An Introduction to DIVA.EXCHANGE: Transcript of the Lightning Talk at FOSDEM 2021
Konrad, the lead architect of DIVA, held a 20 minutes lecture at FOSDEM 2021. The lecture gives an overview of the I2P based, fully distributed bank DIVA. More than four times as many participants as usual, namely 33’000, followed this year’s open source conference FOSDEM – exclusively virtual. It was great to be part of this awesome event. It was great to meet people from all over the world and to get feedback and questions that drive DIVA forward. If you are interested in the lecture, read the transcript of the talk here:
Hello, this talk is about an I2P based, fully distributed bank. So it’s about free banking technology for everyone.
At DIVA.EXCHANGE we are creating technology enabling storing, transferring and trading any existing or future digital values.
All we are doing at DIVA.EXCHANGE is licenced under AGPLv3 or Creative Commons. So it’s a truly open source and free technology project.
Clarity, transparency and openness, that’s really and truly important to DIVA.EXCHANGE.
The idea of DIVA.EXCHANGE “everyone is his own bank”, leads in theory to complete self-determination over the allocation of all your own digital values. A bank is simply an intermediary (e.g. of payments, trading or loans). So if everyone were their own bank, the network would be the market.
DIVA.EXCHANGE is an association and a research project, that enables the development of the free banking-, network- and software-technology DIVA.
With DIVA everyone can become his own bank.
What is Free Banking Technology?
Here we take a closer look at the scope of DIVA.
The network is the market. And in this network we have nodes. Each node is a bank in this market. This is the core thinking concept. Every user that is forming such a node, can enter or leave the network any time, without losing data or losing digital values. This is also very important for every end user. So DIVA is borderless, there is nothing like a walled garden. Every user is running his own diva software on his own device and is forming such a node. The network itself is a peer-to-peer network so that the users, the nodes, can exchange digital values. They can pay with it, so it’s a payment network, it’s a trading network, and each user can store its digital values on its own device.
The peer-to-peer network is based on I2P. In the next chapter we take a closer look on I2P, which is giving full privacy to the end user within the DIVA network. This is important on such a market. Since every user is forming its own node and its own bank. Every user can also keep the transaction fees of those transactions, which are processed on his node. Remember: we do not have any coin or token involved, there is nothing like a DIVA coin or DIVA token, we are borderless, we are not a walled garden. Every user is keeping its own transaction fees of its own chosen digital value.
Network I2P: End-to-End encrypted and anonymous Internet
The network layer of DIVA is based on I2P. I2P is a long standing open source project and it’s focussing on providing the software to build a private network. This functionality is very important to DIVA. Because the nodes within the DIVA network are private, they do not know each other, but they want to communicate with each other. If we are looking at I2P then each package, which is leaving a node and is travelling to a different node in the network, is hopping over different other nodes. And its response from the destination is also hopping back over different nodes.
This makes it very difficult for example to spy out the traffic by a man in the middle, by a provider. And this is one of the important features of I2P. I2P is resistant towards a wide spectrum of attacks on the network. And because of this resistance and since I2P is longstanding, it is the prefered choice for DIVA.
Scientific projects, supported by DIVA.EXCHANGE, together with schools and universities in Switzerland, help us to better understand and to better research the I2P Network. Since it’s our underlying technology, we run regular scientific research on it. Also again this year, a new project is researching I2P. We are supporting these efforts and we are doing these efforts, because I2P is giving privacy by design to DIVA.
Storage – Permissionless, efficient blockchain
Free banking technology requires some storage. Because transactions, order books, digital values must be stored locally. And since DIVA is truly and fully distributed, it has to be a redundant and reliable storage. And that’s a blockchain. Since DIVA has no central component at all, as said not even a DNS, we needed a truly distributed storage solution.
We decided to go together with the IROHA open source team. IROHA is a very light weight and highly energy efficient blockchain technology. It’s using a crash fault tolerant consensus algorithm, called YAC. So it’s not another proof of work or proof of stake algorithm, it’s exactly what we need: lightweight and fast. But it wasn’t stable. So we helped the IROHA team, in the past month, to stabilize the technology. Additionally we added our code, under AGPL, to make it permissionless. So today we have a permissionless storage framework which works very well for DIVA.
Additionally we run, together with universities, projects which are trying to break our storage. To inject malicious nodes, to be hostile and to destroy DIVA. That’s important to us, the security focus, to take a very close look together with schools and universities, to get a deep understanding how the storage layer is working, under which conditions and its problems.
We like to show you the blockchain explorer which we have written for IROHA. It works for every IROHA blockchain, so not only for the DIVA network. We have written this to visualize the blockchain a bit better. To show the blocks and to show the peers, domains and roles and the stuff, which is important to us as developers of DIVA. You can find this blockchain explorer and our testnet live on testnet.diva.exchange.
Back End – Business logic and numbers crunching
DIVA has a backend. The backend is the business logic. Some people also call this protocol. This business logic contains the ways, the rules, how the bank is working, how the application is working. There are things like: how does an order book look like, how does a transaction look like, how it is stored on the blockchain, how is the communication working with I2P …, stuff like this forms the bank.
Front End – User Experience – Anybody Out There?
The front end of DIVA needs some love. The user experience is important, especially for free banking technology for everyone. It should be accessible and good looking, for the majority of the user base. It’s very lean, it’s written in html, css and js. It has not many dependencies. There is a dependency to Bulma, which is a css library and a dependency to umbrella js. So it’s very lean, for example the whole trading interface just has a weight of below 400k uncompressed. So it’s really very fast and lean.
What we are looking for: user experienced people, who want to help us to make this front end of DIVA look great. And since we are rather backend people, blockchain, storage and I2P guys, we would really like some help in the area of front end. So please talk to us over our plattform diva.exchange, where you find our contact details. Talk to Carolyn, talk to Konrad, get in touch with us, if you are a user experience kind of person and help us with the user interface of DIVA.
DIVA Community – Learn, Evolve, Smile, Dance, Repeat
We are almost through with this talk. Last but not least we would like to introduce you to the DIVA community. Where we all learn and evolve. We are a very friendly and open minded and highly diverse community of software developers, creatives, writers and even an artist. This community is very friendly to newcomers. So please join us, we will help you boarding this train. Because there is lots of stuff in this DIVA box: there are user experience challenges, there are blockchain challenges, I2P stuff, there is scientific work.
Because never forget, we are independant, we are agnostic and all what we do is 100% yours. Get involved in this AGPLv3 software project: as a developer, as a creative, as a writer, or as a supporter in any area that moves DIVA forward.
Now last but not least, I would like to show you a picture of an independent german artist, he is called Mondstern. he is also active on codeberg.org/mondstern and he is painting real pictures on canvas and these pictures do contain icons or logos of open source software. Here is the picture, acrylic on canvas, of the icon of diva.exchange, created by the artist Mondstern:
Thank you very much, thank you for your valuable time, thank you for your continuous support of open source software and you are great!Konrad Bächler, February 2021, FOSDEM
This is DIVA.EXCHANGE
The non-profit association DIVA.EXCHANGE, Baar, uses a barrier-free and collaborative approach to create free banking technology for everyone. The open source technology ensures the privacy of all participants in the financial system of the future. The blockchain-based overall system is completely distributed. Everyone can participate in DIVA.EXCHANGE.
Source, article about participants at FOSDEM 2021, German: https://www.golem.de/news/video-chat-matrix-ermoeglicht-fosdem-konferenz-mit-33-000-teilnehmern-2102-153990.html
Video of the Lightning talk at FOSDEM 2021: https://email@example.com:d/diva-exchange-fosdem-21:c
Public chat of the DIVA.EXCHANGE community, German and English: https://t.me/diva_exchange_chat_de
Privacy, simply explained: https://www.diva.exchange/en/privacy/privacy-simply-explained/
Instructions for beginners in I2P, English: https://codeberg.org/diva.exchange/i2p
Video channel: https://firstname.lastname@example.org:d
Introduction in I2P, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P
DIVA.EXCHANGE Testnet: https://testnet.diva.exchange
DIVA.EXCHANGE on Codeberg: https://codeberg.org/diva.exchange