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Development History

Kiran Pachhai edited this page Mar 28, 2019 · 3 revisions

Development History


  • In 2000, Rong Chen, a senior alumnus of Tsinghua University’s Computer Science department, returns to China from Microsoft USA and begins research and development for the first-generation Elastos network Operating System.
  • In 2003, Rong Chen was received by Jin-Tao Hu, the former CPC General Secretary.
  • In 2006, Rong Chen completed the kernel and graphics systems.
  • In 2007, Rong Chen built a complete smartphone and massively produced it.
  • In 2009, China Unicom used Elastos' middleware as a fertile phone operating system framework.
  • In 2013, Foxconn invests in the Elastos open source project to build a distributed, cross-internet industrial Internet of Things and a smart home network operating system
  • In May 2017, Rong Chen co-founded the Elastos Foundation with Feng Han to support Elastos - a blockchain-drive Internet project, attempting to create a new digital smart economy model that turns numbers into wealth.
  • In January 2018, under the expert guidance of Washington D.C. law firm, Elastos successfully conducted the token sale of the utility token, ELA.
  • In January 2018, alongside Bitmain and Neo, Elastos led critical discussions pertaining to computational thinking and the many applications of blockchain within the Elastos ecosystem. NEO provided considerable assistance in implementing the Elastos mai nchain and Bitmain continues to serve as a strong partner in providing support with merged-mining operations.
  • In January 2018, at a meeting in Beijing, the Elastos team discussed and reached final consensus on its mixed economic model(AuxPoW + DPoS).
  • In March 2018, Elastos holds ecosystem construction conference where speakers including Jihan Wu of Bitmain and five other partners participated in discussion centered on the development of the Elastos ecosystem.
  • In April 2018, Elastos carrier goes open source on Github.
  • In May 2018, Elastos holds inaugural hacking marathon event where the competition was based on the Elastos Carrier.
  • In June 2018, Elastos received the "Annual Public Chain" award by Babbitt - China's well-known blockchain forum - at the World Blockchain Conference.
  • In July 2018, Elastos DID Sidechain goes live. The Decentralized Identification system is an indispensable component of the Elastos ecosystem. The DID Sidechain verifies the authenticity and provenance of data, advancing Elastos one step closer to realizing a complete, decentralized internet infrastructure.
  • In August 2018, Elastos celebrated its 1-year anniversary of Elastos. In advance of the event, the Elastos developer team led a one-week intensive training course to acquaint others in the community and beyond with the Elastos platform and its technological infrastructure.
  • In August 2018, Merged-mining with Bitcoin officially goes live with Bitmain's mining pool joining in.
  • In August 2018, Elastos releases an alpha version of Elastos Smartweb. The release of Elastos Smartweb Alpha represents a monumental checkpoint in the creation of a secure Smartweb. The Alpha reelase included a Trinity browser Android, ID Sidechain, Elastos SDK v0.2, a few demo DApps. Its release was accompanied by a 16-minute demo video titled: "Elastos Alpha: End to End Demo DApp"
  • In August 2018, the Cyber Republic launches with alpha release. The Cyber Republic program is the first iteration of the decentralized community upon which Elastos will be shaped and supported by a necosystem of skilled entrepreneurs, developers, and end users.
  • In August 2018, the Elastos TV Box collaboration with Shanghai Shijiu TV begins and is announced at ChinaJoy.
  • In December 2018, Elastos Carrier reaches a major milestone with 900,000 smart tv boxes with elastos carrier deployed produced. The current number is now at 1 million.
  • In December 2018, both the SPV Mobile wallet and Elastos Elephant wallet were officially released.

Who is Rong Chen?

Rong Chen graduated in 1977 from the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University. He first studied operating systems at the University of Illinois for seven years, and then contributed to the development of the underlying modules of the Windows operating system for eight years at the Microsoft headquarters. After returning home, he focused his work on operating systems for 17 years. In June 2017, the co-founder took part in the planning and establishment of the Elastos Foundation to support Elastos, a blockchain-driven Internet project.

Read this comprehensive Q&A with Rong Chen about Elastos, his history, his success and failures and why he stuck with building a blockchain operating system

Some important takeways from the Q&A with Rong Chen

Technology is that which supports traffic. A technology without traffic is actually very difficult to execute. So I think that many blockchain startups have recently positioned themselves to work on contracts and technology. Many blockchain startups today have actually made a crucial mistake. To immediately want to improve on Ethereum and Bitcoin makes sense, but the problem is that because there are no customers, there is no future in it.

My main feeling is that the current blockchain technology is not customer-oriented, not 2C, nor is it 2B. Understanding that the blockchain is a component to the Elastos Web operating system is critical. However, it does not face customers. So, for example, writing a DApp directly on the blockchain is superfluous and time-consuming. This is one of the key points we plan to tackle with Elastos. Only some of the blockchain’s mature technologies is used on the Elastos Network. For example, on the Elastos P2P network, there must be a decentralized ID. This decentralized ID comes from the public chain of Elastos. Secondly, the public chain of Elastos also provides traceability. Third, having a side chain based on Elastos’s public chain creates scarcity of digital assets.

In 1987, I also participated in the construction of a US supercomputer network using satellites. The most successful part of this supercomputer network was that it led to the creation of the Web Browser. 1987 was too early then for me. I was still in a growing phase in my life. The web browser came around 1990. In 1987, we were studying multi-window, display technology, and then using FTP to continuously pull code and data from the Cray supercomputer, to then display it on a PC. Later, this model would lead to the birth of the web browser.

Coming back to our topic, I highly encourage everyone to seriously study the following: first, if an Internet has a decentralized ID, what will our Internet look like? Second, if the Internet is traceable, how much will it affect people and integrity? Third, what if the Internet could have scarcity? If 10,000 books are popular on the Internet, and they can change hands every two or three minutes, we could actually see the creation of true scarcity of goods.

The technology of blockchain has been open source for some time. It is very mature. For example, Bitcoin’s technology and Ethereum’s bottom level are both good. Some small companies focus on research and development, but instead of 2B or 2C, instead, they focus on agreements and to Venture Capital (2VC). And we all know that the end of the 2VC story is very sad. Nowadays it is not 2VC, but 2ICO, a method which is unquestionably founders being used to make profits for the big coin investors. Young companies are like newborn calves: they are not afraid of tigers. Unfortunately, I have seen many companies die tragically during this Internet era.

A new agreement and new public chain are just a premise. Just because a company has an agreement and a public chain, does not mean it suddenly has trust. The establishment of a trusted public chain based on user traffic is especially difficult, mainly because people can’t remember more than three to five trusted public chains.

The previous generation web browser was basically an Internet of information. You can click on a web page through a URL, then there was Java Scripts, and then WeChat mini-apps. The final touchstone is whether the browser can run C code. Can it run C code Instant Apps? The biggest problem in running C code is viruses. Therefore, the technical progress of virtual machines is very important.

From another perspective, the virtual machine is where we want to support any kind of application by providing an SDK. For example, should we provide DApp or App? The App is consumer-facing. The software the consumer sees is called App, but the software the programmer sees is not really the App.

The blockchain, as a component of the network operating system, provides the distribution of IDs, traceability, and scarce capabilities, as if it were a notary office, providing copyright administration, etc. These capabilities must be presented to users, but they are not actually displayed through the blockchain itself. So it’s just like asking if you need an OS on your hard drive. You can say that you need it. You can also say that you don’t need it. If you don’t need it, that means that no applications are visible.

I simply do not think we should use blockchain to make mobile phones. Because making blockchain mobile phones runs into many unsolvable issues, like cost, manufacturing supply chain, and quality problems.

When it runs its own end to end, through a technology called Reflection, you can dynamically generate RPC, the software packaged as a service, is a software black box. Then define the interface, define the event, have the interface, with the event you do not have to control whether the software service is written in Java or written in x86 or ARM. You just call it, or you can put the hardware into service. In that case, RPC generation can circumvent DDoS attacks and avoid privacy leaks and viruses. Because TCP/IP is so flexible, users can send duplicates or send DDoS to the same address. These are the initiators of today’s Internet instability.

In the end, the founders of the Internet decided to make it decentralized, which led to the prosperity of the Internet as we know it today. Of course, it was precisely because of this wise decision that led to all of the Internet’s problems today. For example, anyone can be connected to it. Anyone can send out software packages. Anyone can initiate middle-man attacks. Anyone can initiate DDoS attacks, and anyone can fake an identity. This problem has led to the spread of viruses and disclosure of private information. Of course, there is another reason for the Trojan Horse virus and that is that operating systems use Daemon. Today’s operating system can be done without Daemon, or without background daemon. These Internet problems led to today’s monopoly, because people have to rely on companies such as Google, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba to solve security issues, because they provide security protection.

So now you see that an applet is an operating system, with users and storage. But the problem is that when you try to access a Taobao website, you will find that Tencent has blocked it. Obviously, this is not a fair nor neutral approach. The same problem exists for Google and Apple. For example, Apple’s iPhone is more secure than other operating systems, such as the end-to-end management of iPhone and iCloud. But Big Brother takes a 30% protection fee, whether you like it or not, right? Now that we have a blockchain, we can have decentralized IDs. If we can achieve end-to-end security, then we don’t have to pay big brother that 30% protection fee. It’s that obvious.

So software acting badly is not uncommon. For example, speaking to the browser, why do companies make browsers? It is to remove other people’s ads, and then replace them with your own ads. Or, think of a media player that plays pirated media. Whether the movie is played 10,000 times or 1 million times, only the player knows, yet the author does not. So who counts which ad spots around a movie and who makes the money for it? Only the media player knows, right?

So I mentioned earlier that if the virtual machine technology is able to not access the Internet, then there is no background daemon and it can not install the driver. If a virtual machine can satisfy these three conditions, then it is very difficult to spread a virus. Because you can’t get on the Internet, you can’t send the stuff you steal anywhere. Moreover, a virtual machine runs only one program, just like a PC does. At this time, that virus you want to spread isn’t able to go anywhere, so it is rendered meaningless.

In fact, imagine that virtual machine can run the media player and the media player loads some data. Indirectly, the virtual machine is the media player of the media player. If we remove the media player, we eliminate the secondary piracy, cancel out the software intermediary, and turn all the data into programs. This will give the author more profits.

Today, we spread data on social networks. Without exception, original browsers transmissions were also all data (i.e. sharing a song, video, or document). If we can figure out how to upload a program on a social network, then the entire user experience and revenue model will experience revolutionary change.

I might offend some people, but I think it is unwise to run smart contracts on the public chain. Firstly, this is because the public chain is not necessary to do smart contracts, and there is no need to be Turing Complete. Of course, to do smart contracts, it is necessary to be Turing Complete, but these are two different things. If you confuse these two things into one, you will naturally encounter efficiency problems. When you encounter this problem, you will not be able to service both sides because of the fact that one computer alone cannot service all users.

So doing smart contracts and DAppa on the Ethereum public chain, and to run many user applications on Ethereum, even if your terminal or mobile phone is running on the front end of the so-called DApp, it is unwise for your background to rely on blockchain. For example, Elastos does not rely on the Elastos public chain as a background, it actually depends on other server nodes as an intermediary, or as P2P. So our public chain only provides a few functions like ID, traceability, and scarcity.

Looking back, whether we have 20 million lines of code or tens of millions of lines of code, what is important is that, today, we are quickly moving this code to the blockchain-based network operating system. Actually, this is very advanced. For example, our P2P decentralized network is already open source. It’s been online for a while now. Making a P2P Internet from scratch cannot be done in a few months.

First, whether it’s the network operating system you just mentioned, or the world’s computers, they all must run software. This computer must have a decentralized P2P network, but this P2P network must be able to transmit video, audio, and documents. It must be able to decentrally cash out, exchange cash, and be able to play decentralized games. If there is a PC that can run multiple virtual machines, the virtual machines do not know the distance between them. The virtual machines run applications between themselves, but how do the applications and services know if the virtual machine runs on Linux or on Windows? Are they running on a machine or a local area network? Or are they at the ends of the Internet? In fact, the program in the virtual machine does not know the actual distance. This is the start of the network computer.

Because this Internet has a notary office, lawsuits would be simple. Nowadays, if someone copies a book and passes it off as their own, it is difficult to know who is the original author. Today, on the Internet, it is easy to register a hash in the blockchain, and then verify who is the original author. Property rights will be clearer, and there is reasoning behind this. I think that piracy will gradually decrease.

Speaking of the relationship between Elastos and blockchain… Elastos is an operating environment to run DApp. The blockchain is equivalent to the fingerprint recognition of mobile phones. It is a security module. The two of them have an inclusive relationship. Elastos includes the blockchain, but Elastos public chain is not directly customer facing. Of course, on the other hand, we will support the smart contracts in Elastos, and we will create a consensus-based website.

When it comes to iTunes, because Elastos is a network computer, there will be two types of storage. One type of storage is like the public storage on a typical computer, such as the bin directory, where programs are placed in public storage and where each user can share files. Second is also storage, but rather personal storage, such as a Home Directory. Elastos’s personal cloud disk is a user’s personal storage on the network computer. Elastos will do IPFS with Kuaiya, which is the public storage of network computing.

Elastos will also help DApp release Tokens. The convenience of the Token as a KickStarter-like project is that it provides equity benefits, similar to some startups issuing shares. Many countries tend to keep such ICOs under strict supervision. Currently, if you are financing through Kickstarter, there is no way to circulate immediately. The ICO Token can quickly circulate equity and allow angel investors to withdraw as soon as possible. You bought some Tokens that you can sell to others. All governments lean towards file systems, just like filing records with stocks. As long as you take responsibility for normal tax returns, many countries tend to be open about this.

In fact, I think we should cooperate with more Internet companies. Because there are simply so many companies on the Internet, because of the existence of several giant BATs, no one is having a particularly good time with entrepreneurship. If we had a world computer or Internet computer supported by the blockchain, then these self-employed people will be able to rebrand themselves. With this new concept, I think that they can rejuvenate their businesses. In contrast, the accumulation of blockchain traditional companies is not enough, and they have too little experience of facing 2C. This is why I am more optimistic about traditional Internet companies.

On the other hand, an internet platform is feminine and gives birth to everything. Why did Linux succeed? As long as it is an infrastructure, it must be 100% open source. No one can hide it, which is why Linux is what it is today. However, although Linux is remarkable in R&D, it is not good enough: mainly because there is no feedback nor incentive. Well, if there is a blockchain incentive, I think the open source community, including the Linux community, can be rejuvenated.

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