Oleksandr Momot is one of the most famous crypto personalities in Ukraine. He is the founder of the Remme project, which solves the security problem in the crypto space. Oleksandr is sure that the technical capabilities of blockchain can change the people’s attitude to cybersecurity and open up new opportunities for protecting confidential information. In this #RoadToAdoption interview, we asked Oleksandr about the development of the Remme project after a successful ICO, the risks of the network monopolization and his forecasts about the future crypto market.
We assume that most people are indifferent to their own security. Should blockchain entrepreneurs and developers take responsibility and raise cybersecurity standards?
In January 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a report on global risks in 2019. There are more than 40 items on the list of threats. Cybersecurity is on the 4th and 5th position. Blockchain is already able to solve some problems. For example, provide decentralized information storage, which will increase protection against fraud and data theft. Blockchain developers better than their colleagues understand the importance of cybersecurity, its capabilities and risks. Therefore, it is logical if they become the engine for the development of standards in this area.
But it’s not only them who should do it. Ensuring cybersecurity is a complex problem, and it must be addressed at all levels: from the technologies themselves to the methods of their application.
Actually, Remme deals with raising those standards. Why did you start doing that?
Remme is working on a distributed public key infrastructure for authenticating users and devices. In the process of working on our solution, we faced that many network administrators store and track SSL/TLS certificates in Google Sheets. This is because the services on the market are either inconvenient to use or expensive, and even the average business can no longer afford them. Errors that arise as a result of this can cause considerable damage to companies. The problem is not tied to the blockchain technology literally, but at the same time, it is no less significant. So we had an understanding that an integrated approach is needed. We developed and launched the Keyhub service for managing certificates. It is the first step towards a more complex blockchain solution.
For the ICO, projects need to explain the technology at the consumer level. But you have a solution for enterprises. How have you changed your focus after the ICO?
During the token sale, potential participants look at the project not from the technical side, but from the side of its benefits. In other words, they consider the project as a solution for some problems, and they don’t really care how it happens. In our case, the problem of secure and convenient authentication is familiar to everyone: from the average consumer to a high-level technical specialist, and it is relevant for both mass-market services and enterprises. Therefore, we do not need to move from one target group to another. The problem is the same for everyone, and our solution is equally interesting for both an average user and some large enterprise.
Keyhub is already used by large companies, whose revenues range from $100 million to $35 billion. Our goal is to make issuing certificates on blockchain convenient for these companies and create a “bridge” for them, with which they can easily use the blockchain product.
As a result, would you like to receive some venture investments?
From time to time we receive requests from the funds, but we plan to seriously consider this possibility after receiving the first traction in the form of income.
What do you think of a potential merger with some large tech company in 5-10 years?
I think time and market will show. Now we are focusing on the development of the project. In February, we launched a SaaS-certificate management solution, in early April — a public testnet and token economy, and now we are finishing a beta version of the authentication solution. We develop it as part of a pilot program for a European car manufacturer. I hope that soon we’ll be able to tell more detailed about this cooperation.
Hackers are usually a step ahead of those who guarantee our security online. How do you see the further development of cybersecurity and Remme’s participation in this process?
Digital networks protection is a very expensive industry. It costs the global economy $450 billion a year. It is because of such enormous costs that the primary task is to bring blockchain to the rank of a more efficient and cheaper alternative to traditional network security systems.
Hackers are often ahead just because they are the first to identify vulnerability and use it before service providers or companies find it out. Centralized systems, which are the bases of 99% of the infrastructure today, simplify this task for attackers. The mission of security-engineering is to make the attack as expensive as possible while being user-friendly. Blockchain, which we use to build the passwordless authentication service Remme Auth, due to its distribution properties, provides a certain level of security and system fault tolerance. Therefore, we are confident that decentralization will soon become one of the trends in cybersecurity, and Remme will be at the forefront of these changes. In 2018, we joined DIF and W3C, where we also discuss the capabilities and benefits of decentralized systems.
Do you collaborate with other projects, especially Ukrainian ones?
Our main markets are the USA and Western Europe. There we are the most active. In Ukraine, we take part in specialized conferences such as BlockchainUA or HackIT, organized by Hacken.
At the autumn conference, your representative talked about the problem with consensus algorithms. PoW was leading to a network monopoly, so you switched to a hybrid PoW-PoA (proof-of-authority), but it was supposed to be an interim event. Have you come up with new ideas for solving this problem?
Yes, we have developed our own three-level consensus, which consists of:
- Stake (classic PoS)
- Reputation (extra points for a well-done job)
- Betting (betting system between master nodes, which is designed to close the unit and receive an award).
All three levels in the complex allowed us to build motivation for large token holders without the risk of centralization and, at the same time, give smaller holders a chance to close the blocks and contribute to the stable operation of the system. At the same time, if a large attacker buys back a lot of tokens and tries to use his stake, the reputation will protect the network.
What can you recommend our readers who worry about their online safety?
When we talk about personal security, you should remember the basic principles:
- Unique password for each service. To make it easier, you can use a password matrix, which is based on a common password creation logic. Thanks to this, all passwords are different, but remembering them is easy.
- If there is such an opportunity, don’t be lazy to use two-factor authentication. Yes, it takes time, but this is the most effective protection against phishing.
- Do not click on suspicious links, always check the URL and certificate.
- If we talk about the storage of cryptocurrencies, then I recommend using cold wallets.
- Control the download of new programs, extensions, etc. on the device from which the wallets are simultaneously used. It is better to separate the devices.
Do you believe in Bitcoin? When will the next to-the-Moon happen?
The cryptocurrency market is at the beginning of its journey, but this nascent technology has a real future. Including the immaturity associated with price fluctuations that we observe. Just recently I tweeted on this topic. The latest jump in Bitcoin prices is not yet an indicator of regular growth. I guess we’ll have another year with hesitation and consolidation. Then halving, and in 2020, a gradual growth will begin.
In this case, altcoins will show greater volatility and can grow faster, but this depends on the quality of the project, its business model and token-economy.
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