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The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
Have you ever stared up at the frescos of the Sistine Chapel and heard the words of its creator whisper in your ear, “Genius is eternal patience.” That ceiling makes you think about the value of long term visions, of things that last, and it can back it up — at over 500 years old, it’s still absolutely glorious.
The long term vision of Elastos continued this week when it partnered with its own Fresco and found itself in the United Kingdom, where two visions of sustainable ecosystems also partnered up, one physical, one cyber, in what might just be the beginning of the “Elastos Invasion.”
A logo contest ended and a series of technical videos have begun to spread online, teaching the masses the underlying genius embedded beneath a patient surface.
Elastos continued its forward momentum this week. Let’s recap.
1. Solved the metadata problem of the new build environment (cmake+clang);
2. The browser solution solves the Reflection problem. The submitted code can demo the existing technical solution.
3. The RPC interface solves the marshal problem and the demo has run through.
4. Improved Elastos.RT, Elastos.Trinity, and Elastos.ElaPay documentation;
5. Configured the Docker development environment for the Elastos chain and wallet;
6. Started Ela Redpacket development, will implement red envelope function for WeChat and Telegram environments;
7. Further refinement of Trinity’s product design, completed some of the product range of wallet features, wireframe page relationship diagram;
8. Prepared open source version upgrades, testing, bug-fixing, and investigated node browser synchronization issues. The expected upgrade time is at the end of April or early May;
9. Continued the sidechain transfer, joint mining, arbitrator node details development, local code reconstruction according to the new architecture;
10. Mobile terminal wallet project setup, started page creation, import and export, address management and other page development;
11. Completion of the side-chain technical white paper draft, internal review.
• The Logo Contest has ended and the winners have been announced. Thank you to everyone who participated. The next stage of the Logo Design process will be announced next week. https://twitter.com/elastos_org/status/989574195372789760?s=21
• Elastos has released a short commercial video entitled “Own Your Data.” Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=20mTY3G5y0c
• Fay Li’s AMA was published on Medium this week https://medium.com/elastos/ama-with-elastos-cmo-fay-li-c9f4a52bd919
• Elastos is hiring full-time and part-time community members for technical and non-technical positions: https://medium.com/elastos/we-want-you-elastos-community-recruitment-da0e97694f63
• The Elastos Video Contest deadline is July 15th. https://medium.com/elastos/elastos-video-contest-final-version-5efb9fbebf19 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3089082.0#post_a2
• The first Elastos Hackathon will be held in Shanghai May 12–13.
Rong Chen hosted his 2nd London meetup where a cooperation with Urban Catalyst Ltd. and UK China Catalyst Ltd. was announced.
Elastos Foundation secretary Hongjie Hu attended, “Blockchain Development Trend Seminar” hosted by Elastos in the city of Chongquing, Sichuan province.
Elastos Ecology Construction Committee director Dinghe Hu discussed collaboration opportunities with Origin Agritech Ltd. (Nasdaq: SEED) on new social ecommerce and tracing origins of agri-products.
Far East Arlines visited the Elastos office and Huobi and talked about ecology plans.
Dr. Feng Han represented Elastos at an event co-hosted with Nebulas in Boston.
Meetup in NYC
Rong Chen and Feng Han will host an event on May 12th at Fordham University.
Meetup in LA: The Future of Blockchain & The Entertainment Industry
Elastos will be hosting a meetup in Santa Monica (date and location TBD) to discuss how Elastos can revolutionize the entertainment industry. Details can be found here: https://www.meetup.com/LA-blockchain-fintech-cryptocurrency/events/249312404/
Community member Kiran Pachhai (KP) has started a technical video series about Elastos and the series will be accompanied by written posts that will be published on the Elastos official Medium page.
Part 1: Elastos Runtime Explained For the Average Person
Part 2: How Digital Assets Work on the Elastos Platform
Kevin Zhang created a video series explaining the Elastos Carrier.
Reddit user LostPresentation posted a spirited review of Elastos:
Tyler of Chico Crypto has posted another Elastos video to his channel with more well put insights:
Kevin Zhang Q & A
ELA News (elanews.net) conducted an interview with the Head of the Developers Community Kevin Zhang. ELA News is a community member run site for all news Elastos. It was created by community member TI. The interview was reposted to the Elastos Medium page: https://medium.com/elastos/ela-news-exclusive-q-a-with-kevin-zhang-new-head-of-the-developers-community-1fe13cf8ab13
This is the first time the community has heard a Q & A with Kevin, and he did not disappoint. Here are a few selected quotes.
I believe if blockchain is the door to open a new world, Elastos will be the key.
After I got to know more about Elastos, my mind was blown. It is actually much more than its white paper explained. It is a sleeping beauty and I am going to wake her up.
Elastos is a decentralized Operating System, we should first make ourselves decentralized. Elastos will not be the new center, nor will it run or control the community. We consider this as an experiment of a new way to organize people to work together. Just like the Dutch East Indian Co. in the year 1602 (which started the era of capitalism), we will start a new era of decentralized software development organizations.
We need the internet to go back to its originally designed state. It is supposed to be decentralized, uncensored, with freedom and fairness. It is not only a technological revolution, it is also a new way to organize people to work and live together.
Elastos signs MOU with UK firms
Last Saturday in London, Elastos signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Urban Catalyst Ltd. and UK Catalyst China Limited (UKCC) to explore and develop the ecosystem of Elastos and help represent Elastos to form relevant partnerships across the UK and the European Union.
Rong Chen, Ken Dytor, and Ms. Ding Ding signed the agreement to continue their established relationship that started with UKCC’s investment in ELA. With each parties connections to governments, relevant blockchains, and commercial resources, this MOU is designed to take the relationship to the next stage, which will include Mr. Dytor developing blockchain projects via the Elastos ecosystem in the field of real estate, and Ms. Ding utilizing her contacts throughout the UK and EU to represent Elastos.
Urban Catalyst is a mixed-use real estate firm that delivers public-private projects that focus on sustainability. Ken Dyter, the Founder and Executive Chairman, is currently overseeing the Purfleet Centre Regeneration, a 140 acre riverside redevelopment project just outside of London. The project will deliver 2,400 homes, a new town centre with shops, community facilities, housing, and employment opportunities, and a new film, tv, and media studio complex designed by Allford, Hall, Monoghan, and Morris (AHMM), an award winning design firm. The project is is all about creating a better environment to live and work with sustainability at its core.
UK China Catalyst was designed to be a bridge between the UK and China in business trading, investment projects, merger and acquisitions primarily in real estate, education and media sectors.
Elastos Partners with Fresco
Fresco, the world’s first blockchain art digital asset network, will become one of the first DApps in the Elastos ecosystem. Fresco uses a system of trust to evaluate art work and allows for digital copyrights of art work.
A video explanation can be seen here: https://youtu.be/TumCob7-g5I
Thoughts and Conclusions
In a week that saw a man-in-the-middle attack result in the theft of over a hundred thousand dollars of cryptocurrency by users of MyEtherWallet (MEW), Elastos continues to stand in plain sight while the fragility of the internet is exposed on a weekly basis.
The hackers rerouted DNS traffic by hijacking a protocol called BGP which is used to route internet traffic. These attacks are commonplace at this point — let’s examine why.
In the early 1980’s, the internet was merely a series of networks that needed the ability to route data from one network to another. After the development of the Gateway to Gateway Protocol and the Exterior Gateway Protocol, the internet was still in desperate need of expansion.
In January of 1989, two men at an engineering conference tried to come up with a short term solution to routing the growing data that was swelling an internet that was on the brink of exploding. They needed to keep data flowing while the internet exponentially grew.
Kirk Lougheed of Cisco and Yakov Rekhter of IBM sat down for lunch and started to sketch ideas for a new protocol on the back of a few napkins. The idea was to create a kludge, a sort of Frankenstein’s Monster assemblage of parts that would fix the problems of routing until a better solution came along. The idea was merely to get something in place to temporarily patch the problems they saw with the internet. As for the idea of security at the time of their lunch, Rekhter has said it “wasn’t even on the table.”
The lunch produced what became the Boarder Gateway Protocol (BGP), or the “three-napkin protocol,” still one of the most widely used routing protocols in the world today.
Hacking itself was still relatively rare at the time. Lougheed has said, “In the early days of the internet, getting stuff to work was the primary goal. There was no concept that people would use this to do malicious things…Security was not a big issue.”
“We needed to sell routers. And we had a strong economic motive to make sure this party would continue. When Yakov and I showed up with a solution and it seemed to work, people were quite willing to accept it because they didn’t have anything else.”
Their protocol was embraced by the world — and because technological change can be incredibly daunting once there is mass adoption — today, in 2018, this same protocol produced over a lunch while George H. W. Bush was president, still reigns globally — allowing hackers embarrassingly easy access to our data.
The main problem with the way data is routed internationally is that BGP and other internet systems were designed to automatically trust users. When these hijackings occur, data can be routed, or redirected all over the world with no system of verification in place. These vulnerabilities are quickly becoming one of the key global issues of the 21st Century. This is not an understatement.
Looking back, Rekhter said,
“Short-term solutions tend to stay with us for a very long time. And long-term solutions tend to never happen. That’s what I learned from this experience.”
He’s not wrong. The internet is broken and long term solutions tend to never happen. But should this just be the accepted status quo? A quick fix technology from 1989? Allowing the entire world’s data to be exposed while we simultaneously increase the amount of things connected to the internet?
While Rong Chen took 18 years and over 4 million lines of original code to create his vision of fixing the internet, the designers of the BGP took one lunch to design their fix on the back of a few ketchup stained napkins.
And they found mass adoption.
But it was not their fault. They never tried to come up with a long term solution, and sadly, they now believe that long-term solutions “never happen.” In this assessment, they are wrong. Wrong about Rong.
Rong Chen has designed a long term solution. In fact, he has affectionately called it the last OS. The man-in-the-middle attack that happened this week could have been prevented with Elastos. The unverified honor code of routing and trust that allows people to have their data routed anywhere a hacker wants, could be prevented with Elastos. The inherent flaws of an internet that grew too fast and was “fixed” with solutions too small can be transformed into a new SmartWeb.
It is time we start thinking long term.
This is not an idea written on the back of a napkin. Or an OS that puts security in the background. This is a big idea, and as Steve Jobs would say, people need to be seduced into using it. Slowly, gradually, and in a very human way, the more one learns about Elastos, the more they feel comfortable allowing themselves to fall in love with its vistas of open-ended potential. There are several features to this vision. OS in devices, OS Runtime on a phone, a peer to peer platform for dapps, an economic zone for ownership of digital assets, and a blockchain that ties it all together by issuing decentralized digital IDs for people and things alike. That’s a lot of vision. But like James Joyce’s Ulysses, once you do start to understand it, it’s like a domino effect, it all comes rushing at you in waves of brilliance. The curtain parts and the stage is set, there in the spotlight. You understand. This really is an eco-system. This really is security on the internet. This really is the dawn of data ownership. This really might be the last OS. Or to put it another way, this might be the first and last OS. This is not just another blockchain project, this is the internet, redecentralized, returned to its glorious conception, and finally safe.
Rong Chen is the OG of the OS.
He’s a classic. He’s always in style — and he’s about to have his day in the sun.
His vision is the definition of long term and long term is the definition of the answer we desperately need.
Some people think a project needs a clear and precise short term vision — Elastos has one — but while clear short term visions can be progressive, they produce short term solutions. A mere point of concentration is limiting. When we limit our vision to a point, a “What does it do?” question, we may produce an answer, but we obscure the totality of where the vision can go. A better question is, “In what direction can we start moving?”
We are about to start moving not toward the short term fix that will extend far beyond its life span and become a relic of antiquity that we accept out of laziness, out of lack of vision, but towards a long term fix that will extend itself into perpetual modernity.
If there is one thing that can be surmised from the past, it’s this: what is coming started long ago.
It started in 1984 — the year the founding fathers of the internet were at once stepping into their vision of what could be while Rong Chen was stepping off of a plane from China into America. It would seem that the winds of momentum, that carry us technologically in the direction of where we can go, were blowing that day.
Those winds were also blowing while he studied operating systems at the University of Illinois, and in 1992 when he started at Microsoft developing their operating systems of the 90s.
And they were blowing again in 2000 when he went back to China to begin work on what he saw to be the operating system of the future, the solution that would solve the inherent design deficiencies of the internet. Those gusts of momentum howled again, and again, and they are howling now.
Leonard Bernstein said, “I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.” In this evolving revolution, it will not be the critics on the sidelines or the short term visionaries that will be remembered, but those who actually dared to build something that should last. Who has been as daring as Rong Chen? Who has put their entire life’s work on the line? He has built a truly safe operating system for the world and a vast and modern ecosystem for the internet to go with it. He has not thought small, but so large that we currently need the experts among us to pull his vision down from the stratosphere so we can get a long enough glimpse to examine its dream-like textures. When we do, we end up like Kevin Zhang when he first comprehended this vision: our minds are blown. That which is ahead of its time, absolutely modern, is always incomprehensible to the masses, and even many “insiders.” That is not a weakness; that is how you know it is visionary. What visionary idea, technology, or artistic movement was ever pondered early on by the critics and the masses with the unified response, yeah, I totally get it, that makes total sense. If that were the case it would not be revolutionary. Big ideas and big visions need big comprehensive powers. They need bigger canvases than napkins. You believe in this project because you have those or you have enough to understand the feeling it evokes. You do not need to be a technical wizard like Kevin to feel this project. Intuition is built into us. Just become still enough to hear its call.
So many projects have empty words attached to them. Words most of the public do not even understand. But how many projects have human beings like Rong Chen attached to them? Not a hyped up pitchman, but someone who tirelessly worked his entire career to become the incarnation of the operating system of the future. A humble man who wants to release his life’s work into the world for the betterment and safety of the internet that we all use.
So how about this word: Security. Because we need it — we have a situation — a big one. Ice Cube said, “The worst thing you can do about a situation is nothing.” We need to do something, because all of our short term fixes are essentially nothing. We need to stop setting our sights low and achieving our mark and instead set our sights high up in the stratosphere where Rong set them 18 years ago. We need to fix the way we access the internet.
We need the OG of the OS.
We need Rong Chen.
Onward! Upward! Elastos!