Pastel Network Discord AMA Recap — Feb 3, 2023

Pastel
10 min readFeb 3, 2023

Here is a recap of our Discord AMA we held today.

Pastel: I am very excited to be here today! This AMA will be a townhall style format so please ask your questions as they come up and I will do my best to answer all of them!

Just a quick introduction first! My name is Andrew and I am on the strategy and BD team here at Pastel.

As you all know, we released our 2023 Roadmap in January. The Pastel team is extremely motivated and focused to deliver on it. I imagine you all have a bunch of questions regarding the Roadmap so please start asking!

Let’s have your questions!

Question: Can you give everyone a little refresher on what Pastel accomplished in 2022?

Pastel: Yes definitely! 2022 was a big year for Pastel despite the turbulence in the market. We kept our foot on the gas to develop and refine Pastel’s mission critical infrastructure technology and seek out new partnerships and collaborations.

One of our biggest accomplishments of the year, if not the biggest, was the Cezanne Mainnet release. It was our biggest mainnet upgrade to date — it took 8 months of development. The release brings countless improvements to both end-user & NFT functionality — such as registration, minting, transferring, and trading — alongside unrestricted access to advanced protocols like Sense and Cascade via interoperable Open-APIs, seamless composability, improved token economics, and the most powerful protocol standard for the Web3 ecosystem.

This upgrade includes:

  • Improvements to NFT Minting and Collections
  • Support for NFT Transfers, Trades, and Auctions
  • Interchain account identification via PastelIDs
  • Cross-chain network access via Web3 APIs
  • Dramatic upgrades to Sense (our near-duplicate NFT detection protocol)
  • Enhancements to Cascade (our distributed NFT storage protocol)
  • User-friendly utility services via PastelUp
  • Improvements to network optimization and security
  • And more!

After Cezanne, we continued pushing forward with development and launched our first ever consumer product — SmartMint. SmartMint is a no-code NFT minting platform where creators can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also provides creators with additional peace of mind as it leverage Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade). SmartMint enables creators to mint NFTs on Ethereum, Solana, Pastel, and more.

From the business side, we announced several partnerships and collaborations with various projects, including Ava Labs, Polkadot, and Polygon NFT studios. We are excited for what is to come!

Question: What new features can be expected from the Mainnet Upgrade: Monet Release 1.2? How does the Self-Healing mechanism in the Mainnet Upgrade: Monet Release 1.2 work?

Pastel: So Monet 1.2 will be our first mainnet upgrade of 2023. Our development team is hyper-focused on creating the most optimal and robust mainnet environment and Web3 tooling solutions for the Web3/NFT ecosystem.

The Monet 1.2 release is the first step in this massive undertaking. This release includes big updates to our Supernode infrastructure, permanent NFT data storage solution, Cascade, and duplicate detection technology, Sense.

With regards to self-healing mechanism, let me explain.

Cascade has the unique capability of “overprovisioning.” Overprovisioning means to generate many more chunks of data than would be strictly required to reconstruct that original file. This is possible because these chunks are not normal disjoint segments of data like BitTorrent but rather many versions of each chunk — i.e. fungible. These fungible chunks of data are called symbol files.

For example, Cascade can turn a 1mb file into 12mb worth 50kb symbol files. And because the symbol files are fungible, Cascade only needs to collect 1mb worth of the different 50kb files to reconstruct the original file. Thus by generating more symbol files than is necessary, Cascade can ensure a file can be reconstructed.

In addition to overprovisioning, Cascade further reduces risk of file loss by requiring each of the symbol files to be stored by the 5 Supernodes that are closest to it using XOR distance. XOR distance is effectively a clever way of defining the distance between the PastelID identifier string for each active Supernode and the hash of the previous block. The Supernode’s PastelIDs that is “closest” to this previous block hash is then considered the “winner.” In the case of these symbol files, the 5 closest Supernodes are the winners.

However, what if all 5 of these Supernodes that are storing a set of symbol files suddenly leave the network at the same time, so that there is no chance to conduct a “handoff” of responsibility to other SNs that remain in the network?

This is where self-healing comes into play.

There is a specific “seed” value that Cascade can store in the Pastel blockchain itself in the form of coin transactions. This seed allows Cascade to, after the fact, use the complete copy of the file (which can be verified by comparing it to the file’s hash — also stored directly in the Pastel blockchain) to reconstruct any of the files from the list of symbol files that were originally created. This means that Cascade can never truly lose any of the symbol files “forever” so long as the original file can be reconstructed correctly. If that is possible, then Cascade can retrieve any file that is missing. Once the missing symbol files are regenerated, they are then “distributed” to the network of Supernodes in the same way as all other symbol files: the 5 closest Supernodes to each symbol file must store each of the regenerated files.

Question: Considering that you have a large number of opponents, can you share with us a few killing features that make you superior to them? What are strengths that enable you to look to the future with hope?

Pastel: Thanks for the question! While there are a number of storage solutions and various NFT ‘rarity’ tools on the market, we have refined and developed our tools for specific use cases. Our permanent NFT data storage solution, Cascade has very unique properties that allows users to achieve true NFT data permanence. As described in my response to the previous question, Cascade’s decentralized storage leverages over-provisioning to ensure that asset data is never lost. Additionally, with that self-healing mechanism, Pastel has solved for all the various pain points in the ecosystem around asset loss and asset retrieval.

Now with regards to all the copymint issues and fraud plaguing the NFT ecosystem, our Sense Protocol for Near-Duplicate NFT Detection is significantly more powerful, more intelligent, and more refined than all other ‘rarity’ tools on the market.

Sense is an extremely lightweight tool built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate meta-data. Sense can recognize even the most subtle similarities between two digital collectibles, even if one has been transformed. The protocol goes beyond the standard “digital fingerprint” approach to establishing the rareness of an NFT, and actually looks at the rareness of the pixel patterns in data. While digital fingerprints do allow users to verify that an NFT was created by a particular creator, this is a fairly weak form of rareness. Sense solves this problem by assigning a ‘Relative Rareness Score’ to quantify how rare an NFT is relative to all NFTs in the underlying dataset.

What this means is we can identify all types of duplicates across the NFT ecosystem thus helping creators and collectors from being targeted by individuals looking to steal their art and sell it as their own.

Please check out our Sense Demo, which allows you to see Sense in action: https://sensedemo.pastel.network/

Question: Will PastelIDs have more use cases along “Interchain account identification “ ?

Pastel: This is certainly something we have in mind. With the latest release of the OpenAPI Gateway, PastelIDs will be used to identify underlying users and their transactions. In the future, users who decide to bridge not just data but assets across networks can rely on PastelID.

Question: Is your project suitable for those who are willing to invest with a small amount or are you only for elite investors?

Pastel: Pastel is for anyone and everyone, we try to uphold the ethos of accessibility, inclusion, and decentralization 🙂

Question: Can you give an example of a real-world application that was tested and refined on a Testnet before being deployed on the main network?

Pastel: You should absolutely review SmartMint.Pastel.Network, perhaps the most recent and clear example of an application that was developed on Testnet prior to being launched on Mainnet. Even today, SmartMint is heavily reliant upon our Testnet for ongoing development, iteration, and feature sampling.

Question: What was the biggest milestone your project has? What is your plan for the future?

Pastel: Our biggest milestone for the future is bringing our technology to the entire Web3/NFT ecosystem. We will continue building and developing as you can see in our Roadmap. We have many Mainnet upgrades planned for this year as well as other projects that can make utilizing our technology much more easily accessible. Additionally, we will be adding additional functionality to SmartMint, which will make it the most powerful and versatile no-code NFT minting platform in the ecosystem!

Question: How does Pastel Testnet help mitigate risks and minimize costs for developers compared to testing on the main network?

Pastel: On the Mainnet, transactions and network operators (miners and client operators like WalletNode and SuperNode) are aligned by requiring PSL to be used for transaction fees and for gas. This also prevents ‘spamming’ the network or DDOS attempts. Of course, this PSL costs money to require and has real world value. So for developers that are looking to test their applications and iteratively build at the lowest cost possible, while mimicking the interactions of the actual network

Question: Could you give us an overview on the 2023 Road Map

Pastel: This year, we aim to capitalize on the momentum we created in 2022 and focus on what is vital for Pastel Network to continue to cement ourselves as the preeminent Web3 protocol standard. We will continue to execute our vision across interoperability, user experience, and versatility.

In 2023, we are focused on:

  • Expediting development release cycles of Testnet and Mainnet upgrades — such as with versions Monet and Van Gogh;
  • Building stronger cross-chain bridges, specifically with Ethereum Polygon, and Polkadot;
  • Enhancing SmartMint and developing new features;
  • Refining user and partner experience with the roll-out of new technical resources and tools;
  • Expanding our network of partners across more L2s, DApps, enterprise user-cases, native L1s; and
  • Further increasing our exposure to the community of technical users, non-technical users, and creators.

In spite of the broader uncertainty in the market and ever-changing landscape, we believe that delivering upon our roadmap will position Pastel for success in years to come.

Question: Can you walk us through the technical innovation behind the creation of SmartMint and how it sets itself apart from other NFT minting platforms?

Pastel: Great question. While there are several NFT minting platforms on the market, SmartMint was built for creators new to NFTs and for those who are experienced. SmartMint is truly no code — it only requires a few clicks and you can mint your NFT on a variety of networks. Right now you can mint NFTs on Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, and soon BSC.

What sets it apart from the rest are some key features.

1) You, the creator, actually owns the Smart Contract on which your NFT was minted. SmartMint allows users to create custom smart contracts and actually retain ownership of them, which is really essential, if you end up listing your NFT on OpenSea for example.

2) SmartMint leverages Pastel’s Sense and Cascade technology, so your NFTs will be authenticated by our near-duplicate NFT protection system and protected from fraud and copymint. Also, your NFT will be securely stored well into the future because your NFT’s metadata will be stored using our permanent NFT storage solution — Cascade.

What this means is that when you use SmartMint you can have the peace of mind that your NFTs will be safe and secure from all the various issues plaguing the ecosystem.

Question: What’s the current state of the pastel network In terms of partnership and alliances with other project?

Pastel: We are continually pursuing partnerships and collaborations with various projects in the ecosystem. We will keep the entire community up-to-date on all major partnership announcements as they emerge. As of right now, we are in a number of conversations with potential partners.

Question: Concerning your economic model ,Is there a possibility to use $PSL for staking or farming?

Pastel: If you are interested in staking, please join our Supernode Founder program.

Check out this link to learn more: https://medium.com/pastelnetwork/pastel-supernode-founder-program-9f3f814c5e2

Question: Competition in the NFT space is starting to get fierce. What do you guys have in the pipeline, especially in terms of partnerships/marketing lined up? How do you plan to compete in such a crowded space?

Pastel: You are right, it is a very competitive space. But our technology is truly in a league of its own. For example, have you seen our Sense vs. OpenSea Dupe Detection Analysis video? here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO_KHfQ8trU

This shows you how powerful our technology is compared to the rest of the ecosystem.

With regards to partnerships and marketing, as I described above we are working very hard to bring Pastel’s tools to the ecosystem. We have a number of marketing campaigns for some exciting business collabs in the pipeline. So stay tuned!

Question: Ambassadors play a very important role in every project. Do you have an ambassador program For the community? ‬

Pastel: Yes we do have an Ambassador program! Please reach out to @tiffbehnam.PSL or @rsher44 to learn more.

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

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Pastel

Next-gen NFT focused blockchain. Certifiable authenticity. Permanent storage. Negligible fees. Build, secure, and scale your Web3 ecosystem with Pastel.