Starcoin AMA Review:A more secure and suitable public chain for NFT and Defi
This week Tim answers hot questions from the Starcoin’s Telegarm. Tim is the head of Starcoin Asia District and also the leader of the current Starcoin dev team.
Tim answered questions about the Starcoin, STC, MOVE programming language and Starcoin ecosystem.
Here is the AMA content highlight review
Q1:Would you please start with an introduction of you and your project?
Tim: Hello everyone, welcome to today’s AMA. I’m head of Starcoin Asia and also the leader of the current Starcoin dev team. We started the project in 2018 and launched the main network in May this year. So please feel free to ask me anything about Starcoin.
Starcoin is inspired by Bitcoin and other well-known blockchain projects, especially Facebook’s 2019 release of Libra., with enhanced features and good performance.
The goal of Starcoin is to build a simple financial infrastructure for the average user and implemented it as an open, permissionless public chain using Move, the smart contract language initially from Libra, designed explicitly for distributed financial applications and digital assets.
Starcoin is the first public chain project in the industry to support the Move ecosystem.
Q2:Starcoin choses to enter the competition of public blockchain, what kind of advantages will distinguish Starcoin from other competitors?
Tim: Well, we don’t think that public blockchains are a competitive relationship. The public blockchain ecosystem is at the early stage, and the user community is relatively small. Therefore the primary goal is not to competing for the market share but to build and create value for the industry.
We could see from the development of all kinds of blockchains, especially in the DeFi area, the throughput of them could not meet the DeFi market needs.
The new DeFi chain generally has two directions.
One is based on the EVM in Ethereum, which could quickly take over the flow from the Ethereum congestion. The advantage of this direction is the full compatibility with Ehereum, the low cost of switching the DeFi applications, and the reuse of Ethereum ecosystem tools. The disadvantage could be that it will inherit the existing flaws of Ethereum, and it is hard to make notable adjustments and improvements.
The other direction is based on new technical solutions, such as introducing a new state model, programming language. The positive side of this direction is that it could make significant improvements and adjustments in the state model and smart contract layer to meet the needs of transaction performance, ease of use, security, and lower threshold use. However, the disadvantage is that it takes a relatively long time to establish the surrounding ecosystem.
Both directions have pros and cons. However, under the consideration of the current system not meeting the blockchain possibilities, we choose the second direction, which we believe is a direction worth the entire industry investing in.
Q3:Speaking of new technical solution, we learn about that Starcoin choose MOVE — a new programming language. Could you please tell us something about MOVE? What’s its features and strength？What is the reason in adopting a new programming language? What are the challenges and opportunities brought by the adoption of a new programming language?
Tim: There are two main differences between Smart Contract Programming Language and Traditional Programming language：
One is the different states of chain management smart contract programs. The state of traditional programming languages requires developers to write it into a database or file for maintenance. Smart Contracts Programming simplifies the state of hosting and abstract an expression of the external state.
The other is relating to the chain management smart contract program scheduling. Smart contract does not need to consider the issues like concurrent scheduling. However, traditional languages have mechanisms such as threads, coroutines, and locks to solve concurrency problems.
In other words, traditional programming languages need abstractions provided by operating systems, include files, networks, or schedules. When we limit these functionalities, there is no apparent advantage in adopting existing programming languages but to increase compatibility costs.
A brief description of Move, the secure and flexible asset programming model, is as follows:
i. In the first level of asset resource abstraction, all assets and tokens are equal. STC and other tokens are at the same security level.
ii. Through data abstraction, instead of interfaces, there is no dynamic distribution mechanism in Move language.
iii. Move use programming language features such as data visibility and ability (drop, store) to protect the resource and make full use of the features and capabilities of compilation period check.
As the picture showed, Solidity’s contract is the bookkeeping model, where the personal assets are recorded in the contract’s ledger. But Move is a box model, where digital assets are packed in a box composed of objects. But you need to write the code to feel the subtle differences.
MOVE is a new programming language with a learning curve. The developer community is just getting started. However, the blockchain industry is still early developing, and smart contract developers are still a relatively small group compared to the traditional developer community.
We believe that there will be many developers entering the field of blockchain smart contracts in the future. All smart contract programming languages are new for them, so the difference is not that big then.
Q4:Thank you for introducing us the MOVE language, I believe some of our community members will try to write some code to feel the differences. Let’s go back to Starcoin, could you tell us something about current Starcoin Ecosystem and the vision for the future?
Tim: Well, DeFi is the most popular dapp type for the public blockchains. Before Layer2 is mature, the mainstream dapps run on Layer1. We initially design Starcoin for financial scenarios, which is similar to Libra (Diem). The DeFi ecosystem needs to be built by the core developers of the chain and dapp developers collaboratively.
Starcoin core developers will focus on the area of the infrastructure of the public blockchain, including performance, p2p, and eco-tools such as wallets, block explorers, chain data service, cross-chain bridges, and development tools. From our economics white paper, we reserve a large part of the tokens (8%) for the ecosystem and grant rewards to projects through on-chain governance.
We believe that the dapp ecosystem is vital for DeFi public blockchains. As the ecosystem develops, miners can also benefit from it.
Q5:And what about STC, what is the STC value in the public blockchain and its application scenario? Could please tell us about it?
Tim： STC is the native token on Starcoin. The main scenarios are:
i. Pay the gas fees for transactions the same as most public blockchains.
ii. As a governance token for on-chain governance, one token equals one vote.
Starcoin is one of the most advanced public chains upon on-chain governance compared to current mainstream public blockchains. Anyone can initiate improvement proposals and implement them by voting on the community chain.
Some typical governance activities are:
i. Adjustments of key parameters on the chain, such as block rewards.
ii. The upgrade of Stdlib, Stdlib contains the core consensus logic and economic model.
iii. Apply for withdrawal from the national treasury for ecosystem development.
Q6:Now we have learned so much about Starcoin. My final question will be about the future. What are the next development priorities and focus planning for Starcoin?
Tim： The recent focus is to select high-quality ecosystem projects from the first Starcoin move online- Hackathon Contest. At the same time, we are also actively developing the infrastructure and tools for the ecosystem, such as wallet, explorer, chain data service, move developer tools. We are also looking for or incubating high-quality dapps based on Move.
Questions from community members:
Q7:May I ask Tim that what do you think about NFT existing market and does Starcoin have some plans in the NFT space? Thank you.
Tim: The core team published Starcoin’s NFT specification SIP22 proposal this month, which you can read at https://github.com/starcoinorg/sips/blob/master/sip-22/index.md.
From the description of the specification, we have many advantages over ERC721/ERC1155.
In both ERC721/ERC1155, NFTs can only be moved within the same contract, not from one contract to another, so it isn’t straightforward to composition protocols on top of NFTs. However, with the advantage of the TYPE feature of Move, NFTs in Starcoin can be moved between contracts, and a new contract can define new types to encapsulate NFTs and extend new transfer logic (e.g., auctions).
You can read more about our NFT spec from this tweet thread https://twitter.com/StarcoinSTC/status/1427525552777228289
The first Starcoin ecosystem NFT project, Cyber rare, an NFT market product, will also go live next month. We think it is a great start.
Q8:Can I ask Tim what’s the following plan in regard to DeFi? Thanks
Tim: Firstly, some of our ecosystem partners are creating the supporting tools for DeFi including cross-chain bridge, Oracle, etc. Which are already in development, and the first version of them are expected to launch very soon.
Secondly, several DeFi projects are in development, some of which participated in our Hackathon last month, including the AtlasPad IDO Project, Wormhole, etc. Other projects such as Swap, Lending are also in development.
Q9:Hi Tim! — I was just wondering what you had in mind for improving the PoW algorithm? Sorry another question but also was curious how to achieve the first public chain that can be upgraded without a hard fork?
Tim: Starcoin has an improved version of the Nakamoto consensus. Our most significant improvement is that we can have shorter block times depending on the whole network state while ensuring the security of the Nakamoto consensus. For more information about the optimizations and improvements of PoW consensus, you can read our white paper. https://starcoin.org/en/overview/technology_whitepaper/
About the governance: A distinctive design of Starcoin is that most of the on-chain functionality (e.g., mining rewards) is implemented in Move smart contracts rather than hard-coded into chain code. So, we can upgrade the on-chain functionality by updating Move contracts.
In addition, the DAO governance itself is also implemented by Move. So Starcoin is one of the most advanced public chains upon on-chain governance compared to current mainstream public blockchains.
Q10:SMART CONTRACTS are vulnerable to bugs, and even recently three big new DeFi projects were victims of this, costing users’ funds. How efficient and secured is your smart contract, and did you ever audit it via any external party?
This topic has been talked about before. The Move is a secure language explicitly design for digital asserts programming. The Starcoin project is audited by SlowMist
Move is easy to program than Solidity.
Q11:Hi Tim, we know that Starcoin uses a Move VM, safer than the current popular EVM but not compatible with the EVM dapps. I want to know if there are any plans that Starcoin is going to support EVM dapps?
Tim: There are currently no EVM compatible plans so far. As mentioned in the previous question, Starcoin is looking to redesign the core features of blockchain functionalities including account, state, and smart contract language, to meet security and scalability requirements. If we design an EVM-compatible mode, most of the flaws brought by EVM itself are hard to avoid.
Q12:Will STC be compatible with Meta Mask or will I need to use the dedicated extension instead? Also how will that effect usage for NFT’s?
Tim: Short answer, No. Because MetaMask is an EVM-compatible wallet. But there is a very similar Wallet call StarMask on the Chrome store. It is a decentralized wallet and can interact with all the Move dapps.
Q13:Tim, what’re your plans for interoperability with other blockchains?
Tim: We have a cross-chain bridge in development that can interoperate the major EVM chains. The bridge in blockchain is a big track, and we welcome any team to join this track.
Q14:Tim, will Starcoin be available to mine on GPU’s?
Tim: The hash algorithm now is CPU-friendly, GPU can also mine on Starcoin but has no particular advantages.
Q15:Tim A lot of people are asking about Proof of Stake. Were there and discussions during development about using PoS and do you see any possibility of integrating it in the future? For instance, some protocols have governance only PoS tokens and separate transnational tokens.
Tim: There is no plan to switch to PoS in Starcoin now. PoW is a mature and secure consensus protocol. The STC can pay gas fees and governance the DAO.
Q16:Tim,how did you decide on 3,185,136,000 coins
Tim: Good question, it is one STC per second.