Polkastarter and Saito AMA Recap

Polkastarter AMA on Tuesday, April 20 with Saito founders David Lancashire and Richard Parris.


You can see the original AMA conversation on Polkastarter’s main Telegram Channel here.

Polkastarter: Hi everyone and welcome to another exciting Polkastarter AMA, this time with the founders of Saito, David Lancashire & Richard Parris. Welcome both, and thank you for taking the time today to join us! 🎉

Richard Parris (Saito): Great to be here.

David Lancashire: (Saito): Hi everyone, thank you for being here

Polkastarter: Alright, we’ll first have a few questions to you both directly, before we open it up for community questions.

Let’s get started!

Richard and David, could you please first both introduce yourselves?

Richard Parris (Saito): Hi, I am Richard, based in Beijing for over 10 years now. Have been working in Tech for 15+ years, in startups most of that time and on Saito for the last 3 years.

Got into Bitcoin late 2013.

David Lancashire (Saito): Canadian-born tech entrepreneur who has spent most of my life in China. Fell into crypto around 2013 which is roughly when I met Richard. Saito comes out of the scaling debates of that time in many ways — when people were really thinking about the fundamentals instead of assuming they were tech issues that were mostly solved. One small point that makes me an outlier in the space — I’ve got a background in economics — did it in grad school at Berkeley.

Polkastarter: Awesome, great to have you both!

Can you tell us more about the vision behind Saito, and why are you launching it?

David Lancashire (Saito): Vision behind Saito?

That’s a really broad question. I think the point of Saito is that we see underlying problems that need to be fixed in POS and POW to really enable us to scale. The nice thing is that fixing these problems also allows us to sort of wrap around POS and POW networks and fix them from the outside

Richard Parris (Saito): In terms of launching now - we need value in the ecosystem to start driving an economy on chain.

We have had live networks since 2018, and it's time to start building value into the token.

Polkastarter: Coming from two early-days 2013 crypto people, you must really have seen the shortcomings of POS and POW first-hand.

So let's talk about Saito's competitive advantage. What differs you from other similar projects?

Richard Parris (Saito): We have seen a lot of things come to pass that we have been pointing out are problems for a long time.

I guess David is listing some now.

David Lancashire (Saito): We still see the shortcomings today. The blocksize debate was all about whether block producers will pump too much data on-chain out of selfishness (because they get paid today). Ethereum’s monopolization by Infura is a great example of what happens when you ask the private sector to collect money for you for free, and when your miners / stakers won’t do it because it is unpaid work

Richard Parris (Saito): We have also seen the consequences of this in pretty fuitless division in things like the block size debate that turned into an outright war.

Things like BCH's 'dev tax' also come to mind. Where we see incentives in the system not spanning to meet all the needs.

David Lancashire (Saito): This is a smart crowd, so I’ll try to offer a meaningful answer that will hopefully let people know how serious we are about Saito. Two things that make Saito unique is that: (1) it is impossible for any node in the network to pass costs to another node or get paid for work that is not of real value, (2) Saito is the only blockchain mechanism that can differentiate between attackers and honest nodes — the difference based on the observation that attackers are always +1 hop deeper into the network than at least one honest user or node.

yes, I think we can go into this in the question period if people would like to get into it.

Polkastarter: Great, thanks for that overview. So why build a layer-one Blockchain now?

Richard Parris (Saito): From my perspective it's the problems that Saito solves that are needed. And these solutions can only be provided by a different consensus mechanism.

David Lancashire (Saito): I’ll see how Richard will answer this. My own answer is… because other blockchains do not solve those two problems. If you don’t solve the first you get various forms of market failure (nodes do what is in their best interest, not what is in the best interest of the network). And if you don’t solve the second, any mechanism you use will have economic attacks like the 51% attack, because you have to be even-handed when penalizing and rewarding nodes. Saito is not — Saito kills the 51% attack by punishing deep-hop nodes much more than edge-nodes for instance.

Richard Parris (Saito): A place we can see this really clearly is in the Polkadot space. Where software is written for equivalents to etherscan and other tools, but there is no mechanism to pay for these inside polkadot.

Saito provides a way to do this - that is resistant to the business models we are trying to avoid in the web 3 space.

Polkastarter: Those are some good examples, thank you.

So — Saito pays for routing work instead of mining or staking… what does this do for us?

David Lancashire (Saito): POW and POS cannot pay for the network because they can’t identify the nodes in it, and even if they could — how do they know which ones are contributing value?

so they give their money to miners / stakers because at least that is objective and avoids attacks on the payment mechanism, while providing security against spam attacks, etc.

For those who are really into blockchain, the key thing with Saito is that we not only know which nodes are in the network, but we know the percentage of network revenue they collect. And that is what we pay for. We literally pay nodes for sharing money with other nodes.

The implications should be apparent.

Eliminating the 51% attack doubles the cost-of-attack to 2x what it is in POS. Meanwhile, the money that used to be squandered on mining centers in rural Sichuan is now being paid to the ISPs like Infura that are actually doing the expensive work of servicing customers / users

so that’s roughly a 4x cheaper blockchain per-byte, and far more scalable because it incentivizes network infrastructure provision. so it scales wonderfully

Polkastarter: Definitely a lot to chew on there, thats a really interesting model.

The Saito whitepaper and website talks a lot about economics. What is different about the economics of Saito compared to POW or POS?

Richard Parris (Saito): David is the economist here - but maybe let me take a quick stab at this first.

For me, it's about taking economics seriously - no matter the results.

We often here things like Bitcoin is a marvel of incentives. But when asked, if miners will pay for collecting and sharing transactions, the answer comes that they will, despite the fact that they are incentivised not to.

It's taking that question seriously and investigating what we know about how groups behave, or are forced to behave in these situations, that is the basis for Satio's design to me.


David Lancashire (Saito):I’d summarize by saying that the economic problems that Saito fixes are "market failures". That means they're basically these twisted incentives in POS and POW where people make the most money doing things that are destructive for the collective welfare.

Anytime people talk about governance, you should hear "we want to stop them doing bad things." Fixing the incentives means we don't need governance. But in order to do that, we need to understand the actual problems. There is far too much denial about that now, because there is this sense of crypto-versus-the-world and we-hope-libertarianism-isnt-wrong.

The economics discussions in the whitepaper and on our website are trying to get people to see the underlying issues. Some people get it right away. Some people struggle. We are here to talk about the issues because we think this is the thing that gives us what we want — open peer-to-peer self-sustaining blockchains

Polkastarter: 'Fixing twisted incentives' sounds good to me!

Thanks so much for the great overview. Could you please share with our community your website and social media channels, so they can make sure to follow you and be kept up to date on your progress ?

David Lancashire (Saito): Richard, you got this!

Richard Parris (Saito): Our website is saito.io (saito.io/arcade is where the games are.)

Telegram is https://t.me/SaitoIO

Come to the site for our WeChat and Discord links.

Polkastarter: Thank you Richard and David. Let's open the chat for a brief window to give our community a chance to ask their questions, and don’t forget, that after the AMA, the Saito team will choose the best question and hand out one allowlist spot for their IDO on Thursday, April 22 (don’t forget you will need to KYC fast and on time).

Let’s take some questions now!

Community Questions

Polkastarter: Wow, that's a lot of great questions, thank you. It's always so great to see! David and Richard will read through and pick some questions to answer now.

(QUESTION) 2017 Alts @altchamp: Saito, unlike Bitcoin for example has taken the decision to also reward the nodes Interesting! However, by having to pay them too, would it actually make Saito a more expensive network? And lastly: Is the payment enough to convince them not to engage in malpractice?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to 2017 Alts: Saito is cheaper, not more expensive. It is not burning money on mining or staking - rather it uses contribution to the network as it's measure of 'work'. We call it 'routing work'.

This process is managed by consensus, and prevents 'malpractice' like sybling and creating unneeded routs be creating disinsentives to the node and the nodes around it.

(QUESTION) Vladyslav, @Vladyslv How does Saito evaluate the importance of the user community? In the near future, does Saito have any special plans to attract and expand the community?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Vladyslav: Yes, our goal is to be an open, public blockchain, and that only really works with a diverse community running nodes, contributing code, and using the network.

(QUESTION) Draisaitl, @alomega Why should the Network pay ISPs rather than the miners or stakeholders? How does this reduce the Cost?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Draisaitl: Draisaitl - Why should the Network pay ISPs rather than the miners or stakeholders? How does this reduce the Cost?

All networks pay for this. Either you pay extra fees separately or the providers (like Infura) carve out their expenses from the TX fee and cannibalize the network. So it is cheaper to use routing instead of routing+mining.

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to UNKNOWN: Bitcoin - Bitcoin has a 51% attack, which means cost-of-attack is roughly 50 cents for every dollar in fee throughput. Saito does not have this problem, pushing cost of attack at minimum 1 dollar. Please see the Saito Whitepaper and our Introduction to Routing Work pdf on https://org.saito.tech for more

(QUESTION) Happy Boss @bosscryptocurrency: Saito Arcade is a place for users who want to play games. What do users get when playing games on Saito Arcade? And now there are 9 games that you can play, will you add more games in the future?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Happy Boss: More games coming. Also more functionality for existing games — such as DOT and NFT support so that parachain assets, etc. can be used in all of the open source games like Poker

(QUESTION) Olexander @Olexander_55: Saito unlike Bitcoin has taken the decision to also reward the nodes Interesting! However, by having to pay them too, would it make Saito a more expensive network?

David Lancashire, In reply to Olexander: See first answer. If you can get security from routing, you save money on mining. Routing generates a higher cost-of-attack, as well, so not only do you save money, but you get more bang-for-the-buck. And your fees are paying for servers not miners

(QUESTION) Analyn @alwaysbtsstan: The platform is a bit complex to understand. Can you please explain in details how does the Saito platform works?

Saito is still in the early stage. And for the mainstream adoption they need to do a lot of Marketing. So, what is Saito plan in terms of marketing? Will there be an ambassador program too for community members?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Analyn: We've always called marketing things we do 'outreach' because it fits better with our goals and how we work.

The best outreach for us has always been word of mouth, and based on what we have built or the ideas behind it.

We are not going to change that, we are just going to be doing a lot more of it.

(QUESTION) Delanoble d @delanoble: Could you explain a bit more on the market-based pruning mechanism you have with Saito?

Is the Saito name taken from Ghost In the Shell?, it really fits the project.

Could you explain the elegant cryptographic lottery for the Saito Consensus?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Delanoble d: Saito is actually from Inception. I personally love the film.


We put this video together in part to explain why paying for fee collection is so critical

This video explains automatic transaction rebroadcasting using visual diagrams


Note that this is a pruning mechanism. It is not part of Saito consensus and is optional. If I was doing it with Bitcoin, I’d do it with a 20 or 50 year genesis period.

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Ball Long 🇮🇳

We have some fantastic partnership announcements coming up.

We will be hiring and also getting back to much more focus on the chain and software running on it. Users will see that :)

We'll also have some project announcements to look for.

(QUESTION) Natalia @Natalia084: I understand that Saito has a Peer-to-Peer Toolkit for Web3.0, but is it really just the merchant functionality? or could it really be used for many other functions? If so, could you mention them? And will it also be required to complete KYC to enjoy this KIT of tools?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Natalia: Saito starts with the Peer-to-Peer basics. How two apps/wallets/devices on the network can connect and secure their communications without relying on anyone else.

Once you have that - you can build anything you like. You can even go peer to peer off chain.

(QUESTION) Fadlika @fadlikaN: David during bull market all project are growing even average quality project. How do you assure me (lon term hodler) that my investment will be safe even during bear market? What differs you from hundreds of different projects (normally during bear market 95% projects lose 90% value)?

David Lancashire, In reply to Fadlika: I don’t think anyone can assure you of anything or should! I’d turn it around though — how comfortable are you really holding assets on 51%-attackable chains that can’t pay for their own servers and need Joe Lubin to pay for infrastructure.

Be careful not to assume the stuff that is big today will survive its growth without deforming into something that extracts wealth from you.

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Money Maker: Yes. Saito is an open network.

We can’t really control what people do with it.

(QUESTION) Gonzales - The Dabbing Penguin, @pandarax

What measures of scalability have actually been taken when designing the SAITO protocol?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Gonzales - The Dabbing Penguin

BSC community was complaining last week on Twitter about the lack of scalability of NoSQL approaches, which wipes out most POS designs if we’re honest. Saito is UTXO and it is super-fast because all the information needed for consensus is stored in a Google Dense Hashmap.

So this is a specific and very technical answer, but 3mm operations in < 0.3 seconds is serious scale. In any event, don’t by the NoSQL hype if you really want Petabytes.

QUESTION: Mefodiy Zaytsev @zaytsev_m1

Saito actually implements running blockchain applications directly in his browser, unlike the rest of the projects, but really why do it? is it by limitation because it is a grant from the Web3 Foundation? or is it really with this that the problems can be solved?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Mefodiy Zaytsev

We were doing this before the web3 foundation grant. The reason is uptake and ease of use.  You don't want a BTC wallet in your browser, but Saito is not limited to a money store.

Saito lets users create wallets on the fly and secure them as they need.

A good example of why this is important is ture incognito browsing. With Saito there is no reason each incognito tab can't have it's own wallet, and get a little bit of SAITO from an add to pay for what it is doing.

Close the tab, destroy the wallet. Untraceable, truly private.

QUESTION Ari Key @arij3key

Can you please share more details about your online gaming platform? What are the advantages and benefits for developers?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Ari Key

Apple controls what developers publish and imposes restrictions on their business models. Unity controls what developers publish and imposes restrictions on their business models. Steam controls what developers publish and imposes restrictions on their business models.

All of those are commercial PKI networks. Saito is an open PKI network. So we can’t control what people publish or impose restrictions on their business models.

QUESTION: John Deeves, @devjohnso1

Tell us on the Routing technology that SAITO is using? What is its main purpose? How is it different from Hashing or others?

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to John Deeves

Let me share something really fun that a lot of people geek out about once they understand.

That equation represents the profitability of a node in a routing path. Four paths and their expected income of each node overall

A sybil is a node that contributes no or negative value to the network (people don’t talk about it this way, but that is what it is). What happens when we have a sybil in a routing path cut one hop and everyone else has a higher ROI from routing you can learn more about how exactly routing work works, but what I hope you take from this answer is — hey — sybilling is actually dead. Because anyone who is in a routing path with a sybil is much less profitable. So the incentives are not to let those useless nodes stick themselves into your network.

QUESTION: Andi Aditya

Where did the Saito name come from?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Andi Aditya

Started as a code name - and stuck.

There are layers to Saito... go deeper.

QUESTION: Las Deva Mokacho, @mokachoz

Web3 is being mentioned really much on your social media and website. What is the relationship between saito and web3? Does Web3 bring any benefits to saito platform? Finally: IS IT TRULY IMPORTANT to SAITO?

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Las Deva Mokacho

An interesting question.

Saito has always been 'web 3' - the whole point is to build and support an open internet.

Our relationship with the web3 foundation began through sharing code with them we had built to make the arcade possible.

We have to give credit to them too - the ecosystem is friendly and collegiate and people there engaged with Saito's ideas.

We have benefited a lot working with them.

QUESTION: Fernando I Investor, @rapaidu

How is Saitos new blockchain and a new consensus of his own different from the others? How was Saito made resistant to the 51% attacks?

David Lancashire (Saito) In reply to Fernando I Investor

In POW whoever makes the block takes the fee. And they get that fee in block-production-power since fees pay for hash.

In Saito you get less block-production-power if you are a node deep in the routing network. So unless you are spending money yourself to make blocks you are less competitive than the honest node ahead of you and it costs you MORE to produce a block. Meanwhile, you get LESS revenue because you are a deep-hop node with a much lower chance of winning the lottery.

There are many ways to think about why the 51% attack vanishes. One extra one is — attackers have to spend their own money to attack the chain. And they get only a fraction of it back. Mathematically it is never possible to be profitable if you have to spend your own money to compete.

QUESTION: Flourish, @floufrenzy

It's stated on your website that Saito has 30+ Popular Applications & Modules. Can you please tell us some of these applications and Modules? Are there more in pipeline?

David Lancashire, In reply to Flourish

arcade, poker, twilight struggle, red imperium, solitrio, email (wallet), diffie-hellman key encryption, design-helper, appstore (publish and consume), earlybirds token bonus… check out our github repository for a ton.

QUESTION: Koba, @Koba_Biko

What's the link between Saito and the arcade? Why did you do that or what is the reason for it? (I do like it😜)

Richard Parris (Saito), In reply to Koba

Saito is an application friendly blockchain. More than dapps - Saito supports rich peer to peer apps.

We build to arcade to explore that space and make sure Saito could live up to that promise, and also to start building a community of real users to build for.

David Lancashire (Saito), In reply to Koba

The Arcade shows we don’t need smart contracts L1 to do cool stuff like shuffle cards, provably fair dice rolls, or to have complex in-browser applications that rely on cryptography but do not need plugins.

Part of our strategy is getting TX volume up to the point we are doing millions of onchain TX daily. That increases security (cost-of-attack scales with fee throughput) and will push Saito into being a top chain. It also increases our value to partners like DOT because the more applications we get into the browser, the more value there is bringing NFTs and parachain assets over.

And thanks for using the Arcade!

Richard Parris (Saito)

Great questions folks. Thanks.


WOW you guys got through so many questions — amazing work !!

David Lancashire (Saito)

I think a lot of the rest of the questions are either answered on our site, or can be asked in Saito Telegram and the community will help out. My email is [email protected] (you can guess Richard’s) and people would be welcome to contact us if they really want an answer and feel we missed them.

Richard Parris (Saito)

Yep. We _do_ like to talk to folks about Saito.


And for the winning Allowlist question — -Congrats @ delanoble ! The Saito team will contact you in PM and give you all information regarding KYC etc

Thank you David and Richard for your time and for the illuminating answers on Saito. Really looking forward to the launch of $SAITO on April 22, and to welcome you to the Polkastarter Family and continue working together in the future. 🎉🎉🎉

Thanks to everyone for tuning in. This will be the end of this AMA, thank you everyone for joining us! The chat will now open back up.