Electra Project – Interview with Robert Bakker, a Board Member of Electra Foundation
Electra Project’s inception began in March 2017 as a hybrid blockchain operating on a combination of Proof of Work and Proof of Stake protocols. 3 years later, people worldwide are working even harder to contribute to the project’s success.
We have interviewed Robert Bakker, one of the masterminds behind the Electra Project and a board member of the Electra Foundation, which protects the interests of Electra Project. Let’s see it directly from him what Electra Project stands for and what’s its future.
What led to the creation of The Electra Project?
The Electra Project was founded in March 2017. An individual developer called Electra01, who created the Blockchain-based on the NIST5 hashing algorithm, created it. At that time, it was nothing more than just a blockchain and a bitcoin-talk thread. After a few months, a few people volunteered to build a community, set up a website, and so on. Electra gained many new community members during the crypto wide price surge in November and December 2017, when it was for weeks one of the best performing cryptocurrencies out there. Around that time, I also became a community member.
The individual bitcoin-talk developer and the first team members who volunteered are still with us after almost 3 years.
Can you share a bit about your experience and background?
I started my career working for retail banks in 2005. In 2009, I moved to the largest global custodian called Bank of New York – Mellon. After five different roles in 7 years, I decided that I needed to see more of the financial world and started working for consultancy firms. As a business consultant, I have worked for large European banks and insurers on regulatory change, digitalization programs, and right now at building and implementing wealth management software for a private bank called ABN AMRO MeesPierson.
How and when were you introduced to the crypto world?
I have 2 young kids, and my wife and I decided to start saving money for their future. Due to the shallow interest in saving accounts in Europe, I was looking to invest in ETF’s as the annual average return was significantly higher than regular saving plans. In my research, I read in the newspaper that Bitcoin had gone up 30% in 6 days, at the end of November 2017. It took 3 days until I Googled the famous words on November 30th, 2017: “buy bitcoin.”
What is the biggest USP of The Electra Project?
Crypto wise, I live in a purple cave, so I cannot compare how things go in other projects. I have seen it. However, projects come and go, especially in the brutal bear market, we have been in for the past 2 years. Usually, there are only a few root causes for projects to die:
- Out of funds & ineffective use of resources
- No active community and or talented leading team
- Bad ethics
The only reason why Electra has survived is that we succeeded in passing these criteria.
- Because Electra Project never had an ICO, STO, IEO, or whatsoever, we are used to building without funds and with volunteers. We do have a very small pre-mine of initially 3,34% of the total supply.
- For a project such as Electra, the community and its team is remarkably loyal and active. For example, most exchange listings are due to community voting contests that we won. Also, most team members have been a community member or even team member since 2017. Of course, also within our community and team, there were ups and downs, but at this point, the team has been solid and stable with almost the same people as 1,5 years ago. We have mainly dedicated ourselves to building technology as well as the business network of the project.
When you look at the blockchain itself, I believe we have a combined set of impressive traits that make us unique. A few of them I would like to highlight below:
- Due to recent upgrades, our blockchain can handle around 800 transactions per second, almost 50.000 transactions per block. Take into account that transaction fees are near zero. The transaction itself is near-instant. The math is quickly done so that Electra is an ideal blockchain for transaction handling. These are (micro) payment transactions, such as transactions, to register certain supply chain activities.
- Centralized exchanges keep being hacked because their users store their coins rather than safekeeping on their own devices. As such, we believe that atomic swaps, on-chain swaps between 2 coins via your own wallet, are the future. Last year, we made our blockchain atomic swap compatible, and last week AtomicDex (a Komodo exchange) integrated us. First, swaps have been executed already!
- We implemented and modified Proof of Stake version 3, or PoSv.3E as we call it. This is actually a fascinating thread on Proof of Stake version 3.
- Because the Electra blockchain is a Proof of Stake blockchain, we are much more resistant to 51% attacks compared to PoW blockchains.
- PoS lowers the network’s carbon footprint compared to PoW networks due to less computing power that is needed.
What are the biggest challenges you foresee for the Electra Project’s success?
The crypto space is not the same as it was 2 years ago. The bear market partially purified the space, and projects get more and more professional. Less and less is for free, and business plans are becoming a necessity. As a project, we believe it’s vital to focus this year on commercializing the technology we build. This doesn’t mean that Electra Project loses its identity as an open-source community project. We need to focus on setting up businesses using Electra technology to commercialize the Electra Project’s technology. The generated revenue can partially flow back to the Electra Foundation via donations.
What are your plans?
Professionally, I hope to do what I have been doing for the past years. I would love to bridge the gap between the old and the new world, wherein I can play an active part in integrating blockchain technology in banks. I think it is a matter of years before this happens and I’ll be ready.
What is your view about the impact of your blockchain solution in the future?
I talked last year with one of the C-level managers of ABN Amro bank. I asked him if he believes that the experimental blockchain phase they are currently in will change to an implemented company and even branches wide. He told me that it would happen within 3 years, and he was 300% sure about that. This, together with many other examples I see in my day-to-day work, convinces me that blockchain is here to stay, especially in the world of finance.
What services do you wish to integrate within the Electra environment?
Electra coin was designed as a payment currency, with near-zero fees. It is no secret, however, that we would like to enable smart contracts on our blockchain. With this feature, we will support payment traffic and act as a database of data such as tracking goods and commodities, administrating and executing contracts, etc. Besides, I can’t wait for our strategical ATM and POS partners to bring their products to the masses. We have a unique position where Electra collaborated at an early stage with them and, therefore, secured integration in their hardware, which is obviously a great addition to our ecosystem.
How will you monetize contributions from your members?
Last year we collaborated with RedFox Labs, set up and lead by a true leader in the space, Ben Fairbank, to help us think of monetizing Electra technology. With his help, we aim to bring the ideas we have to reality, starting in 2020. The first focus will be on ElectraPay, as this application is completely built from scratch by our own developers on Electra’s blockchain. Because the technology is 100% ours, we have decided to keep it closed source, enabling us to monetize it. I cannot say too much at this point. Otherwise, I run the risk of getting beat up by our marketing coordinators. 😉
Who are your major competitors?
I rather not speak of competitors but focus on our own project. I believe we focus too much on each other, which harms our focus on our own growth and development. I like to compare our project, and I think we are best compared to projects like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Digibyte. Open-Source, the community team, based on volunteers, no ICO, focused on being a payment coin.
What value of the token can we expect a year down the line?
Nobody can predict this. I always like to use our price development as the ultimate example. We had our biggest price surge from 0,000003 to 0,01 USD in a matter of a month, where we only had a new website and roadmap. Last year, our price only went down big time, just like any other project, even though we built an Android Wallet, IOS Wallet, and Forked for a second time in 6 months to integrate Lightning Network, Atomic Swaps and upgrade our blockchain with POSV.3e and a big amount of security optimizations. The market is unpredictable, yet I believe that the larger crypto audience will eventually see what we do and join our community as users or even contributors.