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Q&A With Nate Zou, Co-Founder of ALZA


ALZA is an off-chain technology designed to make micropayments involving cryptocurrencies better, and that’s their official line. So, NewsBTC Group caught up with Nate Zou, one of the co-founders at ALBA to find out more. Here are few questions and responses that gives us a better idea of what they are out to achieve.

Q: What problem does ALZA specifically solve in the industry today? 

A: ALZA solves problems associated with small throughputs, latency, and high transaction fees.

The core elements in the generation of Blockchain technology are decentralization, scalability, and security. BTC lacks scalability, allowing only seven transactions per second. ETH is slightly better allowing 20 transactions per second.

EOS achieved commercial-level scalability, with tens of thousands of transactions allowed per second. But this increase comes at the cost of being more centralized and susceptible to manipulation. It also gives up security, with a potential to expose sensitive customer info to the public.

Q: ALZA purports to offer a hybrid blockchain solution that enables real-time transaction and on-demand settlement at ultra-low costs. How does it keep costs down?

A: We use off-chain technology that allows transactions between nodes to be processed within our payment field (which is off-chain) and handle money settlement in batches. In this case, we bring the cost down by splitting one on-chain transaction fee into multiple off-chain transactions.

For example, A coffee shop can establish its own payment field. All the customers will join this payment field when they enter the coffee shop and purchase coffee. In this case, the coffee shop will be the leader of the payment field, since it conducts most of the transactions between all participants. Each coffee sale between the coffee shop and a customer is a transaction. And all the transactions are processed off-chain within the payment field. The owner of the coffee shop can make the decision of when to report to the main ledger.

Let’s assume the owner of the coffee shop decides to report to the main ledger once a day. That means all the transactions happened in payment field in one day can be combined into one on-chain transaction. And the coffee shop owner will only need to pay one transaction fee to the main ledger, even if this one report to mainchain contains thousands of transactions.

And all the money settlement between the coffee shop owner and customers will happen after the coffee shop owner sends in the report to the main chain.

Q: How is privacy and security protected for all participants?

A: All the individual transaction details are encrypted off-chain before synced with public chain. In this case, without transaction participant’s approval, no one can view transaction details.

Take coffee shop example again. Before the coffee shop owner reports the transactions to the main ledger, all the transaction detail information will be encrypted.  Therefore, after the transaction information is synced with the main chain, the sensitive information associated with the transaction will not be exposed to the public. However, it provides an option for third-parties to access the encrypted information, only with the approval of participants to the transactions. 

Q: What differentiates ALZA from a vast selection of other projects looking to use blockchain technology for similar purposes?

A: Our payment field technology delivers the best performance with security and privacy in mind.

ALZA approaches the problem with real-world customers in mind. We balance multiple factors like performance, cost, privacy, and ease of use.

We believe that the evolution of blockchain technology in real world usage is not going to happen overnight. Instead, it is a long journey where both technology and customers need to make compromises to achieve their goals.

Q: Can ALZA really complete millions of transactions in one second?

A: Yes. With our off-chain transaction processing technology, we are able to complete millions of transactions in one second. Also, the supernodes on main ledger are able to support and maintain thousands of payment field at the same time.

We will not be able to hit our TPS goal in one night, we have a clear plan and road map to follow until we hit the goal. For more details, please visit our website, download the whitepaper and review our roadmap.

Q: Where is ALZA based, and what is the regulatory environment like there?

A: We are based in Silicon Valley, California

We are aiming to build an infrastructure where application developers can build their apps based on our technology. Therefore, our development works are not highly regulated by U.S. government.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, worldwide?

A: Even though in a super early stage, blockchain as an industry grows faster than anyone can imagine. Therefore, governments around the world are not fully prepared to put regulation around it yet. However, I do believe have regulations around ICO is good for the entire industry. It requires all the teams who work on blockchain project to be more careful and mature and also helps to protect investors‘ investment.

Q: What do you identify as the biggest challenges or problems the blockchain industry currently faces?

A: Since the dawn of blockchain technology, the digital currency community has intently pursued the dream of integrating such technology with real-world business. In the past ten years, blockchain has undergone three eras of innovation:Blockchain Era 1.0 is represented by Bitcoin, which is barely capable of practical application; Era 2.0 is marked by Ethereum, whose main purpose is to build the foundation for Initial Coin Offerings of various digital currencies; and the recently famous EOS led to Blockchain Era 3.0, with the potential to engage in business activities across industries.

From BTC to EOS, the core elements of all generations of public chain technology are decentralization, scalability, and security. BTC suffered in scalability, allowing a maximum of 7 transactions per second. ETH was slightly improved to allow 20 transactions per second. EOS, for the first time, achieved commercial-level scalability, with tens of thousands of transactions allowed per second, but the cost of being more centralized and susceptible to manipulation by oligarchs.

Q: Where do you see blockchain technology in 5 years?

A: The future of blockchain technology is bright. The technology itself has so much potential and can be much better than existing technologies that powers our payment solution today. The key here is to build a strong foundation where developers community can build their application upon it.

Q: You are the founder of the project — but what excites you most about working at ALZA?

A: As the product manager of one of the largest payment processor in the U.S. I have been following blockchain technology for almost 3 years. Especially in the past 18 months, I have seen how fast the blockchain technology grows. Compared to the technologies we use today in our current payment process, for example, our banks, credit cards, payment processors etc. blockchain is a much better technology and is much better than the ones we used for the past 50 years.

I see new ideas in my job every day that cannot be implemented because of the technology constraints. For example, small business owners today need to wait 3-5 business days to get paid for the services, simply because current payment solution need 3-5 business days to process the payments. This harms our people and economy. The current solution used by banks or payment processors cannot solve it. But with blockchain technology, it will all become possible. This is why I started ALZA, we want to contribute to blockchain technology, make us one step closer to a better world.


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