“Mass Adoption is the Direction Things Are Taking” – Lionel Wolberger, CTO and Co-Founder of Platin
Platin is a new blockchain token-based ecosystem which powers an infrastructure platform that incorporates a proprietary programming language (‘SolidityGEO’), all in the name of accomplishing a so-called decentralized ‘Proof of Location’ protocol.
We reached out to the team to find out more about how their solution works, the current state and future vision.
The result of this outreach was a warm reception from the company’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Co-Founder Lionel Wolberger, with whom we discussed such topics as well as Platin’s: objectives, company ethos, and views on the current state of the crypto space.
Who is Behind Platin?
Lionel Wolberger’s experience with cryptocurrency and blockchain spans as far back as 2011, where he “spoke about it at Cisco Secure Video where our team of cryptographers included the inventor of Public Key Cryptography himself, Prof. Adi Shamir.”.
It wasn’t until two years later before Wolberger got the opportunity to professionally re-engage with crypto technology, when he participated in an experiment on behalf of the Internet Identity Workshop “and decided to study it more closely and see what it was all about.”
In 2017, Lionel Wolberger created Platin alongside co-founder Allon Mason when they “identified the potential for a secure and lightweight Proof of Location protocol on the blockchain.”. Wolberger met mason during academia at Cornell University, having
“always admired his drive and passion for the projects he has developed over the years, particularly XPLace an online marketplace with hundreds of thousands of users and multi-million dollar annual turnover.”
Wolberger also highlights the fact that the team is working alongside secure-location advisor Professor Srdjan Capkun (Director of the Zurich Information Security and Privacy Center, ZISC), which he calls a “privilege”.
“Dr. Capkun is an ideal advisor, as he sits on the major standards committees, and has an inside track to secure GPS and other important technologies associated with secure proof of location.”
What is Platin?
Whilst participating in the “’colored coin’ experiment’” for the Internet Identity Workshop, Wolberger had a fundamental epiphone with regards to his perception of blockchain and the purpose of cryptocurrency:
“it’s not about currency, but an asset tracking system of decentralized trust that could also provide the basis for so much more than just currencies.”
As such, Platin’s purpose is to provide a utility-token based platform which they (on their website) describe as a system for the “Geo-location of digital assets (cryptocurrencies, documents, images, etc.), anywhere on the map, anywhere in the world, in real time.”.
There are a wide range of uses for geo-locational software, from marketing to emergency broadcasting regarding critical events such as national disasters. Official use-cases include:
Lionel Wolberger lists, among the key values of Platin its hardware agnosticism as well as its interoperable nature.
“Interoperable refers to Platin’s protocol, that it is cleanly defined and independent, enabling it to work with many other products or systems, at present or in the future, in many possible implementations with few restrictions. This is achieved by having a clean interface (API, SDK) and is essential as Platin is needs to inter-operate with Android, Apple, many backend systems and blockchain assets.
“Hardware agnostic refers to one aspect of Platin’s Proof of Location protocol, its ability to work with any — all, i possible — geospatially relevant signal sources. This will certainly include GPS, cll towers and wifi, but will extend to BLE, LoRA, Ultrasound, indeed any signal that has relevance for a Proof of Location. This is achieved by having a clear definition of Proof of Location and how a device’s location relates to all this other data.”
Furthermore, the team is planning to implement cross-chain compatibility in the future, including Ethereum / EOS.
A Security Focus
Security is also a key concern and this is echoed in our interview as well as across the website for Platin. The company even mentions KYC / AML with its list of use-cases for the platform.
One way which the company seeks to achieve this is through the use of hardware cold-storage systems for the safe-keeping of all tokens, with their first wallet integration being TrustWallet. They also, according to Wolberger, are anticipating a future partnership with Ledger.
Lionel Wolberger claims that
“Platin has security and privacy baked-in from the start. Some features that reflect this approach include.
- Platin’s architecture starts with individuals storing their own data, with blinded commitments shared to the network.
- Platin’s functionality is “opt-in” based, reflecting a deep respect for our users as sovereign digital actors. You opt-in for the sharing of data, whatever you are comfortable with. The default is no sharing.
- One of our Platin’s hires was a full-time cryptographer, and we are open sourcing our first zero knowledge cryptographic achievement: a ZK Range proof of bounded location. This shows our cryptographic and security passion.
- Platin’s default pattern is “send the algorithm to the user,” rather than, “have the user send their data to the network.” Our Artificial Intelligence is privacy-preserving in this way.
- Platin’s three pillars of security are orthogonal, working together to create a secure proof of location that would not be possible with any one of those pillars”
Geolocation and Geofencing
With use cases including retail shopping and other location-based rewards initiatives, Platin incorporates (and is responsible for the effective utilization of) specific technical and methodological processes pertaining to their geo-locational solution / protocol.
This scenario is made fully possible using a technology called ‘geo-fencing’ which is essentially, according to Wolberger, “An ability to restrict and define usage within the boundaries of their regulatory and legal jurisdiction.”
“imagine that a national supermarket chain airdrops coupon for 10% off certain items to celebrate the launch of their new store However, they do not want these coupons to be redeemable at other locations as they want to drive traffic to this new store.
“With a special smart contract, the coupon will only work within the geo-fenced area around the new store.”
Attempts at geo-location are most effective with both the consent and honest participation of both direct and third-party sourced users. Considering tech scandals surrounding personal and public data privacy & security, it has become increasingly difficult to encourage people to confide their personal data sincerely.
This is where rewards-based systems such as Platin come in.
Humanitarian Aid (A Use Case)
Another key use case cited, which Wolberger doubles down on in our discussion is that of charitable coin drops…
“We think it is incredibly important to focus on use cases such as humanitarian aid airdrops.
“While our technology has broad commercial uses, our team is passionate about seeing the project bring new ways to enable ordinary people use cryptocurrency, and an ideal win/win use case is the ability to transfer crypto to people who need assistance.
“Blockchain and cryptocurrency can often seem intimidating to people, but mass adoption is the direction things are taking. Platin wants to ensure that everyone can access and utilize this technology to utilize decentralized funds in a beneficial and potentially life-saving way.”
These partnerships include IsraAID (with whom theys already signed an agreement) in addition to the Swiss Red Cross (with whom they are currently in discussions), where Platin plans to further develop and test their systems and processes with regards to how they will integrate geo-location focused / geo-fenced cryptocurrency airdrops.
Another, tangentially related use-case is:
“the Tokyo Olympics airdrops… we are currently discussing the opportunity with our Tokyo-based partners.
“The Olympics has traditionally seen technological innovation, such as instant replay, virtual video graphics and most recently 5G deployments. This is the year of blockchain, and we look forward to announcing details once we are permitted.”
All these features, aims and objectives are tied together by the fact that they are all built upon not only a proprietary – but also a home-grown programming language which third parties can leverage for their own projects when working on the Platin blockchain.
“SolidityGEO extends Ethereum’s Solidity language, GEOS extends EOS’s C++ language. These will equip our partners for fast onboarding into location proofs on the blockchain.”
SolidityGEO is what Platin calls a “location-aware language” created to help the utilisation and implementation of geographic demarcation for token distribution, rewards and airdrops. It will additionally include ZK-Snarks and Starks zero-knowledge proof mechanisms as well as general operating standards such as ISO and W3C.
Finally, with regards to the future:
“Proximity radio technology is being deployed steadily, without any loud publicity. 5G, RTT-enabled Wi-Fi, and IEEE secure proximity radio standards promise highly accurate distance readings via radio. The average person feels this progress in the slow spread of keyless entry–just having a key, fob or smartphone in your pocket to unlock a desired resource such as your car or home. Platin has partners in this space and there are sure to be exciting announcements in the next six months (though they will be quite technical, they will promise rapid progress).”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.