Posted 9 months ago | by @devadmin

9/3/2021 — We’ve recently conducted an AMA in Binance’s International Telegram group. The AMA was held with Erick de Moura, CEO, and Felipe Argento, Blockchain Engineer, at Cartesi.

Note: Some of the text may have been edited for clarity and grammar.

Binance Admin: Hi chat and welcome to a special AMA with the Cartesi Team! It is my pleasure to introduce to you Cartesi’s CEO Erick de Moura and Blockchain Engineer, Felipe Argento!

Hi Erick, Felipe, thank you both for joining us, it’s a pleasure to have you here with us today. Could the both of you share a quick introduction about yourselves and Erick could you also please share a quick overview about Cartesi?

Erick: Hi! I’m Erick, Founder, and CEO of Cartesi. I’m a software engineer veteran and technical lead, who worked for different industries and was responsible for the success of several production-ready systems. The 20+ years of practice gave me a mature understanding of the software business, system design, and development processes. With Cartesi, I work passionately to bring together excellence in academic research and software engineering to contribute to the mass adoption of blockchain tech.

Felipe: Hello, everyone! I am Felipe, a blockchain engineer at Cartesi. I started working with blockchains back in Brazil where I created a startup in partnership with a big university. I was responsible for research projects involving blockchains and renewable energy. The work done there opened Cartesi’s doors for me. For the past 2~3 years I’ve been helping the team design, develop and test our portfolio of very cool and useful solutions. It’s a pleasure to be here!

Erick: Cartesi is taking smart contracts to the next level. It is solving the urgent problem of scalability and high fees on blockchains by implementing a variant of optimistic roll-ups. Most notably, Cartesi is revolutionizing smart contract programming by allowing developers to code with mainstream software stacks. Noether is Cartesi’s side-chain that’s optimized for ephemeral data, providing low-cost data availability to DApps.

Binance Admin: Thank you both for that quick introduction! Chat, here below are links for your easy reference. Drop them a follow on twitter and join in Cartesi discussions via Telegram, Discord or Reddit.

Q1: What are Cartesi’s current products and what are the unique advantages of each?

Erick: The first product Cartesi released was Descartes, a decentralized computational oracle. It allows a smart contract to run complex computations off-chain in a way that is verifiable and where honest parties can enforce correct results on-chain. These computations are defined as Linux VM’s that can run any program till completion maintaining decentralization and the strong security of the blockchain. This is an alternative to centralized setups or trusted environments that are oftentimes used for processings that would be impossible or too expensive to run on-chain. Descartes relies on a unique deterministic VM developed by Cartesi and on an interactive dispute resolution protocol mediated by the blockchain. Today, there are a few projects based on Descartes and it’s full documentation is available here: https://cartesi.io/docs/intro/

Descartes is being upgraded now to support optimistic rollups. That will be a breakthrough in the programmability of smart contracts, when ready.

The other product under development is Noether, our side-chain for temporary data-availability. That will allow smart contracts to count on large files that would be too expensive to be included on-chain. The PoS system for Noether is ready, rewarding node runners with pre-allocated CTSI from the mine reserve. The early release of the PoS system allows Cartesi to bootstrap the network of validators, prior to the release of Noether. This will be very important for it to be as decentralized and secure as possible when Noether is launched.

When put together, Descartes and Noether provide the foundation for smart contracts and decentralized applications that will be as expressive as traditional software applications. They will scale in processing, throughput and data. And they will be built on top of a real operating system. With Descartes and Noether, Cartesi blurs the boundaries between traditional software development and blockchain application development. If someone thinks AWS for blockchains, it is hard to imagine something that would be closer to that than what Cartesi is working on.

Binance Admin: Thank you! I think this would be very helpful information for those who do not know yet of Cartesi. Chat, to read up more, please check out Cartesi’s documentations here — https://cartesi.io/docs

@FelipeArgento would you like to take the next question?

Felipe: Sure!

Binance Admin: Great! Here’s our second question

Q2. If you had to pick one thing about Cartesi that you think will be monumental for the blockchain industry, what would it be?

Felipe: If I had to pick just one I’d have to say mainstream programmability! Developing with Solidity or being constrained by the limits of domain-specific VM’s created for specific blockchains is a huge challenge. It limits the existing DApp developers and stands as a big barrier to broader adoption of blockchain tech. Today, only a small fraction of the millions of software developers out there are smart contract developers.

Cartesi’s VM (called the Cartesi Machine) used with our implementation of rollups will bridge the gap between blockchain and mainstream development. It will allow much more powerful smart contracts and even better, it will open the gates to mainstream developers to enter the domain of decentralized systems, fostering the big business model and economic changes blockchains have been promising to bring to the world.

Binance Admin: Thanks for sharing! Erick, our next question for you –

Q3. Could you explain the utility of CTSI further and what it will be used for? In addition, are you exploring having bridges to other blockchains?

Erick: CTSI’s fundamental use case is to work as a crypto-fuel for Noether (Cartesi’s side-chain). It is akin to the function of base-layer coins, like ETH. Node runners get rewarded in CTSI for generating well-formed blocks, and users pay CTSI to insert data into the side-chain.

In the context of Descartes, Cartesi will create a marketplace for node runner institutions. DApps (or their users) pay CTSI to these node runners for them to run heavy computations, verify, propose and enforce state transitions of smart contracts running on Cartesi’s second layer. In other words, the set of nodes running a DApp get compensated in CTSI for running them in a secure and verifiable way.

Binance Admin: Thanks for the detailed explanation! Our next question for Felipe:

Q4. Cartesi has been partnering with multiple blockchains recently, could you explain more on how Cartes is blockchain agnostic and what benefits that will bring?

Felipe: Cartesi’s specification is agnostic regarding the consensus layer. The magic of Cartesi is to allow for real-world software systems, built on a real operating system to have the decentralized and strong security guarantees of blockchains. That would be in principle impossible due to the limited throughput of the consensus mechanisms. On our technical paper we show how the Cartesi Machine with interactive disputes makes this possible.
https://cartesi.io/cartesi_whitepaper.pdf

Basically, what is required of a blockchain is a minimum level of programmability. Therefore, it is possible to port Cartesi over several blockchain platforms, which is very important for us to realize our vision.

Nobody knows which blockchains will prevail in the long-run. Maybe a handful of these, maybe a single one. Maybe different blockchains will be a better fit for different domains and verticals. We want to make sure Cartesi will be there.

We want to make Cartesi ubiquitous and easily accessible. Partnering blockchains see the value of Cartesi’s tech in their ecosystems. Furthermore, when companies and developers code for Cartesi, they can redeploy their smart contracts and DApps on other blockchains supported by us. This way, we also grant the extra safety of relevance and longevity for these DApps.

Binance Admin: On to the last question for this segment! Erick:

Q5. Can you give us some hints on what’s coming next in terms of announcements, partnerships, or development?

Erick: We are currently talking to other chains, oracle platforms, DeFi projects, and more. Adoption is key. Receiving feedback and hearing the needs of developers and projects are also enriching and needed. This is a new moment for Cartesi, in which our tech will grow a lot from received feedback and collaboration.

Additionally, we are designing a new grant program. We are partnering with academic institutions, discussing with accelerators, and working to onboard partnering projects to create subsidies to help our ecosystem to grow.

Also, expect a few surprises in terms of demos, collaborations, and new research papers we will release soon.

Binance Admin: Great stuff and we’re definitely looking forward to what Cartesi has to bring in the near future! Thank you Erick and Felipe!

Chat, here below are Cartesi links for you to check out once again. Please follow them on their social media channels and to learn / read up more about the project, do check out their website and available documents in the links below.

Website: https://cartesi.io

Okay chat, it’s time to move on to Segment 2 — Quiz Round!

Binance Admin: Erick, Felipe — are you ready?

Both: Yes! Let’s start!

Binance Admin: Great, Erick can you please share with us the first quiz question?

Erick: The first question is:

Q1: When will Descartes Rollups be on testnet?

  1. In 2 weeks
  2. Q2
  3. Q3
  4. Q4

Erick: The answer is… 2! Q2

Q2. Cartesi recently released Noether’s PoS v1.1. Which of the following were some of the changes or additions?

  1. Option to use ETH Gas Station API for enhanced gas price prediction.
  2. Reduced gas of block production by 23%.
  3. Both 1 and 2.
  4. Implemented delegation.

Felipe: The answer is…3! Both 1 and 2

Q3: In Cartesi’s Noether PoS System (CTSI Reserve Mining), Node Runners are rewarded how many CTSI for producing a single block?

  1. 10,000
  2. 2,500
  3. 3,000
  4. 2,900

Erick: The answer is…4. 2,900

Q4: Cartesi is a layer-2 blockchain agnostic infrastructure, we recently announced collaborations with what two leading blockchain projects?

  1. Avalanche and Elrond
  2. BSC and Avalanche
  3. Elrond and Cardano
  4. Polkadot and BSC

Felipe: The right answer is… 1. Avalanche and Elrond

Q5: Cartesi recently ran a DApp Incubation Program and a successful Gitcoin Grants round. There are currently 3 projects in what sectors that are building on Cartesi?

  1. DeFi, Gaming, and IoT
  2. IoT, NFT’s, and Infrastructure
  3. IoT, NFT’s, and DeFi
  4. Gaming, Insurance, and Healthtech

Erick: The right answer is… 2. IoT, NFT’s, and Infrastructure

Binance Admin: Next up we have our last segment, with live questions from the community!

Q1: No one can achieve anything valuable on its own, please tell us about your current and future partnerships that will lead you to success in this highly cramped crypto space? I am an experienced developer and ethical hacker, do you have plans for a hackathon so as to check the security of your ecosytem periodically and also invite developers to build?

Erick: Absolutely. Parterships are fundamental for Cartesi to succeed. First of all, we are going to make sure Cartesi works on top of the most important blockchains, leveraging collaborations, like we are doing with Polygon/Matic, Elrond, Avalanche and others. These collaborations will help to cross-polinate development communities, helping us to make sure Cartesi’s tech evolves in a very useful way throughout the blockchain/DLT ecosystem.

We just finished the DApp Incubation Program, where three project receives funds to develop with Cartesi’s stack. We are now preparing for our next grant program. We will make sure to have bug bounties and incentives for Ethical Hackers to help with the security of the infrastructure. So yes, stay tuned. We are committed to creating a series of programs to foster adoption, very focused on developers/software engineers.

Q2: We know that Cartesi provides a secure platform for developers of decentralized applications with a low infrastructure (Linux). However, each application requires storage to run normally. In this sense, the storage of these data is complicated. How is it possible to store data? is it decentralized, centralized, or are there other options?

Felipe: Great question! Data availability is a hard problem that creates a lot of different issues when dealing with adversarial environments such as decentralized applications. There are a few ways of dealing with this, and they all have different tradeoffs. The simplest option is to provide data availability on-chain, which eliminates any concerns with data availability. The problem with that approach, however, is that storage on the layer 1 is extremely expensive, so this solution is usually unfeasiable from a financial point of view. What many Rollup solutions do, and we do it as well, is to bundle up various transactions together and send them to the main layer using calldata, saving only a hash on storage that is used to identify the data sent. This saves a lot on storage but it is still not ideal for DApps that need huge amounts of storage.

That was one of the main motivators that led us to develop Noether, which is our data availability side chain — the idea is to provide a decentralized environment with ephemeral data that makes it very cheap for users to store large amounts of data for specific time periods. You can think of it as a sidechain for data with garbage collection.

We think that Noether is super cool and it is definitely very useful for scaling the amount of storage and data our DApps can use!

Q3: What is your strongest advantage that you think will make your team lead the market?

Erick: Computational scalability is vital for decentralization to reach its full potential. Current smart contracts and blockchain applications run under so much resource scarcity that there is no operating system.

Without an operating system, these applications cannot benefit from the past decades of worldwide software development. Instead, mainstream developers find a primitive, unrecognizable, frustrating landscape when developing blockchains applications.

The barrier of entry is huge. We have millions of software developers in the world, and yet only a few thousand have been able to transpose the huge barrier that intimidates mainstream devs.

Our solution not only tackles the pressing problem of scalability. It supports a modern operating system and all the software it hosts. Developers will be able to use the tools of their trade, not only boosting their expressive power and productivity, but also finally ushering in the masses.

It is hard to overestimate the value of what we are building.

Q4: Many blockchain projects are on paper only and have no product or the product has no practical meaning. Please let us know what product Cartesi has that is currently in use or practical? What are your plans for the product to be better in the future?

Erick: Yes. We have a product, an SDK and a documentation portal here:

https://cartesi.io/docs/intro/

Cartesi released its techpaper in 2018. We had a very nice technical challenge to pull off Cartesi’s virtual machine. In the middle of 2020 we released the first product — Descartes, a decentralized computational oracle.

It is a powerful infrastructure that is being used by real projects, like Creol, a UK company in the IoT sector, developing solutions related to carbon credit. The implications of Descartes for IoT are big. We are discussing the tech with several other potential partners.

We are heavily involved in R&D to allow for full decentralization of computationally intensive tasks, which will pave the way for a blockchain-based Internet of Things.

Descartes will evolve soon to include Rollups and that will be extremely helpful also for DeFi, gaming, and other verticals.

It is important to work with several partners, developers, and start-ups that will integrate Cartesi and provide important feedback, that will render our infrastructure more and more convenient and powerful throughout the following years.

Q5: Tell us a little bit about security? Have you done an audit of the platform? Are the smart contracts error-free? What are the test results?

Felipe: There are two different aspects to security: security of the infrastructure itself and security of DApps built using our infrastructure.

We are very careful when releasing any new software/smart contract, we write extensive tests and hire external audits to make sure everything is looking good before people actually use it in production. You can check our transparency reports and find the audit reports on our public github page.

The second point; which is security of DApps using our infrastructure, is a bit more interesting to discuss. By offering Linux as an operating system we are enabling developers to use a wide range of battle-tested libraries and code that have been in production for years — which is much safer than using newly created libraries on solidity. In that sense we offer our DApp developers an environment in which they can, much more reliably, depend on external software. Another cool aspect of our Cartesi Machine implementation is that it also allows developers to run different kinds of OS, such as the ones focused on high-risk applications.

Instead of forcing developers to re-invent the wheel, we’re allowing them to use wheels that have been around and working well for ages. ?

Q6: Do you have any new partnerships recently? What advantage do these partnerships bring to the project?

Erick: We are closing several important collaborations and partnerships recently (Polygon, BSC, Elrond, Avalanche) and others to be announced soon.

First of all, partnering with blockchains is very important. Cartesi is a layer-2 solution. It will need to be ubiquitous. Developers will develop (for Linux) on Cartesi over the most important blockchains. Blockchains see the importance of the unparalleled power and convenience Cartesi will give to smart contracts and developers and want to integrate our tech. There will be a lot of synergies, where Cartesi and these projects will help each other to bring blockchain development to a much bigger audience of software developers.

We are discussing partnerships with projects in different fields, like IoT, DeFi, oracles. That will help Cartesi a lot to showcase its tech, so that other projects, companies and developers will have great examples that will inspire them.

It is all about initiating a virtuous cycle. We are at a good position to ignite this with several initiatives that we are undertaking.

Q7: Where is the “Cartesi” name coming from and what is the logo representing ?

Erick: We are inspired by great philosophers and mathematicians. Rene Descartes is the one who originally inspired our “Cartesian” name. Descartes used to talk about the duality of mind and body. Cartesi is a lyaer-2 solution. As such, it employs on-chain and off-chain components. We thought Descartes could be happy to be remembered ?

Anyway, from now on we keep honouring philosophers and mathematicians. We have 2 products so far: Descartes and we are developing Noether. Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who made many important contributions to abstract algebra.

Q8: We have seen the Creepts game. Are there any limitations to the kind of games that can be created using Cartesi infrastructure? Is it possible that we can see high-quality open world or MMORPG games on Cartesi in the future?

Felipe: When discussing the next steps and improvements for our infrastructure we very often use the example of MMORPGs. We frequently ask ourselves about how a developer could use our tech to build something as impressive as a massive multiplayer RPG.

It is a dream of many of our developers to see that happening. Creepts was a great showcase of our tech because it showed a tower defence game running, in a truly decentralized fashion, on a blockchain.

The numbers of instructions that are required to compute a Creepts game is completely unfeasible for the blockchain, so it was a great window into what is now possible, using Cartesi, that was not possible before.

Of course, an MMORPG is much more complex than a “single-player” tournament tower defence game, so it is a much more daunting task. Right now, it would be a tall order to build a functional MMORPG. There is nothing, however, that technically stops it from being possible using Cartesi and Linux. As we keep improving our infrastructure, adding new functionalities and optimizing / improving what we already have, the dream of running a decentralized MMORPG becomes more and more feasible.

Q9: DEFI is evolving too fast and the ability to break is very high. What do you think about this and can you be sure that Cartesi’s products will be demand in the long term? What is Cartesi planning to contribute to DeFi’s growth?

Felipe: We’re also excitedly following DeFi growth! It’s a very interesting field with a lot of innovation.

Right now, however, DeFi applications are limited by the possibilities of the underlying blockchain — making many applications unfeasible. We’re definitely excited to see what people can create in the finance space when we offer them what Cartesi has to offer: mainstream software and scalability of computation.

On our discord (https://discordapp.com/invite/Pt2NrnS) we have a channel specifically for DeFi in which we love to discuss all the possibilities of using our tech to build the next generation of finance! I recommend everyone to join us there.

One example that we recently used to explain how Cartesi can benefit DeFi applications is options. Pricing options very often require complex computations that would be too expensive to run on the blockchain, making the creation of a truly decentralized option market very hard. With Cartesi you could implement those complex financial algorithms off-chain and have them reach the blockchain for a fraction of the cost and maintaing the decentralization/trust on that solution. Options are just one of the many examples!

Join us on discord and we can figure out all the cool applications we can make possible on the DeFi space using Cartesi ?

Q10: What makes you feel confident about the survival & sustainable success of your project in the near future?

Erick: First of all, I can say that we have an outstanding technical team. The team is made up of researchers/academics that are creating groundbreaking algorithms, as well as software engineers that worked for one or two decades in successful tech companies and were responsible for creating products that thousands of people use. We are covering both ends very well.

The tech we are creating is a game-changer. It makes the dream of decentralized computers real. This is something unique that Cartesi brings to the table that makes it special among layer-2 scalability systems.

We are forging strong partnerships that will help to solidify our path forward toward adoption. Above all, we want to serve developers. We want to give them the tools they are used to, and allowed them to create the Web 2.0, mobile and desktop applications. We want this same tech available for smart contracts and DApp developers.

Last, but not least, we are deeply immersed in research and we are always trying to look ahead and bring new solutions. Our vision is to make blockchain tech highly adoptable, and we are taking very important steps toward that goal.

Q11: What do you think are the issues that Dapp developers are facing now a days? Is that a reason for you to develop Linux infrastructure like Cartesi?

Erick: Without an operating system (e.g. Linux), blockchain application developers cannot benefit from the past 50 years of worldwide software development. Instead, mainstream developers, when they try to come to blockchains, they find a primitive, unrecognizable, frustrating landscape.

You cannot run Linux on a blockchain, due to its scalability issues. It’s way too much for a blockchain to handle. However, with a second layer that scales computation in orders of magnitude, that becomes possible.

We understood very early that once one can scale computation to that degree, they should be able to also a real operating system. Having an OS is a necessary step toward massive blockchain tech adoption. Whereas, without an OS it’s very hard for public blockchains to realize their full potential.

Q12: Although ETH 2.0 is delayed to next year, it will solve all existing problem of ETH and become the best choise for dApps in the future, so do you think this is a threat for your project and how could you overcome this barrier?

Felipe: Not at all! We’re actually very excited about ETH 2.0.

Since Cartesi is a layer 2 solution we also depend a little bit on the usability and stability of the underlying blockchain on which Cartesi is running on. Improvements to the base layer, such as ETH 2.0, will make our lives much better. All our products would benefit from cheaper transactions, stable fee calculation and tx throughput…so we do hope that those parameters improve as much as possible.

We don’t see it as a threat because Cartesi and Eth 2.0 are tackling two different problems — and complement each other. Running a Linux operating system and enabling mainstream software stacks is something that only Cartesi can do. Noether, our data availability sidechain, serves a different purpose than Ethereum since its goal is to allow huge amounts of ephemeral data. Sharding is great and it increases computation scalability by a lot, but it is orders of magnitude away from what we can provide by running an L2 solution.

We are all on the same team! We want blockchains to improve as much as possible so we can actually deliver this dream of decentralizing everything that needs and benefits from decentralization. Cartesi + powerful L1 blockchains are going to open so many different doors that it is hard to even put it in words.

Binance Admin: Thanks Felipe! The 10 winners are picked, congrats all!!??? thank you so much to Erick and Felipe to answer the questions for segment 3. It has been great to have you both, Erick and Felipe, with us today to talk more about Cartesi’s business. Here are some important links for our community to follow the project. https://t.me/CartesiProject

Erick: Thank you! Big thanks to everyone!

Felipe: Thanks for all the questions! It was a pleasure. Find us on Discord and our other channels, would be awesome to chat more! See you around!