DECODING MINDS — An Interview With Kristy-Leigh Minehan, CTO, NEM
NEM is a dual-layer blockchain similar to Ethereum but written in Java, a popular computer programming language. Launched in 2015, the NEM mainnet supports multiple ledgers on its cryptocurrency layer, and the NEM Smart Assets layer supports mosaics to represent any store of value. NEM’s proprietary crypto coin is XEM, which is harvested (mined) using a Proof-of-Importance (PoI) algorithm.
(NEM, by the way, stands for New Economy Movement.)
What makes NEM so powerful is the Smart Asset System. Nodes on the NEM blockchain process API calls, which makes it easy to develop for, whether the dApp accesses NEM’s API directly, through a server, or in the background.
Let’s dive into the interview question and answers we had with Kristy (CTO, NEM) about their new launch SYMBOL.
Please tell us about yourself and your journey in the crypto industry so far?
Hi! I’m Kristy. Most of the industry knows me by my handle, ‘OhGodAGirl’, or through my work in the proof-of-work and mining space. I’ve been working in the industry for eleven years now, spanning everything from blockchain infrastructure and products; to monitoring and management software for cryptocurrency mining operations; to the design and implementation of consensus algorithms. It’s been a fun ride to work alongside projects and protocols of all shapes and sizes, and cryptocurrency has afforded me the opportunity to continually learn something new every day.
What is Symbol?
Sure! Symbol is a blockchain platform with a feature set designed to enable both consumers and corporations to quickly architect business-based workflows, as well as extend functionality through a novel extension and plugin system.
Our forward-looking roadmap — released in April — is around empowering creators to digitize and tokenize their work at minimum cost (through our mosaics); enabling developers to interact and build solutions using their language of choice (through our SDK offerings); and enabling individuals and businesses to exchange confidential data in a trustless environment, at scale (through zero-knowledge proofs).
How is Symbol different from NIS1?
Symbol and NIS1 are two different chains with different capabilities and benefits. NIS1 uses a different consensus algorithm — proof-of-importance — in contrast to Symbol, which utilizes proof-of-stake and the GRANDPA finality gadget for its consensus algorithm. They are designed to achieve different results and reward different forms of user engagement — leading to them being suitable for different products.
Symbol is an evolution of blockchain from NEM. Symbol has been developed to specifically build the connection between business and blockchain. It’s flexible, fast, easy to use and secure. Symbol represents the beginning of a new chapter for NEM, as it becomes a two chain ecosystem — with Symbol sitting alongside NIS1, our original blockchain. NEM NIS 1 will continue to evolve, providing a simple and flexible architecture for developing on.
What’s the thinking behind creating a new brand for Symbol?
We needed a new brand to bring our new platform and product strategy to life. We believe our new brand will help establish Symbol as a credible, reliable and trustworthy solution in the technology landscape and provide a platform for the community to continue to grow and evolve with us. The name “Symbol” was chosen because a symbol is a visual image or sign that represents an idea, as an indicator of a universal truth. Symbols are used to facilitate understanding of the world around us and form the basis of communication, they link concepts with experiences. The Symbol brand icon is the Connector. It represents openness and collaboration, working together to create value and add collective strength. The Connector symbolises the role we play, bringing developers, projects, enterprise and blockchain together to create value, with Symbol technology powering possibility.
What are the security benefits of Symbol?
Symbol from NEM builds on the advanced security features of NEM NIS1. Our Hybrid Chain and configurable contract plug-in framework makes Symbol more resilient to human error and network attack. And our Multi-Sig approach means that users will be able to create multi-level multi-sig accounts (max 3 levels) which allows more complex account set ups and to and an and/or logic to multi-sig transactions.
How does node reputation and multi-level — multi-sig work?
NEM NIS1 (V1) was the first blockchain to introduce on-chain multi-signature accounts. Building on this functionality, Symbol from NEM presents the first ever blockchain to bring on-chain, multi-layer, multi-signature accounts. Sometimes referred to as the concept of “delegated financial authority” in enterprises, this feature allows the co-signatory of a multi-signature account to be a multi-signature account with its own set of co-signers. This allows users to simplify the creation of complex signature requirements, which streamlines business processes such as payroll.
Symbol claims to be flexible as it is API driven and developers can use any programming language, but where do they get resources to develop in here different languages? How strong is the developer community?
The Symbol blockchain platform is built from a layered network of nodes / applications. Peer nodes form the backbone of the network, the first layer of the layered node architecture. These nodes provide a powerful, stable, and secure platform where transactions are conducted and immutably logged on the blockchain ledger.
The second layer consists of Dual Nodes, or Application Programming Interface (API) Nodes, as they are also called. This layer consists of a combination of Peer nodes and REST Gateway server, and their functionality is extended when run in conjunction with each other.
REST Gateway server form the third layer of the network, providing a powerful and developer friendly restful api interface. It is intended to add functionality, increase usability and scalability, and may be run independently from peer or dual nodes.
The fourth layer of the network consists of Software Development Kits (SDKs) and applications.
The overall layered architecture enables the updating of any individual tier without disrupting the others, reducing network upgrade and maintenance overhead. Additionally, the layered architecture allows developers to interact with the network depending on their discrete needs, be it performance, usability, customizability or rapid proof of concept (PoC) development.
Developers have access to:-
Technical documentation: https:/
Rest API specification: https://docs.symbolplatform.com/symbol-openapi/v1.0.0/
Symbol specific concepts: https://docs.symbolplatform.com/concepts/overview.html
Symbol white paper: https://docs.symbolplatform.com/catapult-whitepaper/main.pdf
And the Developer community can interact on GitHub:
Built with Foundation, SASS, Handlebars, Gulp, and more. NEM Improvement Proposals The desktop client for NEM CC0-1.0…
To what extent does the API driven approach will help businesses to integrate new features?
As a flexible platform, Symbol’s APIs can seamlessly integrate with existing enterprise systems and processes, as well as other blockchains. The platform has been developed with customizability as a key focus with over 120 different configuration settings, allowing for the customization of both public and private networks.
What would be the three reasons for a business to move to Symbol?
- Increased security. Our configurable contract plug-in framework makes Symbol more resilient to human error and network attacks, streamlining the security testing process.
- Enhanced interoperability. Our APIs ensure seamless integration with existing enterprise systems and processes, as well as other networks and blockchains.
- Speed and efficiency. Our tiered architecture delivers increased network performance, while our plug-in approach speeds up development and onboarding time, lowering the total cost.
What next, what are the future plans of the team?
We believe that Symbol is uniquely positioned at the forefront of a new economic movement towards decentralization, digitization and tokenization. Symbol’s feature-rich platform makes it suitable for a number of industries and use cases, spanning the enterprise, financial services, regulated asset and wider blockchain spaces.
The last question will be, what do you think about the future of Blockchain Technology, DeFi and NFT market and where do you see Symbol in it?
A world with a blockchain-enabled new economy offers countless opportunities for business and citizens alike. Unlike traditional IT systems or the current Internet, the blockchain world will be completely decentralized. This model will allow for economic democratization, allowing everyone to exchange value on an equal basis. NEM has a vital role to play, alongside and operating with other platforms, in creating this new value paradigm.
And since most of these opportunities are still emerging, it’s not a race for market-domination — all players have room to grow. We’re all working together to develop blockchain in our unique way. It’s the pioneer’s era for blockchain.
DeFi is one of the fastest growing sectors of blockchain technology, with much of the excitement based on the ability to provide access to a whole range of financial products and services, to individuals and businesses around the world, who have been previously overlooked by mainstream financial institutions.
We believe Symbol is perfectly positioned to help drive DeFi adoption for three reasons:
- Scalability. Symbol can provide high transaction throughput to help cater to the significant volume of DeFi users, from individuals and businesses. Because Symbol is a hybrid of both public and private blockchain, and it is designed for solutions to help enterprises avoid unnecessary cost and complexity.
- Liquidity and Collateral. DeFi is collateralised by Ethereum as well as Dai and USDC. Symbol brings other collateral types to DeFi, such as Bitcoin, via sidechains. Symbol is built for cross-chain interoperability and, through atomic swaps and multi-level multi-sig features, can provide a ready made solution to assist with collateralising the DeFi system.
- Reducing Volatility. Today, the primary use case for DeFi remains the facilitation of ‘longs’ on Ethereum — just buying the token and waiting for it to rise up in value. DeFi will only have broken through and created real value when more P2P lending goes mainstream (think microfinance, small business lending, seed funding, etc).
When it comes to NFTs, 2021 has witnessed an explosion in their creation. We are currently seeing a rapidly scaling market and sensational sales numbers being achieved, from Beeple selling ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ for $69m, Grimes has sold over $6m in artwork, Kings of Leon will release two albums via NFTs, Rob Gronkowski generated $1.2m in 48 hours, and brand new marketplaces have emerged in the form of NBA TopShots. We are witnessing not just major artists deploying new content through NFTs, but a ground-swell of artists that will leverage and innovate on this technology to create new revenue streams, ways of engaging with their audience and fans, and wholly new ecosystems across music, sports and the arts.
NEM has partnered with leading global sports agency, InterEuropean, to create a consortium that brings to market premium branded NFTs where investors, traders and fans alike are rewarded for engaging with the athletes, teams and events. We’ll be sharing more about what this partnership will bring over the coming weeks.
DeFi and NFTs are just two examples of how the technology is currently being applied, and there will be many more new and exciting applications to come that we can’t currently comprehend.
DECODING MINDS — a brand new series of interviews by Digital Notice to give you an insight into the projects straight from the Founders and the Team. Each article explores the real-world experiences and expertise of our guests to discuss their unique perspective on the project use cases, its challenges, its changes, and its prospects in the fiercely competitive world of Crypto and Blockchain.