In Conversation with Helmut Müller, Director of Business Strategy & Interims CMO at æternity 

æternity is a new blockchain technology, designed to deliver unmatched efficiency, transparent governance and global scalability.

Where is the innovation?
The design and implementation of æternity blockchain focus on making the execution of smart contracts safe, efficient and economic. æternity supports multiple virtual machines: a High Level VM that allows for blindingly fast and cheap contracts with a fixed execution cost; a Functional Typed Warded VM that is used to efficiently and safely execute contracts, written in the functional language Sophia; the Æternity-Ethereum VM that executes Solidity smart contracts to provide a simple way for migrating from Ethereum and more.

How does consensus work?
Consensus is achieved via a novel hybrid algorithm. The “Cuckoo Cycle” Proof-of-Work (PoW) is more power-efficient and indirectly useful, as it encourages the development of better dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips. Proof-of-Stake (PoS) is used for governance, which is done via (delegated) voting, weighted by the amount of tokens each account holds.

Why are state channels an essential breakthrough?
A network of state channels enables the exchange of value with anybody in the world in a trust-free way. Participants interact privately with each other. Businesses have their records off-chain and hidden from public sight. Participants can have infinite real-time transactions and handle use cases that require very high volumes of transactions.

How can an oracle be helpful?
What if the fulfillment of a smart contract depends on weather conditions, a share price, or other public information from the real world? Oracles can provide tamper-proof data upon which contracts can act. Election results, the prices of assets such as gold, weather conditions and many other real-world data play a crucial role for many business applications.

How does unique governance work?
æternity provides tools enabling participants to govern themselves effectively. It is essential to note that governance is very much a human problem that most likely cannot be “solved” by purely technical means. æternity’s governance is implemented via delegated voting, weighted by the amount of tokens each account holds and provides technical tools to permit governance, as well as frameworks for human interaction and effective discussion.

Why do we need this?
Entities native to most blockchain systems are addressed or identified by their hashes, which are generally N-bit numbers displayed in a hex or base64/base58 notation, all of which are somewhat unfriendly to the humans trying to use these systems. Through its Naming System, æternity enables user-friendly identities and addresses, improving usability, reducing chances of misspelling identities and increasing the adoption of the platform.