æternity’s Mainnet Turns One!

The first live incarnation of the æternity blockchain — Roma Release — was launched exactly one year ago. Here is a short retrospective of the past 12 months.

Albena Kostova
Nov 27 · 14 min read

November 27th marks æternity’s first birthday! On that date in 2018, æternity’s Roma release went live. What an eventful year it was! The æternity community managed to overcome numerous challenges, achieved countless goals, expanded the æcosystem, and continued its advanced blockchain research and development.

æternity’s first birthday is the perfect opportunity to look back and deliberate on some of the most noteworthy achievements in the AE universe from the past twelve months.

æternity Mainnet and Protocol Upgrades

On November 27th, 2018, a major milestone was reached — the first live incarnation of the æternity blockchain — Roma Release, was launched.

The æternity team gathered in Rome, Italy, to inaugurate this achievement and made sure that the launch went smoothly. This first iteration of æternity’s Mainnet was mainly targeted at tech-savvy users and miners but proved that the æternity developer community can deliver.

Protocol improvements were to be introduced with three scheduled hardforks announced at the time of the Roma Release.

Minerva came in February 2019 and tweaked the gas price, the key block header, and the smart contract language Sophia. It also introduced a new optimized version of the æternity virtual machine (AEVM).

Next in line was Fortuna — in June 2019, the Fortuna Release incorporated the results from the first-ever on-chain governance vote on the æternity blockchain — the Block Reward Initiative (BRI) (more info below). Moreover, Fortuna introduced Generalized Accounts (GAs) and thus made æternity flexible enough to support any signature scheme by enabling transaction signing by smart contracts.

You can learn more about GAs from the lead dev wizard behind the technology — Dr. Hans Svensson :

The most significant of all æternity protocol upgrades so far has been the last one — Lima. The Lima hardfork was performed smoothly in October 2019. It introduced a number of new features and improvements. Lima enabled the new, fully-customized and highly efficient virtual machine (VM) called Fast æternity Transaction Engine or FATE.

Comparison between the assembly codes of simple smart contracts written in Solidity and Sophia.

FATE was built specifically to enable safer, faster and cheaper execution of smart contracts on æternity. For comparison, a FATE contract represents only around 10% of the code size of an Ethereum Virtual Machine contract. The 23 different transaction types incorporated into æternity’s core protocol are all supported by FATE.

Additionally, the Lima Release brought next level of governance. With an improved mobile on-chain Governance æpp, AE token users are able to create and participate in polls, as well as to delegate their AE token balance to third parties to vote on their account. To learn more about æternity’s Governance 2.0 approach, visit the Forum topic below.

Last but not least, the Lima hardfork made one of æternity’s most ambitious promises a reality. æternity’s integrated Naming System or AENS is now live and name auctions are ongoing.

Striving to make æternity a user-friendly and easy-to-use blockchain, the development community managed to provide an alternative to public keys through a decentralized naming system. Currently, anyone who has AE tokens can participate in auctions and reserve a human-friendly name for their wallet account, smart contract, oracle, or any string shorter than 256 bits. All names feature the .chain extension.

Learn how to participate in the decentralized name auctions and reserve your .chain name today:

Hundreds of names are already in auction — check them out here.

AE Token Migration

Moving more than 270 million tokens from Ethereum to the æternity Mainnet was not a trivial task. The migration started in October 2018 and was organized in four phases — one preceding the Mainnet launch and each following hardfork. The envisioned migration period was spread over almost one year ending on September 2nd, 2019, when the ERC20 AE tokens became non-transferable. Now, after the last scheduled hardfork has been performed, it is still possible to claim your AE, using a dedicated tool.

Watch this short video to learn how to claim your Mainnet AE tokens:

Furthering Open Source Development: æternity’s Charitable Foundations

As you can imagine, many other things were happening in parallel with the core protocol updates of the æternity blockchain.

In December 2018, æternity launched two foundations, in Liechtenstein and Bulgaria, with the aim to provide grants and educational support to innovative blockchain projects.

The æternity Foundation in Bulgaria works on entering partnerships with universities and other educational institutions with a focus on Bulgaria and the Balkans.

æternity Crypto Foundation’s team.

Meanwhile, the Liechtenstein-based æternity Crypto Foundation primarily centers on supporting research and development efforts in blockchain technology, cryptography, and mathematics. To this end, it provides grants of up to one million CHF, paid in cryptocurrency, to innovative projects that are viewed as having significant potential to further explore and proliferate the benefits and uses of blockchain.

Reports by Crypto Foundation grantees have already been shared in the Forum and can be accessed here:

First Æpps Summit

2019 was kick-started with the First æpps Summit in Antalya. Having the protocol ready, it was time to bring talented developers to build on top of it. Fortunately, we managed to gather a great crowd of developers and to identify who can support the project and how. The event brought together æpp and tool developers, helping them to focus their efforts towards the achievement of shared goals.

The æpps Summit in Antalya laid down the foundation on which the current æpps and dev tools were developed. Currently, æternity’s powerful bundle of tools features:

These tools are constantly being updated, enabling support for the latest protocol updates.

Growing the æpps Ecosystem

Despite the disruption caused by consensus-breaking protocol updates, æternity’s decentralized applications ecosystem has been growing strong in the last twelve months.

  • æternity’s account manager and æpps browser — the Base æpp — has become more stable and user-friendly. It is available on both mobile and desktop devices and currently features Russian, Spanish, and Chinese language support. The Graffiti, Governance, and Migration æpps are all accessible through the Base browser, while the AENS name auctions are available in the app’s “Names” functionality. The Base æpp also supports Ledger hardware wallet integration on desktop.
  • AMPnet is a white-label, all-in-one platform for running energy cooperatives and energy communities including equity crowdfunding (STO) for renewable sources power plants. AMPnet already have a complete working product built on æternity blockchain including internal depository stablecoin. They already soft-launched their first client and are preparing to launch three more — including a major platform launch with Greenpeace. AMPnet recently won the Shift Conf challenge.
  • Abend is a token payment solution for the festival and concert industry being built on æternity blockchain. They are currently running a prototype that was tested on a live audience in September 2019. The prototype featured a NFC bracelet for payments using æternity. There were 459 orders for over 160 people.
  • Crypto Tasks is decentralized freelancing platform built on æternity. It already features an open beta and the team is preparing to migrate 15000 users to the new platform this December.
  • Cryptic Legends is a token-based card trading game where you collect the right heroes for your party and build your strategy by configuring their skills and equipment. You are the owner of your heroes independently from the developers, able to trade them on an open market, but also use them in future games. Cryptic Legends are currently in open beta and preparing for token presale in January with a full demo on æternity blockchain.
  • Homeport is a decentralized marketplace for ground station capacity, which operators of satellites or satellite constellations can use to maximize the output of their fleet. Homeport allows them to optimize data session scheduling between the stations and the satellites. Homeport aims to build a global, decentralized space data teleport across free and proprietary frequencies alike, for a variety of satellite operators. They are currently in beta and have a prototype running on æternity Testnet.
  • TraDEX Social is a combination of user-friendly mining client and a decentralized social trading crypto exchange. Together they constitute the first complete crypto ecosystem that helps users take their first steps in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. They launched a MVP and are currently testing it with users.
  • RideSafe is a real-time health solution to the public motorbike sector in the event of an accident. They help riders distribute the cost of care, guarantee trust between the parties, and verify that insurance claims and costs are real. RideSafe launched their beta app and are testing it with 160 riders in Boda Boda and 13 emergency responders in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • ReCheck is an online service for documents management deployed on æternity. With ReCheck Docs you can register (create hash and timestamp) any PDF document on the blockchain, verify registered documents, transfer securely a file to selected recipient, and track it. You can already test the ReCheck tool.
  • UTU’s Trust API seamlessly serves up personalized recommendations for trusted service providers on sharing platforms to drive conversion, satisfaction, retention, and trust. They are using advanced machine learning models to tokenize trust on æternity blockchain.

More æpps are currently in development and will be announced soon.

World Cryptonomic Forum

In January æternity organized the first World Cryptonomic Forum — an event dedicated to the socioeconomic impact of blockchain technology. The WCF took place in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and targeted decision-makers, entrepreneurs and investors. It was a special kind of event spearheaded by æternity that aimed to bring together professionals from a variety of spheres and stimulate discussions about the transformational effects that blockchain technology would have on the world.

First On-Chain Governance Vote

The first-ever on-chain vote on æternity — The Block Reward Initiative (BRI) was organized in May 2019. The first poll was aimed at ensuring the sustainability of æternity’s open source development. A voting æpp was released and all AE token users were able to vote on whether ~0–20% of the block reward should be allocated to development.

The voting results were overwhelmingly positive and ensued in the allocation of 10.9% of the mining rewards to the continuous development of the æternity protocol, development tools, and æpps.

The BRI funds are currently governed by the æternity Crypto Foundation which provides regular reports on spendings and grantees’ achievements. It even launched video interviews with some of the grant winners — you can check the first one with Tino Breddin here:

All grant reports are also available in the Forum:

The [Drone] Graffiti Project

The æternity crowd is crazy about crypto art and the potential of blockchain to unleash new forms of artistic expression. That passion led to the launch of the Drone Graffiti Project — a new creative medium enabling æternity’s community around the globe to create uncensorable, immutable urban art, leveraging the power of blockchain technology.

Drone Graffiti Artwork by Mr Kone®

How does it work? The first showcase of the project took place at the Mecca of urban art — Mexico City. Three urban artists loaded their artworks to drones which then painted them on a wall thus creating a live urban art installation. The works were afterward uploaded to the æternity blockchain where they will live forever uncensored and immutable.

However, the initial idea was for the whole æternity community to participate and to create collaborative and crowdsourced art. Thus, the project evolved into the æternity Decentralized Graffiti æpp allowing everyone with a few AE tokens to participate.

The collaborative graffiti artwork that was created during æternity Universe One.

The æpp was showcased at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz and then, was among the major attractions at æternity Universe One conference in Prague (more about it below). You can follow the evolution of the digital canvas above over the two days of the Universe One conference in Instagram.

AE Ventures and the Starfleet Accelerator

The first edition of the Starfleet program in 2018 — the incubator for early-stage blockchain startups, was a success — 9 teams received USD1.3m in funding and are now on the verge of releasing their product and services on the æternity blockchain — you can follow the progress of all Starfleeters in the Forum.

Read an update about the Starfleet 1 teams here.

So, at the beginning of 2019 the AE Ventures team rolled up their sleeves and started preparing the second edition of the program. It culminated in April with the Starfleet 2 Demo Day when four amazing blockchain startups were awarded funding and support.

During the following months, AE Ventures entered into a number of partnerships — namely with MVP Workshop and Crowdholding with the main objective to use their expertise in advancing the Starfleet startups’ progress.

The Starfleet 3 Demo Day project teams. Learn more.

In October 2019, the AE Ventures team embarked on a journey all over Europe to meet with innovative blockchain startups and to invite them to participate in the next iterations of the program. Consequently, the Starfleet 3 selection included ingenious projects from all around the world. The 10 teams chosen to continue in the competition are about to pitch their ideas on December 12th at the Microsoft Innovation Center Malta:

Meanwhile, æternity and AE Ventures allied with Microsoft Innovation Center Malta to provide support to blockchain startups in Malta and to promote the country as a blockchain-friendly jurisdiction.

The Starfleet family is getting larger and stronger and now plans an international expansion.

In 2020 Starfleet 4 is about to conquer India. Applications for Starfleet India are already open! Blockchain startups from the region can submit their ideas until 05.01.2020. More information is available at:

Expanding the æmbassador Network

The æternity æmbassador program was launched in January 2018 but over the last year, it developed into a stable and ever-expanding network of æternity supporters. In 2019 a new Traveling æmbassadors program was announced to support the strongest and most dedicated of the æmbassadors and to help them increase the scope of their activities. They have allocated budgets to travel and organize meetups beyond the cities they’re based in.

Map of æternity’s global æmbassador network.

As of September 2019, more than 200 æternity meetups have been organized around the world. An enormous number of people heard about æternity, learned the basics of æternity development, and gained access to different funding opportunities within the ecosystem — whether to start developing æpps and tools on æternity or to turn their ideas into viable businesses.

The House of Blockchain Turned One Too

View from the HoB office. Bask in the beauty of the Swiss Alps while changing the world with blockchain.

In May 2019 we celebrated the 1st Birthday of House of Blockchain — the Liechtenstein-based co-working space for blockchain startups powered by æternity. Over its first year of existence, HOB grew in all directions becoming the home of twenty-one teams, including well-known companies like Bitcoin Suisse Liechtenstein, TenX, the æternity Crypto Foundation, TV-TWO, Smart Valor, and of course, the founding members: æternity Establishment and Nägele Attorneys at Law.

æternity Universe One

With the æternity ecosystem growing, it was only natural to organize an event where community members meet, share experiences and exchange ideas. That’s how æternity Universe One was born — a conference dedicated to developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, UX/UI designers, and enthusiasts who are captivated by blockchain technology and æternity’s potential.

The event took place in Prague on September 20–21, 2019. It featured two days filled with intensive talks, workshops and panel discussions split into two tracks, one dedicated to developers and one to entrepreneurs.

In the aftermath of the event, tons of talks and interviews were shared throughout æternity’s communication channels. You can find them all in the AE YouTube channel:

This was just the first of an annual series of events. Organizing a conference on such a scale helped the team acquire invaluable insights and experience which will contribute to the next one being even better.

Growing the æternity Ecosystem — æternity Americas and æternity Consulting

As mentioned already, the whole æternity ecosystem gathered at the æternity Universe One conference and some of æternity’s satellite entities got their official introduction there.

æternity Americas, as its name suggests, was set up with the aim to promote æternity’s technology and to grow the ecosystem all over North and South America. CEO Pablo Coirolo introduced some of the milestones already reached including a collaboration with the CIE ORT University and real-world use cases of æternity blockchain in the supply chain management of cannabis and in liquid democracy.

To strengthen the support for new businesses and entrepreneurs willing to incorporate blockchain in their businesses, æternity Consulting was established. It focuses on explaining the advantages blockchain technology could bring to a business infrastructure and facilitating its mass adoption. Watch Helmut Müller presenting the entity here:

Community Building Campaigns (CBCs)

With æternity Universe One approaching, more and more resources were needed in spreading the word and in reaching key players in the blockchain space. It was only logical to engage the whole æternity community in these efforts and to provide æternity supporters with an efficient framework they can use to grow the community and be rewarded for it. The Community-Building Campaigns were established enabling anyone to propose a campaign and get funding to execute it.

The CBCs could be an effective community-growing tool, but it still needs time to mature. With the first edition of æternity Universe behind us, we intend to keep using CBCs and to attract more users to try it out.

We Are æternity

Last but not least — the most significant achievement of this eventful year is the fact that æternity continued to enjoy the support of thousands of individuals worldwide. Everyone who kept supporting the æternity project throughout all the ups and downs of the blockchain space, everyone who never stopped believing in the stellar developer community, and everyone who appreciates the significant progress that was made in the span of only twelve months — you are æternity’s greatest asset.

Thank you and let’s continue to build the decentralized economy together!


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Albena Kostova

Written by

Social Media and Community Manager at æternity blockchain