Stay up to date on all things crypto and blockchain

Token Daily is a place to discover trending news and products in crypto and blockchain.

Deep Dive with Trent McConaghy, Founder & CTO @OceanProtocol

Trent will be live and answering technical questions, talking about @oceanprotocol design decisions and relation to AI - 27th February, 11:30 AM PST.

posted 8 months ago

with or if you'd like to join the discussion.
Ben Tossell
Explain like I'm five: What is the Ocean Protocol and what is its aim?
3
Trent McConaghy
@bentossell

Ocean Protocol aims to democratize access to AI data and services. This is important because current AI has centralizing tendencies which has led to data silos and the like; we need to counterbalance this by incentivizing *pooling* of AI data and services.

Ocean Protocol is a decentralized substrate for AI data and services. It's a permissionless blockchain network. It helps to power AI data/service marketplaces, as well as public commons data.

It's not meant for consumers. Rather, it's meant for (1) AI researchers and data scientists to use the data and services available in its network; and (2) organizations like large enterprises, governments and NGOs that have large but latent data sets that they wish to unlock, gain value from, while preserving privacy.

Ocean Protocol is designed to reward particular behavior in its network: people who bet on the the usefulness of particular AI data/services, and then make that data/services available when asked. This rewards data owners/rights holders, as well as curators, as well as actual service providers.
2
Ben Tossell
How did you get into crypto?
2
Trent McConaghy
@bentossell I learned about Bitcoin in 2010 from a DoD contractor / hacker friend, and had many conversations with friends then, but never really dove deep. Then in early 2013, I moved to Berlin and joined the Bitcoin/blockchain scene out of Room 77. The community was very welcoming and the conversations were awesome. And there was a lot of talk on blockchain. This was when I really took the time to understand the technology; and as soon as I did I realized the implications.

From that, we started work on ascribe.io (IP on the blockchain) in late summer 2013. Then in mid 2015 we started work on BigchainDB. Now we're also doing Ocean:)
1
soona
Hey Trent,

What are keeper nodes responsible for in the Ocean protocol?
2
Trent McConaghy
@soonaorlater

Keepers (aka miners) collectively maintain the network.

They connect to other networks for computation or data oracles.

They hold pricing/metadata for data and services; and perform clearing. They do *not* do querying or discovery; that's for higher level SW.

They maintain the curation markets for predicting popularity of data/services. They tie this to the proofs in the "proofed curation market setting" and give out block rewards accordingly.

They maintain the token curated registry for identity. They do not do fancier identity like KYC; that's for higher level SW if it chooses to do it.

Finally, they do traditional chain maintenance.

The whitepaper has more details, of course:) http://www.oceanprotocol.com#papers
2
Dennis Stücken
What are the key benefits of using BigchainDB for the Ocean Protocol?
2
Trent McConaghy
@dstuecken BigchainDB instances will likely be among the services that users can find on the Ocean network, for places they want structured data merged with the creation & issue of assets. And of course Ocean will link to many other complementary services for data and compute, such as SingularityNET. We encourage any decentralized data and compute providers to reach out to us; let's link up!
1
Dennis Stücken
How does a distributed installation of BigchainDB scale compared to a relational database?
2
Trent McConaghy
@dstuecken BigchainDB literally wraps MongoDB document database (not relational) and inherits many of its benefits while adding new benefits of decentralized control (no single entity owns or controls), immutability (append-only and greater tolerance to being changed), and assets (you own a digital asset if you have the private key; via digital signatures).

As this AMA is about Ocean, if you are interested in BigchainDB to check out www.bigchaindb.com and questions at BigchainDB gitter: https://gitter.im/bigchaindb/bigchaindb.
0
Dennis Stücken
Will the Ocean Protocol be available as a service or will there be an sdk to use it in a self-hosted project? If so, which programming language will it be written in?
2
Trent McConaghy
@dstuecken Ocean Protocol will have a public, permissionless network; call it the Ocean Network. Therefore you can view it like a service. For a description of functionality: see my to another commenter's question "What are keeper nodes responsible for?" (or the whitepaper of course! www.oceanprotocol.com#papers).

Of course since the software will be open source, others could download it and create their own nets if they like.

Ocean Foundation is also building reference marketplace software, to make it easy for people to create data/service marketplaces that use the Ocean Network.

We haven't committed to a final programming language for implementing Ocean. We are currently building a variety of prototypes and POCs to answer specific technical questions.

Ocean will have a well-defined API including smart contract functionality (EVM or WASM). We're not going to reinvent the wheel on that and we are evaluating our options. Off that API, there will be drivers in various languages, to make it easy to use Ocean in your favorite language.
0
Anthony Sassano
What was the main motivator that made you decide to go in-depth on your tokenomics for Ocean Protocol (something that many other projects avoid)?
1
Trent McConaghy
@sassal0x The Ocean team has a strong sense of values; you'll see this going back to the ascribe days. Fairness is part of this: we wanted to be *fair* to people who wanted to join us on the Ocean journey. To be as fair as possible, we needed to go in-depth on tokenomics.
1
Anthony Sassano
@trentmc0 And this is one of the main reasons I love your project. The transparency and fairness is above and beyond! I can't wait to see how Ocean Protocol comes together over the next year :)
0
Anthony Sassano
What barriers to success do you see for Ocean Protocol?
1
Trent McConaghy
@sassal0x First, let's establish what success is. To me -- and I think my co-founders would concur -- definite success is when the majority of the world's data is flowing through Ocean; while the power for the Ocean network itself is definitively spread among at least thousands of organizations and individuals; and it's self-sustaining / anti-fragile enough to last not just years but centuries.

Then, what would be the barriers to that? It's probably not going to be the common problems of team or money, as the team has worked together for years, and funding is not an issue. I'm confident that we'll build what we aim to build. It will take several years to hit the full vision, and that's ok.

I see two challenges:
1. Ensuring that Ocean has healthy end-users ecosystem with real use cases that grow over time. This includes both the supply side (data suppliers, service suppliers -- typically large enterprises, NGOs, governments) and the demand side (data scientists, AI researchers). With strong end-users ecosystem, we implicitly get strong diversity of keepers, as end-users are keeper nodes; that's a key part of the token design.

2. Ensuring that Ocean's community is strong. Developers, governance, advocacy. Can we have enough folks with skin-in-the-game who are willing to stick around for the long term; who are willing to contribute to Ocean's codebase; who are willing to help guide the evolution of Ocean; who are willing to advocate for Ocean when push comes to shove?

We're working hard at both! :)
2
Anthony Sassano
@trentmc0 Awesome! Thank you for the in-depth answer. You've clearly put a lot of thought into thinking about the hard issues with these technologies. Kudos!
0
Ben Tossell
What exciting things do you think will be unlocked by Blockchains as incentive machines?
1
Trent McConaghy
@bentossell Incentive machines are a radically powerful new tool, that can help us more directly shape the future we want. Shaped in a way where if we do it right, it does better spread power among the people. (I'm not saying it's easy btw.)

So, what do we want? It's up to each of us. But for starters we can use incentives to get rid of the clearly bad: fixing fixing malaria, clean running water for all, education for all. This leads us to the macro idea of sustainable development, best illustrated by the UN 17 sustainable development goals. IXO Foundation is working on these goals in a tokens/incentives setting; decentralizing data makes a big difference to these goals; so we're proud to be working with IXO towards these goals.
0
Neil Deramchi
What were some of the factors that gave you the most trouble when thinking through ocean's tokenomics?
1
Neil Deramchi
@NeilDeramchi Also your FAQ is thorough and awesome I really respect that!!
1
Trent McConaghy
@NeilDeramchi I'd love to answer your question, but I don't know the answer. My colleagues Ricardo and Bruce worked on the tokenomics. I'd be happy to connect you with them if you like, just DM me on twitter @trentmc0 and we can go from there.
1
Trent McConaghy
1
Neil Deramchi
How did you form the ocean protocol team? What were some of the resources you turned to when looking for great people?
1
Trent McConaghy
@NeilDeramchi The team is composed of folks from both BigchainDB GmbH and DEX PT Ltd which are the two companies working together to build out the network. I had known Chirdeep Chhabra, the CEO of DEX, for a couple years when he reached out in early January 2017 and said "let's talk" and over the span of the next few months we figured out how to join forces to build Ocean.

As for each individual organization: I'm a cofounder of BigchainDB (originally ascribe) which we started working on in 2013; Ocean was a natural next step. DEX had been working on a centralized data marketplace.

And: we are currently looking to grow the team! This is both technical jobs and otherwise. To anyone interested, please DM me @trentmc0.
2
Myles Snider
Who do you think the early users of Ocean Protocol will be? What's the most exciting use case that could happen _today_ if the protocol were up and running?
1
Trent McConaghy
@myles_snider

> Who do you think the early users of Ocean Protocol will be?
It's meant for (1) AI researchers and data scientists to use the data and services available in its network; and (2) organizations like large enterprises, governments and NGOs that have large but latent data sets that they wish to unlock, gain value from, while preserving privacy. [I copied this part from another answer above]

> What's the most exciting use case that could happen _today_ if the protocol were up and running?
In terms of immediate impact, it would probably be pooling data so that self-driving cars get into mainstream usage much sooner. As you've probably seen, we've been iterating with Toyota Research Institute for about a year now (and other automakers); they've been very patient.

I'm also excited about putting medical datasets that are 1000x larger into the hands of researchers, so they can get far more accurate models. (With appropriate privacy of course.) This will have benefits for everything from treating Parkinson's to earlier detection of cancer.

Last but not least, I can't wait to see the Ocean "data commons" take off, especially for all the use cases that we aren't even envisioning yet. As a hint towards that, the Watson AI XPRIZE folks have been showing us how hundreds of NGOs have latent datasets that need a means to pool together and to connect to AI researchers for extracting insights. I can't wait to see what comes from that:)
1
David Fritsche
Good morning Trent - several questions. Much of the value will come from the data that is a part of the network. Several questions:
1. What are some examples of data you will be starting with?
2. Are you working with any significant data providers currently?
3. Will their data exist on the Blockchain? Or is there some other method of storing and accessing?
1
Trent McConaghy
@davidfritsche

> 1. What are some examples of data you will be starting with?
Self-driving cars. Medical health data. Insurance. All tuned towards building AI models.

> 2. Are you working with any significant data providers currently?
Ocean Foundation has two main founding companies, BigchainDB GmbH and DEX PT Ltd. DEX was a centralized data marketplace and has longstanding relations with many data providers. And since we've announced Ocean, we've been happily surprised to see many providers coming to us with ideas and a willingness to engage. Great! If you know more, please connect us:)

> 3. Will their data exist on the Blockchain? Or is there some other method of storing and accessing?
The blockchain will be used for (decentralized) access control to data. It won't be storing the data.

Data can be stored encrypted or decrypted at any of:
(a) decentralized cloud storage, e.g. blob storage like IPFS/Filecoin or structured like a BigchainDB instance
(b) centralized cloud storage, e.g. blob storage like AWS S3 or structured like MongoDB Atlas
(c) on-premise storage, e.g. blob storage like HDFS or structure like MongoDB

Compute may be one of:
(a) decentralized cloud, e.g. SingularityNET
(b) centralized cloud, e.g. EC2
(a) on-premise, e.g. a linux box
(b) client-side, e.g. a linux box

In Ocean, both data and compute are framed as *services*, with the binding between Ocean and service via cryptographic proofs.

The services framing is like a traditional Enterprise Data Hub (EDH) framing except now it's decentralized. So, Ocean is a Decentralized Data Hub.
0
Anthony Sassano
What is your strategy for forming partnerships and which companies/people specifically are you looking to work with?
0
Trent McConaghy
@sassal0x

We work with and are looking to work with folks for:
-demand side for data & compute -- data scientists / AI researchers in startups & enterprises, typically with specific problems in mind
-supply side for data -- NGOs, governments, large enterprises with latent data or looking to increase distribution
-supply side for storage & compute -- centralized/decentralized storage & compute networks looking to increase distribution
-building Ocean network -- values-driven software developers who want to help build the future!
-(and more I probably haven't thought of)
2
Anthony Sassano
Who is your favourite influencer in the crypto space?
0
Trent McConaghy
@sassal0x Daniel Suarez. He's not really in the crypto space but his thinking had a huge impact on me, especially FreedomTM. Other related writers include Doctorow, Stross, and more: https://medium.com/@trentmc0/recent-sf-readings-on-singularity-decentralization-dcdb2196bde2

As for folks actually in the crypto space: it's the infrastructure builders who have had a long-standing vision of what they want to build, and have been relentlessly pursuing that vision. Our conversations over the years have certainly impacted my thinking. This includes the folks behind Ethereum, IPFS, and more: https://blog.bigchaindb.com/blockchain-infrastructure-landscape-a-first-principles-framing-92cc5549bafe

2
Anthony Sassano
@trentmc0 Thank you for the resources!
0
divraj
Do you think there will specialization in protocols for certain types of data / AI types ?
0
russmonk
Hi Trent,
Wonderful project:)
How does Ocean differ from Keep and Enigma, two other protocols designed to unlock big data for analysis without exposing the data publicly?
0
X