This is an interview with one of the world’s most creative and talented blockchain and cryptocurrency developers, Brandon ‘Synth’ Smietana, the Co-Founder of Skycoin, whose company develops software and hardware for decentralized networking and data storage.

He was among the blockchain pioneers who took part in writing Bitcoin’s source code with one of the most mysterious personalities of our time, Satoshi Nakamoto. Skycoin, which was launched in 2012, has no rivals in terms of its ground-breaking approach and is tech savvy.

What are Skycoin’s flagship products; why is Skycoin so much more than just a crypto token; and why is its unique technology so important? We asked Smietana about all this and more.

Why was the Skycoin project created? When I say Skycoin, I mean your entire product line. What are the main problems you solve for current and potential blockchain users?

Have you ever wondered why you need platforms like YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook? Do you realize that these companies control a huge array of your personal data? We give them our data. They control it, they monetize it, and they exploit us. They control people’s thinking, they rig elections, they manipulate what people see, what they hear, and eventually the objective is to manipulate how people behave. It’s about controlling people.

So, we went through this phase in the internet where everyone had a blog and it was decentralized. And then, we went to this phase where three companies, Twitter, Facebook and Google, control basically the whole internet and block off everything else. So, there’s this illusion of this global internet and people playing by the rules, and that your data is only being collected to fight terrorists. In fact, they collect it so that one group of people can economically dominate the others, and that is what it is being used for.

In China, Cisco routers are banned, but you can buy a Huawei router. And, how do you know that the Chinese government didn’t put a backdoor in that. And, when you buy an American router, you get an American backdoor. Of course, there are backdoors in all their communications equipment.

So, what Skywire is, is a neutral open-source standard for networking that will have open-source hardware. People can compile their own firmware and know there’s not a Chinese backdoor in it, or have to choose between a Russian backdoor, a Chinese backdoor and the EU security backdoor. Businesses need to control their own infrastructure. They need to control their routers, their firmware and their file storage. They have to reduce reliance upon these third parties.

When we started 10 years ago, blockchain was about taking the power from the Fed and devolving it back down to the people. We were a social revolution; we were fighting the government. But, today blockchain means penny stock pump-and-dumps, moonboys and lambos, and it’s about getting rich quick.

We don’t play these games. We still think we have to change the world for the better. That’s why all we do is aimed at creating an infrastructure for Web 3.0, which we were talking about long before it became trendy.

Why was Obelisk created? Why is it a better consensus than BTC’s and ETH’s, and does it solve the problems inherent in both of these networks?

People think blockchain is about cryptocurrencies because they know Bitcoin and Ethereum, but the reality is that blockchain technology is much more general than cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is actually just database technology. So, anywhere we use a database, we can use blockchain.

But, the adoption of blockchain has been held back by the fact that blockchain currently requires half a million dollars to implement, maybe two million or four million dollars’ worth of mining equipment, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in electricity costs. And, what that guarantees is that we’re going to have a couple big coins: the Bitcoins, Ethereums, EOSes, whatever…

That leaves the other coins vulnerable from a security perspective. So, the question is: How do I get a consensus that is not based on proof-of-work? Because, basically, the problem with proof-of-work is that whoever has the most hashing power controls the network, and what that means is that whoever has the most money controls the network, because, if you have the most money, you can just buy hashing power, and then you own the network.

So, you know, the Bitcoin network… we pretend like it’s decentralized, but the reality is that it’s controlled by whoever has the most money, and I wouldn’t call that decentralization. And, if you look, I think there’s three mining pools that control the vast majority of hashing power. And, they’re owned by the same guys, the same investors, all three of them.

And, then you have the question of energy usage. Do you really want to spend $50 million per year on electricity just to be able to do six transactions per second? You know, it’s basically overhead, and it doesn’t add anything, so the question is: How do I get consensus without the overhead of all of this mining equipment? And, that’s why we created Obelisk, because just the energy costs a huge amount.

We have to lower the costs for small businesses to create and run their own blockchains because they’re not going to spend $50,000 per month just so they can say their database is on a blockchain.

Tell us about Fiber – What is it?

Skycoin’s Fiber is best described as an infinitely scalable blockchain network. In this sense, Fiber is more than a blockchain. This is a solution to the existing scaling problems that the largest blockchain networks using distributed ledger technology are subject to.

So, we have to dramatically reduce the cost of consensus by getting rid of proof-of-work and getting rid of proof-of-stake, and what that’s going to enable is a network of 100,000 blockchains, or a million blockchains, or ten million blockchains. And, that’s what we call Fiber.

There is a Web 3.0 aspect for consumer and business applications. You know, you decentralize your data, grab your data and copy it on the cloud. You don’t really care who or where it’s hosted, right?

People who use Web 3.0 normally won’t know they’re using it. When Web 3.0 is here, it will be when people are using it and don’t know that they’re using it. It’s going to be identical. The apps are going to look identical to what we have now. It’s going to be exactly the same. The only difference is that there will be a different database in the backend.

Is Fiber based on proof-of-trust?

No, it’s based on Ben-Or’s protocol for decentralized coin-flipping. We want to have 100,000 blockchains, and we don’t want to have all this overhead. It doesn’t really make any sense. I would say Fiber… it’s not really Obelisk. It was just the idea of getting your own blockchain for the decentralized internet. I think it’s really focused more for business use.

Are today’s largest blockchain networks truly decentralized and open, as their representatives and the media claim?

Look at the biggest coins. Look at the Binance chain. There’s no source code for it. It’s not open source. No one knows what the hell it’s doing. They’ve released some source code, but, actually, the node doesn’t sync. You run it, and it doesn’t sync. So, the whole network is running on a server in Binance’s office, and that’s where Binance tether, BUSD, and all these thousands of services are leaving Ethereum to go on the Binance Token.

They’re leaving Ethereum for a closed-source platform that doesn’t even really release its source code. And, if you run the source code, the node doesn’t actually work.

We used to have consensus, right? And EOS went to master nodes, and they just ran 30 master nodes and completely controlled it. And so, it’s sort of this model now of faking it, faking decentralization because it has inefficiency, and it really doesn’t add anything. Oh, yeah, we’re decentralized, but who the hell cares, right? People only care what the app does, they only care what the functionality is.

Can you explain what your cutting-edge CX programming language is?

CX is Skycoin’s feature rich programming language, and it is what I think is best for blockchain. It is designed to meet the growing needs of Skycoin’s ecosystem that cannot be met by any other available languages.

If my blog data is on blockchain, I need a language that tells me who can update the data, how big it could be, what the format is, I need APIs for viewing the data, APIs for modifying the data, permission control, an application scripting language, and I need to do mathematical computations.

With CX, you can run any program on any computer in such a way that it will run on a blockchain database. The difference between Skycoin’s CX and Ethereum is you cannot run a video game on Ethereum, while CX allows you to run any application on a blockchain that you could run on your laptop.

So, it’s kind of like an operating system that runs on the blockchain?

It’s a programming language. And, I wouldn’t consider Ethereum’s smart contracting language to be a real programming language because it’s too limited. I want to do video sharing sites. I want to have Telegram, I want to do poker, I want to do 3D video games, I want to be able to run any app that I can run on my computer, and I want the data to be stored on a blockchain. And so, I don’t want to be limited to just buying and selling a PNG for $100,000 and then changing the owner and then paying a $50 transaction fee to do that.

So, a video game would be located on the blockchain, and I would just call up this CX, and it would run on it? Something like that?

There are CX programs that would be on a blockchain, but some applications have data on the blockchain, and others don’t. It has to be flexible enough so that it could be executed on the blockchain, but it could also be executed on a normal CPU without having a blockchain. It just depends on what you’re doing.

Tell us about Skycoin’s crypto token: should we expect its price to rise? Is it important to your community?

Skycoin is just one of maybe 15 software products and software protocols that we’ve developed. I think it’s very difficult to predict crypto assets. It’s very difficult to say what’s going to go up, what’s going to go down. You know, people see crypto as a sort of investment that they’re trying to make money on, and I think there are too many people like that.

I mean, that’s the way they see it. You know: “I’m going to buy this because it’s going to go up.” But, I think most of the people who bought Skycoin bought it because they like what we’re doing. They like this community that we’ve built. They like our vision for what the future of the internet is going to look like.

There are some people who bought it for financial returns, and I think, unfortunately, they were disappointed because if you’re trying to get a pump-and-dump… If you’re going to this pump, you’re going to that pump… You’re going to this, you’re rushing into these new coins, these new ICOs… And, this coin’s here this week, and it’s up 50x, and then next week it’s gone, and you never hear of it again.

I think that our community is a bit different. We don’t have a lot of moonboys in our community. We don’t have a mu mu and lambo mu, and I’m gonna get rich. I think there’s a lot of people that are using our VPN service, they’re running Skywire nodes, they’re waiting for us to build this new peer-to-peer internet for local communities. That’s what they’re doing.

Skycoin’s price was $50 when we had no source code. We had nothing when Skycoin was at a $5-billion market cap. We were just starting out. We were just hiring people. And, now that we have like 18 hardware products, our VPN done, our programming language done, we’re making video game prototypes, we’re going into small business and corporate networking, we’re building out CX for programming education and for blockchain applications… Now that we’re doing all of these things, our token is at 20 cents.

So, how is it that when we had nothing, it’s a $5-billion market cap, and now that we have a lot more than a lot of our competitors five times over, those that have $800-million market caps… But what are we at? $20 million now?

You know, Dogecoin has had no developers for the last 8 years but its market cap’s more than Ford. So, what does that say? I think the market is a bunch of moonboys going from pump-and-dump to pump-and-dump. The blockchain market today is a market that rewards marketing. If you want, you take your marketing team, you launch a new coin, and then, three months later, you launch another coin. There’s no market for old coins. Like, we talked to OKEx and they only want new coins. They don’t want old coins. They want to do a pump, a massive marketing push. They want to dump at 50x, and then they want to do it again next month. And, that’s really where the market’s at if you want to make money. It’s not in developing something over five or ten years.

This is an interview with one of the world’s most creative and talented blockchain and cryptocurrency developers, Brandon ‘Synth’ Smietana, the Co-Founder of Skycoin, whose company develops software and hardware for decentralized networking and data storage.

He was among the blockchain pioneers who took part in writing Bitcoin’s source code with one of the most mysterious personalities of our time, Satoshi Nakamoto. Skycoin, which was launched in 2012, has no rivals in terms of its ground-breaking approach and is tech savvy.

What are Skycoin’s flagship products; why is Skycoin so much more than just a crypto token; and why is its unique technology so important? We asked Smietana about all this and more.

Why was the Skycoin project created? When I say Skycoin, I mean your entire product line. What are the main problems you solve for current and potential blockchain users?

Have you ever wondered why you need platforms like YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook? Do you realize that these companies control a huge array of your personal data? We give them our data. They control it, they monetize it, and they exploit us. They control people’s thinking, they rig elections, they manipulate what people see, what they hear, and eventually the objective is to manipulate how people behave. It’s about controlling people.

So, we went through this phase in the internet where everyone had a blog and it was decentralized. And then, we went to this phase where three companies, Twitter, Facebook and Google, control basically the whole internet and block off everything else. So, there’s this illusion of this global internet and people playing by the rules, and that your data is only being collected to fight terrorists. In fact, they collect it so that one group of people can economically dominate the others, and that is what it is being used for.

In China, Cisco routers are banned, but you can buy a Huawei router. And, how do you know that the Chinese government didn’t put a backdoor in that. And, when you buy an American router, you get an American backdoor. Of course, there are backdoors in all their communications equipment.

So, what Skywire is, is a neutral open-source standard for networking that will have open-source hardware. People can compile their own firmware and know there’s not a Chinese backdoor in it, or have to choose between a Russian backdoor, a Chinese backdoor and the EU security backdoor. Businesses need to control their own infrastructure. They need to control their routers, their firmware and their file storage. They have to reduce reliance upon these third parties.

When we started 10 years ago, blockchain was about taking the power from the Fed and devolving it back down to the people. We were a social revolution; we were fighting the government. But, today blockchain means penny stock pump-and-dumps, moonboys and lambos, and it’s about getting rich quick.

We don’t play these games. We still think we have to change the world for the better. That’s why all we do is aimed at creating an infrastructure for Web 3.0, which we were talking about long before it became trendy.

Why was Obelisk created? Why is it a better consensus than BTC’s and ETH’s, and does it solve the problems inherent in both of these networks?

People think blockchain is about cryptocurrencies because they know Bitcoin and Ethereum, but the reality is that blockchain technology is much more general than cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is actually just database technology. So, anywhere we use a database, we can use blockchain.

But, the adoption of blockchain has been held back by the fact that blockchain currently requires half a million dollars to implement, maybe two million or four million dollars’ worth of mining equipment, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in electricity costs. And, what that guarantees is that we’re going to have a couple big coins: the Bitcoins, Ethereums, EOSes, whatever…

That leaves the other coins vulnerable from a security perspective. So, the question is: How do I get a consensus that is not based on proof-of-work? Because, basically, the problem with proof-of-work is that whoever has the most hashing power controls the network, and what that means is that whoever has the most money controls the network, because, if you have the most money, you can just buy hashing power, and then you own the network.

So, you know, the Bitcoin network… we pretend like it’s decentralized, but the reality is that it’s controlled by whoever has the most money, and I wouldn’t call that decentralization. And, if you look, I think there’s three mining pools that control the vast majority of hashing power. And, they’re owned by the same guys, the same investors, all three of them.

And, then you have the question of energy usage. Do you really want to spend $50 million per year on electricity just to be able to do six transactions per second? You know, it’s basically overhead, and it doesn’t add anything, so the question is: How do I get consensus without the overhead of all of this mining equipment? And, that’s why we created Obelisk, because just the energy costs a huge amount.

We have to lower the costs for small businesses to create and run their own blockchains because they’re not going to spend $50,000 per month just so they can say their database is on a blockchain.

Tell us about Fiber – What is it?

Skycoin’s Fiber is best described as an infinitely scalable blockchain network. In this sense, Fiber is more than a blockchain. This is a solution to the existing scaling problems that the largest blockchain networks using distributed ledger technology are subject to.

So, we have to dramatically reduce the cost of consensus by getting rid of proof-of-work and getting rid of proof-of-stake, and what that’s going to enable is a network of 100,000 blockchains, or a million blockchains, or ten million blockchains. And, that’s what we call Fiber.

There is a Web 3.0 aspect for consumer and business applications. You know, you decentralize your data, grab your data and copy it on the cloud. You don’t really care who or where it’s hosted, right?

People who use Web 3.0 normally won’t know they’re using it. When Web 3.0 is here, it will be when people are using it and don’t know that they’re using it. It’s going to be identical. The apps are going to look identical to what we have now. It’s going to be exactly the same. The only difference is that there will be a different database in the backend.

Is Fiber based on proof-of-trust?

No, it’s based on Ben-Or’s protocol for decentralized coin-flipping. We want to have 100,000 blockchains, and we don’t want to have all this overhead. It doesn’t really make any sense. I would say Fiber… it’s not really Obelisk. It was just the idea of getting your own blockchain for the decentralized internet. I think it’s really focused more for business use.

Are today’s largest blockchain networks truly decentralized and open, as their representatives and the media claim?

Look at the biggest coins. Look at the Binance chain. There’s no source code for it. It’s not open source. No one knows what the hell it’s doing. They’ve released some source code, but, actually, the node doesn’t sync. You run it, and it doesn’t sync. So, the whole network is running on a server in Binance’s office, and that’s where Binance tether, BUSD, and all these thousands of services are leaving Ethereum to go on the Binance Token.

They’re leaving Ethereum for a closed-source platform that doesn’t even really release its source code. And, if you run the source code, the node doesn’t actually work.

We used to have consensus, right? And EOS went to master nodes, and they just ran 30 master nodes and completely controlled it. And so, it’s sort of this model now of faking it, faking decentralization because it has inefficiency, and it really doesn’t add anything. Oh, yeah, we’re decentralized, but who the hell cares, right? People only care what the app does, they only care what the functionality is.

Can you explain what your cutting-edge CX programming language is?

CX is Skycoin’s feature rich programming language, and it is what I think is best for blockchain. It is designed to meet the growing needs of Skycoin’s ecosystem that cannot be met by any other available languages.

If my blog data is on blockchain, I need a language that tells me who can update the data, how big it could be, what the format is, I need APIs for viewing the data, APIs for modifying the data, permission control, an application scripting language, and I need to do mathematical computations.

With CX, you can run any program on any computer in such a way that it will run on a blockchain database. The difference between Skycoin’s CX and Ethereum is you cannot run a video game on Ethereum, while CX allows you to run any application on a blockchain that you could run on your laptop.

So, it’s kind of like an operating system that runs on the blockchain?

It’s a programming language. And, I wouldn’t consider Ethereum’s smart contracting language to be a real programming language because it’s too limited. I want to do video sharing sites. I want to have Telegram, I want to do poker, I want to do 3D video games, I want to be able to run any app that I can run on my computer, and I want the data to be stored on a blockchain. And so, I don’t want to be limited to just buying and selling a PNG for $100,000 and then changing the owner and then paying a $50 transaction fee to do that.

So, a video game would be located on the blockchain, and I would just call up this CX, and it would run on it? Something like that?

There are CX programs that would be on a blockchain, but some applications have data on the blockchain, and others don’t. It has to be flexible enough so that it could be executed on the blockchain, but it could also be executed on a normal CPU without having a blockchain. It just depends on what you’re doing.

Tell us about Skycoin’s crypto token: should we expect its price to rise? Is it important to your community?

Skycoin is just one of maybe 15 software products and software protocols that we’ve developed. I think it’s very difficult to predict crypto assets. It’s very difficult to say what’s going to go up, what’s going to go down. You know, people see crypto as a sort of investment that they’re trying to make money on, and I think there are too many people like that.

I mean, that’s the way they see it. You know: “I’m going to buy this because it’s going to go up.” But, I think most of the people who bought Skycoin bought it because they like what we’re doing. They like this community that we’ve built. They like our vision for what the future of the internet is going to look like.

There are some people who bought it for financial returns, and I think, unfortunately, they were disappointed because if you’re trying to get a pump-and-dump… If you’re going to this pump, you’re going to that pump… You’re going to this, you’re rushing into these new coins, these new ICOs… And, this coin’s here this week, and it’s up 50x, and then next week it’s gone, and you never hear of it again.

I think that our community is a bit different. We don’t have a lot of moonboys in our community. We don’t have a mu mu and lambo mu, and I’m gonna get rich. I think there’s a lot of people that are using our VPN service, they’re running Skywire nodes, they’re waiting for us to build this new peer-to-peer internet for local communities. That’s what they’re doing.

Skycoin’s price was $50 when we had no source code. We had nothing when Skycoin was at a $5-billion market cap. We were just starting out. We were just hiring people. And, now that we have like 18 hardware products, our VPN done, our programming language done, we’re making video game prototypes, we’re going into small business and corporate networking, we’re building out CX for programming education and for blockchain applications… Now that we’re doing all of these things, our token is at 20 cents.

So, how is it that when we had nothing, it’s a $5-billion market cap, and now that we have a lot more than a lot of our competitors five times over, those that have $800-million market caps… But what are we at? $20 million now?

You know, Dogecoin has had no developers for the last 8 years but its market cap’s more than Ford. So, what does that say? I think the market is a bunch of moonboys going from pump-and-dump to pump-and-dump. The blockchain market today is a market that rewards marketing. If you want, you take your marketing team, you launch a new coin, and then, three months later, you launch another coin. There’s no market for old coins. Like, we talked to OKEx and they only want new coins. They don’t want old coins. They want to do a pump, a massive marketing push. They want to dump at 50x, and then they want to do it again next month. And, that’s really where the market’s at if you want to make money. It’s not in developing something over five or ten years.


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