11 min readOct 10, 2019


Guest — Henrik Hjelte, Co- founder and CEO, Chromia

Q — Please briefly introduce yourself and #Chromia project to our community??

A — I am 49 years, started to code at 12 years old, first coding job at 15, studied economics/business/social sciences/philosophy at university though, soon went back to coding as a financial IT consultant, switched to be a Web Entrepreneur, employed our current CTO in that company, and then he introduced me to bitcoin in 2013.

Alex Mizrahi, our CTO, had come up with the very first way to create user defined tokens

He started to colored-coins project in 2012

An open-source project that got some top minds joining after time.

Back at the time no one talked about “blockchain”, if it was called something it was “bitcoin 2.0”

Jimmy Song was a coder in the project

Vitalik Buterin joined quite late, he was supposed to work on a whitepaper

But he found his own thing, ethereum. And we started a company.

I skipped the ETH pre-sale because I didn’t want to “support a competitor” when we had started a company. Not my best decision.

ChromaWay was one of (or the first) company to work with a proper bank. We got a project to do what is now called a stable coin (EUR) for an Estonian Bank (LHV). On bitcoin network. We had some plans for something like lightning to speed up, but in the end the bank didn’t want to commercialize it (even though it was pretty successful, won an award).

But we learned something with that project. We need to do fast retrieval, so we indexed the bitcoin blockchain completely in a database. And the idea grew that we could make a blockchain combined with a database.

Anyway, we got one more customer on colored-coins (Funderbeam), then switched to private blockchain due to market demand. Started with enterprise projects in finance, govtech and more. Developed a private blockchain combining blockchain with a database (relational blockchain), product we called Postchain.

Then suddenly Alex came up with the idea that we could do a public blockchain around this, and we started the Chromia project.

We are still working with enterprises, and some of them will and might switch to Chromia. And maybe sometimes it will go in the other way.

Well I also was lazy on the evening it closed, but really I thought “nah he want to compete with colored-coins”..

Well, ETH won over colored-coins. But at the time, I never thought they would be able to create it. And maybe they haven’t fully, it is not like the complete vision/whitepaper is implemented still.

And now Chromia comes, to compete with ETH

What is #Chromia? It is a new platform for decentralized apps, intended to be much easier to use and also much more powerful than ETH, EOS etc. The unique tech is that it combines a traditional database with a blockchain (relational blockchain). Is that good? Yeah: relational databases are everywhere in the world, and have a proven track record. With Chromia you (the developer) will be much more productive, shorter time to market and in general nicer also for end-users (faster, better wallet, no need to own a currency for end-users)

I presume someone will ask: “How can you compete with ETH that has such a great community and impact”? My answer is that you exaggerate. If you look at normal developers, they do not know solidity. On stackoverflow they do an annual survey of programming languages, and SQL is nr 3 after HTML/CSS and Javascript. Solidity is not on the top 20 (the article only showed 20). SQL is the existing language for relational database, so there are millions of people that know this. And Chromia has a better SQL, and improvement that is both more secure and more compact, called Rell (also it is a general purpose language).

Developers love productive tools. That is why new languages appear, and take over old ones.

Well, Alex Mizrahi recruited both him and Vitalik. And at one point, I recruited Alex

So a developer, when he sees he can do application much faster and better with a new tool, they tend to switch. That is why PHP is not very popular anymore, it used to be THE web language. But now it is node.js and javascript+frameworks (react and more).

Q — Why would Chromia succeed as a dApps where almost every dApps in the blockchain space has failed to gain traction in the real world?

A — I can interpret it in two ways.
A. Why would Chromia succeed over competition (other blockchain).
B. Why would dApps on Chromia really take over the mainstream world and have normal users

On A. I basically answered it. Since Rell (our language) is on a magnitude more easy to use and expressive, developers will choose it over less productive tools. Good tech often finds a way (but we need to help with marketing)

On B: How can we get mainstream adoption of blockchain?

There are several reasons why it has failed largely so far or at least been slow.

1. Difficult for end-users. If you expect my mother to go to an exchange and buy tokens before even starting to play a game or use an app, you are wrong.

And then, download and install some difficult browser wallet. Well it is not easy

With Chromia: we want to have an easy to use wallet, and don’t require the end-user to own tokens. We support free-to play games, apps that don’t require tokens (but maybe you will get an in-app token after using it).

2. Second problem: Tech.

Seriously, if you would consider to implement a complex solution like a social network, an ERP system or whatever in the “normal” way, then you would definitely want a relational database.

There is simply no easy way to code a complex solution with existing blockchains. It would be ridiculous of a “normal” developer to ask for a “ledger” to make a social netowrk.

Developers, most of them, will understand this.

We see in the blockchain world stacks of stacks of layers in order to try to do apps.

Chromia fixes this with an easy yet powerful model

Q — One concerning thing I saw in the whitepaper is that anyone is able to fork a dApp — do you think that poses some uncomfortable ramifications for some developers who would rather not have their hard worked dApp forked off?

A — Well yes good question. Open-source and open applications is not for everyone. New business models might need to be added. Maybe your app might need network effects. Maybe you can’t be too greedy. You have valid concerns, but often same questions were asked about free-software/open-source: “Why would you give away source-code?” Answer: new business models

Q — Dapps is the current trend.What any Dapps for the Chromia are you working on at the moment? What is the plan to build Dapps of Team to attract the community and ensure revenue for the project?

A — Some dapps that are being worked on:

1. A decentralized social network called “Chromunity” (or reddit-like /forum like thing). Code is ready, and alpha testers are running it. It is a good showcase to show you can do complex apps in a very easy way.

2. Another company is doing a second phase of a project we did in 2018, “The green assets wallet”. It is an enterprise project, the subject is green bonds and impact reporting. Blockchain provides a secure audit trail and some features. This project will be running live in december. Customers and partners are SEB (a bank), Vasakronan (big property developer and issuer), Öhmans (fundcommission), Cicero (validation institute)

So pretty cool with enterprise project including bank on a public blockchain. This is also a great showcase of being able to build “normal apps”

3. Games. We do one ourselves together with a company Workinman that have done games for Nintendo, Disney, Atari and more. It will be laucnhed this year.

3b. Some indie games are being developer, one is like an “auto-chess”

3c. We have great plans for games and partnerships for 2020 and are in varous negotiations.

4. We are working with an established media/social app (a bit secret still) which has around 40 000 users and 15000 creators.

Q — How have you designed your protocol to work around network fees? We can imagine that games will put significant load on-chain with hundreds or thousands of transactions.

A- On Chromia, you do not pay per transaction. And users do not pay. It is the application itself (normally the developer) that pays for running the app. More like a secure cloud. You need fewer computers, but have options to select from. We think costs will approach cloud computing.

Q- Real life relational database are complex, heavy and kind of slow when table architecture are complex.They frequently need full time DB admins for tuning. Current Blockchains are slow, so how do you see hosting shared database and handling large number of queries?

A — I share your experience, but not always. I’ve seen lots of badly implemented and slow databases, BUT it is almost often a question of a bad design or bad programming. And if you compare to alternatives such as NoSQL or blockchain, it is almost at all times worse as applications become more complex.

Chromia can’t fix stupidity completely, you will still to make bad code But in that case, it will not drag the whole network down,Also, our language Rell has some improvments (static typing etc) to minimize bugs.

Q — Why you have chosen Rell language ?and why don’t you use other languages ?

A — We integrate deeply with a database, and needed to make our own language. Other languages simply don’t support the relational model (based on math). It would be impossible to use other languages.

Q — For developers to learn a new programming language doesn’t this increase the barrier to entry for developers to build applications on Chromia?

A — Well, Rell is easy to learn, easier than other blockchain languages. We had a hackathon with complete noobs that didn’t hear about blockchain and in two days they had made working apps. And a developer likes vastly more productive tools. But if you want to stay with Cobol and C++ we can’t help you

Q — What concensus algorithm does chromia uses and how was it selected What’s being done to ensure price stability and drive global adoption at all levels

A — First: Our CTO has been researching this since 2011 or so. He has written academic articles about it (when he had time), for example with Charlie Lee. Vitalik was a hangaround in Alex open-source project. And we have many more really great developers. Just to give us some cred. I understand now when there are so many blockchains popping up and shitty consensus models and designs, even tricking large enterprises, that there is concern.

On conensus: At the lower layer a small modification/simplification to PBFT. A conservative choice. Above that there are more layers, anchoring into Bitcoin and Ethereum. We have the whitepaper explaining more.

Q — Chromia is a relational blockchain platform designed to enable a new generation of dapps to scale beyond what is currently possible, how ROBUST ARE YOU TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS AND ROADMAP COMPARATIVELY, HOW DOES CHROMIA OUTPERFORM SIMILAR PROJECTS/COMPANIES, WHAT’S YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE AGAINST OTHER PROJECTS


Well. a roadmap is a roadmap. We don’t believe in throwing out a shitty Minimal Viable Product when it is a security critical application. I would say we are way faster in development than for example Ethereum, but with a lot less resources. We have now alpha tester testing our wallet (we call it vault) and a decentralized social network. Already now our wallet is easier to use than Eth. We have apps already built by other companies (thinking of green assets wallet, done by 4irelabs). So “it works” already. And our language Rell has been publicly testable since last christmas. Now with better tooling and of course improvements.

So, we move at a good pace I think

Competitive advantage. Blockchain is about managing data in a decentralized context? What is the software solution so far discovered that is best in managing data? What tool has an over 80% market share, is an all the entrprises across the world, have over 10 commercial almost identical implementations, and several open-source, and have a proven track record of over 30 years, and of being updated and maintained over years and years. And is behind SAP, Facebook, all complex applications?

Answer: this software is called A relational database.

Chromia is a combination of this with a blockchain, a relational blockchain, and it on a magnitude more productive than a ledger or a little VM for smart contracts.

OUTPERFORM by being faster to develop, and better

A much better tool

Q -Most important question for me as a investor :

How the demand of your token will increase in the future? or what steps would you take to increase the demand?

May I know how do you plan to attract more business partnerships to your project?

A — Our token is a utility token used to pay for running apps, and useful for moving money between applications, and to other blockchains (with ETH bridge). Also used as collateral by node providers in case they misbehave. In general demand for token will grow as the platform is more attractive and there are various mechanisms that will cause price to increase. We are betting on it too you know.

A — We’ll. we could have focused on vanity partnerships and handshake deals to drive interest, but we want to have substance. ChromaWay have had a partnership network for years, first informal and now better formalized, with several large professional consulants. For example, in India we have Tech Mahindra and also have worked with KPMG.

Now: in order to attract more businesses it will be a lot easier when we have a more polished product. We’ve been selling it at an early stage, but for example it will be a lot easier to sell to game companies when we can show the fantastic performance, the ease of development and easy onboarding of players.

Same with enterprises: when (in december) we can show the Green Bonds project, we have a concrete case to show off.

We will expand on our partnership network, where we have a plan to offer support to developers, and grow the international presence for example setting up more offices in Asia;

Q — Anyone maybe have a Time frame for mainnet ?

Hey Team.. what’s with the LGBT colours? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s gone from a enterprise white collar theme to something out of Willy Wonka.

A — A question on colors, good, my favourite subject being married to an artist. Chromia branding was done by an internally renowned branding agency. They are so damned popular someone sent a toilet to them as a pitch to get a job. Flowers were being delivered as we sat in a meeting with them, from an intern that wanted a job. So I trust them on trends, on getting our values out. I personally love the black, pink and purple. And the company, yes it open for all kinds of people including people with rainbow badges on their bagpacks.

Q — What were the major requirements needed for One to Setup a Node and Mining ?

A — Compared to many blockchains the model is different. Not everyone can start to mine on our blockchain. Main software is run by reputable professional firms/datacenters (but we ensure they do not collude and punish them for misbehvaiour). As a “power user” you will be able to run read-only nodes and also we are looking at a setup for a more active role where anyone can contribute their computers and get a value out of it

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