AMA Recap Crypto Library with Taraxa Project


On 21st May 2021, Taraxa Project conducted an AMA in the Crypto Library Community. Our guest is Steven Pu. Lots of questions as usual from the Community about Taraxa Project progress. The Taraxa Project team took part in a very interesting AMA session which included introductions, questions from twitter, and a live AMA session with the Crypto Library community. If you missed the AMA in person, read this recap for a deeper insight into Taraxa Project.

Let’s take a look at the most interesting points of our conversation.

Crypto Library Team : So, before we start the AMA could you please introduce yourself to our community?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : My name is Steven Pu, founder of the Taraxa project. I graduated from Stanford with undergrad & master’s degrees in EE, launched a few startups in IoT and mobile health, and had a career in strategy consulting - my last job prior to starting Taraxa was an associate partner at Monitor Deloitte, helping to spearhead their digital innovation strategy practice. My duties are to help drive the technical development and adoption of the Taraxa ecosystem, while the Foundation oversees our actions and is in charge of financial and all token-related decisions.
Crypto Library Team : What is Taraxa? and How the story behind the Taraxa project creation?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : Taraxa is actually quite unique in that we're solving a problem that has been extremely difficult to solve, which is how do you track informal transactions. This sounds a little strange, let me explain the origin of the pain-point, how the world's currently solving it, and why Taraxa brings a unique solution to the table. I came to understand this pain-point from the convergence of my career experiences launching very small startups as a founder, and advising Fortune-500 company executives on innovation strategy. One of the core missions of mine while advising these executives was to teach large companies & organizations how to innovate quickly like small startups. This turned out to be extremely difficult, but it was difficult because these larger companies couldn’t get access to the right information, nor do they trust the information they already have. What I realized was that larger organizations cannot trust most of the transactional agreements and unstructured data that’s being generated during everyday business, not in a way a small startup could, due to the coordination cost that comes with size and complexity. Hence these larger companies and projects couldn’t respond quickly to the market, and ultimately cannot innovate. Today, the world's solution to this problem is simply to try to force everyone to start doing data entry into some big project management or ERP system. This doesn't work out very well because most of the time, people do not want to do so much data entry, and even if they did, the information captured is unverifiable. Blockchain technology has some unique properties that enable a large-scale solution to this problem. For off-chain data, blockchain is able to guarantee provenance (where the data came from) and immutability (it wasn’t changed after collection). These in combination create strongly traceable accountability, which rapidly eliminates the incentive to commit false information. This is the core, unique insight upon which Taraxa is built - that blockchain technology, by enforcing accountability, is able to make informal transactional data trustworthy.

Crypto Library Team : Could you give us some reason Why we have to choose Taraxa than other projects out there?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : We’ve already mentioned the problem that Taraxa is solving, but let me tell you more about the longer-term vision, as well as our approach. By tracking informal transactions, we make them highly trustworthy, which gives businesses a lot of short-term, operational value - minimizing confusion, disputes, and making better decisions faster. In the longer term, there is also a huge financial value. These informal transactions form the basis of a reputation, because it shows who you’re working with and collaborating with, it reflects REAL and verifiable work and interactions that are impossible to fake. Why does reputation matter? Because a huge part of the financial system is based on reputation. Today if you go to a bank and try to get a loan, the bank will typically ask for 2 things - what do you have for collateral - e.g.,  your house, your car, your next 6-months of paychecks, and also what is your credit score - e.g, are you a trustworthy person. But look at crypto today, the only financial instruments we have in crypto today are collateralized - i.e., you have to lock in your tokens. There is zero concept of reputation or credit, because there is no such data today. The crypto finance world is completely disconnected from the real world, and the real world is not providing any credit information into the crypto finance world. Taraxa is the only project that is working to provide this reputation / credit data input! It is a huge and difficult task, but we have made many breakthroughs with our market-tested platforms such as Helio for asset leasing, and Marinate for construction & supply chain. As we build our user base we will be in a position to provide real, verifiable reputation data that will power the next DeFi boom. I think this is truly what makes Taraxa special, we don’t follow the trend, we create the next trend.

Crypto Library Team : Please tell us about $TARA token! What are the token use-case, distribution, and where we can buy it?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : Sure! The $TARA token serves two broad purposes for our ecosystem.
First, it is used to secure the system. Taraxa’s Layer-1 network is proof of stake, and $TARA is used in staking and delegation which gives the token holders & node operators an income stream (staking yields), as well as guard the network against Sybil attacks. Second, all of our application platforms will be creating income, in the forms of payments from our customers. For crypto-specific use cases, the applications will be giving out geometrically higher incentives to users who have stakes in $TARA vs. those who do not, providing additional income for $TARA holders. For non-crypto use cases, the platforms themselves are always consuming $TARA, so as the platforms gain adoption, it naturally uses up more $TARA and creates a natural demand in the market. You can find out a bit more about the distribution here at Currently the Taraxa Foundation has officially partnered with 3 exchanges: Kucoin, Gate, and AscendEx (formerly Bitmax). Unofficially many more exchanges have listed the token. Feel free to check it out!

Crypto Library Team : Please share some information about your roadmap, your recent progress, and your future plans?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : You can find out more about our roadmap here: 
We have an updated website coming out soon with a much more detailed roadmap so please be on the lookout for that as well. Our immediate focus right now is to get the community engaged in our testnet as soon as possible. We’re crushing bugs everyday and rooting out a lot of security edge cases to improve the stability of the network. We will be launching with a slew of interesting activities for the community to participate in. For the short-term future, we have two primary goals for 2021, one is mainnet deployment, the other driving adoption for our application platforms. For mainnet, the most important thing to note (even beyond performance) is security & stability. We will be closely involving the community every step of the way as we roll out a phased approach to large-scale stress testing of the network. First, we will incentivize the community for simply running a testnet node and reporting errors. Second, we will roll out a mirrored staking on ETH that projects onto our testnet’s staking mechanisms, and enable community members to stake their tokens, participate in tests, and earn yields. Lastly, we will transition from the ERC20 tokens into native tokens and conduct final rounds of stress testing and security audits before releasing our mainnet candidate. For our application platform, especially for Marinate, we will be rolling out a series of integrations with baseline communication tools such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and WeChat to help the community engage with our product, get a better understanding for their uses, and help source additional use cases. Throughout our project’s history, many of the use cases and customers had been introduced to us from enthusiastic community members, and we wish to keep honoring that tradition in involving our community in our product development & adoption.
Crypto Library Team : How does Taraxa expect to drive adoption and awareness of its Helio and Marinate platforms?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : We use a mixture of direct business development and bottoms-up marketing. First we work closely with our early customers to refine the product and get feedback, then we put those learnings not only into our product but also into our digital marketing - which is highly targeted. Right now our current use cases for both Helio and Marinate really have nothing to do with crypto, as they target traditional industries. We are working to develop a crypto use case with built-in virality to help the crypto community at large understand our products and vision better.

Crypto Library Team : The Taraxa Project is a public ledger platform created to audit informal transactions. So, what types of records does Taraxa technology inspect and what are the unique benefits this feature will bring to the crypto industry?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : Taraxa focuses on informal transactions (see my answers above which talks about the pain points and origins of the project), which make up >80% of the world's transactional data, and are currently unrecorded and unverifiable. By capturing these transactions we help to build up a reputation system which can help to evolve the current collateral-only DeFi market and generate the next crypto boom. 
Crypto Library Team : MARINATE a tool to track everyday agreements just like in google, whatsapp quickly. How does MARINATE help users to intergrate tools and apps they already use? Does  TARAXA focus non crypto users  also?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : This is a really great question, thanks! Our goal is to minimize changes to users' existing habits and behaviors, so we want to make our applications invisible. For example, if you're texting someone a quick agreement "hey let's update the window width on the second floor to be 1cm wider", you just text that person (or a group) and then cc Marinate on the text, then Marinate will send you back links, which you click on and then that's it, your informal agreement has been signed and anchored into the blockchain. Very simple. 

Taraxa actually currently focuses exclusively on non-crypto users, which is what is prompting us to create crypto-related use cases. I think we're a little bit reversed from most projects out there, we went after mainstream adoption first and are now coming back to the crypto world

Crypto Library Team : Is your project supporting a local community too? What are your plan to increase awareness and adoption where English is not spoken?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : We're launching an ambassador program very soon! Most of our supporters don't speak English well so we are constantly finding ways to enable our community supporters to help spread the word!! Would love to hear your suggestions and comments.

Crypto Library Team : Burning of tokens is the best thing for controlling the price of the token and reducing the supply. So, do you have any plan of burning tokens?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : This actually relates to one of our recent AMAs where we discussed integrating EIP-1559 into our architecture as well, which has a proposal to burn a baseline gas fee to help make overall fees more stable and more predictable. We've analyzed it and seems like a great idea, and will be implementing it into our protocol.

Crypto Library Team : Does the Taraxa name and logo have any meaning? why did you choose the name TARAXA for your project?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : When we first designed the logo, we thought of the dandelion and how its seeds spread & take root like a decentralized ecosystem. Taraxacum Officinale is the Latin name for the common dandelion, so we truncated the word and came up with Taraxa.

Crypto Library Team : What do you think about NFT? Do you have any plan for implant NFT on your ecosystem?

Steven Pu (Taraxa Project) : We think NFTs are very interesting, but while our core dev team's focus will remain on informal transactions, we have partners (especially in Japan) that have been signing up a lot of artists interested in publishing NFTs on Taraxa. We're very excited to support their efforts.