Node Operator Spotlight: Chorus One

This is a new series highlighting the amazing work node operators on the Oasis Network are doing. To learn more and to become a node operator on the Oasis Network, go here.

Tell us about your team — who are you, where are you based (to the extent you feel comfortable)

Chorus One is a fully remote team decentralized across the globe focused on participating in and connecting promising blockchain ecosystems. The majority of our voting power is in Europe, with some team members spread across North America and Asia. We collaborate mostly online and usually do quarterly retreats where we meet in person somewhere in the world (at least in pre-Coronavirus times). We use these retreats to evaluate past performance, to set goals for the coming quarter, and to discuss the overall direction of our company and the crypto space.

What made you interested in Proof-of-Stake networks? What was the first network you ran a validator for? What other networks are you running validators for?

The founding of our company goes back to the beginning of Cosmos testnets. After working with the Cosmos team as the COO of Tendermint before the ATOM fundraiser, our CEO Brian Crain decided to co-found Chorus One with long-time Epicenter podcast co-host Meher Roy, our CTO.

Since then, we’ve been heavily involved in the staking ecosystem, at the start mostly focused on operating validators on blockchains running on Tendermint. Since last year, we’ve expanded into operating nodes for various other cryptonetworks, as well as building tools, e.g. our staking platform Anthem and developing open-source software, e.g. related to interoperability and high availability validation.

Tell us about your business model and how you think about delegation and commission rates.

We see node operators as the core constituent of any decentralized network. From the beginning it was clear to us that a decentralized network will only be able to succeed if the people operating the underlying infrastructure can be compensated adequately. Seeing the proliferation of Proof-of-Stake networks emerging, we decided to focus on this ecosystem and have since spent our time to help define and discuss the future of business models for validators.

Currently, validators differentiate mostly based on fees — with other softer factors such as security, brand, community contributions, support, and potentially alignment in governance questions influencing the delegator’s choice to a lesser extent. In the longer run, when networks mature, we believe there will be more differentiation possibilities for validators that we are exploring, e.g. based on efficient collateral allocation in shared security models, or through generating additional income for delegators through other services.

In addition to running nodes, does your team focus on other aspects of the blockchain ecosystem? Community efforts, building tooling, token economic research, etc?

Generally, we are trying to deliver a non-custodial staking service of the highest possible quality — focusing extensively on secure and continuous operation of our nodes, but also on transparency of our decision-making, and educating as well as supporting delegators with information surrounding the networks they are invested in. You can find a lot of our work online in the form of newslettersblog posts, and podcasts.

We are especially wary of exchange staking potentially overtaking the non-custodial staking market, so we have led a research effort to explore liquid staking — which refers to staking designs that would enable non-custodial staking to parallel the exchange experience by tokenizing stake. The results from this research effort can be found here.

In addition, as mentioned above — we provide various types of content, offer support and host discussions in our Telegram channel.

Finally, we’d like to highlight our staking platform Anthem, which will also support the Oasis network at launch: Anthem enables users to manage their staking positions on various networks. It currently allows users to connect any Cosmos address to get access and export historical data on portfolio data such as staking rewards and transactions over time, also allowing them to participate in staking via Ledger devices.

We envision Anthem to turn into a full-fledged multi-network platform to manage the needs of token holders in participatory networks such as Oasis, Celo, Cosmos, Terra, and others.

Tell us about why you joined the Oasis Network. What made you interested to join?

Since we are involved in the Tendermint ecosystem since early on, we were aware of Oasis for a while. We believe Oasis is one of the few protocols that set out to tackle one of the most important issues in blockchains, which is privacy for smart contracts. We think solving this issue will unlock massive opportunities for decentralized applications. Oasis being at the forefront of research on various privacy-related technologies, including e.g. open-source enclaves like Keystone, inspired us to join the ecosystem.

In addition, the Oasis Labs team is extraordinarily great to work with and has been helpful in various ways — especially with regards to the Anthem integration.

Anything that’s made you particularly excited about the Network — technology wise, communitywise, etc?

In addition to the privacy technologies mentioned above, we are excited by the approach to scaling by splitting operations into different node types (Nimble) and other research initiatives (more info to be found here).

Any big feedback or things we should work on?

We think interoperability to other protocols that might need access to private computation should be a big focus for the Oasis Network. We think that protocols whose core logic is built on some other tech stake should also be able to access and make use of Oasis’ capabilities.

In 5 years where do you hope to see the Oasis Network?

We hope to see the Oasis Network as a core piece in the blockchain ecosystem that hosts various valuable applications with a need for private computation. We could e.g. imagine a decentralized credit score system to be hosted on Oasis, with data being transferred in and out to other decentralized applications in the multi-blockchain ecosystem through interoperability protocols like IBC.

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