On 11 August 2020, our Community Manager Dahee hosted a Live AMA session with Henrik Hjelte & Serge Lubkin, Co-Founder/CEO & Advisor/Marketing Expert of Chromia.

Dahee: Welcome to Crypto.com x Chromia AMA! Today, we are welcoming our guests from Chromia, Henrik Hjelte, Co-Founder and CEO, & Serge Lubkin, Advisor and Marketing Expert.

Henrik Hjelte: Hello, my name is Henrik Hjelte. I am a Co-Founder and the CEO of Chromia. I have more than 30 years of experience in programming and a degree in Economics from Uppsala University. After being introduced to blockchain by the leader of the colored-coins project Alex Mizrahi in 2013, we started ChromaWay with Or Perelman to explore if the world was interested in something more than the currency aspects of blockchain. It was called "bitcoin 2.0", and later became "blockchain." After a series of innovations and essential use-cases in both private and public blockchains, this year is focused on Chromia, a new public platform for mainstream decentralized applications using relational blockchain technology.

And on Chromia:
Chromia is a new public blockchain based on the idea of integrating traditional databases, Relational databases with blockchain security.Chromia is a general-purpose blockchain with full smart contract capabilities, just that it is a lot easier to code, even complex applications.

You code with an easy to learn new programming language that combines the power of SQL and normal languages but makes it secure in a blockchain context. Up to 1/10 the code-lines vs other blockchains.

The aim of Chromia is to combine relational databases, which exist in every kind of organisation, with blockchains. We want to provide a platform for our users to develop totally decentralised apps securely. Our goal is for Chromia to be seen as the number one infrastructure for decentralised applications.

Serge Lubkin: I’m Serge Lubkin, I’m a marketing and growth adviser at Chromia and I’m gonna assist Henrik today. I work in marketing and business development fields, as well as on the token economics of the project. I've been in crypto since 2014 and my background is in marketing and economics. I've been with Chromia since January 2019, looking forward to answering your questions. I’m also CMO at Hedget.com, a project incubated by Chromia.


Q1: The unique thing I see in Chromia Project is its Unique Programming Language "RELL". So, can you explain in detail about this Programming Language? Also, isn't learning a new language makes it difficult for developers to develop on Chromia?

Henrik Hjelte: Rell is a language for relational blockchain programming with type safety/static type checks which is deeply integrated with the relational model and supports complex operations. This model increases programmer productivity and ensures application consistency with the ability to update code over time. It’s very important to catch programming errors at the compilation stage to prevent financial losses. Rell is much more type-safe than SQL, and it will make sure that the types returned by queries match the types used in procedural code. It combines the following features:

Relational data modeling and queries are similar to SQL. People who are familiar with SQL should feel at home once they learn the new syntax. Normal programming constructs: variables, loops, functions, collections, etc. Constructs that specifically target application backends and, in particular, blockchain-style programming including request routing, authorization, etc. Rell aims to make programming as convenient and simple as possible. It minimizes boilerplate and repetition. At the same time, as a static type system, it can detect and prevent many kinds of defects prior to run-time. Safety-optimized. Arithmetic operations are safe right out of the box, programmers do not need to worry about overflows. Authorization checks are explicitly required.

Concise, expressive and convenient. Many developers dislike SQL because it is highly verbose. Rell doesn’t bother developers with details which can be derived automatically. As a data definition language, Rell is up to 7x more compact than SQL. It allows meta-programming. We do not want application developers to implement the basics from scratch for every DApp. Rell will allow functionality to be bundled as Templates. Programmers can use relational programming idioms they are already familiar with. However, they don’t have to go out of their ways to express everything through relational algebra: Rell can seamlessly merge relational constructs with procedural programming.

The language is deliberately similar to modern programming languages like JavaScript and Kotlin. A familiar language is easier to adapt to, and our internal tests show that programmers can become proficient in Rell in a matter of days.


Q2: Why should DApp developers choose Chromia instead of the alternative blockchain network? Why do DApps need blockchain?

Serge Lubkin: Chromia’s main feature is the ability to put full DApp logic on the chain, so it's based on blockchain technology. Why do DApps need blockchain? We believe decentralization puts the power back into users' hands and creates more fairness because users can control their assets and personal information.

Also, blockchain is perfectly suitable for referral programs and other marketing applications when transparency is the key. We believe the DApp market now is in its early days, and more people will come, especially with a better UI/UX that DApps on Chromia can provide.

There are some professional IT companies building stuff on Rell and Post chain now. And we get a really good response from individual developers even though we only have a Preview of Rell rolled out. It’s much bigger than a preview of course, you can check it here https://rell.chromia.com/en/master/

Also, it is always the case that people will say, "How will your little language compete with the big one that everyone is using"? A few years ago, we had PHP, the big language that everyone was using. And then a small little toy "ruby on rails" captured momentum, after that node.js plus javascript, etc. Developers want productive tools and are not afraid to learn better new languages. When you see that you can do your project a lot faster and better with Chromia, you will try it. As we did with Hedget.


Q3. Which programming languages does Chromia support?

Henrik Hjelte: Rell is the only language on the blockchain side. You can combine with anything on the client-side, although now the client only exists for JS/TS, C#, and Java/Kotlin.

Why one language? Rell is a language for relational blockchain programming. Rell aims to make programming as convenient and straightforward as possible. It minimizes boilerplate and repetition. Simultaneously, as a static type system, it can detect and prevent many kinds of defects prior to run-time. You can check it yourself here. Also on our blog, we have some comparisons. Note that relational databases are HUGE technology, known by millions of developers. But SQL is impossible, we need more security. Thus a new language.


Q4. Do you have any plans to work in DeFi with Chromia Technology? Can you tell us about the HGET token?

Serge Lubkin:  DeFi on Chromia is here and the Hedget project is a pioneer in this booming market. Hedget is a decentralized option trading platform. The HGET token is a native utility and governance token of the Hedget platform. It will be issued on the Ethereum network as an ERC-20 contract and will have a representation on a Chromia sidechain.

The token will have two major functions at the beginning Firstly it will serve as a governance token of the HGET DAO to fund setup transaction fees, assets reserves, and general functions and features of the platform. Secondly, it will be used to prevent spamming of orders which can lead to API overloads and orderbook manipulations. To prevent this, some amount of HGET tokens will need to be staked. The greater the activity, the more tokens should be staked.

Hedget will be deployed on the Chromia Mainnet, boosting the use of Chromia and scaling the ecosystem. That means using CHR to rent resources and, in the future, Hedget tokens can be transacted with other DeFi dapps built on Chromia.

Secondly, the Hedget Foundation will use CHR token in a public sale of HGET to prevent bots from outrunning regular buyers. Staking CHR will be mandatory to participate in a public token sale, in the form of an auction. You can read more about HEDGET here.


Q5. What is the Chromia Vault and Chromia Explorer?

Henrik Hjelte: The Chromia Vault is our wallet software, the place where you keep your keys and manage your tokens. It is different from most other wallets out there though, which is why we opted to call it a Vault instead.  

The Vault lets you manage your tokens across different chains, browse DApps available on Chromia, and control your accounts on different DApps (e.g. Chromia SSO, stay tuned for more details!). Another function linked to the vault is the Chromia Explorer, it allows you to visualize transactions and activities on different chains. If you have used other block explorers before, the interface should be familiar to you, but it differs in that it offers a fully decentralized way to explore the Chromia blockchain. Because relational blockchain removes the need for indexing services, you can fetch information straight from the chain without any servers in between.

You can access the Vault at vault-testnet.chromia.com. The Explorer can be accessed at explorer-testnet.chromia.com.


Q6. What sets Chromia apart from other projects?

Henrik Hjelte: The main advantage is its simplicity, thanks to the relational database aspects. Relational databases are run by 100% of the enterprises, (85% of the database market) at the moment, way above any key-value store or NoSQL at the backend. The biggest database vendor has a bigger market cap than bitcoin.

It is easier for enterprises to integrate our tech stack to their systems without the need to redo them like in most cases where blockchain pilots have failed.

That’s why we had success with customers who live in the Chromia network. It’s straightforward for developers to deploy DApps because they already know SQL-style programming. Keep in mind that we have worked with customers and developers to build our tech stack while solving problems for them. We didn’t build something unneeded. We have proof of validation from the market.

But, we chose Ethereum for our token because it’s the go-to option for all pre-mainnet tokens due to its infrastructure and a relatively long history.

Our native Mainnet will support tokens in the next release to transfer the majority of ERC-20 tokens to our network. You can read about the Mainnet update in our latest blog.


Q7. How does the Chromia Vault Single Sign On (SSO) operate and is it safer than other existing unified login systems?

Serge Lubkin: Chromia’s SSO solution helps to improve user experience for decentralized applications (DApps)with increased security. These advancements help increase the mass adoption of blockchain technology in general and spike DApp usage in particular. This is good not only for Chromia, but for the broader ecosystem as well.

It is, in many ways, more accessible than any other existing unified login systems, centralized or not. Once the user has an account in the vault, it only requires 2 clicks to be registered and logged in on any Chromia DApps, just like signing in with Google, or Facebook. Only in this way can the user stay in control. You can read about Chromia SSO in detail here.

We want to have commercially successful games and other DApps on the platform, so the UX is super important for us.


Live Q1: Currently a vast number of DeFi projects are built on Ethereum. How are DeFi applications going on Chromia? How promising are their futures?

Henrik Hjelte: Great question, Medi. Yes, the Ethereum ecosystem is the biggest digital assets ecosystem as of now, so our DeFi project Hedget will be made as an Ethereum L2 solution, so all ERC-20 assets will be available for use in Hedget. This route of interoperability and Ethereum L2 scaling probably is optimal for DeFi projects.


Live Q2: Speed & Security for many projects is the top priority, but no tech is available right now to offer those 2 with total decentralization. How can Chromia achieve that?

Henrik Hjelte: I think Chromia is very competitive here, even though we don't brag or exaggerate like some other projects (many who give up on decentralization for higher numbers).

In terms of security, we have a quite traditional choice of consensus, based on solid research and experience since the 90s, a PBFT-like model at core. Then we add layers of security, even anchoring into PoW blockchains in the end.

In terms of speed, we are the only blockchain that has a virtual machine developed for decades and used in production at the world’s largest companies, completely optimized for one thing: storing and retrieving data. I'm talking about Postgresql, the relational database engine that we have under the hood. This is so much more than a little virtual machine like EVM. It is a full-blown database. In a single transaction, you can pay out dividends to 10.000 shareholders, or you can move all the troops and settle all the battles. You get it right? What you can do INSIDE each transaction matters, not just counting them.


Live Q3: What was the main inspiration for starting Chromia? What was it in the blockchain space that teams were lacking and could be solved with Chromia vs. the many other existing platforms?

Henrik Hjelte: We, ChromaWay, the company that came up with the Chromia idea, is one of the world’s oldest blockchain companies. We did the world’s first bank-backed "stablecoin" in 2014-15. It was a bank, LHV bank, in Estonia, that wanted to have Euro tokens for a national payment solution. When we coded it, we needed fast retrieval. And we had to save data not only in a blockchain but a database, and the idea slowly grew that we can combine these technologies into one unified technology. At the time, there was a rush to start new technologies: ICM started fabric, we talked a lot with the R3 CTO and he started to plan Corda etc. Vitalik started Ethereum, And many of these architectures are now kind of stuck on the "initial idea", a version 1. It can be hard to change architecture if you move too fast too soon. We have worked for years on implementation and idea, and I really feel we have a superior core model with the combination of the leading way to manage data with blockchain security: a relational blockchain!


Live Q4:  Why did you choose the Amazon Web Service model for DApps owners? How do you calculate the payment for owners for storing DApp?

Serge Lubkin: Really good question. The current tx fee concept adopted by the majority of blockchains doesn’t fit for the majority of applications. Developers need:

1. Flexibility to establish any fee model: transaction-based, subscription, freemium, free to play, advertising, sponsorship etc as they want;
2. Free transactions inside DApps, so user don’t need to pay for every action;
3. Price predictability: so they will not be surprised by the huge expenses occurred because of some bottlenecks or unexpected price spikes like we usually experience on Ethereum. So Rent the Blockchain concept was invented to address all of these issues.

A concept similar to AWS but decentralized and blockchain-based.


Live Q5: What is the status and development progress of ChromaWallet? What unique features will it use?

Henrik Hjelte: ChromaWallet was released in 2013 and served as an inspiration to Ethereum, with P2P trading built-in. It was a colored-coins wallet, tokens on bitcoin, and we did it in the "colored-coins project". Jimmy Song was one of the developers. Anyway, people have now forgotten about it, so we might reuse the name for something else. But otherwise, it is the "Chromia Vault" that is the prime wallet implementation (even though we see it as more than a wallet).


Live Q6: Which area does Chromia focus on at the moment? (DeFi, Stake, DApps..)

Serge Lubkin :
1. Staking will be the core for securing the ecosystem;
2. Gaming DApps needed for mass adoption for the general public;
3. DeFi DApps needed for adoption in the crypto universe.
So all three.


Live Q7: Who will have the final say in development and business decisions? How much will the elected representatives be able to influence when it comes to business and development decisions? Will the company have some kind of veto when it comes to decisions?

Henrik Hjelte: We strive for Chromia to be completely decentralized, thus no one is having special powers, not even ChromaWay, the company that came up with the idea and donated the first source code. Why? For several reasons:

* We like decentralization, that is why we started the company, the project and also laid some groundwork for the industry (first user-generated token protocol);
* Market reasons: if we are not decentralized, the market will punish us;
* ChromaWay is largely independent of clumsy VCs so we can do what we founders believe in (and we like decentralization).
Note: this will have to take some time. Having one company to lead development is the prevailing way of how open-source and free software are created.
We have explained it in the whitepaper of Chromia, you can also refer to our blog to know more about our values.

Ok, maybe this was all. A good ending #power-to-the-public!


Dahee: All questions that were addressed during the AMA will share a pool of $500 in CHR. Congratulations to all of the winners! Our Community Manager will reach out to the winners individually.

CHR rewards will be issued within 14 days after the campaign ends. You can log in and see your App's CHR wallet section.  

See you next time!