Sep 28, 2020
Steve Kokinos is the CEO at Algorand. Algorand is an open, permissionless, pure proof-of-stake blockchain protocol that wants to usher in a new era of serious DeFi. Similar to how AWS (Amazon Web Services) has made cloud computing accessible, Algorand is building an ecosystem to unleash the potential of DeFi.
Led by Turing award-winner Silvio Micali and a team of cryptographers, engineers, and mathematicians that claim to have solved the blockchain trilemma, Algorand is committed to the development of solutions for the future of economic exchange. Impressed by the Bitcoin whitepaper and its deployment, computer science professor Silvio Micali thought that Bitcoin represented a fascinating use of cryptography and distributed systems science. However, he felt that the high costs of mining coupled with its low performance features left room for improvement. His work with Algorand is concentrated on improving the fundamental properties of blockchain.
After a successful career in tech, Steve Kokinos met Silvio Micali and impressed with his vision for Algorand he joined the company as CEO in 2018.
Steve says we are moving toward a multi-blockchain world. “There will be a handful of platforms and public networks that can be used for different purposes and they can all be winners here. Other tech waves have shown that there can be several winning platforms or several winning new technologies that are adopted. In the same way that when a user fires up Spotify or Netflix there isn't an AWS logo saying they're running the back end, and that's how we see Algorand, we want to be the utility in the background that people can build great applications on.”
Ethereum currently supports around 15 transactions per second, Bitcoin is a little slower. Steve says that Algorand today can process 1100 tps and over the next coming releases they want to scale that up 10,000 tps. “It's important for us to understand what people are using blockchains for and to build the functionality that they need
into layer one primitives. At Algorand we’re focused on layer one primitives, that might be financial applications, programmable money or building dapps. We've also announced a layer 2 smart contract platform where the initialization of the contract will be on layer 1 but will then run-off-chain. We think the way to do that is run the computation off-chain, make sure it's provably true and then bring it back to the main again.”
Algorand is permissionless so anyone can build on it. Steve says, “Our layer 1 pure proof of stake approach lends itself to different forms of financial applications. Use cases include DeFi, more traditional payment assets, and bank transfers and post-trade settlements. And then the third use case is central bank digital currencies. The Marshall Islands has launched a CBDC on Algorand.
There are 400 companies that have deployed projects on Algorand. One is Planet Watch, which has sensors in homes and businesses across the world to capture air quality data around the globe and then compare that to govt guidelines and regulations.
The ALGO token is the prime asset of the public network. It is used to pay transaction fees and run smart contracts. As part of the pure proof of stake protocol every token holder can be called upon to propose a block, and every token holder can vote on upgrades via its use as a governance token.
Asked about his favorite piece of sci-fi, Steve picks Snow Crash directed by Neal Stephenson.
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