Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn – Interview With Omar at

Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn – Interview With Omar at

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Podcast Transcript:

Jefferson Nunn  0:05 

Live from global headquarters. This is “Around the block with Jefferson.” And I’m here with special guest, Omar at Hey, how you doing? Man?

Omar Syed  0:18 

I’m doing good. How about yourself?

Jefferson Nunn  0:19 

Stuff? Good, good. So, you know, I know, I’ve heard of, you know, Ethereum one day, we’ll have sharding. But you’re, you know, having it now. Tell me, first of all, why sharding? And what you can do with it?

Omar Syed  0:37 

Sure. Um, so maybe, you know, you’ve heard about like the, you know, Blockchain trilemma where, you know, in order to achieve both scalability, or decentralization and security, it’s difficult for a project to achieve all three. And one of the reasons for that is the approach that they were taking in the design of the system, where every node has to process every transaction, and every node is holding the complete state.

So, what sharding does is it distributes the state across, you know, multiple groups of nodes. And with that, you get, like more parallel processing. So that gives you increased amount of transaction throughput. Right? Exactly, yeah. And also, you get more decentralization, if they’re not the nodes that, you know, can validate these transactions don’t need to be like super nodes, then you have like more people that are able to participate in the network. And that helps to increase the level of decentralization. And then, of course, you know, the security aspect of it, you always want to make sure that you’re maintaining the highest level of security, and, you know, there’s various things that you have to look at. But you know, one of them, of course, being that you shouldn’t allow any, you know, row party to be able to take control of more than 51% of any shard.

Jefferson Nunn  2:24 

Yeah, that’s really interesting. And I’m just curious, how does this compare with all of those other I’m sure you’ve heard Arbitron, you know, LoopRing? All these others [

that are? Silica? Hell?] Yeah. It sounds like yours is gonna be really good solution for infinite scale. Is that right?

Omar Syed  2:47 

Yeah. So, um, you know, there’s a lot of, you know, within the sort of the space of smart contract platforms, there’s a subset that is looking at doing sharding. And within that subset, almost all of them are doing block level sharding. You know, block-based consensus, we’re the only project that’s doing transaction level consensus. And if you, you know, think about it, it is actually a little bit less efficient to do transaction level consensus, because it’s more efficient to group everything into one block and just do consensus once. And, you know, you get all those transactions, ordered and agreed upon. But doing block level consensus kind of creates more complexities.

When you combine it with sharding. And the approach that we’re taking, even though initially, it’s not as efficient, it allows us to get more efficiencies later. And so, we can, you know, have what we call linear scaling, where each node that you add to the system directly starts to contribute right away to increase the number of transactions per second, that the network is able to handle. So. So that’s one of the key differences between our project and many of the other projects out there.

Jefferson Nunn  4:29 

Which would actually open up a whole lot of possibilities that we don’t have right now. And I would argue, and I think you could, you could argue the same, it would really put the power of managing your own projects, if you will, into your own hands right now, if you want to meant anything, you’re reliant upon, you know, just whatever’s going on on like LoopRing, for example, right? And that blueprint gets busy. You’re are stuck to with this. It sounds like the power would be in bow your my hand, if I’m the project owner, if it’s project, now I can control the growth of that project, right?

Omar Syed  5:14 

Yeah, absolutely. See a lot of things which are possible in decentralization, decentralized applications depend on the transaction fees being low, right. If the transaction fees go up, then many things become like not feasible, right. So, especially like with games, I mean, DeFi you know, is an indie DeFi, like on Ethereum, you pretty much have only the big whales that are able to pay like the $50 transaction fees, to, you know, do a swap of one token to another, something like that. But for the little guys who might only be playing with, you know, $500, that’s just not gonna work, right?

So, they’re always looking for, how can we achieve these, you know, the same features, but keeping the price of these transactions lock. And so that, so, you know, even though I talk about increasing the transaction throughput, and so forth, at the end of the day, what we’re really trying to do is provide a better user experience, right. And a better user experience comes from having transactions that, you know, execute fast and have low transaction fees. And that is, you know, I think the key to gaining adoption.

Jefferson Nunn  6:43 

Yeah, absolutely. This is, I think one of the things that have been holding back a lot of growth, I was just talking with another gentleman, he’s working on setting up a carbon credit system, he started with Ethereum, um, he really did. But he had to move to Hedera. You know, because at the transaction fees, at least on Hedera, one transaction would be 1/100 of a penny, just for one transaction, super cheap right. Now, Hedera doesn’t have some of the nice newer features, that I know that Ethereum is already on the roadmap for immediate release, which is, for example, EIP, 2535, diamonds, to have the ability to have infinite scale, contracts, language, right. Right. Now, the smart contracts are limited to, like 30k. So, I know, I’m asking two questions at once. But I really view them as interrelated. Using shardeum, would we be able to have larger contracts? And also, cheaper fees?

Omar Syed  8:01 

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, if shardeum is going to be 100%, Ethereum compatible. So any smart contract that you could deploy on the Ethereum network, you’d be able to deploy on the shardeum network and have the same functionality. And so, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, I think, you know, just making a system that does sharding well, and increasing the, you know, throughput and reducing the transaction fees, is the key thing to be done. Like, we don’t need to read, you know, create the smart contracting language, or, you know, how all of that work, a lot of thought and effort has been put into that. So, we’re just gonna, you know, stay compatible with that. And as you know, as these CIPS become more standardized, then you know, that would also be adopted on [illegible] Charlene, and we would be able to provide the same functionality.

Jefferson Nunn  8:58 

Awesome. Well, turning our attention to you. Hey, man, how’d you get started into this whole Bitcoin industry? Cuz it felt you’ve been around for 11 years? What would your start?

Omar Syed  9:12 

Yeah, so it’s kind of a long story. I would have to say it was originally in like, 2008 when Ron Paul was running for president and he would often times talk about we need to go back to sound money. And at the time, I was so busy with you know, life that I’ve never even thought about what money is a word comes from or anything like that. So, I had to look up some money was and you know, found out that basically Matt backing up your, you know, dollar bills with some sort of a commodity like gold essentially, so that the issuer is not able to print more, you know, dollars than the commodity that they have to back it up with and you know, of course, we all know you know what happened in 1971, when we temporarily dropped the convertibility of dollars back to gold. And never, you know, we’ve been in that temporary state for over 50 years now.

But so that was a big eye opener for me. And as I learned about that, and then I started researching the history of money and so forth, I came to, you know, believe that it makes a lot of sense to have a sound money system. But I didn’t like the possibility of using like a physical commodity to back it. And I, you know, thought through, you know, other possibilities of how this could be done. And came to realize that if we just had a system that gave each individual, a UBI, you know, like a unconditional basic income, and also had a small currency tax, where you lost about 2% of your balance per year, that could actually result in a very stable, sound, money type of a system without needing to have any commodities to back it up. So, I was writing this economic paper called sound money without commodities. And while I was doing the research for that, I wanted to look up where Digi cash is right now. So that was a project from the 1990s. That was started by Yeah, a cryptographer David Chung, and I found out that okay, that project, never, you know, came to fruition, but then I ran across Bitcoin, when I was searching for that, and that just, you know, kind of took me down a rabbit hole, which I haven’t come out of yet.

And so that’s kind of my original start on this, but also having a background in building large scale systems for, you know, big companies that handle millions of daily active users. I, when I came to Bitcoin, I could see that, you know, scalability was going to be an issue, as this network got more popular. And so even in 2011, I was starting to think about how could you build a more scalable blockchain system. And in no event, eventually, like in 2014, 2015, Bitcoin got popular enough that they had started having the issues and started having conferences on how to scale Bitcoin. And you know, that we had that fork of Bitcoin and bitcoin cash in 2013, where the community couldn’t agree on which way to go.

But along, I was thinking that, you know, essentially, we need to bring sharding into this, in order to get this horizontal scaling that we often use in distributed systems at, you know, large enterprises. So, in 2016, I left the consulting work that I was doing, and just locked myself up in a library for a year and a half, kind of thinking through these ideas that I had developed over the years. And I done in, you know, late 2017, I started putting a team together. And in 2018, we launched a project called shortest, which is focused on, you know, building the technology part of, you know, a distributed ledger that allows sharding. And our goal with that is to make it very easy for anybody to start with Chartists and then add their own application layer to it, right. And then create all sorts of decentralized web3.0 applications. So, you know, you could see a future where, let’s say, like Uber, you know, we have a decentralized Uber, or decentralized Reddit.

But when you’re building these, you don’t want to start from scratch and think about how to build a scalable blockchain. Right, so, so, shortest is the technology that will allow lots of different blockchains to be created that are sharted to begin with, and can scale. And so, in 20, late 2021, by Michelle Shetty, who’s the founder of Xerox, which is the largest exchange in India. They actually got acquired by binance. He approached me and said, you know, have some ideas want to, you know, see if maybe, you know, shortest could be used for this. And so, we met and discussed and he said, I want to build a smart contract platform using shortest. And, you know, we look into it, you know, what would that would take, and we realized that it could be done. And so that’s how we got started with the shardeum project. And so shardeum has a roadmap of delivering a sharded smart contract platform by the end of this year. And that could only be done because a lot of the technology that goes into this has been already developed over the last four years. Which artists so awesome, the full story Yep,

Jefferson Nunn  15:40 

What a what an incredible journey. You and I share one thing in common and that is we sort of found out about Bitcoin early for me, I found out about it in ditches the honest to God, goodness, truth, you can ask my wife, but I found out about it in 2010. I played around with downloaded the miner I was running it on my computer. I don’t know, I had like 1000 bitcoins in their mind at the time, right? You can mine blocks. And I left it running for like, you know, a month and my wife was like, why is your room always so hot? You know? Yeah. Imagine and don’t they they didn’t really understand cooling. And so, I you know, Bitcoin crashed to like 50 cents or whatever. And I was like add I totally like 500 bucks or whatever. And I was looking around on like Bitcoin talk to all the scammers. And I was like, Nah, not for me. It seems too scammy Right, right. So, I literally deleted everything sold the computer forgot about it. Yes. That that you know, hey, sorry, do you played it the currency by 1000? Bitcoins? Ooh.

Omar Syed 16:57 

Oh, no. Oh boy!

Jefferson Nunn  16:58 

And then, 20th Yeah. 23rd 2012, 2012. I remember reading a news article that Bitcoin was like at 80. And I was like, Yeah, but 80. Right. And then Litecoin came along world coin came along that theory, all these other all coins I was talking to, and I was started joining the Bitcoin meetups and inviting a lot of people to it. And in 2013, 2014, in Denver, and if you look, a lot of the players came out at the Denver Bitcoin meetup. You know, the folks that went down south and started the mighty transaction stuff. I don’t know where they are now. The the Pope, they started salt, which is the early version of everything that we know, today on Celsius, and all the other. And the founders of salt, I remember talking to him, and explaining to them the concept of lending. I mean, if you have an asset you can lend against. Right? Yep. Yeah, you have that asset. And you can do a lot with that asset, you can certainly earn a lot more than the interest. Exactly, you know, that whole DeFi thing. So, a lot of the Denver folks went and did all of that from those meetups was really incredible. And that’s what I like about this industry is like we’re creating the next generation of finance. Absolutely. Which is something if you think about it, we have not updated truly updated our economic protocol, since everything invented.

Omar Syed  18:45 

Yeah, absolutely. You know, we’ve we’ve gotten more and more technologies. But, um, it’s actually led to our money becoming more centralized. And people kind of giving up, you know, their, you know, control over the money and even now, we’re pretty much giving up even our privacy of, you know, what transactions we do and so forth. And so, yeah, I mean, there’s definitely, you know, Bitcoin is going to bring, it’s bringing up it’s definitely continues to expand more and more, and, you know, in bring this new form of money to the world, you know, which I think it’s just amazing.

Jefferson Nunn  19:38 

Incredible. As an asset bitcoin is totally, I mean, you can use strike, you can go to places in El Salvador and McDonald’s and have a McDonald’s if you touch what you really want, and it works. It’s instant. It’s incredible. And we’ve never had and here’s the deal, you can capture a lot more about that transaction. Then you ever could with the dollar?

Omar Syed  20:03 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, the blockchain provides verifiable proof of whether you have funds in your accounts or not, you know, which is amazing.

Jefferson Nunn  20:13 

You have 100% control over it, which he. So, Omar it’s been incredible to have you on the show, I would love to have a follow up with you. In about six, seven months, I think by Dan, you’ll have some amazing success with your launch and so forth.

Omar Syed  20:30 

Yeah, we have a alpha or beta and that up by then. Right.

Jefferson Nunn  20:35 

So, any final thoughts for listeners?

Omar Syed  20:40 

Um, yeah, I mean, just, you know, this is a really exciting area to be in. And, you know, I think we’re still in the very, very early stages of things. So, I know a lot of people feel like, oh, man, I’m late to the party. But I would, you know, tell your listeners that, you know, don’t think that way, there’s still a lot of new things yet to happen, right. And so, you know, don’t be like the early people who were in Bitcoin and thought this is a scam and, you know, bailed out, right, because, like, I never thought the price would get to where it is now. And I donated away, like, a lot of the Bitcoins that I had. And, you know, now that I look back on it, it’s like, wow, you know, that was a huge donation. So true story.

Jefferson Nunn  21:28 

I opened up one of my wallets from 2013 could be just transactional. And there was a little bit of bitcoins left in there or whatever. And I opened up that wallet, and it displays the current value. And it’s like, oh, here’s 300,000. Here’s half a million. Yeah.

Omar Syed  21:52 

Right. Right. I know. It’s just

Jefferson Nunn  21:56 

Those days, it was like, you know, $1,000 a day, you know, 500 bucks. And all it was.

Omar Syed  22:02 

Yeah. And, you know, the other thing that I find amazing about this industry is looking at the whole market cap of crypto is, you know, like under 3 trillion for sure, right. But look at the amount of work and innovation, that that is buying, right? The amount of new technology, and, you know, new innovation that’s coming out. I mean, look, we’re throwing like, you know, 2.1 trillion into the economy, every few months, right, to deal with the Coronavirus and all this. And gosh, you know, other than, you know, keeping people afloat, who, you know, may have been affected by it. You just don’t see that going into creating as much innovation as what, you know, you see in this field. So, yeah.

Jefferson Nunn  22:57 

I really think that Shardeum will enable creation to happen economic creation, that nice.

Omar Syed  23:05 

Absolutely, yeah. And, you know, we want people to build on Shardeum. And, as you know, our goal is to keep the transaction fees low, and keep the transaction rates high and fast. And so, I think that will enable many things that would not have been possible otherwise.

Jefferson Nunn  23:26 

Thank you very much for coming on the show and I look forward to you the next six months.

Omar Syed  23:31 

Alright, thanks a lot, Jeff.

Jefferson Nunn  23:33 


Jefferson Nunn

Since 1999, Jefferson Nunn has been a consultant to high net worth individuals. Always an innovator, his ideas have generated millions for his clients including Ronco and GoWireless. He has been involved in the CryptoCurrency industry since mining his first Bitcoin in 2010. Since then, he has met with many of the early pioneers in the CryptoCurrency space including the founders of Ethereum and the founders of Crypto Capital in Panama, and more.