Dean Tribble AMA with Gate.io

Dean recently joined the exchange Gate on their Telegram channel for an AMA with their community.

Here are the questions and answers :point_down:

Joseph: Hello Dean, can you please introduce yourself to Community members and an intro about your project?
Dean: Hello. I am CEO of Agoric Systems. We having been building the software for the Agoric network. Agoric is a layer-1 blockchain and smart contract platform that enables the millions of JavScript developers in the world to build and deploy smart contracts, using their existing expertise, tools, and programming environments.

Joseph: Can you share the vision behind Agoric and how it aims to bring value to the blockchain space?
Dean: At Agoric, we want to see more cooperation in the world, and smart contracts are an incredibly powerful tool for helping that happen: smart contracts enable strangers to cooperate! For that to matter though, it has to be accessible to most of the programmers in the world. It’s not much help if, to get a smart contract built, you have to go find one of only 10k expensive Solidity developers. So we set out to meet devs where they are at and empower them to build smart contracts in the most popular programming language, JavaScript.

Joseph: What benefits do JavaScript smart contracts offer?
Dean: JavaScript has several important benefits. As the most popular programming language on the planet, 15M+ developers already know it! The language is flexible, accessible, and comes with a massive ecosystem of developer tools for building, testing, and deploying applications. Developers can leverage that ecosystem with their existing programming skills to get started quickly. Finally, we use JavaScript’s great support for frameworks to provide a framework and rapidly growing components library of DeFi, NFT, and cross-chain contracts, very similar to what web2 JavaScript developers experience when building with their favorite React, Node, or Vue libraries. (I could go on for a long time! JS is used to control literally trillions of dollars in txns per day, for example)

Joseph: How does the Agoric chain communicate with other chains?
Dean: Agoric was purpose built to interoperate with other chains. To accomplish this, Agoric uses the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, which we actually helped create! IBC is the standard for cross-chain between different blockchains in the Cosmos network, and is expanding to others like Avalanche (went live recently) and Ethereum (in progress). This positions Agoric as the best place to write smart contracts that communicate cross-chain!

Joseph: What is the role of the BLD token in the Agoric ecosystem, and how does it contribute to the network’s functionality?
Dean: BLD is Agoric’s native token for staking and governance. Agoric is a Proof-of-Stake chain (built with Cosmos’ CometBFT). Participants stake their BLD tokens to participate in the transaction validation process on the Agoric network. This process ensures that the network operates with robust integrity. Moreover, stakers of the BLD token govern the chain and can vote on things like chain upgrades, providing BLD stakers ultimate control over the Agoric network. Additionally, the other key token in the Agoric ecosystem is IST, which is implemented by Inter Protocol. IST is a stable token designed to maintain parity with the USD. It’s compatible with IBC-enabled chains in the Cosmos ecosystem and used primarily to pay for fees and services on the Agoric chain. Additionally, the other key token in the Agoric ecosystem is IST, which is implemented by Inter Protocol. IST is a stable token designed to maintain parity with the USD. It’s compatible with IBC-enabled chains in the Cosmos ecosystem and used primarily to pay for fees and services on the Agoric chain.

Joseph: In a few words, what makes Agoric stand out from other L1s?
Dean: In a word, “programmability”. It uniquely enables millions of developers to get into crypto, and it uniquely enables existing crypto developers to rapidly build cross-chain applications, all in JavaScript. Imagine millions of JavaScript developers innovating in web3, using the same tools they are already experts with. For example, there’s lots of entrepreneurial, financially motivated, experienced FinTech developers out there. Many have checked out current blockchains and backed off because of how hard and how unsafe programming them is. At Agoric, our layer-1 chain and smart contract platform enables them to join other crypto developers in building the next wave of blockchain solutions.

After the introductory questions, there was a short quiz, questions and answers provided here.

  1. What’s the name of Agoric’s smart contract framework?
    Zoe! Zoe enables novel safety features like Offer Safety and Payout Liveness, two protections unique to Agoric that assure users they’ll get what they want out of a transaction or it doesn’t happen. This allows strangers to cooperate with greater confidence. The name was inspired by a character in the Firefly sci-fi space-western series. She makes sure that everyone follows the rules of the deals!

  2. What does the BLD token represent in the Agoric ecosystem?
    The native token used to stake and secure the Agoric chain. It’s for staking and governance.

  3. Which protocol makes Agoric natively interoperable with other Cosmos chains?
    IBC! (Inter-blockchain Communication Protocol, which we helped build) IBC was inspired by the earlier work of myself and my cofounder in the ‘90s! We helped architect Cosmos’ IBC to enable easy cooperation among not just Cosmos chains, but most other chains as well. Hence it’s connecting to other chains like Avalanche, PolkaDot, and Eth (in progress=!).

  4. What is the primary purpose of Hardened JavaScript in the Agoric ecosystem?
    To provide a safer programming model for writing smart contracts. It really makes programming and using components from other people much easier and safer.

  5. How does Agoric reduce the learning curve when moving from web2 to web3?
    Because it leverages a developer’s existing JavaScript skillset! And their tool chain, and development environment, and coding practices etc etc.

Finally, after the quiz, Dean the audience could submit live questions for Dean and he selected five to answer.

User Gu Geo asked: Since NFTs are popular nowadays, is there a plan for NFT integration?
Dean: The Zoe smart contract framework provides convenient JavaScript libraries for handling assets. So you can have a Purse of a particular kind of asset, withdraw a Payment, send it to someone, and they deposit it into their Purse. The kind of asset could be fungible, non-fungible (e.g., a set of NFTs), or semi-fungible. One smart contract component (e.g., an auction) could handle all these with no change; e.g., 30 lines of JS code can implement an auction that works to sell 50 ATOMs or a set of 3 distinct NFTS.

User Berit asked: Javascript is one of the most used languages by app and game developers, however, it has been largely obsolete due to the constant encryption failures that they present. So why did you decide to use this type of technology on blockchain? What benefits does it provide before Python?
Dean: JavaScript evolved from humble beginnings. It’s designed to be very mutable, which historically made it easy to attack. BUT…. we’ve been on the JavaScript standards committee for 15+ years, driving into the language the ability to lock it down and make it safe enough that it is used to control literally trillions of dollars every day in everything from bank applications to tools like SalesForce to brokerage terminals like Bloomberg. We built a lockdown operation in standard JavaScript to harden it so that you can safely run JS in an immutable environment. It is used for example to enable things like MetaMask snaps, where you can extend the wallet with JS plugins to support chains like Agoric. Smart contracts on Agoric are written in that Hardened JavaScript, so they don’t suffer the vulnerability that you are referring to.

User Yoo asked: Excited because Agoric is implementing the $IST fee model in the mainnet. Correct me if i’m wrong, but i believe this means $BLD stakers will receive $IST rewards alongside $BLD rewards? Exciting stuff from an extremely promising chain.
Dean: Indeed, Agoric is one of the first dual-token designs (from the whitepaper): BLD is the basis of the staking economy and IST is the stable token for fees. If you think of gas prices as like your rent or postage, you wouldn’t expect to pay your rent or postage with a volatile asset like gold, or Apple shares, or Eth. We all discovered literally thousands of years ago that having an economy use a stable token for payments, unit of value, etc. created a better, more vibrant economy. So we use IST for gas, etc. The system is designed for IST to be provided as rewards, ONCE it is out of the bootstrap phase. Right now, it’s still growing and spreading in the interchain ecosystem, where the fees go to the Reserve so that it can grow faster. I expect the BLD community to not turn on IST rewards until it is broadly used and adopted. Then some fees will go to the BLD reward pool.

User Ankit asked: How did you get the community involved in developing the project? and how do you build a strong community to grow globally?
Dean: We actively work with our awesome community in several regions, including Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, and soon expanding into India and Argentina. We have a new Getting Started series of articles on our website answering questions like what is Agoric, BLD, or IST, currently available in English. We just held our first meetup in Ankara, Turkey, where 80+ university students attended to learn more about the benefits of building with Agoric. We also partnered with other Cosmos chains to host our first meetup in Bangalore, India, where 150+ crypto builders got together to learn about Cosmos and Agoric. Lastly, we’ll be expanding into South America with our first meetup in Buenos Aires in January 2024! If you want to attend one of our upcoming events, subscribe to our events calendar. If you want to help advocate in a specific region by running meetups or workshops, you can reach out in our Discord server.

User Christopher asked: Can you list 1-3 killer features of Agoric?
Dean: Another great question!

  • The Agoric platform empowers JavaScript developers to leverage their existing programming skills and tools to build web3 applications with less friction than any other platform.

  • Our growing library of composable code building blocks makes building and deploying these apps faster and familiar for JS devs.

  • It’s also natively interchain — interoperable with the 60+ chains connected via IBC — and Agoric smart contracts smoothly integrate async actions on other chains via Interchain Accounts (in development)

These combine to make Agoric a powerful, one stop shop for building apps that span multiple blockchain networks.

User Anthony asked: The total supply of the $BLD token is 1,006,745,147 BLD coins, can you tell us what the token distribution is ? What are the existing ways that you offer to get this token?
Dean: For all the details of the economy, tokens distribution, etc. check out the economy page on the Agoric website, and of course at the exchange. You can acquire BLD from Gate.io, of course (and other DEXs and CEXs too). Thank you Gate.io for listing BLD and making it accessible to your broader community. We look forward to many new token holders, developers, and projects from here!

And that’s a wrap! Thank you to Joseph for being an awesome host and for Gate for having Dean!

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