This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the man, the myth, the legend – Douglas Horn. He’s the author of the Telos whitepaper and architect of the Telos blockchain. As a member of the EOS Mainnet Launch Group he helped launch the EOS mainnet in June 2018. Besides that he’s founded a company and is working on several other projects. Well, let me not blow his Horn too much (pun intended).
Let’s hear from the man himself – Douglas Horn
🅠: I understand you built and wrote the whitepaper for the Telos blockchain. What role do you currently play at Telos?
I wrote the whitepaper and my company GoodBlock did a large part of the development work to create the additional features in Telos.
Today, GoodBlock is a Telos block producer, currently in the Top 21. So I do daily communications with other block producers about issues and we have a weekly call for about 2 hours about issues. I also unofficially lead the Telos Core Developers (TCD) which is a group of developers who work on Telos code development and maintenance. These are not official roles and others can also do this work, but for the moment, I’ve been leading the charge a bit. (A lot of these duties are now being handled by Maurice of Telos Voyager who is working as the TCD project manager.)
Beyond that, I’m really just the Telos #1 fan. I sometimes do interviews and I work with the others on the TCD or BPs to put forward suggestions to the community like the TED Plan or TRIM Plan, etc.
🅠: You’re also the founder of three other blockchain companies. Can you tell us about those and the role they play on EOSIO?
Well really, I’m the founder of GoodBlock. The other companies like dStor and dRealms/GoodBlock Games are new entities spun off from our work. GoodBlock is something of an idea factory. Once we develop something to a specific point, it can be turned into its own entity in order to develop it.
🅠: How is the Telos blockchain structured in terms of governance and leadership?
The Telos blockchain is governed by its token holders based on the Telos governance documents — primarily the TBNOA (Telos Blockchain Network Operating Agreement) that all members agree to in using Telos. These governance documents can be (and have been) amended via an on-chain, smart contract-controlled vote of the members. Members votes are weighted by their staked TLOS. The token serves a utility function both in reserving network resources, and in governance.
The voters also vote to select the block producers that serve as validating nodes operating the network. There are 21 voted into the top positions, and 30 more in standby positions. However one of the top 21 is always rotated out in favor of one of the 30 standbys. Whichever block producers are on the schedule to be producers at any time may enact executive powers over the chain by a supermajority vote of 15 of those 21 BPs.
Telos has arbitrators elected by the users who may hear dispute resolution cases in accordance with the Telos Blockchain Network Arbitration Rules and Procedures (TBNOARP). These may only deal with on-chain matters and generally require strong proof before anything may be ordered (such as the return of lost keys where cryptographic proof of ownership can be determined). Both block producers and arbitrators must meet minimum requirements and agree to certain terms of service.
Beyond this, the token holders can also vote to allocate funds to proposed projects through the Telos Works work proposal system, which is also voted based on the staked weight of tokens and is 100% on-chain and smart contract controlled.
🅠: Does the Telos Foundation play a role similar to that of Block.one?
The Telos Foundation is not similar to Block One. Block One’s relationship with Telos is essentially the same as its relationship with EOS or BOS. It provides code and hopefully promotes the entire EOSIO system. The Telos Foundation is a body that has a non-governmental role in promoting the network. They were recently voted ongoing funding though the TED Plan (Telos Economic Development Plan) to continue their work. In general, they allow us to join blockchain industry trade associations and attend expos and conferences. They have funded some grants to developers to help defray costs of migrating to Telos, as well as some other marketing purposes. So it’s really closer to the Litecoin Foundation or something like that. EOS doesn’t really have a direct analog.
🅠: Apparently the Telos Foundation is a non-profit organization. How does it fund for projects and other initiatives? Where do the allocated funds for proposed projects come from?
The TF funds are provided through the TED Plan which reallocates funds from the Exchange Reserve Fund that were never claimed by exchanges. This lets us pay for things like the TF, Telos Works, block producer pay and REX staking rewards without increasing the Telos token supply for several years. In this way, Telos is a 0% inflation chain.
These funds were voted by the token holders who gave the block producers the ability to lower the amount funded to the TF each month. (For example, if the TLOS token price rises).
🅠: Telos recently rebranded, changing its logo. When the Decrypted design team showed a “circle” as the new logo what where your initial thoughts?
My initial thoughts on the rebrand were that I didn’t love it. I thought the acorn was a pretty recognizable and unique brand in the space and we might be better off sticking with similar but updated iconography. However, I very much liked many of the other elements of the new brand (messaging, etc) and supported that.
I also thought, though, that if Telos was going to radically update its look that starting soon would be better since we are going to be growing fast. New people coming to Telos won’t know about the acorn logo, probably. How will they approach it? It may be better to make a clean break to something big and new now.
However, we are a decentralized chain and in the end, the token holders will decide whether they support the new branding or not.
🅠: Can you share with us your Telos goals/vision for the next 6 months to a year. And then the next 5 years?
My goal for Telos in the next 6 months is to see many of the new features that we are readying now start being adopted out in the wild. We have things like Telos Decide, which is a suite of governance features for any dapp to use easily for voting and committee management that is the most advanced set of tools in the world. I want to see that being used to its full extent. We’re also about to launch dStor, a revolutionary form of decentralized storage that no other chain has. We are seeing a lot of interest in it and I think in 6 months we should see some real strong progress from that. We have other new features like Login with Telos and Sentiment tokens which are blockchain equivalents of LIKE and TRUST/DISTRUST tokens but can also serve as game badges, certifications, and all kinds of things. These are new to people now but in 6 months, I’d like to see them as strong features that people are using and talking about.
Over the next year, I would like and expect to see a large rise in adoption. This will come as more mainstream apps deploy on Telos, bringing users with them. I would very much like to see Telos emerge as a real network, where dapps and users cross-pollinate and interact with one another. I think that most smart contract blockchains are much more like a platform, where various dapps coexist alongside one another with very little mixing. But encouraging interaction is very powerful and that is what I want to see happen on Telos. That’s the difference between a platform and a true network. To this end, I’ve been encouraging various dapps to interact. So, for example, Peeranha.io is a Quora-style Q&A platform. It is now creating groups for other Telos dapps like SEEDS so they have a place to send people for recurring questions. Similarly, a dapp like Havuta that measures the outcomes of international aid programs via the Telos blockchain are looking at working with Sesacash to see how their African payment platform can help them accomplish their mission for that part of the world. (And of course, there’s also a Peeranha Q&A group for Sesacash users!) Throughout 2020, I would like to see more dapps on Telos and more interaction between them as it creates synergies.
Five years from now, I expect Telos to be one of the networks at the foundation of the new internet. Most likely, it will not be flashy or conspicuous. Nearly all users will be interacting with blockchain networks in a variety of forms but often without realizing it. Wallets or signing apps will simply be built into apps, browsers, and operating systems. OSs will have secure keystore functions similar to password managers today. It will largely be invisible to users. People will securely control their files, transactions, and privacy. They will receive incentives to take part in social media and other interactions. The biggest users of Telos may be businesses who integrate functions into their core business models. A blockchain layer will just be another part of computing, like the world wide web layer is now. Using it will be a daily occurrence that users rarely consciously think about but that makes their online lives much more convenient and safe. People will vote on their kids’ football club’s expendatures or their homeowners association’s initiatives on apps built on Telos Decide (probably without realizing it). They’ll store documents on dStor-based file sharing sites. They’ll check the freshness of their produce on supply chain monitoring tools recorded on Telos. All of these are actually implementations that exist now in early forms, but in five years they will be ubiquitous.
🅠: For people who’d like to be part of the Telos community, what are the best resources for them to learn and join the blockchain?
A lot of the Telos community talks on Telegram at @HelloTelos and other groups you can easily find there.
There are a number of ways to create a free Telos account. Joining about any Telos dapp is an easy way to have one created for you. Peeranha.io, SEEDS, and a number of other do this. But it can also be done at app.telos.net with just a phone number. Or you can download a wallet from the links at telos.net that can easily create and manage accounts.
People can easily fund their accounts by trading TLOS for BTC, USDT, or EOS on one of the many exchanges listed at telos.net. Or they can buy TLOS tokens with their credit card at buy.carbon.money.
There are a number of Telos resources for learning to use Telos on telos.net or telosfoundation.io. Our new document repository is being built now at docs.telos.net.
🅠: LASTLY. Can we expect some cool stuff from Horn of the Moon? (Cool name by the way) 😄
Thanks! Horn of the Moon LLC is GoodBlock actually. We just go by the GoodBlock name. So the cool stuff would include our role in Telos and after that dStor, which is coming out now. So that’s actually a LOT to put out in a couple of years. dStor will be a big part of our focus for some time to come. But it allows us to finally deliver on our vision for decentralized games that got us into this in the first place. dRealms is a really cool standard and marketplace for game assets that are designed to work across different games and revolutionize gaming through the power of crowd-sourced game assets and interactions. We think it can do for game assets [like] what YouTube did for video. And once dRealms is up and running, we will finally be able to deliver our really exciting blockchain game, Drakos Keep, which needed to have these systems in place before it could deliver on our vision.
A game and app developer
Thanks to Douglas Horn for the great interview! If you follow him on Twitter then you’ll realize just how active he is in the Telos community. His passion and drive for Telos is truly appreciated, and we at EOSWriter would like to extend that appreciation for being an amazing asset to the EOSIO ecosystem. Whether you’re familiar with the man or you’ve just been introduced, I hope as a reader you’ve appreciated this interview. You can learn more about the Telos blockchain right here on EOSWriter under the ‘Chains‘ tab.
Until the next one…
Thank you for reading!
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