Ricky Dodds of ICON and Scott Smiley of ICX Station participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) event on Telegram, on March 4, 2021, moderated by P-Rep team, ICON Pinas.
The transcript is as follows:
Jenny (Moderator): Hi everyone and welcome to the ICON AMA on Telegram! For those new to ICON or who might not already know, my name is Jenny, and I’m one of the co-founders of the P-Rep team ICON Pinas. We are based in Manila, Philippines, and our main focus is community building. For me, it’s always a great feeling introducing ICON to new people and getting them to see the amazing potential and opportunities possible. So with that said, we hope you’ll all enjoy today’s AMA! Let’s go ICX! 🚀
Jay (Moderator): Good day everyone! My name is Jay, and I’m also a co-founder of ICON Pinas, based in Manila. For me, right now is a very exciting time to be involved with a project like ICON because blockchain technology (on the whole) is still in its very early stages of mass adoption, so there’s so much growth ahead to look forward to.
And when it comes to ICON and ICX, in short, the community is awesome, transactions are super fast, and there’s real-world use cases/businesses/government/etc. backing it, so fundamentally, what’s not to like? You could say I’m “all in” on ICON and ICX, and everyday is spent thinking about new ways to help promote and grow the ICON community more. Happy to have the opportunity to help moderate this AMA. Let’s go ICONSpartans 💪
Jenny (Moderator): We’re honored to host an ask-me-anything session with Ricky Dodds (ICON) and Scott Smiley (ICX Station). Please give our guests a warm welcome!
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Welcome all! Love the ICON Community and grateful for all of you, you’re what make this project amazing.
For those that don’t know me, I’m Scott Smiley and I work with ICON’s Strategy Team and ICX Station. Prior to ICON, I had ~2 years of investment banking experience at Deutsche Bank then joined ICON in April 2018, almost three years now.
For ICON, I work on token econ, governance, high-level strategy and community engagement. On the ICX Station side of things, I’m the co-founder along with Daeki Lee, I lead balanced.network, first DeFi project coming to ICON, and bridgepay.money, a user experience product to help all ICON applications onboard non-crypto users.
Ricky Dodds (ICON): I’ll give a quick background on myself as well before hopping into q’s. I joined the project 2.5 yrs ago after spending many years in traditional finance. I actually worked with scott @benny_options prior to joining ICON. He’s the one who got me to make the jump full time!
Now, I spend most of my time developing strategies to grow ICX adoption and our ecosystem more broadly.
Ricky Dodds (ICON): eh it has it’s up and downs. i prefer up
Jay (Moderator): Thanks for that great introduction Ricky and Scott! Looks like you guys have been through the worst of times with ICON, held strong 💎🙌 and now it’s time for 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀
Jenny (Moderator): Thank you Ricky and Scott for your introduction. Now let us move on to Segment 1 which will give us an overview, updates, and previews of things to look forward to with ICON. Please take note that the chat will be muted during this segment for our guest to answer the questions.
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Sounds good
Segment I: Questions From Moderators
Jay (Moderator): Let’s start with question number one 😊
Recently, we’ve noticed more and more prominent crypto exchanges adding support for ICX Staking. For example, in the past few weeks, we’ve seen Binance and now Bithumb making official announcements:
Is this timing coincidental or does it have more to do with an internal strategy to be particularly aggressive at this time? In regards to ICON partnerships and listings on exchanges, what else should ICONists expect to see as we progress through this year?
Ricky Dodds (ICON): I can take that one
Jenny (Moderator): Alrighty!
Ricky Dodds (ICON): I think exchanges are always interested in supporting projects that have a strong technical foundation, use case, and community. And I think ICX ticks all the boxes there so I’d expect more and more additional offerings to come online as we continue to grow (listings, staking, custody etc)
On the partnerships side I think we have some really good things in the works that will be shared very soon. Maybe @benny_options can add some addl color on that
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Sure happy to add more info on the partnerships side. With ICON’s DeFi infrastructure being built out and deployed over the next couple months, interoperability becomes more important than ever, and that’s where BTP, our interoperability solution, comes into play.
Not only does BTP make our own products more valuable, but it gives us a clear-cut collaboration opportunity with other protocols in the industry. A huge piece of being a successful cryptocurrecny/blockchain is growing your community, and I look forward to many partnerships in the future with other blockchain communities through BTP integration. BTP becomes an excellent gateway to rapid community expansion
Jenny (Moderator): We cannot wait for the announcements! 🤩
Jay (Moderator): Sounds very exciting guys! And I think all ICONists would agree that when it comes to fundamentals, ICON’s got the total package. There’s just so much news flow these days, it’s actually becoming challenging to keep up with everything. There’s also Danal announcing that ICX will be added as a payment solution to Paycoin and its 60,000 merchants, in case anyone missed it… Can’t wait to see what partnerships get announced next and of course use cases for BTP and interoperability 💪
Jenny (Moderator): I think the next question is very timely :D Here we go!
March is slated to be an especially busy and noteworthy month for the ICON ecosystem, with many big releases scheduled for arrival, such as DeFi products: Balanced, OMM, and Bridge. How does ICON plan to market these products to both crypto and non-crypto users to capture market share and push for rapid adoption of these core projects?
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Yep, I think the next 3–6 months will be the most transformative months of the project to date
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Ultimately I think word of mouth marketing, airdrips and airdrops, and social media campaigns are some of the most effective strategies in our industry. We’re in the process of getting more strategic partners as Balanced and Omm launch, and in the end I believe what attracts people to a network/product, and what gets the word spreading, is the opportunity to make money.
Might be a bit blunt to put it that way, but with Balanced, for example, this product is designed to give people the opportunity to earn a profit. The more profitable Balanced becomes for their users, the more people will talk about it and the more they will use it. The more success the platforms garner in their early days, the greater the network effect will be.
With so much coming these next few months, ICX holders should have many opportunities to put their tokens to work
Jenny (Moderator): Everyone loves profits 🤑 Airdrip seems to be taking a life of its own 🤩
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Seriously, seems like my typo is really working out nicely. Others incorporating it into their own products
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Additionally, we’re looking into opportunities with large crypto focused distribution channels (youtube mainly, but others as well). I’ve personally spoken with many of the top influencers on these channels and all are interested in what’s going on at ICON
Jenny (Moderator): 😂😂😂 I can’t say “Airdrop” anymore
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Love Airdrip.. And to throw it out there… we are working on getting exchange support for these efforts. No promises, but i’m working hard
Jay (Moderator): haha best typo ever💧🥳
The ICON community has been asking for more marketing and presence on YouTube, so great to see that traction is being made to address this. Thanks for sharing these insights with us Ricky.
Jenny (Moderator): Okay, i think we’re ready for the next question!
Jay (Moderator): Now, let’s get to the tech side of things!
Jenny (Moderator): You always do 😊🥳
Jay (Moderator): ICON 2.0: Batang is an ambitious undertaking intended to usher in a new era for the ICON ecosystem by offering significant improvements across many key performance parameters, such as: speed, scalability, security, reliability, being more programmer friendly, etc.
With all that being said, which ones are you most excited about right off the bat? What new opportunities will open up with ICON 2.0: Batang that previously wouldn’t have been feasible on ICON 1.0?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): A few key things that I find most important about ICON 2.0:
- BTP by far the most important. We’ll have the technology to be able to built cross-chain applications and transfer tokens between networks. My goal is to have ICON connected to more blockchains than any other in the industry by the end of 2021
- Java Virtual Machine — For any developers in the chat right now, this is a huge step up from our current Python based contracts. It will make for a significantly better developer experience on ICON
- Better economics — In ICON 2.0 our economic strucutre and inflation are more clear and more easily managed. As we get closer to the launch, we plan on discussing with the community on how to best utilize and minimize inflation
On top of all that, generally the code base is cleaner and the software is more stable, making for a better open source community
Ricky Dodds (ICON): I’d echo those points above, with BTP being the major addition as well as fostering a better open source community around the project
Jay (Moderator): Wow, BTP is really a BIG DEAL! And it’s also something that might be flying under the radar for some ICONists because there’s so many other exciting things going on for ICON right now, particularly with DeFi… So glad to hear that it’s only just the beginning for this game changing technology and we’ve got a lot to look forward to starting this year :)
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Absolutely, can’t wait to get something going on testnet then we’ll really have something we can show off
Jenny (Moderator): Wow this is very exciting! Our next question is still related to BTP :)
For those who don’t know, BTP 1.0 is a major technological innovation ICON has been working on that promises to bring interoperability to crypto. Guys, is there anything you can share with us at this time in regards to what other blockchain projects might be the first to pair with ICX?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): I can say that we already have two specific targets in mind and that development has started for both chains. As I was saying previously, I’m actively trying to grow the number of chains, specifically targeting those with strong economic activity, large dev communities, and large online/social communities. I’m hoping to turn ICON into a community of communities through this initiative. Stay tuned for more details as we make more progress to share
Jenny (Moderator): Awesome! We definitely can’t wait! 🤩🤩
Ricky Dodds (ICON): That’s a good summary. You can probably get a sense where we’re headed 😉
Jay (Moderator): indeed!
ok, last question from us guys, then we’ll move on to Segment 2
now let’s talk about tokenomics, which is something all ICONists really really care about
In recent months, there’s been a conscious effort to materially reduce ICX inflation, for the benefit of all ICONists, with i_rep now set at 10,000 (the lowest possible value on ICON 1.0). Given the recent surge of the ICX price, will a further lowering of i_rep (i.e., reduction in P-Rep rewards) be a top priority, beginning with ICON 2.0? Or, will more attention be given to things like increasing tx fees to further help combat inflation?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Overall token economics is a major focus for me, but I’d say it’s less about i_rep and more about answering this question (might be getting a little too deep here but bear with me):
“How much extra money should I make for running my own p-rep, governing, maintianing the node, etc. vs simply voting for somebody else? What extra return should I get for putting in this effort?”
Should it be an extra 1%? 2%? 20%? That’s the question we need to answer on ICON 2.0. There needs to be some incentive to do it, or everybody would sit around voting for other people and nobody would want to run a node.
From there, we can decide overall inflation numbers. My goal is to get baseline inflation at 4% or lower, and make it increasingly difficult to change. Economics should be sticky, people buy BTC because they have certainty in the supply, we need something similar. With more main p-reps, it will be increasingly difficult to change anything on our network. So we’ll have some time when ICON 2.0 first launches to see how things go, then try to grow the main p-rep set aggressively to lock things in.
So having said all that, the work that needs to be done is deciding where to allocate inflation. We have 4 things to consider:
- Relayers (They support BTP)
- Contribution Proposal System (money used to grow ICON Network)
Ricky Dodds (ICON): And for me, personally, I’m more interested in directing network resources to the right parties within the ecosystem vs. an inflation target. Mainly I’d like our 2.0 launch to repurpose some inflation for more productive activities and I believe the CPS is a great start.
Let’s continue this in the forums 👍
Jenny (Moderator): Thank you for shedding light on this topic Scott and Ricky. Very much appreciated!
Jay (Moderator): Great insight, thanks much guys and that concludes Segment 1
thank you everyone for being here and your patience
Now, we’ll get to Twitter questions :)
Segment II: Questions From Twitter
Jenny (Moderator): Let us now proceed with Segment 2. The chat will still be muted for our guests to answer the questions picked on Twitter. First question is from @TurkFootballTV
Can you explain Balanced for DeFi noobs? Why we should be excited and how we should be preparing for launch?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): For DeFi noobs eh?
Jay (Moderator): more and more by the day… it’s too interesting to ignore 😉
Jenny (Moderator): I have one word, AIRDRIP 💧💧💧
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Alright well first and foremost as an ICX holder, simply by depositing into Balanced, your ICX will be auto-staked, auto-voted, auto-claimed, etc. for better compounding. Then if u want to unstake, there is a pool for “instant unstaking” for a small fee.
From there, very simple terms is this:
- Balanced let’s you deposit ICX and mint more money out of thin air. You can deposit $400 worth of ICX and create 100 bnUSD (USD stablecoin) out of thin air and use it to buy more ICX or any other asset
- Balanced let’s you trade ICX for other assets
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): For every $1 you mint, you need $4 of ICX deposited. Hope that helps!
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Also, 0% interest rates on the money you mint (borrow)
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): When you mint 1 bnUSD, you need to pay it back eventually, but there’s no timeframe. You pay back when you’re ready
Jenny (Moderator): All the banks here wants to charge me 7% or more 😂😂😂
Jay (Moderator): ok, next question on Twitter…
Here is my question: when you gonna expand the main p-reps above 22
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Shortly after ICON 2.0 launches, probably 1–2 months
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): 1–2 months post ICON 2.0
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): The logic is about making sure we can change things up on ICON 2.0 if necessary. Less main p-reps makes it easier to change stuff
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Having said that, ICON 2.0 will launch with 3 slots for sub p-reps to rotate into. So there will be 25 total when ICON 2.0 launches, but 3 of them will change every day
Jay (Moderator): competition is fierce to get into the top 22, so this is encouraging news :)
Jenny (Moderator): Just around the corner 🥳
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Jay- ICON Pinas]
Ah speaking of that, one thing I’m excited about is that the large income difference between main and sub is removed in ICON 2.0
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): So it’s not so devastating being on the border
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): and dropping in/out
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): It becomes strictly about governance responsibility
Jenny (Moderator): [In reply to Scott Smiley]
Very understandable, gotta make sure everything works first
Jay (Moderator): [In reply to Scott Smiley]
tell me about it… 😅😂💪
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Jay]
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): 😅
Jenny (Moderator): [In reply to Jay]
Jay (Moderator): ICON is constantly evolving and improving, gotta love that!
Jenny (Moderator): [In reply to Scott Smiley]
Jenny (Moderator): Okay, 3rd question is from @PrimoTiger
What is the strategy to attract and on-board more developers and teams to build on the ICON blockchain?
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Good question.
We’re in the process of bringing on a new dev relations lead to help us broaden our developer resources (tutorials, outreach, etc). We think this addition will fill a huge void we’ve had in our ecosystem and help us onboard more activity with ICON2
Additionally, we’re working with Parrot9 on improving our developer documentation. Also, we have some events planned (hackathons etc) around ICON2 that we beleive will be a good jump off point for our new tech.
Lastly, we’re putting in pieces to incentivize builders on our network. We have the Foundation grants, the CPS, a new audit fund and unannounced initiatives to spur growth. So we’re making good progress
Jay (Moderator): [In reply to Ricky Dodds]
Awesome to hear 👏👏 and shout out to P-Rep team Parrot9, one of the best and hardest working in ICON 💪
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Yes they are
Jay (Moderator): alright, now let’s get to question #4
Jay (Moderator): from @Soldenberg1
What initiatives can we take to address voter stagnancy to ensure quality P-Reps who contribute heavily to the network’s wellbeing are more integrated on expense of the early voted ones who don’t contribute nearly enough and are still ranking high because of voter stagnancy? #ICX
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): I think what i’ve noticed recently is that voter stagnancy isn’t as big of an issue as we all previously thought. We’ve seen several new teams rise in the ranks rather quickly, which means it wasn’t a matter of stagnancy as much as it was a matter of not caring.
There was a recent proposal submitted by Transacranial solutions to help aggregate information into one place for voters to see, and I think this can help people care more about what each team is actually working on, right now it’s so hard to be in the loop. It’s a hard problem to solve but I’d like to see that proposal pass and see how it helps
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): I also like the recent additions to the tracker and iconex to show which teams are active participants in the contribution proposal system management
Jenny (Moderator): Alrighty! Last question from @Lucky8Steven
The Foundation runs a node for oracle partner Band Protocol and vice versa. It generates income to further support the foundation activities. P2P chain interoperability partnerships will provide more opps to apply the same strategy. Will this result in a dedicated node ops team?
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Yes, I think we’ll continue to explore opportunities like the one with Band. We just announced our addition to Palette, an NFT based consortium chain in Japan, to further align our communities and work towards increased adoption of our technology. So short answer is yes, but I’d caveat that by saying ICON is not going to turn into a staking as a service model. We’re only going to partner with projects where we see further collaboration
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): Yeah I’d echo what Ricky said. We don’t need as robust as a team as these companies that are focused specifically on running nodes on as many networks as possible, that’s not our goal
Jay (Moderator): and that concludes Segment 2. Thank you so much Ricky and Scott for these insights and thoughtful answers 👏👏
Segment III: Live Q&A on Telegram
Jenny (Moderator): I think everybody has been anxiously waiting for the next segment! Alright, community members will now be allowed to drop their questions and the chat will be opened for 30 seconds.
Jenny (Moderator): Please limit 1–2 questions per person, and no flooding please. The moderators have the right to mute the person who will spam during this segment.
Are your questions ready?
Jenny (Moderator): Unmuting the chat in 5 seconds.
AyD J: How does ICON give community members the opportunity to grow their project?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to AyD J]
cps.icon.community. decentralized grant program owned and operated by the comunity
LFC Kid: In your article, you stated the launch of the Contribution Proposal System (CPS) represent a significant milestone for the ICON network. Can you tell us more about CPS and how it improves better performance of ICON network?@benny_options @doddric
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to LFC Kid]
The CPS gives the community a voice in the direction of the network. It’s a major community empowerment tool and I look forward to seeing how it goes
Iris: Currently Defi and NFT’s are the hottest topic on the blockchain community. Do you have plans entering defi and to support NFT’s because I think this would really bring real users and investors.” @benny_options @doddric
Ricky Dodds (ICON): [In reply to Iris]
Yes, we’re going to jump into these spaces very soon. Balanced and OMM will be launching in Mar/Apr
Craft Network will be launching on a similar timeframe.
We also have many other projects launching in these respective categories. Check out Project nebula for example.
Maro: Being not high on tech myself, I can say I can relate more to non-crypto users.Can you give us insights/plan about this helping non-crypto users into the ICX space?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Maro]
bridgepay.money is our plan for onboarding non-crypto people. Check out the website, I’m extremely excited for what this brings for not just ICON but the industry at large
JOHNY Bravo: What do you think is the future of digital collectibles and NFTs and how then does $ICX plan to be at the forefront
Scott Smiley (ICX Station) [In reply to JOHNY Bravo]:
I think Craft will be launching at a great time. Me personally, I am excited to see how NFT’s begin effecting the real world. For example, if you have an NFT of your favorite singer, will they let you backstage? If you have an NFT of a certain basketball player, will it enable you to use that player in some sort of game? Personally I think the collectible side is just the beginning of NFTs
Ricky Dodds (ICON): [In reply to JOHNY Bravo]
Yes, I’m becoming more and more bullish on this space and the ability to branch into the mainstream perhaps even more quickly than Defi.
K: We all know that the transaction in icx is fast and cheaper BNB have bsc which is cheaper too do ICX have plan to create their own exchange like BNB (Binance) have ?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to K]
Yep we already have exchanges built on ICON. Check out unifiprotocol.com and Balanced.network will have one soon
Jay (Moderator): Thank you guys for answering Round 1 of live questions on Telegram
Jay (Moderator): We’re now going to take a short 3 minute break before unmuting the chat again for Round 2 of live questions
Jenny (Moderator): I see a lot of interest with NFTs 🥳
Jenny (Moderator): We will now proceed to Round 2 of Segment 3. ICONists, ready to drop your questions! 🥳
Baby: What do you want to achieve by the end of this AMA session? What do you need and want from the community?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Baby]
The goal here is to get a more informed and more engaged community. The community is the user base of a blockchain network, it’s the life blood of ICX. My hope is for the community to stay up to speed on current trends, become more entreprenuerial, and think of ways to contribute such as social media campaigns, development, etc.
Jack Dawson: What is the vision and mission of Balanced?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Jack Dawson]
To be the backbone of the financial infrastructure on ICON. To bring leverage to our network and allow anybody access to it. DeFi for the rest of us
Architect: Do we see a cross chain with binance smart chain, polkadot, cosmos?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to Architect]
I believe it’s possible yes
leydi| Rapids Outreach: Why did you launched a dedicated audit fund?
Scott Smiley (ICX Station): [In reply to leydi | Rapids Outreach]
It’s really important to not let audit costs get in the way of secure products for ICX holders / users of ICON products
Jenny (Moderator): Alright! And that concludes today’s ICON AMA. Thank you so much to our guests, Ricky and Scott 😊
Jay (Moderator): Very much appreciate your time today Ricky and Scott, and all your great answers to the ICON community 💪
Jenny (Moderator): The last 2 hours have been very informative! 🥳🥳🥳
Ricky Dodds (ICON): Great, thank you! Next time we’ll try live — what do you think? as in video lol
Jay (Moderator): Thank you ICONists for tuning in! Hope you enjoyed the AMA