A paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 opened up a Pandora’s Box of sorts by ushering in a new age of technological innovation with the potential to change the world as we know it. The innovation, of course, was blockchain technology. Blockchain combines elements of cryptography and other computer technologies to create trustless, decentralized networks that people can use to make financial or other transactions. Mr. Nakamoto’s creation of bitcoin could not have come at a better time. The world was embroiled in fallout from the Great Recession at the very moment that bitcoin arrived on the scene. Growing distrust in traditional economic institutions, like central banks, and concern that the economic system was not working fairly for everyone drove many to seek alternative ways to protect their financial wellbeing. To some, a decentralized, community-oriented network like bitcoin was an attractive option. In many ways, blockchain technology represents a new democratization of the economy, taking power away from centralized economic authorities and placing it into networks governed by community consensus – distributed ledger networks. We all have borne witness to the meteoric rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since then.
Despite the exciting promise of such distributed ledger networks, there are still some important challenges that blockchain technology needs to overcome if it is going to serve our every day economic needs. One such problem is scalability, the ability to process an increasing amount of transactions quickly and securely without increasing transaction fees. Another challenge arises from the large amount blockchain-related projects that have popped up in recent years. The rapid evolution and deployment of blockchain technologies have created a wide variety of blockchain network systems that lack interoperability and interconnection. Because of this, blockchain technologies that were supposed to connect isolated islands of information, ironically, helped create more of them. Lack of interoperability is one of the key reasons why blockchain technology has not yet gained widespread adoption. And the urgent need to solve this problem is what led to the Penta project.
Penta is aiming to be more than just a blockchain network. It represents a new kind of blockchain architecture initially conceived by the project’s co-founders: David Ritter, a professional with over a decade of experience in the world of international finance, and ‘W’, a blockchain expert. David and W met at a Silicon Valley conference, where they first discussed what would later become the Penta project.
A shared desire in the blockchain world to tackle the problems of scalability and interoperability brought Penta together with a talented technical team led by Dr. Steve Melnikoff, an interdisciplinary expert in mathematics, computer science, and physics. Dr. Melnikoff graduated from MIT, and completed a PhD in Physics from University of California. One of Dr. Melnikoff’s students was Julian Assange (founder of WikiLeaks) at the University of Melbourne. Under Melnikoff’s leadership, Penta has built a team of first-rate talent, with developers from financial and technological institutions such as Google, Morgan Stanley, ABN AMRO, Deutsche Bank, IBM and others.
Penta touts itself as Blockchain 4.0. Earlier generations of blockchain networks established the fundamental mechanisms of consensus-based distributed ledger technology (blockchain 1.0), smart contracts (block chain 2.0), and blockchain-based applications (blockchain 3.0). What, then, is blockchain 4.0? As CEO, Mr. Ritter, explains, “We already have phenomenal projects in the blockchain space that have shown the value proposition of decentralized networks and smart contracts. Many projects are focused on helping other developers to create applications that they can use to link their businesses to the blockchain. What’s next is to bring blockchain technology to the real world, so that it can really start to solve problems that affect our every day lives. That’s blockchain 4.0. That’s the whole focus of the Penta project.”
Penta’s vision of the future of blockchain is a universally connected superhighway of chain traffic, that will securitize and transmit a constant flow of data and value on, off, and through blockchain network systems. The goal is to create an inclusive ecosystem that brings together information, people, things, and value for the benefit of all. With that in mind, Penta is working hard to create the infrastructure of that chain traffic superhighway. As Mr. Ritter added, “we believe the applicability of blockchain technology across industries and to solve everyday problems is inevitable. What’s not inevitable is that the new blockchain economy is built in a secure and efficient manner that treats all users equally. But that is what we are fighting for at Penta.”