For those readers who haven’t heard of Horizen, could you please start by telling us something about the project. What are your goals and how you are achieving them?
Of course. Horizen, as I see it, is a community startup. We focus on community and we build technology around the community. We aim to build an inclusive and application-rich environment that empowers people to create meaningful change through technology and incentives.
We are achieving this goal through the release of our Sidechains and Sidechain SDK, which allows anybody to come into our ecosystem and affordably spin up their own blockchain-based application.
How do you see Horizen positioned compared to the competition? Do you see other projects like Monero, Zcash or even Cosmos and Polkadot as competitors?
From a development standpoint, I definitely consider projects like Monero, Zcash, and others as competition. Each of those projects has real-world value, many smart and motivated people, and are building amazing things.
Competition drives us to continually improve. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for these other projects. The teams at these projects are brilliant. They drive us to always do our best and push as hard as we can every day. In this space, you have to constantly be pushing forward or you’ll fall behind.
What distinguishes Horizen from those competitors, both from a technical point of view and in terms of other aspects, such as community involvement?
I’m glad you asked. Drawing from the previous question, we are constantly pushing forward on our technology and development. Our competitors all have their own sidechain products or are in the process of releasing their products. How and why we created our sidechains are the major differences between Horizen and other projects.
Horizen is a community-based and community-driven project. We look to build a product that everyone can use. We wanted to create something that everyone would find useful and would empower people around the world when we created the design for our sidechain protocol and SDK. So, the major difference is that our sidechains are completely decentralized and customizable. You can use any development language, any consensus mechanism, any use case, and do anything with our technology that you can do on any other blockchain. We give everyone the freedom to build their own decentralized applications in any way they see fit.
Privacy coins have a rather bad reputation among the public. The international AML and KYC regulations have already forced some crypto exchanges to exclude privacy coins from their platform. Do you see a danger in this trend that governments want to track all transactions and Horizen could be banned? How do you intend to counter this threat?
Regulation on privacy coins and blockchain has been a major concern lately. Of course, we are concerned and are watching it closely, but we aren’t worried about being banned. We believe that regulators will see the value of privacy, but of course, we want to exercise caution, right?
In 2019, you have made numerous technical advances in the field of sidechain technology. How satisfied are you with what you have achieved so far in this area?
I think I can say on behalf of the entire team that we are all incredibly satisfied with our performance and engineering advancements in 2019. 2019 was all about laying important foundations, and the beginning of our major release and growth phase. Some of these major releases included the largest ever milestone for our project. The alpha release of our sidechain protocol was the start of the next chapter for our project. It put us in position to really drive the growth of our ecosystem in 2020.
What makes your sidechain technology so unique? Maybe you can tell us something about scaling, security, decentralization and the sidechain SDK.
I touched on this in a previous question, but I will go into a bit more detail. The major difference in our technology and sidechain SDK is that they are completely customizable and consensus and application agnostic. The unique design allows anybody to come in and build their own decentralized applications for pretty much any use case. The design also ensures security and ensures that the mainchain is not affected by malicious actors in any given sidechain.
When we were designing our system, we realized that the best way to create a massively adoptable product was to make it adaptable to any need. We spent the first two years of our project building the largest node network in the space because we knew we needed a strong foundation for our sidechains to make them scalable. Our node operators will have the option to run sidechains on their nodes, which will entitle them to extra income. The details of this new economic model are still in development.
Your sidechain-as-a-service platform is designed to enable organizations to create distributed ledger solutions that are not only fast and secure but also private, scalable and easy to deploy. Are there already people from the enterprise sector interested in the technology?
Yes. I can’t give you all of the details, but we are working with Horizen Labs, an independent blockchain technology company and several other organizations who are interested in building Horizen sidechains.
Horizen has the largest node network in the space, and companies are interested in building on top of that. Our foundation provides power, security, and scalability that you may not see in other projects. When you combine that with a team that has a proven dedication to delivery and being one of the highest rated projects by FCAS score, it really creates something unique that a lot of people are drawn to.
Use cases and partnerships in the enterprise sector are an important topic so that a blockchain has a raison d’être in the long term. What measures do you want to take to become better known on the one hand and to create use cases on the other hand? Have you forged a long-term plan?
Horizen is unique compared to others in that we have created this product that isn’t bound to a single design or use case. It’s designed for many use cases, which is why we decided on our new tagline “Unbounded by Design”. We don’t want to limit ourselves and our community to a handful of use cases, or force application paths. We created a product where anybody can come in at any level and use and be useful to the ecosystem.
Which goals do you want to achieve in 2020? Can you tell us what the roadmap for 2020 contains?
Yeah of course. 2020 is going to be huge for our project from both development and growth standpoints. On the development side, we have plans for major releases to our ecosystem. These include Horizen Sidechains Beta, Sidechain SDK, and the Horizen Developer Environment (HDE). I believe the HDE will really increase community growth and the adoption of Horizen through incentivizing developers to come in and test our products and help us improve the functionality of products like Horizen Sidechains, Sidechain SDK, and Sphere by Horizen.
We began our growth initiatives in Q4 and we have seen staggering results from it without any sign of slowing down. We are going to keep pressing on that this year. I know the Marketing and Growth teams have several targeted campaigns to continue this. I can’t say more about that right now, but we will release more information in the future.
Of course, we have many smaller releases planned, as well. You can check out our roadmap on our webpage. What I can say is that I am very excited for 2020 and what we are bringing to the blockchain space.
Thanks for your time and talk to you soon!