Blockchain, which originally started out in 2009 as a ledger for keeping records of Bitcoin transactions, has since gone on to become hugely disruptive in the technology space and, of course, attain mainstream status. The latter is no thanks to the constantly fluctuating valuations of its most popular real-world use case (of course, out of numerous ones): cryptocurrencies. Still, we have Satoshi Nakamoto to thank for successfully applying distributed ledger technology (DLT) to peer-to-peer transactions.
Over the year 2017, several hundred blockchain projects were launched (although a good number of that count are already considered “dead” by now), seeking to provide viable solutions to various problems both in tech and the world at large. Given the current state of the cryptocurrency market, it’s easy to paint a not-so-pretty picture of the tech behind it – however,
With blockchain technology, everyday users and enterprises have benefited immensely from a vast array of groundbreaking features: advanced cryptography coupled with key-pair signing techniques guaranteeing – to a greater extent – a high level of security; fast transaction processing; decentralization, which is one of the salient features of blockchain (at least a good number of them) and; scalability enabling blockchain networks to handle and sift through large volumes of data in relatively short windows.
The decade-long debate on which is better between public and private blockchains has generated its fair share of buzz. The blockchain community has, for the most part, been in favor of public blockchains, arguing that they conform to the true (and perhaps most important) purpose of the tech: decentralization. Public blockchains – also known as permissionless blockchains – are easy to join and participate in but they come with certain limitations (being unable to customize the system to suit the requirements of the network, for instance).
But, what if instead of a piece of the proverbial pie, we could have the whole thing? That is, public blockchains working seamlessly with private blockchains. Seems we won’t have to wait around for that. In fact, there are several blockchain projects out already – not including the big companies building their own enterprise blockchains, of course – which have successfully implemented this concept. One of such projects is AERGO, and we’ll be examining all there is to know about it for the rest of this article.
AERGO is an innovative blockchain platform aiming to open up new possibilities for enterprises, by lowering both public and private blockchain deployments. AERGO “proposes to be a 4th generation — enterprise ready — blockchain protocol combined with an IT platform that uses advanced technologies.” The project is developed by Blocko, a company offering private blockchain solutions for enterprise clients in South Korea, Hong Kong and the UK since 2014. AERGO will be utilizing Coinstack, a permissioned enterprise blockchain solution provided by Blocko (currently having over 25 million users around the world).
AERGO is an all-in-one blockchain solution combining both private and public blockchains with advanced functionality (think chain interoperability, ease of deployment and seamless integration into existing systems). With this feature (and being one of the first movers), AERGO looks set to become one of the big players in the enterprise blockchain space.
According to them, blockchains have to sacrifice paramount features (immutability and security) to enjoy significant scalability, decentralization and confidentiality. A lot of blockchains platforms simply do not have the necessary requirements for conveniently running real-world enterprise applications. AERGO aims to solve this problem by enabling enterprise users to tailor blockchain deployments to suit their application requirements – in other words, a fully-customizable blockchain, down to the last parameter.
The project’s technical and non-technical whitepaper can be found at aergo.io/paper
The goal of the AERGO project is to usher in a new era of massive blockchain adoption across various industries with an all-in-one blockchain created by combining the features of both public and private blockchains into one solution. With this setup, AERGO assures enterprise developers of the desired flexibility when building blockchains; they can be launched as public or private blockchains, or a combination of both.
The AERGO project aims to launch a product that will provide:
- an advanced, accessible solution for software developers
- a secure and fast blockchain cloud architecture that accommodates public and private chains
- an open ecosystem for third parties and businesses to connect and engage with each other.
Through parent company Blocko, AERGO proposes to solve certain drawbacks to enterprise adoption of blockchain tech such as IT integration, interoperability and software development.
The ‘fourth-generation’ AERGO blockchain was built with enterprise platforms in mind; to create a bridge between private and public blockchains, using an existing platform, Coinstack. The project is open-source, as the blockchain runs in an open and decentralized environment. To solve the problem of integration, the project employs a secure cloud-hosting delivery model over a distributed network. This alone reduces the cost of hosting physical infrastructure to run blockchain networks and dApps.
The AERGO Platform has three (3) core components:
AERGO Chain: a blockchain protocol designed to mitigate issues with permissionless blockchains. The chain will consist of a public, decentralized network of blockchains run by node providers. AERGO Chain will utilize a deterministic Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm, with transaction processing speed of up to 1,000,000 Tx/s. It will also include a SQL-based smart contract engine, AERGOSQL. It will also support the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) to attain interoperability.
AERGO Hub: a blockchain hosting service that acts as the public interface for building, testing, deploying and managing independent blockchains based on AERGO Chain. The Hub is packed with tools and supporting services to support the growth of the AERGO Chain e.g. a smart oracle, serverless DB, AERGO Public and Private Repository and a content delivery network (CDN).
AERGO Marketplace: AERGO Marketplace will enable the sale and purchase of computing assets (computing power, scalable storage, content, digital identity blueprints, algorithms etc.), software and services between developers, service providers and end-users. The Marketplace will be accessible via the AERGO Hub public interface.
AERGO Smart Contract Engine
The AERGO project proposes a smart contract engine named AERGOSQL, which uses a scripting language like PL/SQL. As we know, SQL enables secure storage and handling of data. According to the smart contract whitepaper, AERGOSQL will use a relational data model as opposed to the procedural smart contract support model employed by the more mainstream blockchain implementations. While the latter offers more flexibility, this also gives room for more errors and vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, relational data models and SQL interface provide far more efficient ways to access and manipulate data stored in ledgers than procedural means. What this implies is that, SQL-based scripting languages will provide complete support for writing smart contracts.
While the familiar SQL interface of AERGOSQL gives developers more ways for building smart contracts, it also seeks to improve performance and scalability.
The smart contract whitepaper can also be found at aergo.io/paper
Token Economics & Distribution
The AERGO Token is the native token of the AERGO platform and serves as a medium of exchange within the AERGO ecosystem. The token symbol is AERGO Bit, and it has a total supply of 500 million tokens. The token is an ERC20 token and it will be migrated to the mainnet once it is launched (currently scheduled for Q1 2019). It will be used for running smart contracts, as a reward for the DPoS consensus algorithm, and as a payment method for technical support and services provided by AERGO Hub and Marketplace. The token metrics have been taken from the whitepaper (outlined below) but it is subject to modification:
ICO & Roadmap
The private sale has been completed. The public sale runs from 13 September to 7 October, 2018. During the public sale, 30% of the total token supply will be available for sale. The ICO has a $32 minion USD hard cap, with $29,000,000 USD raised already (at the time of writing).
The roadmap is as follows:
Smart contract that enables storing and accessing data and SQL-like scripting language.
AERGO with distributed version control that offers advanced backup & restore, point-in-time recovery, and multi-tenant repository.
Test network released for public to try out.
Blockchain protocol empowering deterministic and autonomous operation of dApps. It enhances transaction privacy through branching and merging the chain with strong concurrency control.
Public repository hub and marketplace for business and developers.
Strengths & Weaknesses
AERGO is backed by Blocko, which provides enterprise blockchain solutions for a number of established companies such as Cisco, Hyundai-Kia Motors, IBM, Microsoft, LG, SK Telecom and Samsung. Blocko is a big player in the BaaS sphere, and they’ll surely bring several advantages to the table (an existing clientele, experienced team, increased exposure).
The team mostly consists of the Blocko team and, while they have a lot of technical knowledge and experience, they also excel in business development and marketing. This could be a major advantage for AERGO over the competition; mostly established companies with a lot of influence and firepower.
Additionally, there are quite a lot of use cases of the AERGO platform across multiple industries. These include payments and financial services, supply chain management, manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, government and IoT.
AERGO will leverage on an existing client base consisting of enterprise users to encourage integration with the public chain. Future updates to Coinstack 4.0 will automatically replace the technology with AERGO. This would give enterprises the option to build on and access the public network by default.
The project has a lot of competitors – big companies such as Microsoft, IBM, JP Morgan, and R3 who’re also developing enterprise blockchain solutions. This could be a concern for investors but they might also leverage on Blocko Inc.’s backing. Products like SAP’s recently launched Cloud Platform Blockchain Services could pose stiff competition.
One red flag of the AERGO project is their preferred consensus mechanism, DPoS, which trades decentralization for scalability. This isn’t really a good idea, considering the fact that the goal is to support private as well as public blockchains. More importantly, blockchain technology was majorly developed to level the playing field, so to speak. Decentralization should come first in any blockchain network.
Also, enterprise adoption of blockchain technology is still in its earliest stages. Apart from that, the product has no MVP yet, so investors don’t know what to expect – we hope the backing of Blocko carries them through.
The team has failed to undergo KYC and update the information on their ICObench profiles.
AERGO Team & Backers
The team has about 36 members, including 3 members on the AERGO Board, 3 Committee Heads, 5 on the technology team and around 25 additional team members from Blocko. Some of the key members are introduced below:
AERGO Board Members
Phil Zamani – 20+ years of open source, cloud business and blockchain experience. He is currently the COO of Blocko. He previously held positions as the Global Head of Big Data & Cloud Business Models at Banco Santander; Senior VP of the Cloud Business Unit at Deutsche Telekom; VP of Sales and Business Development in Internet Appliances at Red Hat. He has also worked in various roles at other companies including Cygnus Solutions, Synopsys, Novell, Springsource (now Pivotal), etc.
Hun Young Park – 13+ years of experience in developing databases and distributed systems with expertise in large scale and high-performance software design. He currently serves as the CTO and Director of Blockchain Research Development of Blocko. Previously the Principal Software Engineer at TmaxData and Senior Software Engineer at Tibero.
Roderik van der Graaf – Over 20 years of experience in private equity, venture capital, and equity derivatives trading. He’s currently the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemniscap (a blockchain investment firm) and an advisor to Blocko. He was previously a Managing Director at Caldera Pacific and KCP Capital. He also worked in various roles in equity derivatives trading at Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, Bear Stearns, LIM Advisors and All Options. He bagged his Master’s degree in Information Technology at the University of London in 1997.
Won Kim – 15 years of experience in Relational DBMS and distributed systems. Founder and CEO of Blocko and Technical Advisor to Lemniscap. Previously worked in research and development of distributed databases and database administration at S-Core and TmaxSoft. Obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Boston University in 2008.
Jane Lee – 7 years of experience in strategy consulting with expertise in digital transformation and technology commercialization. Currently the Chief Strategy Officer of Blocko. Previously the Strategy Manager of Accenture where she worked for more than 6 years. Obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University in 2009.
Alison Shim – 5 years of experience in strategy consulting with expertise in go-to-market strategy and business development. Currently the Chief Innovation Officer at Blocko. Obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Communication Studies at New York University in 2012.
Advisors include Vincent Zhou, founding partner of FBG Capital; Eddie Alleyn, former Director of the UK’s Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Sinhae Lee, partner at GBIC; Riad Hartani, a seasoned tech specialist with 20+ experienced contributing to development of the internet, mobile and AI among others.
The project is backed by several companies, namely FBG Capital, GBIC, Lemniscap, Rockaway Blockchain, Dekrypt Capital, and Block Crafters Capital.
For detailed information on the AERGO team members, visit aergo.io/team
Project’s whitepaper (PDF)
All images are taken from the project’s website and whitepaper.
For more information about the project, please visit the following links:
Technical and non-technical whitepapers: https://www.aergo.io/paper/
Official Telegram channel: https://t.me/aergoofficial
Telegram (announcements): https://t.me/aergoannouncements
And finally, try to solve AERGO project crossword puzzle: