Blockchain technology has become the ‘face’ of the new age of technology – and the Internet, namely Web 3.0. Having being adopted on a largely global scale in a lot of industries, it has garnered much acclaim for its disruptive nature (a positive one, at that) in these industries and for its overall impact on society at large.
However, this innovation is far from perfect, and blockchain technology has had its fair share of challenges and setbacks. It has been plagued with some rather technical problems, and this has partly led to companies having misgivings about adopting this ground-breaking innovation for enterprise applications.
One of these is the problem of ‘blockchain denomination’. While blockchain technology in itself enables a secure and immutable record of transactions on a decentralized, distributed public ledger (Blockchain), the problem of blockchain denomination has made it so that blockchains are variants of one another. As such, they exist in isolated networks independent of one another, and this makes blockchain interoperability almost impossible to achieve.
With this, two key limitations – among others – arise:
- Development and deployment of decentralized applications (DApps) across multiple blockchain platforms is difficult to achieve. Blockchain platforms, more often than not, each have different languages for DApp development; some even create their own programming languages for development purposes exclusive to that platform (an example is Solidity, the development language for the Ethereum blockchain). For developers to deploy DApps on multiple platforms, they must first develop the application(s) in multiple languages. This approach is inefficient, expensive and time-consuming. As such, cross-platform development (and deployment) of DApps is almost impossible.
Although some platforms (e.g. NEO and EOS) have been able to enable deployment of decentralized applications on multiple blockchains using common programming languages like Java, C#, C++, Python etc., that’s just one side of the coin — the problem of blockchain interoperability remains unsolved.
- Asset transfer between different chains is still largely theoretical – no feasible way yet exists. The only currently possible way to transfer smart assets across blockchains is through a third party namely cryptocurrency exchanges. This method has limitations: first, cryptocurrency exchanges are fundamentally centralized, and as such, pose great risk of hacking and loss of personal information and valuable funds; also, they use their personalized wallets and centralized ledgers (that’s even if you can call it that) for asset transfer from one blockchain to another. This is a rather lengthy process which is also expensive and poses several risks. The only solution is a model for trustless asset transfer across blockchains which wouldn’t require a third party. The closest working concept is “cross-chain atomic swaps”, which is unfortunately still in its developmental phase, and it would take some time before it’s fully implemented.
However, that’s not to say the blockchain space has been indifferent to these limitations – not at all! A great number of blockchain projects have worked to solve the problem of interoperability, with some of them coming up with practical solutions.
One such project has, to a considerable extent, effectively tackled the problem of blockchain interoperability: OneLedger. It has gone a step further in making cross-ledger communication and blockchain interoperability a reality.
OneLedger was founded in 2017 by CEO David Cao.
According to their website, OneLedger is “a universal blockchain protocol enabling cross-ledger access through business modularization.” Simply put, OneLedger enables enterprises to build decentralized applications which can communicate with OneLedger’s protocol through its API (Application Programming Interface) gateway.
By implementing OneLedger’s protocol using its API, businesses can concentrate on deploying enterprise applications without having to spend resources (chiefly time and money) on developing for (or understanding) numerous blockchains. As a result, enterprise applications are able to interact with various blockchains — both public and private – using sidechains corresponding to those blockchains.
The beauty of OneLedger’s powerful consensus mechanism is that it enables enterprises to launch their own permissioned or permissionless sidechains by implementing business logic with configurable role-based consensus protocol, using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and identity management. Also, these private sidechains can be synchronized with public sidechains that support hashed time lock contracts (HTLC) and payment channels (Bitcoin, Hyperledger and Ethereum, for instance).
OneLedger’s mission is to be the enterprise blockchain cross-ledger solution that facilitates businesses’ adoption of the blockchain technology, and enables them to integrate the technology into their specific business applications.
It was mentioned earlier that OneLedger had gone a step further than other blockchains in effectively tackling the problem of blockchain interoperability. This section will highlight key areas which OneLedger has improved on, to stand in a class of its own.
OneLedger’s ‘selling point’ lies in the fact that any participant can launch permissioned or permissionless blockchains, and furthermore, these sidechains can work synchronously with other blockchains. The only prerequisite is that these blockchains support HTLC and payment channels.
Moreover, it allows enterprises to configure the role-based consensus protocol on their private sidechains, using a Smart Identity Management System. The identity management system acts as a custodian by enabling enterprises to:
- select participating nodes in the consensus
- control user access and permissions and
- monitor assets present on the network
All this is done by assigning a master key pair (containing a private and public key) to all the users on the network.
Also, OneLedger enables developers to (build and) deploy their decentralized applications across several blockchains using their SDK. By creating a master smart contract which can run on every blockchain, developers don’t need to write smart contracts for each target blockchain anymore.
This section will cover the major components of the OneLedger architecture and how they work in tandem with the OneLedger consensus protocol.
OneLedger Business Center
Users with any level of blockchain experience can make use of the OneLedger Business Application Development Kit available in this portal to build business modules (which project real-world functions) onto the blockchain. Also, businesses can hire independent module developers to build different plugins (as their applications require) which can be integrated together for a seamless business flow, thanks to the Extendable OneLedger API. It’s with both tools (the OneLedger API and personalized SDK) that businesses can build multi-chain decentralized applications and write just a single smart contract for all of them – the ‘master smart contract’.
Identity Management System
Identity management on the platform is done by assigning a master private/public key pair to every participant. The private key of the key pair can then be used to digitally sign a message from other participants, thereby linking them with the owner of the private key (one half of the key pair) used in digitally signing the message.
On the other hand, the OneLedger protocol uses public key authentication to create:
- personal accounts for individuals and institutions, with highly customizable and fully-featured digital wallets,
- credit systems by which businesses and consumers can accumulate credit scores through completed transactions and their behavior on the network, and
- arbitration mechanisms which can create the arbitration basis to ensure the consensus isn’t broken, when only a partial consensus is reached.
OneLedger Consensus Protocol
To easily integrate between different business models, OneLedger adopts a Three Layer Consensus concept.
Consensus begins with a Business Initialization, where a contract is drafted to clearly assign roles (and respective behaviours) of business participants. This generalized contract is then compiled and generated to a contract format recognizable and executable for the target public blockchains. In the case of Ethereum, it is executed as a smart contract while the contract is replicated from the genesis contract in Bitcoin.
The next layer (Channel Consensus) executes interactions between roles as defined in the contract. Sidechain consensus based on Byzantine Fault Tolerant Partial Synchronization is conducted within the channel among all participants. Sidechain consensus is reached when more than two-thirds of the participating nodes have agreed. The defined roles can come from one or two business models. Therefore, it’s possible to attain channel consensus with two different business models in the sidechain; votes from participants in each model will be counted. If that’s the case, sidechain consensus is reached only after both business models have reached consensus.
Once consensus is reached in a channel, the block is written and the data broadcasted to all nodes in that channel and stored.
The last layer of consensus is the Public Chain Consensus. When asset transfer between public (block)chains is requested, the pre-consensus block drives a proposal to the public chains (one which is voted by block validators on both chains) involved in the transfer. Once the proposal is successfully voted on, the pre-consensus block is committed. Once two-thirds of OneLedger sidechain nodes commit the block, it is finalized.
The pre-consensus block drives a proposal to the relevant public chain where a vote is conducted by validators of the public chain to lock or unlock digital assets. If the public chain vote is successful, and more than two-thirds of the sidechain nodes agree, the pre-consensus block will be committed and added to the ledger.
OneLedger Token, OLT
The OneLedger Token is the native token of the OneLedger platform. OneLedger Token is an ERC20-compliant token, and its ticker is OLT. 100 million OLT tokens will be premined.
The token sale starts in May 2018 (the date hasn’t been announced yet), with a softcap of $4 million USD and a fundraising goal (hardcap) of $15 million USD. It will consist of 3 rounds: private presale 1 (with a goal of $6 million USD); private presale 2 (with a goal of $3 million USD), and; the public sale (having a goal of $5 million USD). The crowdsale will employ KYC verification, and some countries will be restricted from participating (Canada, China, North and South Korea, USA among others). The token allocation is as follows:
- 25% of the total supply will be reserved for the community (25% of this portion – 6,250,000 OLT – will be disbursed as development grant to outstanding developers and projects,
- 35% will be made available for sale,
- 15% will be used for organizing marketing campaigns and for long-term partnerships,
- 15% will be reserved for the OneLedger team and the advisory board, and
- the remaining 10% will be reserved for the company.
Meet the Team
OneLedger’s core team contains seven members (who all have a satisfactory level of experience with blockchain technology) headed by Founder & CEO David Cao.
David Cao has worked for a great number of Fortune 500 companies, and has 10 years of enterprise architect experience under his belt. An experienced J2EE enterprise architect, he specializes in supply chain, payments and e-commerce. He’s an active member of Hyperledger and the blockchain community, and has worked with big names such as IBM and Toshiba.
CTO Alex Todd is also the founder and CEO of Trust 2 Pay. A seasoned entrepreneur, he was formerly the CTO of Presto where he helped create industry engagement programs worth $200M+ in just over five years. He’s got quite a lot of experience dealing with early-stage startups with a lot of potential.
Other members include:
- Lead engineer Steven Li, a senior software developer who previously worked in IBM and Microsoft, and an expert Ethereum smart contract developer,
- MD Edwin Zhang, a veteran blockchain (and software) developer with a vast knowledge of smart contract development backed by investment experience,
- PRO Othalia Doe-Bruce, a certified Ethereum Blockchain developer with over 10 years of experience in the investment management industry,
- Paul W. Homer, Alex Lan and Lester Li, blockchain engineers with extensive experience in blockchain protocol, software development, smart contract development and consensus algorithm development.
Members of the advisory board include: Trevor Koverko, CEO of Digital Assets International and also CEO of Polymath Network; Matthew Niemerg, a security and blockchain project consultant who’s been in the blockchain space since 2014; Jor Law, a VerifyInvestor.com co-founder and pioneer in building a favourable ecosystem for digitizing and trading securities on the blockchain…
OneLedger aims to be a universal blockchain protocol which will enable cross-chain interoperability through business modularization. While it is certainly not the first blockchain project with this goal, it is unique in that it enables blockchain interoperability through modularization of business models (i.e. it allows businesses to focus on implementing business logic on multiple chains). With this, they can maximize their resources on building their enterprise applications alone.
All images are taken from the whitepaper (PDF), found here.