Meet the Validators AMA series - Forbole

Forbole - People-centric blockchain technology company in the web3 era | Building decentralized infrastructure

In our Telegram chat, we spoke with Kwun Yeung, Co-founder & Conductor of Forbole!

Let’s start from the beginning, tell us more about yourself and the team behind Forbole?

I’m Kwun Yeung, cofounder of Forbole. Forbole was started in late 2017 by me and Terence Lam. We have grown to around 30 people now. We are validating 60+ networks, developing Big Dipper and Desmos.

Wow that’s huge! 30 people is a big team. Forbole is probably one of the biggest validators in Cosmos. What’s the story behind the Forbole validator, how did you start?

This is quite interesing.

Terence and I have been partnered since 2009. We were in the digital marketing industry. We understand social and digital advertising very well, the good and bad things. We learned about blockchain in 2017 and we started to think if it’s possible to build a decentralized social network with blockchain.

I then started studying different technologies and came across Tendermint Core, the BFT consensus engine. I started building a demo chain with Tendermint ABCI. Then found out not simple to apply tokenoimcs. I kept reading stuff from Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman, the founders of Tendermint. And the I realized they have started a project called Cosmos, with the idea of an SDK for building blockchain, and the first blockchain will be Cosmos Hub. Then I switched to study the SDK.

During this journey, I found out that we need validators if we developed our decentralized social chain. From our previous experience, if you have to market the target market, you will have to learn what they need. And hence, I joined the Cosmos Riot chat and started learning and sharing my experience running a validator node.

This was how we started validating Cosmos Hub testnets in early 2018. At that time, tools were not as easy to use as right now. We built scripts and explorers to make us easier to develop the chain and validate the testnets. This is how we started Big Dipper and the based of our current validating business.

We never forget our initial intention. So we started developing in Desmos in late 2019.
We are also maintaining a few social channels including blog, Twitter and IG for general public education.
We want to keep ourselves as a validator, builder and community contributor.

Right now as you mentioned you are validating 60+ networks. Can you name the biggest once and also how are you contributing to them by being a validator?

Of course Akash is at the top of the list.
We contributed very early and was one of the Genesis 10 of Akash at genesis. In early days, we provided the deployment script demonstrating how to deploy Big Dipper on Akash providers.
Right now, all of our front end applications are running on Akash.
Of course Big Dipper is one of them Big Dipper | Akash Block Explorer
Even our website frontend is on Akash.
We are setting up our providers now and are going to run nodes on our providers too.

Now this is Big guys, Forbole providers coming to the Marketplace

Big Dipper and Desmos are what we contribute to the Cosmos Ecosystem. All codes are opensourced. Anyone can clone or fork Big Dipper to run their explorers. I know many testnets are using it to monitor their chains internally. During the development of Desmos, we found out a lot of issues of the Cosmos SDK. We have contributed quite some PRs and got merged. A few of them are still in discussions on Github.

Now, when i’m thinking about all the work you do, i think 30 people team is not that big to handle this massive amount of work :sweat_smile:

Haha definitely not a big team but we have a lot of very good teammates.

Next questions form me : When entering your site, there is a phrase: building a free and open metaverse. Can you elaborate more on what this is about?

Right. This is actually related to our initial intention of reforming social network. We believe to make web3 successful to reach mass adoption, social plays a very important role. Metaverse is an idea which social will be a core element. Forbole wants make mass adoption happen by developing web3 applications that will work in Metaverse. We will be making use of a lot of features on Desmos. And many of these apps can be running on Akash as well.

Оh this is awesome ! Can’t wait to see that, huge fan of your work, and a DSM token holder

You can tell, many people don’t buy BTC, don’t trade on CEX, don’t do staking, don’t do DeFi but they buy NFT and explore in Metaverse.
Thanks! Very glad to know that!

That’s true! And last question from me: What’s in the pipeline for the next quarter?

We will keep onboarding new chains. Some of the projects that we contributed at early stage are coming by the end of 2022. We keep enhancing Big Dipper and started organizing the explorers into a single branding. More dapps are coming on Desmos. One of them is a mobile app that we are developing right now. Of course Akash providers will come soon.

*Thank you for your answers, this was super cool. *
Now let’s move to segment 2, questions form the community

Have You Done any Partnerships And Colloborations Beacuse It Is Also The Important Part of the Project , Can You please Give me a List of your BACKERS and PARTNERS ?

Do you mean Desmos? We have only done a small private round with around 100 individuals.

The crypto industry is a fast-paced industry, how flexible is your Project to change quickly and keep pace with technology trends? What is your long-term vision for the forecasting industry in which the your Project project operates?

This is an interesting question. This is why our validating team is so busy. We keep adpating new technologies and try to make our validating business scalable and as secured as possible with new technolgoies.

Decentralization has been a big concern for me. I would like to know what you have planned to help with this problem.

I think there is no true decentralization. Centralization vs decentralization is a relative terms. When it comes to less centralized than pure centralized, it’s decentralized. Humans are greedy and lazy, and this make us tend to be centralized. At the end, how many of us can live without USD which can avoid CEX? If any of us would use CEX, then there will be centralization on crypto. You see how Binance, Kraken, Coinbase take more and more voting power on different networks.

We can only make it better. All we can do is via education, making more individuals manage their own assets. I don’t think we can only rely on traditional communication channels like blogs or Twitter. It needs users to have interests and search for the content. This is why we have to build apps. End users don’t have to know the apps are related to crypto but by using it daily, they were trained to be crypto native (every single UX is a process of hypnotization).

How does Forbole generate income related staking as main revenue?

The commission from delegators’ staking rewards.

How does Forbole plan to make Akash Network more capital efficient and increase value and user’s experience for $AKT stakers?

We are going to integrate AKT in our apps. Think using a social app but it will let you do staking and DeFi.

How does Forbole help users find strategies for staking rewards? Does this also include the focus of the Forbole work area?

We haven’t had it yet but we have put this in this mission of Big Dipper. One idea has been put in discussion is a validator dashboard. Consider if each validator has a specific page listing out their verified operator addresses of all chains they validate with contributions to the ecosystem, conslidated with a curated rating.

What are your marketing plans? Successfull project requires good marketing team and partnership too. How can we be sure your project is good?

This is what we are working on right now. We spent a lot of months developing silently. We have now core elements ready to work with different developer teams and brands. If you are a developer, you can also study the Desmos dev stacks, build some POC and apply for a grant.

What exactly is the purpose of Forbole being a very active validator across multiple chains ?
How do users or investors benefit from what Forbole does as a validator?

This makes us have strong knowledge and relationship to develop Desmos. We understand how validators work, we understand the actor vectors of validators, we have a lot of nodes that can keep Desmos Profile being verified from different chain addresses. We also running those nodes so that we can support the development and operation of Big Dipper.

Is it possible that someday Forbole will also work on MINING in POW blockchain as another Forbole “workspace”?

We are stuyding a few. PoW has its value. We did mine some ETH couple years ago.

Can you tell me more about Forbole Ventures? What projects are you invested in, is there a chance to see the upcoming investments?

It’s the brand of our investment arm. We have invested a few projects. Akash is one of them. Other chains are like Solana, Oasis, Quicksliver, Regen, with a couple non-crypto invenstments.

Let us know 3 best Forbole’s features to convince us or other angel investors will invest in Forbole project in long-term?

We don’t have any upcoming investment plan for Forbole. If you want to support projects that we support, Akash and Desmos are the two of them.

The fear I have of investing right now is how centralized this project seems. What if a top validator goes down? How does downtime of any validator affect the network?

This is the beauty of BFT. It tolerates 33% of unstability of the nodes. Unless the top 5 validators down in the same time, the network is still 100% uptime.

As validator and contributor on PoS blockchains, do you interact or involves also with security protection issues on each network ?

Yes, for example, we have been busy updating all Cosmos networks silently in last 72 hours.

Just installed the Frobole X, i see there are only 2 tokens, Desmos and Regen, are there plans for it to become like a better keplr, or it’s an analytics tool

There are plans for it. It will be integrated closely with features of Desmos. More tokens will be on it later. We designed the structure to avoid the misleading wallet addresses issue using Ledger that Keplr would have generates.

Trust and security is the main concern for investors so, will you please tell me How Your Project give high security to the assets of investors?

Fund is always secured as we are a non-custodial validator. You only control the assets yourself. We can’t touch it.

Our nodes are running on multiple clouds and bare metals. We validate with DKG validator keys so that even if a node down, our validators keeps valdiating with other active nodes to keep high uptime.

Forbole is now more than a validator, you have your own project, Desmos Network, how are things going on that side? Also, is there a plan to use Akash as a backbone for Desmos?

Yes this is why we are setting up our providers. Desmos is still a decentralized network. We only run nodes for validating Forbole’s own fund and provide public RPC for dapps to use.

I need explain Sir.
Why we need to be validator on chain or blockchain networks?

This needs another week to answer. Simple answer is, you need someone to run nodes. Usually banks run their private nodes for their private service which you can’t touch the data in public. Blockchain is a working model which anyone can run a public node and validators validate and agree on putting the result of transaction on a public network. If there is not enough validators, we can’t verified with each other publicly.

We would like to ask what factors must the community take into account while delegating their stake to validators?

Security, contribution and responsiveness of a validator. Low commission rate don’t mean everything.

Is staking important for Forbole too? Can Forbole token holders staking their Forbole tokens on the Forbole platform?

Staking business is one of our main income. There is no Forbole tokens.

Does Forbole have the best team of developers and business leaders with enough of experience across top companies?

From my point of view, we are the best team for what we are doing. Best developers understanding blockchain and UX which build Big Dipper, best developers who understand Cosmos SDK, CosmWASM, Rust, TS for Desmos, best business leaders who understand crypto, market trends, social and advertising.

How can Forbole help create a staking ecosystem with the Forbole staking product range that caters to all types of stakeholders especially beginners?

We are building apps that won’t start with difficult understanding industry jargains. Beginners start with something they understand. For example, post a text message. Then gradually we come to manage crypto assets.

I couldnt find info about your token where can i find your whitepaper so i can get the information ? Can you please tell me about your Plans in the Year 2022 , What Major Milestones you have Planned to Achieve?

If you are talking about Desmos. https://desmos.network

**Is there any intention to burn some tokens of supply in the future to **
stabilize the price?

Community can raise any proposals.

What can you say you’re most proud of in your project? In 6-8 months, what must you have achieved?

I don’t think we have to put traditional centralized dictator as a rival. We are on different tracks.
We build apps that we think fit to pursue end users. Some apps are coming in early 2023.

**I understand that Forbole is an experienced professional validator operating on over 60 networks. **
The question is, why being so active in so many networks? What’s benefits for ecosystem in Forbole it’s self?

Link with our initial intention and you would see why. Also social is not about a single ecosystem.

Is there any compensation plan if the staked tokens are slashed due to node problems?

We don’t have such terms now. We did discussed with some staking insurance protocol but found them not mature to apply yet. I think this is something crypto native users need to consider. You have to take the risk of your own decision as well. Non-custodial validators are not like Binance with Safu.

Isn’t it advantageous to choose established staking providers, as they can guarantee a secure and stable operation of a node?

Most of the time yes, but never ignore those new validators who are contributing a lot.

Mentioned that Forbole is an experienced professional validator of over 60 Proof-of-Stake Networks and Bridges. Does Forbole has audited as a validator?

No we didn’t do audit. We keep using industrial standard in our operations. Our validating business teammates are previously from financial institutions.

Will you expanding to another blockchain in the next quarter such as Hedera, Solana, Fantom or Polygon?

We are genesis validator of Solana, we run nodes of Fantom and Polygon to support Wormhole and Axelar but no plan to validate them yet

Thank you for all the answers Kwun Yeung, there is a lot to process
Thank you for your time, and wish you all the best in achieving your goals and vision!

Useful Links:
Twitter -https://twitter.com/forbole | https://twitter.com/bigdipperlive
Telegram -Telegram: Contact @forbole
Github -Forbole · GitHub
Website - https://www.forbole.com/
Akash Big Dipper - https://akash.bigdipper.live/