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Cartesi’s AMA Recap with CryptoDiffer

By Cartesi | Cartesi News & Updates | 1 May 2020


5/1/2020 — We’ve recently conducted an AMA in CryptoDiffer‘s Telegram Community. The AMA was held with Erick De Moura (CEO of Cartesi) and Augusto Teixeira (CSO at Cartesi). Some of the text may have been edited for clarity and grammar.

Crypto Differ Admin — We are glad to have here: Erick De Moura (CEO at Cartesi) Augusto Teixeira (Chief Scientific Officer at Cartesi).

Erick De Moura — Hi everyone! We are glad to be here. Thanks!

Augusto Teixeira — Glad to be here!


— Let`s start from the first introduction question —


Q1: What is Cartesi and what are the advantages of Cartesi over competing blockchains and protocols?

Erick — Cartesi is the Operating System for DApps. We finally bring a real operating system (more specifically a Linux runtime environment) for scalable blockchain DApps. Complex and intensive computations run off-chain while preserving the security guarantees of the blockchain. This means that DApps developed with Cartesi are significantly more powerful, easier to build, and will provide a seamless experience for users.

Cartesi is a layer-2 solution initially built on top of Ethereum but with plans to be ported over the most relevant blockchains. Cartesi is unique in the sense that it allows decentralized apps to be run on Linux in a way that’s verifiable by the blockchain. Complex processing can be executed off-chain free from blockchains’ computational limits and corresponding fees.

Essentially, any programmer will be able to write a DApp with Cartesi.


Q2: What is the significance of Cartesi’s layer-2 tech, utilizing Linux?

Augusto — No software in built in isolation. Mainstream mobile/web applications today depend on multiple software dependencies that took decades to mature. Cartesi brings all this infrastructure to blockchain applications. Let me put it like this. If someone knows the basics of programming, they can start writing a website or a smartphone app in a short time. But for decentralized applications, it is very complicated! New languages, lack of libraries, no debugging.

Cartesi is removing these barriers. Developers of any background will be able to code decentralized applications on the blockchain without special training. Now, why Linux? This is the standard for developing today. Google, Uber, Airbnb… they are all written in Linux. But that does not mean that end users need to use Linux, they can be on any platform: Windows, Mac, you name it.


Q3: What is the function of CTSI and what are its uses?

Erick — Cartesi is being developed to be a powerful decentralized server. The first step we did was to write the Cartesi Core, which has already been made public. One can think of it as a powerful decentralized computer. In the Cartesi Core, the CTSI will serve as a deposit to guarantee honest execution. But this powerful decentralized computer is still running on a very slow connection (like an old dial-up), because it uses Ethereum for data transfer.

Our next step is to give this computer a broadband connection. This will be done by the Cartesi side-chain, which will be run by a Proof of Stake algorithm, using the CTSI token. More information on the Cartesi Network and CTSI:

  Segment 2 : Community Questions


You are often compared to Truebit and Nervos, what are your similarities and key differences, what are the advantages of Cartesi when compared to these projects?

Erick — Essentially, Cartesi brings Linux and empowers DApp developers in a way that the other projects cannot, due to their limited runtime environments. At the same time, it allows for massive computations, while preserving the blockchain security guarantees.


Once CTSI were list on such a great and popular exchange like Binance. How do you feel? How did this affect Cartesi positively? How was the response from your community? How does the community contribute and how does Cartesi plan to involve them in its development? In case of those developers & technical people … How they can be part of your team?


AugustoBinance’s listing has been a major event for us. The responsibility and the workload have tripled in the last two weeks. But we are very excited, the development is accelerating and we are trying to move faster than our scheduled roadmap.

Concerning the community, we welcome very much developers who want to build on top of Cartesi! There are several ways to do this. Applying to work with us is the most obvious, but we also want to have people program games and other DApps on top of Cartesi. Contact us on Discord!


What is Cartesi teams background? and how did you motivated to create Cartesi project?

— Cartesi has a very strong team both in academic research terms and in software engineering terms. We were initially motivated to create a decentralized marketplace for machine learning and computation. But soon we realized we were tapping into a much more generic solution that the whole ecosystem is hungry for.


Cartesi is an ecosystem that can support many industries such as finance, games, etc. Thus, it may not be clear to your potential clients and partners what your main goal is. Can you tell us what priority products you are aiming for the first time?

Augusto — Our first objective it to lay down the ground for DApp development. Right now, with Cartesi people can write DApps in a much more scalable and easier way. Much closer to how they write centralized applications.

Put it simply, there is no way that major apps, such as Uber or Airbnb would exist today without a bit operating system (like Linux that they chose for their development).

The same way, there is no way that a major decentralized application can be written without Cartesi, because we are the only project offering this operating system infrastructure.

At the same time, we are contacting software teams, companies and game studios to invite them to build the next generation of DApps on top of our technology.

Soon we are also delivering our documentation to aid indie developers to do the same.


With current strength of token in the ecosystem as larger what do you think it could be the value OF CTSI token project in the future? And what is beneficial factors or guarantee factors for the investors to know your CARTESI project will be of best in the crypto space?

Erick — We are fundamentally committed to mitigating the problem of blockchain adoption, by bringing industrial-grade programmability and standards. Cartesi will allow for DApps to be more powerful and easily built by software experts that don’t have deep knowledge of blockchains. We are working hard to promote the education of Cartesi, incentivizing its adoption and developing strategic partnerships with mainstream software institutions and traditional industries. CTSI plays a very important role as a crypto-fuel for the usage of the Cartesi Network.


How to earn CTSI?

Augusto — Right now, CTSI is available for purchase on Binance. We are also contacting other exchanges for a broader accessibility.

We are about to launch bounty programs to engage both developers and community at large.

In our roadmap we will release our Proof of Stake system, where owners of CTSI will be able to stake their tokens and run a Cartesi Node in order to mine tokens. This will not require any special hardware and will be possible in any personal computer.


What is your strategy for attracting new users to the CARTESI platform with already tough competitors in the market…! Security/Privacy feature should be the top priority for any organization…! How does CARTESI implement various methodologies to validate the participants.?

Erick — (1) We are going to employ all the methodologies that are required to create a network effect — bounty programs, community activities, ambassadors, DApp development subsidy and much more. As we are by design created to mitigate the adoption barrier, we are confident when it comes to onboarding new developers by allowing them to use mainstream software stacks to create DApps.

(2) Security is a top priority and the Cartesi Core tech paper goes in great detail about how it’s preserved. Cartesi doesn’t rely on any kind of reputation system, which are often prone to sybil attacks.


Gaming in Cartesi is a risky bet, what happens if the game is adopted by millions of people, will the Cartesi network be able to support it? about your focus on DeFi, how will it be different and better than the rest of the projects?

Augusto — Scalability has always been in the center of our attention and our research focus on this question all the time. We are confident that our infrastructure can handle a very large number of players without breaking security.

That said, if the number of players grows very fast, there is a risk that the Ethereum mainnet becomes slow, like it happened with Crypto Kitties. Although that does not affect security, we are working on a new release of Creepts that will reduce even further the usage of the layer 1, making it more scalable and faster.


Adoption is a headache challenge for every blockchain projects, especially at this sensitive period of the whole market when many blockchain projects were dead since no-one uses their blockchain. What are your team’s strategies and visions on this problem to onboard more users for Cartesi platform?

Erick — There’s a lot of experimentation going on with protocols and blockchain technologies. Indeed, the most difficult thing is to create a network.

What makes us confident is the fact that we are the first project to bring an industry standard to DApp development that already has a huge network.

We are not coming up with a new instruction set for our VMs and not imposing the programmability restrictions that all other blockchains do. Instead, we are making for the first-time decentralization compliant with Linux and the vast universe that has been built on top of it for decades.


How would you rate your IEO, did you expect this good price result initially? Cartesi x Matic is a great partnership, what can you tell us about the advantage of this?

Augusto — We are very excited with the partnership with Matic because the two projects are complementary. We give a high scalability of computation, while they provide fast and scalable financial transactions. This is a perfect combo. This brings us closer to DeFi applications that need both these ingredients, like complex derivatives and many more.


Why was Creepts chosen in the Tower Defense genre for the first Cartesi Dapps? What experience have you gained since yesterday’s Creepts tournament?

Erick A tower defense game was a careful choice to show clearly the unique advantage of Cartesi.

In a TD game, you have only a few actions of the player with the game, that can be stored on the blockchain in a cost-effective way. On the other hand, the amount of computation involved on a TD game like Creepts is really orders of magnitude above what would be conceivable on-chain. A single Creepts gameplay can easily surpass one trillion microprocessor steps/instructions.

Yet, we are able to preserve full decentralization. All that processing happens off-chain, with the same security guarantees of Ethereum.

Why does Cartesi Need Blockchain Technology? What role does blockchain play in Cartesi?

Augusto — If you write an application like Uber (which is completely centralized in their headquarters) you don’t need blockchain for your operations. You decide everything and people follow the rules. For example, they could increase their fees on drivers tomorrow.

But Cartesi proposes a new approach, where one can follow a very similar development and deployment process, but make the application completely decentralized. Where the creator of the platform cannot change some rules of the game later (like Uber could have a fixed fee that cannot be increased after the adoption increased). To give such guarantees to the users, these rules have to be written on the blockchain. Then everyone knows that the fee is written in stone.


How do you plan to attract developers with knowledge of Linux, GRPC and Solidity? Is there a system of encouragement and motivation?

Erick — Yes, we will soon deploy key incentive programs to encourage the creation of DApps on Cartesi. We are very excited about it.

Q1. In your medium article, it says that “The Economist reported that ‘data’ passed oil as our world’s most valuable commodity. So, what will be Cartesi’s views on data and how will you make use of it utilizing your tech? Q2. How can Cartesi platform solve the problem of making data available/accessible to blockchain? What technology will you use in this?

Augusto — Data as a commodity has grown in a rate that no one could keep up with. Regulations are weak, abuse is rampant.

Blockchain offered a little bit of hope in this direction, because the rules of data usage were made public and verifiable on the blockchain. But the problem is that not only the code (“rules of the game”) were public, but so is everyone’s data :( So there has been little gain there.

With Cartesi, data is not shared with everyone. It is only made available to the parties that have authorization and could be directed influenced by that particular data (think for example: a medical exam, the doctor and the insurance company).

But with Cartesi, not only the data is protected, but the “rules of the game” and the code processing this data is at the same time public for inspection. So, we believe that there will be finally a proper tool to start dealing with data abuse.


As you move forward to achieve your goals, what are your next highest priorities? and the Cartesi team will have the necessary foundations such as (funds, community, etc.) to quickly achieve those next goals? With blockchains being totally unalterable and modifiable, how will Cartesi achieve being outside the chain, associate with it and serve as a support to implement software services without affecting decentralization?

Erick — First we are going to deploy a version of our SDK documentation, that will allow for devs to easily create fun tournaments like Creepts, without even having to touch smart contract development. Cartesi can immediately help decentralized games, as we were able to demonstrate with Creepts. With that, we will create incentives for game developers to onboard our tech.

Of course, Cartesi is a general-purpose platform, games being only one possible niche. As we release the new features that are described in our roadmap, we have an even more powerful system that’s able to help several industries. As we said before, we are committed to working with dev communities, several blockchain protocols, traditional industries, and software institutions to promote the broad adoption of the tech.

Regarding your second question, in a nutshell, Cartesi brings all the computational heavy-lifting off chain and uses the blockchain as a Court system in case of arbitration. If there are disputes on the results of the computation, the blockchain is able to defend the interests of the honest party by only having to run a negligible amount of the original processing. (Please, read about the Verification Game algorithm on our Medium articles.


(1) What is “REPRODUCIBILITY” in CARTESI, does it really work for reproducibility within a VM and Linux OS? (2) And For what reason why Cartesi and Matic Network Forge a Partnership?

Augusto — Reproducibility means that if two people run the same computation, they will reach the same results.

Do you know this awful situation where something does not work on your phone, but all your friends say: “it works on mine”? In technical terms it means that they cannot “reproduce your problem”.

With Cartesi, an old laptop running Windows 2000 will give the same results as a modern Mac. This reproducibility is the bases for consensus.

This is for example what Ethereum did with their virtual machine, the EVM. The problem is that the EVM is very specialized and can only run “toy programs”.

Cartesi is the first virtual machine that is reproducible and can run real software, like read excel spreadsheets, zip files, open images and audio files…

All this complexity without missing the reproducibility.


Where are your team based, are you working from one office in usual or team is globally distributed?

Erick — Hi Kent, our team is globally distributed. With members in Brazil, Taiwan, China and the US.


Now that you have been listed in Binance, in what plan are you working for the future? Could you give us an advancement?

— We are working harder than ever. I can talk more about the development side, which is my role in Cartesi. We are hiring more developers and working around the clock to release the version 2.0 of Cartesi. Including:

· fast and cheap data transfers between users and the application (games or others)

· having users interact in the application (for example multi-players games or financial transactions between parties).

· improve the experience of users and developers to make it even closer to that of centralized applications

Besides these core improvements, we are planning to make another game to showcase all of that!

Erick — There are many important actions in the pipeline. Network and community are fundamental to the widespread adoption of Cartesi: listing on more exchanges, deploying the ambassadorial program, bug bounty, DApp development subsidy, and a number of other community events.

In parallel, we are working to create ties with traditional software industries, corporations, and the most relevant blockchain protocols.


While going through different articles relating to Cartesi and other layer- 2 scalability solutions, I discovered that the only project that works most closely related to Cartesi is Truebit. The connection between Cartesi and Truebit emanates from the fact that both technologies move intensive computations off-chain and then, within the blockchain, use a verification game to efficiently settle disputes regarding the results of these computations.

Erick — Aside from Truebit, Arbitrum is another great project that has similarities with Cartesi. The 3 projects rely on the same interactive dispute resolution protocol called “verification game”. That’s how we are able to shift the processing off-chain and use the blockchain as an arbitrator.

There are a few incentive mechanisms that set the 3 projects apart.

However, the unique advantage of Cartesi is the bridging of blockchains with a runtime environment on top of which the entire World is already running. The fact that we have a Linux VM is a tremendous difference in the expressive power that DApp developers have and also on the easy adoption of the tech (professionals don’t have to learn new and limited tools from scratch, they use what they are familiar with).


What difficulties have been encountered during the development of Cartesi?

Augusto — Cartesi is a complicated piece of technology. In order to make life simple for users and developers, we had to take all the complexity on our shoulders.

We also had difficulty in the beginning to explain what Cartesi is, because of its complexity. Now we are much more comfortable writing our software and explaining it to everyone.

This experience of having a hard time coding on Ethereum has taught us a very important lesson: “this is not normal”

Our long-term goal is that nobody should suffer so much as we did to do something on the blockchain. If every developer has to go through all the problems that we had during the Cartesi development, the ecosystem will not strive.

We are here to provide a better way.

What are the ways that Cartesi generates profits to maintain your project? How can it make benefit to both investor and your project?

Augusto — Holders of CTSI can do two things with it:

· use it to pay fees to run Cartesi applications

· stake it and help people reach security and consensus on Cartesi applications

These two represent the: users and providers.

If you are a user you are losing Cartesi tokens in order to enjoy the applications. If you are a provider, you are receiving CTSI in the form of mine rewards and fees in order to keep the system working.

Note however that serving as a provider can be done in several ways. It is not exclusive of gigantic server farms. It can run on a laptop computer. It can also run on the cloud if the holder of CTSI trusts someone to stake their tokens for them.

In our roadmap we have a milestone for the Proof of Stake system that will govern this relation.


Technology is changing every second, so are you afraid that recent projects with new technologies will become a serious competitor For Cartesi? What’s the thing that you have hat other projects don’t yet have?

Augusto — Technology changes faster than anyone can keep up with. Even Silicon Valley gurus don’t understand everything. Few of them understand blockchains for example.

But the reason for this explosion is because there is way too much to be done. There are many areas waiting for innovation, such as health, travel, logistics, energy. That means that not all these thousands of projects are competitors, they are mostly working on their own fields.

This is a bit what is happening now on blockchains, many projects solving different types of problems.

But there is still a fight to find out who are going to be the base platforms on top of which the technology will be built. Like Android, IOS, browsers, http… have been for the internet. We plan to be a major piece in the stack of the Web 3.0. Our moto is: “nobody will be able to build a major decentralized application without using Cartesi.”


How do you plan to explain such technical topics to a wider audience? How do you plan to show the world that your product is not just another useless blockchain solution to a non-existing problem?

Augusto — We do our best to explain the tech in simple terms. It is difficult. But I think that the best way to reach a broad audience is not by explaining things, few people want to hear technical things about Linux.

Our plan is to showcase the tech with amazing applications. Like we have done with Creepts. For every milestone we reach on the technical side, there should be a new application that shows the community what is now possible.


What consensus algorithm do you use and how do you solve the problems peculiar to the algorithm??

Augusto — We use two separate consensus algorithms, one for data availability and another for computation results.

For data availability we are implementing a sharded Proof of Stake system that is highly optimized for large volumes of data (for example, we want DApp developers to upload JPEG images on their DApps without fear).

In the case of computation results, consensus is reached through an algorithm called verification game or interactive verification. This is a very nice piece of tech that has been discovered in the 90’s and we have reformulated it in various ways to fit the blockchain context.


What are the advantages of the Linux infrastructure? And why should a Dapp developer use Cartesi instead of any other Operating System?

Erick — Linux is eating the world. A few stats: 96.3% of the world’s top 1 million servers run on Linux. 90% of all cloud infrastructure operates on Linux and practically all the best cloud hosts use it.

Finally, Cartesi is a blockchain project. We are based on open-source and open-standards. That’s also a decisive factor for the choice for RISC-V and Linux.


There are many cryptocurrency startups were established by talent teams, but they got problem in raising capital via token sales due to many factors as bear market, bankrupt… This leaded their potential startups fail. So how will Cartesi break these barriers and attract more funds from outside crypto space.

— We now have reached a level of maturity in which we understand what goes wrong with several companies out there. Establishing a successful blockchain startup is an extremely challenging problem and to solve this one has to combine several factors:

· good technology, this is key. one cannot survive without something that is a game changer.

· keep costs low. we have gone through the 2018 bear market, extended through 2019 and now COVID and we were never at risk because we are a small team of highly talented individuals. This is much easier to maintain than a big development house.

· business, business, business. It doesn’t matter if your tech is good and you can survive for long. One has to partner, to find investors, engage the community, show the technology through marketing… All these factors that are exterior to the tech, but are vital to the project’s prospects.

And much more.


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The Operating System for DApps

Cartesi News & Updates
Cartesi News & Updates

Cartesi is a decentralized and scalable Linux infrastructure that solves the problems of computational scalability and development infrastructure for the decentralized web. With Cartesi, Blockchain applications can be coded with the vast domain of mainstream software stacks available today. Applications run off-chain, with the strong security guarantees of the blockchain, but free from its computation limits and high costs.

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