#JMLECO interview with Michel Mauny & Arthur Breitman

Hello and welcome to JMLECO, the show that gives the floor to business executives. Michel Mauny, Hello! Hello Nicolas. You are the president of Nomadic Labs, a R&D laboratory largely dedicated to the Tezos blockchain, which is represented by Arthur Breitman. Hello Arthur! Hello You are in London with us, co-founder of open-source blockchain Tezos, you're going to tell us more about that. Is it possible to explain blockchain in simple words for people who still can't understand what it is, Arthur? Blockchain is a technology that allows the creation of an infrastructure for decentralization. That is to say, to allow actors, across the globe, to perform economic activities without going through a centralized structure like a company. Okay, one of the key words is decentralization, you said it it's reliability and the fact that there are no intermediaries, right?
Exactly, yes.

So it allows, for example, financial applications that don't go through trusted third parties. It's not just cryptocurrency? It's not just Bitcoin and all the others, do we agree on that? It's not just cryptocurrency, there are financial applications, and even outside financial applications there are coordination applications, i.e. to allow people to organize themselves. You'll explain to me a little bit about what it can be in our lives, except for cryptocurrency later. Introduce me to Tezos and the characteristics of Tezos? The French blockchain, when you put French next to tech, it makes you dream. One of the characteristics of Tezos is governance, blockchains before Tezos, might have been about making money or contracts. Tezos is a self-amending blockchain network, it means that users of the chain decide its future, decide to innovate, and improve the chain over time.
So it's upgradable, is that what you're telling me? That's exactly right, yes.

And the 3rd generation side? Because we know the 1st generation, with smart contracts and what's the difference with the 3rd generation? The 3rd generation, precisely it opens up to all future generations because this 3rd generation is evolution. It is the ability to say we are not fixed on a protocol, the protocol can evolve in a participatory way with the whole community. It means that all of a sudden, I can have smart contracts, I can verify them, I can modify them with the algorithms you use? Exactly and if tomorrow there is a better algorithm for smart contracts or if tomorrow we have better ideas to improve performance, have better scalability, then these technologies, this innovation, can be integrated directly into the existing protocol.

It's the open-source side that you were describing, I remind you that this program evolves with INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology, and quite a few researchers. Researchers, Nomadic Labs, what role do you play in the history of Tezos today, Michel Mauny? Tezos is a global project. Nomadic Labs is an R&D company based in Paris, with around sixty employees and our mission, indeed, is threefold: First, it's to contribute to the evolution and development of the blockchain, technologically speaking. Secondly, is to be in phase, well connected with the world of research. You mentioned INRIA, and we also have a partnership with the IMDEA Software Institute in Madrid. We are well connected to researchers from all over the world to prepare the future of the blockchain and to use its capacity for amendment, to which Arthur referred, in order to integrate new technologies and to always remain at the top and at the best of the technology. We have a third mission, which is adoption and support, particularly at the French level.

We help French economic players to build their projects on Tezos and we provide them with technical support in this process. So you work with end-users? Absolutely. So, they understand what it's all about and how they're going to use this technology for themselves? Exactly, they have ideas, or current activities that would benefit from the fluidity and security provided by the blockchain by Tezos in particular, or they have ideas, plans for new applications, and they contact us or we contact them and help them set up their projects. In real terms, Arthur Breitman, what are the applications of Tezos? In what way, beyond the crypto-currency that we talk about all the time, can it become part of our lives and business activities? First, I think that cryptocurrency can be part of our lives, we are still at the beginning of this adventure and we should not minimize the aspect of cryptocurrency.

But, it can also be the democratization of finance, so we have for example projects of digital real estate asset representation on the blockchain, with much lower costs because we have no intermediaries. Therefore, maybe in the future we could buy for only 1 euro a share of a well distributed and diversified real estate portfolio in the world. So these are interesting possibilities, but it also allows us to have decentralized exchange mechanisms or to exchange by mutual agreement, which is not so simple without an intermediary. It also allows us to make projects such as decentralized insurance, so there is a whole range of financial tools that become accessible because the costs can drop enormously with the use of this technology. There are also applications that are possible in the world of video games, representing assets that are in the world of video games, giving them a real existence or for the digitalization of pieces of art, so digital works of art today, these property titles are something that goes well with the applications on the blockchain.

And finally coordination tools, people who want, for example to have their association, to manage the cash flow of their association, … Well, that works very well on smart contracts. Ok, and I know that you are working on a CBDC project with Société Générale, which is very important to Mrs Lagarde, she talks about it often. How do you see the future of the blockchain? You have strong expressions, you consider that the blockchain has a future worthy of that of the internet, that the blockchain will be ats valuable as the web is for information?
Internet is a network that allows the exchange of information, and with blockchains solving the problem of the double spending, it allows value transfer. On the internet, we can make copies as much as we want, which means that if there is a website anyone can make copies, tons of copies. On a blockchain we have value that is real, that can be transmitted and that cannot be duplicated.

So, this innovation will allow a whole bunch of applications that did not exist before on the web. Michel Mauny, you wanted to add something? The vision, to complete what Arthur just said, the vision that we propose of the blockchain is in the same way that the Internet revolutionized the world of telecommunications, of culture, of commerce. To have a similar revolution through the blockchain in the world of transactions, of exchanges of values, that was the meaning of the sentence that you mentioned earlier. So, tell me Michel Mauny and Arthur Breitman, this Tezos project supported by Nomadic Labs is for profit? Tezos is a project that has raised a number of funds, which are managed by a foundation and the mission of this foundation is to develop this project in open-source, so that the code in particular is auditable and anyone interested can look at it and analyze it. And we are a link in this ecosystem at the French level and therefore we have a service contract with the foundation to implement this technology.

Last question for you Arthur Breitman, is it imaginable that with Tezos and Nomadic Labs, you could make people change their minds when they think that France and Europe are desperately lagging behind the rest of the world and especially the Americans when it comes to creating expertise and technological know-how? I don't think we need Tezos to prove the contrary. Both European and French expertise exists and it's proven. Moreover, when working with French teams, of course there is the fact that I am French, but also the fact that in France there is a very particular expertise on the verification of contracts. We have an expertise on writing programs where the risk of bugs is very, very low, and this expertise comes from experience in aerospace, from the nuclear experience. Because, when there is a bug on a program on a rocket, the rocket explodes and it costs a lot of money, smart contracts are a little bit the same, when there is a bug the contract explodes and it can cost hundreds of millions of euros as it did on Ethereum.

This French expertise is particularly relevant for smart contracts. But, my question may be a bit naive Arthur, but is it possible that one day we may be a Tezos reflex when we talk about blockchain as we have rather American reflexes when we talk about the web? Yes, I hope so, at least we're working on it. Last question, and then I'll stop as we don’t have more time. Michel Mauny, we were just talking about French expertise, innovation. Is doing research in France the right place? Is it a business friendly country for you? So somewhere, the answer is yes, and the Tezos project itself is an example of this, because as Arthur said, the technologies that are being used to build the blockchain, this infrastructure that we hope will spread the world.

The technologies used come largely from research that has been carried out in France, at INRIA in particular, but not only. So yes, it's a great place to innovate! Thanks to both of you, Michel Mauny for Nomadic Labs and Arthur Breitman, for this French open-source blockchain Tezos. Long live the tricolor gray matter. Thanks to you for being in JM L'Eco. Thanks Nicolas .

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