AMA Session: SimpleSwap & Flux
This blog post will cover:
- Q and A
Last month SimpleSwap has held its first AMA session on Twitter Spaces! Daniel Keller, the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of Flux, joined us to answer the questions of our followers about the Flux project.
You are always welcome to check the full version of this AMA session on our Twitter or YouTube, and here we've collected the main ideas and fascinating insights from this conversation. Enjoy the recap!
Q and A
SimpleSwap: Can you explain in more detail what the Flax ecosystem is and how it works?
Daniel Keller: Flux is a decentralized computing network essentially. If I’m trying to explain it to people, it is the AWS on the blockchain. I mean if you were to go out to deploy today on AWS you would go and pay for services, you would be paying Amazon for those services in their colo data centers. With Flux it works a little bit differently because you are actually going direct to the decentralized system administrators, the node operators, that are running all over the world.
FLUX, the asset, is part of the Flux ecosystem. It powers everything from decentralized two-factor authentication and Zel ID to node structure, the whole nine yarns. So, FLUX is very versatile, and very utility-based. It is originally a fork of Bitcoin, so we bring over all good parts of Bitcoin but we added our deterministic node layer on top of that so that we could continue to keep building out.
We’ve been around close to 5 years. Flux is the only project that I work on and the entire team is the same way, we focus on Flux and Flux only. It’s kind of unique in the crypto space because we are more of a tech company that happens to have a blockchain rather than a blockchain company that is building around it. So, that’s a little bit about Flux.
SimpleSwap: As long as you are the DeFi project, a decentralized project, you always have to keep that interest from your community. Can you elaborate on how the FLUX coin is allocated and distributed? How your users and supporters could take benefit from it?
Daniel Keller: Flux is a very unique project in the sense that it looks like there’s nothing in the space that’s doing quite what we’re doing. We are a Proof-of-Work project. Our consensus mechanism, our layer one is proof of work. We also have our node structure.
So, 50% of the block rewards go to our miners, and 50% of the block rewards go to our node operators.
Currently, we have close to 13,000 nodes running all across the world. Our miners continue to mine. They are really excited about the upcoming ETH fork as a lot of that hash power will start to move over to Flux as the next logical choice. We take great pride in our community. We have a very educated community because the individuals that run our nodes, or mine on our network, or even participate in hodling or staking on project Titan, have to understand the fundamental concepts of cryptocurrency and blockchain. In the Flux community, we’re all about long-term planning, it looks a lot like a tech company and we have a lot of shareholders and stakeholders who are involved with the project. We want to be one of the best DeFi projects out there but we also want to really focus on Web3 and bringing the next version of the internet as well. I think they go hand in hand.
SimpleSwap: There must be an experienced team behind the project. Can you tell us some more about the founders and your team? Why and how did you get into the DeFi world?
Daniel Keller: One of my biggest pride is the team that surrounds the project because the co-founders and the leadership group that builds around us is the best team I’ve ever worked with.
Flux has 3 Co-Founders. Myself. Tadeas Kmenta who is a practical physicist or was a particle physicist by trade. Parker Honeyman who was an operations guy. I come from a Chief Information Officer background in the medical field.
We have Valter Silva who is one of our lead devs. He is very influential and building in building out different aspects of Flux. If you are running a Flux node, you can thank Valter. We also have Jeremy Anderson who is our CTO on the Flux project as well. He is one of the originators of Ravencoin who came over to the Flux project and has been here for the better part of three years.
And then we have the rest of our leadership team, so we have about 56 developers who are working either full-time, part-time, or ad hoc. So, there is 24/7/365 there’s somebody constantly developing on the project. We move at the speed of crypto which you have to be very quick and you have to iterate very quick. We are a very agile environment, we’ve brought a lot of the concepts of the business world into crypto which is, again, kind of unique in the blockchain space. The blockchain tech is awesome but a lot of the times you get refugees from the legacy world that come over and they are not necessarily managing it effectively, and I think our team really manages the project effectively.
We listen to our community, they’re our biggest developers because they really give us input and help drive us. They’re also our biggest support feature, they love to tell us when we’re doing well, they like to tell us when we need to work on a particular item, so we use that kind of as a litmus test, a gauge, to really check where we’re at as a project.
We’re super blessed to have the team that we have. We’re really looking forward to developing into the next 5,10, 25, 30 years. I might not be here in 30 years but we’ll hand it off to the next group. 😂
SimpleSwap: Why your project is focused on DeFi and Web3? Was it your idea or community and marketing issues that prompted you to choose this direction? How did you get there to where you are now?
Daniel Keller: In 2018 Flux originally started life as a project called Zel, which is really just essentially a fork of Zcash, which is a fork of Bitcoin. So, we were a fork of a fork at the beginning because we really didn’t know what we wanted to do.
We as co-founders came together and looked at the biggest pressing issues out there. And at that particular point in time, there was a lot of censorship going on, and people were being removed from different platforms. We were concerned as the big tech companies continued to grow and reach into our everyday lives: where we live, where we commute to, who we visit, what we buy...and now on top of that our electronic medical records are integrated into that. They know everything about you. So, that concerned us. We figured there has to be a better way, there has to be a way to put the internet back into the hands of people and study these large tech conglomerates. That’s how Flux was born. We knew that DeFi wasn't a buzzword, Web3 wasn’t a buzzword. When we launched our decentralized computational network we knew something would come along sooner or later, and it did.
Honestly, when you talk about Web3, people get confused. What is Web3? Is Web3 Metaverse? Is Web3 DeFi? Is Web3 NFTs? It’s not. Web3 is the infrastructure that powers all of those things and gives them the ability to be decentralized. So, today you can deploy an application on top of Flux. It will launch between 3 and 5 different locations all over the world, and it’ll be completely decentralized.
There are always points where we have maybe some challenges around. Decentralization we are always working to iterate to the next version of what Flux and FluxOS is, but it’s what made Bitcoin so successful was the fact that it was a community driving the adoption phase and that’s exactly what Flux has done - we didn’t spend any money on marketing for the better part of three years, we built in silence, we wanted organic growth and organic development, we didn’t want hype and buzz. Just recently this year assigned our first marketing contract to start actually pressing out and starting to get into not just the blockchain ecosystem but the standard tech stacks as well. I believe you’ll see we’ve got lots of blockchain projects that are using Flux but I think you’re going to start to see lots of standard tech stacks using Flux as well.
SimpleSwap: How safe is the current FLUX ecosystem and how secure would the smart contracts be?
Daniel Keller: Crypto moves very quickly, and sometimes with speed and the ability to get to the next version security takes a back seat. We need to flip that around, we need to put security first and speed second. As we continue to keep developing out the ecosystem, we are always looking at security first.
You know, even on our parallel assets we went directly to the chains and deployed directly. So, we didn't use a wrapped asset. If you use a wrapped asset you're using a third party that's going to basically build that wrapped asset and also audit the code behind it. Well, we've seen that not be so successful in these different areas. I think we're even so early in the space in this disruptive technology that not even the people that audit these codes really understand what they're doing.
We go slow in terms of making sure that what we're putting out into production is appropriate and tested. But we also want to move quickly, and to do that you have to be very agile and that's exactly what we've built as an organization. We've also put fail safes in place to make sure that when challenges present themselves, we can address them proactively.
I would say to answer your question, we take security as number one, we always look at it, we always make sure that we're very proactive not reactive to situations, and will continue to grow. But with that being said, every single person needs to understand that this is iterative technology and there can always be situations where you have code issues or vulnerabilities so you have to invest appropriately.
We need to be good stewards to the people that we're working with in the community, and then we need to make sure that we educate them on how to invest appropriately.
SimpleSwap: You mentioned Flux parallel assets. Can you elaborate on them a bit? How does it work? Why did you set up these parallel assets and which goal are you aiming for?
Daniel Keller: I would say the biggest goal in the blockchain is interchain operability. You know Satoshi Nakamoto. When he was developing out the Bitcoin infrastructure, he had mentioned that if you didn't like what Bitcoin was doing or the way that it's going, then you should fork the project and create another project with what you believe are the values of that project. So, he understood very early on there would be altcoins, there would be something more than just Bitcoin.
The ability to start tying these chains together so that they can communicate effectively is the holy grail. And that's what Flux is really setting out to do is to be able to bring multiple blockchains together in one and be able to work in different ecosystems but still tie back together. So Flux's parallel assets were designed specifically to be able to participate in different ecosystems.
So we have Flux Binance Smart chain, Flux Ethereum, Flux KDA, Flux TRON, Flux Avalanche. Just recently we released as well Flux Solana, and we announced as well Flux Ergo.
That's important because a FLUX holder or somebody that is working in Flux the native chain can now go and participate in all these different ecosystems. You simply go through our decentralized bridge in ZelCore and you can move to Flux Solana and you can participate in this Solana ecosystem. If you want to move from Flux Binance Smart Chain into Flux Soana you can do that as well.
What does Flux look to fix? We look to ensure that we have interchain operability across the board and that gives us the ability to build not only DeFi and Web3 but technologies that have not even been created yet.
SimpleSwap: One more very important issue is the regulations in different countries. What do you think about dealing with such issues and which problems have you already faced?
Daniel Keller: Well, I think we've got a lot of unique challenges that are coming up. As Flux is a global project we do have global challenges as well. So, we have to traverse not only what's happening in the United States but also in the EU, Asia, and other parts. We build a strong community representation, we cannot have our eyes on every single part of the project all the time, but our community does that for us. We have 30 plus ambassadors all across the world. So those eyes watching the project are always our community, and we're always grateful for that.
It's about being proactive and not reactive to what's happening in the space and that means you have to be plugged in 24/7/365.
SimpleSwap: It is really crucial to enlarge your community continuously. A lot of users care about like immediate benefits, and what could you offer for your long-invest users in the long term?
Daniel Keller: Well, I would say, the majority of the folks that are already in Flux are in for the long-term.
I affectionately call it “falling down the rabbit hole”, they fell down the Flux rabbit hole and they started to realize the value of the ecosystem and how broad it really is.
SimpleSwap: Can you tell us more details about your nearest future marketing plans and your global strategy?
Daniel Keller: From a marketing and PR standpoint, we're going to look at a more standard tech stack. So, instead of really competing with anybody in the blockchain space to say, "Hey we're first! We're biggest! We're the fastest!", whatever, we're not really interested in that. What we are interested in is helping blockchain grow organically and getting in front of new users every day.
We're very lucky because we have a couple pieces that come into play:
- One is the decentralized computing network which obviously brings new projects to the space every day.
- The other was the fact that one of our other products, ZelCore (which is our non-custodial platform, which I call a browser for blockchain) also has pretty much every major exchange integrated into it.
Our marketing focus over the next year is brand awareness. So, we want when people talk about Web3 the very first thing to come out of their mouth is "What about that Flux thing?"
You know, I'm not a maximalist, I don't believe that it's Web3 or nothing. I believe that there will be a kind of a symbiotic relationship between Web2 and Web3 as they grow. So, you'll have on-premise servers, you'll have Web2 -based cloud servers, and you'll have Web3, which basically can augment each other.
I think you'll see companies start to develop on Web3 because it makes sense to them in a couple different ways:
- Decentralization. If you have a project that is decentralization at its heart, it needs to be on Flux.
- Redundancy. If you have a product that is deployed completely on AWS and AWS goes down that's a problem. So, you know, there is Flux. You can run Web2 and you can run Web3 as well to have redundancy.
And then, I think, you'll see new developers start to gravitate toward Web3 because it's the next logical iteration of the internet.
Recently there was a fire at Google and a large part of their infrastructure went down. Historically why would that happen? If there's a fire at one place, and a large portion of Google goes down, that means they're highly centralized. Let's say you're globally just spawned on five different instances. If you lose one particular area that maybe that data center goes down or somebody's server goes offline, Flux will automatically spawn another node to make sure that it compensates for that. And because it's spawned randomly anywhere across the world the odds of it being down at any one particular point in time are so finite you can't even calculate it.
When I am saying that we will have 100 uptime I'm saying that we have had a 100 uptime to this point but that doesn't mean there won't be challenges in the future as well as we grow.
SimpleSwap: You mentioned that the biggest part of your community is long-term holders. How exactly could they store their assets? Can you tell us more about your domestic Zelcore wallets?
Daniel Keller: You can store your asset on Zelcore. There are many different platforms and exchanges that support the asset itself – everything from Binance to Kucoin and all the different major platforms do support Flux. If you want to hold it long-term Zelcore is a great place to hold it. There are other crypto wallets available that can hold them as well.
You can stake on our Titan nodes, you can do that directly out of Zelcore. So if you have 50 FLUX, you can stake it for a reasonable return that then gets deployed into an on-chain node that basically helps to build out the infrastructure around Flux. So, we call it “Proof of useful staking” because essentially today if you stake something, there's no real value to the network, it's just locking up the asset, so it's monetary. What Flux has done is figured out a way that you're basically staking it into a node that's providing compute resources back to the network so even our stakers are actively helping the network grow by simply locking up 50 FLUX into the project, Titan, and deploying.
There are lots of different ways to earn FLUX:
- you can run a node;
- you can stake on Titan;
- you can do DeFi trading across all of our different platforms for arbitrage opportunities.
I always tell people, “If you can't make more FLUX by participating in our ecosystem, then you're doing something wrong!”
SimpleSwap: What kind of partners suit you best in the first place?
Daniel Keller: Well, that's a loaded question because there are a lot of them.
- The logical first move is obviously to work with blockchain-based projects. We have Kadena's nodes running, Kusama, Polkadot, and Haven has their vault on there as well, and we have websites that are deployed. Obviously, we're blockchain by birth, so working with blockchain-based projects is always important to us as well.
- But I think what you're starting to see is people deploy not only infrastructure but business models on Flux. We have a lot of people that are actually starting their businesses up.
- So, overall I would say that we're really looking toward the gaming sector. We recently added geo locations which allow us to deploy locally to particular areas. Someone says, "If you're decentralized, why do you need geo locations?" Well, if you have a project that wants to be regulatory compliant, you need to have geo locations to be able to deploy locally. If I have a game server, I want low latency, low ping time, high availability, and I need to be able to deploy that into particular areas. You need to be able to really isolate your areas where you can deploy. And that's one of the creature comforts of Web2 that we brought to Web3.
So, the long answer to your question is whether it's supply chain management, or EMR (electronic medical records), or database, or a gaming sector, Flux has the ability to provide infrastructure for every single one of those standard tech stacks.
As we launch our persistent storage model, we will be able to do anything that Amazon AWS can do. Hands down, uh we'll have all the components in place to do that! If I go to AWS and I spec out a specific server, I could pay a hundred bucks for a server. Let's hypothetically say that an organization has to deploy 15 servers, well, that gets fairly costly. On Flux that same server is going to cost you about 4 dollars. How can we give away compute resources so cheap? Because the individuals who are running the network, the individuals who are providing the node network, were already incentivized and paid in FLUX. So the compute resources can be given back almost like a Linux distribution model style, where it's very cheap so that we can keep the adoption level to continue to keep growing.
SimpleSwap: Do you have goals to popularize the knowledge about your project for non-crypto investors, for people who are not quite familiar with the industry?
Daniel Keller: I often use this analogy. My wife goes to the ATM machine to take money out.
She drives up. She puts her card in. She puts her pin code in. She takes the cash. She takes her card back and she leaves. She doesn't need to understand all the intricacies that have happened behind the scenes to allow her to take that money out. So there's a whole entire infrastructure that runs to make sure that it's accounted for and so on and so forth, that is our banking system.
We need to work on building (the UI / UX) the user experience of DeFi to the point where the normal person can use DeFi but not necessarily know that they are using DeFi. They're just gaining the benefits of decentralized finance.
If your infrastructure runs on AWS or Microsoft or something of that nature, then you are a centralized project, you are CeFi, and you're not DeFi. Our biggest thing from the Flux standpoint is we want to make sure that we build the infrastructure out. As the people are building the front ends that make that seamless for their end users, we can drop that on top of Flux, and now all of a sudden you have true decentralization.
SimpleSwap: In many countries, English is a really high barrier to being familiar with the project. Do you have any marketing strategy to develop communities in different countries where English is not even the second most popular language?
Daniel Keller: This is a unique opportunity for us to expand into other communities and we're doing that with our Ambassador Program.
We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable using Flux whatever language you use. Our ambassador teams (28+ people) are working on their local points. If you go on Twitter, you can see the majority of our tweets that we do, translated into multiple languages. That's kind of where we're at right now, and I believe we will keep pushing that forward because we are a global project so we have to take that into consideration.
SimpleSwap: Thank you for such informative answers! In the very end can you share with us your own opinion about the future of DeFi, about the Web3 projects? Maybe you already have some insights from the industry?
Daniel Keller: I am a firm believer. I mean there are many people that are saying we're in a bear market right now. That bear market is really for the assets only, the asset prices. We're in a full bull market in the development and we're seeing it in every single area. And as people continue to keep building it out, I am very bullish on DeFi and Web3 as they develop the concepts and get more than just minimal viable projects, they get fully developed ecosystems.
I think in a couple years DeFi will be…I wouldn't say it's the norm but it is more the adoption level will be great.
As long as we can continue to be good stewards in our communities and actually look at the betterment of blockchain overall, I think that that's going to be when we win.
You know, in the end, I'm very bullish about blockchain overall, I'm very bullish about where we're going, and I think it's going to be awesome! ❤️