AMA with Nano’s Founder Colin LeMahieu
Welcome to ChangeNOW AMA. Today’s guest is Nano’s Founder Colin LeMahieu
Q: Colin, can you please tell us a bit more about yourself and Nano? How did you start the project? When did you first time get into the crypto space?
A: Hey guys, I’m Colin LeMahieu, I’m a software engineer with a background in performance tuning. I started Nano after seeing that cryptocurrency space for a few years and not being satisfied with the throughput of other systems there and a large amount of fees that were being charged. I wanted to create a truly open system that people could use for money.
I started working on Nano about 6 years ago now, first designing it for about a year and then finally starting the coding.
Q: Can you please tell us a bit about the Nano team? Is it decentralized? or not?
A: Yes the Nano team is all over the world. We’re fairly small, 4 of us are in the US and 4 others are in the UK. We have a few people in Europe and other places giving us full global coverage. Since we’re focusing on being an open project we have a large number of community managers that focus on different regions and languages. We have large communities in South America, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina. And large communities in South East Asia, Indonesia, and other places.
We focus on helping and enabling other companies that want to use true cryptocurrency so a lot of our focus is on integration and education.
Q: Most investors just focus on the price of a token in the short term instead of the real value of the project. Even we see the lowest price for $NANO 2017-7-16 price only 0.026 then today Price stability back for 0.7$ Can you tell us the motivation and benefits for investors to long term?
A: Some people speculate on currency though currency by itself isn’t an investment in the traditional sense like a stock, it isn’t a profit-generating entity. We focus on increasing Nano’s utility making it the lowest cost, fastest way to send value anywhere in the world without a central controller. Money that has low barriers to entry, and can’t be inflated, makes it more valuable than the government-issued equivalents and we see that as where the long term value comes from.
Q: Have your new year goals for 2020 changed since 2019? In 2019 you were “pushing Nano forward and working to support the growth of an ecosystem and protocol that is accessible and easy to use for everyone.”
A: We are shifting a bit this year compared to last. Last year we did a lot of protocol changes and focused on getting big on/off ramps connected. This year we’ll have fewer big protocol changes as everything gels to its long-term form and we’re focusing more on connecting businesses to the on/off ramps we set up last year.
Q: Do you think Nano settlement could be under 100ms?
A: Settlement time is a function of how decentralized the system is and how long it takes the validators to communicate their agreement. At a physical level, internet latency is going to be the lower bound on the settlement. People can cheat this system by being less decentralized but our goal is to maintain high decentralization.
Q: What would happen, hypothetically, if one or some of the biggest votes in terms of voting power (i.e. the biggest delegates/representatives) would broadcast contradictory votes to different parts of the network. Or would not broadcast a vote at all.
Say, for example, the Binance representative node has connections to many other Nano nodes in the network. At some point, they suddenly send different voting info to different nodes. What will happen if this causes some nodes to think that transaction A has a majority, and other nodes to think transaction B has a majority?
A: Nodes flood votes they observe out to the network so eventually nodes will start seeing the contradictory votes so they can be ignored. Contradictory votes are similar to not voting at all, it’s as if their opinion doesn’t matter. Not voting at all just lowers the security guarantee and increases the settlement time, similar to a hash rate drop. As time goes on the network adapts to the lower online vote weight and the settlement time recovers, similar to the retargeting function in other systems.
Q: Hi Colin, first congratulations on nano being such a success so far and the team+community seem very competent in everything they do!
I’d like to ask about multi-account opening spam with 1 raw – do you see this as a problem for the nano protocol (i.e. Ledger bloat) and can you see any potential solutions?
A: There are a couple of things we can do with ledger size. Primarily this isn’t an issue specific to Nano, any widely used system will need to address this. I don’t see capping the transaction rate as a solution because that cuts into the core value proposition of being a usable currency. Next, storage is cheap and when we look at things like YouTube that’s ingesting terabytes of data per day, I see our disk footprint as modest. We can do things such as putting improbably used data in a distributed storage system, rather than on everyone’s system. Some suggestions that have been made include putting some sort of cap on the number of pending entries that exist in the system, like a few billion, and then throwing thee smallest away.
Q: What Type of car so you drive? Electric or gas? What do you think will happen with nano in the next 5 years?
A: I had a VW Golf for a few years, then I had a Tesla for about 2 years. Now I don’t have a car at all, just walking/electric scootering. I love the concept of an electric drivetrain but I think batteries are going to be hard to use long term. I’d like to see a combination of an electric drivetrain, a fuel cell power plant with a synthetic fuel produced by nuclear energy power plants.
Q: Colin, are you planning on providing a financial report for 2019? I understand you have stated it before but it’s unclear if it applies to 2019 or moving forward with 2020
A: We’re still talking with our accountants on what it would take to generate them. Rights now it’s 1099 season and no one likes delays in tax documents.
Q: I still don’t see the use case for nano sorry. I won’t get paid nor will be able to pay rent or mortgage with crypto so it means I have to buy them from EUR/USD prior to sending them and pay a FEE for that. Because the currency is not stable, as a merchant, I won’t risk losing money so I have to convert it back to EUR/USD and again pay fees for that. Now you claim that nano is fee-less, yes but not in the real world?
A: People in USD/EUR systems tend to not see the immediate benefits because those currencies are fairly stable and open. However, both those systems aren’t perfect and there’s a lot of subtle inflation going on that negatively affects citizens to the gain of those controlling the system. There are a lot of currencies in the world that is not at all stable and people are looking for any means they can to store their wealth because it’s being eroded constantly and rapidly. Right now not many people get paid or can pay rent in Nano but our aim is to change that. People don’t like holding on to an asset that can lose value through inflation, or can be arbitrarily seized which has happened many times in the past affecting millions.
Q: I agree on that, but it means that users will have to put more trust in nano (i.e a bunch of servers with no incentives to run them, owned by random people who are not paid for that, using electricity paid with fiat currency….) than in the currency of their own government. I.E a huge worldwide financial crisis unless your target is only Venezuela
A: I think “incentives” to miners devalues the system. They’re an uninterested 3rd party rent-seeking off either the value stored in the system through in inflation or extracting fees off people doing transactions. A free way to transfer value instantly has an intrinsic value to both the sender and receiver of each transaction, those are the primary/only parties we should be focusing on making sure they receive the most valuable tool.
Q: How much of your time goes to Appia in comparison to the nano/ foundation (percentage).. are there other projects you are working on?
A: I’d say less than 5% of my time goes into Appia. I’m not a hardware designer and all the Appia code has been written by contractors. I don’t work on other cryptocurrency projects.
Q: What’s your favorite way to show people the usability of Nano?
A: I like doing a 5 Nano transfer to people, buying them a beer. When they see the money show up in their wallet instantly it really clicks with them what could be done
Q: What’s the next upgrade you’re most stoked about?
A: I’m definitely looking forward to V21DB3 testing out Ssrayman’s proposal. I want to see real test results but it looks to have good potential. Nothing helps more than community members that roll up their sleeves and apply their skills where they can. Talk is cheap, actions are what are valuable.
Q: I really see the use case of cryptos for smart contracts. Payments only, nope.
A: Smart contracts can’t cause side effects to happen. They can’t move property and they can’t negotiate unforeseen disputes. When you carefully look at it, all smart contracts take the form of a prepayment and slow release of locked-up funds. People haven’t and won’t use this for multiple reasons. Economically the opportunity cost of locked-up funds means they can’t be used elsewhere while locked up. From a practical standpoint, something simple like a rental smart contract could mean you’d have to lock up your year’s rent to slowly trickle out to your landlord. People simply don’t have this much money to lock up. Smart contracts can’t sample unforeseen circumstances, something like a judge ruling in contradiction to a smart contract means it will continue to operate incorrectly given the new situation. Oracles in smart contracts will very quickly become infeasible. Consider writing a contract about a building in a remote town, who is the person that’s going to go on location, make the determination, and feed the input into the system? How are we sure they aren’t coerced to lie?