On August 19, 2021, Electra Protocol held its first Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. The following is a transcript of the event.
Ruanne Lloyd, Electra Protocol Development Contributor, opened the AMA session and outlined the growth made within the past year.
Highlights of this progress include:
- Electra Protocol (XEP) was born
- The development of a mobile wallet
- XEP was added to a Tier 1 exchange (Bittrex Global)
- Significant progress and changes were made to the Electra Protocol blockchain and wallet
Ruanne shared that most recently, listeners would have heard about a new company born from Electra Protocol, named Evoblox, and explained that further discussion regarding Evoblox would occur throughout the AMA. She then shared how the team recently made the decision to give the XEP community a chance to ask all their pressing questions and then explained the process for answering the submitted questions.
Ruanne then turned the session over to Aykut Baybas (Master Den), Electra Protocol Business Contributor.
Aykut explained how the premine was used to cover several expenses, such as exchange listings, marketing expenses, rewards, and bonuses, which included presale bonuses recently paid to those who participated in the presale. He then described how the premine was labeled into four different wallet addresses, broken down into years and how the coins in each allocated wallet are intended to go towards the expenses for that particular year. Furthermore, he stated that the team is cautious and thoughtful about how the funds are spent and how unspent funds may be shifted to the following years.
Aykut reminded long-time followers of how ECA had a foundation that oversaw a portion of the ECA premine and controlled how the funds were spent. He shared that XEP is in the process of establishing a new foundation that will oversee the funds allocated and manage the transparency of the funds.
A question was asked as to whether or not the team meets in person. He reminded listeners that Electra Protocol is not a centralized project, which means that the core team consists of members in 10 different countries, which makes it hard for team members to come together in person.
Aykut acknowledged that this AMA session would address all submitted questions and then introduced Antoine Aimé (Jenova), Development Contributor, before turning the session over to him.
Question: Regarding Validator Nodes and Smart Contracts
Answer: There is no specific date set for the release of Validator Nodes and Smart Contracts. Remember, XEP is a community project with limited funds and human resources, which significantly affects the development of smart contracts and validator nodes, which could take years to occur under this setting. To increase the speed of progress and get these features completed in a more timely fashion, Evoblox will take over with the development of smart contracts and validator nodes. Please understand that Evoblox was established to be a leading contributor to the XEP project.
The development of smart contracts and validator nodes are very crucial for the business side of the project. We will focus on developing smart contracts first, followed by validator nodes. We anticipate it taking several months of work for the main layer of smart contracts to be completed, and then the code integration for validator nodes into the XEP chain will take place, which will most likely happen in second half of 2022. This date is just an estimation as things are moving fast right now, so the development can be accelerated based on this situation as well. Also, the collateral amount for validator nodes cannot be declared, or even approximate numbers can be released because today’s market conditions might not be the same in the coming six months or a year from now.
Question: How will XEP blockchain handle smart contracts, and will it be able to handle all the classic purposes, such as purchasing NFTs?
Response: NFTs are very popular and well known in the crypto space. But what we want is not to have an NFT with a use case for creating images and fun stuff; we are planning on using NFTs to allow for better usage, which we cannot share right now due to NDAs and the ongoing progress. But once we release the first actual use case, you will get a much better understanding of our intentions.
Question: Regarding DeFi
Response: This is not something we are not looking at, simply because DeFi is not secure enough at this point, so it will not be a part of Evoblox.
Question: Regarding staking percentage and is it technically possible to change the ratio?
Response: The staking ratio is 3% yearly, and yes, it is possible to change the ratio percentage; however, it has been stated that as a way to control the inflation of XEP, it will remain at this percentage. And yes, while some projects have a higher percentage ratio rewards, at the same time, you have greater sell pressure on the market, which is due to the higher amounts of free coins that are given as a reward. To avoid this scenario, we decided to have a smooth generation of XEP by having a smaller percentage of reward, which will not affect the market walls, especially as we start to grow significantly, it will be smooth, and we will avoid the pumps and dumps that can occur. This is not the only reason. While we were initially setting up the blockchain, we had to decide on the percentage of the reward and went with a 3% reward. We also already had in mind that we would include validator nodes in the process, which we are currently thinking will include between a 5% and 7% reward for validator nodes, plus a fixed XEP amount on top of it. These are just options that are being discussed, as it is still a bit too early to decide on the set rewards.
Question: Regarding the XEP website and why it contains technical points but nothing about the solution built on top of the Electra Protocol Chain?
Response: The reason is pretty simple, and that is due to the global goal that we want to achieve, which is to use XEP in everyday life. For this goal, we have two parts, the Electra Protocol Project, which the Electra Protocol Foundation will represent and manage the blockchain, the exchanges, and the technical parts. On the other side, there is a company that some of us have created, Evoblox. This company will develop products using the Electra Protocol blockchain and then market these products. Both have the same goal: to eventually have the global use of Electra Protocol in our everyday lives. So to answer the question, this is why the Electra Protocol website is more technical, and solutions are still not shown as that will be on the Evoblox website. Together both should be viewed as a global environment.
Question: Rosetta protocol integration on Electra Protocol chain? Response: For those that don’t know,Rosetta Protocol is an API, a global API, that allows external parties or properties to integrate with the blockchain. Rosetta Protocol is, for example, used by Coinbase. For this reason, it is something that we have started and almost finished the integration into Electra Protocol. Ruanne is working on it; it is in the Go language. We have built Electra Protocol inside the API, and we are now in the testing phase. We have to make several tests before we finalize it and then submit it to Coinbase.
Question: Regarding Mobile wallet and staking?
Response: The current mobile wallet is a light wallet that was not designed to support staking. Light wallets don’t store a copy of the blockchain on their own and must rely on another server to send and receive transactions for them. This kind of setup makes the current mobile wallet unsuitable for staking use and creating blocks. We may be able to support staking in a new Android mobile wallet, which is based on the current desktop core wallet with some additional features being developed, such as BIP39 mnemonic seeds. However, staking on a mobile device will still have numerous disadvantages compared to the desktop, such as the wallet app needing to be constantly running and having increased mobile data and battery usage as a result.
Question: Regarding Discord Tip Bot?
Response: Some members have developed it; however, we have not yet confirmed it as we have some concerns. We intend to evaluate it and decide if it will be integrated or not.
As the topics of the AMA session moved towards the awareness side, Aykut Baybas took over once again and responded to the questions concerning this topic.
Aykut: The following questions are related to awareness, marketing, visibility of Electra Protocol, YouTubers, influencers, and budgeting.
As you know, this is a community project, which means it is something similar to Bitcoin. The team is basically leading the project and is trying to utilize the project resources in the best manner possible. However, the real power lies on the community side. The fact that the community holds a considerable amount of power should be very clear, as we have repeated this several times; however, it is the reality. We never had an ICO, nor an IEO, so we have limited funds. We did have a presale where we sold some XEP during the initial launch of Electra Protocol, which was not very much, but it was enough to help cover the cost during the next ten years. We try to use our human resources, our premine resources, which we haven’t sold, and we have some presale resources and some Bitcoin and some USDT that we have to be really careful with, as we aim for the project to be sustainable for the next ten years. So in terms of marketing, we are also working in the background. We are analyzing several proposals that we have received in the past few weeks. We have also received several YouTubers and Twitter accounts that are proposing to help us with the marketing. Some of these accounts are very good and very popular; however, the cost is extremely high. So, we have to judge whether this makes sense to have a single video or not and what is best for the project long term. As for the Twitter accounts, some of these have huge followers; however, almost all our bounty hunters retweeting and like the tweets for some reward, so it doesn’t bring added value to the project. You can be sure that we are in contact with several different groups, including marketing and YouTubers, so we can decide exactly where to start in the next couple of weeks. Now, this could happen at any time, so we do not want to give a concrete time. When we decide which of those, we also discuss with the media agencies outside the cryptosphere because we want to bring Electra Protocol to real-world players. What you see right now in this crypto market is this turning around all the time, in the same loop, as projects are supporting and making partnerships with each other, and at the end of the day, you don’t see an actual use case. We aim to bring visibility to the real players to Electra Protocol by hiring real media agencies. Our team members recently had meetings with two media agencies, where we got their proposals, and we are analyzing those. We will soon decide if we can move forward or not.
On the other side is Evoblox, which is a separate entity; however, a supporting entity for Electra Protocol and is pushing it very much to real companies. As you might remember, during the Panama meetings, the team explained about Electra Protocol, the possible improvements for their monetary system, and how we can help the Panamanian government in terms of legal aspects such as documentation, procedures and these meetings were highly efficient. We agreed to meet them through online zoom calls once again in September. So please don’t think that nothing is going on regarding those meetings, as many things are going on in the background.
Question: Regarding Marketing Budget?
Response: As mentioned above, we are in contact with several agencies and what we want is the best possible return on investment. So when we spend, let’s say 100 USD, we need to get 1,000 USD in return in terms of more community members, new buyers, potential investors; this is our goal. Regarding awareness, we have started working with a partner company which is a cashier system company. We are heading towards the manufacturer of the cashier system, so we will start preparing flyers and brochures for the customers to promote the merchants that accept crypto and using the Evoblox payment solutions. These steps will help increase awareness of Electra Protocol as well. All of this is being done by a few team members, the community can do much better, and ultimately we need the community to help make Electra Protocol successful.
The conversation then transferred to Robert Bakker, @Robert Bakker, Business Contributor, where he discussed Evoblox and its relationship with Electra Protocol and the NDAs currently under development.
Robert Bakker, Business Contributor
First, I want to tell everyone that back in the ECA days, back in 2018, I remember one of the first discussions, when I joined the team, was already about budgets. We had the premine, which was in the hands of one guy that we really did not know, and we were fully relying on whether or not he would donate to the project or not. In 2018 we set up the Electra Foundation and got one-third of the premine, but still, it was in ECA, which made it hard to free up those funds because when you needed funds, you needed to sell-off. I remember back in the time we had huge discussions about the budgets, the project’s longevity, how long we can sustain ourselves because we obviously had a lot of costs. Sometimes we needed to hire developers, and how were we going to pay them. We had the cost of servers that the mobile wallets were on; who would pay them?
Towards the end of 2018, we had discussions as to how to use our conceptual ideas around ElectraPay and how to use it as a money generator for the project. Years have passed, and lots of things that happened, but the idea never went away. I think everyone can agree right now that with the influx of new projects with huge bags from investors, but also from IEOs and other types of seed investment funds rounds, so it is really hard to compete, and it is a big necessity that we find a way to generate income as a project. Since the project is not allowed to generate income, a foundation will be the representative of the project, and the foundation cannot make money; it can only live on donations. It was inevitable that at a certain point in time that the question would be asked to the community to use the Electra Protocol blockchain to start developing your companies and earning money, and when you do so, keep the project in mind and donate back to the foundation so that the project can continue to grow. With that in mind, a couple of team members took the initiative and created Evoblox, and the idea is simple, Evoblox is just a company that is going to use Electra Protocol technology to generate revenue, to drive business, and make money, and in doing so, we intend to donate back to the foundation. The Electra Protocol Foundation can ensure the longevity of the project, set development goals for developers, and then reward the developers, which is a luxury we never had before.
On the Evoblox side, the first of hopefully many companies to come, it is really important that the Electra Protocol Project keeps on existing, succeeding, and especially improving. To give you an example, let’s say that we get a client who wants something really specific. He wants product traceability on mangoes, and he wants a very important use case, a very difficult one, and for that, he needs a specific type of smart contract and possibly other technical needs. If Evoblox wants to facilitate this request, Evoblox will need to develop certain types of technology. This technology will be paid for by Evoblox, and it will be developed on Electra Protocol. As such, Electra Protocol will have a second way of benefitting from the success of Evoblox because Evoblox will act as a contributor to the Electra Protocol Project.
Also, Evoblox, as you understand now, is a separate business entity and is detached from the Electra Protocol Project. Evoblox will always be built on Electra Protocol, and it will always have XEP as the default currency in any solution built. We are trying to think of every way possible of having XEP as a business case for anything that we do for our customers. So I hope everybody understands that Evoblox is a logical consequence of the need that Electra Protocol had, as the like lack of funds or the lack of influx of new funds. Evoblox is going to be vital for the Electra Protocol, and Electra Protocol will also be vital for the success of Evoblox, so in that way, these two entities are married together. As I previously stated, I hope that in the future, many more people will start a business using this technology, so the ecosystem or Electra Protocol driven companies will keep on growing and growing and be like a snowball effect.
Question: What is the use case of XEP?
Response: On one hand, this may be difficult to explain, and then, on the other hand, it is quite easy to explain. Electra Protocol is an open-source project, and it is built on a technology called the blockchain. Then there is a coin (XEP) that utilizes this blockchain technology. From there, basically, everything you can think of using it for can be a use case, so right now, XEP is used as a transaction possibility, payment currency, for example. XEP is also being used as a proof of concept with the oyster farms in the west of France, a successful concept where transactions are used as a timestamp so products can be tracked during the entire lifecycle of a project, which is another use case. Once the smart contracts are built on top of the chain, which should happen in a couple of months, the amount of use cases are endless. I read where some were asking about NFTs. If anyone wants to start an NFT project or start an NFT topic using Electra Protocol blockchain with smart contracts, be my guest, start it and maybe even talk to the guys from the foundation for maybe seed investment. There are plenty of possibilities, and the amount of use cases and potential will be huge.
The use cases that we are going to use for Evoblox will be limited, because it is really important for a company to focus and become really good at the few things you are going to do. Right now, the points of focus will be the business cases that we want to focus on and will remain on transactions and remittances, as well as product traceability. In regards to transactions and remittances, think of building an ecosystem where people can easily transact money in many ways. In the Western world, there is not a big difference to make or adjust to; however, we noticed when we went to Panama that not everyone has access to the financial world because they don’t have access to a bank account. While there are countries where the majority of people don’t have a bank account, they do have a mobile wallet, which is our advantage and what we want to be our focus.
The other point of focus is product traceability and I will elaborate more on that. The world is focusing more and more on sustainability, sustainable finance, sustainable way of making products, equal pay, etc. Everything that has to do with sustainability, equality, care of natureis getting more and more important, which is also a result of the green deal, the Accord of Paris. Everybody is moving to that, as countries have their own Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, banks have to comply with Sustainable Finance Regulations, so this is a need that is going to grow and grow and grow. We have noticed with the point of concept with the oyster farm that there is a growing need, not only within the consumer base of goods and products but also the distribution side in shops and supermarkets. People want to know where such things as their cucumbers are made; people want to know whether or not a banana has traveled the world four times before it ends up in their shopping cart or whether the banana was produced in a fair way. This is something you can facilitate with blockchain technology. You can timestamp each milestone a product has completed during the lifecycle of the product, so when you are putting those bananas in your shopping cart in the supermarket, you can scan a QR code and know exactly whether or not the bananas indeed have taken six months to six weeks to end up in a shopping cart or where the farmer lives and whether or not he is being paid in an equal manner. This is where we are going to be focusing on, and we have noticed with the investor base that we have, a lot of investors are actually intrigued by our business case. Right now, we are speaking to a set of investors that are willing to invest; obviously, they have their prerequisites, they want to see a budget plan, they want to get a feel of how successful we can be, so we are right now in that process.
Question: That brings me to the next question that somebody had about the NDAs and how many we currently have?
Response: We have 14 NDAs at this point in time, with business, with projects, and even with government bodies, so that is really important to mention. What is also really important to know is that our foundation that was set up by myself, Bob, and Raymond will be dissolved, and a new foundation will be set up. What is that? Because in the old foundation’s article of association, we mentioned specifically Electra Project, and right now we are Electra Protocol. Also, we set up the foundation back in the days in the Netherlands. We did that because the three of us are Dutch, and we needed to set it up in a speedy manner, so this was the most convenient way. Right now, three community members who have had a leading role in the project and have proven that they are loyal, have quality, the proper ethics and attitude have been asked to take care of the setup process of the new foundation. The new foundation will be set up in Estonia, and once this is complete, they will announce it. In my last point, I want to mention that this foundation will play an even bigger role in the future of the Electra Protocol Project, as the foundation will take an active role in how money is spent on marketing, development goals, etc. This is a topic for the next AMA.
There is one last thing that I want to cover, ETA. We are involved with The Electronic Transaction Association; actually, Ruanne is heavily involved in this, and this is big. The Electronic Transaction Association, from a marketing point of view or exposure point of view, is huge for Electra Protocol and in the future also for Evoblox, because in this association, all the big players are involved, such as Mastercard, Google, Apple, Circle, Square, etc. Ruanne actually had three goals with ETA this week, different sets of projects. I actually had a call this evening where I discussed cryptocurrency with a high-placed lady from Mastercard, and it is really cool to be a part of that. I am also happy to tell you guys that in September, I’ve been asked to do a presentation about cryptocurrency and crypto payments. I will, of course, mention XEP now and then during a very big event where all these companies will be present. I just wanted to mention It to let you guys know that we not only manage groups like this Telegram group, but we are very active in these types of groups as well.
Ruanne, I turn it back over to you.
Ruanne: Thanks, Robert. Yes, I think I will continue a little bit about ETA and even my involvement. I have been involved with ETA for the past two years. This year I set up a blockchain cryptocurrency working group, and it is about education, it’s about seeing where these big players are at and seeing if they are interested in implementing cryptocurrency payments, what are they thinking, what are the regulations they are looking at, so there is a lot of questions, and I think we are just navigating exactly what is the use case and how it is going to affect the existing payment rails that exist today. When you talk about cryptocurrency, remember it is more than just what exists today. At the moment, it’s more about exchanges, about buying, selling, and holding. As per a coin, there are currently not many use cases; however, there is definitely a huge surge in people using the likes of Bitcoin and certain other coins, which has definitely increased. So we are hoping that in the future, cryptocurrency is going to be used more often, and I think it’s all about education, knowing and understanding the payment space and bringing it back into the Electra Protocol environment, and then building systems to then assist with that. In talking about systems, we definitely developed ElectraPay as a payment gateway; using the XEP blockchain with the Evoblox company that we’ve set up, we decided that its better for the development to sit in the company, which means we will be able to drive the development, get more developers and actually create some revenue that we can then feedback into the Electra Protocol Project. We are in the process of setting up the company, we are getting funding, and we are going through branding or a rebranding in regards to ElectraPay, which will be revealed shortly.
We are hoping that different people in the community of XEP can see that blockchain is going to be used more than just for buying and selling, and the use cases are going to be growing in the future, especially when we get smart contracts that you can set up with any company. I’m hoping that there are entrepreneurs out there that will do like we are doing with Evoblox.
Let’s talk a little bit about ElectraPay. The first version of ElectraPay was about accepting payments, allowing a customer to pay using XEP, and then the merchant settlement that also happens in XEP. It can be an e-commerce site where the price of the product is in US dollars or Euros, so what we do is get the exchange rate at that point in time, and we convert it to XEP, and we then show the value in XEP, allowing the customer to pay in XEP. The merchant settlement will then occur. I think it is quite important for you to understand that the normal process, the fiat rails that exist today, there’s a lot of protection for the consumer when they are purchasing goods, especially online. Only once the goods have been accepted, the settlement part of the process actually goes through. With blockchain, you are actually taking the middleman completely out, so it changes the whole concept of how payments should work. You need to create this layer to almost mimic what the normal payment process that actually exists today. That is exactly what ElectraPay does. It is the piece of technology that exists between the blockchain and the currently existing systems, and it manages the complexities of a blockchain. Again, with the integration from a blockchain, we can actually accept Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency that we choose to use.
One of the things with accepting cryptocurrency is the volatility, so the risk is actually on the merchant side. If they decide to convert to fiat at a later stage, it could be that there might be a loss of value during the period between accepting and converting, so it is becoming more and more important that the merchant can decide how they actually get paid. They might not want to accept cryptocurrency, and they might want to accept it and then convert it into fiat to alleviate its volatility.
Ruanne goes on to speak about how she has been speaking without her notes and addressing issues that she felt should be discussed. She states that we are focusing on building the foundation of allowing payments to go through ElectraPay, and the fact that we are not yet focusing on a target market, such as gaming or a retail outlet. She shares that there will be a different version of ElectraPay that is released once the Evoblox company is launched. She then describes how the majority of the development has been completed and how we are currently doing testing as we have completed the integration, which many have seen through the video shared on YouTube. She informs listeners that there is a portal that exists where merchants can sign up. She describes how the portal will create an order and display a quote that can then be emailed to your customer or shared with the customer through a QR code, where they use their mobile wallet to scan the code and process the payment. All of this is using the latest technology available to make payments seamless and a lot easier than entering a wallet address.
Ruanne then shares more information regarding the traceability side of ElectraPay, where users can store almost any sort of information in regards to a specific product and then track that product as it goes through the different cycles of the manufacturing process or whatever process one chooses. It could be tracing a shipment of goods, such as medicine, which is a very powerful aspect of this technology. She discusses how we are definitely focusing on smart contracts. She shares that Evoblox intends to focus on these three aspects; payments, traceability, and smart contracts. There is currently no estimated time of completion, as development has been completed and is being fined tuned. She asks listeners to remember that while the technology is there in the payment space, there is still so much that needs to happen on the regulatory side with governments and understanding how it’s going to affect the economy. This is where ETA comes in as we are having those conversations. She shares that she has set up a six-part webinar where they will speak about cryptocurrency and blockchain 101 and educate others on how blockchain works and what it actually means. They will also discuss payments and other topics such as CBDC (central bank digital currency) and the coins that will be backed by a fiat currency, whether it is USDC or another currency.
Aykut and Antoine rejoin the conversation, and Antoine ends by addressing one last question that has been often asked, which is related to marketing and how we intend to promote Electra Protocol and Evoblox in the crypto world. He states that we don’t intend to focus on the crypto world at first, as there is a lot of hype in that space. We intend to do the opposite and focus on real-world use cases such as the bakery at the corner or a company or manufacturer. We intend to focus on companies that don’t know a lot about blockchain technology but are interested in integrating it into their business.
The AMA session ends with the participants thanking the listeners for submitting the questions and participating in the session. Ruanne also gives thanks to the other team members who participated, as each worked for years to get us where we are today. She states that we believe in blockchain technology and where it will take us in the future, as it is going to be the new Internet, as this technology is where the Internet was back in the 1980s. She feels that we are currently at a point in time that and that in another 10 to 15 years, she feels that most companies will be using blockchain technology without even knowing much about it. She stresses that there are incredible opportunities out there, urges listeners to think big, and encourages community members to get more involved. She reiterates that the team has been working on this project for years, and from the very beginning, we wanted to have partnerships with businesses where we integrate blockchain technology into actual businesses, and while those conversations many years ago, they are just now starting to develop and stresses that we are at a very exciting point and time.
Aykut thanks Ruanne and the other participates for answering the questions posed to the team. He also thanks the listeners that joined for an hour to learn more about Electra Protocol and Evoblox and shares that we will have additional AMAs in the future.