The word ‘blockchain’ has been on tech addicts’ lips in recent years, but even the technologically illiterate know what bitcoin is since the world’s number one cryptocurrency’s massive gain in popularity last year.
And now a South African blockchain expert, who was responsible for creating the world’s 12th-most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, has launched a new blockchain protocol project that will be developed and maintained in Johannesburg, drawing on local talent and expertise.
Riccardo Spagni said the new project, called Tari, will redefine the management of digital assets in the business and consumer markets, enabling easier use and transfer between people and platforms.
He is lead maintainer of Monero and a member of the Monero core team.
Monero has a market capitalisation of more than $2 billion (R25 billion) and is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies and one of the leading privacy coins in the digital currency space.
Spagni said he hoped to use Monero’s popularity to build a second protocol layer on its existing worldwide network.
This layer, Tari, would create a digital asset management platform that is decentralised (meaning more robust and unable to be manipulated or shut down by governments or competitors).
Spagni said the decision to create Tari was born of a need for a scalable, decentralised platform, which, despite the hundreds of existing blockchain projects in existence, has been extremely elusive.
“All of the existing systems or planned systems, where they are scalable, are so because of some sort of centralisation, which I find unattractive, or uninteresting,” he said. “A lot of the lack of scaling comes from a lack of focus.”
If it’s successful, Tari would allow, for example, the transfer of in-game purchased objects, or the exchange of things like frequent flyer miles for movie tickets, across various platforms. This could be achieved by direct linking of the platforms on the Tari network, or by exchanging assets for the network’s native token (such as Monero), which can then be used to purchase items.
“The platform will allow one to manage and transfer digital assets with more flexibility, enable true digital scarcity and break down the industry-specific silos in which businesses currently operate,” project co-founder Naveen Jain said.
“Our current world of digital assets is incredibly inefficient and frustrating. We want to fix that.”
- Riccardo Spagni said one of the main barriers to large-scale local adoption of cryptocurrencies was the high cost of data and limited bandwidth.
- “The people who could benefit most from cryptocurrency projects can mostly only afford about 10MB of data a month and ways need to be found to work around that.”
- Spagni said the first challenge was to create a platform that worked; then they would tackle working around the penetration barriers.