Namaste Tribe! We had an amazing AMA session with Larry Pang, Head of Business Development at IoTeX, in WazirX Telegram group as a part of Grand IOTX Giveaway on Thursday, 17th September 2020. Here’s a quick summary of the session.
Hi Larry, we are glad to have you here today! To begin the AMA, could you tell us about yourself and IoTeX
Hello I’m Larry Pang, and I’m a Founding Member and Head of Business Development at IoTeX. I graduated from MIT and spent five years as a Management Consultant at Oliver Wyman before joining IoTeX. I got into crypto after doing a consulting project in 2016 with the World Economic Forum on global payments — I was fascinated by how the financial world could be designed to be human-owned. I had a similar realization when I heard about IoTeX that the Internet of Things (IoT) aka our smart devices can also be trusted, private, and human-owned.
Q1. What is IoTeX, and what are the main uses and purpose for IOTX?
IoTeX began our journey in 2017 as an open-source project. IoTeX is a platform that was built 100% from scratch (no forks) and is tailor fit to support Internet of Things (IoT) use cases and to power the next-generation of human-centered, privacy-preserving smart devices and networks. The IoTeX team consists of 30+ top tier engineers and scientists from Uber, Google, Intel, Facebook, and other top tech companies. Currently, our platform is maintained by 60+ global Delegates (https://member.iotex.io/) including Blockfolio, CoinGecko, DraperDragon, and more.
IoTeX has a vision for the Internet of Trusted Things — an open ecosystem where humans and machines can interact with guaranteed trust, free will, and privacy. Our platform uniquely combines blockchain, secure hardware, and confidential computing to enable trusted data from trusted devices for use in trusted Dapps.
Today, smart devices like cameras, thermostats, and virtual assistants are being installed in our homes and businesses at a blistering rate. Even traditionally “dumb” devices, such as beds, mirrors, and toilets, are now equipped with WiFi and powerful sensors to make them “smart” — this phenomenon is called the Internet of Things (IoT).
However, today’s IoT is owned and controlled by institutions (e.g., tech giants, governments) and not users (aka you and me). All of our highly sensitive IoT data, such as the videos from our home cameras, are owned by institutions and manipulated without our consent.
IoTeX’s goal is to enable a future that is connected, empowering and safe — no intrusive ads and surveillance, just privacy and peace of mind without sacrificing usability. The IoTeX platform enables builders to easily launch privacy-preserving IoT devices, apps, and networks. Just like Bitcoin has created a decentralized financial ecosystem, IoTeX is empowering a decentralized ecosystem for our smart devices — the Internet of Trusted Things.
Q2. How does IoTeX help improve the security and privacy of IoT devices around the world?
I think the best way to do that is by giving you an example!
This is Ucam, the first “Powered by IoTeX” product. we used blockchain and end-to-end encryption to empower this device, which is the world’s first 100% private security camera.
IoTeX is on a mission to create devices that let you “own your data” which unlocks so many opportunities for consumers and businesses. the IoTeX platform enables device builders to create brand new privacy-first products, which will solve many of the centralized data issues we see today.
We do not need to rely on tech giants to protect ourselves — we can take the power into our own hands! IoTeX will be the platform to allow us to own the data from our smart devices and eventually tokenize/monetize to capture incredible new value.
This is a great blog for anyone that wants to know more about IoTeX’s vision for unlocking the value of our IoT data.
Q3. In your opinion, how will the launch of IoTeX’s Ucam negatively impact the CCTV market? What are the advantages of Ucam?
The best way I can explain the impact of Ucam is that it is the world’s first 100% private smart device designed for the mass market. This is not just for crypto people, it will be sold on Amazon to everyday people starting in a couple weeks to introduce more and more people to the power of blockchain.
Everyone is asking about mass adoption — well we feel that Ucam is the perfect way for the masses to learn about blockchain.
What is really great about Ucam is it has all of the features you expect from a security camera (1080p HD, motion detection, night vision, two-way audio, etc.) but it also comes with impenetrable security and privacy, making it different than any other camera on the market today. We use blockchain-based login to ensure Ucam can ONLY be accessed by the owner and all of the videos are owned exclusively by the owner as well — even our engineers cannot see your videos for any reason.
This will fundamentally transform the way we think about our devices — a big challenge for crypto products has always been matching the user experience of traditional products. With Ucam, we have the best of both worlds: a super functional/usable product with 100% privacy.
But don’t just take our word for it — check out these amazing reviews of Ucam:
if you want to learn more about Ucam, i would highly recommend this Ucam Unboxing + Tutorial video!
Q4. Blockchain + IoT + Privacy is a fairly new market, so who are your competitors in all three areas?
Let’s start with the blockchain + IoT space. Many people directly compare us to IOTA, so let me first address that:
IoTeX and IOTA are not enemies. Yes we are both working in the blockchain+IoT space, but we are actually working on different things. IOTA prides itself on enabling feeless M2M payments, while IoTeX is building a network for privacy-preserving, human-centered smart devices.
Rather than debate IOTA vs. IoTeX technology, what I will say is that IoTeX in only two years has done things that IOTA has not done in five years:
1) Launched a fully decentralized Mainnet with DPoS staking maintained by 60+ global Delegates (http://member.iotex.io/)), including Blockfolio, CoinGecko, DraperDragon, and more
2) Launched REAL IoT products like Ucam (https://ucam.iotex.io/), the world’s first private security camera built in partnership with Tenvis (https://www.amazon.com/TENVIS-Wireless-Surveillance-Security-Auto-Cruise/dp/B071DDBT7M) and Pebble Tracker (https://www.nordicsemi.com/News/2020/02/IoTeXs-Cellular-IoT-based-tracker-delivers-environmental-and-condition-data-for-assets-in-transit), a decentralized asset tracker built in partnership with Nordic Semiconductor (https://www.nordicsemi.com/).
Look at the projects that are launching real products, not just whitepapers!
Honestly, there are many people saying they are working on IoT, but nobody is doing the things that IoTeX is doing. in the future, we even envision IoTeX will be the source of IoT data for the entire blockchain industry. just like chainlink serves financial data to the entire industry, IoTeX will play a similar role in the future!
regarding privacy, this is also a very interesting space to watch. There are two types of privacy on blockchain today — one is about sending tokens privately (Monero, Zcash) and the other is about making our data private. we are focused on the data side, as we believe this is the first step to unlocking a human-centered world. I think this graphic provides some good context:
IoTeX is uniquely working at the intersection of IoT + Privacy — join us and let’s take back control of our devices and data!
Q5. Can IoTeX partner with Fitbit or digital watches to increase IoTeX exposure?
Yes! that is the best part about the technology we have built-in to IoTeX devices like Ucam and Pebble Tracker. you can think about the devices as “hardware shells” where we inject IoTeX software to make them more secure and private.
This can definitely applied to the wearables space, and something we are actually working on right now with some exciting partners!
When it comes to our health data, this is something that we MUST own going forward. we all need to ask ourselves why we are comfortable with private companies holding our data, especially when they have a track record of abusing, manipulating, and selling our data for profit.
For things like our internet history or our music preferences or things like that, these things should also be private but it is not as urgent as our health data and smart home data. if we give our health data to private companies, then it is theirs forever and we can never get it back! same thing with our smart home data — we need to be conscious of what types of data we are giving up.
We actually did a podcast on this topic — for anyone interested in how blockchain will impact the healthcare space, watch this!
Q6. On which sector is IoTeX planning to focus more? Do you guys have any big or special plans for India?
From an industry perspective, we are really interested in the following sectors:
- Smart Home / Smart City
- Heathcare + Wearables
- Supply Chain + Transportation
As I mentioned before, the reason we are interested in smart home + healthcare is due to the sensitivity of this data. i already went into this quite a bit, but the main point is all of these very personal and private data can and should be owned by users.
Let me dive into this new category of supply chain + transportation
Here is another IoTeX device that we built specifically for asset tracking purposes — it is called Pebble Tracker and it is a developer product.
Pebble Tracker is a tamper-proof hardware device that converts real-world IoT data to the blockchain for use in smart contracts. The device itself measures GPS location, temperature, humidity, motion, light, and other metrics, providing real-time tracking information for use in smart contracts. With this trusted data, developers can use this data to trigger smart contracts, payments, and other things on the blockchain!
This is an important thing to understand about IoTeX — our job is to provide the trusted devices that generate trusted data. The job of our developers is to use this trusted device/data provided by IoTeX to create their own trusted applications.
From this perspective, nobody is providing these types of advanced IoT features to builders today. In fact, many projects that say they are doing IoT are not actually doing real IoT. QR code scanning and placing it on the blockchain is easy, integrating blockchain with real smart devices is hard. IoTeX is leading the way!
Another interesting fact for everyone: By 2025, there will be >50 billion IoT devices in the world that generate 80 trillion gigabytes of data. We believe IoTeX will dominate the future decentralized IoT industry and support many millions of devices and trillions of gigabytes of data in the future.
Q7. You started as an Internet of Things initiative in 2017 then why did you dive into Blockchain? Was Blockchain always on your mind when you first started with this idea?
Yes, when IoTeX started in 2017 we already have the vision to combine blockchain + IoT + privacy together. Many people thought we were crazy, but we always had this vision to make the data from our devices private
In this industry, it’s important to look past the day-to-day trends and focus on the long-term value. Imagine the world in 5 years — without a doubt, privacy will be incredibly important as more and more of our data is on the Internet. And on the IoT side, we are already seeing this in our daily lives — all of us use smart devices at home, at work, on the road, etc.
So if we take the growth of privacy + IoT as inevitable, then we need to start designing solutions today. And that is what IoTeX is doing!
I think the world still has a long way to go as far as privacy education and why it matters. This cannot be done only by IoTeX, there must be others that champion for privacy. But in this IoT sector, IoTeX plans to be the global leader.
So if you believe that privacy + IoT will be important factors in the future, then you should support and believe in IoTeX.
Q8. As the head of business development, how do you aim to spur adoptions and use cases for IOTX?
This is a good question! Let me explain a bit what I do daily at IoTeX.
Here is a view of the IoTeX platform — at each layer, we have different types of partners (with the exception of the blockchain layer, which we build mostly internally)
Middleware — this is one interesting area where we work closely with projects like IPFS/Filecoin and also working on things like Decentralized Identity (DID). you can learn more about what we are working on with Filecoin here:
Dev Tools & APIs: we also work with many external parties to make IoTeX easier to use and develop-able. Lots of this has to do with identifying great tools like IoT data dashboards, smart contract builders, etc. that make development more streamlined.
But maybe the biggest category of partners is on top of the platform itself — these are the partners that build new devices and new Dapps on IoTeX.
You can see how all of these different layers of partners influence each other. With more middleware/dev tools, the device/Dapp builders have more tools to utilize. With more device/Dapp builders, this attracts more middleware/tools creators to join and offer their services to IoTeX builders.
Much of my job is to evaluate our progress along each of these layers and make sure all of them are cohesive and complimentary! I think IoTeX has one of the coolest and most diverse partner networks in the entire industry 🙂
Q9. What is Halo? How does the Halo program work?
2020 is a big year for IoTeX — earlier this year, we launched our Mainnet GA and are now ready for the world to build on IoTeX. To support and bootstrap this, we launched Halo as a way to fund interesting projects, whether they are blockchain+IoT products or network-wide tools like wallets/explorers/etc.
This is incredibly important as it opens up IoTeX to the entire world and offers support from the IoTeX team to design new solutions. We already have funded ~7 projects in the last couple months, which range from healthcare devices, big data projects, staking dashboards, on-chain games, and much more!
Check them out here: https://medium.com/@iotex/iotex-halo-grants-announcing-the-first-batch-of-approved-grants-7b430311cfe2
For anyone interested in building on IoTeX, please consider applying for a Halo Grant! You can find more information on the Halo website (halo.iotex.io) and the Halo Github: https://github.com/iotexproject/halogrants
Q10. What is Pantheon and why is it Pantheon? What’s unique about Pantheon? What role does Pantheon play in the IoTeX ecosystem?
Pantheon is an enterprise permissioned blockchain developed by IoTeX. we built pantheon specifically to support different enterprise work we have been working on. lots of the things we do in the enterprise space are through the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and other consortiums like the IEEE and CCC.
Basically pantheon is a way for enterprises to use the IoTeX protocol and tools without the need for tokens/cryptocurrency.
You can find more information on our enterprise website: http://iotex.io/enterprise
To give you an idea of the type of work we do with enterprises, take a look at these materials:
IoTeX Blockchain + IoT Reference Architecture: https://iotex.b-cdn.net/docs/reference-architecture.pdf
Q11. What are your plans for future? How did IoTeX deal with Covid-19?
I like this question (the second part)
Covid has been hard on everyone, but I think IoTeX has done great through this pandemic. We have switched to completely remote work, which has made it hard to do things like Live AMAs and things like that, but luckily there is Zoom and other tech to help!
What I will say about this pandemic is it has really opened our eyes to how technology can address real-world issues. Even the contact tracing for COVID we believe could be done much better if blockchain + IoT + privacy was more mature. But this confirms so much of what we are doing at IoTeX. We need to have ways where everyday people and businesses are in control, not profit-hungry corporations and questionable governments. Power to the people!
Q12. What is the biggest challenge you face currently in terms of becoming a successful project or company?
I think the biggest challenge for all of the crypto industry right now is education. There is still so much noise in the industry — ponzis, fake projects, exit scams. We need to educate the masses about the true value of blockchain, which is to remove the centralized intermediares that take our money, data, and peace of mind.
This is a step-by-step process that must be thought about from a long-term perspective! It is the job of everyone as early adopters to share with others the REAL value of blockchain, not just shilling the next yield farming scam.
Q13. Decentralized Finance has become a hot topic in the industry. On that front, I’ve seen IoTeX detailing DeFi use cases on the website. What would you say is the most promising DeFi application for IoTeX at the moment?
IoTeX is not working on DeFi, but rather what we call DeFIoT — decentralized finance for the Internet of Things. our goal with DeFIoT is to unlock the trilion dollar IoT data market. You can learn more about DeFIoT here: https://medium.com/@iotex/defiot-unlocking-the-trillion-dollar-iot-data-market-c76a5204cb0e
Q14. IoTeX is currently going well and is receiving positive attention. What will you do to get more exposure and adoption? What is the IoTeX message for the Community today?
We are really excited for the next phase of IoTeX where we will bring new products to the market. Honestly, it is not easy to win new investors/fans by talking about consensus mechanisms and platform tools all day — people want to see and use REAL products with a REAL benefit over traditional solutions. It has been a long time coming but with the launch of Ucam (http://ucam.iotex.io/) we are finally putting an amazing “Powered by IoTeX” product in the hands of people! Now we can let the products do the talking 🙂