Neo’s Next Act? $ 700 Million Crypto Ontology Is About to Go Live
If all goes well, $ 700 million worth of cryptocurrency is about to find a new home.
That’s because Shanghai-based Ontology, a project closely tied to the “smart economy” blockchain Neo, is expected to launch its live blockchain on June 30, a step that will find one of the top 20 crypto assets finally releasing its proprietary technology.
Described as an enterprise-focused platform, Ontology is seeking to provide a high volume of fast and cheap transactions, all while helping businesses grapple with the thorny problems of interoperability and digital identity. As such, Neo is one of several public blockchains catering to enterprise that have recently or will soon go live, Tron and Vechain being other notable contenders.
However, what might distinguish Ontology’s claims is the experience of the team.
The protocol emerged from Neo, an ethereum challenger whose founder, Da Hongfei, is Ontology’s CEO. Both Neo and Ontology are subsidiaries of Onchain, which developed a private enterprise blockchain platform called DNA. Da is also Onchain’s CEO.
Meanwhile, Ontology’s founder Li Jun told CoinDesk that his company and Neo are co-funding work on API standardization, shared smart contract standards, and “cross-chain technology innovation.”
Ontology’s corporate and technological genealogy might be difficult to keep track of, but the result is a pragmatic approach that appears to combine ambition with a lack of the ideological fussiness.
As Li said at a meetup in March:
“When you want blockchain to become a mainstream industry like the internet today, you have to link to the real business scenario.”
For a while, Li added, it seemed that appealing to businesses meant building a permissioned framework like DNA, but it soon became clear that “public blockchain is the future.”
If you already trust each other, he explained, “blockchain is not necessary.”
Having adopted that stance, Onchain – which has since received backing from the Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group and been accepted to Microsoft’s Shanghai accelerator – began work on a public platform that would meet some of businesses’ most pressing needs: anchoring digital identities in the real world, allowing for flexibility in terms of technical design, and preventing the creation of restrictive silos.
Two tokens, countless chains
Ontology has created a complex framework in its bid to satisfy all of these goals.
Similar to Neo (with NEO and GAS), the network will support two tokens. So far, only ONT exists. A token on the Neo blockchain, it was distributed to NEO holders in an airdrop, half of which has been completed (the other half is set to occur after the mainnet launch this week).
Barring unforeseen obstacles, these tokens will migrate to a proprietary blockchain on June 30. Once there, they will serve as a governance mechanism, with users staking ONT in order to make network decisions.
Holders of ONT tokens will also begin to receive newly created ONG tokens, which will serve a similar role to Neo’s GAS tokens, funding the execution of smart contracts. Each ONT will “release” ONG tokens for 18 years.
The more unusual aspect of Ontology’s design is that it consists of multiple interoperable chains, anchored by a core blockchain (in a way that’s perhaps not different from how ethereum envisions its “sharding” technology). According to those involved, his choice reflects Ontology’s enterprise focus and the desire to give businesses flexibility in terms of designing a ledger – without shunting them into a silo.
Daniel Assab, Ontology’s senior overseas market specialist, told CoinDesk:
“In this industry, there’s a lot of chains that want to cut up – cut their share in the ecosystem and try and take all of the competition in this area. But we want to cooperate with everyone, work with everyone, make this as compatible as possible.”
Speaking in March, Li noted that enterprise applications want to be able to customize. “They have a lot of requirements,” he said. “They want their own blockchain with their governance model.”
Ontology’s main chain will be based on a new consensus mechanism, VBFT – a combination of proof of stake, verifiable random function and Byzantine Fault Tolerance – which the team expects to be able to process over 3,000 transactions per second.
The network intends to be able to support multiple governance mechanisms, however, on its subsidiary chains.
People and things
Ontology has conceived this elaborate architecture in order to enable what its white paper calls a “decentralized trust ecosystem.”
“We want to integrate different trust sources,” Li said in March, and not just the scattered and self-referential digital aspects of trust – such as private keys – but real-world seats of trust: the legal system and physical assets such as real estate. As he told CoinDesk, “Ontology can serve as a bridge connecting the physical world and business.”
In other words, Ontology hopes to crack the problem of identity in the digital age, another goal being pursued by a number of blockchain projects. ”
But Ontology doesn’t just want to help define digital identity for people, it wants to do this for digital items as well. To that end, it’s partnered with Chain of Things (COT), which founder Wang Wen described as a “universal basic platform for IoT [internet of things] and intelligent hardware” based on Ontology’s platform.
Ontology has also partnered with Contentos, a blockchain-based streaming video project.
Ontology’s team is working on a number of implementations to be launched over the coming months and years, including an ID framework and marketplace, a reputation system, a “trust search engine” and a data exchange protocol. As with any self-respecting blockchain protocol, though, it aims to attract app developers to build out its ecosystem.
Panther, the founder of a community development group, told CoinDesk they are working on a C# software development kit and a Chrome plugin wallet, in addition to other projects.
Getting the swap right
Whether Ontology can follow through on all – or any – of its ambitions is an open question. But first it has to complete its transition to mainnet without leaving too many of its token holders behind.
Many users will have to complete the swap manually, leading to concerns that “people could forget to do the token swap or … think, ‘it’s okay, I can hold,’” Assab said.
Users who hold their ONT on certain exchanges, including Binance and Huobi, may have their tokens swapped automatically, but Ontology social media admins said they should “refer to individual exchanges’ policies.”
For users who do the swap manually, Ontology has posted a frequently-asked-questions page.
A likely headache for some users will be making sure they don’t needlessly give up some of the ONT they’re theoretically entitled to. The Ontology mainnet will accept only round numbers of tokens and disregard fractions. Even though the airdrop was for a fraction of ONT per NEO.
Users will have until October to complete the swap, but Assab said:
“If that deadline needs to be changed, it will be changed.”
Image via Ontology
Written by CoinDesk.com
Binance Opens Its First Crypto-Fiat Exchange in Uganda
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has just launched a fiat trading pair in Uganda.
Binance, the largest exchange by volume according to CoinMarketCap, announced Thursday that it was starting a fiat-crypto trading pair with the Uganda shilling. Moreover, the company also announced its first fiat crypto exchange in the nation, called Binance Uganda, according to a statement.
The exchange will charge zero trading fees when it comes online, though Binance declined to state when that would be. However, the first 20,000 users to register with the service will receive 0.5 binance coins (BNB) as “appreciation” for their support, according to the statement.
The tokens will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis but users who wish to withdraw their tokens must complete identification verification procedures after the platform is launched, according to the announcement.
The launch marks Binance’s latest steps in expanding cryptocurrency trading in the underbanked country. Only 33 percent of Ugandans actively use their registered financial accounts in 2016, according to a study by Financial Inclusion Insights, a data-collection organization which focuses on trends in the digital financial services industry.
The Hong Kong-based exchange also has announced plans to open a fiat-crypto trading platform in Malta, an island nation located in the Central Mediterranean Sea, Bloomberg reported.
Image via Shutterstock.
Written by CoinDesk.com
The Daily: Pornhub Adds New Tokens, Fcoin Defends Trans-Fee, Coinbase Goes Pro
Bigwigs Talking Bitcoin vs Blockchain
A few well known people who don’t routinely speak about Bitcoin and blockchain technology have recently shared their opinions about the subjects. Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire behind Alibaba Group, opined that “Blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine. Bitcoin, however, could be a bubble.” And he added that “traditional financial institutions serve 20 percent of people and make 80 percent of profits. New financial institutions should service 80 percent of people, and make 20 percent of profit.”
Steve Wozniak, the Bitcoin-loving co-founder of Apple, has on the other hand said he feels that all the current hype around blockchain technology is just a bubble akin to the Dot Com one. “If you look now you say all that internet stuff happened, we got it, it just took a while,” Wozniak explained. “It doesn’t change in a day, a lot of the blockchain ideas that are really good by coming out early they can burn themselves out by not being prepared to be stable in the long run.”
And Professor Robert Shiller, who received the 2013 Nobel prize in economics, thinks that Bitcoin is a generational social movement, that might be in a speculative price bubble but it does not mean it is going away any time soon. He said in an interview that: “The East Coast is less into it than the West Coast. Silicon Valley is really into it. It’s a social movement. It’s an epidemic of enthusiasm. It is a speculative bubble. That doesn’t mean that it will go to zero.”
EOS to Get a Makeover?
After coming under a lot of criticism lately over centralization, freezing accounts and other issues, EOS might soon get a serious makeover. Daniel Larimer, the creator of EOS, has proposed a major revision to the way its constitution works. He explains that this is because, he just now learned that, “if you give people arbitrary power to resolve arbitrary disputes then everything becomes a dispute and the decisions made are arbitrary. The more power the arbiter has, the more vicious and petty the disputes become and the less predictable the outcome.” Better late than never.
Pornhub Adds New Tokens
Adult entertainment video portal, Pornhub, has announced it will accept two new cryptocurrencies, Tron and Zen Cash. As you may recall, a couple of months ago Verge has made a big deal about the site accepting its token. There is no explanation on the way Pornhub selected the few tokens it did, but at least in the case of Verge it is reported it just got paid 75 million XVG for doing so.
“Here at Pornhub, as one of the most viewed websites in the world with over 90 million daily visitors, it’s important that we continue to expand our crypto payment options to align with our community’s growing payment preferences. Decentralized payment systems have continued to grow in popularity, and cryptocurrency adoption is exploding across a broad economic spectrum. Today, cryptocurrencies are especially viable in the adult entertainment industry because they are privacy-centric and incorporate more anonymity tools than traditional tender,” said Corey Price, VP of Pornhub.
Fcoin Founder Defends Trans-Fee Mining
In an interview released in China yesterday, Jian Zhang, founder of Fcoin, faced challenging questions regarding his business and controversial business model of “trans-fee mining.” As we previously reported, the practice of rewarding users with exchange issued tokens for generating transactions was called an over-priced backdoor ICO ripe for manipulation by critics including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Zhang said: “With respect to the accusations of pyramid selling, currency manipulation, and being a stock maker – I won’t be answering these questions directly. You can refer to the notion and history of Bitcoin, and see how many people have been wronged this way. Are there still people who think Bitcoin is pyramid selling? If so, you are not rejecting Fcoin, you are actually denying the economic value of the cryptocurrency in general.”
“The accusation of an expensive ICO is the most funny and ridiculous. First of all, Binance grew from an ICO, some people must be out of their mind when criticizing the ICO of others while raising no money by themselves. Second of all, it’s wrong in the first place for some people to calculate our market value using the total amount of Fcoin token yet to be issued by us. Those unissued FT [Fcoin token] cannot be regarded as transaction, nor can they be a part of any distribution of dividend. They actually don’t exist until after issued. Therefore, the miscalculation is just wrong. In no cryptocurrency exchange is market value calculated this way. Lastly, our valuation is actually very low, given our transaction amount, dividend ratio, number of active traders and growth rate.”
Coinbase Switches to Pro
If you are a GDAX user, this is a kindly reminder that the platform will be switching over to Coinbase Pro tomorrow, Friday June 29, and you will not be able to access the old domain anymore. According to the developers, the redesigned platform is meant to make the trading experience easier and more intuitive, with a simplified deposit and withdrawal processes, improved charts that will allow customers to easily scroll and access historical data and a new consolidated portfolio view called “My Wallets” that lets customers see an overview of their account orders and balances.
Written by Bitcoin.com