Michael Smolenski is the CEO of Lightstreams and Ex-Goldman Sachs Software Engineer. Michael and his team are working on an innovative blockchain project designed for Decentralised Applications that require SPEED and PRIVACY when sharing content. In this interview, we will get to know more about Lightsreams and the opportunities it provides.
1) Can you tell us your name and about yourself?
I’m Michael Smolenski, CEO and Founder at Lightstreams. A solutions architect and software developer, I’ve been heavily involved in the exploration of emerging technology at an enterprise level for a number of years, with a focus on the financial industry. I’m a big fan of hackathons, and have won a number of rewards in these for coming up with blockchain solutions.
2) What is Lightstreams?
Lightstreams is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. It uses not only blockchain technology, but a modified version of the InterPlanetary File System to create an infrastructure for this, overcoming some of the privacy and scalability concerns associated with blockchains to provide a base layer for the data usage of dApps.
3) Could you explain to us; What is a DApp?
A ‘dApp’ is a decentralised application – the term refers to any program that runs on top of a blockchain protocol. You’ve no doubt heard of CryptoKitties, which is the most popular. DApps use inbuilt smart contract functionality to operate, though they are currently limited in their uses, due to a blockchain’s inherently terrible efficiency in; a) storing data and, b) keeping it confidential.
4) Tell us why you think blockchain is not the best way to keep sensitive information private and confidential.
Blockchains are a very interesting tool. I think, though, that they’ve been billed until now by many as the solution to everything. They’re great for a handful of cases, like censorship-resistance and immutability. But this strength comes from their public nature, and a core focus on transparency. Obviously, this doesn’t lend itself to privacy.
If you want to exchange information via smart contract on, say, the Ethereum network, not only is that exchange visible to any onlooker, but it’s also incredibly costly to store anything exceeding a few kilobytes on-chain.
5) What are the Major Features and Services provided by Lightstreams?
Lightstreams aims to be the quintessential protocol for storing and exchanging digital content, for everyone from independent creators to businesses. With low costs, decentralised governance, and an open ecosystem, it will mark a shift away from traditional data storage options.
6) Please tell us more about your Token Curated Governance system?
The Token Curated Governance system operates similar to staking. Token holders curate a constitution together, and are incentivised to maintain the integrity and smooth running of the network. Under this system, the participants can submit proposals for upgrades to be made to the network, and their peers can vote on whether these go through. A subset of nodes called Authority Nodes subsequently implement the upgrades.
7) How are you planning to scale in order to support demand on a global scale?
Scalability is an issue that plagues the vast majority of blockchain networks – partly due to the Proof-of-Work algorithms they employ to mine new blocks. It’s one of the main reasons we chose to use our own enhanced version of the Ethereum blockchain, one that uses Tendermint as a method of achieving consensus, without the need to mine. On top of this, as Lightstreams relies on off-chain storage, the blockchain is much less prone to bloating.
8) What is next on the Lightstreams Roadmap?
In the near future, we’ll be launching our token sale. By the end of the year, we aim to have both the Authority Nodes incorporated into the network’s structure, and the delegation of governance to token holders, where they can decide on policies.
9) Could you tell us about your team and technical support?
We’ve got a wealth of talent on board the Lightstreams team, which currently consists of ten members with varied skill sets in business development, software development and marketing. We’ve got advisors who have track records in the fintech and legal fields.
10) Do you have any compliance and security concerns?
There’s a lot of uncertainty as to where the whole blockchain field is headed as a whole, with regards to legislatory intervention. I’ve spoken before about the importance of complying with GDPR, though, and in this respect, I think Lightstreams actually mitigates some of the issues it presents.
11) Do you have more information for our readers?