Hey, Vansa! Happy to connect today and learn more about the OMG Network project! Can you tell us more about the founding of the project and what the problem is that you were addressing?
My first exposure to blockchain came about when I was at the World Bank. I was in infrastructure financing and spent a lot of time in Myanmar (and CLMV countries) just when the country re-opened. With infrastructure financing, you don’t only build the infrastructure but also invest in the communities around it. For example, if the World Bank invested in an irrigation system, it would allocate funding for farmer field school, rural commerce, and payments, etc. Their idea was that you couldn’t develop one without the other. One of the moments that stuck with me was the payment process. My team and I had to lug suitcases of single USD bills out to the countryside to pay for construction and work.
That, coupled with a few other experiences, led me to believe that there has to be a better way to move money around. And this is how I got exposed to financial services.
It was during that period of introspection that a family member mentioned Bitcoin to me, stating that there were people in Yangon who were selling and trading Bitcoin. I started looking into it, and I was drawn to the idea of using Bitcoin as a means to move values around globally without restrictions.
A couple of years later, I was ready to do something different so I left the World Bank and came back to Bangkok to start a P2P organic farming lending project. This was how I learned about Ethereum.
As I was trying to find my way around the space, I met Jun and Donnie, founders of the payment gateway company, Omise. They were experimenting with Ethereum for their payment stack and became early contributors to the first Ethereum DEV Grants, along with Microsoft.
We met, hit it off, and realized that we had the same belief: people should have the options and ability to transfer money globally, without restrictions.
Thanks, now could you please give us a rundown of the most important things about the OMG Network?
The OMG Network is the value transfer layer for ETH and any ERC20 token. We’re one of the few production-ready Layer-2 scaling solutions for Ethereum. The OMG Network increases Ethereum’s transaction processing capacity from 12 to 14 transactions per second to thousands of transactions per second while reducing transaction fees to 1/3rd!
Security is a core feature of the OMG Network. We decentralize security to Ethereum’s Smart Contracts and a Watcher Network. This ensures user funds are always safe and recoverable no matter what happens to the Network — we call this feature Trustlessness.
And lastly, the OMG Network is completely permissionless, which means anyone can transact, build on, or integrate with the Network.
So going forth into 2020 and beyond, how will your project make an impact in the crypto space, or on the world?
At OMG Network, we believe the ability to transfer value and make payments is a basic human right. As over 60% of the world gains access to the internet and more commerce moves online, financial systems have to evolve to accommodate multiple parties and transact different forms of money. We already see how diverse and purposeful money can be when we have the freedom to create it ourselves. Some notable examples include LETS (local exchange trading system), cryptocurrencies, in-game items, and reward points.
Current layer-1 networks like Ethereum support these various forms of value but sacrifice high transaction throughput and performance in order to maximize trustlessness and security. To date, this has been an optimal trade-off. However, it has meant that truly decentralized blockchains today are unable to scale to meet global demands. We saw that on March 12th, when the Ethereum network clogged up, pushing the average wait time to send a transaction to 44 minutes.
If we want to see blockchain truly become the backbone of future finance, then a secure scaling solution like OMG Network is a necessary piece of the puzzle.
Now, could you tell us about your accomplishments so far, and in the history of the OMG Network project, please tell us what you are most proud of.
We’re proud to say that we were the first production-ready Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solution to ever launch! The OMG Network V1 Mainnet Beta was launched on the 1st of June, this year. Track all activity on our network with our OMG Block Explorer.
We’re also excited about our Bitfinex/Tether integration that’ll be coming up in the future. You can read all about it in our official press release. We also have an established Developer Portal, which is a community of over 250+ developers and 12+ projects building, testing, and transacting on the OMG Network.
Lastly, we’re pretty proud of our developer portal, which, with its user-friendly interface, makes it easy to understand the various components of the OMG Network and how projects can build on top of it. It also hosts code samples, tutorials, and APIs that developers and projects can use to run the Network’s components locally and further ease integration!
Fantastic, now could you give us a quick rundown of the future of the project. For example, what new things are you seeking to bring to life and what will it mean for the overall project?
Our main focus right now is to maintain the network, prevent downtime, and keep fine-tuning our security. So far, we’re on track and have even launched a Bug Bounty with rewards of up to $25,000.
Future releases include implementing faster exits, scalable exits, and bringing OMG Staking to life.
We are looking forward to that. The OMG Network leverages Layer 2 Plasma architecture, could you tell us more about the Layer 2 Plasma architecture?
The OMG Network V1 Mainnet Beta uses the More Viable Plasma specification to increase the processing capacity of Ethereum. MoreVP trustlessly scales ETH and ERC20 transactions by grouping them up and sending them to Ethereum for confirmation. Processing batched transactions enables high throughput and significantly lower-cost transactions for the end-user.
A simpler way of putting this would be to compare it to carpooling. Think of each transaction as a passenger in a car. You pay gas to travel between point A and point B. If there’s traffic or congestion, you might end up in a bottleneck, paying an arm and a leg for gas and getting nowhere.
Now imagine if every transaction you make is ‘carpooled’ with several others. Congestion is reduced. Everybody gets to where they are going, quickly and without the extra costs. That’s what the OMG Network can do for you.
Thanks, now could you tell us about your team. Who’re the people behind the screens?
OMG Network is a team of 50+ people working remotely across four continents. Our culture is inclusive and we come from various backgrounds and industries — from technology and NGO’s, to finance and governance. I’d also like to take a moment to talk about our wonderful leadership team, all of whom come from impressive backgrounds and help me make better decisions every day.
Kasima Tharnpipitchai, CTO, has over ten years of experience in software engineering. Prior to joining OMG Network, he was the Lead Billing Engineer at GitHub. Stephen McNamara, COO, was CTO at VISA where he defined a new technology strategy for the business. He also co-founded Bitnet and was head of blockchain R&D strategy at Huawei. Connie Kwan, VP of Product, was previously Head of Product for Atlassian’s Marketplace and Developer Ecosystem, prior to which, she was in charge of shipping consumer apps at Microsoft.
A solid team with various strengths ensures we employ a strategy-driven, professional approach when shipping products.
Which partnerships have you engaged so far, and which ones are the most impactful?
The Bitfinex and USDt partnership was a big one, but besides that, we have our sights set on growing our ecosystem. This means engaging with more exchanges and onboarding more stablecoins, helping them speed up transaction speeds while reducing transaction costs. The launch showed us how real a pain point this was, as we had a number of wallets and exchanges contact us, and we’re now in talks with them.
We’re also pleased to announce that our parent company, SYNQA, closed an $80 million Series C round. We’ll be working with them, and our sister companies, closely to leverage their new strategic network and help businesses realize the benefits of the OMG Network.
All in all, we’re excited to bridge the gap between open finance and enterprise/real-world adoption. Exciting times ahead!
Congrats on the Series C round! Could you give us a quick rundown of OMG’s Network blockchain design?
The key features of OMG Network’s MoreVP blockchain design may be viewed as deviations from the big picture Plasma that is outlined by the original Plasma paper:
- Only supports transactions transferring value between addresses.
Value transfer can take the form of an atomic swap; that is two currencies being exchanged in a single transaction (multiple currencies: Eth + ERC20).
- It is a non-p2p, Proof-Of-Authority network.
The Childchain is centrally controlled by a designated, fixed Ethereum address (The Childchain operator); other participants (that is, users) connect to the child chain server.
- Employs a single-tiered Plasma construction. That is, the Childchain doesn’t serve as a parent of any chain.
- Guards against cheap, coordinated mass exits.
If people would like to follow OMG Network on your social media pages, visit your website or read your important documents like your white paper, what are the links they need to visit? Please list them below.
Thank you so much for your time! Do you have anything to add before we finish?
The recent increase in gas limit of the Ethereum Network shows us how valuable and necessary Layer-2 solutions are for the current climate! While the benefit of a gas limit increase is quite obvious — transaction throughput will increase from 35 tps to 44 tps — the downside is that it is a temporary solution. If Ethereum adoption keeps growing as it is, it’s only a matter of time before the gas limit begins to max out once again. Thus, for long-term network health and sustainability, at least one, if not many, Layer-2 solutions need to be adopted.
Project Rundown Interview with OMG Network on The Capital was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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