Cryptocurrency Startups: Interview with Josh Byatt, COO of DERO Foundation
In the last couple of months we have been looking into blockchain and cryptocurrency startups with a critical eye, focusing on promising companies and projects that did well in 2019. When analyzing the up and comings on the altcoin market, we connected with Josh Byatt, COO of DERO Foundation, to talk about project DERO, its most recent developments, and near future plans.
– Josh, how did you become interested in blockchain and crypto? What led you to DERO?
I would say it was mid 2017 when I first discovered crypto. A colleague at work talked to me about Bitcoin. This got me looking into other coins. Skip forward a few months and now I am mining with my gaming rig at home in late 2017 – early 2018. This is where I started to pay attention to crypto use cases and how it can change the financial world as we know it.
A good friend of mine in February 2018 links me to an article “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto,” where a key point sticks out for me “An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy.” This is what led me to research privacy coins and after reading the CryptoNote whitepaper by Nicolas van Saberhagen, DERO caught my attention.
– What is the DERO Project about? What motivated you to join it?
The goal of the Dero project is a blockchain that can serve businesses and individuals around the globe, allowing for secure, fast and anonymous transactions and smart contract execution.
It was developed from scratch to support millions of users with enhanced reliability, privacy, security, and usability. No one can see your balances and transactions except you on the DERO blockchain.
Dero is the first crypto project to combine a Proof of Work blockchain with a DAG block structure and wholly anonymous transactions. The fully distributed ledger processes transactions with a twelve-second average block time and is secure against majority hashrate attacks. Dero will be the first CryptoNote blockchain to have smart contracts on its native chain without any extra layers or secondary blockchains.
After reviewing the project for a few weeks, I could see that my views and DERO’s long-term goals were aligned. I reached out to the lead developer of DERO and offered support where possible to help grow the DERO project. After a few weeks I submitted a few wallet designs to Kryptoid and Dank and I was put forward to be the Community Coordinator for DERO and as time progressed myself, Dank and Kryptoid completed the setup of the DERO Foundation and here we are today.
What has been motivating me about working on DERO the most is the gut feeling I have had about this project – it being something special and its long-term vision. Still today I get this feeling and this is what gives me the passion to continue working for DERO. Knowing what DERO will achieve in the coming months/years is a very exciting prospect.
– How well are the private smart contracts working? Are there any real use cases at the moment besides Testnet?
Smart contracts are working great, we have some developers that have already used the platform to create games. The real use cases are only limited to the imagination of anyone who would like to use smart contracts with privacy on the settlement layer.
What is the purpose of the DERO digital currency?
The DERO currency is used essentially as GAS for the smart contract platform. GAS cryptocurrency is one of the two tokens that power the NEO blockchain. The purpose of GAS is to enable the seamless execution of transactions on the network. In other words, you need to use GAS cryptocurrency to pay the subscription fees for using the NEO blockchain.
– What does the DERO Project do differently from potential competition?
DERO uses layer 1 privacy on the settlement layer to achieve privacy for its platform. Also, DERO’s layer 1 security is second to none. Not only is the blockchain resilient against 51% attacks and hashrate attacks but all P2P traffic is encrypted with TLS. This provides even more protection against metadata and network correlation attacks on top of the CryptoNote protocol.
– Tell us about the DERO team. What makes you guys good?
Our development team has written a CryptoNote blockDAG with Bulletproofs from scratch in Golang. Since DERO is not a fork of any other coin and has its own code base, it shows the skill and protocol level of understanding that the developers have. At the time the blockDAG was released it was still basically a theoretical concept that other projects and crypto experts were just talking about. The developers also released Bulletproofs prior to any other project that were cryptographically unique, faster and more secure than anyone else had accomplished. The DERO project always puts security, stability and privacy before everything else.
As far as our other team members go, we all have several years in the crypto space and our backgrounds range from software development to business management. We do not claim to be the best, but since we are long-time community members, we feel that we have a passion that you simply cannot buy. We feel that gives us a deeper understanding and respect for the project on top of the developer’s vision, when compared to other projects. There may be other teams with more experience, but they tend to be “hired guns” for the most part.
– What are your short-term and long-term plans?
In the short term, we are working on documentation and preparing for the release of Smart Contracts on to mainnet. In the long term, we are always looking for innovative ideas to bring to DERO and the crypto space.
– When you are not working on crypto, what do you enjoy doing? Any hobbies?
I watch a lot of football. I am also passionate about gaming and fast cars.
Interviewed by Contributor @LordCatoshi