Paving the Way Towards Web 3.0 with Substrate Technology | Interview with Deeper Network CTO Chao Ma
“Together, we have witnessed the rise of the mobile Internet. Whoever serves the role of providing gateway access to the mobile Internet will amass a user base in the millions. A trillion-dollar industry was born from the rise of mobile smartphones and mobile apps.
Deeper Network has a similar vision; it’s positioned to become the underlying infrastructure for a truly decentralized communication network while serving as a gateway to Web3.0. dApps will proliferate in the Web3.0 era. Deeper’s devices serve to bridge the gap and transition users from Web2.0 to Web3.0. ”
— — Deeper Network CTO Chao Ma
01 Journey Into Blockchain
In 2014, Chao was still engrossed in machine learning and artificial intelligence. At that time, he had heard about Ethereum from a friend, and out of curiosity he read the Bitcoin and Ethereum’s white papers and downloaded the Ethereum client to try mining.
The interest in decentralized networks and blockchains only grew from there on out for Chao. He read a lot of related materials and wrote a simple version of decentralized storage (DFS) code based on the IPFS code.
In 2017, Chao was determined to work in the blockchain industry full-time and resigned from Amazon to join Harmony, a blockchain startup in Silicon Valley. Harmony is a public chain for sharding. The basic structure is based on the code of Ethereum. At that time, it participated in the design and development of many core protocols, such as: PBFT consensus, cross-chain transactions, staking, etc. Chao has a strong interest in zero-knowledge proofs, Libra, DeFi, and other blockchain-related technologies. He has shared his valuable learning experience in his editorial column: https://www.zhihu.com/people/chaosma000/posts
While working at Harmony, Chao met Russell, CEO of Deeper Network. At that time, Deeper had just launched the first generation of Deeper Connect. Russell introduced the advantages of Deeper Connect to Chao, and Chao bought a Deeper Connect to try for himself. He found Deeper Connect to be surprisingly easy to use given its suite of powerful decentralized communication functions. The same holds true for technical novices.
After Chao resigned from Harmony, both Chao and Russell had frequent discussions on network security, blockchain, PoC consensus, etc. Deeper’s vision resonated with Chao more and more and he decided to formally join Deeper.
02 Deeper Network Shall Become Every Households’ Gateway to Web 3.0
Deeper Network’s mission is to create a next-generation trusted Internet experience characterized by privacy, security, and fairness by combining technologies in network security, network sharing, and blockchain.
Most blockchain projects set out to build the blockchain component first before finding relevant applications and a user base. Deeper takes the opposite approach. Deeper is focused on building products and applications, serving users, before gradually building out its blockchain ecosystem according to users’ real needs. Deeper’s flagship line of devices, the Deeper Connect is the world’s first blockchain hardware that harmoniously merges technologies in network security, network sharing, and blockchain.
Deeper Connect adopts the concept of plug-and-play and zero configuration. Setting one up is effortless and only requires inserting network cables into Deeper Connect. A secure, private, and high-speed Internet experience could not have come easier.
Deeper Network is truly decentralized. Since all applications will need to be accessed through the gateway, decentralization of the gateway is one of the necessary layers of true decentralization. Deeper Connect is naturally a decentralized web3.0 gateway. Deeper will further realize the decentralization of Internet communication and iterate on decentralized applications, such as decentralized DNS, decentralized firewall, and other applications. These applications will be gradually introduced based on the increasing number of nodes and users’ needs.
Deeper Connect has attracted users from all over the world. These users combine to form a decentralized network with nodes distributed around the world.
There are currently more than 5,000 nodes in the world, and the number of nodes is growing steadily. Deeper’s plan is to deploy 1 million network nodes within three years. A blockchain built on this foundation naturally lends it to a huge user base and applications based on solving real-world problems.
Broadly speaking, Deeper is more likely to become a gateway to Web3.0 than any other blockchain project. In the future, Deeper can leverage this position to drive users to Web3.0 applications, where security and privacy are treated as first-class citizens rather than an afterthought. Users will also benefit from token incentives.
03 Two Main Reasons for Deeper to Build on Substrate
Chao has said instinctively that Substrate is very capable with many modules to choose from. Macro rules provided by Substrate can help him quickly embed code into the system.
Nonetheless, there is a slight certain learning curve. Substrate’s hot upgrade function is not available on other blockchains. It allows everyone to avoid the problem of blockchain bifurcation, allowing for easy upgrades and software patches.
Deeper is currently divided into two parts. The first part is network security, which includes the development of the AtomOS operating system and the development of the Deeper Connect hardware.
The second part is the blockchain.
There are two main reasons why Deeper chose Substrate as the blockchain solution:
1）Substrate’s value is in avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel
Substrate abstracts the common parts of the blockchain into modules, such as the underlying data structure, p2p network, transaction pool, etc. It separates the bottom layer of the blockchain from the runtime layer, so a project only needs to focus on its core logic and differentiating factors. It can be used for the development of other blockchain features, such as PoC, micropayment, and other modules.
Although Deeper can also be developed on other public chains such as Ethereum, because Ethereum was designed without special consideration for modularity, developers will have to make more adjustments.
With Substrate, many modules can be directly reused. Deeper can focus on the areas that distinguish itself from other chains.
Another advantage is the convenience for future upgrades. Substrate can perform runtime upgrades.
2）Polkadot has a great ecosystem
A good ecosystem is essential for a public chain. Although Deeper itself has a decent-sized user base already, by joining the Polkadot ecosystem, will help to educate more users to join the Deeper ecosystem
On the flip side, Deeper is a unique project in the Polkadot ecosystem. Deeper’s bottom-up architecture and its user base also benefit the Polkadot ecosystem.
04 How Deeper was Elected for Substrate Builders Program
Not long ago, I got exciting news: Deeper Network has stood out among many applicants and was officially selected by the Parity Technologies to take part in the Substrate Builder Program” This signifies Deeper Network’s official involvement in the Polkadot ecosystem.
Everyone knows that the Substrate Builders Program is led by Parity. Parity is becoming more influential, more and more teams are wanting to join. The approval process for the Substrate Builders Program has become more and more difficult.
I learned through Chao that it took about a month or so for Deeper to pass the review process to join the Substrate Builders Program.
In the beginning, it was purely written communication, providing the various required information, such as Deeper’s code, white paper, etc. Later, there was a video conference, and Chao introduced the overall structure and codebase of Deeper’s project, and also introduced the development plan for the next few months.
In general, Parity was very optimistic about the Deeper project and also very optimistic about the prospects of Deeper. Deeper was approved soon after the conference.
After joining the Substrate Builders Program, Chao has said that Deeper Network will work closely with Parity to gain more technical support and grow together.
05 Insights Gained From Substrate’s Course
Although Chao already has a deep understanding of blockchain, Substrate is still a new topic for him, so he participated as a student in the second cohort of the Substrate introductory course jointly organized with Parity.
After experiencing the course first hand, Chao found it to be a good introductory guide for developers who are still new to blockchain and for developers who are new to Rust and Substrate.
He said the biggest takeaway from this course is: “I have met many outstanding developers. Including Kai Chao, Mike, and other course lecturers, as well as other teaching assistants and students who have common interests.”
After the course, Chao chose to remain in the community as a Substrate course ambassador. He told me his two intentions: to promote Substrate as much as possible by writing a technical blog and to make more friends.
He hopes that in this way, he can deepen his understanding of Substrate and make contributions to attract more developers into joining the ecosystem. The larger the ecosystem, the better its development.
06 Deeper’s Team and Future Plans
Deeper devices have gone through many iterations and have been able to provide users with a safe, private, and high-speed Internet experience. The current blockchain ecosystem was built on this foundation. Regarding the next phase, Deeper will first develop the testnet, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and then launch the mainnet and improve on the token economy during testing.
The project team currently has about 20 people, 15 engineers, and 5 people in marketing. Some of the engineers are core developers from top companies in enterprise firewalls, some are core developers from blockchain startups, and some are senior developers experienced in network and operating systems.
Among them, CEO Russell once worked for Intel, Fortinet, and Palo Alto Networks, as R&D manager and chief engineer. He has more than ten years of experience in network security and more than twenty years of operating system development experience. CMO Chery is a serial entrepreneur, founder of Lianquan Technology, and founder of udo consulting group. She has a wide range of contacts and an excellent reputation in the blockchain industry and is well versed in how to promote and market blockchain projects.
Deeper will continue to recruit people, with a recent emphasis on developers experienced in blockchain and Substrate. The goal is to recruit programmers who have certain Rust and Substrate development experience or have experience in blockchain development. Enthusiasm for this field and willingness to acquire new knowledge is also essential.
07 Concluding Remarks
Web3.0 is defined differently by different people. For me, one of the most important pertaining to web3.0 is that data should be controlled by the end-user themselves, decentralization in its truest sense.
This vision is still far from being achieved. It requires not only imagination but also patience to survive time. If you ask me whether Chao and Deeper Network can realize their vision, I can only say not necessarily. But this industry needs projects like Deeper Network that not only have ambitious visions but also have real-world applications based on real user needs. At the same time, we implore more visionaries to join the movement and power us through at all costs and drive the world towards Web3.0.
Deeper Network Website: deepernetwork.io