Mask Network ✖️ PlatON AMA review | How to defend your privacy rights?

PlatON and Mask Network hosted an AMA event together. James Qu, CTO of PlatON, and Yisi Liu, CTO of Mask Network started discussions about the importance of data privacy and the technical solutions the two parties currently have.

Mask Network Yisi Liu

  • We at Mask Network are strong believers in the ownership economy. People should own what they produce, their data, their attention, and the virtual space they choose to contribute to.
  • Under such circumstances (giant tech companies are accused of collecting & abusing user’s data while other users are condemned for giving up privacy in exchange for convenience), what we could do to minimize the risk of data leakage, is to create a dapplet, a middleware that sits on top of the existing social media. There should never be a dichotomy between privacy and convenience.

PlatON CTO James

  • How to establish a verifiable “trusted” environment based on “trustless” technology? Blockchain, decentralization, privacy computing, verifiable computing… have emerged as a result.
  • There are accusations of giant tech companies for collecting & abusing user’s data while some users are condemned for giving up their privacy in exchange for convenience. Users should NOT be the sheep providing wool without awareness.

Below are transcripts of the AMA, feel free to read and share.

Q1. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and your experience in the data computation & privacy-preserving business?

Yisi Liu: Hi, my name is Yisi Liu. I am the co-founder and CTO of Mask Network. Mask Network has been focusing on user data and privacy protection since 2018, when we decided to start this project. Our goal is to bring the data ownership back to the users by helping them encrypt their data with their own key, which belongs to the user only. We are foreseeing a future that users own their data and decided on if they are gonna share their data and whom to share it with.

James Qu: To new friends, this is James QU, CTO of PlatON Network. Before joining PlatON, I’ve worked as Executive Director for Morgan-Stanley and Associate Director for UBS Securities Tokyo, devoted myself to the implementation and management of IT architectures for over 3 decades.

But my experience in data computation and privacy preserving business is relatively short. Please consider me as a primary school student in this specific area, I have a great group of teachers in my team.

Q2. Now would you mind telling us more about your products and their competencies?

Yisi Liu: Our core product is Mask Network, which is positioned to become the bridge that connects internet users from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. The foundational technology of Mask Network is a peer-to-peer encrypted messaging application, with new functions continuously being created around this foundation. We at Mask Network are strong believers in the ownership economy. People should own what they produce, people should own their data, their attention and the virtual space they choose to contribute to.

Mask Network integrates decentralized social messaging, borderless payment network, decentralized file storage and sharing, decentralized finance, DAO and NFT to provide a safe and convenient portal for users to jump right into the continent of decentralized finance and then the new world of Web 3.0.

James Qu: First of all, I would like to talk about the characteristics and orientation that make PlatON distinct from other blockchain ecosystems. PlatON is committed to being the world’s leading privacy-preserving and distributed AI open-source community as well as the pioneer and leader in the global privacy-preserving industry. It has long focused on the high-performance distributed computing network featuring scalability and privacy preservation. Through a next-generation computing architecture jointly assembled with cryptographic algorithms, such as verifiable computing, secure multi-party computation, zero-knowledge proof, and homomorphic encryption, we provide public infrastructure under an open-source architecture for global developers of AI and distributed applications, data providers, and various communities, institutions, and individuals with computing needs.

Since its establishment in 2018, PlatON has kept the privilege of data at the core of its ecosystem, as it believes all the privileges are derived from computation, instead of being inherently protected and tradable.

The Web 1.0 era, when we felt thrilled to download emails and news via a telephone modem, was predominated by one-way data communication. In the era of Web 2.0, countless social software, map navigation applications, and applications for online shopping have emerged, facilitating everyday life. Meanwhile, Web 2.0, represented by these social software, intelligent devices, and cloud computing, has also driven the aggregation and monopoly of data, catalyzing the birth of data giants. With the iterative development of AI models, data has become the oil of the digital economy today.

How to redefine a new sustainable and fair distribution model? How to gain the trust of the rising data providers? How to prevent the abuse of data? All these questions boil down to one: how to establish a verifiable “trusted” environment based on “trustless” technology. Blockchain, decentralization, privacy computing, verifiable computing, etc. have emerged as a result

I should use trustless a new word in blockchain with new meaning instead

In response, PlatON has prepared itself, both theoretically and technically, for a long time.

PlatON has long been dedicated to research on cryptography and privacy computing. It boasts an industry-leading cryptography R&D team that brings together well-known cryptography professors and researchers from top universities both at home and abroad, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Wuhan University, University of Maryland, and Northwestern University.

At the same time, PlatON proactively supports cryptography-related academic and technical events. We continuously sponsor Crypto, Eurocrypt, and Asiacryptthe, the top three conferences in cryptography, as well as ACM CCS, a leading seminar in the field of security. As the main sponsor, we have worked with Chinese leading universities and scientific research institutions to hold Crypto Innovation Schools for two years in a row, with thematic training sessions on secure multi-party computation and lattice cryptography. Also, we have independently organized the Crypto Innovation School Competition (CISC) 2019, aiming to encourage and promote creative cryptography technology works in global cryptography. Our efforts even include the sponsorship of the world’s top cryptography conferences and the organization of cryptography winter camps and competitions. Moreover, the PlatON team has contributed its achievements in secure multi-party computation to Ethereum, and worked closely with Ethereum, constantly receiving many grants from Ethereum in secure multi-party computation.

In short, we spent great effort on fundamental research.

In terms of the underlying implementation of the blockchain, PlatON’s Giskard Concurrent Byzantine Fault Tolerance (CBFT) algorithm has been formally verified by Runtime Verification and has been verified on the Alaya sandbox network. Its main net also started to operate stably. The governance mechanism based on the PoS mechanism also ensures the high performance of the network. You can get more details through our Github open source code and technical articles published on Medium. Community technicians who have participated in our testing and sandbox operation may be more aware of these. All of our code has passed SlowMist’s security audit

In short, we focus greatly on safety and liveness.

In terms of privacy-preserving AI, PlatON released Rosetta, the world’s first privacy-preserving AI architecture, which is also open source. It aims to make the development of privacy-preserving AI, an essential technology for the next data era, faster and easier for developers such as TensorFlow. We have provided financial-level privacy-preserving services for well-known banks

In short, we want real usage of our technology.

Q3. What are your projects’ milestones and plans for the near future?

Yisi Liu: We believe that the future world belongs to a decentralized and open new Internet. Mask Network does not want to “disrupt” the existing centralized giants, but acts as a bridge between the existing one and the new one, to build a decentralized ecosystem.

What we want to achieve is to use decentralized projects like DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, Ethereum, PolkaDot, etc. directly on modern Internet applications. So we could be equivalent of a giant, decentralized bridge that allows users on the existing giant platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) to transit more smoothly and seamlessly to Web 3.0, connecting the new world to the old one through the Mask Network. Whether it’s crypto identity, DeFi, or storage, they are all essential functions in the decentralized industry. What Mask Network wants to do is to be an aggregator that combines all the power, whether it’s Ethereum, Polkadot, IPFS, DeFi, NFT, to connect to the new world through the bridge of Mask Network. Our goal is to continuously and permanently drive the development of a decentralized network. There are many other plans for Mask Network to follow up, and we are on the track of making them happen one by one. We are doing all these things with one goal in mind so that more people can experience a new, more open Internet.

In the future, product improvement will always be Mask Network’s top priority, we will also attract more users to discover the beauty of Web 3.0. In order to make the product more reliable and the experience smoother, we will work hard to have a Layer2 expansion and reduce the gas fee while users are making transactions.

We are also working hard on developing the new version of Mask Network and hopefully we can ship it in the near future.

We also hope we can connect more blockchain project like PlatON to bring great applications to the traditional (aka Web 2.0) users.

James Qu: This year will witness several major milestones, such as the mainnet release on April 25 and Plato’s statement inscribed in the genesis block.

Mainnet went live last month, a new universe born.

Afterwards, PlatON will launch a privacy-preserving AI network around the end of the year, which is the discoverable and tradable network based on data, models, and hashrate on the blockchain layer as mentioned in the white paper in 2018. A variety of protocols for privacy-preserving computation will be released at the same time. The one for a privacy token published early this year is far from enough.

From this year, we will follow two parallel business threads.

One is Alaya sandbox, with the focus on financial services, which will not only support current DeFi, NFT DApps, but also extend to privacy preserving token, privacy DEX, regulator friendly framework.

The other is PlatON’s long-term development in the privacy-preserving AI network and data market. Alaya sandbox turns out to be a good solution as financial data is relatively complete and easy to process and implement.

PlatON feels obliged to improve the extensive data applications that are relatively complex and the immature protocols and infrastructure. We appreciate the support from the community, especially in know-how and ecosystem development.

The challenge is big, the area is new, I really expect industry experts and developers to join us to build it up together.

Q4. In your point of view,what makes PlatON and Mask Network the strategic partners on the first stage?

Yisi Liu: We both have faith in privacy protection. Our projects are actually focusing on different aspects and stages of the data flow. We help user encrypt their data on creation and PlatON focuses more on how user data can be further processed. I guess towards the ultimate goal of privacy protection and data ownership, Mask and PlatON will be great friends and allies.

James Qu: We are facing and answering to this historical challenge in human history as well as machine history together. We feel of pain of privacy protection and data rights recognition.

I also believe we share the vision of promoting the sustainable development of blockchain privacy computing industry in the new digital era. Both parties are working hard to bring the practical and novel products and privacy services to users. That’s why we work so closely in the fields of brand marketing, ecosystem development, and technology application.

Q5. What does the partnership bring to the blockchain and privacy-preserving industry? And could you share the achievements you two made together?

Yisi Liu: First of all, we both have faith in privacy protection. Our projects are actually focusing on different aspects and stages of the data flow. We help user encrypt their data on creation and PlatON focuses more on how user data can be further processed. I guess towards the ultimate goal of privacy protection and data ownership, Mask Network and PlatON will be great friends and allies.

We will work closely recently and hopefully we can bring a great project to both of our users soon!

James Qu: PlatON universe is just born, the ecosystem is about to build up, we have plenty of room to work together.

We are sharing privacy-preserving fundamental stuff with each other, product designs and requirements from Mask Network will help PlatON to understand users more, PlatON’s cryptography reserves (plenty of algorithms, SDKs) will give hints to both sides. PlatON’s cryptography research is borderless.

Recently we are building up a decentralized zkSNARKs setup, will call for global cooperation.

Q6. In this era, giant tech companies are accused of collecting & abusing user’s data while others users are condemned for giving up privacy in exchange for convenience. What’s your opinion on that topic and what can your project do to fix these problems?

Yisi Liu: This is a hard choice. Users are passive in this situation, because social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, are so widely used that they could be integrated into many parts of your daily life. It is hard for users to make the decision of not using them, simply because their privacy is violated. Under such circumstances, what we could do to minimize the risk of data leakage, is to create a dapplet, a middleware that sits on top of the existing social media. There should never be a dichotomy between privacy and convenience.

Mask Network is born to provide an option for such users. We are not forcing these users to adopt our product, but giving them an alternative option to them when they feel betrayed or even get hurt by these giant platforms.

We help protect their privacy from the origin that no platform can ever “touch” user’s data anymore and this is ensured by the nature of math. There is no Mask central authority that “controls” everything, but the math per se.

James Qu: User should NOT be the sheep providing wool without awareness. Second, the current model is not sustainable, I have raised the questions above: how to redefine a new sustainable and fair economical distribution model; how to provide a real trustless infra, verifiable trustless technology will the answer.

People are more aware of data right now, and law makers are moving in multiple nations.

PlatON’s privacy preserving tech and the privacy AI and data market will be the answer from us.

The following questions are from community members.

Q1. Until what corner of the world do you plan to arrive? that is, to what extent in the world do you think PLATON will be solving people’s problems with their infrastructure? (@quynhanhshy)

James: Thanks for deep thinking question! PlatON is the ecosystem ( i prefer to call it a universe) LatticeX foundation support. As an open ecosystem, we strongly suggest community members to do deep thinking and revert back with suggestions. Till now, the direction is clarified in white paper back in 2018. I do believe we should reconsider it together with community experts. real use case will give us great feedback, then we could adjust. From foundation point of view, there is no boundary for data privacy usage.

Q2. A lot of people will want to know what the strength of MASK is but I want to know the weaknesses and problems faces? How do you plan to solve it? (@crycryptoer)

Yisi Liu: It’s a great question! We never avoid our weakness but stand up to face it. To be honest, a lot of users have asked us what if our extension is banned by those giant platforms like Twitter or Facebook? Our answer is quite simple: we have already thought about this question right before we started. We have three fundamental design principles that ensure that we won’t be banned or restricted. We will soon release a series of articles explaining this. Stay tuned! And thanks again for your question. Let’s survive and thrive!

Q3. I saw in the whitepaper there are low transaction fees but let’s say we are in a scenario of best price is in Uniswap and gas at that time is super high, how will your platform decide the best move comparing to other exchanges?(@jesonroy)

James: This is regarding specific DEX scenario on DApp level, not related to infra. Here I would suggest to set up a ORACLE with multiple data sources weighted by trading volume, the price will be reasonably reliable for local reference.

Q4. Without a working products any idea has zero value. We see many projects are on paper only and no product. So, kindly ensure us that your project is just not an idea and it’s already has a working products or practical use cases? (@Hongkong56)

Yisi Liu: Please feel free to try out our products by installing Mask Network extension! Our product has been running for two years and still growing.

Q5. From where you get the project name? What does it means to you? And why you choose this name for your project? (@CristinHitt)

James: answer is in PlatON’s genesis block: “τῆς ἄνω ὁδοῦ ἀεὶ ἑξόμεθα καὶ δικαιοσύνην μετὰ φρονήσεως παντὶ τρόπῳ ἐπιτηδεύσομεν.“

“We shall always keep to the upper road and practice justice with prudence in every way.”

Q6. Explain to us in simple terms what is Fiat on-ramp Aggregator Transak? And how can I buy $MASK tokens directly using fiat money, without leaving Twitter? (@bitlegion53)

Yisi Liu: Transak is a simple way for users to directly buy crypto with a bank transfer. Just simply search for any token ticker like $Mask on Twitter and you will find a button to buy $Mask now lol. It doesn’t support all the tokens and you can find the supporting list on their website.

Q7. Is it difficult to use PlatON in an existing infrastructure, do you have to follow certain rules to be able to use it?(@okgood2405)

James:Welcome to share with us more details, which existing infra on which type of use cases. We are very happy to hear and step in for help. PlatON has its own privacy related protocols in additional to traditional cross chain bridges connecting to other ecosystem like Ethereum.

Q8. For the Mask aside from encrypted message, ITO, and RP. @yisiliu what other Features will you integrate in the future? And Last for @yisiliu when NFT built-in marketplace on MASK?(@Tinkerino)

Yisi Liu: We are designing new features to benefit our Mask holders and users and will release them as soon as we can. In the meantime, we are building our standard for community members to build their own dapplets directly on Mask Network. Please stay tuned for more info ;)

Q9. NFT is really trending topic now in the market. So, how do Your project plan to onboard the development of NFTs and how do Your project plan to combine it with DeFi?(@Hdjsjejs)

James: PlatON as a public chain, as infrastructure can fully support DeFi and NFT DApps. Will be happy to see these complicated Dapps live on Alaya sandbox for example. Of course we will provide technical support to ecosystem grow. since we are focusing on privacy preserving AI, I am expecting more privacy-empowered DApps. Our new privacy preserving audit friendly framework could a great choice for new type of DApps.

About PlatON

PlatON was initiated and promoted by the LatticeX Foundation. Based on the basic properties of the blockchain and supported by a privacy-preserving computing network, PlatON provides the next-generation Internet basic protocol featuring “computing interoperability”. It builds a computing system jointly assembled by cryptographic algorithms such as verifiable computing, secure multi-party computing, zero-knowledge proof, homomorphic encryption, and blockchain technology to provide public infrastructure under an open-source architecture for global artificial intelligence, distributed application developers, data providers as well as various institutions, communities, and individuals with computing needs.

About Mask Network

Mask Network is the core product of Dimension, which is positioned to become the bridge that connects internet users from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. The foundational technology of Mask Network is a peer-to-peer encrypted messaging application, with new functions continuously being created around this foundation. We at Mask Network are strong believers in the ownership economy. People should own what they produce, people should own their data, their attention and the virtual space they choose to contribute to.

Mask Network integrates decentralized social messaging, borderless payment network, decentralized file storage and sharing, decentralized finance, DAO and NFT to provide a safe and convenient portal for users to jump right into the continent of decentralized finance and then the new world of Web 3.0.

The Portal to the New, Open Internet.

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