OST

Taking tokens mainstream

I’ve been trying to write something about OST for a long time. It’s been a big part of my life since their token sale in November (almost a year ago at this point). I’ve purchased their tokens, through the token sale and then on exchanges, and I’ve earned their tokens by building things on the alpha version of their product.

It’s taken so long to write this because it’s hard to capture the whole picture without sounding like I’m shilling. I’m not at all, and in fact, I’m a little scared for what’s going to happen when OST starts getting more attention (which could be right after the Mosaic paper is published at the end of September).

Not many people know about OST, but the people that do are very involved and passionate. In the community, it’s obvious that OST stands out amongst crypto companies, but in case you’re not one of the 15,000 or so in the Telegram groups, here are some highlights of why I love OST. I encourage you to look into them for yourself.

Go to market

Before I explain their strategy, I should explain what OST is.

OST, the company, is working to abstract token creation into a set of APIs and SaaS-like dashboards, much like Stripe did with payment. They’re doing this through the OpenST protocol, which lets businesses stake ERC-20 OST tokens to mint their own company-branded tokens.

Companies can integrate true token economies into their products and services, using their own branded tokens, without hiring a blockchain team or losing focus on their main product mission.

OST is working in two parallel tracks to get their vision to market, and they’re deliberately taking it slowly.

Partnerships

The first track is large partnerships. The committed partners that OST is already working with have a combined user base that’s greater than the total number of cryptocurrency users. OST’s stated goal is to take tokens mainstream, and they’re literally executing, working directly with each partner, and building their product around user experience and feedback. Already announced partners include:

There are more, and OST has been steadily announcing them. It’s clear that they work with partners long before they announce, too, and I can only assume these companies, with more information than I have, also see something special in OST and what they’re offering.

Developer/Entrepreneur community

The second track is smaller scale projects. Through their Alpha Proof of Concept challenges, they’ve seen hundreds of solo developers, companies, and teams build out all kinds of different token economies. I’ll put my video submissions for the alpha challenges at the end of this post. Here’s a write up from OST on the Alpha PoCs.

If you watch the 90+ video submissions, it’s clear that there are many uses for token economies in businesses, and a lot of the groups doing these projects intend to launch with OST (mainnet launch is scheduled for Q1 2019).

Mosaic

That was the business/marketing side, but there’s also a very strong tech side. And Mosaic… holy smokes.

Ben Bollen leads OST’s technical team, and they’ve created a way to achieve their goal of many separate branded utility chain tokens that have value on the Ethereum blockchain. In the process, though, they’ve also created a layer two solution for Ethereum that scales to thousands of transactions per second. From what I understand, this concept will eventually apply to any blockchain, not just Ethereum.

Ben is involved with the Ethereum community in Berlin, and OST just officially announced more about Mosaic on Sept 7 at ETHBerlin. Here’s a technical abstract, taken from here.

OPENST MOSAIC PAPER ABSTRACT: OpenST Mosaic is a protocol for running meta-blockchains on Ethereum to scale DApps to thousands of transactions per second. OpenST Mosaic is a set of Byzantine fault tolerant (BFT) meta-blockchains defined in smart contracts on Ethereum. A meta-blockchain has an open set of validators staked on Ethereum, and each block is committed by a super-majority vote. Mosaic introduces BFT consensus rules that allow validators to leverage more efficient auxiliary systems running in parallel for block production, while millions of transactions can be finalised before the header is asynchronously committed to Ethereum. Ethereum remains the sole source of truth by locking value tokens on Ethereum while minting a utility token representation on the auxiliary systems. Validators get rewarded collaboratively based on gas consumed thereby solving for the verifier’s dilemma. As a result Mosaic can finalise thousands of transactions per second on Ethereum at a lower gas price. We have built an atomic gateway protocol that Ethereum DApps can deploy to leverage Mosaic to scale.

This is big for OST, but it could be big for the entire Ethereum community.

Real businesses

I love the tech stuff, but obviously real business have other concerns. OST brings real business value in a number of different ways- from loyalty programs to more complex behavior incentives. When it’s as easy as integrating Stripe, companies will use and get value from OST, but they don’t have to become “crypto companies.” It’s kind of a Goldilocks zone for crypto adoption, and it will be an easy sell if one of the large partners gets some publicity for their token economy.

I have a small ecommerce business that, through the alpha challenges, I’ve added a token economy that brings unique functionality to the platform. The fact that I can see value and integrate the functionality as a single developer shows me that OST can be enormous. I’m using it and very excited about what it will bring to my business. There will be more like me.

The economics of OST

When a business wants to create their token, they do it by purchasing OST and “locking it up.” Their total economy is always backed by the locked OST. This means that as businesses mint tokens, they’re locking OST, decreasing the circulating supply.

Since OST has a finite supply of 800,000,000 tokens, it makes it likely that the token value will go up as the supply decreases and more businesses lock it up for their own economies.

Only time will tell, and this type of thing isn’t easily predictable, but for people holding the token, that’s pretty promising.

Team

Ultimately, the product is what will make OST, but the team is who makes the product, and they’re one of the best. What originally attracted me to OST was the CEO Jason Goldberg. I heard him on Jason Calacanis’s podcast, and although I came away with a vague understanding of what he was trying to build, I definitely believed that he was the guy to build it.

At the time, I didn’t know who Ben Bollen was, but he turned out to be super talented with great vision. The Mosaic stuff is blowing my mind, but the whole OpenST protocol and their OST KIT and APIs are pretty slick. Definitely very user friendly. I’m very excited about how they’re going to handle private keys. They may be the first to crack that UX issue open a bit (or solve it!).

The team’s marketing and design is organized, consistent, and high end. They do a weekly (or more) podcast, they share about team members, write all the time, and they participate directly in the Telegram chats… even CEO Jason.

Recently, Chris Dark has become more of a public face to the company and is impressing everyone with both what he says and what he does.

The team and ideas have evolved so much, and they continue to keep getting better and stronger. It’s really exciting to watch.


This is getting long, but you get the idea. If you like what you’ve read, check into OST yourself at ost.com or on Medium. Also, join their two Telegram groups (official and unofficial).

… and here are those videos I mentioned earlier (my Alpha II and III final submission videos).

Alpha II video for Really Simple Store, built on OST
Alpha III video for Really Simple Store, built on OST

Lastly, I need to mention that this is NOT investment advice. Do your own research, please!