TV: Welcome Chris. Congratulations on being the first interview for the Tokenverse website. Tell us about yourself. What is your origin story?
CH: Hi. My name is Chris Heinze, I’m the co-founder and CEO of Authoreon.io, which aims to decentralize authorization & authentication. Thank you for having me. I’m exited to be the first interview! A few words on my origin / background story:
I started as a web developer doing web design and e-commerce projects. Always having ideas, I soon started my first own startups, but I was then called into the family business. Later I co-founded for example Zyncd, which was accepted by the Telefonica Accelerator ‘Wayra’ and raised some VC money. After I left, I fully focused on the blockchain with all its aspects, potential and applications. As a freelancer I advised companies regarding blockchain implementations and architectures, until it was time to start Authoreon, which I just had to do after I witnessed all the password breaches and cyber security attacks and I knew blockchain is able to fix this.
TV: What was your introduction to blockchain? What attracted you to it and inspired you to work in the field?
CH: A friend introduced me to Bitcoin and the concept of blockchain behind it. I became extremely interested and eventually even fascinated by its potential. I soon realized that many of todays’ problems could be fixed by that technology…..and the ideas just followed. Also, I think it is the perfect time now to start a blockchain business with many resources available such open source code and experienced developers.
TV: I think once people understand the implications, from finance and beyond, it is difficult to ignore. How would you describe blockchain and its importance to a layman with zero knowledge of the subject?
CH: Due to its decentralizing nature and the consensus principle, the blockchain has the potential to change everything and make the world a whole lot better. It brings the power to where it belongs – e.g. to authorized instances only, to democratic structures, to swarm intelligence or to smart contracts based on predefined rules. Anything further than that would be too technical. I did not come up with a simple picture to describe the blockchain, but to the layman I can only say: study the concept and get involved! It’s worth it and it’s the future!
TV: I think it is interesting that many come to the space because of Bitcoin and the financial application, or simply to make money. Then they dive in to figure out what is going on with this strange Internet money and find something even more strange and huge in scope. Like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.
CH: Absolutely, it seems to be a common way to get involved and then start a promising startup solving a real pain.
TV: Which brings us to Authoreon. Tell us about the project. Where did the idea originate and how has it evolved?
CH: Authoreon is decentralizing authorization, authentication, verification & certification. In general, we’re aiming to secure previously nonsecure instances and functions – as to be seen in the various use cases from user authentication to identity theft or supply chain traceability. The first spark of an idea I had when a former e-Commerce client of mine told me about problems he had with manufacturers regarding the copyright of product images. I was sure that the blockchain could be a solution and since then the idea evolved into a concept and then into a business model with many use cases.
TV: There seems to be a lot of emphasis on cybersecurity in this project. What do you think are the flaws in the dominant, current systems, and how do you think blockchain–and Authoreon in particular–can help to provide solutions to these issues?
CH: Looking at the recent password breaches and cyber attacks (e.g. Wannacry), I think we desperately need secure and stable standards. The blockchain offers such solutions, but people are very slow to adapt to new – and especially revolutionary – concepts – especially if they are complex. And so far it is extremely difficult for non-tech people to interact with the blockchain. That’s where Authoreon aims to provide modular and easy-to-use online solutions – as simple as uploading a file to Dropbox.
TV: User experience is definitely lacking in the space. The projects that can package effective solutions in an easy-to-use interface will stand out from the rest. That’s an important driver for mass adoption.
You have decided to build Authoreon on the Ethereum blockchain. What are the benefits of using Ethereum rather than another public or permissioned blockchain?
CH: We believe that Ethereum already is the most common / widespread blockchain solution with a huge impact (not only on ICOs). But the most important thing is that Ethereum enables synergies and thus network effects. Current and futures standards will allow businesses and applications to seamlessly integrate with each other. For a company like Authoreon with its many use-cases and diverse target customers, this is a major advantage.
TV: One of the defining characteristics of Ethereum is the integral role of smart contracts in the ecosystem. How would you describe smart contracts to someone outside of the blockchain space?
CH: Imagine a property management company. Today, probably one person would collect the rent from the tenants, pay all the additional property expenses and taxes, and send the remaining funds to the property owner. All that could be done by smart contract, an application in the blockchain, that acts according to predefined rules and if/else cases. So for example, if one tenant does not pay his rent, the smart contract could automatically send a reminder to the tenant and a notification to the owner and take some security funds to pay the bills in time.
TV: That’s a great real world example that could very well become reality in the days ahead. You’re using a unique three-layer architecture with Ethereum as the base blockchain layer. Can you break down the Synapse Layer, its formulation, and its role in Authoreon? How does this design differ from other platforms that utilize smart contracts?
CH: We created the synapse protocol as an independent application layer inspired by the human brain. It is designed to bring more functionality, scalability, and a higher performance to the Authoreon platform. The blockchain itself is already safe, but when interacting through a web interface, current applications are still facing a lot of risks. By adding two more layers – each with their own clearly separated and independent duties, tasks and responsibilities we can provide the required security our solutions request.
TV: That’s really interesting how it’s inspired by the human brain. The third layer is the Access Lock. How is this design different from two-factor authentication?
CH: I must actually avoid a reasonable answer to this question, as we’re in the process of filing a patent. All I can say now is that the access lock layer acts as the gate keeper, that processes incoming requests to the synapse layer and grants temporary access – IF the requesting instance is authorized. We developed an algorithm (we call it the 2²-key), that provides one static key with a dynamic (temporary) key only if the other key is still valid by authorization and vice versa. Access is only granted to two dynamic keys…..This is very high level and all I’m allowed to disclose, but we will share all the details as soon as it is safe to do so.
TV: What do you identify as the main use cases of Authoreon? Which industries/companies is it particularly suited for?
CH: To be honest, I cannot really decide. I think they are all exiting and promising and I am certain our diverse solutions can prevent a lot of harm in the future. Regarding financial numbers our identity theft protection and cyber security solutions are certainly some of the main use cases, as the current lack of security measurements causes most of the financial damage.
TV: The cyber-security elements are definitely attractive features that many businesses, large and small, can benefit from significantly. Has the platform garnered any early interest from clients and customers?
CH: It is a bit too early for clients in terms of “paying customers”, since we’re still developing, but we are already in talks with four European government officials regarding data retention and passport fraud. They are very open to the solutions and the talks are already about the technical-requirements-level for the implementation. So there is definitely an interest. We are also in talks with some luxury and automobile manufacturers who are interested in optimizing their supply chain or even create an ownership traceability for their luxury products.
TV: Excellent. You’re holding a token sale to raise funds for the project’s development. Why do this as opposed to traditional forms of raising funds such as venture capital?
CH: We’re not opposed to VC fundraising, but we truly believe in blockchain principles and consensus based on swarm intelligence. We want our supporters to be actively involved in the business and product development – as well as to benefit from the (most likely right) crowd decisions. So a token sale with following votings among all token holders is the best way to get a critical mass involved, to get their early feedback and contributions, as well as to build a community around the platform and its services.
TV: Community is definitely a key element in token sales that often goes unnoticed. The widespread, worldwide geographic distribution of a crypto-asset that is in itself a sort of beacon for the project’s signal is another. What is the token and what role does it have in the platform? Where can people go to learn more about the crowdsale?
CH: The Autheon tokens (AUTH) are used to access certain functionalities of the platform including registering a new asset, transferring an asset, but each token also represents a voting right regarding the release of funds for the development of the next Smart-Contracts-as-a-Solution-Module or the prioritization of milestones. Holders of Autheon tokens will also receive real-time revenue distributions proportional to their stake percentage. General information about the project is available on our homepage www.authoreon.io – including the whitepaper and instructions how to join the crowdsale.
TV: What is the roadmap for development post-tokensale?
CH: We will finalize the development of the platform and start the private beta this fall, followed by first pilots with corporations. The public beta is planned for January 2018. From February 2018 on, we plan to have monthly releases of our Smart Contracts-as-a-Service (SCaaS) modules. The first revenue is expected for April 2018. We can build something truly great, but we need the support of the community.
TV: Sounds great Chris. I wish the best for the project and the road ahead.
CH: Thank you very much.
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Authoreon image via Authoreon.io