This article is a recap of the recent AMA session between the changeNOW Community and Ark Ecosystem Team. The session took place in ChangeNOW's Telegram Group on the 10th of August 2020. The Ark Ecosystem team was represented by Justin Renken(Senior Brand Manager), Ray Alvarez(Strategic Partnerships Manager), Travis Walker(Events & Integrations Manager), and Elaine Egan(Community Engagement Manager).
The following text is the essential points of the AMA session and has been edited for clarity
Q: Could you please tell us a bit more about yourself: what are your interests and hobbies, how did you become familiar with crypto, and how have you joined the ARK team?
Travis: My name is Travis Walker, I am a co-founder of ARK. I have been in crypto since 2011 doing everything from research and trading to mining and building. Hobbies include racing, crypto, computers, cars, gaming.
Alvarez: Sure thing. I'm Ray Alvarez, the Strategic Partnership Manager for ARK.io. I came to crypto in early 2017 after law school. The idea behind it, the improvements it can make to all sectors of business, I was really sold on the possibilities.
I joined the ARK team after being a long-time community member. Our team has a very strong community of delegates and contributors and I was incredibly happy to join the team
As for hobbies I love gaming. (COD, Single-player like Ghost of Tsushima) and I am a 5th Degree black belt in Taekwondo and a former 2015 US Team Member
Elaine: Hi I'm Elaine Community Engagement Manager for ARK. I discovered crypto way back in the Summer of 2017. I learned as much as I could and did loads of online courses. During my study, I discovered ARK and just loved the community. I was lucky enough to join the team 5 months ago. I love kickboxing and going to the gym.
Justin: My name is Justin Renken, I have been diving into the crypto and blockchain space since 2017. I enjoy music and video production, cars, space, gaming, as well as learning about new technologies changing our world, which is why blockchain was so enticing to me. I first learned of crypto from a work colleague. I immediately wanted to learn more. I was a very active member of ARK community for a while and then in 2018 was hired onto the team. I wear many hats within the team and do writing, product testing, podcast production for podcast.ark.io, and video production for youtube.ark.io. I also manage the ARK Community Committee consisting of non devs who want to earn ARK on small projects. My title is Senior Brand Manager
Q: What are the most special features of Ark Ecosystem? What has the team achieved so far?
Alvarez: Great question. I can speak to this on the partnership level. As of last year, we started the Powered by ARK program which helps support projects building on our blockchain technology to build stronger connections within our respective communities and development teams. One project, Compendia, will be launching its mainnet later this month.
We also recently launched Protokol. A subsidiary of ARK that will be dedicated to using ARK technology on a business to business perspective. They do consulting, development, and training. So say Company A wants to incorporate a blockchain solution into their current business, Protokol is ready to help them from the consulting stage all the way thru development and launch.
We also have ARK Grants where people who have good ideas can seek out a grant to develop a Proof of Concept, a plugin for our desktop wallet, or a standalone application.
Lastly, MarketSquare.io is going to tie in a lot of different things together. It's open to everyone! Teams, developers, and regular users looking to learn more about different projects and building community together. We are calling it the new homepage for the decentralized web.
Beta is open now :)
Elaine: From my point of view and apologies if it's slightly not addressing your question. But I feel one of the special features of ARK is the excellent community that we have. Also, a good place to find out what we have been up to is to check out our blog https://blog.ark.io/
Q: What are your visions, plans, and goals? Can you share any particular info about the updates you're working on?
Justin: This is a great question and it’s important to understand whether there is a long term vision. We definitely have a long term vision in place, and our roadmap on the website only stops at 2020 because that is as far out as we can reasonably predict timelines and immediate priorities for development. ARKTimeline.com is a community resource focusing on details of the past, but Roadmap.ARK.io focuses on the present and future. We have a section called ‘Exploratory’ that introduces some of the longer-term ideas that we just can’t slate to a release window as of yet. Our primary goal right now is updating our current products, completing MarketSquare, and completing ARK Core 3.0.
Once Core 3.0 is in place, you will be able to use the ARK Blockchain Platform and ARK Core to create a combination of new transaction types that work together to create a framework that encompasses a specific use case. That is the crux of the larger vision for the ecosystem. For instance, if we want to build a gaming framework, we can develop the transaction type models for ERC20/ERC721 style token generation and then allow those to be easily selected and added to a new blockchain being developed in the ARK Deployer. This allows us to rapidly deploy new chains, new ideas, and build new applications.
Once the key platform components are completed, we will turn the focus of our development team towards building new frameworks, new transaction types, and new models that will all be available in the ARK Deployer. This potentially includes new consensus models (PoW/PoS), new voting systems, frameworks for specific niche verticals, like supply chain management, IoT, government (ID and voting), etc. The long term vision is extensive and it all builds on 3.0 and our upcoming releases which will enable us to transition into a new phase of development that allows us to quickly scale and expand our efforts to reach new areas of the industry.
Live Questions From Community
Q: What is Compendia about? How usefulness will it be on Ark ecosystem? And what advantages will it offer to users? Thank you!
Justin: Recently, nOS unveiled a rebrand for its network. Formerly nOS Network, now the network is called Compendia, with the premise of acting as the ‘Wikipedia of databases for your API’. Compendia allows developers to connect their apps to free and open databases. The Compendia rebrand means a new website for the network, new documentation and video tutorials, as well as a rebrand of the NOS asset to ‘BIND.’ nOS.io will continue to exist as a multi-crypto wallet app and will use ‘crypto app’ databases on Compendia to populate its app store. Compendia is expected to celebrate a public network launch this Summer, and the ARK Blog published a full-featured update on nOS in early July.
ARK.io and Compendia/nOS work VERY closely together and ARK.io is wide open to assessing solutions that Compendia provides to the blockchain industry. You'll need to stay tuned on blog.ark.io for more.
Q: Why should I build my DApps on ARK rather than Ethereum which is most popular? What features do you have?
Alvarez: Great question. Every blockchain or platform has its benefits. In terms of Ethereum v. ARK
Some of the main reasons are: you won't run into the scalability issues of Ethereum with ARK. ARK has low fees. Our platform SDK continues to improve and the number of dev tools we have currently is vast. In addition, when you build on ARK you can create your own sovereign blockchain. You aren't beholden to our network and you can make the best decisions for your business/project as a result.
In addition, we have a lot of support within ARK from devs, our own dev team, and programs like ARK Grants for funding
Q: Does ARK have an ambassadorial program? How can I contribute to ARK community projects and events?
Travis: ARK has many ways to contribute including https://ark.io/ark-advocate, https://ark.io/bounties, https://ark.io/grants, https://ark.io/projects, and much much more that can all be gone over in more depth by joining the ARK slack or discord chats.
Q: Could you please shed more light on the security side of the ARK ecosystem? How secure is the #ARK structure? What measures have been taken?
Justine: Security is one of the six core values of ARK. Today’s global infrastructure brings with it risks and vulnerabilities. Insecure data silos, untrustworthy middlemen, and honeypots represent just a few of the weak points that threaten efficient transactions and flows of data. Blockchains mitigate these risks and ensure security through a unique blend of cryptography, decentralized peer-to-peer networks, and reward incentives.
In the landscape of decentralized technology platforms, ARK offers a key advantage over Proof-of-Work networks like Bitcoin by ensuring the security of even small networks (networks with few nodes). This is achieved through ARK’s unique Delegated Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.
Q: What mechanism does ARK use to make transactions fast?
Travis: ARK uses DPoS with 8-second block times. scaling up TPS is very simple and can be upped at any time. there are also dynamic fees and multi payments you can pay to 64 addresses in one transaction.
Q: Many blockchain projects are on paper only and no product or product has no practical meaning. Please let us know what is ARK's currently practical product in use? What are your plans for the product to be better in the future?
Alvarez: Glad you asked. If you take a look at our ARK Desktop wallet, you will see that it's one of the nicest wallets around (unbiased opinion :joy:)
But from our wallet users can participate in staking, can install plugins from the plugin manager, and register a delegate or business thru our special transactions.
In the future, you are going to be seeing some big changes to our wallet. So stay tuned to our blog and our community channels because announcements are coming soon :tm:
Q: Why did the ARK project choose to use DPoS for network development?
Travis: We chose to use our custom DPoS consensus because we were very familiar with it and we felt we could do it right and mitigate previous and current flaws in other DPoS projects. Not to mention it fits all of our goals we have been working towards since 2016.
Q: Talking about staking, what is the minimum that can be staking on ARK, for how long, and is worth it for us doing staking or holding?
Alvarez: you can check: https://arkdelegates.live/ to check minimum staking requirements for each delegate. For many delegates, they require no minimum amount. In terms of whether that is worth it to you, to hold and stake, I suggest you use the calculator that you can find on the ARK Desktop Wallet's plugin manager so you can attain an estimated figure.
In terms of the benefits of staking, many delegates have proposals where they use their skills to better the community
Q: One of the biggest problems with DApps is the inactive and useless state. People only create DApps but it has no use case or contribution to the blockchain ecosystem. To prevent and solve this problem that can occur on the ARK, what will your team do?
Alvarez: Great question. We attack this problem in a variety of different ways but these are the things that stick out:
1) Create strong relationships with our partners. ARK already has multiple projects (Compendia, Unikname, BCDiploma) and more that are building on our technology. By creating strong relationships with these partners we open the door for more people to join us. Also, their connections end up reaching out to us for assistance as well.
2) Inclusiveness. Deployer and MarketSquare are for everyone and for every project. By having a broad use case in our products we can bring the industry together.
3) Business to Business. By utilizing Protokol (our Business to Business Enterprise Solutions Team) we are able to take our products straight to businesses that need them. Most importantly we consult with them to make sure blockchain is the right fit for their business. Protokol just started last month but they are already in talks and putting their skills to work.
Jeremy(Changenow): Thanks for taking the time to join us today! I think now it's time for the community to answer some questions about Ark :smile:
Elaine: Thanks Jeremy there were some great questions:blush:
Justin: I would like to add one last point in a simple way (in general) for devs. When a dev chooses to use Ethereum for their XYZ solution, they immediately inherit 2 issues. One is they need to learn Solidity or pay very high dev fees to Solidity devs, and 2 smart contracts on ETH can do nearly anything making them vulnerable to critical errors and bugs.
With ARK, decentralized apps can be deployed in a widely used language TypeScript, and using the Generic Transaction Interface, Devs can build their dApp using discrete transaction types that are far easier to understand, test, and declare safe for live implementations compared to Ethereum.
This has been confirmed by nearly every dev we have talked to who have chosen to work with ARK, especially Dean van Dugteren, CEO/Founder of nOS and Compendia. Thanks to everyone here and thanks to ChangeNow for inviting us! If you would like to subscribe to our YouTube.ARK.io you can learn more about ARK and ask further questions in our videos' comments section.
You can also join our Slack at Slack.ARK.io and dial into the ARK community. Elaine is always around to say hi. :wave:
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