The AMA with Unizen on October 29th had been in the works for awhile. Unizen enters the digital asset economy with leaders who have had success in both the centralized and decentralized worlds of finance. The morning of the AMA, Unizen announced Geeq had been selected for Unizen’s incubator program, ZenX, and also for its Smart Exchange Dynamic Multi-Asset Staking (DMAS) program.
We would like to thank Neon Block Unify for hosting Geeq’s Co-Founder John Conley and Head of Marketing, German Ramirez, and warm welcome to the Unizen community.
This transcript has been lightly edited for easier reading. Let’s get to it!
Moderator : Neon Block Unify
Geeqs: German Ramirez, John Conley
Channel Muted for GEEQ AMA session
Neon BlockUnify: @gerramirez and @J_P_Conley welcome to the Unizen chat!
German: Honored to be here, and looking forward to the AMA!
Neon BlockUnify: So the AMA questions are pretty open ended. we would appreciate elaborative answers… feel free to go all out! Let’s begin.
1. Can you give a brief overview about Geeq? What is the backstory behind it?
German: Technology is fundamentally shaking everything. It is causing the physical, digital and biological worlds to converge.
This is a huge opportunity and a huge challenge. An unprecedented opportunity to amplify our abilities, increase productivity, and tackle global problems.
However, technology and data are currently heavily centralized among a handful of players. This centralization skews the value chain of entire industries towards intermediaries, hindering innovation and competition, while giving rise to grave cybersecurity risks.
We believe decentralization is the answer, and that is how it all started, nearly 5 years ago. Maybe John can take us back to that journey>
Neon BlockUnify: Centralisation and Value Chain Paralysis! Oh boy, this is one of my favourite topics of discussion.
John: Hi Everyone, so glad to be invited to this AMA. I’m John Conley, and I guess I’ve been with Geeq from the beginning.
As for the backstory, here is a relatively short version. I spent a year at Microsoft in 2016-17, and one of the projects I worked on involved blockchain. This was new to me, so I started to learn about it. I ended up reading about 80 White papers and did some deep dives into cryptography, network theory, systems, communication protocols, and so on.
Microsoft Research was a great place to do this since experts in all these areas were usually a hallway away. I came away from this concerned about the game theoretic foundations of existing consensus models as well as the incentive structures and monetary foundations of these projects.
I’m a specialist in mechanism design and implementation theory, so I developed a new approach called Proof of Honesty that I believe solved many of these problems. I promptly had my heels locked together by the CS and distributed systems folks at Microsoft who pointed out a whole array of other problems in communications, networks, etc. that also had to be worked out. We have been building on this ever since.
Geeq itself started when Ric Asselstine happened to read one of my papers and contacted me to ask if I could help with some IoT applications of blockchain. We started to work together on this idea, but I kept realizing that it would be difficult to build on existing platforms. I told him about the idea I had for a different approach to consensus, and we quickly dropped the original project to focus on what eventually became Geeq. One thing led to another, Stephanie So and Lun Shin Yuen joined as founders, and since 2018, we have expanded to include a crypto team, a marketing group (hello German and Anna!), developers, legal, administrative, and customer development people, and various partners and investors. It has been extremely challenging, but also very rewarding.
German: In a nutshell: We believe that decentralization can lead to a better economy for everyone. But for decentralization to be viable, decentralized networks have to be at least as functional as our current infrastructure. This means that better blockchain technology is needed, with the cost-effectiveness, reliability, security, flexibility, and interoperability required to be deployed at scale. This is why we created Geeq, starting from scratch. And so, the journey begun.
Neon BlockUnify: Absolutely, I can relate with John here because all the softwares that are eating our world have scalable system design as the bedrock.
John: Ah, however, the current softwares of the world – the last generation, one might say, take your data for themselves because they tend to be able to read in plain text.
Neon BlockUnify: Yes, absolutely.
John: What is needed is a decentralized version of the base layer that gives more protection.
Neon BlockUnify: It is the base layer for “all things economy”! Okay, the AMA started on a really strong note. Fascinating backstory!
2. Geeq intends to build a blockchain based decentralized economy, How would you achieve that? What is role of PoH consensus here?
German: Blockchain has transformative potential. Decentralized person to person content markets, machine to machine markets, and new approaches to digital rights management all require cheap, secure micropayments. Creating audit trails, records proving compliance or chain of custody, and IoT monitoring and control all require that large volumes of data to be placed in a credible, non-manipulable record. Tokenization and public records, both require strong security guarantees. Why don’t we let John explain the ins and outs of it.
John: I’d be glad to. The common element PoW, PoA, PoS, dPoS, and even DAGs, is that in some way shape or form, a qualified majority gets to decide what the truth is. If the majority says an apple is an orange, users either have to accept it, or walk away from their accounts.
Neon BlockUnify: Yes! Great analogy.
John: The fundamental idea of PoH builds on the fact that the Geeq protocol (and all other well-designed DLT protocols) is deterministic. Given a set of candidate transactions and a ledger state, there is only one set of valid transactions, one block that can be built, and one way to update the ledger. Anything else is dishonest.
I will try to give you the overall view of the game theoretic aspects of consensus, which I think has really been missing in the discussion of blockchain. This is where I get very enthusiastic about what Geeq can add, so please pardon the longer explanation.
PoH leverages the determinism of its protocol. Geeq’s workflow ensures that all the nodes in a given validation network consider the same set of candidate transactions. Each node then separately and independently decides which transaction are correct and what the next block and ledger state are. Geeq has no leaders or block proposers. All nodes are equal. Nodes share their view of the ledger state as they each consider the next set of candidate transactions.
The key is that either there is unanimous agreement, or some nodes are dishonest. Honest nodes are able to prove the dishonesty of nodes with different views, and can write audits to remove them from the validation network. These audits result in the confiscation of Good Behavior Bonds posted by the dishonest nodes to be shared among the honest nodes. This audit mechanism is constructed in such a way honest behavior by all nodes is the only coalition-proof equilibrium (which is a much stronger statement than honest behavior is one of many Nash equilibria).
Neon BlockUnify: I like game theory, sir, all ears! All this farming etc. is essentially gamification of incentives.
John: That’s great news. And yes, gamification has brought up a lot that is getting a much faster reaction in terms of people looking at incentives.
We found the closer scrutiny of Layer 1 and Layer 2 solutions to have increased in game theory interest as well, which is heartening, as that is where we started.
In a nutshell, Nash equilibrium concepts are not sophisticated enough to think about in markets like these. They don’t take account (or haven’t in this area) repeated games, and opportunities for collusion in such circumstances.
Geeq’s Proof of Honesty also allows the following:
• Users are empowered to protect themselves.
• It does not matter if a majority of the nodes are dishonest. Users can detect and ignore them.
• This means we only need one honest node in the system. If users can find an honest ledger, they will always use it no matter how many dishonest versions are kept by dishonest nodes.
• Buying ASICs or staking tokens, or even Sybiling does not threaten the security of Geeq since users pay attention to honest nodes, ignore opinion of dishonest ones, even if they are a majority.
German: The beauty of a genius mind at work 😅
John: It’s an advanced idea that has been thrilling to work on, I admit, but it is the ability to implement it and have the support of a community who believes in it that makes it worthwhile.
Neon BlockUnify: Actually, the popular L1 and L2 protocols don’t really answer the concepts john has talked about. So that’s an interesting outline of thoughts.
John: We hope they will explore the ideas more thoroughly. It is happening now, whereas a few years ago, the only thought was about scalability.
3. How does Geeq cater to the Micropayments niche ?
German: We believe Micropayments are a tremendous opportunity for our global economy. They enable more granular, fluid and responsive markets, forming the foundation of a decentralized, sustainable and open economy.
The possibilities and use cases are endless. Micropayments make feasible such things as:
• Small fixed payments for access to a newspaper article, a Medium post, a single song, a Podcast, a YouTube video.
• Tipping, and micro-donations.
• Buying an in-game buff, skin, or magical sword.
• Steaming payments for online game play, access to content delivery services, or the services of any SaaS platform.
• Machine to Machine Markets
The list is endless…
John: German and the rest of the team are very good at thinking of many, many use cases and matching them to audiences who are interested.
From a technical and economics side, micropayments are one of the most interesting contributions the Geeq project makes possible. This has always been one of the great promises of blockchain, but high transactions costs, limited scalability, and a lack of security have prevented this in practice. Geeq can process payments at a cost of less than 1/100th of a cent.
Here is why that’s so interesting to me as an economist.
Markets exist to take advantage of gains from trade. When one person values something more than another person, they can agree on a sales price that leaves them both better off.
But what happens when the gains from trade are on the scale of fractions of pennies? Markets in this case are only possible if transactions costs are less than potential gain, and existing payment rails are simply too expensive.
Neon BlockUnify: Yes, the market scope is huge here.
John: Yes! Some of you may be aware that I recently gave a presentation about what we call “the Micro-value chain”.
Neon BlockUnify: I was coming to this very conclusion!
John: This MicroValue Chain is currently nonexistent. (Yet) It applies to fintech, and nearly every sector you can think of.
To be more specific, Geeq has developed several forms of micropayment vehicles and filed PCTs for patent protection in 2020 and 2021. It is a very exciting prospect since it enables a whole array of decentralized, peer to peer, communications and exchange without big tech or large centralized intermediaries.
Neon BlockUnify: Awesome, shall we move to the next question?
4. How can your platform help in automating supply chains?
German: Supply chain management has grown increasingly complex over the past half century. Globalization has further increased complexity. Involving more entities, however, makes coordination for quality control, enterprise resource planning and compliance more complex, while the whole is only as strong as the weakest link.
Neon BlockUnify: And the current lockdowns have added burden on this “not so yet digitized” industry.
German: Oh so true!
John: An advantage of having the Geeq team working together across the world is that some of our Advisors, such as those in Switzerland and Singapore and Canada, have been aware of these problems and how they mix with finance for years.
Again, approaching supply chain issues from a database solutions point of view, the economics problem is that supply chain is probably the most important example of what are called “distributed business processes”. That is, processes that involve actors from different organizations or companies who all need to work together to accomplish a task, but who also have individual incentives that conflict.
German: Here is where blockchain comes into play. Blockchain promises to increase transparency for the relevant parties, prevent duplication of administrative work, and automate transactions through smart contracts and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
John: Exactly as German says. Blockchain, at its root, is a data service that provide a provable source of consistency. Counter-parties can hand-off responsibilities to one another, and create a non-refutable record of the state of the process (condition of a cargo, the state of paper work, payments sent or received, work completed and accepted, etc.). Other actors can refer to these blockchain records to give credit or assign blame.
For this to work: records have to be secure and trustworthy (which has to do with the consensus approach), the data service (blockchain) has to be able to support large scale and rapid record creation, and the cost of a creating a record has to be low.
PoH (Proof of Honesty) provides the foundation for secure, trustless interaction. GeeqChains are scalable and can record receipts, handoffs, service requests, record updates, IoT telemetry, and so on at a cost of 1/100th of a cent. We have positioned our technology to be a perfect fit for supply chain as well as for the growing network of connected devices.
Geeq and PoH are geared toward the future of coordinating sources of information into this layer of data consistency for more efficiency all around.
German: And here is the beauty of it for supply chains! Geeq’s interoperable, multi-chain architecture allows businesses to create purpose-built block-chains optimised to specific supply chain applications. This flexibility is achieved through a two-layered structure: The Validation Layer and the Application Layer. This two-layered structure for each blockchain means it is highly flexible. Your supply chain may use an existing application, or you can write a new one to securely connect to a validated and dedicated blockchain database through an API. Geeq is an application-agnostic technology, able to support decentralized apps, native tokens, and smart contracts. It provides everything you need, with no bloat.
John: No bloat. I like that. Have to concentrate on boats right now.
Neon BlockUnify: Can’t wait to deploy a letter of credit dapp on Geeq.
5. What is your view on enterprise blockchain vs crypto? How do you balance between the two?
John: Enterprise blockchain, also known as private or permissioned blockchain, has a place, and perhaps more tellingly, enterprise blockchain in the permissioned sense is still highly demanded.
Geeq’s technology is a good fit for enterprises.
Private Geeq Chains can be deployed to help enterprises coordinate distributed business processes, outlined above, without the need for mutual trust. Even within a single enterprise, we have been exploring with some potential customers how Geeq can be used for “Enterprise Data Integration” (EDI) projects. Enterprises use different data systems in different divisions and departments (the needs of HR are not the same Legal or customer support), and these problems are magnified when companies merge or acquire subsidiaries, possibly even in different countries. Data chaos is often the result.
We have developed an architecture for EDI that leverages Geeq as a source of consistency and allows otherwise incompatible data systems to share essential information without having to tear everything down to its foundations.
Public, non-permissioned, blockchain is our focus, but does not compete. Our public network of multiple instances of interoperable chains (allowing micropayments and other more traditional crypto services) exists separately from any private instance. If enterprises wish to have a private instance, and we hope they do, we think there are many things it can offer. It will not, however, be able to interact with the broader public network.
Neon BlockUnify: That’s important for future proofing the architecture! Completely agree with your approach.
John: Indeed. It’s important for Geeq, and the blockchain industry in general, to think about meeting adopters where they stand, and bringing them along to solutions from there.
Of course, for those who understand the potential of permissionless blockchain already, what happens slowly should not be able to slow them down.
6. Understand you might not be able to disclose details, but what are some oft the current “hottest” use cases and adoption possibilities that you are discussing as we speak. What can we expect to see in the months to come?
John: Well, while you are correct that we can’t disclose all the details involving others, we do have some news for you.
We are certainly aware of the past summer of interest in NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
It happens that we had been looking forward to developing a technology for NFTs in the general sense of non-fungible tokens and multi-lateral atomic transfers as part of our base protocol.
In the context of gaming, anyone can set up an NFT mint and create NFTs for use in gaming or collectibles, to tokenize assets, or any other purpose. Developers of applications deploying NFTs may customize the characteristics of the NFTs in their own databases. Once created, however, the NFTs properties are fixed and immutable. That, of course, is key to whatever NFT that is “non-fungible” in the economic sense of the word.
Geeq’s technology works this way: ownership of NFTs is attached to coin accounts, and direct sales and transfers, as well as atomic transfer are all possible, and without the use of smart contracts. This makes NFTs and NFT transactions simpler, more secure, cheaper, and not subject to coding errors that might arise in smart contracts.
German probably is the better person to ask about the customer interest this has created.
German: Sure! As we currently speak, we are in conversations with different players and industries about deploying Geeq for their use cases. Some concrete examples of hot topics currently:
GAMING: We are exploring a case with a global gaming company to leverage our micropayment capabilities to create in-game NFTs that represent specific limited in-game items, adding a layer of real value in a virtual world.
NGOs: We have a proud and big heart at Geeq…We are in close conversations with one of the leading NGOs worldwide, to enable micro-donations at scale, lowering the barrier for people doing good. Exciting!
These are just two of many exciting recent developments that we expect to crystalize into tangible applications. We can’t wait to be able to announce some of these and many more to come as they start materializing. An exciting time to be a Geeq!
John: It is, and for those who have already been following Geeq, they will know Geeq chooses its partners extremely carefully. We choose partners who share our vision, are working alongside us to broaden blockchain’s usefulness with security and accessibility for all, and who have incredible reputations, work ethic, and clearly are ready to work with us for the long term. I hope everyone here will see that play out for themselves.
Final Question: 7. What are your long term goals?
German: Based on the uniqueness of the Geeq technology and its many potential applications, we are excited about the prospect of becoming a household brand in the blockchain world. We are working relentlessly on all fronts, with the technology at its core, to deserve being named in the same breath as the current leading layer 1 blockchain protocols which you are all familiar with. And with the help, trust, and support of the Unizen community and ecosystem, we look forward to coming one step closer to that goal 😉
John: Our ultimate goal is providing people with a way to interact and create value independently and without the need for trusted (and untrustworthy) data intermediaries.
People should not need to have permission of large corporations to create, exchange, or exist in a technological society. Our hope is that we can provide some of basic tools to allow people to be people.
Neon BlockUnify: Thanks @J_P_Conley and @gerramirez for this insightful AMA!
German: A true pleasure and honour!
John: Thank you very much for hosting us!
Neon BlockUnify: On that note, we are proud to be welcoming $GEEQ to the DMAS Family! ❤️❤️
John: This is very exciting for Geeq, and we look forward to great things together! Thank you!
German: Muchas gracias!
John: It’s fantastic news. Thank you to the entire Unizen and ZenX family. We at Geeq are proud to be selected.
FauxFire: Welcome to the Unizen Family!
John: Thank you! We would like to invite everyone who is interested to Geeq’s telegram group to celebrate!
German: Whooop Whoooop 😍
Neon BlockUnify: Yes, please, do share the link!
Come and meet the Geeqs – they’re friendly, welcoming, and most of all, see the future.
German: And while at it, help us shape the future!
John: Thanks to all.
Happy Ending: Thanks team Geeq awesome AMA. Good luck with the project 💪🏼