How institutional investors are embracing cryptocurrency – Institutional businesses are developing frameworks for their customers to interact with blockchain technology and digital currencies which are being recognised as permanent and viable alternatives to traditional assets and investment structures.
Real estate blockchain set to go live in early ’19 – New York-based ShelterZoom is going live soon with its blockchain-based real estate offer-and-acceptance application; it’s one of several ways companies are testing out the distributed ledger technology.
Coinbase CEO: Crypto in VR is the Next Big Application of Blockchain – VR could become a tool to expand virtual payment technologies – participants could earn virtual money which they can take back to the real world and spend them like any other fiat money, taking virtual reality from a hobby or entertainment to a full time job or lifestyle.
That’s it for this week. If you have a minute, please take a quick moment to fill out the questionnaire below. Your answers will allow us to better tailor our weekly content output to include more of what you want to see!
November has flown by, with exciting news and announcements happening back to back . Earlier in the month, our Engineering team hit a milestone with the stabilization of our Testnet, and we published a new token model favoring community and validator rewards. In the last couple of weeks, we spoke at events, hosted our first Ambassador on-boarding call, and announced a new partnership. We’re closing out the month and starting December by finalizing documentation for node operators, a token distribution, and Airdrop 5. Read on for the details of all that and more…
Investor & AirDrop Distribution Announcement.
Today, the lock-up expires on tokens issued to certain purchasers in our pre-sale and TGE. This distribution has begun. The distribution marks the momentum towards further liquidity as we near Testnet v2.
We’re delaying Constellation AirDrop 5 distribution until December the 7th. Given it is the last AirDrop of the year we’re allowing a few extra days for community members to resubmit their KYC details. If you’re one of the stragglers check your inbox for an email reminder 😉
Ecosystem Observation with Mathias Goldman
There are a lot of unsung heroes at Constellation. Our VP of Finance Mathias is one of them. He’s been active in blockchain since BTC was less than $3 and provides a wealth of knowledge from his traditional banking background. Mathias goes into his past experience, role at Constellation as well as giving his insight and observations into the current market landscape. Video below. Enjoy.
Scale By The Bay Talk
Scale By The Bay is the premier conference for developers, software and data engineers. Wyatt and Ryle spoke this year alongside the likes of Martin Odersky (creator of Scala) and Neha Narkhede (Co-Creator of Apache Kafka).
In their talk, “Optimizing Network Topologies with Monadic Execution Contexts”, Wyatt and Ryle discuss real issues in distributed systems recording data in an immutable append-only log in such a way that you cannot forge it. Check out the video below:
The Blockchain Society Conference SF
Earlier this week, CEO Benspoke at a special conference exclusively for investors, regulators, corporate and blockchain thought leaders, hosted byThe Blockchain Society’s Executive in partnership with Deloitte. Later in the day, he also spoke on “The Future of Mobility Panel” alongside Chris Ballinger (CEO, MOBI) and Zaki Manian (Executive Director, Trusted IoT Alliance). Thanks to all who participated!
Blockchain Coalition Advocacy Brunch
Earlier in the month, COO Altif was invited to brunch to discuss the regulatory concerns of the blockchain and cryptocurrency community with the Treasurer for the state of California in the United States, Fiona Ma. The event followed the recent election and was a unique opportunity to have in-depth conversations with policymakers and help shape the future of California’s blockchain economy.
Blockchain University Announcement
We are excited to announce that Constellation has partnered with The Blockchain University. We will be utilizing their blockchain certification platform to deploy the Constellation Ambassador Certification test.
Welcome to the first edition of the Constellation Industry News Update. In this weekly series, we’ll be updating you with current news and stories related to blockchain and DLT from around the web. Read on for more…
New Blockchain Platform for Autonomous Vehicles – The blockchain is called Blocklet for Trusted Vehicle Operations and comes from U.S. Company Filament. The technology is described as the first end-to-end automotive blockchain platform.
Blockchain Startup Modex Launches New Platform for Developers – The launch of a pack of free tools is designed to provide easier access to developers to blockchain technology. The program rewards the first 1,000 developers that join the platform with a total of 1,000.000 free tokens, while the best programmers could be given the opportunity to join the team.
Beyond Price: Why We Need a Better Way to Value Crypto Assets – The most commonly cited number for comparing the worth of different crypto projects is market capitalization. It is an extremely flawed metric. Critics note that poor liquidity, combined with lax rules at many exchanges, let founders and large holders easily manipulate market cap quotes at sites such as CoinMarketCap making for all sorts of abuses during the ICO mania of last year.
Bosch India Strengthens Smart Solutions Portfolio – Bosch is turning itself into an innovation hub for the world by developing solutions based on AI, Blockchain, sensors and other futuristic technologies to build sustainable ecosystems across industries for the future.
Boeing Launches Blockchain, AI Drone Venture – SkyGrid will develop software for “aerial urban mobility” for autonomous cargo and passenger air vehicles. A blockchain will be used to store flight and unmanned air vehicle data.
Automotive Cybersecurity: Partnerships, Blockchain & Securing Mobility – Arilou, Apline, Filament made news this week in Automotive Cybersecurity and Mobility. Filament, provider of blockchain solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) and the enterprise, announced its next-generation blockchain technology designed to facilitate data transactions on industrial and enterprise machines and sensors.
Constellation Labs is excited to announce our partnership with The Blockchain University. With over 1,500 certified developers, they boast one of the worlds largest certified blockchain communities in the world. Here’s what The Blockchain University’s CEO and Co-Founder, Sahil Parekh, had to say on the partnership: “Building the Web 3.0 starts with quality blockchain education working alongside quality partners, and we’re excited to work with Constellation on this initiative to grow and educate the community on their up and coming distributed security protocol.”
There’s been a whirlwind of activity as we head into the end of November. The engineering team have been presenting at some of San Francisco’s leading tech conferences, connecting with some of the brightest minds in the valley while continuing to deliver against our roadmap as we move closer to Testnet V2. The Constellation ambassador program continues to grow, with Sebastian Spitzer presenting on our behalf at the Honda Blockchain Summit in Berlin. For a summary of the events, node registration and links to recent press, read on.
Scale By The Bay
Last week, Wyatt and Ryle presented at Scale By The Bay in San Francisco. In their talk, “Optimizing Network Topologies With Monadic Execution Contexts”, they discussed the real issues in distributed systems recording data in an immutable append-only log in such a way that you cannot forge it. We’ll have a video of the presentation coming your way soon, but in the meantime you can check out the slides from the talk here.
Also last week, Constellation Ambassador Sebastian Spitzer attended the Honda Blockchain Summit in Berlin and presented on our behalf. The event focused on the adoption of DLT in the automotive space. Other participants included Mine Spider, IOTA, and Ocean Protocol, just to name a few. A big thanks to Sebastian for attending!
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This piece is largely based off an interview I had with our CTO, Wyatt Meldman-Floch, where we took a deep dive into what inspired him to create Constellation, and more specifically, what fuels his underlying engineering ethos based around integrating natural law. Enjoy!
In our interview, we covered everything from thermoeconomics and dendrograms, the origins of Constellation and the universe, to DaVinci and Dutch string theorists and everything in between, so please forgive me while I attempt to properly formulate a jump off point for this quantum roller-coaster ride inside the mind of Wyatt.
The bulk of this piece is meant to illustrate how Constellation’s network can be compared to existing complex structures in nature. Wyatt breaks down how he approaches Constellation’s architecture by taking inspiration from and in some cases, mimicking, natural orders. Read on to find out how this approach is revolutionary and unlike any other approach in the blockchain space.
Constellation was spawned in part from many deep talks that Wyatt and Ryle would have after a days work during their time together at Radius, hanging out around the E-Trade building in downtown San Francisco. They were working in the midst of the big data boom, and they’d spend a lot of time discussing how they’d ideally envision things being done differently in the big data space.
Wyatt had also created a program called Big Fish, Little Fish, where nodes would host data and merge data like a little fish getting eaten by a big fish, whereby the big fish would represent increasingly trusted data points which had a greater idea of the network’s state. The creation of this program served as a sign of things to come:
“We spent a lot of time looking at patterns within primitives. If you’re looking at planet earth, it would be chemicals. If you’re looking on the internet, it would be points of data (the chemicals and data being the primitives) and looking at patterns in between them. That’s sort of how we started forming the ideas that would later become Constellation.”
Wyatt cited many mathematical geniuses as sources of inspiration for Constellation. From Fields Medal winners (which is essentially the Nobel Prize equivalent for Mathematicians) Stephan Smale, who did pioneering work in the 60’s tying Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) to economic markets and Alexander Grothendieck, to Dutch String Theorist and Nobel Prize winner Gerard’t Hooft. Maurice Herily, a Professor Emeritus at Brown, was also cited as a significant influence for Wyatt. “Herily analytically modeled distributed systems and proposed that we treat distributed systems in the same way we treat particle systems,” said Wyatt. All of these theorists, thinkers, and academics influenced Wyatt and the engineering team’s approach regarding the structure of Constellation.
If Herily could be seen as putting the “math on paper,” the creators of Twitter’s Algebird library for creating data models based on abstract algebra could be seen as turning that “math on paper” into “math on code.” Wyatt cited them as his modern-day engineering inspirations, saying “I’m really inspired by algebraic data types and projects like Cats and Algebird which extend the use of abstract algebra to create data structures that allow data processing to be reasoned about like a math problem.”
Taking all the influences into account, with Constellation, Wyatt and Ryle wanted to do things a bit differently than what was happening in the big data space.
Taking Cues From Nature – Entropy, Biomimicry & Thermoeconomics
Before we dive into the technicalities of how natural law is built intoConstellations tech, I asked Wyatt what inspired him to turn to nature for inspiration in the first place. “Often, it’s easier to try and reverse engineer a solution to a problemthan to start from scratch. We do this in programming every day. Fortunately, in many situations, we can see anomalies in nature, be it biochemistry or physics, which give us clues to the underlying structures that make solutions work. The inspiration for most people who come up with new paradigms of understanding, like pure mathematicians, often comes from reasoning about natural phenomenon independent of existing frameworks.”
One aspect of natural law that is heavily featured in Constellation’s approach is thermoeconomics. For those who aren’t familiar (don’t worry, I wasn’t either) with this field, it’s a school of thought that maintains that human economic systems can be modeled as thermodynamic systems. Wyatt primarily integrated this in regards to thinking about the underlying utility of our utility token, $DAG. “I spent a lot of time thinking about what the ‘utility’ of a ‘utility token’ was, and it seemed to me that the utility of a token was actually the quantization of a good or service that the token represented. If that were the case then what is the underlying value of any cryptocurrency? It certainly has something to do with ensuring the validity of data.”
How can you communicate an exchange of value without an intermediary? In our society, that intermediary typically comes in the form of money, but in nature and physics, that unit is typically entropy. Wyatt thinks entropy (as it is a topologically invariant measure) is indicative of an underlying homotopy type hierarchy that the universe follows with regards to scaling. This notion is codified into Constellation as the underlying connective thread that ultimately normalizes the network’s data, allowing all processes to speak the same language. Speaking to this point, he described how this plays out in the network itself:
“Let’s model the actual dynamics of our distributed system based upon these physical and economic laws. It allows us to directly connect every operation that a network does directly to a unit of value. Every operation of a network, not just every unit of data, can be stored and maintained. People who care about the validity of their data, who care about encryption and privacy and using a blockchain, who want that provenance over their data… they care about whether it is true or not, and how we achieved that conclusion. If every bit of data that leads up to that conclusion is based on entropy, then you can build a model on that. You can normalize the data, and then you have all different processes speaking the same language. The same way an ecosystem or an economy communicates.”
In Wyatt’s presentation at De:Centralize 2018 (linked below), he said: “If you want to solve a problem, the smartest thing you can do is just copy what nature did.” The popularized term for this notion is biomimicry, which is defined as the “imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.” A famous example of biomimicry can be seen in Davinci’s early sketches of a flying machine (as seen above), based upon his observations of birds. I asked Wyatt to follow up with some other examples of how this is evident in the architecture of Constellation, and he shared several other fascinating parallels.
“Constellation’s network topology resembles a scale-free network. This structure pops up in the natural ecosystem or the cosmos (correlation does not imply causation, but the universe looks like a dendrogram, so does a neuron and a tree, etc.) because they are systems that are continuously applying some sort of optimization rule, typically based in the reduction of entropy. It’s an optimization problem that acts effectively like a balancing act. In the same way that plants and animals die, are reborn and transmuted into different forms of energy, our network needs to autonomously reorganize itself, like an ecosystem adapting to climate change.”
We see this same resilient autonomous pattern play out in modern day economics, as major corporations die out, get bought up or get swallowed whole by a different entity. “That’s why people model economics after thermodynamics, because it’s just like nature,” said Wyatt. In regards to Constellation’s Proof of Reputable Observation protocol, which assigns a reputation-based score to nodes based on prior accuracy, validity, and trust, Wyatt once again looked at nature for inspiration. “If you’re creating disorder within the greater system, the system will self- correct you and put you in your place to find its equilibrium.”
In Wyatt’s eyes, each blockchain protocol can be viewed as a different species, and with Constellation, he envisions the network serving as a baseline “pollinator” for any potential use case. “Bitcoin is like the crocodile, that has existed since the time of dinosaurs. We want to be like a pigeon—the most common, adaptable species that flourishes and finds utility in any ecosystem. Alternatively, we want to be the bees, something that helps to pollinate all potential use cases and be that underlying infrastructure.”
In Wyatt’s presentation mentioned above, two notions popped up a fair amount — Homotopy Types and the dendrogram structure of a hierarchical DAG, which minimizes entropy in a system. I asked Wyatt for a layman’s breakdown of how these concepts appear in nature, and how they each factor into the design of Constellation.
He started by sharing the work of the foremost mathematician of the early 20th century, von Neumann, who essentially came up with the basis for Constellation’s dynamic partitioning scheme a long time ago. Wyatt, take it away:
“What that question asks is ‘how can we model higher dimensional spaces that generates something abstract like a fractal?’ Without getting too into it, the methods used in fractal geometry (what pure mathematicians use to understand recursive, self-similar structures [like a hylo/metamorphism]) are primarily focused on something called measure theory, which is important, but they don’t translate explicitly to non-linear structures in programming like the f-algebra of a recursion scheme.”
What Wyatt and the engineering team did was extend that idea to something called Homotopy Type theory, which is how they think about the structure of data and processes in functional programming. In Wyatt’s words, “there’s this thing called the Curry-Howard Correspondence which ensures that a ‘Typed’ program is actually a proof. In this regard, by implementing these ideas with functional methods, we can assume that our code implements a model like something from continuous geometry.”
Why on earth would we want to have a fractal structure like this? According to Wyatt, “it’s because fractals have special space preserving properties which help us embed (store) information efficiently, and storing information efficiently is at the root of how we approach scalability.” A 2D fractal is a way to infinitely put information in a space and pack it in there, and this fractal structure is what allows Constellation to create an infinitely unbounded space to pack data into.
Constellation’s logo itself echoes this notion as the solution of closest packing of spheres (a hexagon) represents what we’re trying to do, which is “expand the closest packing of all information in all dimensions.”
I followed this up by asking Wyatt about the fractal nature of Constellation’s DAG, and if any other existing DAG based protocols, such as IOTA, are designed with a similarly fractal nature in mind. “Holochain is close, but Holochain is built for API level servers, nothing more, nothing less. Constellation is built for everything. We want to be the glue to connect the bottom line with something as slow and store-valuey as Bitcoin.” For a more thorough breakdown of how Constellation’s hylochain differs from the likes of a typical blockchain or other DAG protocols, check out the infographic below.
Hopefully, you’ve just gleaned a telescopic look inside the mind of Wyatt and the origins of Constellation, and how much of its underlying architecture is inspired by biomimicry. I hope this piece fully conveys how unique Constellation’s architecture truly is while giving you some further insight into Wyatt’s inspiration for creating Constellation.
Over the past few years, Blockchain technology has taken the world by storm. It has been extended to a broader category of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Constellation proposes an enterprise grade DLT that is scalable, secure, and inclusive. We recently published a detailed business whitepaper discussing our technology. In this post, we dive particularly into how the technology in Constellation is different than a traditional Blockchain.
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks. Our Engineering team has hit a milestone with the stabilization of our Testnet and we published a new token model favoring community and validator rewards. Moving into next week Wyatt and team are presenting at Scale by the Bay and our first Hyperledger meet-up. For details on all the above and more read on…
We’re excited to announce that our testnet has stabilized. Utilizing a DAG framework, we sent over 120 Million test transactions throughout the weekend across remote servers. This marks a major engineering milestone as we move closer to The Node Operator Program via Testnet 2.0. You can view a snapshot overview of confirmed tps, transactions sent, balances, etc. below.
“This first test gives us the baseline for the lowest level ‘rank’ in our network. It only goes up from here.” – Wyatt CTO
Despite not having fully optimized networking calls and data structures for memory or lightweight devices, we’re seeing consistent and predictable CPU loads across the network with no memory issues on the second cheapest cloud VM tier. Nodes are running at one quarter load (25% CPU) and using roughly 500 MB heap memory. We are easily seeing 500-1000 tps on a single partition with further optimizations to come.
Seen below is the the size of the snapshot folder on one of the nodes. It works out to 1500 TX per MB of storage. More specifically, 1.25e8/8e4 = 1562 TX per MB. This is a little larger than BTC’s average transactions size, but it includes extra metadata collected during testing and will be optimized further.
“There’s still a lot of work to come, but this is a major stability improvement. We’re trying to ensure node operators can run cheap instances and still participate in the network at high load, and we’ve made major strides in demonstrating that. This is still only on a single partition and resource offering type, which means as we expand tests to higher partition counts and more diverse node types, we should see even more dramatic speed improvements.”
– Ryle – VP of Engineering
Interested in becoming part of the Constellation network? We are looking for node operators who will host some of the early nodes on the network (in a testnet environment). You’d be providing valuable feedback, and earning $DAG tokens for doing so. You can register to run a node here.