The Daily Chain Exclusive Interview: Sandeep Nailwal from Matic Network
Matic Network is a Layer 2 scaling solution that achieves scale by utilizing sidechains for off-chain computation while ensuring asset security using the Plasma framework and a decentralized network of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) validators.
Backed by both Coinbase Ventures and Binance Labs, Matic Network’s innovative approach to scaling has attracted the attention of much of the crypto space. They’re on a mission to facilitate mainstream adoption of blockchain in India and beyond, and have amassed many impressive partnerships already on their journey, including Decentraland, Chainlink and Harmony.
As the most adopted Layer 2 platform, Matic Network is home to a growing number of Dapps building on their Alpha-Mainnet, and they are leading the charge on the scaling front. Matic are building critical infrastructure required to take Dapps to the next level and facilitate mainstream adoption, and Sandeep from the team has kindly joined us to share some insights into the project’s progress, goals and tech.
Let’s start with a small introduction. Can you provide some background about yourself and your role at Matic?
Thank you for having me here today, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. My name is Sadeep Nailwal and I am COO and Co-founder of Matic Network.
Speaking more broadly, Matic Network is team passionate about decentralization and better blockchain-based products. The current decentralized ecosystem lacks usability and convenience – decentralized transactions are slow, expensive and complex. The blockchain environment as it stands today is therefore unable to facilitate mainstream-level Dapps. Solving this problem is our mission.
We aim to change this by leveraging a combination of blockchain scaling, developer platform and tools, and a keen focus on user experience. Matic aspires to see a world where blockchain gains mainstream adoption, and our goal is to facilitate the decentralized future by providing the necessary infrastructure for Dapps to take flight. We believe the answer to enabling widespread adoption of blockchain technology lies with second-layer solutions focused on scalability. In this way, Matic Network provides massive scaling capabilities whilst leveraging the security and decentralization of the Ethereum mainchain.
Matic therefore aims to be the de-facto platform on which developers deploy and run decentralized applications. With close connections to and active participation in the Ethereum ecosystem, Ethereum is the first Layer 1 which Matic Network is working to scale, however our infrastructure is blockchain agnostic- meaning Matic can scale any Layer 1 blockchain which comes to prove itself as a key player in the decentralized movement.
What are the current pain points within the industry that Matic is aiming to solve?
Blockchains are experiencing what Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin describes as the ‘scalability trilemma’. The thesis dictates that of the three foundations of a public blockchain, (decentralization, security, and scalability), only two can be effectively prioritized. As the longest-standing and most developed platform, Ethereum represents the most decentralized and secure smart contract platform in existence, but is notoriously lagging behind on transaction throughput due to infrastructural limitations. Our purpose is to solve this scalability trilemma through our unique approach.
Whereas some major credit cards providers can process up to 45,000 transactions per second, Ethereum can currently only manage 15 per second. Unable to facilitate mass adoption, many blockchains protocols exist primarily as proof of concept. Matic believes the answer to enabling widespread adoption of blockchain technology lies with second-layer solutions focused on scalability. In this way, Matic provides massive scaling capabilities whilst leveraging the security and decentralization of the mainchain.
Aside from scalability problems, another huge problem within the space is the high barrier to entry. Many blockchain projects emphasize user experience, but do not value developer experience. Skilled technologists in a developer-unfriendly industry environment often give up on innovative blockchain solution ideas. In addition, the project financing limitations lead to difficulties in finding talent and funding.
Matic Network is providing educational programs and technical support programs which provide blockchain know-how to help developers realize their ideas and focus on creating new opportunities. For more information on Matic’s Developer Support Program, please visit: https://matic.network/developer-support-program/
You recently partnered with Nestree, a reward-based community messenger, to facilitate low-cost and near instant transactions. Can you talk about this partnership in a little more detail and what it means for Matic going forward?
Certainly. We are particularly excited about our partnership with Nestree for a number of reasons. Nestree’s messaging app provides one of the most optimal gateways for non-crypto-savvy users to experience and earn cryptocurrency without requiring any knowledge of trading, KYC verification, private key management. This overcomes the traditional barriers to adoption of blockchain-based solutions and will therefore act as an effective gateway for the mainstream to get hands-on with cryptocurrency, thus facilitating mainstream adoption.
Using Matic, Nestree will be enabled to scale their blockchain-integrated rewards based messaging application to new levels, providing their growing user base with low-cost, near-instant transactions. We are looking forward to working together to accelerate blockchain adoption among the mainstream population.
Our partnership with Nestree is also part of our efforts to expand our activities to the Korean blockchain space. We are committed to expanding our reach and awareness on a global level, especially within the most promising up-and-coming blockchain-focused territories. We have already established ourselves as a leading project spearheading the Indian decentralized movement, and are continually conducting research to identify territories which are establishing themselves as promising players in the blockchain space. Korea has especially impressed us in this regard.
Korea is a thriving hub of blockchain innovation and is home to one of the world’s largest and most rapidly expanding crypto communities. We are extremely impressed by the high level of innovation coming from Korean blockchain projects and the proactive approach to the blockchain space from the Korean government, through their range of blockchain-friendly schemes. We believe this kind of productive government action is crucial to building a successful blockchain industry, and South Korea is clearly in a prime position to play a prominent role in the wider decentralized movement. We are therefore excited to be extending our presence and reach there through valuable partnerships such as our collaboration with Nestree.
In August you collaborated with Binance Labs to host the Game Oasis Hackathon Initiative. Can you talk about your views on blockchain gaming and how you believe this emerging industry aligns with mass adoption?
Great question. The gaming industry has grown dramatically over the last few years, and we believe that blockchain gaming will be a massive onboarding ramp into the blockchain space for much of the mainstream. Many new games are integrating Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality to create deeper and more immersive experiences for end users. We believe that blockchain integration will birth an entirely new generation of gaming experience unlike anything previously possible.
Blockchain offers a whole new world of possibilities in the gaming arena; blockchain integration is allowing for a more secure, autonomous and immersive gaming experience and enables possibilities such as the tokenization of in-game items & currencies that make them easily tradable across platforms and between users. In addition, end users will have the opportunity to withdraw their in-game items and currencies for cryptocurrencies which can then be traded for other crypto assets on exchanges. Furthermore, blockchain integration is able to facilitate transparency, asset security, and consensus mechanisms for collective decision-making – this represents an entirely new next-gen gaming experience.
We have been actively engaging with gaming communities around the world to accelerate the rate of blockchain adoption. These past couple of months, Matic Network sponsored both the E3 Conference in Los Angeles as well as PG Connect Conference in Hong Kong. Both are two of the largest platform and mobile gaming conferences in the world, and Matic executives had a chance to speak directly to the attendees there with a great reception.
We have an array of blockchain games building on Matic Network, one example being Decentraland for which we are proud to be providing the scalable infrastructure for their entire in-game marketplace. Other gaming Dapps building on Matic Network include Chainbreakers, BetProtocol and Marble Cards. This list is growing constantly.
As well as scalability, you have earmarked user experience as a key feature for the Matic Network. What are your views on the importance of user experience and what is your approach to bringing this into the blockchain industry?
That’s correct, user experience is absolutely critical in advancing the blockchain space and bringing blockchains from the proof-of-concept phase into the mainstream. Currently, user interactions on DApps are often poor compared to their centralized counterparts. For the Decentralization revolution to achieve mass adoption, the user experience of DApps has to be on par with, if not better than, their centralized counterparts. We therefore believe in making blockchain invisible from an average user’s purview.
In order to make this a reality, as well as our efforts to provide a seamless Dapp experience through providing the necessary scaling capabilities of course, the Matic Development Team is relentlessly working on various Mobile and Web browser integration tools and is pioneering protocols in this domain.
We are continually developing our cutting-edge Matic Wallet by implementing the WalletConnect protocol, which is an open protocol to connect web-based distributed applications to mobile crypto assets. This wallet will help users to interact with Dapps and sign transactions easily, while still helping users keep their private keys safe on their mobile. This should go a long way in making blockchains accessible to mainstream users.
We are thrilled to have recently launched the newest version of the Matic Wallet which is running on our Alpha-Mainnet. You can read more here: https://medium.com/matic-network/matic-wallet-moves-to-alpha-mainnet-f4ffd1a9bbc4
What do you believe are the current blockers within the industry for achieving mass adoption?
First of all, crippling technical limitations plague the blockchain ecosystem as it traditionally stands which prevent mass adoption of Dapps. Although Ethereum is by far the most established and adopted Dapp development platform, it suffers from crippling scalability problems, able to currently only handle around 15PTS; this is a drop in the ocean as compared to mass adoption levels. To improve this, Matic Network is focusing on building a dedicated DApp infrastructure based on Layer 2 scalability solutions and is also providing developer-specific technology tools. I believe that such efforts can lead to potential blockchain developers to implement their ideas and increase their demand for large-scale use of blockchain.
One of the more fundamental challenges to blockchain adoption are barriers to entry in terms of education regarding blockchain development and challenges in gaining recognition in the fledgling space. Many blockchains place a strong emphasis on user experience but lack a focus on the experience of those who will actually be building out their ecosystem- the developers. This often leaves developers without proper guidance or tools to be able to build innovative blockchain-based solutions. With few opportunities for fundraising and difficulties in sourcing developer talent blockchain startups are currently facing multiple challenging hurdles.
We believe spreading knowledge and providing education about the opportunities that blockchain development can provide is one of the core components in pushing our space forward and opening up new opportunities for the global developer community, thus increasing blockchain adoption. Alongside hosting and attending regular hackathons (we’ve hosted upwards of 20 in the last year), conferences and events, and conducting active outreach to India’s educational institutions, this is where our Developer Support Program comes into play- to assist developers to spread their wings in the blockchain space through providing technical, financial and talent-sourcing related support.
What else can we expect from Matic for the remainder of 2019? Are there are many surprises around the corner?
It’s going to be a busy few months to say the least, we’re running at full speed. We will continue to build out our expanding ecosystem of Dapps, forge valuable collaborative partnerships to accelerate the wider decentralized movement, and will double down on our efforts to spread awareness and education not only about Matic Network but also regarding the importance of blockchain technology and decentralization as a whole.
With this in mind, we have a range of events lined up in the coming months and will continue to expand our reach and awareness across territories as we accelerate our efforts to forge valuable global partnerships and deliver education regarding the opportunities which blockchain can provide.
We are also providing projects with the opportunity to access high-performance fundraising on Matic Network. Marlin Protocol was the first, Cere Network is next in line and there are many more promising projects in the pipeline to do the same. Interest in our fundraising opportunities is expected to increase over the coming months. We will continue to focus on securing promising projects that can use them appropriately.
On the development front, we are ahead of our roadmap and already have our Beta-Mainnet live in the Q3 – 2019. Our full Mainnet is also due to be launched by the end of Q4 2019/ beginning of Q1 2020. We are working relentlessly to deliver on all elements of our roadmap whilst ensuring a thorough development process. You can see our roadmap here: https://matic.network/roadmap/
We will have to keep any surprises under our hats for now, but what I can say is that lots of exciting updates are coming! Keep your eye on our social channels for partnership, development and exchange related updates.
Congratulations on the recent launch of your Beta mainnet! Can you give us a brief overview of some of the new features with this implementation?
Thank you very much! After months of hard work, the entire Matic Network team was extremely proud to announce the release of the 2nd iteration of the Matic mainnet (after the Alpha mainnet in June 2019). This is in preparation for the final mainnet to be released later.
Tons of work has gone into this release! We have been painstakingly refactoring the Plasma and staking smart contracts. We have also added support for Plasma predicates and a bunch of other cool stuff, such as the ability to mint NFTs directly on the sidechain first (enabling mass low-value NFT minting). The Beta mainnet also allows for the ability for anyone to stake MATIC tokens on the Ethereum smart contract and join the system as a Validator.
Our announcement was actually only the start of our unveiling of our Beta mainnet, over the coming days we will delve into more details regarding the implementation specifics. We have also been unveiling some of the projects which will be BUIDLing on our Beta mainnet, and there’s still more to be announced! Stay tuned to our socials as to not miss any of these updates.
For full details on our Beta mainnet launch and features, please see our recently released article here: https://blog.matic.network/matic-beta-mainnet-is-here/
You recently released an article about the addition of Plasma Predicates to Matic Network. What are Plasma Predicates and how will this improve Matic’s tech stack?
Yes, this is something we’re particularly excited about from a developer ease of use standpoint. We have been working hard on various fronts to introduce generalised scaling techniques, while still ensuring security. We are therefore thrilled that our Beta mainnet includes Plasma Predicates support.
This is the first time predicates are being used in a production-ready system & we couldn’t be more excited to be pioneering its implementation. Basically, implementing Plasma predicates allows us to now deploy newer state transition support to our Plasma contracts, without having to re-deploy our existing root contracts.
With Plasma Predicates support, developers can now add new Plasma functionality by creating a new contract that implements the necessary logic for that feature and then have our main contract reference the new one. These external contracts are called ‘predicates’.
This signals a huge shift in the ease of development for dev’s building on Matic Network.
What are Heimdall and Bor and why are they important to Matic Network?
Essentially, Heimdall and Bor are Matic’s Validator and Block Production layers. Matic Network is a hybrid Plasma + Proof-of-Stake (PoS) platform that uses a dual-consensus architecture to optimize for speed and decentralization. We have been actively working on the Validator and Block Producer nodes iteration, which have now been released as part of our Beta mainnet.
Heimdall, meaning ‘the All-Protector’ is our Proof-of-Stake Verifier layer, which is responsible for checkpointing a representation of the Plasma blocks to the main chain in our architecture. The mainchain Stake Manager contract works in conjunction with the Heimdall node to act as the trust-less stake management mechanism for the PoS engine, including selecting the Validator set, updating validators, etc.
The Bor node, or the Block Producer implementation, is the sidechain operator which is EVM-compatible. Block Producers are chosen from the Validator set and are shuffled using historical Ethereum block hashes. However we are exploring sources of randomness for this selection.
We are excited to have rolled out these crucial components of our network in our Beta mainnet release!
Now to the thing most exciting the Matic community at the moment- staking! How will the staking process work and have you figured out the staking economics yet?
Staking is very exciting indeed, we’ve seen a lot of buzz in the community around our staking plans!
As a Layer-2 solution utilizing a network of Proof-of-Stake validators for asset security, staking is an integral part of the Matic ecosystem. Matic uses account based variant of More Viable Plasma to guarantee the security of assets on the main-chain and it ensures the security of generic transactions by using a decentralized network of Proof-of-Stake validators. Essentially, Validators will stake their MATIC tokens as collateral to become part of the network’s PoS consensus mechanism.
Our planned staking endeavours will encompass 3-stage tactical roll-out, the first of which being a Pre-Staking initiative (with lock functionality) through leading Korean exchange Coinone, and more exchanges which will follow. Our staking mechanisms will grow to incorporate our entire supporter base in the coming months, alongside platform development. We are thrilled to begin opening the doors to our community to participate in the maintenance of the network through pre-staking, but that’s only the beginning.
In terms of our fully-fledged staking mechanism, it took us a long time to settle on the correct staking mechanism and economics, getting it right is extremely important. There will be a limited number of validators, initially ~100. And to reserve a slot, we are thinking to accept a minimum investment of about 1,500,000 Matic tokens. Matic will be allocating 12% of its total supply of 10 billion tokens to fund the staking rewards. This is to ensure that the network is seeded well enough until transaction fees gain traction.
The community will also be given the opportunity to take part in our incentivised staking testing program, the details of which will be rolled out soon. Stay tuned to our socials so you don’t miss the update!
You can see more information regarding our staking economics here: https://blog.matic.network/matic-network-staking-economics
What will the final mainnet look like in terms of technical advancements, and how significant will this be for Matic Network?
The final mainnet launch will essentially signal the implementation of the final broad version of our infrastructure, with all capabilities enabled. These will include Plasma Fast Exit services on mainnet, transaction relay pool (perform transactions without ETH) and generic smart contract support (with Plasma guarantees).
By that point, Matic Network will be equipped to offer full functionality to the Dapps on our network with a full range of features. Thus, we can expect the exponential Dapp adoption of Matic to increase as we approach and surpass the launch of the full Mainnet. We are seeing more and more interest in Dapp adoption of our platform as we get closer to our final mainnet, and we expect this to continue to increase as the network becomes more stable and feature-rich.
Our goal is to serve as more than simply a scaling solution, but as an entire global collaborative ecosystem of Dapps running on Matic Network which will become stronger together as the ecosystem expands. A big step in this journey will be the launch of our final mainnet, and we couldn’t be more excited to see our development progress so strongly on-track!
Finally, can you summarise your ultimate vision for Matic?
Matic Network is on a relentless mission to facilitate the mass adoption of blockchain-based solutions across the globe. Though we are starting with scaling Ethereum, our infrastructure is blockchain-agnostic, meaning Matic Network can work to scale any blockchain which comes to prove itself as key to the decentralized movement. We therefore intend to continually cement our place at the forefront of the global decentralized movement.
With our high-performance infrastructure, developer support initiatives and educational outreach efforts, Matic Network is well on the way to becoming the de-facto platform for building and deploying Dapps of all types.
Our goal is to serve as more than simply a scaling solution, but as an entire collaborative ecosystem of developers and Dapps running on Matic Network which will become stronger together as the ecosystem expands. We are thrilled to see this already coming to fruition.
I’d like to thank Sandeep for his time and for the wealth of information he’s provided in this in-depth interview.
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