Yesterday Chia Network held their December Ask me Anything community meeting, likely the last for the year, and answered questions from Chia farmers and fans for about an hour. Unlike the last few that they held, there wasn’t anything specific this AMA was focused on, and it really was a free for all that we haven’t seen for a few months. Check it out here or scroll down to the bottom to watch the embed. If you don’t Santa Gene will bring you climate destroying coal in your stocking.
Attending this session was Bram himself, Justin England (senior director of infrastructure, platforms and security), J Eckert and the aforementioned Santa Gene. They kicked off the session answering a set of common questions that they frequently get, one of which is fairly interesting and that is “wen Asteroids”. According to Gene the Chia Network team is mostly done their part and is waiting on their partner (clients!), and it is indeed related to the World Bank and Costa Rica initiatives. I think its a plug and play Climate market still and that the first deployment is the partner they are working on. That’s why they needed the CAT standard finalized, as they will need to tokenize some quantity of Carbon in order to trade it.
The first major topic they addressed was the recent job posting for a Director of Exchange relations and what that meant for getting Chia onto exchanges. Basically they said that this job would be to handle all the smaller exchanges, of which there are many, so that nobody gets left in the dark while outfits like Coinbase or Kraken would be managed by a team of senior executives. Like any business, the bigger the partner the more you spend on partner relations.
Then we got a little segue into Marmot Coin and how that is doing. They let us know that the Marmot Rescue Foundation had noticed the Chia community’s efforts and thanked us for our generosity. We didn’t get an exact issuance number but because it has basically become a Proof of Charity coin its kind of a situation where the more the merrier – rare in Crypto. If you haven’t donated yet or gotten yourself a MRMT you should follow this guide and get on it.
They spoke a little bit about their plans for the Chia Cultivation Grant program and how they are hoping to see it expand into solutions using CATs for various solutions. They are also likely going to be putting out a sort of “bounty list” of projects that they would like to see built up in the ecosystem. They also mentioned that they will be reaching out to big Stablecoin players and they expect to see those kind of CATs starting to appear as well. Personally I think there is a ways to go yet before a major stablecoin like USDT or USDC launches a CAT on the Chia Blockchain, but if I’m wrong it would probably be good for the community and ease of trading, despite my thoughts on stablecoins in general (and Tether in particular).
The mentioned some updates to the Greenpaper consensus document coming, as well as updates to the Business Whitepaper. They also mentioned, very briefly, about a Harvard Business School case study on Chia that was run right before American Thanksgiving. Gene focused on the student reaction to blockchain technology in general but I would be very interested in seeing that case study. I will follow up on this and see if that is at all possible.
Recently in a previous discussion Chia had mentioned that they plan on having a “Buy XCH” button on the website when they can legally do so. They expanded on that a little here about how that would be a bi-directional market and would allow selling as well as buying, and Gene indicated that for US citizens this would be the easiest and cheapest way to buy XCH. I suspect this would be an AMM or DeFi chialisp application and not any sort of actual service run by Chia Network.
Next Bram talked a little bit about the work that they are working on for an NFT standard. This is really awesome, and something that I think any programmable smart chain needs right now. A lot of the conversation around Cryptocurrency is centered on NFTs right now, so a working solution sooner rather than later would be great. Bram detailed how this would work, with a DID wallet identifying the owner of an NFT and on-chain software for transferring them.
We got a shoutout for our efforts with the BlueBox timelords, thanks to the team at SpaceFarmers. Justin shared some charts of how rapidly the community is compactifying the blockchain and the expectation is that in a couple of weeks we have hit equilibrium. This is both great news and a little bittersweet, as I had hoped to get a community leaderboard going and from what I can tell by these charts by the time I could launch something the process will be almost over and just working on the new blocks being farmed. We did too good a job.
Next we get an update on the plot compression process that has been teased. Bram went into a really interesting discussion about where they are and what they are working on for this feature. Its fairly lengthy, and there’s no way I could do it justice so if you are interested you should check out the video and skip to the “When plot compression tool?” timestamps. I think he explains pretty well why its not a real compression process and what they need to watch for, like HDD seek times. If Bram reads this, it was 100% not too much information and very interesting to those who are interested.
They did answer a question I have had about the rapidly growing database size. This has caused me real issues and has actually priced out of a couple how-to guides I have been working on. They answered it with a great tease, which I hope bears fruition. Apparently they have a version 2 of the blockchain database in progress where they might be getting up to 50% size reduction. There are apparently commits in the current Chia blockchain code that you can look at now to see some of the tricks they are using here. They did say you would be able to move between database formats without resyncing, which sounds a bit farfetched. I think a better way to describe is that they will allow you to sync that database from your V1 as I bet it is going to take some time and CPU muscle to work.
Next there was an update on the ASIC timelords they have been teasing. Still no real firm idea of what its going to look like. It sounds like there is still some debate over USB vs PCIe. They did detail how it would work a little with 3 VDF clients on each device, which means that you would only need 1 physical ASIC timelord as opposed to a cluster of 3 x86 machines they use now. You can be sure that I will use whatever small influence I have to get one for sure, as they indicated that there would be a very limited quantities. They also detailed an intermediary step of using FPGA’s internally to test their toolchains. This is obvious when doing custom silicon development and no one should get too excited about this. FPGAs are very expensive and power-hungry and aren’t as “field programmable” as they started out 40 years ago. A set of these I will not be trying to acquire.
After that they moved on to a question about putting the pre-farm into a custodial wallet, which is fine but a little boring. Too much focus on the pre-farm in my opinion. But then for some reason Bram went off on a tangent about how he’s trying to ruin Poker by putting it on chain. He detailed out a game which bears very little relation to poker and has been twisted to work on the blockchain where there are no secrets. It sounds like it might be an interesting game, but a game with an infinite deck, no suits and a “boosted state” is not poker.
After he ruined poker (kidding) Bram had to leave and the team answered some more questions, about the IPO, the circular drive initiative and a few others about the Exchange position and hardware wallets. The IPO questions are almost a little silly since they can’t really answer them and have no real control over the process. Its something that is done to them by the owners, not by them as the staff. Some of the staff are owners and involved in that process, but Chia Network is the product being sold not the one selling. As to the others they were mostly questions that have been answered more or follow-ups to topics already covered. You should definitely watch the whole thing if you are interested in the deep part of the AMA.
All in all it was very informative session. I think anyone who has even read down to the point of an article about the AMA would probably get some benefit from just watching it, so click play below and enjoy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Chia Network Team, ya filthy animals.