Phala is a decentralized computing cloud. They offer computing power comparable to existing cloud services and protect the privacy of managed programs.
In this written interview, we discuss the latest developments, news, and utility of Phala.
Q: What are Phala’s special features and how does it differ from its competitors?
As a decentralized computing cloud, Phala has all the features that meet the needs in the Web3 world: fast, powerful, composable, secure and trustless; especially in the field of Metaverse, dApps, and games.
Phala is committed to providing a universal decentralized computing network that can be freely combined with decentralized smart contracts, storage protocols, and data indexing services.
Many people got to know Phala because of its distinctive privacy feature and innovative ‘blockchain and secure enclave’ architecture. However, data privacy is just one of the basic features mentioned in Phala’s white paper.
Our vision is to become the world’s largest P2P computing network, that is, a standard decentralized computing cloud based on Web3.
Different from the general privacy protocols and other Web3 cloud services in the market, and on the ‘blockchain and secure enclaves’ architecture, Phala enables its powerful computing ability to other storage protocols by composability. All computation on Phala Network runs in the secure enclave. The secure enclave guarantees the security of computing load, which includes the correctness of program execution, as well as the confidentiality and privacy of data.
Phala is free from keeping storage and computation in one place; the low resource occupancy and higher operating efficiency are accomplished.
Q: Can you introduce your team to the readers? What relevant experience do they have and what projects have inspired them in their designs?
Phala has an international team and also gradually transfers its governance to its on-chain community. Here is some background on Phala’s council members.
Hang Yin, Co-founder and Lead Developer of Phala Network. Former Senior Software Engineer at Google, leading projects of Mandarin speech recognition, voice search, and Gmail intelligent semantic assistant, with profound experience in artificial intelligence; B.S., Computer Science and Technology, Fudan University.
Jonas Gehrlein, Ph.D., University of Bern, who works as a research scientist at the Web3 Foundation in charge of researching economic problems in the Polkadot ecosystem. Before joining W3F, Jonas did his Ph.D. in Behavioral and Experimental Economics, working on projects which explore human decision-making. Before that, he obtained a master’s degree in quantitative economics from the University of Konstanz.
Zoé Meckbach, M.Sc. in Information and Cybersecurity. Polkadot Global Head Ambassador of Events. Blockchain technology and cybersecurity advocate. She is the COO of MH-IT & Service GmbH, an IT services and consulting company in Germany. Before joining MH-IT, she worked for Google as an applications analyst.
As loyal community members of the Polkadot ecosystem, Hang Yin and Marvin were attracted by Dr. Gavin Wood ’s Web3 vision in early 2019, and they have been non-stop exploring the Polkadot community ever since. In the same year, they published the first edition of the Phala Network White Paper and outlined Phala’s prototype.
Q: How did you achieve your funding requirements? Was it from an exclusive token sale or private funding? When was it?
Phala raised funds privately when we established in 2019, and we unlocked in September 2021.
Q: What is your vision for Phala and the next steps on your roadmap?
As mentioned before, Phala’s vision is to become the world’s largest P2P computing network, that is, a standard decentralized computing cloud based on Web3.
Fat Contract: a kind of decentralized program instead of the smart contract, which supports real-time computation-intensive tasks and has access to all the services even when they are out of blockchains. We are expected to publish V1 in Q1.
Phala World: a Metaverse game-mode based on the Phala Network blockchain. It raises a new concept – ‘Play to Build’ – which combines user behavior, characters, communities, and sci-fi stories on the Phala blockchain; integrating strategy, development, MMORPG, and other game types. Phala are also collaborating with RMRK and Bit.Country to develop NFT and metaverse gaming infrastructure.
Other than the above, Phala will carry out 2022 work with the following:
- Launch a chain bridge which is able to build a connection between the Polkadot and Ethereum ecosystems
- Launch Render Service for 3D NFT, a decentralized servers farm that can be applied to the Metaverse and NFTs, or provide services at Web3 back-end by using Fat Contracts
- Complete the Web3 Analytics development, provide users a decentralized and customized data analyzing tool
- Collaborate with Livepeer, The Graph, Pocket Network, and Arweave and build a Web3 cloud hub
You can find more details here: Phala 2022 Roadmap.
Q: Why did you choose Substrate? What do you expect from leasing your own parachain?
Phala can focus on developing special capability by using Substrate to liberate productivity from the complicated underlying technology. Substrate has achieved most of the general functions in development as an architecture of blockchain, such as P2P connection, configurable consensus algorithms, common encryption algorithms, database storage, transaction management, etc.
It is easy for Phala to connect with Polkadot and enjoy the convenience brought by interactivity and shared security from this protocol. Without shared security, the value of cross-chain will weaken a lot. Polkadot has solved the security issue by SPREE and that is the main reason why we chose Polkadot.
Q: Are people who participate in the crowdloan of Phala rewarded? What does the reward structure look like?
Yes, all the contributors who help Phala win a Polkadot slot in the bid will be rewarded, as we promised. Taking the time of this interview into consideration, the slot bid will be finished in two weeks.
We want to give the community a simple and clear plan and use as much of the bonus budget possible to reward all community members.
- Phala Network joined Crowdloan to bid for a slot between #7 and #14, and the auction cap is 3 mln DOT.
- The total reward budget is 10% of PHA’s total supply (100,000,000 PHA). Part of the PHA reward will come from the future on-chain treasury, guaranteed by the Secure Mining rate in the tokenomic paper.
- Basic reward: If Phala wins, every DOT that supports Phala in the Polkadot slot auction will be entitled to 24 PHA as rewards (DOT: PHA = 1:24).
- The ONLY extra reward is Old Gangster Bonus. Contributors from the previous Khala Kusama auction and between #6 and #11 Polkadot slot auctions will have a 10% extra reward, on top of the basic rewards. This includes those who have over 300 PHA on Khala’s address before block height #902400.
- We also prepare 1,500 whitelists of Phala World for Phala Crowdloan contributors.
Q: What are your plans for Khala Network on Kusama? Why did you do the crowdloan on Kusama and lease the parachain?
Khala has implemented its mainnet on Kusama, as the parachain to serve creative and growth blockchains and DeFi services. The Secure Worker Mining mechanism has been running steadily for over 7 months.
Back in 2021, Khala Network was born as the pre-mainnet of Phala Network to test its tokenomics and technology. Instead of having two tokens, the Phala community decided to share the same PHA token on both sides. It immediately raises a problem: How can a single token power two blockchains at the same time?
When Khala was launched, to test the mining subsystem and the tokenomics, 1% of the token was allocated to Khala and dedicated for Secure Worker Mining. 69% was reserved for mining on Phala.
From the tokenomic whitepaper, we have a different set of parameters for the two chains to define the mining subsidy budget, staking requirements, and reward schedule.
Compared with Phala, Khala has a much smaller subsidy allocation and faster halving schedule. This is because the basic assumption is that Khala is for testing and Phala is for production usage. There’s also a community understanding that Khala will be kept for small scale testing, or can even be shut down once the test is finished.
However, Khala can’t just be a testbed. We have seen innovative projects built natively on Kusama with prosperity. The real native projects on Kusama may grow to an ecosystem full of vitality different from Polkadot. Phala Networks, as the Web3 Cloud, should provide computing resources everywhere where demanded. We definitely don’t want to miss the growing Kusama ecosystem.
If we want to treat the Phala parachains on Kusama and Polkadot equally, it’s a good time to reconsider the mining tokenomic and the allocation between Khala and Phala. We are going to propose a way to unify Khala and Phala’s tokenomics.
Q: What is the main use for the Phala token (PHA)? Is it governance or does it have additional features?
- Trusted computing resources: on-chain storage, off-chain storage, etc.
- Security guarantee: to be a gatekeeper, one must stake a certain amount of PHA. The stake would be fined and taken if he/she betrays gatekeeper rules.
- Governance: stakeholders who own a certain amount of PHA would be able to join Phala DAO to further participate in community governance.
- Other payments: settlements for other services or products such as Fat Contract, Web3 Analytics, and cross chain bridges for permissionless chains.
Q: Why should users stake Phala? What are the possible rewards for stakers?
Secure workers utilize specific Secure Enclave hardware that ensures confidentiality, security, and performance of blockchain computation. Miners, also referred to as ‘Workers’ in Phala’s blockchain, provide computing power to the Phala Network.
With the design of Phala Tokenomics, 70% of the total supply of PHA is mining rewards for workers. Through the design of Phala’s reliable mining economic model, it can effectively motivate miners to work online and ensure the continuous supply of computing power. A user can be a worker or gatekeeper to get mining rewards or just delegate to an owner mining pool.
Q: How secure is Phala? Have you been audited and by whom? Are the audit results available for public reading?
Since Phala hasn’t launched its mainnet, the bridge in Phala pre-mainnet (Khala Network) has been audited by Certik. The Khala Ethereum Bridge (on Phala Network’s pre-mainnet, Khala Network) has passed an audit by CertiK, the world’s top blockchain security company.
The Khala Ethereum Bridge, as an important tool on the Khala chain, lets users swap ERC20 PHA to K-PHA, allowing PHA from outside the Khala network to be transferred into Khala accounts as K-PHA. This enables participation in Secure Enclave Mining or other campaigns on Khala.
Khala Ethereum Bridge audit report: https://www.certik.org/projects/phalanetwork
Q: Are there any exciting updates, announcements, or partnerships coming for Phala in the immediate future that you can disclose today?
In a recent announcement, Phala joined Blender Developer Fund. The partnership will further engage Phala with Blender’s powerful technology to provide Web3 rendering services for the Metaverse.
We’re trying to expand on use cases for Phala’s decentralized computing cloud and Fat Contract. There will be more and more partners to be announced on the way.
Phala will launch the first cross-chain router between Substrate and EVM which is called SubBridge. Technically, it will connect with Celer’s cBridge to open up the EVM ecosystem. In the future, it will support more Substrate and EVM eco projects.
Q: Where is the best place for the community to interact with you?
They can find us on Telegram, Discord and other social media profiles. We welcome anyone to join our community at any time: https://linktr.ee/phalanetwork
Q: Why is Staking Rewards the best partner for your project?
Staking Rewards is a leading data provider for staking and crypto-growth tools which is user friendly and simplifies portfolio and calculator tools.
They are trusted by top crypto institutions and 400k+ monthly users, tracking 261 yield-bearing assets over 37k+ providers. As a partner of Staking Rewards, we can display the Phala ecology in multiple directions. We can break the barriers between ordinary users and Phala’s high-threshold mining technology, and let more people know about Phala. Users can participate in Phala’s ecology to gain benefits.
At the same time, Staking Rewards already has mature docking process and technology and the team is very professional and efficient. We are also very confident to cooperate with them.
Phala Network’s profile on Staking Rewards: https://www.stakingrewards.com/earn/phala-network/