GenPool Spotlight with Ricardo Schiller of BlockBase
Welcome all to our blog series – GenPool Spotlight. In this series we touch base with various people working behind the scenes to get the low-down on what is happening with some of the most prominent Block Producers, Proxies and dApps. It is the hope that through this series of written and now video up close and personal interviews, that the greater community can have a direct insight line of communication into what types of people and innovations are doing real work in the space we all call home.
For this installment, GenPool is really honored to welcome Ricardo Schiller, Founder and Lead Architect of the EU funded EOSIO Blockbase project. For those who may be unaware, “BlockBase uses blockchain technology to provide secure and distributed database storage services. It stores database operations on sidechains to the EOS main chain, which are governed through smart contracts on EOS,” which in itself is a remarkably brilliant use-case for that EOSIO tech that we have all come to love and appreciate the power of. Without further ado then, let’s dive in with some questions below.
What brought you to EOS and how long have you been interested in Blockchain technology?
I started hearing about blockchain at around 2013, but didn’t pay much attention to it. It was only around 2015 that I stumbled on an Andreas Antonopoulos recording of a lecture he had given to students on some faculty, where he was explaining in detail how Bitcoin worked. It immediately triggered in me immense interest, especially the way Bitcoin mixed simple concepts in a counterintuitive way that all together produced this very interesting and powerful emerging behavior.
Years later, this led me to invent BlockBase, a network for the decentralized storage of databases on blockchains. One of the key concepts of BlockBase is scalability, which it achieves through spinning up multiple sidechains to a main chain, instead of just using one single chain for all its storage. We needed to choose this main chain to which BlockBase would be attached to, and we did a comprehensive review of all available blockchains at the time, taking multiple aspects into account, like tooling, documentation, and community. EOS clearly stood out from the competition, and that was the reason why I stepped into EOS.
Tell us a bit about your background and who is in the team?
I have a masters degree in computer science and engineering, and have been working in the IT space for more than 15 years, mainly for a single consulting company where I’ve built my career, agap2IT. I’ve been leading development teams for many years now, and for the last 5 years I’ve been mostly focused on research and development projects, from which BlockBase has been the main focus of development. BlockBase is the result of the hard work from many people from the company I’m at, that had the right skills for the right job at the right time.
Could you introduce the suite of products that you have brought to market?
BlockBase is a decentralized network for the storage of databases on blockchain. One way to think about it is as a decentralized database cloud service provider, where anyone can participate for the provision of the service.
Storing databases on blockchain is a valuable thing to do mainly because it provides integrity, transparency, and decentralization for the data it stores. For many types of organizations, having this type of data storage should be mandated by law, to make sure it can’t be covertly changed or even purposefully lost for the interest of the few.
Storing databases on decentralized blockchains poses two main challenges which are data privacy and platform scalability. Current blockchain platforms do not address these challenges well. That is exactly why BlockBase focused on those from the start. In contrast to most data storage systems, all data stored on BlockBase is encrypted by default, while not impacting data searchability. Furthermore, BlockBase is not one blockchain, but instead it is a network for servicing as many sidechains to a main chain as needed, in this case the main chain is EOS. This architecture is completely different from what has been originally built in many other blockchains, and has only recently surfaced in blockchains like Polkadot and CosmosDB.
What are the advantages of building on the EOSIO tech stack as opposed to other blockchains in the space?
There are many smart contract blockchain platforms out there from where to choose, Ethereum being by far the most popular one. All of them have positives and negatives, so choosing the right platform is hard. Clearly, Ethereum is the one with the most capital, but also the costliest to run smart contracts on, and quite slow too. Binance Smart Chain is to a good extent the private version of Ethereum, so it isn’t really an option if you care about real decentralization. Polkadot is still too new to consider as an option, and Cardano is only starting to support smart contracts now, so it’s also far behind the curve. There are many other options out there, including all EOSIO based chains. We chose EOS in 2018 because it had a growing community, excellent technology, and good documentation. Currently, EOS has still to deliver on its potential, nonetheless the technology continues to amaze us and the documentation has only gotten better and better.
What are the key focus areas for current development and what can we look forward to as the next advancements from your team on either current or new projects?
BlockBase has been released as beta for almost a year now, and has a network of 25 providers that are servicing requested sidechains. To a good extent, the core development of the technology is done. Currently, the team is mostly focused on improving system reliance and its querying mechanisms. What is needed now, is to promote project awareness and adoption. And with that in mind, recently, the BlockBase team decided to decentralize its operations and to foster a DAC, which is still in its infancy. We want to attract the best talent in the ecosystem to this project, and we believe that a DAC is the best way to go to achieve that goal. Having a DAC will also help distribute further the project tokens, through DAC voted work proposals.
Other than the EOS mainnet, are there any other EOSIO blockchains that currently excite you, and why?
Telos and Wax look very promising to me. The main reason for that is that they kept building through the whole bear market, and have come out on the other side with very innovative offerings that might have immense future potential. NFTs especially, are very intriguing to me. I’m still not sure where that technology will lead us, and it seems to me that it is in a huge bubble, but the concept of having a digital token that is unique and not fungible might spark very interesting future applications. Holding something that is unique, for which you can easily prove you own it, can be seen as a ticket, or a key by itself, to give you access, or benefits, over other things, be those physical or digital. This can open doors to novel gaming and collectible dynamics, that should just be the peak of the iceberg.
Do you have any aspirations to branch out into other EOSIO chains, or even implement bridges to other blockchain networks? Why do you feel this is either necessary or not?
BlockBase can be used by systems that are integrated with other blockchains. But BlockBase itself is tied to EOS, and any attempt to bridge it to other blockchains requires some type of IBC for token movement, which to my knowledge hasn’t been achieved without a high degree of centralization. The alternative would be to clone tokens on another chain and increase token supply, but that is out of the question, at least for me.
What do you think are some of the most exciting sectors of blockchain technology at present, and how do you see these applications on EOSIO blockchains holding their own versus other popular blockchains?
I personally see blockchain as a very early space still, where many experiments are being conducted, and the future is still very unclear. One thing is certain, blockchain has enabled a tremendous innovation in financial services, by providing digital scarcity and operational decentralization. Nonetheless, blockchain offers many other novel applications, but those still need some years to mature, and for consensus to build around their importance for society.
Where do you see the larger blockchain space, and particularly, EOS and the EOSIO ecosystem as a whole in 5 or 10 years from now?
I see the blockchain space continuing to grow, in the short term being pulled mainly by Bitcoin and Ethereum. For the mid and long term, I’m sure the space as a whole will continue to grow immensely, but I have no clear idea about the winners and losers there. This space is evolving so fast it is really hard to keep up, and no one knows if the current leaders will maintain its lead, even with the large usage and branding moat they have achieved.
Some great answers there outlining everything from power and potential of Blockchain technology to solve real world problems, right down to the specific qualities that make the EOSIO tech stack in particular a force in this space to be reckoned with. Special thanks to Ricardo Schiller for taking the time to connect with the community via GenPool Spotlight. As for those that tuned in for this episode, as always thanks for your patronage and support, and don’t forget to check back soon for our next installment where we will continue peering under the hood of some of the great people and projects that help keep EOS and EOSIO continuing to tick.
To learn more from BlockBase or connect with them directly you can do so with the links below:
Blockbase News: https://www.blockbase.network/Home/#news
Thanks for joining us here on GenPool Spotlight and don’t forget to check back soon for our next installment where we will continue peering under the hood of some of the great people and projects that helps keep EOS and EOSIO continuing to tick.
GenerEOS is a social enterprise Block Producer with a mission of promoting and supporting scalable and highly reliable block production whilst giving back to social causes and the wider community. Based out of Sydney, Australia, GenerEOS is founded by a team of like-minded blockchain enthusiasts with diverse backgrounds and a passion to make a difference in the world and fostering the spirit of generosity by giving back.
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