The green Bitcoin mining movement has grown in leaps and bounds. So much so that the very idea of efficient mining in terms of energy consumption has gained traction among the members of the cryptocurrency community.
We caught up with Raghav “Reggie” Jerath, the founder and CEO of Gather.
Here is what he had to say.
How did green Bitcoin mining come about as a concept?
It became a mainstream concept this year when Elon Musk declared to stop accepting bitcoin payments for Tesla cars citing the harmful effects of the environmental degradation caused by the mining operations.
This has really changed the perspective on mining.
A group of major Bitcoin miners have even formed a Bitcoin mining council to promote the industry’s use of renewable energy.
Is it truly workable to mine Bitcoin profitably, with only green energy sources?
The power to mine bitcoin can be obtained from renewable resources and from waste streams coming from conventional energy sources.
How has Proof-of-Work (PoW) been the DeFacto standard for transaction confirmation and what problems did it come with?
Proof of work (PoW) is a form of cryptographic zero-knowledge proof in which one party (the prover) proves to others (the verifiers) that a certain amount of a specific computational effort has been expended.The term “proof of work” was first coined and formalized in a 1999 paper by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels, later popularized by Bitcoin as a foundation for consensus in permissionless decentralized network, in which miners compete to append blocks and mint new currency, each miner experiencing a success probability proportional to their computational effort expended.
Since the creation of Bitcoin, proof-of-work has been the main design of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. But studies have estimated the total energy consumption of cryptocurrency mining.
The PoW mechanism requires a vast amount of computing resources, which consume a significant amount of electricity.
How has Proof-of-Stake (PoS) proven itself to be the green confirmation mechanism?
Proof of stake takes a different approach by ensuring trust in a more old-fashioned currency: money.
To participate in the blockchain verification process in proof of stake, users create a node, that node can be run by one person or by a pool of people working together.
The node is required to prove its trustworthiness by locking away a certain amount of coins, the same type generated by the blockchain they are verifying.
Imagine putting a deposit in escrow or locking it in a security bond. This process of locking away is called “staking”.
Because the basis of proof of stake doesn’t require any extra energy to prove trustworthiness, it is much more energy efficient.
Unlike in proof of work, where specialized computing equipment like high-end graphics cards are needed, the proof of stake protocol can be run off of a laptop. The nodes are virtual spaces, not physical equipment.
Why is Bitcoin still the king of the hill despite the energy challenges that Proof-of-Work presents to the world?
Bitcoin became the first modern digital currency invented in 2009 by a mysterious programmer Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi planned to build an electronic payment system that is not dependent on government or financial institutions and is entirely decentralized, a decentralized network that is independent of central authority or servers.
This is really a revolutionary point of view and that edge also played some part on its rise.
As the pioneer among cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin leads the way on this new economic revolution and it’s getting more popular every single day.
It’s a world wide currency (anyone with internet connection can use it), it’s permissionless, not under a central bank or any particular company or under any government.
It’s open source and decentralized, it’s an easy medium of exchange with a store of value that is durable, it’s common, accessible and fungible also.
It’s totally unstoppable.
Are there energy-efficient PoW energy systems? Is it even possible to have such systems?
There’ve been some proposals and further development going on to optimize the energy consumption of proof of work, there might be light at the end of the tunnel. But in this case, only using renewable energy to maintain proof of work based systems can be an option.
Recently the El Salvador president announced that they started volcano-powered bitcoin mining using geothermal energy.
A fully renewable, untapped energy resource has been put to work strictly because of bitcoin. So necessity brings creativity.
Please, can you tell us more about your journey into cryptocurrencies and their allied technologies?
Started my career in Oil and Gas managing a couple bases in and out of Iraq managing about 200 or so people, was there for about two years or so, ISIS invaded around the end of the two years.
Post evacuating the staff. I decided I wanted to shift industries. – I ended up working in advertising for a bit – with different agencies – the first being MSLgroup ( Where I met our Marketing Advisor Naren ).
Post this I had my first exposure to entrepreneurship. It was a startup similar to what Deliveroo is – provides the technology and riders, making deliveries for banks, supermarkets etc. My first exposure to blockchain & bitcoin was in college a long time ago.
As a college kid, we were mostly broke and the bitcoin was 600 gbp at that time and i bought it anyhow. That was my first.
Please, can you tell us more about Gather?
Gather’s unique selling point is that it is a consent based tool compared to existing digital advertising solutions which is very easy to implement to websites and applications to generate alternate revenue for them while utilizing their users’ compute resources.
On the business side, this compute power is also used to provide enterprises a significantly lower cost for complex computing operations which is never done by any competition and therefore defines Gather’s competitive edge.
What is the vision behind founding Gather?
We started Gather with one simple mission: to fix the internet’s broken business model.
Leveraging our expertise in cloud computing and blockchain technology, our specialty is in combining new and existing technologies together to unlock new revenue opportunities for everyone.
Imagine an Internet where web and application developers can generate reliable revenue streams without having to rely on Ads.
One that is not reliant on ads, one that is reliable and rewarding.
While making Cloud markets cheaper and fairer, Gather is unlocking a new type of business model for the internet.
How does the Gather ecosystem mine Bitcoin using computing power?
In the Gather ecosystem, only Gather’s coin GTH & other relevant algorithms are mined to support & power the network.
Our Layer 1, the protocol layer is a hybrid using both proof of work and proof of stake models.
What makes Gather’s operations more efficient than regular mining operations?
It’s a low memory hashing algorithm, allowing the best use of the idle resources, capturing waste in a greener way without causing UX/UI issues to the users.
Please, can you tell us more about Gather’s Multi-layered protocol and its practical use-case scenarios?
Three layers build the backbone of the Gather Ecosystem:
Gather Online (Layer 0) allows web & mobile developers to monetize from their users processing power.
Gather Network (Layer 1) is the protocol layer, a hybrid proof of work and proof of stake blockchain, where stakeholders are incentivized to maintain transparency and security.
Gather Cloud (Layer 2) provides affordable processing power to enterprises and developers.
Gather offers various solutions to these following problems:
No one likes ads. The majority of websites and mobile apps do not make a reliable source of income with ads alone. So we’re here to change this old & broken system.
Cloud Computing is expensive, the cost of computing is increasing exponentially. In the meantime adoption is increasing, so decentralized cloud solutions like Gather are the frontrunners of this transformation. Higher security and affordability make this a preferred choice amongst enterprises looking to gain an edge over competition.
Building a mining community is not an easy task for blockchain developers.
How does Gather’s blockchain work?
Gather blockchain is a hybrid of PoW & PoS. Gather generates revenue from all layers of the network, which includes publishers/websites/
applications at the start and enterprises using gather cloud at the top.
Gather will charge a commission to websites/publishers/
applications using the Gather technology.
The processing power generated from the websites is then redirected to child chains through merge mining and/or enterprises on Gather Cloud.
Hash rate leased out to child chains to increase their security will be lower than market price.
Enterprises that are using Gather cloud will also be charged at a discount to market rate for the processing power used by them.
The majority of this revenue will be redistributed back to the publishers with Gather keeping a small portion as the commission, and thus keeping profit linked directly to growth of the network.
This creates a positive feedback loop where increased publishers using Gather online means more processing power can be redistributed through Gather cloud which in turn increases the revenue of Gather online users, attracting more customers to gather online leading to more processing power and so on.
Please can you tell us more about the GTH token?
GTH is an ERC-20 token. But there will be a bridge between Ethereum & Gather chain for conversion, unlocked with the Minerva Release.
GTH’s value is derived from being a medium of exchange within the ecosystem along with providing holders the opportunity to vote on the future of Gather.
The specific features that use $GTH as a medium of exchange include:
1) Gas Fees and network interactions charges, settlement and processing power related charges for the Gather Cloud, and Settlement of Gather Online Rewards.
2) Providing a financial incentive to nodes to act honestly.
3) Entitling Staking holders with the right to participate in the governance and future of the Gather ecosystem.
What are the tokenomics that govern the GTH ecosystem?
$GTH token supply and demand mechanics have been designed to ensure that all parties are rewarded for participation and incentivized to help grow the ecosystem.
This helps create and maintain a balanced ecosystem. A major demand driver comes from the enterprise side, usage fees and the required node collateral.
As we on-board more publishers, the demand side would grow as well.
Please, can you tell us more about the Gather Foundation and its functions?
The Gather Foundation is built with the sole purpose of supporting the builders of our ecosystem & helping grow our community.
It’s an independent entity made up of 12 board members.
Ecosystem members: 2 Masternodes/Stakers, 1 Publisher, 1 Auxiliary Chain
Community can suggest proposals – requires 50 USD worth of GTH sent to a burn address during submissions. All proposals that are submitted must be voted/accepted by Token Holders: 1 $GTH = 1 vote 51% approval is needed for the proposal to move to The Foundation. Minimum threshold for votes: 1% of total wallet count & 5% of $GTH circulating supplyFoundation board members require 51% approval for the proposal to move forward.
Recently a community proposal was created for a possible bridge to Binance Smart Chain and took the majority vote. Now we’re taking action to deliver a bridge with BSC. GTH token holders are getting involved in the future decisions and roadmap of Gather.
What is the status of Smart Contract capabilities on the Gather blockchain?
Gather’s L1 has smart contract support. It will unlock the ability to create utility tokens, NFTs & dApps on Gather chain with low fixed gas fees in $GTH (~0.1$/tx).So any kind of dApp can be easily built on Gather chain thanks to the smart contract abilities. This will empower our ecosystem with every child chain built on the network.
How does web browser mining work? Who are the beneficiaries?
It’s a new way to monetize websites that can be an addition to or replace monetizing a site with display advertising.
It enables websites to earn from users who simply browse a site with our code embedded in it to mine cryptocurrencies with their Idle processing power, using a CPU or GPU, which stands for computer processing unit and graphics processing unit.
You don’t need high end hardware, however, the used power scales with the idle processing capacity. Gather’s blockchain will only be mined by visitors/users of websites and applications.
There will be no external mining with rigs or ASICs allowed so that visitors’ processing power actually be significant even if it could be low compared to these. To make the web/app mining viable, low processing power is required, and this will be maintained as observed earlier in our prototype testing process.
Gather Online will be using a very small percentage of the “idle” processing power, without causing any issues to the respective device.
Contributors are incentivized by the Gather Loyalty program, where the website/app owner can decide to activate to share a percentage of the revenue they will generate with their visitors.
How can anyone who is interested in the Gather ecosystem onboard?
GTH token holders are the major part of the ecosystem. So anyone can meddle in our decisions through our foundation & community hub by creating proposals and voting for existing offers.
They can also own a shared/masternode, join our Liquidity Pool on Uniswap or start staking with Ascendex.
What plans do you have for developers who want to get into the thick of things with Gather’s ecosystem?
There are multiple ways Gather is giving the power back to the developers, briefly;
1) Any blockchain developer can build decentralized applications on Gather Layer 1, create utility tokens or connect with Gather enterprise for incubations
2) If a PoW developer wants to create a new chain and does not have a miner community, they can build it on top of Gather Network, using the hashrate coming from websites and applications.
3) With Gather Online, application developers can integrate our code easily to their applications and they can start generating additional revenue as their users spend time on the application. When their application is opened, our banner will ask for users’ explicit content to share their processing power.
4) Using Gather’s loyalty program, developers can reward their users for the time spent on their applications by sharing a percentage of the revenue they generated with Gather Online. This is an important aspect from an adoption perspective as developers would be able to reward their users with crypto currencies, where the users can be first time crypto users.
5) If there is a native token used by the developer, it can be integrated into Gather Online as a payout option
What are the current uses and limitations of the Gather ecosystem?
For the first time in history we have developed a powerful new technology that allows web and mobile developers to earn money through processing power contributions.
Imagine an Internet where web and application developers can generate reliable revenue streams without having to rely on ads, while making cloud markets cheaper and fairer.
It’s a new type of business model for the internet by allowing publishers to monetize without ads and by providing businesses & developers access to affordable and reliable processing power.
Our first mainnet Mercury Release went live in April 2021, but went on a pause afterwards as a deflationary measure.
The issue stems from way too much demand for it and it throws the economics off.
So we need other aspects to go live to balance out the finances of the economy. We also put this decision to community vote and they voted for keeping Gather Online on pause until deflationary measures are in place.
The whole Gather ecosystem is on pause now as a deflationary measure until Gather Cloud Release, as we need to balance supply and demand.
What problems has Gather solved so far?
Gather Online can be easily integrated into websites/apps with no pain, allowing website/app owners to generate additional revenue on top of digital ads, or let them go ad-free for an enhanced user experience.
Gather’s Loyalty program allows website/app owners to reward visitors in GTH/BTC or local fiat currency for the time they actually spend in websites/applicationsGather Cloud provides affordable cloud computing costs via processing power coming from publishers (there is no similar example in the competition).
Gather Cloud allows PoW blockchain developers to deploy without finding miners or building a mining community first.
Where do you see Gather in the next decade?
We’re in this to democratize the internet and make it break free from the current dysfunctional old revenue models to implement a fairer creator economy whilst structuring a decentralized & secure Cloud service for enterprises.
This will create a whole solid ever-growing ecosystem that is our vision.
In 10 years maybe we will still be working towards a liberated internet space, maybe focusing on Web 4.0. & confronting the opposing powers through the altruistic, transparent & secure nature of blockchain technology.