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Weekly Updates|25 MIN. READ

Elastos Weekly Updates – 13 July 2018


This week Rong Chen interviewed on CNBC, Cyber Republic had its soft launch, and Kevin Zhang is hosting a meetup organized by a Google engineer-backed blockchain community. Elastos had an interesting week. Let’s recap.

Technical Updates

1. Completed the upgrade of the Elastos main chain to realize the two-way asset transfer of the main chain – side chain, and realized the merged mining of the side chain and the main chain 2. Completed the arbitrator node deployment, the ID sidechain is online and supports ID information on the ID chain; 3. Mobile wallet, ID KYC function bug fix, will release a beta version in the near future; 4. Upgraded Wallet’s Component Assembly Runtime(CAR) package interface and SDK to further improve the interface and functions; 5. Improved the mechanism of Java to implement CAR components; completed the sample program of JAVA CAR implementation; 6. Upgraded the Carrier interface to support returning the ID of the friend when adding a friend; 7. Based on the Elastos Carrier forwarding capability, applications can now establish a secure encryption channel to a remote service across the network in order to set up the relay for transferring data in a peer to peer fashion Slightly Less Technical Summary Elastos upgraded its main chain to provide support for building future sidechains and also for doing a merged mining of sidechains with the Elastos main chain. This means sidechains that decide to use PoW may utilize the hashpower of the Elastos main chain which is secured using the hashpower of the Bitcoin network. The first sidechain, the ID sidechain, is now online and supports recording of ID information on the chain. The mobile wallet DApp continues to be upgraded with security bug fixes and improved interfaces and functions. Based on the Elastos Carrier forwarding capability, an update was made that now helps applications establish a secure encrypted channel to a remote device for transmitting data peer to peer. Please check out our Github links: https://github.com/elastos/Elastos.Community https://github.com/elastos/Elastos.Community.Global

Community News

ELA Release and Burn Schedule: https://elanews.net/2018/07/10/ela-release-and-burn-schedule/  Elastos is hosting an Infographic Contest that runs through August 15th. Info can be found here: https://medium.com/elastos/elastos-infographic-contest-a991829d4640

Elastos is hosting an ELA 2018 World Cup Game Link: https://medium.com/elastos/elastos-world-cup-game-9d312598f548

The Elastos Video Contest deadline is July 15th. https://medium.com/elastos/elastos-video-contest-final-version-5efb9fbebf19 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3089082.0#post_a2

Elastos is still welcoming Community Writers: https://medium.com/elastos/write-for-the-community-ba7a1e75be59

July 7th

Elastos Digital Asset Specialist, Leo Lei, participated in an online course called “Strive Auditorium” and shared a lecture called, “What are the real value of digital assets?” His answer to the question of, “Is there any value of digital assets?” was: Bitcoin, as a representative of digital assets, is actually a P2P payment system. For example, if you need to make a money transfer, you’d normally need to do it through an intermediary, such as bank. Everyone’s account books are saved on the bank’s server. There are advantages of doing that because it’s efficient. But there are also disadvantages such as integrity, security, inflation issues, etc. Countries print money, but we have no clue of how it’s spent, to whom, and what purpose it’s used for in the future. We have no other choice except to use the money printed by countries. It’s one of the problems of centralization. Countries all over the world have this problem. Bitcoin created a decentralized system, and all those involved in Bitcoin have a Bitcoin ledger. If you want to initiate a transfer, everyone will help with the bookkeeping. Also, we realize that there’s a mining process. Everyone competes to get bookkeeping opportunities. If you get it, you are rewarded with transfer fees and incentives by the Bitcoin network to encourage that you to do more mining. Then you can broadcast it to everyone on the same node as yours, and they all can help you with bookkeeping. In summary, these are the following features of digital currency: 1.    All bookkeeping nodes are decentralized, making it impossible to tamper with the data. 2.    All data is public and transparent. 3.    Data is traceable because ledgers are public and transparent. Now you can understand why tracing the origins of food can be easily accomplished by adopting blockchain technology.

July 9th

Chongqing Grain Group Co., Ltd hosted the second “Agro-industry Conference” in the conference room of the Local State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) in Chongqing. Elastos Ecosystem Committee Director, Dinghe Hu, gave a keynote speech on “Blockchain Leading the era of IoT,” to managers from over 300 branch companies of Chongqing Grain Group Co., Ltd. Hu also had training and discussion with attendees on blockchain technology, and received very positive feedback.  Chongqing Grain Group Co., Ltd was founded in Feb., 2008 with total assets of 21.7 billion and has a continuing revenue of 10 billion yuan.  It’s merged from over 300 state-owned grain enterprises from 32 counties in Chongqing. It has an oversea farm with a total area of 1.2 million mu. The company has a grain operating capacity of 3.5 million tons, and a grain processing capacity of 2 million tons. It also has a total capacity of nearly 4 million tons of grain storage clusters as well as oil tank clusters. It has cooking oil brands such as Red Dragonfly, the rice brand Ren He, as well as other industrialized brands resources. It also has logistics networking resources such as special grain wharfs, special grain railway lines, railway self-propelled tankers, and grain transfer depots. The company has a great influence in bulk grain commodity trading in Chongqing, and is one of the 22 state-owned key enterprises directly managed by Chongqing Municipal Committee. It is also the largest grain enterprise group in Southwest China. 

July 10th

The Elastos Community hosted a Meetup at WeWork in Melbourne. Dr. Feng Han shared an Elastos presentation at PricewaterhouseCoopers London on July 10th organized by UKCC, LSBU and PwC.

Events and Meetups

Palo Alto, California 

Kevin Zhang has been invited to talk tech at the ABC Blockchain Meetup hosted at Cheetah Mobile on July 13th. https://www.meetup.com/ABC-Blockchain-Community-Meetup/events/252661072/


Feng Han will be speaking at an event in Manchester on July 14th.


Community Contributions

Big Crypto Interviews KP of Elastos at Europe Blockchain Expo 2018 Amsterdam Community Writer Series: Will The Real Decentralized App Please Stand Up ICODrops interview with Rong Chen at Blockchain Expo 2018 (Amsterdam) Chico Crypto released a new video on Elastos’ 1st sidechain, Decentralized ID and Elastos vs Blockstack

Cyber Republic

Elastos had a Virtual Meetup on Thursday where Cyber Republic had its official soft launch. Cyber Republic is a diverse and democratic community of developers and non-developers who are committed to helping grow Elastos globally. Community members who are serious about contributing to the success of the project can begin to apply for developer and non-developer tasks and apply to organize events and be rewarded ELA for their volunteer work. The site and Cyber Republic are still in the early stages and will develop and grow with a more formal launch in the future. Elastos is excited to begin rewarding our dedicated community for their commitment to the project. https://www.cyberrepublic.org  Link to Virtual Meetup

Thoughts and Conclusions

If you are wondering what constitutes a real world use case in the oversaturated field of blockchain projects, look no further than a report this week that a hacker clumsily acquired classified drone and tank information from the US military and then attempted to sell it for $200 on the dark web. This was not a story about a new game, or a new speculative asset, but another example of the dire consequences of continuing to use an internet that simply is not secure by its very infrastructure. Data of the highest security was stolen, quite easily, and maybe even by accident regarding its contents, from the most powerful organization in the world. If this is truly so easy, what does this mean for the average person, for the average company, for the average country? This is our future, all of our futures, and nothing will change unless we become serious about fixing the internet, and fixing it soon. To be clear, no other blockchain project, or tech project in general, has developed a network operating system that fundamentally changes the internet and can handle the security issues that are heavily underestimated by the general public. Elastos is a rearchitecting of the internet, first and foremost, and this cannot be put aside to try to compare it or lump it into the fray of other projects that have sprung up around it. There are no other projects that offer solutions to the internet itself being an antiquated mechanism for transferring and protecting data. The 21st century is shaping up to be one that will see internet security and data security as one of the few key issues that could shape our society. This is not some faceless idea. This is possibly the difference between a functioning society and one that is constantly under attack or even shut down by the push of a button. This whole story starts with the concept of the internet currently being an application that runs on top of a device operating system instead of a network operating system that runs on top of the internet. A device OS is something you install onto a particular device. This OS merely cares about that device and that device alone. In this system, internet protocols are built on top of the OS and there are no real ground rules for the internet. Applications can simply access the internet blindly. This is where the problem lies. In a network operating system, like Elastos, the OS functions as the infrastructure of the internet itself. The network is the computer instead of the device. Now, applications can be built on top of this new internet infrastructure and will be bound by an actual set of rules which are tied to blockchain. This concept, of ending the system of building on a device OS and instead onto a network OS, is what will fundamentally change the way the world accesses the internet. This, is very modern. Until now, no real attempts have been made to create a network OS. There have been some failed attempts, but a successful execution of a network OS that uses blockchain is the epiphany and expression of evolution for the single most important part of our society’s global and interconnected future. Many take the internet for granted, and do not understand its current sickness. It is the job of Elastos to push this vision forward and heal the internet. To put it more bluntly, the world is in a lot of trouble is we expand the internet without fixing it. Let’s look at what was revealed this week. The report that came out this week by a security firm called Recorded Futures, shows that technical information on the MQ-Reaper drone, used by the United States in surveillance missions, along with information on the people who work on the drone’s maintenance, were being sold as a package for a mere $150 to $200. But how did someone who clearly did not understand the value of what they were selling obtain this information? The exposure of the information is credited to outdated router firmware. Two US military personnel connected to the internet via a Netgear router, however, a bypass of these particular routers has been known for two years and many of these routers have not been updated. A dark web expert at Recorded Futures, Andrei Barysevich, said of the breach, “Another thing he (the hacker) was claiming to have access to was a broad range of live CCTV cameras, including those installed on surveillance planes across the US-Mexico border and checkpoints, highways, and the drone that surveys the Gulf of Mexico.” Barysevich explained that the hacker used the Shodan search engine to review internet connected devices, and looked for Netgear routers with outdated firmware, saying, “He was abusing this system and method on a daily basis. He told us he scans Shodan for new victims and then spends the entire day going from system to system to see if anything of any value could be obtained.” An article by Wired UK on this breach put it this way, “Once a device has been located it can be accessed remotely and the File Transfer Protocol system could be accessed using the username ‘admin’ and password ‘password’. Recorded Future says its scan of Shodan revealed 4,000 devices that could be compromised using the method. This is down from 6,000 when the problem was first reported in 2016. Shodan searches only show devices that are currently active and connected to the internet.” This type of crime, by no means the worst we have seen thus far and surely not the worst we will see in the future of our ever-growing IoT enabled world, is a massive threat to global security. This problem is not going away, and at the moment, it is as easy as searching for vulnerable devices, finding them, hacking them, and stealing the data, or something far far worse. This is a quintessential man-in-the-middle attack and Elastos can stop these. In this example, the routers would still have their Linux/Unix software on them (used in most devices) but would also have the Elastos Runtime installed onto them, and all network traffic would be taken over by the Elastos Carrier. By building apps that run on the Elastos Runtime, you can prevent all man-in-the-middle attacks by giving only verified identities access to the internet. This hacker would not have a verified identity and there would be no attack. These are the ground rules that will change the shooting fish in a barrel approach to hacking that allows people to literally browse easy targets at will and en masse and terrorize our world. What is important about Elastos and data is that everyone who uses Elastos can store all of their private data, digital assets, and application data, on their own servers, on their own computer, all encrypted and behind a firewall. To think that people who use Elastos could potentially secure their data better than the military should put the term “new internet” into a much needed sparkling perspective. In 2015, the world spent about $75 billion on cybersecurity. Now, if that figure seems like a reasonable amount, try this one. Juniper Research estimates that the projected fraud loss from cyber attacks will be 2.1 trillion by 2019. This is the result of more interconnection plus gaping holes of vulnerability. That amount, is roughly 2.5% of the world GDP. These figures include not just money stolen, but legal fees, security upgrades and many more financial consequences that ruin people’s lives and are the somehow accepted result an internet that is not safe. Authors Michael J. Casey and Paul Vigna says of this issue, “We see compelling arguments for a complete restructuring of the world’s data security paradigm. And it starts with thinking about how internet users can start to directly trust each other…This colossal failure to protect global commerce is directly attributed to a mismatch between the centralized way in which we process and store information and the decentralizing tendencies of a global “sharing” economy that’s pushing for more peer-to-peer and device-to-device commerce. As more people connect over peer-to-peer social networks and use online services, and as more so-called Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart thermostats and refrigerators and even cars join the network, ever more access points are created. Hackers use these points to find their way into the Internet’s ever growing centralized data-stores and steal or otherwise mess with their contents…The only way to protect this data and slow down the force of attacks against it, is to take it away from centralized servers and create a more distributed storage structure. Control of data needs to be put back into the hands of those to whom it belongs.”

“These constant attacks are expensive, ongoing headaches for the IT departments at companies and other institutions. Every new trick deployed by a rogue hacker prompts a new patch to a security system, which hackers inevitably figure out how to compromise. That prompts even more expensive investment in cybersecurity systems that will themselves, inevitably, get breached or require further upgrades. The companies keep spending more dollars to build ever-higher firewalls, only to learn their adversaries are constantly getting ahold of taller ladders. Clearly, we need a new architecture for security.”

  This point cannot be said enough. We must face the reality that this problem is inevitably going to get worse and worse and worse. We do need a new architecture for security. This rather alarming, even disturbing quote leads us to a more optimistic one from one of our own, KP Woods, about how this problem is actually fixable by making the internet into one single OS.

“Elastos is not a typical operating system. Usually, when you think about operating systems, you think about a device operating system that is tied to a particular device. Elastos is not a device OS but rather it’s a network operating system. This means the network is the computer instead of the device being the computer. This also means that this operating system will never need to be upgraded because the network has no version. It’s just the network. The internet has no version. It’s just the internet. The internet gets upgraded by adding services on top of it and people using those services. Similarly, the Elastos network OS gets upgraded when someone adds a new service and people start using this service. There is no human intervention required as everything is code and everything is autonomous and self-running. The Elastos network operating system is literally a world supercomputer formed of millions and millions of virtual machines spread across the internet where your data might be stored in your own personal disk or IPFS (which is distributed across the internet). In that sense, every device on the internet will be able to recognize Elastos because the internet itself is the device.”

  The internet itself is the device…let that sink in. There are countless examples of hacks and even more evidence that there will be many more. This week’s findings that routers in the US military were insecure is just the most recent failure in a commonplace plague that is the result of using an internet whose infrastructure is so blatantly in need of an upgrade that society may finally be ready to take one seriously. Elastos is not just about trading digital assets. The ability to even do that is merely a byproduct of a massive restructuring of the internet that many experts, and now even regular citizens, are starting to clamor for. Elastos is about taking the internet seriously. This piece started off by talking about real world use cases for blockchain projects, and the notion that many projects who are seen as competition, or peers, do not come close to addressing the real problem. You can dress the internet up all you want, you can invent as many innovative ideas as you can think of, but when the US military cannot keep their data safe, when companies cannot keep their data safe, when no one on the internet can keep their data safe, what is the point of dressing up an internet like that? It is so easy to focus on the smaller issues of the world, of the internet, of any project. But we must ask, what are we really doing? What are we trying to build? Is this idea worth fighting for? Is this idea worth joining in and trying to grow it and trying to dedicate time to its mission? No one can answer these questions for a person but that person themselves. Elastos is trying to heal the internet and in turn improve people’s lives and make our world safer. To many, this is an idea to get behind. But it takes a lot of people to think big and to believe that they have the power to pull it off. This week, Cyber Republic had its soft launch. Community members who want to and can actually contribute are asked to begin going to the site and finding or creating ways to help. In Cyber Republic, the onus is on everyone. Cyber Republic is not a spectator sport, but a very proactive community of people who want to help because they understand the stakes and they believe that if enough people join together behind a great idea, that idea can spread. Here in America, our country has been called, since its inception, a great experiment. No one knew if it would work, and some think it still does not. But the goal of any democratic community is to avoid tyranny and control and to involve people with good intentions for the whole of the project. This is an active and living idea. Each person will help shape what happens to this project by actually doing just that, shaping it. This week, ask yourself if you want to help make this project better. There is no perfection in this world, no perfection in any project, but those who try to move to perfect the problems of the world and to perfect the projects that aim to heal the world’s ills can consider themselves part of a community with solutions. We need you right now. We are starting something that needs you for it to succeed. We are starting small and you are here at the beginning. But as we grow, as this takes off and we become more global, more decentralized, more powerful, you will be an essential node in this network. Those who are serious about helping us, we urge you to begin doing just that. We have an honest and engaged community that is valued to a degree that is very rare in any project. The goal of Cyber Republic is to eventually hand over much of the power to this community of people and allow for the project to run autonomously and democratically. This goal needs people who believe in an idea like this and Elastos has dedicated close to half of its ELA to fund this project…that is how serious Elastos takes its community’s involvement. This is an ambitious project and it is still in its very early stages, but for many, this is where the excitement comes, the potential in each community member actively finding ways to contribute. We believe developers and non-developers, with the right attitude and earnest belief in this project, can help heal the internet. This is a use case worth fighting for. A community of people who want to cooperate, who band together, who care, who figure out ways to make this experiment work and grow, who figure out ways to get along with each other across borders and divides, this is truly what a Cyber Republic is, and we need one right now, desperately, just like we need its mission, to heal our internet and to figure out a way to do it together, as one people. “One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free.” So come together. Right now. Onward! Upward! Elastos!


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Elastos Weekly Update | 13 July 2018: Thoughts & Conclusions