Interview With DAG - Ben Jorgensen
We have the privilege of receiving Ben Jorgensen today, CEO of Constellation Network, to talk to us about DAG.
How would you describe the main pillars of the product?
Constellation’s primary focus is to make blockchain technology accessible for any entrepreneur and developer to use in their applications. Blockchain has the potential to transform any application by integrating immutability and notarization of data into the core of every process. Current main chains are not built to accommodate the speed and scale of existing centralized digital infrastructures (applications) and would see diminishing economic returns with increased network utility. Constellation’s main products are our Hypergraph Network, which is accessible via our Hypergraph Transfer Protocol (HGTP) and Proof of Reputable Observation (PRO) consensus mechanism, which runs consensus in parallel by a) validating local node operations and b) the state of the network. The focus of the HGTP is to provide a robust protocol that meets any use case, business model, and need. The HGTP is a base layer (L_0) protocol built using a directed acyclic graph architecture and has a concurrent consensus mechanism to separate network processes to enable speed and security. Our cryptocurrency $DAGis a layer 1 (L_1) application, which is validated on the HGTP using our concurrent consensus mechanism.
To successfully evangelize Constellation’s technology and capabilities, the company’s main pillars to drive adoption are broken down in the following way:
Product: Developing solutions, support, and access to the base layer communications protocol for entrepreneurs and developers
Community: Developing solutions for the community that support Constellation peer-to-peer transactions to send and receive our cryptocurrency, $DAG
Business: Developing solutions for businesses to easily build applications that transact data and cryptocurrency as well as mint tokens on Constellation (L_0 Token Standard)
Furthermore, there are different product entry points for different use cases depending on your needs and experience.
What is your team strength?
Our team consists of the following:
The Constellation core operations team
The Constellation Governance Board: The informal governing body of the Constellation Network.
The Stardust Collective: Selected community members who educate the broader community
Constellation admins: Selected members who are responsible for establishing the voice and culture of the community
The general Constellation community: Providing feedback and utility of the network
Each of these stakeholders plays a vital role in the development of our ecosystem and is thus considered part of our team. In creating this ecosystem and the breadth of capabilities, every stakeholder articulates Constellation’s vision from a different angle so as to appeal to different levels of interest. As such, our ecosystem is extremely powerful in navigating people (be it businesses or community members) to help build our decentralized network. The value of the network grows as the community expands and builds more value into it. We see our “team” as everyone who plays a role and participates in the growth of the network.
What can you tell us about the partners backing you up?
Constellation’s approach to “partnerships'' is three-fold, focused on community, enterprise, and crypto. Each plays an essential role in the long-term success and adoption of our network. Our community evangelizes our message and our community members are ultimately the individuals who build applications (like L_0 Tokens - our version of ERC-20 tokens) on Constellation’s Hypergraph. Enterprise partnerships include for-profit entities (e.g. Splunk), the US Federal Government (e.g. US Air Force), and consoritas (e.g. Space ISAC). Our crypto partnerships are with other main chains and projects that will help us achieve interoperability and cross-chain liquidity.
Our efforts with the US Federal Government have opened up so many incredible partnerships that are working to build scalable network communication solutions by using our HGTP. Since Constellation is a communications protocol and an emerging standard, we need to connect with various Federal agencies and their commercial partners. We have spent the last two years building these tie-ins and have received about half a dozen letters of support from different government agencies that will rely on Constellation for the future development of digital infrastructure security and the secure transmission of data for a myriad of use cases. The Federal Government is the largest producer of data in the US, and one of the primary supporters of small and medium-sized businesses. Their data assurance needs are absolutely endless. Productizing the use of data is one of the biggest businesses of the 21st century. Just in the last 10 years, we have seen the emergence of businesses building products around big data including Splunk, Palantir, Cloudera, and DataBricks. Adding Constellation’s decentralized and value-based network becomes the main priority for the evolution of data-driven businesses.
When we deployed our network in May 2020, we started onboarding remote node operators to validate transactions on the network. These node operators will ultimately build advanced solutions and robust applications that leverage HGTP and our network. As the first step in their participation, these partners are provided with nodes and are connected to the network, where they validate transaction data. Deploying nodes with robust capabilities becomes our ultimate partner strategy.
About the future; Do you have any development plans you'd like to share?
We released our Stargazer Wallet as a Chrome browser extension in February 2021, which will soon be cross-chain compatible. The wallet was our first product using software developed by our Stardust Collective and core team. Beyond its future cross-chain compatibility, the creation of the Stargazer Wallet was an incredible achievement that relied on coordinating the skills and talent of our decentralized ecosystem. The Stargazer Wallet is on the path to being a fully functional business built on Constellation’s HGTP and a pillar of our ecosystem.
Beyond that, I am extremely bullish about our newly developed DAG Terminal, which fulfills our mission to make it easy to use blockchain technology and onboard anyone to spin up a node and build a business on distributed ledger technology. By using the DAG Terminal, people will be able to mint their own L_0 Token – our version of the ERC-20. We provide an alternative and more robust approach to smart contracts - which were a great way to introduce developers to programming simple data structures on a blockchain. However, smart contracts such as ERC-20’s weren’t really more than PR and marketing stunts for fundraising (and they continue to be with NFTs). Using Constellation’s DAG Terminal, in just a few clicks, people will be able to create a token and add business logic and rewards to their L_0 application. In this way, Constellation empowers individuals to create businesses built on blockchain technologies that are tied to real-world business activity, and to fundraise using cryptocurrency and token generation.
In the past, websites were complex to build and every business needed a digital address and domain. Today, a similar challenge is inherent in building blockchain solutions and the need for every business to have immutability at the core of their domain and address. The DAG Terminal positions Constellation alongside the “no code” movement. The DAG terminal will simplify the whole token generation experience while creating accountability for all stakeholders involved with projects that create tokens, those being the people who back, create, and trade those tokens. Additionally, the DAG Terminal will be the first touchpoint to require very little development work to get started. Just as WordPress and Squarespace have made it straightforward and easy for anyone to build a website, the DAG Terminal will have the same impact on the crypto community making it easy to deploy your node. We are making things so simple that anyone will be able to create a business on a blockchain, an address and node on a blockchain ecosystem, and directly tie the business activity to rewards and incentives that back and support those businesses. With our L_0 Token Standard, the DAG Terminal can be used to easily create a more robust token type. At the same time, people who use our Lattice Exchange ($LTX) will have a straightforward end-to-end experience minting tokens and listing their projects, and access to a global cross-chain liquidity pool.
What's the added value of DAG in comparison with other competitors?
Constellation was purposely built with the developer in mind. Too many main chain protocols release their technology before it is fully baked. Once the technology is released to a developer community it will be assessed based on its useability and ease of integration. Wyatt Meldman-Floch, our CTO and co-founder, designed the Constellation protocol to be able to support any application that secures logic through the consensus layer. HGTP is built for real-world developers in both the crypto industry and enterprise organizations. From a technical perspective, we can run consensus on complex data types (vs. a smart contract which is a simple data type) on-chain. Our mathematical proofs that govern our network and consensus are formally verified. We have a domain-specific language called Babel, which is used for interacting with Hypergraph. With our JVM sandbox, we allow for more robust and complex applications to be developed by preprocessing data. For example, users can define rich data types and concurrent methods – two requirements for real-world development. Solidity, on the other hand, will never be able to do so because the language is so limited. Constellation opens up so many use cases where all information can be oracalized on-chain. No one has done this before, and this is why developers will flock to Constellation – because it works with any programming language, application, and existing infrastructure, and allows developers to apply data types and complex logic to their programming (commonly used in existing applications).
Additionally, many other protocols and ecosystems are L_1 layers (one above a true base layer) and are bound to a simple economic structure that limits the growth of their networks. They are bound to a transaction fee that is volatile and unpredictable. Many decentralized main chains in the blockchain space have fluctuating transaction fees for using their networks, which limits their economic activity and the ability to create predictable or variable businesses. In a real-life example, these networks start to resemble toll roads with frequently changeable fees, meaning you can’t predict how much it is going to cost as you travel from A to B. Conversely, Constellation is an economic ecosystem that, like a city or country, enables businesses to add services to their economies: L_0 Applications built on Constellation’s Hypergraph are responsible for developing their own economic activity and rewards (generative economics).
Instant and fee-less transactions
Direct streaming data validation through the Hypergraph Transfer Protocol (HGTP)
Integration of any external data source or blockchain (oracalization of data pipelines)
Concurrent consensus mechanisms (local sensitivity and network state)
A domain-specific programming language, called Babel, for interacting with Hypergraph
With our JVM sandbox, we allow for more robust and complex applications where developers can define rich types and concurrent methods
Use of L_0 state channels as an evolution to smart contracts to cryptographically secure more and complex data
HGTP L_0 token standard (the first L_0 in the industry)
Cross-chain liquidity and atomic swaps without additional routing
Arbitrage and manipulation protection (optimizing trade results)
Generative economic model
Underwriting of economic activity with compute resources
What makes Cybersecurity so complicated to achieve in the Big Data field?
Most cybersecurity solutions are bolted-on post-production implementations to existing hardware and software. Constellation’s approach is to provide digital infrastructure tools that are implemented early in the application building process (i.e. for deciding how to collect, store and use verified data). Our value proposition is to provide data assurance at the forefront of application and business building. Data security is data assurance: knowing who has access and what they do with your data. Right now, it is difficult to account for the integrity of your data; once it leaves your network, it is gone (cross your fingers!). This isn’t how you build in the real world. Thus no one is accountable for data breaches that may impact our identity and safety. It is a tough problem to solve because centralized services present vulnerabilities to the truth and source of the data. Constellation’s decentralized network, Hypergraph, leverages concurrent layers of consensus so that there are multiple levels of security, checks and balances, and no single point of failure. This is the power of decentralization as it applies to big data assurance, which is essential for the digital infrastructure of today and tomorrow.
What is the purpose of the $DAG token?
$DAG is an index token of all the business activity happening on Hypergraph. For people wanting to mint their own token on Constellation, an L_0 application and token is validated and spun up on the network. Therefore, $DAG underwrites the economic activity and compute resources on the HGTP. Behind the scenes, Wyatt Meldman-Floch has formally verified mathematical proofs that prove any value being injected into the network helps the entire network grow. In Ethereum, for example, you can mint an ERC-20 token, but it doesn’t really relate to network growth because you are not required to use $ETH until you move your currency across the Ethereum Network. $DAG essentially secures your access to the network and will be required for cross-chain liquidity and atomic swaps. Following suit - and because we can verify all data on our network - Hypergraph will be where all trading is verified because it has a low barrier to entry. As such, the Lattice Exchange ($LTX), built on Constellation’s Hypergraph, will be the interface for our global liquidity and interoperability.
What real-life application does it offer?
Many people across the world share the same belief - that each and every currency must be the means to an end. People might ask themselves, “Can I buy a pizza with Bitcoin?” While we are increasingly seeing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies used for real-life transactions, we envision something greater for the $DAG token - as a means for transacting in a new paradigm. To put this in perspective, over the past 30 years the internet has operated as a digital economy that has become a walled garden for a few major tech companies that have figured out how to monetize your data and actions. We believe that Hypergraph offers democratization of existing digital infrastructures and acts as a global account and audit of all digital information and activity. With $DAG and our L_0 Standard, you will truly be able to connect real-world data, assets, and business performance/activity to a currency. $DAG is therefore an index of the growth of the network.
When you think about how Facebook collects data and insights on users’ tastes and preferences, you might imagine data being exchanged between software (or various micro-services. Facebook sees this as an opportunity to mine your information and monetize your actions by serving you product recommendations. The general public does not see data as a means of exchange or a form of money. When you think about tangible money, you might think about paying for stuff that you can see has value for you. These values may be quite different; for example, a car that will take you from A to B will have a different value than toilet paper. Physical transactions of money do not come with a payload of data to tell you anything about the product being bought. If you purchase artwork or a house, you might need a physical certificate or title to prove that the artwork or house is real and verified by the governing bodies that make it authentic. $DAG and our L_0 Standard merge the concept of data collection with the exchange of value and the means to transact. This means you can attach more logic, information and to better understand your perceived value with the transfer of money by inserting information into the payload of the transfer.
$DAG is an expression of a new digital economy that trades in data. This might mean tokenizing data as it is transacted from machine-to-machine or crypto user-to-crypto user, and to reward people for sound business models, activity, and performance. We can’t merely think of cryptocurrency in the same way we do a printed one-dollar bill; doing so is a self-limiting way of understanding transactions across the global economy. Our world exists in data and our reality is distorted based on artificial intelligence and machine learning that use such data to create subjective realities. As a result, few have figured out how to monetize this information. In advertising, companies buy data about people who are more likely to buy their products. In eCommerce, products are suggested based on the things people like and their friends like. Dynamic pricing models exist based on demand/supply and user profiles, and even political viewpoints are recommended to us based on the news that we read (and vice versa). Data is core to how we will transact and monetize the future, and Constellation merges data and value exchange by creating tokenized data with the world’s first accounting infrastructure to support this global real-time data exchange. This will open up the multi-trillion dollar business of data to more businesses while giving individuals the freedom to control their information.
What’s your advice to all the newcomers in Crypto?
I think we all get involved with crypto for different reasons. I fell into it because I believed there would be a paradigm shift in how we transact, build businesses, and perceive value. Living in Silicon Valley, I saw only a handful of companies creating massive amounts of wealth around their walled digital gardens. This presented a huge opportunity for a new industry to emerge. I also wanted to be at the forefront of a movement and not just build another SaaS company that had a mediocre impact on the world. When I witnessed the power dynamics of crypto communities, I immediately saw that these communities are some of the most important players in the blockchain movement. This was the foundation of the newly emerging industry that comes along with an array of new opportunities. Building communities allow people to get involved with companies at an early stage and help them build and grow. By being involved in these communities people can do as much research as they want and are able to back those companies to support them and capitalize on their involvement. I recommend getting involved in these communities, having fun with them, and learning something new. It might change your perspective on life, business, friendships, family, money, and energy.
Thanks for answering our questions, see you soon!