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Exclusive Interview: CEO Of DFINITY, Dominic Williams, Reveals The Future Of Blockchain And Smart Contracts

Last Updated June 28, 2024 12:55 PM
Andrew Kamsky
Last Updated June 28, 2024 12:55 PM

Dominic Williams, founder of DFINITY , has been a key figure in the blockchain space since 2013. In an exclusive interview on 06/13/2024 with CCN.com writer Andrew Kamsky, Dominic discussed the evolution of blockchain technology and the enormous potential of smart contracts. 

Williams singles out the revolution of Bitcoin by labeling “Bitcoin a single-purpose network, really. It’s designed to host digital gold” whereas Ethereum and the Internet Computer are designed to host arbitrary logic and data.

Williams Highlights That “Smart Contracts Are Tamper-Proof, Unstoppable, Autonomous, And Composable.” 

Williams began to explain the unique capabilities of smart contracts, highlighting that smart contracts are not just digital agreements between users but a new kind of software with revolutionary properties. 

“Smart contracts are tamper-proof. Guaranteed to run correct code against correct data. As long as there’s no logic errors in their [smart contract] logic, you can’t hack them or make them do the wrong thing. And they’re unstoppable.” 

The intrinsic security behind smart contracts in a world where cybercrime is projected to cost $10 trillion by next year. Williams described smart contracts will not crash or lose data, unlike traditional software that often requires database servers and file storage due to potential crashes.

So, you know, first of all, that’s highly secure. Secondly, they’re unstoppable, which is another way of saying, they’re highly resilient. They’re guaranteed to run. They [smart contracts] don’t crash or restart. They don’t lose their data. They’re autonomous.”


“When You Send A Chat Message, That’s A Transaction On The Blockchain,” Williams Stressed

Williams illustrated the practical applications of smart contracts with examples such as OpenChat, a decentralized social network where all interactions are transactions on the blockchain

This not only ensures security and transparency but also introduces innovative features like seamless token transactions within the chat. He also highlighted the Internet Computer’s unique capability to integrate with other blockchains, such as Bitcoin, without needing bridges, enhancing the versatility of applications built on the Internet Computer .

“The Internet Computer Has Never Gone Down. Dfinity Has Invested Over A Thousand Person-Years Of R&D Effort Into Assembling A Team Of Hundreds Of Phds To Work On The Project” States Williams

Williams outlined the ambitious goal behind Dfinity and questioned “why can’t we build something like a social network fully on-chain? Why can’t we build an enterprise system fully on-chain? This would be revolutionary.” Possibly hinting that the Internet Computer has the full capability for the next generation social network. 

During the interview, Williams demonstrated the ease of transferring funds using OpenChat , an app built on Dfinity’s Internet Computer. Within 1-3 minutes, Williams successfully registered Andrew Kamsky, communicated the process, and sent both BTC and Ether, showcasing the platform’s efficiency and user-friendly interface. This real-time demonstration illustrates the ease, performance and quick transaction capabilities of the Internet Computer.

“To achieve this, Dfinity has invested over a thousand person-years of R&D effort, assembling a team of hundreds of PhDs to work on the project.” Williams highlighted that “Dfinity focuses heavily on research and development rather than marketing, underscoring their commitment to advancing blockchain technology.”

Internet Computer (ICP) is described by Williams as the next step in blockchain evolution, with smart contracts that run with great power and efficiency. Williams noted ICP’s robustness and scalability, highlighting its ability to scale horizontally by adding more nodes to increase capacity and performance. Williams believes that the ICP is the future for building complex applications like social networks and enterprise systems fully on-chain, pushing blockchain beyond simple DeFi applications  noting that “the Internet Computer has never gone down.”

Williams Explains How “Everything Runs On The Internet Computer”

One of the most compelling aspects of the Internet Computer is its ability to support full stack decentralization. Williams pointed out the distinction between projects claiming to be “built on blockchain” but actually running on centralized services like Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

In the interview, Dominic Williams expressed his views on the use of AWS in blockchain projects and emphasized that Dfinity’s Internet Computer operates entirely outside of AWS. Williams stated, “When you hear someone saying built on Ethereum or built on Solana, what they’re really saying is it’s built on Amazon Web Services. The blockchain has the tokens and some DeFi logic, but the actual applications are running on centralized services. In contrast, on the Internet Computer, everything runs fully on-chain.”

Williams criticized the reliance on AWS, pointing out that many projects claiming to be decentralized are actually dependent on centralized infrastructure, which undermines the core principles of blockchain technology. 

“The Internet Computer Doesn’t Run On Amazon Web Services And Is Fully Decentralized And Sovereign.” Explains Williams

Williams went on to explain that Dfinity’s Internet Computer is built to support full stack decentralization, where all aspects of the application, including the user experience and data storage, are handled by smart contracts running on the blockchain. “The Internet Computer is a different paradigm,” he explained, “everything runs on the Internet Computer. It doesn’t run on Amazon Web Services, it’s fully decentralized and sovereign.”

The approach of running data storage on the blockchain outside of AWS, this act by Internet Computer ensures that applications built on the Internet Computer are truly decentralized.  Eliminating the risks associated with centralized points of failure and control. 

“Decentralized Software Is Called Smart Contracts” Added Williams

Williams began to speak about the unique advantages that AI brings to smart contracts compared to traditional smart contracts. 

Williams explained that AI, when run as a smart contract, gains all the unique benefits of smart contracts, such as being tamper-proof, unstoppable, autonomous, and composable. Which makes AI models, when decentralized, securely tamper-proof and capable of leveraging hardware acceleration like GPUs.

“AI-Driven Smart Contracts Will Have Applications Within DeFi and Web3 Social Media.” Williams Explained

Williams later explained some practical use cases of AI smart contract technology, being the role of AI in future applications, explaining the potential that AI-driven smart contracts hold to transform industries beyond blockchain. 

One notable example he discussed was the application of AI-driven smart contracts in the legal sector. Williams highlighted how AI can help legal departments.

For instance when making sense of intelligent documentation analysis and case law search. “Imagine a lawyer who needs to understand the situation of a client,” Williams explained. “The AI could analyze hundreds of thousands of legal documents and case laws, identifying relevant information and previous statements, thus significantly enhancing the lawyer’s efficiency and accuracy.”

Williams Explained That “If Ai Is Running On Amazon Web Services, All These Super Confidential Legal Documents Are On Aws, Where They Can Be Hacked”

He further elaborated on the advantages of using AI smart contracts for such tasks. Unlike traditional systems that rely on centralized servers and can be vulnerable to data breaches, AI smart contracts offer a higher level of security and trust. 

“If that AI is running on Amazon Web Services, all these super confidential legal documents are on AWS, where they can be hacked,” Williams noted. “With AI smart contracts, the AI runs on the blockchain, ensuring that the data remains secure and tamper-proof.”

Williams also pointed out that the integration of AI with smart contracts extends beyond the legal field into areas like DeFi and Web3 social media. By leveraging the autonomous and composable nature of smart contracts, AI can provide innovative solutions and improve user experiences across these platforms. 

The inherent security and resilience of AI smart contracts make them an ideal choice for handling sensitive and complex operations. Williams concludes, “To the original question, AI doesn’t provide advantages over smart contracts. However, when AI runs as a smart contract, it gains all the unique benefits that only smart contracts have. It becomes securely decentralized.” This fusion of AI with smart contracts enhances the robustness and reliability.

Williams Finalized By Stating That “Blockchain Is Reinventing Computers”

Williams discussed the broader implications of blockchain technology, likening its impact to the evolution of mobile phones. He explained, “Blockchain is reinventing computers. We believe there’ll be a blockchain singularity. Eventually, most systems and services will be built entirely on blockchain.” This vision is not just about incremental improvements but a fundamental transformation in how computation is done.

Williams highlighted that “the Internet Computer Network is a sovereign network. It’s a bit more like Bitcoin,” he said, explaining that it is run by independent node providers, ensuring true decentralization and security. This contrasts with other blockchain networks that may still rely on centralized infrastructure like AWS, which compromises security as mentioned above.

He also mentioned the practical benefits of decentralized applications built on the Internet Computer, using OpenChat as a prime example. “OpenChat is controlled by a DAO. There’s no company that controls it. The community controls it,” he explained. This model ensures transparency and security, with all updates being approved by the community, thus preventing any single point of failure or control.

Williams’ insights underline the transformative potential of the Internet Computer, positioning it as a leading force in the future of decentralized computing, far surpassing the capabilities of other blockchains currently in operation.

The Future Integration Of Decentralized Ai: A Vision For The Next Decade

Williams sees a future where the world will split between centralized AI and decentralized AI. 

Centralized AI, like GPT, Claude, and Grok, will involve massive data centers and serve millions of users. However, there will also be a long tail of AIs run for specific purposes. Williams explains, 

“Projects, companies, and government departments will run their own AIs to better coordinate their operations and information flows. Law firms will run AIs that they can ask about their past and current legal cases. Research firms will run AIs to ask about the corpus of scientific papers they are interested in. Web3 social media will run AIs to perform content recommendation, a la TikTok and Instagram Reels. And there will be AIs that act as DeFi wallets, which can be given commands such as ‘when BTC hits $100,000, sell half my holding into USDC.'”

These decentralized AIs will be running as smart contracts, making them tamper-proof, unstoppable, and always available. “It will not be possible for hackers to break them or steal their data,” Williams notes. The unique advantages of smart contracts will outweigh the relatively small resulting loss in performance and efficiency, solving the core problems that hinder widespread adoption. According to Williams, “Blockchain is the future of this long tail of AI because it solves the core problems that will otherwise make widespread adoption hard.”

Williams Believes That “AI is going to impact a lot of jobs.”

Williams addressed concerns about the economic impact of AI and blockchain, asserting that these technologies will create new jobs and help people perform existing jobs better.

He emphasized that while some jobs may be displaced, new opportunities will arise, and overall, the impact of AI is expected to be positive.

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