Web3 Innovators

Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Weiwu Zhang

November 03, 2021 Conor Svensson Season 1 Episode 16
Web3 Innovators
Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Weiwu Zhang
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Blockchain Innovators, Conor Svensson, founder and CEO of Web3 Labs, talks to Weiwu Zhang, CTO at AlphaWallet.

In the conversation Conor and Weiwu go into a lot of depth about tokens,  the future of web3, and why Weiwu believes they are the core fabric of the Web 3.0. They also discuss the Alchemy NFT platform which the AlphaWallet team launched earlier this year, securing backing from Mark Cuban among others.

Weiwu and the Alphawallet team have been very focussed on tokens for the past 4 years, going deep in their exploration of what’s possible, such as autographing NFTs and token attestations, and it was absolutely fascinating to hear his perspective on how they will change our everyday interactions online.

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Hi, it's Conor Svensson here, founder and CEO of Web3 Labs. This is a conversation I had with Weiwu  Zhang, CTO at AlphaWallet, Weiwu is a true token innovator. In our conversation we go into a lot  of depth about why tokens are the future of web 3 and why he believes they are its core fabric.  We also discussed the Alchemy NFT platform which the AlphaWallet team launched earlier this year  securing backing from Mark Cuban among others. Weiwu and the AlphaWallet team have been very  focused on tokens for four years now going deep into their exploration of what's possible with  them looking at things such as autographing NFTs and token attestations and it was absolutely  fascinating to get his perspective on how they will change our everyday interactions online.  Okay, well it's great to have you here. Good to be here too. So you're the CTO at AlphaWallet,  tell me a bit more about how you got started with AlphaWallet. What was it that made you  decide originally to focus on the wallet space as well as an opportunity for the business?  Yeah, that's a good question. So we we didn't start AlphaWallet with the vision that a wallet  is going to be the most important thing in the industry and we're going to be  millionaires because we make a good wallet! The starting point was actually before I did this  wallet thing, I worked with my colleagues in Commonwealth Bank and  I was in a leadership role, technical leadership role and did a lot of blockchain experiments.  What I saw here is that the blockchain evolution will take us to the spot where we will make a lot  of smart tokens. But smart tokens are referred to tokens that have rich functionality, utility and  provide service and allow you to interact with the website. Then the smart contract part of that is  relatively easy but they're lacking infrastructure for that to properly work, for the users to take  smart token and use it on a website and that's going to be where wallet innovation is badly  needed. So we started AlphaWallet with a vision of innovating in this very specific section.  However, technology inside was actually way more complicated than we initially thought. I thought  that we're going to have a fully working TokenScript setup that holds smart tokens,  talks to the web, give you functionalities on your mobile phone and set tokens such as car tokens or  rental tokens these things. We thought that we would get ready in one year, but this constantly  needs to solve problems and that makes a wallet actually useful for Ethereum. So I consider the  current stage and part of the journey where we are eventually going to be a smart token  leader in wallet but, right now we are the open source leader in the space. We are the  most popular open source Ethereum mobile wallet. So when you talk about the smart token, it was  really the interest in tokens that brought you to the wallet rather than thinking we're going to do  a wallet and then tokens came up? Yes, typically in this space innovation happens like what I  call 'Now what? Explore, now what?' So let's go explore something, make it happen and then think  now what happens. I think by the opportunities I had and also by the way I understand blockchain,  we can have a vision of how blockchain is actually useful. So people say that the decentralized web  is better than the non ordinary web but how? So the way we work is we actually have a vision how  it's going to be different, how it's useful, and we're working towards that vision. Meanwhile, we  try to be pragmatic and solve real world problems and real world Ethereum user problems in the same  way. What I often say is we build the tunnels from two sides. Imagine if you have a huge mountain and  you want to dig a tunnel, on one side you just explore and see what you can do and on the other  side you have a vision of where you are going to get after this, and we dig from both sides. Okay,  so going back to the start of AlphaWallet, how old's the company now, it's like four years  something like that? It's been around for a while, it's not like you've just emerged and you've been  focusing on the technology for quite some time. Yeah. So at that point, when you started on it,  I don't know if NFTs were a thing at that point, they've obviously gone massive  in this last year. But, going back to 2017 when CryptoKitties first emerged, was that on your  radar in those early points or was it later on that it emerged once you were already working  on AlphaWallet? We hold an evolutionary view on the tokens. We don't know how it will exactly  evolve but we have a rough idea where it is going to. So when we started AlphaWallet we wanted to  have something called smart token. Smart token refers to tokens that have utilities and services.  So one example would be a car token which allows you to open the car engine. It also provides  service, for example, how to collateralize it or how to authorize someone else to manage the car to  generate new keys for the car. This would be useful for example if you want to leave your  car to generate revenue for you without having to go through the typical market friction of signing  up new contracts and transferring the car key and stuff - the blockchain transaction can do that. So  we think that's where blockchain is heading because what blockchain enables for a smart  contract and the decentralized infrastructure, it enables innovation and enables innovation that  Google and Apple will find it hard to catch up on given that all the free thinking that  can happen in the space, all the contracts you can write or functions you can add to tokens.  Tokens will be smart. They will grow. That's a general view but we don't know how it will grow  there. In the beginning it was ERC 20 tokens and then you have a non-fungible tokens. Now we have  non-fungible tokens with features. Alchemy is a good example where we add a lot of features to  non-fungible tokens but eventually it will come, and that's what I firmly believe and  the AlphaWallet team believes in the vision that it will come to the point where we have  smart tokens. We have vendor supported, function reach, service reach that enable new markets,  new competition, new ideas. We will have those. So although the popularity of an NFT wasn't something  we see in the very beginning, we're ready to see the token evolve at any time, so it was  not a complete surprise. Yeah, and thinking more about smart tokens and them being a key enabler of  the technologies, certainly one of the people who's come up in the space and been quite  quite vocal about their opinions here is Chris Dixon and he had this recent tweet storm where  he was talking about how he sees tokens as being the new equivalent to a web page insofar as  in the early days of the internet you had people created web pages and they just consumed them,  they just read them. Then as the technology really picked up companies started to realize  how they can provide a more interactive experience so that you have a back and forth.  People provide data and they get something back in return. With tokens, his view is that we're  in those very early days where we're seeing some utility for utility tokens, NFTs but  his views is that there's this much wider picture of where they're going to go and they're like  this all new building block for the web3 so to speak. I guess that lines up with your views here  with respect to the ambitions with TokenScript and smart tokens? Exactly and I totally agree  with the view that the token is now the new web. I'd like to dive deeper into the topic.  They are very similar and the future will be full of tokens. Everything we say blockchain can do,  they are going to be done by the tokens. Therefore we have a huge range of different tokens. I'd like  to go a little bit deeper and explain what's the difference between a web page and token. Yeah,  definitely. So there was a transition from web1 to web2, and that transition is mostly the transition  from the info system to an application system. The difference between those is, an info system is how  you get information, an application system is how you do something. So an example would be in the  early days when in the web one era you would go to a web page, you would read interesting stuff  and you would click through. Sometimes you go to a music band and you click through and  you become interested in one person, a singer maybe, and you became interested in the clubs  and then you started browsing. All the time I wasted, well not wasting, it was a pleasant time,  it was discovering information and having fun just interacting with information. Today's internet is  different. Today when I use the internet, half of my time I'm doing something - I'm signing up  for the conference, I'm making appointments with you for example for this podcast, I'm preparing a  slideshow and discussing with team members about topics and showing up in the conference, adding  each other in LinkedIn - most of time I'm acting. So the internet is no longer an information  system, it's an application system and that is why the internet today is centralized. Because an  application system would require points of trust, would require interconnecting integration points  and the previous giants like Google and Facebook naturally fits in that role. So today's token  is like the web, not in the sense that it's a source of information providing interactiveness,  it's a source of integration where functionalities and utilities and services anchor  so that web can be mobilized again, just like the previous information explosion in the early 2000s.  We will see a functionality explosion and then we will need to have the interconnecting components  which is the token. That's why token is like the web and also that's why the token is not exactly  the web. And when you think about it then, in terms of a token there's some very fundamental  differences there because you hold it say in AlphaWallet and that token, it could be a proof  of attendance token, it could be a utility token, NFT, whatever else and they of course have their  own notion of value associated with them, it can be just someone's own personal stuff  just like proof of attendance that's something they hold dear to them that they went to this  event and it was quite a pivotal moment for them. Like the t-shirts for legendary gigs that have  happened over the years, people proudly wear them all these years later. Then on the other side,  we're seeing with NFTs where they can shoot up in value and actually become investments in their own  rights and so there no doubt will be other areas that grow out of this. What are the ones that you  are quite excited or optimistic about at the moment in terms of where we're going to see  it gather a lot more traction than what we see right now? The token can give us so many things  but we don't know when people will use something first or when people will use something else. This  is not entirely a technical area, we don't know how humans acquired the habit for example, using  facebook, first. Before they used like a Google photo so and it's hard to answer that question  from a user's perspective but I will explain what technology allows us to do. So you just mentioned  the proof of attendance, so imagine that you meet someone in the event and that someone  gives you a token that says I saw you in the event, we are friends. Some kind of  token token. Suppose you have many of them, then it potentially gives you proof of relationship  that you can use to contact someone. For example, if Bill Gates says that he will only contact  people who know someone who knows me, they can give them a proof that someone who knows you,  right? So you're able to build LinkedIn in a decentralized way, all the way up with this  kind of stuff. The other example is once you have a car token. Let's say it gives you car  ownership and gives you control of your car, then you can use that to generate a proof and  link it with the insurance token. So the next time if you call roadside assistance offered  by the insurance company they will look up the insurance and immediately verify if it's your car.  Then you have other things built on top of it like a club membership which relates to your car  as well as your insurance and later if you want to leave a car to a company which makes money for  you by renting it out, then they will want to see all of these tokens. So these tokens will combine,  compose and we will reach functionalities and we will see innovations we haven't seen before.  So hearing about it from that perspective, it certainly seems that there's parallels with what  people have spoken about previously in terms of where the really big opportunities are for  smart contracts. But with the narrative that you're talking about, it takes it one step further  that says rather than having all these different smart contracts that get built up to provide these  different services, it simplifies things a lot of things a lot if you just use tokens instead  because then you have something that's common across all these different blockchain platforms,  there are of course differences between the platforms and interoperability issues with it.  But, it's like a simple abstraction that people can get - here's a token to show I've got this  proof, rather than it be here's some code or service that lives on a smart contract that this  company owns and here's some code that lives on another smart contract that some other one does,  it's like the token is the common abstraction that people use as authenticity really to show proof of  something. Yes and there will be a lot of smart contracts working behind the token to make it  really trustworthy but the token is what you use to interact with the web and access utility and  interact with websites that use token services. They do it through the token. This also provides  potential where tokens from different blocks should work together but not on the previous like  all the blockchain linked together layer but like an upper layer token layer. Right, and so  if we think about it in terms of like traditional web analogies HTTP was the common protocol for  people to talk to websites and there's the verbs around it like GET, POST, PUT, DELETE  that became established and they're simple building blocks that although  the end users typically only see it in terms of a web browser or an app on their phone,  the underlying technologies like HTTP was this key enabler really for a lot of the interactions  there. One could argue that potentially in web3, the token becomes that equivalent because that's  the thing that everyone interacts via and then behind the scenes you've got all of these services  that actually manage the tokens, provide all these additional integration points and so on. Yeah, so  I'm glad you mentioned this. That analogy works. So you have a web resource and you have PUT and  GET and DELETE and POST, if we take that to token then the most typical actions you can perform on  token are proof of ownership that generate proof which involve a cryptographic challenge and answer  to that challenge and you have transfer of ownership and you have authorization which  gives you a resource identifier so you authorize the aspect of tokens to someone. In the car case,  you authorize someone to drive your car. That authorization is on the user level is called a  key, a car key, but in crypto we just call it authorization which generates an attestation  to you that a smart contract can validate. You can use that attestation together with the key  associated with that as the borrower of the car. You can use that to start the engine,  that's authorization - that's the most frequent operations you do to token objects. But there  are more like tokens can develop their own. And so presumably some of this ties in with your notion  of smart tokens and TokenScript? Yes. So it's an open source framework that you guys created and  presumably it provides like a common abstraction for a lot of these sorts of operations? Yes,  token script was technology that was in Alpha Wallet ever since the really early version in  the 2018. At that time we have a XML container which declares what token utilities are there,  together with embedded HTML and javascript code in CSS which directs. So if you imagine an XML  file would say there is a PUT action, GET action, there are things you can do. This will transfer or  authorize. Then under every action there's a link to the corresponding HTML and javascript component  to run that one on user interface. So what we do is architecturally we divide these actions  into token utilities and token services. So token utilities in case of a car are - let's open a car,  open the door, unlock the door. Token services it's like acquire a link token,  for example link a car with their insurance token, that would be token service. So the difference is  token utility is something users can do to the token. If you have a voting, a DAO token,  you can vote. Token services that you can use some token to do on a third party website and that  third party is important because we are seeing more and more the future web being integrated and  function rich. The token is the mechanism which allows this third party to run their business  making the web system more open and more competitive. So it's really important that  token services be available. When we started to do this, we demonstrated this technology with  for example car vendors and we also made the first FIFA VIP token in 2018 where you can  scan and redeem the token at the one of the venues as a FIFA ticket redeem spot and we actually  tokenized about 150 tickets. So we did these experiments that were very impressive experiments.  It was at actually a crypto down time so people had less interest in crypto in 2019 as well.  In 2020 we see huge rise of DeFi, DeFi is a very important part of the blockchain. It's not a smart  token but DeFi is very important. The token script technology doesn't have much interaction with  DeFi, you can see some of the DeFi tokens such as if you have a zero knowledge proof of wealth for  example, like Tornado, then you can potentially write a token script which displays the balance  which you cannot do on the website. If you do that, the website will already know the secret.  So that's where token script can play but it's not the main part of TokenScript. The main part is to  enable interaction with services and with the accomplished token utilities. So in that year,  because the users were growing and we had to satisfy demand, we had to fix it here  and there to make it work with the new DeFi protocol. So we just spent the year maintaining  the product, we didn't develop the TokenScript technology until later in that year. Early this  year, we started to come back to token script because we were seeing demand for example,  last Christmas we were very busy to accomplish the necessary attestation module, as you know,  attestation related to authorization so that Devcon can issue their tickets that are validated  on the blockchain but not issued directly on the blockchain because they don't have a  transfer use case so early and they don't want to waste a lot of gas. It's reasonable that you hold  authorization as a token. So when we developed this module, we were getting the token services.  We mentioned that token actions are either utilities or services and we did the utility  as we did in experiments with car token and with FIFA tickets. The service part,  we didn't do that and this year we're picking that up as we see the demand is picking up as well. So  with a bit of work I think back end of this year and maybe early next year we will have the first  version that actually can do token services, which is to give you a token that allows you to use that  to interact with the web. So that's where we are. Okay, and I have to say, hearing more about how  the service works there's one thing that jumps up that's very widely used in web 2 is the notion  of cookies and a file that lives on someone's computer to identify them to a website. There's  clearly crossover there as well. Do you see in the future that you could end up in this space where  there's people that have an abundance of tokens? With cookies, people's browsing habits they have  silly numbers of cookies on their computer because every time they go to a website they receive  multiple. Could we end up in this space where it's a similar problem with tokens - people  are inundated with them? Yes, you are spot on. The technology to address this is called  token negotiation so we already like thought about it! So token negotiation is a technology  where a website shows that they are interested in certain type of tokens and the user is able  to select which token to be used on the website. So it cannot be like a cookie where the website  simply detects our tokens. Otherwise the website would display a page and in the meanwhile learns  that you have one million dollar worth of ether and you have two Porsche Cayennes! So you don't  want this to happen. When the website wants to use a token it either does it automatically which  is it declares in the header and then you will see, similar to the cookie notice, you will see  available tokens listed on your mobile phone that you can click to make them usable to your website.  Of course you can by default disable that. Or if you click certain functions on the web page  and that function would say 'hey use this function we are interested in the following tokens'. For  example, if you are not booking a ticket on an airline website, then presenting the passport  token doesn't make sense. But, if you are in step two, you've already filled out the form  which says where you want to go to, where you want to land, then in the next step the wallet  will pop up and say you need an identity token and ask which one you want to use - you have an  ID card, you have a passport etc. Some of them allow you to do a zero knowledge proof to only  prove that you have the document without giving it to them. So this process where the website  at that stage would need some token and the wallet will find one that matches the criteria,  similar to having a lot of cookies from a lot of tokens - you find someone that matches criteria.  It's called token negotiation. We have the first version of that library available although  that version only works with the attestation tokens, it doesn't work with blockchain tokens  because we did it for Devcon and that that was prioritized. But, we will eventually be able to  negotiate all kinds of tokens including ether or Tornado or in the future car tokens. Yeah,  you touch briefly on identity there and that's clearly another key application. What we're seeing  within the finance sector is so much talk right now about central bank digital currencies, where  you've got these central banks looking at ways of controlling a blockchain based money supply. So  there's a lot of inefficiencies in the system right now. If we think about identity, do you  feel that there's a similar direction where we can be headed? Because, no doubt with this vision  of the future you're talking about, someone's passport or identity card becomes a token and then  that still would no doubt be issued by a central authority, say the issuer of the passport or the  identity card. Do you think that we'll see in the coming years similar levels of interest in  that sort of application of the technology as we have with these central bank digital currencies? I  think central bank digital currencies are a useful one to pin on just because it's a very serious  kind of government institution that's typically interested in these and likewise identities has  those strong ties with the governments as well. It strikes me that there seems like there could be  quite a natural fit there to do it as long as they continue to remain in control of issuing these,  in their case these verified credentials, as tokens that represent passports and then  presumably they can revoke them as well if someone has their crypto wallet stolen or something else.  Is that a future that you think about or you can see panning out in the near future? Okay,  so you brought up two interesting points. One being that how will a central bank play in this  game and the other will be how central authority issued identities will be used. So the first  one, a central bank's motivation of issuing central bank money is not to make our life easier.  It's to make their job easier and their job being control and the supply of credit. So they will  not be able to give you any meaningful product because their goal is too farfetched from your  everyday life and the uptaking will be a problem unless they work with banks. So the most likely  scenario is that every bank will issue their own banking app which has central bank money  enabled in it so you will still have the banking relationship and some people will actually hold  central bank money directly in their wallet. But, the quality of service will be low and people will  not like it. I think this will eventually happen, it's just the ever going competition between the  decentralized money and the centralized money that will just go on. People will still slowly choose  to use digital centralized money because of the limited supply and the central bank will still  push this agenda. It will be a battle for a really long time, I don't know how long  it will take though. I'd rather focus on what we can do in the decentralized area.  Speaking of identity, the government has the capacity to provide digital identity and it  was possible even before blockchain because you don't have to involve transaction logic,  you don't transfer it. So you can solve it with traditional. You don't auction them,  you can solve it with traditional cryptography so the real showstopper, I would say, is not the  availability of technology. It's something to do with the public acceptance and the political will  behind making it happen. If you look at Estonia, for example, they have this digital residence  which is a digital identity and you can use that to generate proof. It has the token-like feature.  You don't have a card and you can request approve, you can request a signature which  is similar to authorization. They already do that, so my thinking is if it doesn't depend  on blockchain technology and it's up taking is slow then even with blockchain technology,  it probably won't change. So we should be seeing other tokens going first like a car token,  like your special membership token, giving an NFT token that with some rights attached  they will take off first. Yeah, yeah so it's more about these enterprising businesses that  see opportunities for them to jump on board and that will help normalize the notion of people  having a common wallet where they have a number of different assets in there that provide different  services such as the loyalty or the car token or whatever else. Then from there, governments might  eventually play catch up and say 'yeah okay let's jump on here because everyone's using a digital  asset wallet now'. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so moving on from smart tokens and TokenScript,  something that launched, well came up on my radar this year was Alchemy NFT which was a new platform  that you guys launched. You managed to secure some quite high profile backing there as well.  Is this a project that just came together this year or is it something you'd been working on  for a while? As with all these things, a fair bit of work goes into getting you to where you are.  So Alchemy NFT is reflected in the way we think. Actually we are going to give ourselves something  lab because the way we think is when we formalize it we want to make a lab out of it. You will see  that coming out soon. So our team always had this view that there will be evolution around tokens.  So once we see that NFTs got popular, the first question we asked ourselves is  'where will the evolution take us?' and the answer is you will want to have a lot of added  properties to these NFT tokens. So for example, an NFT gives you certain rights but you might want to  subdivide these rights like the right to display it and the right to use it in a project, you might  want to divide it, you might want to use that right to derive new energy tokens too. So one way  to divide it is if you have a duck, then you might want to have it colored in different ways and  these are all originated from same piece of art which might have value in their own way or that  you might derive that into the usage right as well as the right of the NFT. You might divide it and  you might have a rental right or you might have a subdivision right. You want to do things to it.  So that's a natural way where NFTs are going. So we think it's quite natural. The reason we  call it Alchemy is because we do magic to the NFT and turn it into something else which potentially  has more value or a number of something else which has a lot of new properties. The project  is in its relatively early stage. We have a working example of that which is add autograph to  it, which is already online and people are using it. We have got a lot of good feedback. We have  backing, we have prominent investors such as Mark Cuban in the game in the early stage but I think  it's more of a meeting of minds happening here. He says 'okay if we are we are here, where are we  going to be there? The next step'. And I think he agrees with what we are seeing that NFTs are going  to have more features and then you have going more to have more derived rights and derivations itself  and functions like adding autographs. So we are working towards that direction. What will  come out of that is going to be a cluster of smart contracts exploring different ways of  using NFT tokens and it goes quite well with token script as well because we are going to add a token  layer to it with token script technology. So I'm really looking forward to see how this  rich function, rich token is going to play a role in the ecosystem. What we are seeing today  is not going in that direction but we will see things go in that direction. What we see today is  it expands the breadth, the NFT space is expanding the breadth but not the depth. So if you like a  cartoon duck, I give you a cartoon duckling and I give you a cartoon bird and I give you different  birds. That's just variations on the same theme. Once you finish the birds and all the punks,  you start with the robots. You will see a lot of different robots and aliens, I don't know! So we  see supply and demand. People want to have an NFT then people produce a lot more NFTs but the supply  demand also works in the depth direction. People will more and more value the tokens with more  functions and derivatives and that's what will happen, I think. Yeah, okay and so really, the  Alchemy NFT it's had a lot of prominent support because of the autograph functionality. You've had  well-known people, I think Vitalik signed an NFT that then got auctioned for charity and so  that's just like almost one of the initial experiments but you envisage going a lot deeper  though with where it can go? We think that there will be a lot of features, a lot of derivations  from NFTs. An autograph is just one that we wanted to test - is this where people will really want  to have it? Then we want to test a lot of other ideas and this will be where competition will be,  maybe later this year or maybe next year, this will be called battlefield for competition in  NFT space. After this, there will be smart tokens but right now we are adding features  one by one to the tokens. Yeah and so then tied in with this and no doubt there is crossover with  the work that you've been doing previously with AlphaWallet, the Alchemy team have spoken about  their universal login technology too and that that is another area of interest. Is that something  that you're looking at with Alchemy or is it something that's more tied in with the smart  tokens and some of the existing ones? Yeah so one of the early revelations we had when we made  token-based projects, four years ago when I was leading the projects in the Commonwealth Bank  in Australia, was that a key based authentication was really hard to accomplish for a few reasons.  A more practical solution is to identify your attestation associated with tokens. So rather  than saying that this token belongs to Ethereum key 0x505, you see that this token belongs to  the owner that is identified by a twitter handle or an email address. Then later have  an attestation proof that the Ethereum address is linked to that. So the reasons for that is it's  sometimes reasonable to change the key because you might lose it or you might expose it or that  for adoption reasons some people will get a token before they even get a key so that  has to be identified by something else. So that's one thing that differentiates us from early web3  authentication, key based authentication. We try to do this on our attestation layer not on the key  layer, not on direct key association with tokens. This is the technology we provided to Devcon,  you will see that being used. So that's one difference between existing web authentication.  The other difference is I think that we will enter an era where authentication is more about  tokens than identities. So say if you go to Steam apps, buy a computer game  then what works is you might have some cash and buy it, ether or whatever, you might  have a privilege token, for example you previously bought Halo 3 so you can buy Halo 4 at a discount.  You might have achievement tokens which help you to maybe get discount or get  expansion pack and you might have a proof of age which makes you access  nudity and violent content. So all these tokens work together, they are not tied to a single  identity. They are just at different stages. You might want to use them,  for example, if you want to see the list of age 18 games then you need to show the token that is not  related to part where you checkout. The checkout will check out you might spend your ether but when  you want to see the listing including nudity then you want to use some tokens so in the interaction,  different stages of interaction will require different tokens. I think that it's more useful  for authentication to be buried into token so it's like show me the token,  use the token rather than taking an authentication as a problem to solve. You are either logged  in or not logged in. So in the the scenario I described, there is no prominent login process.  You just use tokens in the normal way and I think this will open doors for a lot of innovation. At  the beginning, it's difficult to mentally accept it because you want to log in and the reason you  want to login is because you didn't have token, your mind was staying with the web two where you  have identifier and that decides everything. We will see a shift once tokens play a more prominent  role. Yeah, again it's kind of taking it back to what we're saying earlier about the cookie analogy  similarities. Is there not this real risk though of people getting inundated with them?  Because I can only see this future where every subscription I have, I have a token, potentially  every significant purchase I make that's not groceries or you know consumables, I have a token.  Are people not going to get overwhelmed with the number of tokens that they have to manage because  if you have a wallet, I think you could quite quickly end up with tens of thousands of them  in your day-to-day life. You probably will and it probably will be a management hassle,  you're right. I think it's less of a management hassle if these things that represent your rights  are distributed on different websites. It's less trouble. Today, people remember so many  usernames and passwords, every one on a website. Then if you want to access your points or your  silver card in Qantas Airline, you need to go to Quantas' website. So you need to keep a set of  usernames and passwords and you need to know where your right is, your token is. So it's already very  complicated. The number of tokens we're going to have is probably going to be equivalent or less  than the number of passwords you keep for every website because you can use one token to log into  multiple websites. But importantly, you don't have to remember the relationship. You don't have to  say 'okay I have or I haven't got the game Control but I don't remember where it is. Let me go to  Origin, log into Origin and let me log into Steam play and then no it's not here. Where is my game?  I played this game and then no I don't know where it is.' So today it's even worse! Yeah, but is  there not also a risk though that with Google, Facebook and Amazon, all of these companies that  have significant weight, in that future they just issue a token and so right now you have your sign  in with Google and all of a sudden I've got my Google token and that replaces what I've used  on all these other sites. But I'm still relying on Google's issuance there. Yes,  you might be able to control the information more readily but all it takes is them to adopt that and  then it's going to squash a lot of the innovation and what people are trying to build out. All of  the things I mentioned that can be accomplished by tokens can already be accomplished and will  be accomplishable through Google or through Apple. There's nothing new in that respect. The  only thing is whether or not Google and Apple are able to do this fast enough and innovative enough.  So this will be the time we really test the theory of free market. So let's take a Google app, let's  click app for example you can already have your car key in Apple, you can already open your car  and start the engine with Apple mobile 4. If you previously set up the trust, the custodianship,  and in this case you're actually giving the car control to Apple and later you are asking Apple to  do this and that which is similar to if you have a token except that Apple controls everything.  Then suppose there is a startup that says 'Okay Apple we need a new feature. We need to not only  send a key to our friends, we need a new feature called authorize management feature because I  want to manage this car for three months and be able to generate new keys in that three months.  The reason I want to do this Apple is because I have a new startup idea where the unused cars will  be used through delegated management.' And Apple will say 'Okay. so what's in it for me?' This is  what would happen here, this will not be the same conversation with tokens, it will be different.  Token issuers, car token makers, they want their car to be everywhere on the street. They want the  maximum market access. Google and Apple, they want market access that benefits them and they each  have a moat against their ecosystem. So if the free market theory still works, then a free market  will prevail. It'll definitely be interesting to see how it pans out anyway with them. Certainly it  does feel like those companies haven't really embraced the decentralization as much as they  could do but with Facebook's recent rebranding to focus on the metaverse and so on, I think it'll  certainly be fun to see what innovations come out of that. Going back to universal log ins,  one of the things that's come up recently was the Ethereum Foundation putting out a request for  proposals on this notion of universal login using Ethereum so rather than making use of these QAuth  services where you hook in with a Facebook login or a Twitter one, LinkedIn or whatever else, they  want to work with companies who are looking to use Ethereum to solve that. Does that tie over with  the universal login and attestations that you've been talking about or is that something different?  So we actually submitted a proposal to them and I haven't heard from the Ethereum Foundation. Maybe  they were accepted, maybe they were not. Their angle was - so we have a huge cross-section but  the angle is different - the Ethereum Foundation is more looking at how to improve the adoption of  Ethereum by making Ethereum-based authentication more accessible to the traditional developers.  Also, how to make it easier to unwrap new users, this is the angle they are coming from. They chose  a problem that was bothering web 2 developers for a long while. Usually people have to rely  on Google to do this and so they are trying to compete directly with Google. So my view/ angle  is mostly from token - what innovation can we enable the token to do? So there's a cross section  in both that will address the authentication problem and there are protocol details that  both the Ethereum Foundation and TokenScript both care about. We are providing a proposal that is  utilizing what we know as the best practice as well as being as compatible as possible with  the future token-based economy. I hope they will accept this direction and I think what we proposed  is an improvement over most of the existing use cases. For example, usually in our proposal  the key will be generated for the session and its expiration is controlled by a few parameters.  While in the traditional web authentication, the Ethereum key is used directly which creates two  problems. First, Ethereum keys are associated with an asset, the use of which will potentially  endanger the asset and second, you don't have session control. If the user logs in to different  computer and you cannot click the button and say log me off of every other device there's  no control over that. So our proposal has this considered, let's hope it's accepted. Yeah, it's  good to hear about the differences though with that approach and how, like you say, looking at it  from a token-centric perspective is more powerful and helps avoid some of these challenges with it.  Yes, so not all tokens will be authenticated based on the same Ethereum key for security  reasons and for use case reasons. Some tokens have its own authentication mechanism so it's better to  enclose the authentication in token and try to make it as silent as possible. Yeah, so moving  on from Alchemy and tokens and everything else, you're here in the UK at the moment for COP26.  Yes. What is it that caught your interest, that's made you choose to travel over here for  the conference given where you currently focused? First, no matter which industry you are working  in, you are going to be affected by climate change unless you don't believe that climate change has  anything to do with human activity. We may not be able to solve the climate change and I'm not  very optimistic about it but everybody should be aware. I have two kids and you have two kids too,  so there's no reason to not be interested simply because head is not my area of focus.  Absolutely, yeah. But, the angle I'm coming from is mostly how trading mechanism will  solve the tragedy of the commons problems. So the problem we are facing is there has to be adequate  amount of climate action to reduce emission and that either comes from the government or it comes  from the market. Coming from the government is not a very good idea because most people believe that  government is already too big and doesn't have our interest in mind and the government expenses  probably will be misaligned with climate goals. A more efficient way to do that is to utilize market  so that carbon emission is priced in. The way to do that is to allow carbon credit trading in the  free market so a company can reduce their carbon footprint therefore reduce the price they have to  pay and therefore they have a more competitive price on their end product. So I think this is  a really efficient way because it uses free market to allocate resources. However, I say this a lot,  you need three legs for a stool unless it's a bar stool! You need three legs for stool, the  three legs are technology - in this case carbon trading mechanism, and policy - a political will,  you have to be certified so that your product can be sold as a carbon accounting form,  and then you have to have market participation. So what I'm afraid of and what happened in the past,  is that blockchain technology alone will not save it if there is no policy support  and if there is no market participation. So every year, last year the COP didn't happen, every year  I'm keen to observe whether or not the political wheel is growing to the point where the policy is  practical and the market participants are willing enough and if that is the year then I think the  technology will be useful and we should be really looking at how to use technology in the community  as well as from our labs and our investors point of view. So my goal here at COP is  mostly awareness, it doesn't make sense if there are two other legs missing and I devote my life  into a carbon credit trading system and just waste my creative years. But, if the condition is good  then everybody should be interested to use blockchain to help solving our climate crisis.  And certainly with the Paris Agreement, in terms of the the language that's been used,  it is much more friendly towards decentralized technologies rather than  this is a predecessor. The Kyoto Protocol had wording about having these centralized data  stores where they capture a lot of emissions and reporting information whereas for with the Paris  Agreement it's sort of more embraces this idea of decentralization. The World Bank have got  their climate warehouse which they're looking at a way of aggregating a lot of this data.  People like Microsoft, they've made these very public announcements about what they intend to  do with respect to getting to net zero I think by 2030 and then eliminating all of their prior  carbon emissions by 2050. Then any organizations like that have been trying as well to make inroads  here but there's still certain challenges further up the chain like the work that actually you  know eliminates carbon offsets for instance, the inadequate technology in place to ensure  that the data's being captured well at source about say these trees being planted and then  them ultimately being certified as these you can think of them as tokens really that represent the  removal of carbon offsets. So there's a lot of challenges that exist in the space but no doubt  it's going to be fascinating to have all of those leaders there and everything else and  see what they're saying. Yes there are a lot of problems and there are a lot of solutions too.  The previous Paris Agreement was a good one. The thing is it was not formed with strong consensus.  This year is different, after two disasters, two runs like natural disasters and then we  have covid, people are more aware of the predicament we are in. Humanity is in a  really delicate balance of moving parts so there's a hope that this year the wheel is stronger  from the global consensus from the nations that the problem they are describing there will be  a will to seek solutions for these problems. So previously like for example, carbon credit - how  do you certify a tree being issued? - well you can create a cryptographic attestation. But,  how do you know the test is true? Well you need to have someone to solve the dispute or  a smart contract to solve the dispute. There are solutions, these solutions are not cheap  but there are solutions. But you need the will, you need everybody to agree that we need to come  up with solutions for these problems and that's what I come to COP to learn. So my journey is the  one that gives me awareness, like the program for the wisdom not for direct action. Once I get the  wisdom, once it feels like now humanity can take on this problem then action. Yeah, your mind's had  the time to process everything that you've learned there. Yeah. Wonderful, well hopefully there'll  be some some good outcomes here with everyone getting together after it was delayed for so long.  Yeah there are already promising projects and some of the projects are utilizing a lot of  consensus will, like the business leaders. I will learn more about that and then given the  opportunity, I will write a blog post after the COP conference. Awesome, I look forward to that.  So Weiwu, just in terms of wrapping up our conversation now, if people want to keep abreast  of everything that's happening with AlphaWallet and Alchemy NFT and also TokenScripts and contact  you, what are the places that they should head to or social handles they should follow? First,  follow our Twitter. So our twitter currently handle is @AlphaWallet but we are going to rebrand  and have a lab behind it and so that AlphaWallet is one of the components and we have Alchemy  and TokenScript will all come in but if you subscribe to AlphaWallet you will get notified of  that line of activities. Then we will publish the Alchemy white paper very soon and then,  TokenScript already have a paper, it's a few years old but because TokenScript's idea is a little  more ahead you will not hear about TokenScript's immediate smart token thing for a few months. But  we will update that once we have the negotiator for Devcon we will publish on Twitter as well  and we will publish an intermediary paper to explain where we are now compared to when the  first paper was produced like three years ago. Okay, awesome. But, Twitter is the most important  way to keep in touch with us. We also have a Discord channel, it should be easy to find! Cool! Well Weiwu, it's been an absolute pleasure to host you today and  great that you're able to make it over to London as well to have this chat.  Thank you for allowing me to into your house to do this project. My pleasure, thank you. Thank you.