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Bystack: Seeking Killer Assets (I)

This article is translated from “Bystack:寻找杀手级“资产”(上)” written by Qianli Ma, COO of Bytom, a Chinese star blockchain project aiming to connect the atomic world and the crypto world.

“Seeking killer apps”, a widespread slogan among blockchain pioneers. Like sword of Damocles suspended before entrepreneurs, the slogan urges blockchain entrepreneurs to take the lead.

However, for the blockchain industry, we urge killer assets as well as killer applications.

From “Killer Website” to “Killer Application”

If you were born before 2000, you must be impressed by the trend of PC Internet’s migration to the mobile Internet which has spawned most of the existing Internet giants and greatly changed people’s life.

The most obvious change is that the mobile screen has replaced the computer screen as the largest terminal for people to access the Internet. Whoever can occupy the “small” screen of the mobile phones can occupy the “large” world of the mobile Internet.

Obviously, many people with foresight had realized this at the beginning. These prophetic entrepreneurs had a simple idea – “to change the computer website into the mobile website“.

This is a very intuitive cognition, because mobile phones distinct from computers in smaller screen and vertical interface. If the original computer website is opened directly by mobile phones, the speed is slow and the interface is unattractive. Soon after the entrepreneurs took action to transform it.

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                                                                                     Figure 1-1 Mobile Portal

Then a batch of “websites” on mobile phones prefixed with “WAP” instead of “WWW” and optimized typesetting emerged. For example, the “3G portal” above (Figure 1-1) was very popular as IDG invested $20 million in 2006. At that time, people were able to find many contents that could not be searched by computers which conformed to the mobile phone format.

However, entrepreneurs soon found that making websites on mobile phones did not go as smoothly as expected. Users’ habits had not form nevertheless the website interface of mobile phones got better. People use mobile phones to visit websites only occasionally. IDG placed a wrong bet as the entrance of mobile terminals is no longer “websites”.

Later, we know “app” is dominant because it adapts to the characteristics of the mobile Internet.

Web pages in the PC stage often show pure online content, while applications in mobile Internet stage are closely combined with people’s online to offline life. New things have emerged in the fields of social (Wechat instant messenger), service (meituan takeout), travel (Didi online car-hailing) which touch our real interactive needs.

In the mobile Internet stage, killer applications are the king.

New Logic of Competition: Protocols

What if we moved the killer apps of the mobile Internet onto the blockchain? This is an obvious intuitive recognition, in view of the experience of mobile Internet, we need to be vigilant about intuitive recognition.

In fact, there are at least two distinct features in blockchain.

First of all, the update of the blockchain world is very slow. Take the bitcoin’s blockchain as an example, ten years after its establishment, it has been updated to 0.18.0 version, less than 1.0 official version. And most updates are limited to minor details. Even frequently updated blockchain Bytom has a much slower update than Internet version.

Secondly, the operation interface of blockchain is “wallet”. The basic units people contact with are transactions and contracts, and the basic accounts are addresses, public keys, private keys, etc. This is different from Android or Apple systems in the mobile Internet stage.

There are deeper differences between — blockchain is protocols. In March 2018, Chang Jia, founder of Bytom, put forward that:

“The question of whether Bitcoin will be replaced by competitors is typical Internet thinking. Blockchain should not be regarded as software, but as a protocol. Because protocol layer is more valuable than application layer in blockchain.”

This is a particularly enlightening proposition. By this, we can understand why the version updates in the blockchain world are so slow and small, because the protocol is a top-level architecture which must be carefully iterated.

Moreover, blockchain is a value agreement. The construction of blockchain requires the bearing of consensus, which consumes resources and carries the transmission of value. Whether it is transactions or contracts, the security of all blocks is like a safe delivering valuable affairs.

The protocol attributes of blockchain make it inappropriate to move applications in the mobile Internet stage (e.g. meituan takeout and didi online car-hailing) directly to blockchain. Just like making websites on mobile Internet terminals, what we need may not be killer applications. What we need is a brand new thing, killer assets.

From “Killer Applications” to “Killer Assets”

Only from the perspective of assets, can we sort out the history of blockchain’s development, and only through the analysis of the contradictions between assets and applications can we figure out the future trend.

The protocol attributes of blockchain determine that there are two paths when developing. One is to optimize the efficiency and extensibility of the protocol from the perspective of application (including the establishment of multi-layer architecture); another is to optimize the security and de-centralization of the protocol from the perspective of assets.

The competition between these two routes is getting fiercer unconsciously. The competition can be roughly divided into three stages.

The first stage: only ‘killer asset’ path in 2008-2013

At this stage, blockchain project is represented by Bitcoin and Litecoin. At this stage, blockchain focuses on the assets. The token itself has been compared with other assets such as “gold” and “silver”. People have gradually formed a consensus that Bitcoin is a kind of “electronic cash” (the Definition of the Bitcoin White Paper’s Title – Electronic Cash) or speculative assets. At this stage, we can see that Bitcoin has greatly inspired people’s understanding of decentralized assets.

And assets can exist independently beyond application (I will outline in the next article). Although most people do not use Bitcoin, even Bitcoin transactions occur mostly in centralized exchanges, and most people do not have private keys. But that doesn’t prevent Bitcoin from becoming a killer asset, just as people don’t actually trade gold without affecting its asset status.

The second stage: co-existence of killer assets and application path in 2014-2018

After 2014, ETH was born. If the projects represented by Bitcoin and Litecoin take the asset path, then the projects represented by ETH and EOS take the application path. Correspondingly, Bitcoin and Litecoin is treated more as an asset, while the ETH and EOS tokens themselves are treated more as expenses.

The birth of ETH has greatly inspired people’s understanding of decentralized applications. People find that not only assets can exist in the blockchain, so contracts do. In this stage, the application path did not give birth to a successful application. The only successful one is the asset issuance represented by ERC20 in ETH.

The third stage: from 2019 to now, the killer asset path is the mainstream, but it integrates the application path

If we look back on 2019, I think two white papers are dazzling. One is the famous Facebook Libra white paper. There are many interpretations of Libra. You can search for Libra in 8tc. Here I just briefly describe that Libra wants to be a “simple, borderless currency.” But there’s another project that Facebook deliberately keeps a low profile — Calibra.

Calibra is a “wallet” project, which is equivalent to a global Alipay with bank license. That is to say, Libra is an asset, Calibra is an application, the first integration of assets and applications have killer potential.

The second dazzling project is the Bystack project. Although I am a stakeholder, I still want to say that this project, together with Bytom, has built a system of asset and application integration.

Bytom is an underlying chain guarantees assets itself from the perspective of assets, while Bystack is a blockchain that meets the application attributes of assets based on the upward expansion of Bytom. All assets are created on Bytom, and the final delivery is realized by Bytom too. The flexibility and expansibility in the process are complemented by Bystack. With these, we do not particularly emphasize the existence of DEFI, we emphasize the asset itself – the birth of blockchain credits, game assets, blockchain legal assets.

Conclusion

Although the mobile Internet is full of traps in 2005, it can not stop the pace of people’s progress. In 2019, blockchain is full of both traps and opportunities. We need to decide on which path to take, killer assets or killer applications. What’s your idea?

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