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Oxen Community Q&A #1

Oxen CTO Kee Jefferys joined the Oxen Community to answer questions from the community.
07 February 2022Kee Jefferys

Oxen CTO Kee Jefferys joined the Oxen Community channel on Telegram to answer questions from the community on February 4th 2021. We’re planning to do more Q&As like this in the future, with future editions being hosted on Session as well. 

The questions and answers are transcribed below. Some questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity and grammar, but original meaning is maintained. 

Q. Can you shed some light on the new project with Kim Dotcom?

A. We have been in talks with Kim for some time now, and at the moment we’re working together on a web3 platform for content delivery. Kim really likes our project, especially Session and Lokinet, so maybe we will find other ways to work together later on. Can’t say too much more than that for now.

Q. Any marketing campaigns in the pipeline?

A. You'd have to ask marketing about that, but I think they have a few things in the works for Session which are upcoming.

Q. What’s the plan for growing Session to 10+ million users?

A. The back-end of Session is already on par or easily beating offerings from the other apps in its class, so from the technical side what we really need is to get parity in terms of user experience and features. To get mass adoption it’s important not just to be the most private, but to give people an experience that is pleasant and familiar when they use the app. Calls are a huge step forward in this regard, and we’ve recently hired some new devs on the Android and iOS team to advance UX/UI and new feature support.

Q. Are there plans to further decentralize the service node network? Right now 60% of the network is in the hands of 4 corporations, which is seriously worrying.

A. This is because the majority of service node operators use a relatively small group of VPS providers to run their service nodes. We are always trying to diversify the network further, but generally speaking VPS providers are needed and that is going to create some level of centralisation. We recently updated the service node guides to encourage new users to setup nodes outside of the major data centres, but more can be done, like potentially changing reward payouts to IPs in the same subnets or Autonomous systems.

Q. Session is a tool that lends itself well to partnerships with activists/journalists/privacy groups. Any reason there have been no such partnerships formed?

A. We have done partnerships and collaborations with these groups and have people working on outreach all the time, but the partnerships have mostly not been public. We do have partner orgs listed on the OPTF website. There are multiple reasons for keeping partnerships under wraps, such as them wanting to keep their identities/methods private, and not unnecessarily making Session a target by proxy. We will be working more on this in the future and it gets easier as Session's public profile grows.

Q. What happens first: Lokinet integration into Session, or Session Pro? And when can we expect those milestones to be reached?

A. Lokinet integration into Session first, then Session pro, milestones are hard to put a date on, but it's looking like we are going to start liblokinet integration into Session Desktop pretty soon

Q. Is there a premium paid version of Session currently in development and/or bringing Session paid services to everyday users?

A. Not yet, we are still working on some essential features that we want to be in our mainline releases, however all the features that will be in Session mainline will be in Session pro too, so it's all beneficial work that will be reused when Session pro is released.

Q. What's currently being developed to turn Lokinet exits into a marketable product in the way of development to assist service providers monetize and manage their users of the service?

A. We have talked quite extensively internally about an exit node marketplace where providers can offer access to their exit node with a fee charged in Oxen. We aren't actively working on developing this in house at the moment, but we have been engaged with a number of community members who are keen on building something like this and have been happy to support them with dev time / resources and design help when required.

Q. When will we get clarity on the next major objective which will increase investor interest in Oxen? 

A. At the moment our plan is Session monetisation. We explored other options (such as the stable coin) but came to the conclusion that Session was the best path forwards. We laid out the vision here and we are executing on it now.

Q. Are there any future plans to host SNapps in a decentralized way on Lokinet?

A. Not currently, we could use something like the Service Node network to achieve this sort decentralised hosting, but ultimately many of the benefits of decentralised hosting (data availability, censorship resistant) can be achieved by paring Arweave and Lokinet together to access data through lokinet but host on Arweave, you can already use the Arweave gateway on Lokinet to do this at Arweave.loki

Q. Several Session posts suggest that the path to obtaining Oxen will obstruct people’s ability to pay for things like Session Pro. What’s being done to overcome this?

A. For Session pro we will be offering multiple options to purchase access, including direct Oxen payments, but also allowing users to pay with Google or Apple pay which is then converted on the backend to Oxen which is burned.

Q. Lokinet devs have spent most of their recent time on Session’s open groups. Why is that being prioritised over Lokinet integration into Session?

A. Open groups are the most used part of Session currently, we've wanted to spend time enhancing that experience to bring more users onto the platform before focusing on Lokinet integration, However we will be focusing more resources on liblokinet integration in the coming months.

Q. How involved is Simon nowadays? Seems to be all Chainflip.

A. He was actually down from Berlin in the Oxen office a few weeks ago, he's still involved day to day from a strategy perspective in the company, but he doesn't have as much time as before to be in the community channels answering questions for example.

Q. At which point in time do you think Lokinet is ready to be recommended to political dissidents for their communication? How will the foundation respond to political pressure?

A. Session and Lokinet are ready for that exposure now in my opinion, we could always use more users to act as cover traffic but that's always going to be the case, I think the foundation is in a very secure position to defend its platforms from any pressure political or otherwise.

Q. The current maximum count of SNs participating is capped by the current amount of minted Oxen. Do you feel the "SN emission curve" (for lack of a better turn) is well chosen for Lokinet?

A. Yes, if more capacity is required we can always increase node requirements to fill the need, having more nodes is not necessarily always the best goal, having a large network with high performant nodes is more of a focus for us, and with the current curve we believe this is achievable.

Q. Do you plan on adding more nodes as the user base grows within Lokinet? Or does that depend on how Lokinet works out in the coming years?

A. As I said in this response, to support more users we don't necessarily need more nodes, we just need the existing node network to increase their capacity, and we can enable decentralised testing to enforce this increase in resources if it is required.

Q. What are the major updates you have been focusing on for Lokinet and Session?

A. For Session it will be pushing calls out of beta and into the mainline release, for Lokinet it's less about new features and more about integrating Lokinet into our existing products (like Session) and putting out new packages which make exits and other features already in Lokinet easier to use.

Q. What do you think about the current SN landscape? Why are so many people unstaking their Oxen?

A. The Service Node count has been fairly flat since April, it seems that we have reached a natural equilibrium, of price vs rewards, However we aren't seeing the Service Node count decrease which means any Oxen that is being unstaked and sold is being rebought and restaked.

Q. Lokinet, no support for MacOS now for over a year. When do we get an updated Lokinet overall?

A. Very soon, I was speaking with Jeff and Jason about this a few days ago and we will be making a concerted effort over the coming month to get this out, many of the issues with Mac support have stemmed from poorly documented native API's inside MacOS that we have been struggling with, but we think we have gotten past the bulk of the work and are on the final stretch.

Q. I think the exchange needs liquidity supply at the foundation level. What do you think?

A. We have previously supported efforts to increase liquidity through LP rewards on Uniswap, ultimately we found that to be somewhat inefficient in terms of dollar spent vs dollar of liquidity provided, we are looking at new ways to increase liquidity which are more efficient including Chainflip integration which looks very promising.

Q. Do we know if wallet3 will help with hardware wallet integration or third party wallet developers?

A. We are still waiting to hear back from Ledger regarding integration, we don't need wallet3 for hardware wallet integration, but it will make it easier.

Q. Any particular reason behind not implementing re-Blink as of yet?

A. Some Oxen core resources have been reallocated to Session which has slowed the implementation of Oxen core tasks, Reblink is one of those tasks, in return we have been able to develop out Session open groups, file server and storage server further.

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