Catching WAVES: Promoting Decentralization in a Sea of Permissioned Blockchains
Sasha Ivanov loves to blaze new trails in the blockchain realm. Best known for his cryptocurrency exchange business Coinomat, Ivanov has been a coding enthusiast for years. Now he’s raising eyebrows through a new innovation called WAVES that endeavors to do for cryptocurrency tokens what Ethereum had does for smart contracts.
So what is WAVES? In short, it’s a decentralized platform that facilitates the use of custom, value-based blockchain tokens. These digital assets can be issued by any platform user, and are able to be transacted on a highly synchronized, decentralized exchange for internal crowdfunding , trading, or other asset transfer of inherent value. Through the use of blockchain technology, any and all centralized points of failure are mitigated, with data being stored in a distributed manner.
The beauty of the WAVES technology is that it can support the issuance and support of blockchain tokens featuring national currencies and financial instruments. It has also raised eyebrows within the traditional w0rld of finance in terms of its seamlessly integration with KYC/AML compliant practices, all with low maintenance costs, data transparency and new global market access.
The initial phase of the WAVES trading platform and coin offering is projected for April 2016, with the beta network launch replete with a lightweight client interface to occur this summer. The system will use Proof-of-Stake-based consensus rules with 100 million digital tokens issued overall. Additionally, the platform’s client will have an encrypted messaging service and a voting system.
Riding the Crest of New Development
The WAVES project development team includes developers and entrepreneurs who had been previously associated with NXT, an early 2.o generation blockchain platform which builds on and enhances the basic functionality of established cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Ivanov says his intent has been to pursue an alternative to Ethereum -the latter being better fundamentally, but practically harder to for innovations to ensue from it.
“We are seeking to create the ultimate colored coins platform, perfecting several use cases for it involving fiat money transfer, crowdfunding, open-source development and community management.
The WAVES development team’s extensive experience in producing real-world applications is seen by Ivanov as a major advantage. A major emphasis, he says, is currently being placed on user experience through the ongoing development of a familiar interface for crowdfunding platforms, broker accounts and online banking services.
“We will be utilizing a very light-weight client model, which works as a browser plugin, and is integrated for national currencies transfer and kickstarter-like crowdfunding. Users will be able to install it in one-click, and user experience will be not that much different from a traditional online banking /online trading experience. But under the hood it all runs on the blockchain technology, and has no centralized point of failure.”
Ivanov says that at present crowdfunding and fiat transfer are probably the most ideally suited applications of the colored coin approach. He endeavors to decentralize crowdfunding because he finds blockchains to be a natural environment for this sort of activity.
“You get certain inherent things for free when you use blockchain tokens, like, for example, the ability for backers to exit their pledge in a crowdfunding project they support (by trading their token at decentralized exchange).”
The WAVES name according to Ivanov was chosen with the intent of symbolizing the interaction that emerges in communities – the sort of gravitational energy which coalesces people together in the spirit of attraction and cooperation. As the platform advances in its collaborative development, some are favorably comparing it to Ripple in terms of the way its fiat assets will be backed by third-parties, financial institutions and payment processors. Ivanov finds this current movement toward permissioned blockchains disconcerting.
We need to offer the established financial system open blockchains to work on, and not let them ‘privatize’ blockchain technology.
Another element important to Ivanov and the WAVES Platform team is the opportunity to become the first reputational system on the blockchain – a major breakthrough that would propel WAVES crowdfunding functionality to high levels of safety and resistance to fraud and abuse.
Says Ivanov: “Our goal is to be fully compliant. National currencies transfer will be backed by existing financial institutions, subject to their KYC/AML policies. Instead of inventing a new kind of money, we want to offer traditional currencies a new transaction medium. We see our mission in not fighting banks and traditional financial institutions but rather, just the opposite. Our goal is to help them evolve into more transparent institutions via public, non-permissioned blockchains as opposed to the creation of closed permissioned chains, as some banks are trying to do now.”
As WAVES’s rapid deployment of new innovations continues to move towards high tide, Ivanov sees himself primarily as a community manager. “I see my role as keeping an eye on the development direction which first appeared in the NXT and SuperNET communities and base my vision upon that. There’s a clear vision of what should be achieved and I facilitate the interaction with our current community to make it happen. I like doing different things, so I [oversee] sides of the process, from development to marketing.”
As for what Ivanov’s perfect end game outcome, he sees WAVES as poised to make a major impact on the world of community-based, horizontal, decentralized, open-source initiatives.
We ultimately want to be viewed as the go-to platform for these sorts of projects. That’s what drives us daily.