Ontology Tech AMA Summary
It has been over a year since Ontology’s launch and six months since MainNet went live. During this time, the Ontology development team has been progressing on the roadmaps and expanding the team, as well as helping out those in the community who wish to develop on Ontology. Most recently, we released the designs for STOs and sharding, as well as the dApp incentive model, for which we have seen a lot of discussion about online.
Undoubtedly a lot went on in 2018 and we have more planned for 2019. On January 10th, we held an AMA for questions you have for our tech team about Ontology and what we have planned for the year ahead.
Below is the summary of the answers.
What ideas or incentives do you have to compete with the massive dApps EOS and TRX have created?
At present, dApps mainly revolve around the transaction of tokens. The fluctuation of token value has no anchoring foundation, which limits the types of dApps, and makes dApps used mainly for gambling at the moment. However, the potential of dApps is much more than that!
The value of data and interactions in a trust network are the direction of interest for Ontology.
Considering the volume viral internet applications have, more expansion capabilities are needed. On the basis of Ontology multi-chain proposed in 2017, combined with the latest research results last year, Ontology has completed a multi-chain prototype, multi-layer design, and is continuously preparing for scalability.
Don’t build a platform in quicksand! Ontology’s incentive mechanism wasn’t brought out during the bull market, but instead when Ontology technology was best prepared. Ontology accepts developers with an open attitude and willingness to foot the bill. There are application incentives and core team technical support available with four dApp incentive programs.
For dApp developers developing on platforms, the capabilities of the platform limit the development of applications. Ontology is another platform, a brand new platform, that is far from reaching its upper limit.
In this complicated blockchain industry, Ontology has chosen a more ambitious goal, and has also chosen a difficult road. I hope that community members will accompany us to move forward!
— Hu Ning
What’s the top technical priority right now?
At present, the focus is mainly on ease of use and scalability — the two are interrelated. Ease of use is primarily in the area of smart contract platforms and application incentives. Scalability is primarily in terms of multi-layer sharding and multi-chain expansion.
What are the biggest technical challenges and how do you intend to tackle them?
In terms of scalability, we have the latest multi-layer sharding design and are currently in the process of development. In terms of application landing, there are new development tools such as the Python Compiler and Wasm platform, as well as the dApp incentive mechanism.
What are the biggest threats to your project, and how do you plan on overcoming them?
The problem of regional regulations. Since blockchain is new, the public chain system relies on the token value tool to form a crypto economy, and the crypto economic system is not a traditional economy. Therefore, at the blockchain compliance level, governments have different considerations and try to bring about the need for different areas of compliance. Different requirements may form different governance models, and the trust endorsement of blockchain design needs to match the governance model. It poses a very big challenge for the design of on-chain business products. Ontology proposes a multi-chain and multi-layer design, clarifies multi-chain compliance and multi-layer expansion, and fundamentally solves the problem of regional compliance.
From the impact of the industry, the financial attribute of tokens makes many blockchain projects start the secondary market ahead of time, but lacks support of the primary market. Ontology fully promotes blockchain infrastructure and is constantly looking for opportunities to enter the primary market and try to conduct primary market operations. There is a large volatility in the secondary market that is not anchored by the primary market, and large fluctuations may adversely affect the attempts of the primary market. Ontology continues to try and hopes to have the support of the community.
Misunderstandings from the community, ontensive techniques, and insufficient support for the community may cause misunderstanding, we’re sorry for not giving the community more support. We will increase support for the community and hope many more technology enthusiasts will participate.
— Hu Ning
What is the vision for decentralization? Will I be able to run a node on my Raspberry Pi one day without needing a massive amount of ONT?
Decentralization does not happen overnight. It is based on the full recognition of the community and we have been working hard on it. Ontology is based on the PoS mechanism, and the configured lower limit is just 1,000 ONT. Our current required stake for a node is much higher, but with the development of the Ontology network, we will be able to return this value down to the normal level.
What is the next milestone you are very excited about?
2019 will be a year of rapid advancement. In terms of scalability, in 2019 we will work on multi-layer and multi-chain interconnection. In terms of application landing, more dApps and application scenarios will come about as a result of the dApp incentive models.
What is your plan to bring mass adoption to this space?
Ontology is always considering digital identity and data exchange as a core strategy. ONT Pass and ONT ID were recently released as Ontology products, one of our plans is to give financial and KYC services these tools. Recently we helped ACGN with a KYC solution.
— Xiao Min
Will the roadmap be updated?
The roadmap has been completed according to plan. Practice has proved that the plan is reasonable, therefore the roadmap remains unchanged in the general direction. However, the design of multi-layer shard design will be extended on the basis of isomorphic multi-chain.
In Q2 we will update the white paper and details of delivery milestones.
— Hu Ning
When will the third Triones candidate nodes start?
There won’t be a third round of node applications as we did before, in future it will be open for anyone who wants to be a node and meets the requirements.
— Andy Ji
Where do you see the first real commercial users of the Ontology blockchain, Asia? Europe? North America? Do you have any speculative interest in your new Securiry Token OEP-506 protocol?
We’re actually working on initiatives in each of those regions, we do not have a preference. We just built the STO token standard for the industry, it’s open for anyone who wants to use it. Meanwhile, we deliver our full stack STO to our core partners. If anybody want to cooperate, please send request to our bd mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Andy Ji
Are you going to stay in China? Or are you looking to have global expansion?
We have set up initial research centres in Japan, Korea, and the US, and are focusing on a globalization strategy to expand our ecosystem. In the next quarter, we hope to build an Eastern Europe R&D center.
— Andy Ji
Any chance you could implement a change nodes button so we could switch at the end/beginning of a round without having a three-round penalty?
Unfortunately not. The design of the blockchain system is not only to satisfy the interests of the stakeholder, but also to ensure the security of the blockchain, in other words, the design for the costs against malicious behavior. Ontology’s design tries to find a balance between the two.
The design of the node switch lockout period is mainly a judgment and appeal cycle for the possible malicious behavior of a node, preventing the node from escaping with their stake after performing malicious acts. The lock-up period gives the community a reaction time to judge and punish the node for malicious acts.
For ONT individuals stake with nodes, this rule also applies (5% penalty). Therefore, when staking, please choose carefully.
— Hu Ning
What’s the status of designing fast signature verification using FPGA? It is worth with sharding?
It’s currently in our bounty program, the implementation process by the community developer has not yet been completed (Hardware Acceleration by X.Dong Team). To follow the status updates please refer to https://bounty.ont.io/. Of course, if you have an FPGA-capable development team you are welcome to participate, please submit a bounty on the bounty page, and the Ontology team will review it and contact you.
Signature and verification are a common module which is used by sharding.
— Hu Ning
Why are the main consensus nodes named after stars in the Big Dipper?
The main source of revenue for nodes is the gas fee. The Ontology team realized that at the beginning of the project the number of businesses was insufficient to support the cost of node operation and maintenance. Therefore, at the beginning of the network, seven nodes are selected as the scale of the Ontology consensus network. The startup network was named Triones (another name for the Ursa Major) and the seven nodes were named after the Big Dipper.
After the network started, the consensus network follows the code logic of the VBFT consensus mechanism and governance contract, and nodes are selected to enter the consensus network according to the amount of PoS.
Since the network has been running there still remains seven consensus nodes. After the second round of Triones consensus nodes have staked, there will be 38 nodes participating in the candidate network. By then, the size of the consensus network will be expanded to the nine nodes with the highest stake.
As the number of services increase the gas amount will increase, and Ontology will gradually expand the network scale. At that point, more and more nodes will join the consensus network.
— Hu Ning
Are you going to require partners who develop on your network or who work with you to own and stake a certain amount of ONT to be a part of the system?
This is optional, not a requirement.
— Andy Ji
Is there any plan to build a digital identity product using the Ontology chain which could be used to prove a persons identity for online services?
ONTO already supports this, you can complete your identity authentications on your phone and use it for online KYC services. We hope to have more partnerships in the near future.
— Xiao Min
What progress has been made with SenseTime? What niche will SenseTime have?
SenseTime has already been integrated as a trust anchor. In the near future we plan to add their AI authentication tools including facial recognition.
— Xiao Min
Can your dev team make it possible to stake in ONTO mobile wallet?
ONTO currently does not have plans to integrate stake authorization into ONTO, however there are plans for third party mobile wallets to support it.
— Xiao Min
Will it be possible to develop in more languages in the future?
In the future we plan to support Golang to write smart contracts.
— Tan Yuan
Last tech report explained that some milestones has been accomplished but there are some pull-requests like: QUIC, MPT, Wasm, DHT ,and Shadowchain pending to merge. Do you have any ETA?
The code for all of them is finished. Wasm, MPT, and Shadowchain have already finished being tested on side chains. The others are currently going through code review, then will go through testing. We hope to get them out as soon as possible.
— Tan Yuan
The Ontology Team was working on a storage module called ‘dasein’ based on IPFS but stopped. Is it possible to know why?
Storage is the core module of a blockchain project. The complete blockchain solution needs to address core issues such as data storage (on-chain and off-chain), storage solutions (encryption schemes, information privacy protection), and storage charing models.
Ontology proposes a storage-based solution that needs to be designed with multiple layers and multiple chains to meet the needs of cross-chain cross-sharding while meeting the 2019 heterogeneous chain cross-chain roadmap target (Plato).
Therefore, Ontology has not stopped the optimization and iteration updates of the storage module. Please refer to official accounts for correct information. Thank you for your support!
— Hu Ning
How do you intend to reach out to the current app developers from different platforms?
We will continuously host tech workshops, meetups, and hackathons. Through social media we hope developers from other projects would like to explore Ontology. We are talking with other projects to host collaborative smart contract development workshops so that developers can explore different platforms. We don’t see other projects as competitors rather as complementary ecosystems.
Do the hackathons bring value, real apps which will be continued and released?
Yes, e.g. we hosted a Hackathon in Tokyo last month where we had 10 dApps teams which delivered functional prototypes. Three of the teams are planning to deploy their solution on MainNet.
Some technical events/hackathons has been canceled, is it possible to know why?
We are doing lots of the events with community and co-system partners. Sometimes these partner involvement change form.
What was the main inspiration for starting Ontology? What was it in the blockchain space that Jun Li felt was lacking and could be solved with Ontology vs. the many other existing platforms?
We already had good experience in public and private blockchain technical solutions for enterprises and institutions, but found public blockchains in general find it hard to support mainstream businesses directly. They face a lot of problems such as performance, scalability, and trust collaboration, including digital identity and data exchange. That’s why we need to build a new public chain architecture, and why we decided to start Ontology.
The things Ontology can currently provide are solutions to those challenges just mentioned like scalability, performance, and the link mainstream business scenarios — a trust collaboration platform that includes digital identity, data exchange, a contract signature service, etc., for both digital and real business scenarios — that’s our difference with other projects. Furthermore, at infrastructure-level Ontology has a strong technical design — scalability, sharding, and other technologies. Ontology is currently the platform that can best support all of this.
— Li Jun
Are you working to get the ONG token listed on other larger exchanges? Is the application being reviewed with Binance since they already distribute monthly and have custody in place?
We’re working hard to get ONG listed on larger exchanges — the result depends on evaluation from exchanges.
— Andy Ji
Will Ontology partner with any big USA company?
We’re in talks with some big US tech companies, but we’re restricted by NDAs. Stay tuned.
— Andy Ji
Thank you to everyone who participated!
If you are a developer, make sure you have joined our Discord, there you can interact with Ontology core team developers and community developers. Also, take a look at the Developer Center on our website, there you can find developer tools, documentation, and more.