SushiChain ICO is a custom blockchain written from scratch in the Crystal programming language. It was created by Taichiro Suzuki and Kingsley Hendrickse. The idea is to empower developers to build awesome decentralised apps easily and cheaply using an off chain alternative to smart contracts.

Q: Hi Kingsley! Thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and how you got involved in the SushiChain project?
A: I’ve been working mostly in the banking industry as an agile software developer for the last 18 years. I’ve worked on a vast array of projects spanning many technologies. But recently the emerging popularity of the blockchain technology and the concept of decentralisation really got me excited.

I spent quite a lot of time experimenting with the big projects such as Ethereum but I started to dream of building my own blockchain and changing the world through technology for the better. It was around this time that I met Taichiro who like me had already started to explore and build a custom blockchain. After a short while we realised we had such similar goals that we should just start working together so we joined forces and here we are!

Image of SushiChain Interview.

Q: From your website I understand you want to simplify access to the blockchain. How do you plan to do that?
A: At this point in time it can be quite hard for both developers and end users to get involved in blockchain technologies. As a developer you need to learn all about smart contracts and use a limited set of tools to build dApps. Any mistakes with the smart contract could be expensive and hard to rectify. As an end user there are a lot of new concepts to learn about such as wallets, private keys, having to download a huge blockchain and a special browser to use many of the existing dApps. I’m talking of course mostly about Ethereum here.

SushiChain aims to make life as easy as possible for developers to start building dApps using languages and tools they already know and use with as few restrictions as possible. For end users SushiChain aims to provide interfaces to the blockchain that are well designed, easy to use and that hide away all the non essential technical jargon. One example is our awesome feature of human readable addresses. Instead of a long alphanumeric string you can have your nick, handle or name as your address.

Q: Who is the target audience for the platform and the token?
A: Initially the target audience for the platform is mainly developers. We want to encourage developers to build decentralised apps on top of SushiChain. We are aiming to provide many of the essential features a dApp would need. Such as authentication mechanisms so that developers can focus on building their dApp and not on duplicating things that every other project also needs.

Since we are going to be vastly cheaper than other popular blockchains out there another idea we had is to encourage projects to use our platform to run their ICO. We have all the infrastructure to create tokens, transfer funds, create and check whitelists, and any other logic that a smart contract would usually be used for. But any smart contract type computation is completely free on SushiChain – we only charge a small fee for the actual transactions and not computation.

Q: How did you come up with the name of the project: SushiChain?
A: This is actually a funny story. It goes back to when Taichiro and I first met. We were both building our own blockchain projects but Taichiro was quite far ahead of me and he had originally named the project Garnet. But we discovered we both had similar coding styles and language preferences, and not only that but we both totally loved eating Sushi.

What are the odds that a developer from London, UK and a developer from Tokyo, Japan could find each other over Sushi, a programming language and blockchain! It turns out we both chose the same niche programming language to build our projects. So we decided to call the blockchain SushiChain to represent our love for Sushi and the origin of how we met.

Q: Tell us about the SushiChain ecosystem, what will it comprise (i.e. Wallet, App, token etc.)?
A: SushiChain is going to be a full ecosystem. It can be operated from the command line using our various CLI as well as via our cross platform GUI applications. We have a wallet and mining software, we have a built in token called SUSHI but developers can create their own tokens for use in dApps. We also have a full API allowing developers to use it to build dApps in any language and we have a plugin style architecture for building dApps in the core language we use which is Crystal.

We also plan on releasing mobile apps for android and iphone for both the wallet and for mining. As well as this we will have our own dApp store and many supporting tools to help with building and testing dApps.

Q: Could you tell us a few of your dApps ideas running without smart contracts?
A: We are changing our tag line to be: decentralised apps using off chain smart contracts because we do actually have all the functionality available in a smart contract. There are plenty of applications that could be built that are decentralised but that do not need the functionality that smart contracts were designed for. These types of dApps just need a way to interact with the blockchain and execute logic in a decentralised way. Once our platform is ready we plan on building many of our own dApps.

It’s possible to build many kinds of dApps on SushiChain – some more like services and some more like modern webapps. Our human readable address system is actually just an internal built in dApp – it’s an example of a service really – you make a transaction invoking the dApp asking to buy a name – the dApp knows how to map a name to an address and a few other bits of information that it gets from the blockchain where all the data is actually stored. Using this same approach you can buy, cancel, use and even sell human readable names by sending transactions that invoke the relevant dApp.

An example of a more visual web dApp would be a way to track a list of tasks that have rewards for completing them. This is actually a dApp we plan on building to keep track of all the jobs we need doing on SushiChain and who has taken a job, the status and a way of tracking how many coins we need to send once the job is complete. This could easily be extended to become a decentralised freelancer system with escrow and job management. If you think about it really there are thousands of ideas of dApps that could be built.

Q: Why did you select Crystal programming language for building the SushiChain platform?
A: The Crystal programming language was a great fit for us because it has the familiar feeling of the popular language called Ruby. It is also statically typed and compiles to native code which runs as fast as C code. So we get a beautiful and expressive language combined with great speed and performance. Ruby comes from Japan and so does Sushi and Taichiro is from Japan.

I love Japanese culture and japanese food – so it’s also a great fit from that perspective! If we are successful at turning SushiChain into a profitable blockchain phenomenon one of our commitments is to help support Crystal both financially and in other ways. We really appreciate and love the Crystal community and the language and hope to see it flourish and gain popularity.

Q: Could you tell us about the CPU mining capability? What are your future plans for it?
A: We strongly believe that true decentralisation is only possible when as many people can participate with as much equality as possible. CPU only mining means that it’s possible to mine on any consumer grade computer equipment. You don’t need an expensive mining rig with super expensive ASIC chips to mine – anyone with a computer can get involved and get something out of it. We will continue to upgrade our hashing and consensus algorithms to make sure that CPU mining always remains more profitable than GPU or ASIC chip mining.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far working on SushiChain?
A: There are many challenges not all of them technical. I think an interesting challenge is how to solve the problem of scalability with Proof of Work style consensus blockchains like SushiChain. We are working on potential solutions. Another big challenge is raising awareness of our project, marketing, PR, finding investment to keep going. We are still looking for investment. In general it’s a really tough thing to build your own custom blockchain from scratch.

I’m married with 2 kids and a full time day job and have to find the time to wear all the hats you can imagine – from developer, marketer, speaker, financier, husband, dad! I’m currently financing SushiChain myself and it’s pretty expensive to travel to all the conferences and pay for speaking slots and exhibition areas etc. It’s a huge challenge but we are not motivated by money, we are motivated by the technology, by the challenges and through our love of development and blockchain. Of course we need money to live and operate so we have to pay attention to it.

Q: At what phase of the roadmap is the project currently?
A: Our roadmap is still fairly fluid but it’s gradually taking shape. We like to wake up and start working on whatever really gets us excited on that day. It keeps up motivated. We’ve released our testnet and we have built the command line tools, wallet, miners, human readable addresses, a full API, tokens and the start of our dApp system. We are currently working on building a cross platform GUI wallet and miner and our peer to peer communication system which is based on the Chord algorithm.

We still have several features to build in such as two factor authentication at the blockchain level. A lot more work is required around the dApp framework and our off chain smart contracts. Then we need to build a block explorer, dApp store, mobile apps, full documentation and many more things. So we are still only a small percentage of the way through the work required to realise our ultimate vision.

Q: Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
A: My day starts early in the UK. I usually get up between 5am and 6am to get some crossover time with Taichiro. As you know he’s based in Tokyo, Japan and also works full time. So my early mornings are a chance to begin various conversations and get Taichiro’s responses to the previous evenings discussions. It’s a very interesting dynamic but somehow it works very well for us. We seem to be on the same page without having to discuss too much.

Then I have to help get the kids breakfast and get ready for school. My daughter is 5 and about to move up to year 1 and my son is only 1 years old. So plenty of sleepless nights. Next I have to start my day job working for a leading global bank which is either a 1.5 hour train and tube journey into central London or a work from home day. During lunch I take some time to work on SushiChain and then I usually finish around 6pm. I try to get in some light fitness work before going through the family ritual of dinner time, and getting the kids in the bath and to bed.

Now I have my golden hours of pure focus on SushiChain from 9pm until 1am where I either code or work on other aspects of SushiChain. At the weekends I sleep more as I can work more during the daytime. I’ve experimented with polyphasic sleep and implement the Everyman schedule from time to time when I need to really get stuff done. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you put your mind to it!

Q: What are your 3 predictions for the next 5 years of crypto/blockchain economy?
A: My first prediction is that over the next 5 years many businesses will turn to blockchain technologies as a way of refreshing their technology. But they will do it for the wrong reasons and pay the price of learning that blockchain is not a silver bullet that should be applied to all business cases.

My second prediction is that we will look back and realise that right now we are at the very start of the blockchain phenomenon and that even though it might feel like we are getting saturated with ICO’s and blockchain projects we will see an a massive increase in these areas over the next 5 years. My final prediction is that over the next 5 years there will not be only a handful of huge blockchains but instead a multitude of blockchains will emerge each with their own specialisations.