Michael Chrupcala from Cryptocopia, a community focused around fundamental discussions facing the cryptocurrency and blockchain space hosted an hour long AMA with Stratis Platform's very own CEO & Founder, Chris Trew!
Great questions and exciting answers! That's what sums up this formidable AMA. Chris is as always sharp and on-point with his answers and there is something in his personality and traits that characterize all the big CEOs and leaders of our world. I have taken the time to bring up all the top questions in written format, but I highly encourage you to watch the full video as well.
A short introduction before heading right into the AMA: The Stratis Platform is an enterprise-grade development platform offering end-to-end solutions for native C# and .NET blockchain applications. At its heart is the Stratis blockchain, an open-source proprietary blockchain, which presents the latest breakthroughs in network speed and scalability while keeping accessibility and customisation at the forefront of the design. Paired with their Blockchain-as-a-Service, Stratis offers a powerful development kit for blockchain and decentralised application development.
Below are just a part of the questions Chris answered so I highly recommend to watch the entire AMA on YouTube:
Could you tell us just a little bit about your background and take us through the early days of creating the Stratis network?
Yeah, so myself I have a background in IT. I worked as a technical architect for 10 years before I got into the blockchain space. Before I started Stratis I self taught myself C# and as part of that journey of becoming a developer I started to maybe look at the world slightly differently. I started to see business opportunities all over the place for a developer I was so happy to stumble upon Bitcoin at the time and it wasn't long before I could see this huge gap in the market between the blockchain and C# development and more specifically corporate development so we kind of started the project to fill that void and it has taken a long time for us to actually get our products out but it is now out and we feel that we have a very very competitive offering.
What blockchain as a service means because Stratis is a blockchain-as-a-service offering and how would one of your clients go about using it within their applications?
Blockchain-as-a-service like software-as-a-service is all about making it easier for the person to access the service... It allows for a company to come along and utilise our blockchain technology without a huge learning curve involved. I mean I wouldn't say there is no learning curve involved but our platform and what we've developed, our architecture, our SDKs, our APIs, etc. most definitely makes it easier for C# developers to get into the blockchain space.
As far as I know Stratis is the first blockchain network to actually become a certified Microsoft partner. What that partnership has been like so far, what kind of resources and marketing support has actually been offered to your team with that Silver certification?
It's really been brilliant, I mean this whole project is targeted at Microsoft technologies. I mean .NET Core allows our code to run on OSX and Linux but most of our tech is utilising their offering so probably for 2 years we didn't receive much support from Microsoft, but as we had more offerings into the marketplace and as we got deeper integration into Microsoft it was just a natural evolution for us to come together.
The relationship has been brilliant! They've been helping us in great deal, we have many calls with them, they have been helping us with our marketing collateral. We're actively working towards a gold partnership because it gives you a lot more benefits. It also gives you more access to Microsoft's customers and that is exactly what we want. When we first started this project we had a vision that if are deeply integrated with Microsoft and if we actually do what we say, then it will be a case of Microsoft taking us out to their customers. We have already seen that happening.
Could you talk a bit about what that go-to-market strategy with Microsoft looks like?
In terms of go-to-market strategy, Microsoft really leaves it up to you to come with our own go-to-market strategy, but what they do is help you facilitate it so like I said they will help you create top level enterprise targeted marketing material.
As a company who's been active in the crypto for almost 3 years now how do you guys sustain yourself and keep rolling out these releases while protecting your company?
So we've only raised $600k during our ICO which was a very small amount in comparison with other project like Lisk which raised like 30,000 BTC or 50,000 BTC. So from the very first day we were at disadvantage so we had to be very very careful with our funds. One of the real benefits was that we weren't able to pay huge amount of salaries so what actually happened we attracted guys that really wanted to work at Stratis...
Could you tell us about how you are planning to roll out the Stratis Sidechains and what the extra functionality we can expect to see from sidechains on Stratis?
Yes, so we have actually rolled out our sidechains at the end of last year and it's been in the testing phase for the last couple of months, but over the next sort of 2 months we're gonna be rolling out our whole production system. Right now all of the nodes are operated by Stratis as a company. I don't need to tell anyone why that's not a good idea for the space that we are in. You're completely trusting us right now. That was absolutely fine while we were just testing and we needed to constantly roll out these updates, but now in order for us to release smart contracts we need a somewhat decentralized environment, so that's why in the next two months we're to roll out what we call the masternodes which are federated nodes on the sidechain which will allow STRAT holders to actually secure the sidechain.
In terms of what the functionalities will look like from a sidechain perspective it is a scaling solution so for instance all of our smart contracts will run in a sidechain so if someone will want to interact with a smart contract they will only have to download the full node for that sidechain and download that sidechain's blockchain instead of having to download the whole mainchain.
There are several benefits of our sidechains. We can effectively blow away sidechains and restore them and do all sorts of other cool things around scaling. It also gives you some security, you could have some features and solutions inside the sidechain and they don't actually affect the mainchain. So if a sidechain experiences issues it wouldn't affect the mainchain. So what we're gonna end up having effectively in the end is the Stratis mainchain and various sidechain providing the core functionalities for the platform. So if you want to interact with a specific part of the Stratis blockchain you're gonna have to connect to that sidechain rather than one big chain of all those features in it.
Below are some of the community questions that Chris responded to:
What are you going to do marketing wise to attract more businesses?
We are going to hold our hands up that our marketing was not at the same level as our competitors, but if you look at the budget between the two if we were to spend the same amount on marketing as our competitors did in our first year then it wouldn't be no Stratis by now. That is for sure! It comes down to budget, you know.. Up until now that gap has been filled by our community. This year we have a whole strategy going around attracting more businesses to use our solutions.
One of the plans of attack is working with the channels so consultancy companies that don't necessarily have internal blockchain practices, but they have all these customers asking about blockchain services so it makes sense for them to partner with other company like Stratis that has the platform, the expertise, that has the enterprise experience even before blockchain that can come in and work with them and deliver solutions sometimes white labels. So we might come in as the consultancy company, but that's going to be one of our main roads in and we will be speaking to several large big players in the consultancy world.
What killer features has Stratis that are ahead of the competition and how does Stratis intend to open up the technology to the community and to researchers so it can be continuously improved on?
In terms of killer features, I would say that they are sidechains and smart contracts. We do have other features but from a community perspective and from a STRAT holder perspective the best features are features that require STRATs. Even STRATs are consumed or STRATs have to be locked up to provide a certain piece of functionality on the blockchain and smart contracts & sidechains are exactly what that does.
In terms of how we're going to still be competitive in the future as I said earlier we are working on a completely decentralized two-way pegged sidechain solution. So at this moment in time nobody has actually delivered a fully decentralized two-way pegged solution ( that I am aware of) . That definitely puts us in a position of kind of most competitive offerings around sidechains and the fact that our smart contracts are written in C# & executed by the .NET puts us at an advantage. We are actually one of the first projects to actually do smart contracts after Ethereum. And that is our competitive advantage.
What would be the main use cases for STRAT token outside of masternodes?
There are going to be many use cases build on top of the Stratis platform. In smart contracts you're only really limited by what you can think of so there is going to be many many use cases that smart contracts will be created for. We will be rolling out many different features on the Stratis blockchains like payment gateways, our identity management solution, privacy solutions, scalability solutions.
What does the product roadmap looks like for 2019-2020?
So historically we've released regular roadmaps to inform the community of what we're going to be working on for the next couple of quarters, but now we are just in a very awkward period when we just work. The goal is to first roll out and consolidate around our full node, smart contracts and sidechains and then we will actually put up a roadmap because we're going to be working on some totally new things that haven't even been mentioned until now. These are exciting things that we want to inform our community about but we need to sort of get to the next hurdle before we do that because what we don't want to do is to put out a roadmap and then not meet those deadlines which is far worst than not putting out our roadmap.
Where do you expect the Stratis platform to be in 5 years?
In five years I'd expect us to be a major player in not only the sort of open public blockchain space like Bitcoin or Ethereum but also competing with companies like IBM on the DLT side of things. I'd hope that we've got hundreds of developers internally by then and thousands of contributors all of them extending and developing on top of the Stratis platform.
What future developments would you expect would be most appealing to larger institutions on the Stratis network?
So we have two the first being ICO/STO platform that's going to allow people to do actual regulated offerings so that's going to allow institutional money to come in. It's not going to be a case of the old-school ICO model where large financial institutions are not going to be pumping money into it, these are going to be regulated STOs as such to allow institutional money to come in and the other side of the business is the DLT wing of Stratis because we obviously have a DLT offering and most of the use cases that we've seen most of this demand that we've seen from large financial organizations is always around DLT and this was one of the reasons why we even decided to develop the DLT solution.
How are the CRS tokens actually going to be used exactly? What is their utility and how can individuals and parties leverage the power of the first Stratis sidechain? I know that CRS tokens are 1:1 pegged with STRAT tokens. In other words, what are the use cases of CRS?
So the first use case is going to be for the execution of smart contracts and the whole reason why we've rolled out the Cirrus blockchain is to deploy our smart contract infrastructure so all smart contracts are executed on the Stratis platform will always be executed on Cirrus and that requires serious tokens in order to execute them and those fees for execution go back to the masternodes and there will be additional functionalities rolled out on Cirrus in future. We have an ERC20 equivalent smart contract so people will be able to create tokens on the Cirrus chain as well.
You can now apply to become a Masternode operator on the Cirrus sidechain by following the instructions on this link: https://stratisplatform.com/2019/02/28/stratis-sidechain-application/
Thank you for taking the time to read this AMA summary and hopefully you are as excited as I am for 2019!
*Buy me a morning croissant: SXQJmjyHxZUZcoqGetisw9mpr33MWR8Vcb