ForkLog has already covered real-life application of EmerCoin services, like the Kolionovo “innovative farm” in Russia, or Raketa watch manufacturer, or the UN office in Moldova.
Another example of EmerCoin’s further implementation is HashCoins, a mining company that had utilized EmcSSH. ForkLog talked with the company’s CTO Nikolai Pavlovski to find out more about that.
FL: How did you start using EmerCoin services and how exactly did they help you?
Nikolai Pavlovski: It all started in early 2015. Stanislav Polozov of EmerCoin called us and described the platform’s capabilities. Initially we thought it was yet another uninteresting fork, just one of millions. However, when we talked with the developers, we realized how serious and cool the thing was.
FL: When did it happen, and what was your company doing back then?
N.P.: HashCoins started in 2013. In 2014, we started selling mining equipment, which was our main business line. Notably, the biggest problem was that the price of a single hardware unit was around $5000 – $6000, and not many people could simply afford it. In order to attract people with lower income, we created HashFlare, a service offering a capacity for less than $5. The idea was about selling capacity of the hardware instead of the hardware itself.
The company expanded, the number of hardware items increased: now there were not just miners, but also database servers, backup servers, web servers, balancers, test servers, etc. In a word, there was a bunch of server equipment.
That’s when we found out about EmerCoin. They told us about their technology, which had been available by then. It wasn’t just a theory, like, here, we’re going to do something, but indeed a ready solution. So we decided to test it. Having talked with Oleg Khovayko, EmerCoin CTO, we realized how it worked. We’ve made a control module using EmerCoin on golden nonce chip, which had been among the best back then.
Not only we installed an EmerCoin wallet in a miner, we also employed SSH and SSL technologies, so one could enter the interface using EmerCoin certificate and run internal management with EmcSSH. So it was a 3-in-1 solution: miner worked solo [outside of a pool – FL], one could connect it, and it had an EmerCoin wallet therein. It was pretty convenient.
Nobody knew about EmerCoin back then. The difficulty was low, and mining was a bliss.
FL: Why you decided you needed this EmcSSH technology thing in the first place?
N.P.: Let me explain. When there’s just one miner, there are no problems, you may use the classical method, i.e. make a few keys, put then in the right folder, and connect to the server.
However, when there are numerous miners, and there’s large operations staff involved, some miners may be located at user’s home, so there’s a problem of administering. We’ve got many employees that may access the hardware. Some may quit, or get ill, or go working somewhere else.
So the problem of SSH access is quite frequent. EmerCoin solved this problem in a pretty elegant way. Generally, the solution is about linking a public key to a user and sending it to the blockchain. In crude terms, it happens like that: I open the wallet, make an entry that, say, SSH is Nicky Pavlovski, and his key is like that. When I access a different hardware unit, be it a miner or a server, I only provide my username instead of the key associated with the user.
And then it’s like magic. When I wish to access a server, EmcSSH addresses the blockchain to find out which public keys may access the server. If I specified the key @Nicky, EmcSSH will extract all user keys from the blockchain to determine whether to let the user in. If everything is fine, and the blockchain does contain such a record, the user may enter.
FL: Does each employee require such a record?
N.P.: Yes, each user publishes their public key via their Emercoin wallet. But as a company administrator, I may unite users in groups via blockchain. For instance, we make a HashCoins group that specifies the users that may access servers. At server side, I just have to specify the group, and then all its members may freely enter without having to enter a password.
If somebody quits, say, a Pete, then myself, being the head admin, just update a blockchain record through the wallet and remove the Pete from the group.
So, I have no need to enter each server and manually change everything. We had a situation that required Oleg Khovayko’s assistance. So I just added him to our group when needed, and removed him when the job was done. It’s a pretty convenient technology. Now we use EmcSSH wherever possible.
FL: Was it expensive?
N.P.: I’d say it’s close to zero. All the expenses, in crude terms, are about installing an EmerCoin wallet. While a year ago you had to assemble a wallet for each architecture, which took nearly an hour, now it’s way more convenient and takes just a few minutes. An average admin at a small company could have installed it in ten minutes or so.
As for your question, I might say that all the expenses are about getting a junky computer to run the wallet. Additionally, you have to pay for each action: in EmerCoin, entering each new piece of data costs some money. The more data I send, the more expensive the thing becomes. But even if you send the maximum amount of data, it would cost around five cents. It’s so cheap I don’t even give it a thought.
FL: Then why, in your opinion, only few companies use EmerCoin services?
N.P.: Back when we started, it was complicated: we had to find out how it works, how to install it, and what’s it all about. Nowadays, everything’s different. First, there are papers, then, there are ready solution, and everything fairly simpler now. I’m sure the demand for the technology is gradually growing. Also, the entry threshold has lowered substantially.
Regular users may try it all themselves, without any help from EmerCoin. I think, that Emer services will only grow more popular.
FL: Are there any similar solutions?
N.P.: I personally believe that currently nothing can compete with EmerCoin’s capabilities. They’re so much ahead of anything that people just, as it turns out, are not ready. Remarkably, when EmerCoin first spoke about a new technology, people just didn’t believe them because there had been lots of announcements that resulted in nothing. Many just tried having a big puff as an outcome.
EmerCoin, on the other hand, said, like, look, we’ve already got everything, and it works! And people just said it’s impossible. And yet, fortunately for us, there is indeed everything, and it does work.
As for disadvantages, if you install an unstable version of the wallet, there’s a chance that emercoind would just crash, and requests in the blockchain just wouldn’t work then. As a head administrator I solve this problem easily by manually putting my ssh key in the config. However, among dozens of operational servers there had been only one failure in 18 months.