Cryp2Gem team was honoured to host Adam Simmons, Head of Strategy at Radix and get a chance to do a live interview with her in the open community forum in our Telegram Cryp2Gem chat on September 30 2021.
Many interesting and essential topics were covered during this live event, so we made a summary for all who could not attend the event or anyone who just wants to go through the content again. Enjoy the read and visit our group for further discussions.
Radix intends to remove the technology barriers limiting the expansion of DeFi by building a layer-1 protocol that directly addresses the technology needs of DeFi, both for today’s applications and the future of general financial services for the world. This full-stack approach re-engineering consensus, distributed virtual machines, executable on-ledger code, DeFi component building, DeFi application building and developer incentives.
Rather than fixing scalability by breaking composability, Radix delivers both without compromises, making it the only layer-1 protocol designed to scale a highly interconnected, high-demand DeFi ecosystem.
Want to learn more about Radix? Read our recently published tech report:
C2G is always encouraging our members to contribute in any way — this time, our member Hermes Radvocado, an early supporter and ambassador (Radvocado) of Radix, wrote an excellent tech overview of Radix and published it on the C2G Medium blog as a visiting author. Hermes also helped with organizing this AMA event.
C2G: “Welcome Adam! Could you briefly introduce yourself and describe your role at Radix to our audience?”
Adam: “My role at Radix is the Head of Strategy. I work closely with our CEO, Piers, as well as run the marketing and community team.”
C2G: “When did you join the Radix team?”
Adam: “I joined the Radix team early in 2020, however, Radix has been in the works since 2013.
Previously I was employee 1 at an online video platform that grew to 35m monthly active users, and then was a co-founder of another successful crypto project.
I was excited to join Radix, as firmly believe in the vision Dan, Piers and the team have, and see DeFi as a huge opportunity for the world!”
C2G: “As you mentioned Radix has a very long history as its journey began back in 2013 in the early stages of the digital currency movement (the time of Colored Coins, Ripple and NXT launch).
Can you tell us a bit more about the initial concept behind Radix (called eMunie in the early stages)?”
Adam: “Our founder, Dan, started working on solving the core problems with blockchain/DLT that would prevent its mainstream adoption. There is a great article on Forbes about Dan’s journey.
Since starting, Radix tech has been used to demonstrate over 1.4M TPS, and our latest consensus, Cerberus, provides unlimited linear scalability (which means it can do millions of TPS), while also maintaining atomic-cross shard composability — something essential for DeFi.
Our mission at Radix is simple but bold: Provide developers everything they need to replace the $360T traditional finance system with DeFi on Radix!”
🦉Did you know?
The Radix founder, Dan “Fuserleer” Hughes, started his crypto tech journey in 2012 and went through 5 DLT-designs to eventually land on the 6th iteration: Cerberus.
The fully sharded form of Cerberus is being prototyped on a research network called Cassandra (a Greek priestess who made prophecies that always came true but nobody ever believed).
There is a piece of Radix art created that depicts how everything came together.
Past tech iterations made it into Cassandra, and there are many other easter eggs in the image.
PS. There is a Radix Twitter thread that contains a lot of the easter eggs that were guessed by community members.
C2G: “Dan Hughes, the founder of Radix, was inspired by the original code behind bitcoin. Still, he built Radix and its initial underlying protocol, Tempo, from scratch (later on, a new consensus Cerebrus was introduced). He primarily funded his project himself and worked in the dining room of his house non stop in isolation and somewhat stealth mode.
How is it like to work with such a passionate and determined man as Dan Hughes?”
Adam: “Dan is one of the most passionate, determined and intelligent people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. He is always pushing to achieve our vision.
The amazing thing about Radix is that despite Dan being so exceptional, we also benefit from having an amazing team all over the world with a wealth of experience. Our team have backgrounds from Y-Combinator, Consensys, Microsoft, Nvidia, IBM, Visa, and more!
We’re all committed to our vision of creating a better global financial system built with DeFi on Radix. We know it will make not only your life better, but the lives of everyone, their children, and great-grandchildren!”
C2G: “Radix introduced a new scalable cross-sharded Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus mechanism allowing both great scalability and composability of multiple smart contracts/transactions. In March 2020, the Cerebrus whitepaper was published. Could you explain in few sentences how does Radix solve the scalability vs composability issue?”
Adam: “In a few sentences is certainly tough — many people credit Cerberus as being the biggest innovation in crypto since blockchains and smart contracts.
But to put it simply, Cerberus is unique in that it uses a highly sharded architecture (2²⁵⁶ shards!) that are able to “braid” together to still enable atomic transactions cross-shard.
Cerberus also benefits from having unlimited linear scalability. This means that as you add more nodes to the network, the throughput (TPS) increases. There is a great paper written by the University of California Expo Labs team proving Cerberus capabilities.”
👻 Did you know?
Radix uses a unique data structure to store (sub)state:
=> A massively pre-sharded, fixed data structure of 2²⁵⁶ shards = 10⁷⁷
In words: 115 quattuorvigintillion 792 tre!
This is 1 to 5 orders of magnitude less than atoms in the known observable universe = 10⁷⁸ to 10⁸².
When a new state enters the system it has to be given a place to be stored. The shard ID is generated via hashing. The likelihood of a duplicate shard ID (“collision”) is practically zero.
Even at a trillion tps, we would have entered the “degenerate” era of the universe (1000 trillion years from now); … a ~0.0000001% chance of a single shard collision during that entire period. And in the extremely unlikely event that there is a collision, the tx would just fail. (source)
C2G: “Are there already any pilots or demos available to prove that Radix can be scalable without sacrificing the composability and vice versa?”
Adam: “There is the academic paper I linked above from the University of California which they published last year about Cerberus.
Our founder, Dan, also runs the Cassandra research network which uses many of the concepts of Cerberus. A few days ago he actually run a test where he imported 100TB of Twitter data into the network, where different elements of tweets were stored on multiple shards and required atomic transactions across shards to commit the data. You can see more details here & here.”
C2G: “Cassandra is strictly experimental enviroment?”
Adam: “Correct, Cassandra is the Radix Labs research network.”
C2G: “It is really great to see that there is already an experimental enviroment where Radix can be tested in such a way.”
C2G: “You have mentioned that there was “100TB of Twitter data imported into the network”. Any idea how long did it take?”
Adam: “It did the first 100TB overnight I believe, but don’t have the exact time to hand.”
Hermes Radvocado: “Dan made some estimations based on certain configurations (amount of shard groups) how long an import would take.
You can read about that here.”
C2G: “Based on CryptoSec.info, 63 DeFi exploits have occurred, with lost funds amounting to a total of approximately $1.2 billion at the time of these exploits. What is Radix’ solution for this? How can Radix reduce DeFi hacks and exploits?”
Adam: “Exploits and hacks in DeFi are a big problem. Let’s face it, the risk of losing all your investment in DeFi due to an exploit makes DeFi suck for investors!
Many of these issues are due to most of DeFi being built in Solidity on the Ethereum virtual machine. While Solidity is impressive in many ways, it is not designed for managing financial applications — that makes it extremely hard to build secure apps, especially when they are interoperable!
Radix is solving this with a purpose-built DeFi programming language, Scrypto, and the Radix Engine as the execution environment.
This asset-oriented programming approach means devs can spend more time building and less time worrying about exploits and hacks. This means there will be more dApps in the Radix DeFi ecosystem, and more innovation!”
😱 Did you know?
There were a total of 63 DeFi exploits (some on multiple chains) in less than two years that have occurred, with lost funds amounting to a total of approximately $1.2 billion at the time of these exploits.
17 of these exploits have taken place on the Binance Smart Chain(BSC), and 47 on the Ethereum(ETH) chain. (source)
C2G: “That’s true. And many users don’t want to use non-custodial DeFi protocols because of all the hacks.
But why would a developer go for Scrypto to build (better) DeFi tools and protocols rather than use Solidity, Rust…?
Do you expect a long learning curve for developers considering using a new programming language?”
Adam: “That’s a great question. Scrypto is based on Rust, but there will still be some learning curve. However, as Scrypto is specifically designed for DeFi development, many things work a lot more logically. Combined with it being more secure by design, developers can spend much more time building features, rather than worrying about how to secure against a strange exploit.
Developers we have already spoken to have said they spend about 90% of their time in solidity battling code. Imagine how much better DeFi would be if they spent that time innovating. That is what Radix and Scrypto will enable.
Devs will get their first chance to use Scrypto in our Alexandria release at the end of the year, so make sure to keep an eye on some exciting news coming out soon. When people see how easy and powerful Scrypto is for building DeFi on Radix, I think everyone will get very excited.”
C2G: “Radix reached a significant milestone this summer. Olympia Mainnet launched an unsharded version of the Cerberus consensus and the first version of the Radix Engine. Is it already possible to build new dApps and issue new tokens on Olympia?”
Adam: “The Olympia launch was a major milestone for Radix. It is the foundation on which all future releases of Radix will build on.
Since the Olympia release on July 28th, we have already reached over $200m of XRD staked on the network with over 130 validator nodes registered. This is a great first step to ensuring the Radix Public Network is well decentralized and secured.
Developers can create tokens on Olympia, and users can transact, stake, and send messages currently using the Radix desktop wallet.
For dApps, the first step is using Scrypto locally on the Alexandria release. This will give developers a head start to building dApps for Radix. The Babylon release in 2022 will bring these dApps to the network for users to interact with, and kickstart the Radix DeFi ecosystem.”
Piers Ridyard, CEO of Radix about the philosophy behind Radix:
“The internet changed the game for the competition for attention. It went from a local competition to a global one. Suddenly anyone could start a website and compete for the attention of anyone in the world. This lowered the barrier to entry and massively increased consumer choice and consumer utility. It ended up creating companies like Facebook and Google and Instagram and Whatsapp. Right now, we stand at the cusp of a new era of competition — the competition for capital.
What Radix does is lowers the barrier to entry for anyone in the world to compete for anyone’s capital. DeFi breaks down barriers for users, and for developers. Suddenly you don’t need millions and millions to create a company like Robinhood or Lemonaide, you can do it from your university dorm or your bedroom.”
C2G: “So the next step on your roadmap is the Alexandria mainnet that should launch by the end of 2021. What will be the most significant upgrades with Alexandria?”
Adam: “Alexandria is a release for developers. It is the first chance to use the Radix engine and Scrypto to build DeFi dApps for Radix.
It will be the first chance to try building smart contracts (called components on Radix) and run them locally.
These can then be deployed in our 2022 Babylon release, which will open up fully-featured, secure DeFi dApps ecosystem capabilities on Radix.”
C2G: “When can we expect to hear more about the launch of Alexandria, Radix Engine v2 and Scrypto? Soon?”
Adam: “Very soon! We also announced today our APE RADIX event (Alexandria Preview Event) for November 12th.
The good news is there will be a lot of info leading up to that as well!”
C2G: “The validators seem to be onboarding successfully! What are the current rewards to run a validator?”
Adam: “Radix uses Delegated Proof of Stake for validators participating in consensus.
By staking, XRD holders earn a share of 300m XRD annual network emissions. Validators set a fee to earn a share of their stakers rewards as their incentive.”
C2G: “Is there a so-called cool-down period for users to unstake the tokens on a validator?”
Adam: “When you unstake, there is a delay period of 500 epochs, which is approximately 1–3 weeks. You can learn more about staking/unstaking on Radix here.”
C2G: “How much XRD is currently staked (%)?”
Adam: “There is currently 2.02B XRD staked. That is approximately 21% of the total circulating supply.”
🤓 Did you know?
With Olympia mainnet Radix launched two products:
Instabridge is an optional service allowing anyone to quickly convert between eXRD and XRD — moving value freely between Radix and Ethereum networks.
Instapass is a single sign-on compliance service that will be used initially by Instabridge. It is a streamlined way for users to connect to regulatory compliant DeFi applications.
Once a user has provided KYC documents in Instapass, they will have the option to share this information with DeFi dApps and other services that choose to integrate Instapass. This saves users time, increases security, and means you don’t have to repeat the same KYC steps for every new compliant service you want to use.
“you can do it from your university dorm or your bedroom”
Solutions to be regulatory compliant (e.g: KYC/B/AML) require a lot of resources (capital/legal work). Radix built a seamless compliance solution that can be used by anyone building on the Radix platform.
C2G: “With the Olympia mainnet, there was also an XRD genesis token generation event. eXRD are moving to the Radix Mainnet via Instabridge. Recently there was also the final token unlock! How do you see all that affecting tokenomics and the token price?”
Adam: “eXRD is the ethereum wrapped version of XRD. It is always swappable 1;1 with XRD (and you can wrap XRD to eXRD).
eXRD was released first so that we could begin the distribution of stake to ensure a wide distribution prior to staking starting on the Radix Public Network at the Olympia launch.
The final unlock has been very successful. After consulting with our community, the majority wanted to unlock the remaining tokens to facilitate faster adoption and distribution of stake.
Since the final unlock, total staking on the network doubled!”
C2G: “What was your main takeaway from the whole unlock discussion/decision? Did you see faults as Radix planned it and if so, what are your learnings for the future?”
Adam: “The main takeaway was the fantastic support from our community of Radvocates. We are all looking forward to the next stage of Radix growth facilitated by the simplified token economics, the continued recognition as a top tier Layer-1 solution, and striving towards our ultimate mission of powering the $360T+ global financial system on the Radix Public Network.
The very high level of staking, tremendous excitement following the Olympia launch, and upcoming Alexandria release — combined with a strong community majority favouring the unlock — indicates an exceedingly high degree of confidence by the community and token holders in Radix.”
C2G: “What do you think is the main advantage for Radix due to the unlock decision?”
Adam: “Definitely the simplification of the Radix tokenomics. It makes it easy for new holders to understand, as the circulating supply is now only changed by the annual network emissions for staking.
Our community pushed for the change as many believe the unlock represents one of the most effective ways to accelerate the distribution of stake, decentralization, and network adoption. We agree.”
C2G: “The unlocking system was really smart, but seems that the decision taken by the community is working well and can help to faster adoption. Congratulations!”
C2G: “Will you put out funds to attract projects to develop on Radix (besides the beneficiaries of Scrypto)? Or asked differently, how do you think Radix will actually win the war for great long-term crypto projects compared to other L1 who are pretty large and hyped already?
In relation to that: If we would know a project that would potentially like to build on Radix, where should we send them and how to convince them to put their money and time into Radix and not others?”
Adam: “This is a great question. Firstly, Radix is definitely aiming to win the war for replacing TradFi with DeFi. After all, DeFi is only 0.02% of the $360T global financial system — so there is a long way to go and we believe Radix is the only place where mainstream DeFi can thrive.
For developers, there will be a few incentives:
1. Developer Royalties. This system lets devs add a royalty fee each time their code is used in a transaction on the network. As Radix smart contracts (components) can be used as lego-bricks, this is a great way for developers to earn recurring, on-ledger revenue from their work.
An early dev could make a key component for an AMM, and charge a small royalty as it will be used lots. Or, they could make a very niche but valuable component and charge a large royalty.
2. While developer royalties will offer long term, free-market incentives for adding value to the Radix ecosystem, we have also set aside token allocations for grants in the developer ecosystem and also tokens to bootstrap liquidity for early Radix DeFi apps.”
🧐 Did you know?
Radix Labs is a branch of Radix DLT that is forward-looking.
As Dan likes to put it: “Running ahead of the team to catch the bullets.”
The Cassandra researchnetwork is a place to experiment and prototype future network releases.
The main focus points right now are:
* Fully sharded Cerberus (set for the Xi’an release (2023));
* Hybrid consensus to bring together the best of both worlds: Deterministic & Probabilistic consensus (cf. safety vs liveness).
Even though called Radix Labs, the testing is often not done in a perfect lab environment.
The community can spin up Cassandra nodes when Dan wants to test something in a real-world environment.
These testing sessions are often coordinated via a twitch stream.
If you’re interested in participating, drop a message in the Radix Telegram or Discord.
C2G: “Adam would you like to highlight something else or address our audience with some concluding thoughts?”
Adam: “It’s been a pleasure doing the AMA.
The main thing I would like to highlight is the core goal of Radix: To replace the $360T global financial system with DeFi on Radix.
We believe Radix is the only network that can do this because we enable:
10X more developer productivity — this means more DeFi Dapps and better DeFi Dapps in the Radix ecosystem.
100X more DeFi security — thanks to Scrypo and Radix Engine as our purpose-built DeFi development environment, investors will be safer on Radix than other DeFi networks. This will encourage more users to join DeFi on Radix.
1000X more scalability than any other network. This is key, today, DeFi is being measured wrong, like measuring the internet by the number of phone calls. To bring the $360T global financial market to DeFi, a network will need millions of TPS. Radix provides this with Cerberus.
To learn more: radixdlt.com!”