Thanks for the questions. Here are my replies:
Q1. The smart contract language is developed in completely different language (ML-based, functional). Which changes the security profile fundamentally, making secure execution a default state. The developers who created the language are more than very experienced. Finally, there is a testing infrastructure that is being utilize to run tests and identify possible issues.
Q2. As mentioned already, at æternity we are not interested in speculation but in secure, efficient code that can be used by a global community of developers and users. The main reason for delays is the implementation of Bitcon-NG, which has not been implemented in a PoW system before but is essential for a well-functioning, decentralized platform such as æternity.
Q3. More and more platforms consider state channel technology as an off-chain solution. However, state channels are usually implemented as a layer 2 solution, which makes it harder to use them. In æternity, state channels are part of the core protocol, making their use much more straightforward and efficient.
Q4. Anyone will be able to test the speed of smart contracts in state channels after the next release is ready. Speed of interaction between users in state channels depends only on the internet bandwidth between them.
Q5. This is a bit vague. Ripple is primarily a payments & settlement platform, æternity is a decentralized applications platform.
Q6. Large token holders have a larger stake in the system. The decisions they make will ultimately affect them more than smaller token holders.
Q7. Upon Mainnet launch, users will be able to propose a vote and vote on anything. The results from those “polls” will signal to the developers what AE users think is the best way forward for æternity.
Q8. æternity is a public blockchain platform that supports decentralized applications. It is a blockchain 3.0 project that addresses the problems of scalability, decentralization, and usability by developing a new type of efficient, cryptographically-secured protocol.
The æternity protocol integrates a unique set of cutting-edge blockchain technologies. These include ML-based smart contracts and VMs, Bitcoin-NG consensus (improved on-chain scalability), state channels (unlimited off-chain scalability), oracles (access to real-world data), naming system (UX), on-chain governance and Cuckoo Cycle mining (ASIC-resistance). The protocol is being developed in Erlang and Elixir, Erlang being the programming language of the primary implementation.
Q9. As far as I know, no other blockchain uses Erlang. Cardano also uses other functional programming languages.