DIA Data AMA with Paul Claudius and Samuel Brack at t.me/amaroom
Eric: Welcome @paulclaudius and @samuelbrack !
Thanks for taking the time in your busy time to AMA with us.
Samuel: Hi everyone, thanks for having us!
Paul: Hey Eric thanks so much for having us!
Eric: So first of all, please introduce yourselves to the group.
Paul: Sure! Hi there! My name is Paul. I have a background in finance and management. Built my first company just after university and went down the crypto rabbit hole in 2014 when I got in touch with Bitcoin. At DIA I drive partnerships and sales activities.
Samuel: I am Samuel, the technical lead and CTO of DIA. I co-founded DIA with Michael and Paul in 2018, when we saw the need for reliable open-source financial data for DeFi applications. My background is in computer science research with a focus on security and privacy at Humboldt University Berlin. One of my research projects was the design and implementation of a digital currency for a completely anonymous bonus point program. Recently, I co-authored papers on the anonymization of Covid19 contact tracing apps.
My main focus for DIA is leading the design and implementation efforts of our product, as well as finding innovative ways to improve the security and stability of DeFi markets. I believe in decentralization and bottom-up, open-source solutions, especially for financial markets of the future.
Eric: Team flexing. So what is DIA DATA?
Samuel: DIA is a democratic, bottom-up financial data provider that brings Defi usage to a new level with external data that is transparent and verifiable.
Paul: And it scales 😉
Eric: What does the token do?
Samuel: The token is a governance token for our open data ecosystem. It will be used for dispute voting on data quality and to incentivize data providers to provide data sources in DIA.
Eric: Nice! Chainlink is the undisputed king in terms of data oracles on the blockchain, how does DIA differ or innovate on that?
Samuel: Our system is completely auditable and data streaming through our databases is verifiable by a hash that we will publish daily on the blockchain. We believe in hybrid off-chain and on-chain systems that only put these tasks on-chain that are required to prove the completeness and immutability of our data. This makes our system very efficient because our data aggregations, source selection, and data cleaning happens offchain and does not require any gas before it is posted as a final value into the oracle.
Paul: Additionally DIA is built to really scale with the demand of new datapoints in DeFi, sth you can not ensure with a centralised set-up.
Eric: Since DIA is an ecosystem, what are some of your initial products and why did you choose to focus on those?
Paul: Products were always demand driven with DIA. If someone needs data, he can easily get it or write a ticket to get the data. First data points were mostly standard pairs. But we see more and more exotic requests. And we can serve them thanks to a community who will add such a datapoint in no time.
Eric: What is your current go to market strategy? Who are you Targeting to use your products
Paul: We all saw DeFi really take off in the past months. Still we are only at the beginning of a completely new financial market evolving. We expect that products will be much more colourful than lending and the handful of derivatives.
What’s great with DIA is that every new small project can easily use us as oracles. I think we are perfectly positioned for a landgrab. Therefore we will be integrated in the projects that will be market leaders in 2–3 year’s time.
Eric: Are all of the data available for everyone to use? Or are there Dat that’s too sensitive?
Samuel: We provide financial data which is free to use and aggregate.
Because oracles are inherently public we will and can not handle personally identifying information because there is no way to delete it after is is once published. This would make a publication of such data unlawful in most of the world and we do not see ethical use cases in publishing personal data.
Eric:How big is the team right now? Where is it incorporated?
Paul: Team size in a traditional organizational way is hard to apply. Today we have 45 very active contributors. Not all of them work full-time. Core team that is very visible is based in Berlin and Zug.
Eric: What is the technology stack of the project? Are you guys hiring? @samuelbrack
Samuel: We use a backend written in go, a deployment orchestration with docker-compose, frontend code in Vue.js and React, some scripts in python and bash, and influxdb, mysql, redis and kafka for our databases. Our on-chain components are on Ethereum, but we closely monitor the ecosystem and are happy to expand our oracles into other private or public blockchains, should a Defi market develop there.
We are always looking for community members to hire over gitcoin, part of the bounties network.
Paul: Yes, check out DIA on gitcoin!
Eric: One of ethereum’s board member is in your team? Please tell us the story of how he got involved.
Paul: Yes, he is a lawyer and notary by trade in Switzerland. We were very lucky to convince him early on to support us with DIA.
He was instrumental in creating the right set-up to decentralise DIA and its governance.
Eric: Guy should have crazy connections. Hope he can do good moves for the company.
Paul: Yep, he’s a gem 😉
Eric: Outlier Ventures is one of your earliest investors. How did they support the project beyond the cash infusion.
Paul: Before OV invested in DIA the product and association were only known by enthusiasts and builders. OV really helped us to take the next step. They are a great investor because they have a stellar team that supports you all the way.
Eric: They have unlocked tokens, and that was talked about in groups. Does OV have plan to lock or pledge to lock those?
Paul: Yes, this became a topic of interest.
OV invested in point of time were interest in DeFi and Oracles was still in its infancy. They believed from the beginning int the long-term value proposition of DIA. We are working closely on shaping the future of DIA over the next years together.
By the way they are locked by legal contracts
Eric: NICE! Last question: Is @paulclaudius really happy all the time?
Samuel: Yes, he is our Chief Happiness Officer!
Q: How does DIA Data secure the financial data of its clients and users? What security measures they do to keep the information private?
A: Our financial data is open, so the data itself does not need to be protected.
For our client data we use state-of-the-art web security with containerized processes having minimum rights, monitoring systems and protection against web threats.
Q: On your website, I see “Source data and get rewarded”. So the developer who builds DAPPS in Dia Data will get Reward? if yes, What is the reward system and how to become a developer in Dia Data platform?
A: The reward system utilizes DIA tokens and you can become a developer by going on Gitcoin and looking for tasks that are on DIA.
Q: Previously, I had participated in ICO, IEO and this is the first time I heard about Bonding Curve. So what are its advantages? How is the probability that I can buy tokens successfully and what is the risk to investors?
A: Thank you for that! We believe that a bonding curve is a great price discovery mechanism. It aggregates liquidity in a period of time. Additionally it enables to sell back and reduce the risk for early investors during that time. We don’t believe a team can set a price accurately. It has to be done by the market and its users.
Q: Since this project is backed by F10, are there any institutions that expressed their intent and/or companies who are using your data already?
A: Answering this again because I answered a bit early:
Yes, our data users are listed in our documentation: https://docs.diadata.org/#dapp-registry
Q: What price feeds/oracles do you use? Are you happy with them? How can they be improved?
A: We currently offer oracles for crypto prices, defi lending rates, defi lockup information, ECB foreign exchange rates and defi exchange data. We are constantly extending our oracle coverage.
Q: What are your major goals to achieve in the next 3–4 years? What are your plans to expand and gain more adoption? How do you elevate crypto participants understanding about project?
A: DIA provides an essential layer for DeFi products. We are in the early days of a market that has not probably seen the most relevant players in the next years. We see that DIA is a tool of choice especially for new projects as it fulfills the specific need to delivery a multitude of datapoints that competitors don’t provide. And is open to anyone.
Q: As a project advocating for transparency and quality of data,what methodology will you use to verify the Quality of Data? #DIAdata
A: DIA uses a crowd approach for that. Our token will be used for votings on data disputes in case any community member doubts the validity of a data source. Additionally, to protect against technical errors, we use statistical data cleaning methodologies to detect and flag outliers in our data streams.
Q: DIA protocol, How you to gain voting power and preserve vote privacy in on-chain governance? If data is on-chain, not deletable, how is privacy of sensitive data?
A: Voting power is done by holding more tokens. On voting privacy, we currently develop a commitment scheme where votes are only revealed after the vote is over. Concerning private data: We specialize in financial data, not in personal data. Posting private data publicly on a non-deletable blockchain violates privacy laws all around the world and we do not see a use case in private data for Defi products.
Q: I know #diadata is trying to be adopted around the world. And if it work, How have you handled the different regulations of the different countries in which #Diadata has arrived? it has been difficult?
A: Good question! Regulation will become more of an issue also for decentralised finance. Regulators are keeping a closer eye on the ecosystem as its growing fast. Reliabel data is a necessary element to built DeFi products to ensure regulation, hence we see DIA become more needed even in the future.
Q: You provide market data for digital and traditional assets, what Criteria is applied in selecting assets? How do you compete against other market data providers, what the need for Oracles? #diadata
A: We select data sources following several requirements: First, we select interesting assets that might be used in Defi products. Then we look for reliable primary sources (e.g. exchanges, lending protocols) and write scrapers that get this data from the primary source, before we feed it into our data cleaning pipeline to detect outliers.
But the main idea in DIA is that any community member can request and add data sources, if they seem relevant to the community member.
Q: It is known that DIA is essential for both DeFi and traditional finance. But the core issue is the processing and collection of transaction data, so what will DIA do to become the most reliable data provider? And is the DIA token used as a payment method for data transactions?
A: Reliability needs to be ensured at the gathering and methodology level. If you don’t know where data comes from and what is being done with that data (outlier cleaning, liquidity exemptions,..) you will never be a reliable data source. This is the core idea of DIA to provide transparency on that level and have it openly accessible.
Q: Among some key technology points such as: Sidechain, Privacy, Shardchain, how far are $Diadata going in each aspects at the moment? What are your main focus in terms of technology at the moment?
A: Our main focus lies in the generation of reliable and verifiable oracles. We are developing a verification mechanism for our database, that can be used to generate a proof of the entire database’s integrity accessible in Ethereum.
For technical developments in Ethereum itself we closely monitor the ecosystem and also participated in some conferences (e.g. the web3summit). We are also always keeping an eye on new chain developments, should a new base technology emerge so that we can be quick to adopt it there.
Q: Does a platform like DIAdata matter in the financial smart contract ecosystem? How does DIAdata work in the processing of financial data and how does it benefit users?
A: We provide oracles for Defi users. We process data from primary sources, enrich it by aggregating and clearing it from misreportings and then publish these data feeds into configurable oracles. We will also provide a proof system for the integrity of our entire database which is anchored in a smart contract, leading us into a position, where we can provide scalable and verifiable oracles for financial data.
Q: As I know, DIA will implement an interest distribution function as a way to encourage investors to hold DIA tokens. So, is it similar to Staking? Why did you decide to use the Proof of Truth, Proof of Use mechanism to distribute DIA?
A: Thank you for that. We designed different mechanisms to distribute the Governance Token to different stakeholder groups. Interest distribution incentivises to hold the token over a long time. Other mechanisms such as proof of use fulfil apart from the goal to decentralise the governance structure to incentivise DeFi users to ask for products that are built on DIA, hence products that are reliable. Similar to Comp DIA will be an additional incentive for the investor/ user.
Q: DIA aims to bring innovative technologies. So how will these innovative technologies help the blockchain industry to work more transparently and securely against from hackers?
A: Current oracles are in a dangerous position, as there are incentives for bringing the provider under the attacker’s control and reporting wrong data. With our transparent approach, an attacker would be immediately disputed in our governance system and the attack mitigated.
Another technological impact we hope to make is the establishment of a proof system for off-chain databases that are hashed into a Merkle tree with a trust anchor in the blockchain. With such a trust system, anyone can track the status of the database and verify its immutability as soon as the data was written there using our API.
Q: What’s your outlook on the future of cryptocurrencies? What can you do to keep increasing adoption?
A: I think we see with the strong growth in DeFi that adoption can be increased through clear economic incentives (i.e. yield) but even more by good UX. We reached a level were it is fairly easy for an average user to get involved with cryptos.
Q: Can DIA store and process large amounts of data? Can the amount of data force the DIA data infrastructure? What are the advantages of installing your system as a hybrid system?
A: We have a highly scalable infrastructure using state of the art open source software like Apache Kafka and Influxdb for our database. We always ensure we can operate in fail-safe and distributed setups with redundancies for all critical components. On-chain transactions are expensive and computationally limited, thus we choose to publish only the final computation on-chain to be as efficient as possible, along with a verification mechanism that allows users to verify the immutability of our database over time.
Q: Most DeFi applications and oracle provider do not publish sources or methodologies, this difficult trust. Is this information published in DIA, where could it be found?
A: Exactly, that is one of the core problems. We provide that information in the documentation and encourage the application using the data to publish it or point to it. We publish it here: https://docs.diadata.org/. We always look to extend missing information, so if you miss some information drop us a line or open an issue in our Github
Q: DeFi platforms are exposed to oracle vulnerability, what steps has DIA taken to fix this issue and provide transparent and accurate price oracles ?
A: We are building a verification mechanism with an on-chain trust anchor, that allows users to generate proofs of the entire database’s immutability.Q: How do you attract DeFi projects owners attention? as many of them still adding off-chain features.
A: By building good products and having a growing community 😊
Q: DIA is a Swiss association, how are the regulations in Switzerland about Crypto and DeFi, this has influenced DIA establishment and growth in a positive way?
A: Switzerland was one of the jurisdictions that gave clear guidelines on regulation. And it keeps innovating. There is for example clear regulation around DEXs which is crucial for DeFi.
Q: Is your aim, to become the number one (leader) in ecosystem for open financial data Platform? and if so what will you say is your biggest strength to achieve it?
A: Yes, by all means. We strongly believe that a centralised organisation will never achieve the level of transparency and the scaleability we achieve with DIA. Good example is the speed we add new oracle datapoints. Currently adding an oracle a day…
Q: What makes DIA more revolutionary than other projects that also Handles Data? How does DIA give developers advantage in terms of data?
A: We use a bottom-up approach with transparency and verifiability. Our aim is always to be able to prove each data point from its sources to its final publication, this is why we are currently building a proof system based on hashes and Merkle trees with a trust anchor in a smart contract.
Q: Why DIA is using wikipedia continuously to source and validate data? How you scale your decentralized approach?
A: We use primary sources for our data feeds, like exchanges and defi protocols, as well as running our own blockchain nodes to independently collect data.
We don’t scrape wikipedia’s data, our idea is to have a system similar to wikipedia where the community can add and dispute data sources scraping primary financial data providers.
Q: What are your plans to educate and raise awareness and adoption among the community to make more people understand DIA Token and its technology? #diadata
A: The great advantage of DIA is that it is built and maintained by the community. It requires a grassroot approach in the beginning to built the right community until you can scale. But this is what we did in the past years. The speed a centralised organisation might have in the beginning is sth. that will not last over time compared to our community driven governance and product design.
Q: How do you attract DeFi projects owners attention? as many of them still adding off-chain features.
A: Easiness and speed of integration. Lots of people building new DeFi products right now are relying on DIA.
Eric: Ok. very good AMA @paulclaudius @samuelbrack — this project is really making me all excited. Let’s wrap by inviting everyone to your Telegram and Twitter
Samuel: Learn more about DIA, and keep track of what’s to come!
Join the DIA Panel on Oracles with Maker, Aave, Set Protocol, Acala and Outlier Ventures next Tuesday:
Token Offering Overview: https://token.diadata.org/
Paul: Thanks guys for all the great questions and @ERCSU for hosting this. Was lots of fun!!
Samuel: Thanks so much for having us, you are a great community with lots of good questions.