil attack.
- Secondly, you can use XRD to pay transaction fees on the Radix Public Network. These fees help to prevent spam transactions across the network and keep things running smoothly.
- Finally, you can use XRD as a medium of exchange on the Radix Network. This means you can use it to trade with other users or buy goods and services within the network.
Q: Please tell me where to go to learn more about Radix.
Adam: The best place to learn about Radix is to watch RadFi. After that, I recommend you join the community on Telegram or Discord; they are super friendly and willing to help. If you have any other questions (that might even help you with the post-ama quiz), you can also check out the Radix Knowledge Base
Free-Ask from KuCoin Community
Q: Tell us about your team members.
Adam: There are around 85 people currently working on the Radix network and associated technologies. Our team has a wealth of experience, from major companies like Microsoft to entrepreneurial experience such as YCombinator. When I joined the team 3 years ago, I was about the 21st person, so we have grown a lot to deliver our vision!
Q: Do you consider feedback from your community?
Adam: We are a product-first company, so we do a LOT of user research. Before launching Scrypto, we did user interviews with over 1000 developers in Web3 and outside. With the upcoming Babylon upgrade and launch of the new Radix Wallet, we did extensive user testing. Again, not just with crypto enthusiasts but also with general people.
If DeFi will get mass adoption, it needs to work for everyone. Our friends, our family, and our colleagues. It must be as intuitive to use as the best Web2 app without sacrificing any Web3 power!
Q: How can I stake XRD?
Adam: Learn about XRD staking.
Q: Scrypto is another excellent talking point. You said that Solidity sucks as a programming language for developers, which I've heard a lot recently. Was the inspiration for this simply creating an easier-to-use language for developers on Radix? And will it differ greatly from popular languages, i.e., will developers still feel comfortable using this new language?
Adam: The question we asked after solving scalability was, "What's stopping builders" - as you have heard, building in Solidity is hard, and there are billions of dollars of hacks/exploits.
When we spoke to over 1000 developers, their number 1 problem was the developer experience in Web3. So that's why we made Scrypto. We already have great traction. Scrypto went into early access in December 2021 and is currently on the Release Candidate TestNet before the Babylon Mainnet upgrade on July 31st! Over 12k developers have already tried Scrypto, and 50+ projects have been announced to launch on Babylon!
Q: I read that by the second quarter of 2023, the second Radix grant program will start. What were the results of the first pilot program? How can projects wishing to enter the new grant program apply?
Adam: The first grants cohort has just finished.
The projects joined us at Consensus at our booth, and they left a great impression on all the attendees.
Details about the next developer grant program have yet to be out, but keep an eye out on our social channels.
Q: Radix positions itself as a "Layer 1" protocol for DeFi. Why do you believe Radix is better suited for DeFi than other L1 and L2 platforms? What advantages does Radix provide to DeFi developers?
Adam: I will answer ELI5. Radix is the only L1 suited to DeFi as we purpose-built the whole technology stack to work together to meet the needs of billions of users and trillions of dollars of assets in the global financial system.
First, we solved scalability with our design for Cerberus, our unique consensus algorithm. Cerberus is the only consensus algorithm that can scale to billions of users without breaking atomic composability.
Then, we made a radically better developer experience with Scrypto and Radix Engine. This means more of the 27m developers in the world can start building Web3!
Most recently, we created a radically better user experience that makes it easy and intuitive to sign transactions in a human-readable way (no more blind signing), removes the need for seed phrases with truly decentralized account recovery, and way more!
If you would like to understand why Radix is the only network suitable for DeFi mass adoption, I suggest watching our RadFi keynote.
KuCoin Post AMA Activity — Radix (XRD)
🎁 Participate in the Radix AMA quiz now for a chance to win 107.25 XRD!
The form will remain open for five days from publishing this AMA recap.
KuCoin and Radix have prepared a total of 21,450 XRD to give away to AMA participants.
1. Pre-AMA activity: 4,290 XRD
2. Free-ask section: 536.25 XRD
3. Flash mini-game: 4,290 XRD
4. Post-AMA quiz: 12,333.75 XRD
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