Hello Steemians! I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Kay about his company Spectre that is doing interesting work on a "financial prediction market platform backed by a tokenized liquidity pool." The conversation covered a lot of ground including smart contracts, oracles, and how to launch a successful ICO. The video of that interview is embedded below.
We started with a discussion of smart contracts. I had several reasons for opening with this issue. First, while there are plenty of videos and articles about “blockchain” and “cryptocurrencies” I think there’s a lot less out there about smart contracts. This has led more than one or two developers to think that smart contracts are the solution to EVERY problem, when this is far from the truth. I also wanted to test Kay to see if he had a sophisticated understanding of the technology, and whether their protocol actually leveraged smart contracts to deliver a superior product.
This product is, according to them, the world’s first trading platform that removes the broker while retaining two key functions that brokers provide: liquidity and trust. Part of the reason people use brokers is because they are trusted intermediaries, but according to Kay, this is a major source of manipulation. Spectre uses Ethereum and its smart contracts to replace brokers with provably fair and fully auditable code.
What was probably most surprising about their product were the parallels with Steem. Kay took a somewhat contrarian stance by saying that tokenization without oracle-ization makes no sense. In the case of Spectre they fill a liquidity pool with tokens which are distributed based on the execution of smart contracts. However, those smart contracts are dependent on data that is coming from the outside world or "off-chain." "Oracles" are what we call people who supply data to the blockchain. As of now, there’s simply no getting around this fact, which I believe was Kay’s point about tokenization without oracle-ization.
What was especially interesting about this conversation was that, while the issue of oracles is something we at Steemit are thinking a lot about in light of the upcoming release of the Smart Media Tokens protocol, it wasn’t until I spoke with Kay that I realized we already have oracles on Steemit! Like Spectre’s liquidity pool, we have the rewards pool, and the off-chain data that is of paramount importance to the Steem blockchain is the value of content. To solve this problem Steem oracle-izes its userbase by leveraging their stake-weighted upvotes to determine the distribution of the tokens in the rewards pool.
The interview ran 30 minutes long, so I can’t hope to cover it all in this article, but I highly recommend watching it all as we covered a lot of ground with very little "fluff." I did my best to test not only Kay’s knowledge, but his commitment to blockchain technology generally. I wanted to see if he was truly what I call “blockchain people,” as opposed to someone who is just hopping on the bandwagon because they think it’s an easy way to get rich quick. You can judge for yourself, based on your own standards, whether he met that burden.