The Daily Chain: Exclusive Phore Interview with CEO Mike Trisko
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Mike Trisko, the new CEO of Phore.
What is Phore?
Phore (PHR) is a scalable, secure, and flexible platform being built to empower individuals, businesses, and the cryptocurrency industry. Alongside this, a decentralized application ecosystem is being created in order to challenge industries in which users are suffering as a direct result of centralization. Ecommerce and crowdfunding are two examples of industries being challenged by Phore, where centralization has lead to huge problems such as mass censorship and significant data leaks. The Phore Decentralized Marketplace already allows for free commerce of physical or virtual goods and services, and will soon have support for Cryptocurrency trading. Design has begun to support fully peer to peer, decentralized and censorship-resistant crowdfunding, as one of the next major additions to Phore’s suite of cryptocurrency-powered end-user applications.
In 2017, Phore delivered their blockchain which supports fast, secure transactions, passive income through staking and masternodes and has since added many features which make cryptocurrencies easier to use. Phore was the first project to ever implement SegWit when using a 100% Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm with Masternodes, improving both transaction security and scalability.
Phore’s current architecture allows anyone in their community to participate in securing the Phore network by staking or hosting Masternodes. Masternode owners have the ability to vote on budget proposals using the fully decentralized governance system, thus meaning the Phore team is fully accountable and that no single entity can manipulate the future of the project.
2019 will see the release of (and migration to) the next-generation architecture, Phore Synapse. This revolutionary architecture makes use of Sharding technology and will have a theoretical capacity to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second, support high performance execution of fully Turing-complete smart contracts to support complex decentralized applications (dApps) and business models, and allow the creation of customized shards that are optimized for different use cases while allowing full inter-operability between shards.
More information can be found on Binance
You can watch an introductory video on Phore below:
I sat down with Mike Trisko, CEO, to talk about their achievements and plans for the rest of 2019 and beyond.
When did you first hear about Crypto and what was it that drew you into this space?
I first heard about bitcoin in 2013, but didn’t pursue it at that time. My first purchase of bitcoin was in early 2016, when the price for 1 BTC was around $400. In 2017, some people in my family had gotten more seriously involved in crypto projects, and through discussions with them I started doing more research into the technology, business models, and really started to realize the potential crypto has to change the world for the better.
What is your background and what was the driving force behind starting Phore?
I have been a technology consultant for over 25 years, managing large projects for large professional services firms–Andersen Consulting (which is now Accenture), PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte Consulting. Many of my clients have been Fortune 500 companies, and have included a leading hedge fund, a large bank, a high volume discount brokerage firm, as well as many companies in retail, transportation, high tech, and other industries. I also left consulting for a few years back in 2004 to help found Textura, where I led the development team in building their flagship product, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) payment management solution for the construction industry. Textura went on to do a successful IPO, and was later acquired by Oracle for $663 million. The Textura solution is still in operation today, processing $3.4 billion in payments every month.
I first encountered Phore soon after it’s initial launch, as an investor–I was intrigued by their business model and the potential I saw in the ideas behind Phore. I got to know the team, and discovered that my skillset would be a good match for what Phore was trying to accomplish, so I ended up joining the team, and was asked to become the CEO of Phore Blockchain.
Phore was initially created as a means to renew development of KryptKoin, which was originally airdropped in 2014, but had temporarily stopped active development after the creator, Phroshi, had some serious health issues. After recovering, he decided that updating the codebase would be a better approach for moving forward than updating code that was several years old. He chose to fork the PIVX codebase to take advantage of its staking, masternode, and other features. While Phroshi originally started Phore, the development after that point was taken over by Julian Meyer and myself, and later we added several more developers to the team. I was the primary author of the original Phore whitepaper which set out Phore’s vision, with significant input from Julian, Anthony Allenye, and Thomas Ambler, all of whom are still driving that vision forward today.
2018 was a tough year for the Crypto market. However, from a tech perspective, we witnessed even more innovation and advancements than ever before. Can you talk about the progress Phore has made over the last year?
Phore’s development has continued throughout the 2018 bear market, and in fact the team grew during that time. We made significant security, scalability, and usability improvements to our core wallet–adding SegWit to address transaction malleability issues (and which increased scalability by up to 100%), user interface improvements to simplify masternode setup and governance. In late 2018, a university research team disclosed a Fake Stake denial of service vulnerability to us and many other proof of stake projects, and Phore was the only team that addressed the form of vulnerability that affected blockchains like ours–and at last count, more than 170 cryptocurrency projects are using Phore’s solution to address that vulnerability.
In 2018, we also created the Phore Android mobile wallet, and we completed our first production beta release of the Phore Marketplace which allows users can buy and sell physical and digital goods and services, completely decentralized and peer to peer, using the Phore currency.
We also made a very big decision in 2018–to move to an entirely new blockchain architecture that we code named Synapse. This grew out of our original direction to add support for what we at the time referred to as ‘sidechains’, as a way of allowing additional blockchains that could be optimized to specific use cases to be added to the Phore architecture. As we researched the best and most secure way to implement sidechains, we decided that a new architecture based around the CASPER proof of stake protocol and sharding concepts being discussed by the Ethereum research team would give us a stronger and more secure foundation for the platform we are building. We began development of the Synapse architecture in the fall of 2018, and have already completed a testnet version of the beacon chain (main blockchain) code. For the portions of the architecture that we share with the Ethereum 2.0 team, we are actually further along in some areas–in fact, the ETH 2.0 team working on their Go wallet is currently using our native Go BLS signature aggregation library.
Work is underway on the shard code for the initial shard types we will be supporting (transfer shard and governance shard), and the underlying technology is also in place to add smart contract and other shard types once the initial launch is completed. We are expecting to launch the Synapse architecture by the end of 2019.
Congratulations on your appointment as the new CEO of Phore. With a wealth of experience at some major companies, what do you feel you are going to bring to the team and the future direction of Phore?
I think my experience with delivering large scale, commercial quality software is a great asset to the Phore Blockchain organization. I have successfully delivered complex, multi-million dollar projects with more than 200 people involved, and I understand what it takes to deliver secure software solutions, including payment systems like Textura which handle transfers of over $3 billion per month. I’ve advised CIOs of major Fortune 500 companies on strategic technology direction across multiple industries, including many projects for financial services companies. We have set out a very ambitious roadmap ahead of us, and I have a high degree of confidence that we will continue to meet our milestones and deliver on everything we have planned.
The Zerocoin vulnerability is currently an important threat to privacy coins however you recently stated that Phore was not at risk to this vulnerability due to your new Synapse architecture. Can you explain the significance of this new code base?
The current Phore architecture includes support for zerocoin private transactions, and as soon as we were alerted to potential vulnerabilities, we immediately disabled the vulnerable zerocoin features to protect Phore users–which in the case of Phore was not a large number of users, since most people were not holding their Phore in zerocoin form.
The new Synapse architecture is being written completely from scratch by the Phore team, and the previous zerocoin features will not be re-created there. Since the new architecture is build to allow customized shard types optimized for specific use cases, one or more of those could include privacy shards, which may utilize one or more proven privacy protocols–for example, many of the privacy technologies being implemented on smart contracts platforms like zkSNARKs could be leveraged the same way on Phore shards, or a shard could be developed that included RingCT or other protocols in use on other privacy blockchains today. Phore’s vision is much more than just privacy–we do highly value privacy, and we will be looking to enable ways for people to maintain their privacy while using the Phore blockchain and applications in many ways.
Your flagship product is the Phore Marketplace, a decentralized, peer-to-peer marketplace with no third party interference. Can you tell us how this product has evolved over the last year and the progress being made?
We received some great feedback from our early beta test releases, and went to work on adding many improvements and new features. We just released a new version that includes the ability to trade cryptocurrencies, initially supporting the sale of Bitcoin (BTC) for Phore (PHR), and we will be adding more trading pairs in future releases. We also added a verified moderator feature, which allows moderators to verify their identities and request to be verified, which would give buyers and sellers more confidence in using their moderation services in any cases where a purchase results in a dispute.
We also made a number of improvements to the user interface and user experience to make the things more intuitive, streamlined, and easy to use. There has also been significant work put into the underlying infrastructure used by the Phore Marketplace–the Phore public RPC API is the primary way the Marketplace interacts with the Phore blockchain, and we completely rewrote the code and designed it to be more reliable and scalable–it now has load balancing, fault tolerance, and the ability to scale up on demand as user demand requires to handle more users and transactions.
Our next release will complete our transition to a new wallet architecture that will support multiple cryptocurrencies. We will be adding a bitcoin (BTC) wallet so that trades can be made in both directions between BTC and PHR, and in a future release we will also be adding a wallet for our previously announced partner, Reddcoin (RDD).
We will continue to gather user feedback and refine the Phore Marketplace as we look towards exiting beta testing into full launch status. We also have significant plans to improve and expand the functionality of the Marketplace, including new features for decentralized crowdfunding, and a number of new features related to cryptocurrency trading.
What else can we expect from Phore in 2019? Are there are many surprises around the corner?
Our primary technology development goal for the rest of 2019 is launching the Phore Synapse blockchain architecture. This will set the foundation and open up enormous possibilities for Phore’s future growth as a platform and ecosystem. As soon as we have the base architecture live, we will immediately begin working on everything from mobile wallets to the smart contract shard, which would in turn allow us to develop native dApps running on the Phore platform, as well as issuing new tokens in similar ways to how they can be created on Ethereum, NEO, TRON, and Binance Chain.
We will continue to issue new releases to the Phore Marketplace, and we also expect to be launching and expanding new blockchain services offerings to clients that will help our team continue to expand and grow, and we hope will also improve the quality and pace of innovation for the entire cryptocurrency industry.
Can you summarise your ultimate vision for Phore?
Phore is about empowering people and businesses. We want cryptocurrency to gain mainstream adoption, and we are doing everything we can to make cryptocurrency safer, easier to use, and more useful to people and businesses to help drive that adoption. We are building what we believe to be one of the most useful, versatile, scalable, and secure blockchain platforms, and we are not stopping there. We are creating decentralized applications that are ready to use by individuals and businesses, based around the Phore ecosystem, and also allowing users of other cryptocurrencies to use Phore’s applications to make other coins and tokens more useful as well.
We are also building a high quality team of blockchain developers, and we are offering cryptocurrency and blockchain services to help clients achieve their visions using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and to both accelerate innovation and improve the quality of cryptocurrency technology and applications across the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.
I sincerely thank Mike for his time.
Further Information on Phore:
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