In this episode, Monica Quaintance joins me as a guest to discuss Kadena and how their blockchain aims to solve real world problems.
--- Twitter: https://twitter.com/QuaintM
--- Kadena: https://kadena.io/en/
Brandon Zemp 0:00
Hello guys, it is August 21. Today on the podcast Monica acquaintance joins me to discuss Kadena. Monica has quite a background. She's worked at Rent the Runway, Cushman and Wakefield. And as a quantitative analysis at the SEC. She's currently the head of research and networks at Kadena and exciting project that we are going to dive into in this podcast. And Kadena is also launching a lot of exciting things early this fall. So definitely stay tuned. As always, don't forget to subscribe if you have not already and share this episode with somebody that you think would like to learn more about Kadena or blockchain in general. So great episode. Enjoy.
Hi, Monica, how you doing?
Monica Quaintance 0:49
I'm great. Thanks for having me.
Brandon Zemp 0:51
Absolutely. So tell me a little bit about your background and how your career lead you in the blockchain?
Monica Quaintance 0:57
Sure, well, I'm sure that everybody has their own crypto origin story. It's like your superhero origin story, but it's how you ended up in crypto. And mine is sort of a roundabout story. I was originally supposed to be an opera singer. And I dropped out and studied math instead. And then like most math, people who end up in the city not knowing what they're going to do, I ended up in finance. So I was an investment banker for a few years. And then I transitioned into becoming a systems engineer. And so I was working for a fashion tech startup. And then I got a call from my friend will who said, I'm working at the SEC, and we're doing some really interesting software, do you want to come? And I said, Okay, that sounds cool. So I worked at the SEC for three months, with will and then they, because of trials, tribulations and the government, they basically restructured our group, I left and I went to Rent the Runway and became a systems engineer there. And we'll went to JP Morgan in their research group, which eventually became the blockchain research group. And then three years later, he called me and said, What are you doing? I'm leaving, and we're starting a blockchain. Do you want to come? And I said, Well, I don't I've never made a blockchain before. But Sure, let's do it. So ever since then, it's been it's been a wild ride trying to But fortunately, distributed database design and the kind of database administration that I was doing at Rent the Runway actually translates very well to blockchain because you're just basically working on a new type of distributed data store. And so a background in finance and a background in distributed databases is actually serves me fairly well in blockchain land.
Brandon Zemp 2:54
Yeah, that sounds like a crazy time moving back and forth between all that stuff, especially not necessary early planning on going finance and then bouncing around from the SEC to Rent the Runway. And, and then Kadena. So what is Rent the Runway? Exactly?
Monica Quaintance 3:12
Oh, so rent, the runway is a fashion rental company. And this is a women can rent clothing, and that ships to them, you wear it, and then you return it gets dry cleaning turn back around. So the throne actually has the largest dry cleaning facility in North America. And the logistics business is huge. It's crazy the amount of data that they have to track in order to move garments through the warehouse, which is almost entirely automated. And it has these amazing tracks that like shuttle things on hangers around. It's it's basically the future. And working there was awesome. But you know, we went from, hey, we just cobbled this data system together as we were growing to Oh, God, we need to scale and how do we go from, you know, we just have a couple servers to a class scalable type of a distributed storage system. And so that was it was trial by fire, but but really fun.
Brandon Zemp 4:07
So was it mostly like supply chain management,
Monica Quaintance 4:10
it's some supply chain management, and then it's also knowing, so they booked dresses like you book airline seats, you can reserve reservations in the future. So that reservation calendaring system as a whole has its own optimization problem. And then figuring out what assets we think are going to be available when based on prediction curves is a whole other side. And then the customer side is figuring out who likes what based upon what they've liked in the past. And if you're a customer profile, similar to this other person, you can recommend them things that somebody else likes, how do you group those things? search engine optimization of that stuff. So there's, there's a lot, there's a lot to learn. It was really fun.
Brandon Zemp 4:52
Oh, yeah, definitely. Sounds fun. sounds really interesting. I'll have to look into it more as well. And you talked about the SEC a little bit in your, your shorts, there's Well, what was that experience? Like?
Monica Quaintance 5:02
Really, really fascinating. I'm not sure. I'm not, I don't think that I was a good fit for their group. But the people there in that particular group were totally, were absolutely brilliant. Basically, there's a think tank inside of the SEC, where they have people working on experimental software where they try to detect fraud, like trying to get ahead of high frequency trading fraud. You can load a blotter, like a trade blotter that somebody has requested from a from a bank, and run it through and try to recognize patterns were like, oh, it actually looks like they're selling back to themselves in order to push up the price, which is called painting the tapes, or any of these other like, Oh, we somebody here has managed to sell something off right before a big price drop drop, this must be insider trading, and trying to catch those patterns ahead of time. But when there's such a volume of data, how do you do that, trying to make software for that to make it easier for examiners to be able to find fraud. I was I joined at a time of transition where the group was moving from working on one project to another, and they actually moved my contract out from under me. So by the time I started, they didn't really have anything for me to work on. And I was like, This is cool. I'm gonna leave. But it was very interesting to see a little bit more about how things work on the inside, and will who's the Kadena co founder. He worked there for a year and a half. And so he knows lots more about how they're trying to fight the good fight from the inside.
Brandon Zemp 6:39
Absolutely. That's, that's really fascinating. were they looking at trading for crypto as well? Or was it mostly just focused on high frequency trading and stock market and whatnot?
Monica Quaintance 6:50
This was still pre the crypto,
take off. And but will was he was actually the tech lead for the cryptocurrency committee in the sec, because they were looking for somebody who could provide technical guidance about cryptocurrencies, but who didn't own any crypto and wouldn't be conflicted. And so will happen to fit that bill. He didn't own any Bitcoin or anything. And he knew how cryptocurrencies worked from a technical perspective. So he ended up actually being on that committee, which he has some interesting stories about that stuff, which you can ask him about some other time.
Brandon Zemp 7:33
Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to talk to him about that sometime. Sounds like a really interesting story that you could talk about and everything they're doing. Let's go ahead and move on to Kadena and talk about what you guys are doing there. So what is Kadena exactly?
Monica Quaintance 7:46
The story behind Kadena is that right now, there's the strong promise of what you can do with blockchain. But the blockchain that we have available right now doesn't deliver. When you think about in the dreams of when everyone says oh, you know, blockchain is going to be instrumental for personal data privacy management, or being able to share information in a safe and secure way to trusted parties or being able to track transactions forever with automated key signing and all these things. They're not yet possible with the blockchains that we have today, because they just don't work. And so the whole thought behind Kadena is a smart contract platform that is super simple, and easy to use, that will actually scale that will just do the things that you need to get done from a business perspective. blockchain should be just as easy to use as spinning up a MySQL database, and just click and go. And that's the promise behind Kadena is that we will be a one stop platform like AWS for blockchain, where whatever you need to do whether it's a private blockchain, whether you want to launch something on a public blockchain, whether you want to do both, you want to make an app, you want to make a smart contract. All those things should be super easy. It should be just a couple steps away from basically one click deployment. So that's, that's where we're headed. And right now we've got our private blockchain has been up for three years, our smart contract language has been out for three years. And our public blockchain is launching launching in October. So in October will finally have all the pieces of our completely holistic stack.
Brandon Zemp 9:35
Very cool. Yeah, there are a lot of projects out there, a lot of blockchain projects that are definitely having some issues with scaling and TPS and being able to handle that kind of a load on their, on their network. And I noticed that with Kadena they take you guys take a very interesting approach, you have something called chain web. Can you explain what chain web is? And you can technical if you want to?
Monica Quaintance 10:01
Sure. So chain web is the protocol design for our public network.
And the idea behind chain web is that we like the features of Bitcoin that are proof of work in that anybody anywhere can solve this math problem, that it can be fully distributed, and completely trust lists. And there's none of this, you know, money aggregates to the stickers. And then stickers can preferentially block other people from the network or money, getting kongregate it into the hands of the oligarchy, and all of these other things about staking that are like, we haven't really figured them out yet. proof of work is tried and tested. And we know that 11 years later, Bitcoin is still going. And so we've taken the idea that we like the security of proof of work, and we've turned it into a scalable variants. So you can have many proof of work chains that are all pushing transactions all at the same time. But they connect to each other, they reference each other. So you can have a shared sense of ledger, you can have multiple Ledger's that all interact with each other that all share the same currency.
Brandon Zemp 11:19
Okay, gotcha. So, I know that a theorem they're trying, or at least they were looking at charting out an option to, I believe, partition their blockchain to make it easier to scale. That's a layer two solution chain web, is that a layer? That's a one solution? Correct?
Monica Quaintance 11:38
Are we starting incremental zero or one? Zero? Okay,
well, whatever the bottom is, we're at the bottom of a bed zero or one, where so you can imagine that there are. So Bitcoin, for example, has a block, and each block has a reference to the person previous block, and then you have this single chain going forward forever. If you had two chains, then in chain web land, you each block would reference not only its previous block, but it's pure chains previous block.
And by reference, I mean, store the hash of the previous block.
So each of these chains could add transactions at the same time, and move forward at the same time. So twice as many transactions, but you only need exactly as much half hash power to run them both as you would to run one of them. And you still get the same amount of security because they're referencing each other. So the great thing about chain web is you can scale it out to many more chains. But you don't need to add more hash power. So you get many, many, many more transactions all process at the same time, but you don't have to increase the number of miners on the network.
Brandon Zemp 12:51
Okay, gotcha. Is this proof of work network built on Kadena? Is that something that something I would be able to mind? For example, like I like I have a six running right now for Bitcoin? Would I be able to run software on one of my systems to mind, Dana?
Monica Quaintance 13:11
Absolutely. And you should actually just submit our form for our minor application. And we're going to have minors for our test net v3, which is coming in August, we are having multiple versions of our test net, we launched test net v zero in March. And then v1 came out last month. And we're adding incremental improvements to our software as with each version, and we're going to have minors in one of our beta testing that's coming up real soon.
Brandon Zemp 13:41
Okay, cool. I had no idea actually. So is the minor application on your website? Or is a different place that I can submit something?
Monica Quaintance 13:47
I think it's in our discord, which if you go to our website, the discord link pops up.
Brandon Zemp 13:53
Okay, cool. Yeah, I'll check that out. For sure. That sounds interesting. I've been mining for quite a while, understand the space pretty well, and how hash rates work and how they fluctuate.
Monica Quaintance 14:02
The interesting thing about mining Kadena is that because there are multiple chains, there are mining client will actually come with its own load balancer so that as a minor, you'll get redirected to whichever chain has the most hash power at any given moment, you can, it basically balances your hash power optimistically among all of the chains in the network.
Brandon Zemp 14:25
Okay, so how many chains are there? Potentially, there could be on Kadena
Monica Quaintance 14:32
we, right now, our test net has 10 we are going to launch we will probably not launch with 100. It will be smaller than that. We haven't picked our number, but it may be somewhere like 20. But as the demand for the network grows, and we have more and more transactions, we can fork the ledger to we can force the network to larger configurations. So more change over time as more people have demand. The reason we don't start off with a huge number is because it raises the bandwidth requirements having that many nodes that you need to replicate. So nobody needs to start out big when it's not necessary. But eventually we think we'll get to a fairly large size, say, who knows, five years from now? Maybe we'll be at 1000. Maybe more than that.
Brandon Zemp 15:21
What are the maximum out of chains that Dana would support? Or is it not a no number yet?
Monica Quaintance 15:27
It's not a no number, because you start to be constricted by real world constraints like bandwidth and the fiber optic cables of the internet. And because in theory, you could run 10,000 chains. But will we ever get to a point where we need a network that large? Who knows?
Brandon Zemp 15:50
Okay, gotcha. So when you're running these different chains, are they sharing a similar ledger? Or how do they work together? So these miners are obviously on different chains for a reason. But are they sharing the same ledger? When you when if someone wants to build a dap on Kadena? Is it going to share transactions on just one chain? Is it going to be between all those chains? How does that work exactly?
Monica Quaintance 16:22
underneath each chain maintains its own individual accounts based ledger. So if you wanted to, you could have an account on multiple chains, and you can transfer coins to yourself on different chains. But from a user's perspective, we expect to abstract a lot of that away that it won't matter. If you're sending coins to somebody and they happen to be on their account happens to be on a different Kadena chain. It'll just know under the hood, like I'm sending coins to my friend Jane and Jane is this is her address underneath. It'll say Oh, that addresses on chain see, like you have to do a reference transaction, you have to do a simple payment verification in order to make that happen. It'll just do it underneath. Because from a user's perspective, that's not that's not necessary. Miners mine all of the chains because it's opportunistic for them to do. So why would you give up a potential block reward on chain See, if you're only mining on chain a, you should be splitting your hash power evenly over the whole network. And the mining client that we're writing is going to be designed to actively do that spread hash power as much as possible. So the network stays balanced.
Brandon Zemp 17:41
Okay, got it makes sense. I know that a theorem obviously has a large market share of the market like 59% or more. And then 78% or more of the smart contract market and a theorems blockchain. A lot of the gaps are focused around gaming. They're focused around collectibles, different types of metaverse builds like crypto boxes and essential essential lands. And then the other competing blockchains currently, like Tron and iOS have a lot of gaps that are focused around gambling, for example, what kind of ecosystem does Kadena want to attract? What kind of data do they want built on their platform?
Monica Quaintance 18:26
This is an interesting question. I like it a lot. Because we have a sort of non traditional answer from a, from a traditional from a from a Christian perspective, we actually are more interested in business and enterprise applications, the kind that we think belong on a hybrid ecosystem. When I say hybrid, I mean, both private and public blockchain melded together into one app. So we have an insurance company client, and we have a client that they're called us. CFUSCF made the original oil ETFs in the 2000s. And they want to do a new kind of tradable asset on the blockchain, we have a supply chain client, we have a client that is working on a patient data project where you could keep track of your own patient data on the private blockchain, and then you can share it with specific people, if you think that they have the right to see your information. We're working with a client that's doing loan origination, where you can own your own consumer data. There's, there's a lot of real business applications out there that straddle this divide of we want to share the information on a public network, or we want to be able to trade something of value on the public network. But we don't want all of our data and all of our application to be fully distributed. This world of hybrid applications, I think, is where the real future is going to be.
Brandon Zemp 20:03
Gotcha. So both permission lyst. And permission double, is what you guys are kind of seeking out so that you can do stuff on the business side as well. Right?
Monica Quaintance 20:11
Yeah. And I think that a lot of businesses see that there's potential in blockchain, but they're afraid of the kind of security issues that right now you see on other smart contract platforms, you know, if you're in has had its own series of growing pains moving through different, like the parody, wallet bug, and the Dow hack, and all of these issues that are centered around smart contracts, not performing as intended. And if you could have some quiet, you know that your smart contract is going to do what you want it to do, and it's not going to be able to be hacked, then you would trust it a lot more for real business. But for as long as cryptocurrency is money, and you have to write code in order to create cryptocurrency, then you're going to have this problem. If you can't trust your code, then nobody's going to want to use it. So that's that's our whole thesis behind Kadena is that you should be able to trust the smart contracts that you write, do what you intend them to do.
Brandon Zemp 21:15
Absolutely. That makes sense as well is Kadena in terms of the businesses that Cadena wants to attract, are those mostly like big fortune 500 companies? Or are they small businesses like a mom and pop coffee shop?
Monica Quaintance 21:30
We it's interesting, our customer base is pretty split between large fortune 500 type companies that want to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And what I like to call challenger businesses, which are startups that are looking to disrupt a large industry. So for example, our insurance company is from the first camp. They're an extremely large insurance company, and they do all kinds of volume of business, but they're looking to
stand out in a in a competitive industry.
And then our healthcare company client, they are a small startup, and they recently got a government grant to try to disrupt the healthcare industry. So really, we run both ways. We're happy to help big companies or small we're flexible platform, and we work for both.
Brandon Zemp 22:19
Very cool, that's awesome. This is Kadena gonna have its own native token.
Monica Quaintance 22:26
Yes, we are. And no, we haven't decided on a name. strong point of contention as naming can be a very emotional thing. But yes, token and we we did do a Saft last year in order to raise money. But we are planning on launching in October, and there's going to be some sort of access to the public event at that time. Stay tuned.
Brandon Zemp 22:53
Very cool. Dude. Is there any? I don't know if that's public or not? But is there for the native token that Dana will launch? Is there a certain supply a certain supply number that you guys want to put out? Is it going to be high? Is it going to be low? Or is is that public or not yet?
Monica Quaintance 23:12
So in terms of how the Kadena economy works, we like Bitcoin or a fixed supply, that takes a very, very long time to mine out our time horizon is 120 years for a full mine out. And in the first year, there are about 25 million tokens to get mined out. And then every year, it's successively smaller in the exponential decay function type of mine out. And see, I think that's, I think that's the most pertinent information.
Brandon Zemp 23:47
Okay, no worries. But yeah, those are all the main questions that I had. But before we wrap up, are there any important roadmap updates regarding Kadena that the audience should be aware of obviously mean that it's coming in October. Details are yet to be announced for the native token and stuff like that. But are there anything on the roadmap that you want the listeners to take away or to be aware of,
Monica Quaintance 24:16
definitely want people that are interested in learning more about mining, to stop by our discord and jump onto that mining survey, because we're going to be looking for miners soon. We have some exciting client announcements coming out in the next couple months, we're hopefully going to be making more and more noise about all the things that we've been working on, including our mining client, and what we're going to call the token. And what we're going to use is our hash function and all of these things over the next three months, and a steady drumbeat until we end up with a net launch. So you'll be hearing a lot more from us in the future.
Brandon Zemp 24:49
Do you know what algorithm that you guys plan on using for the mining?
Monica Quaintance 24:52
I do know, but I'm not going to tell you. Because we're going to announce it.
Our head of marketing would be very unhappy if I scooped by telling you now.
Brandon Zemp 25:04
Oh, no worries. I'll wait. I was just very curious. And yeah, I'll definitely submit a form as well for the mining. That definitely sounds interesting. Something I definitely like to jump into as well. Great. But anyways, Monica, thank you for taking the time to come on the podcast and share your insight on Kadena and I'm sure you're very busy as well and really appreciate it. And obviously hope to have you back on the future as well. I'm sure that Kane is going to be doing all kinds of cool stuff. But yeah, thank you for coming on.
Monica Quaintance 25:31
Thank you so much for having me. It was really, really nice to chat and yeah, we'll have lots to talk about in the coming future.
Brandon Zemp 25:38
Absolutely. Take care. Have a great week.
Monica Quaintance 25:41
About your host: Brandon Zemp
I'm a neuroscience graduate, division III athlete, author of "The Satoshi Sequence", cryptocurrency miner, investor and business owner.