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TechAMA Recap: A Guide to Ontology

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen that we recently held a very successful Twitter AMA with our Senior Architecture Experts, Edmond CONG and Ning HU, and received over a hundred questions from the community.

Throughout the process, it became apparent to us that many of our community members shared similar questions about Ontology. As a result, we realized that these questions would make an excellent starting point for those new to Ontology. So, here we have prepared eight of the most common questions and their answers to introduce newcomers to Ontology.

1. What is the design logic of Ontology?

The core vision of Ontology is to create a “distributed trust collaboration platform” for all scenarios. During the two-year research and development period with one year of steady MainNet operation and continuous technology development, we have been able to establish a basic trust collaboration platform and achieve the first step of our vision: being ready for all businesses. We will continue to adhere to our business strategy, taking every step in a calculated manner using our technology to help us around every obstacle. We look forward to seeing more changes happen.

2. Why does Ontology use a dual-token model?

The purpose of node staking operation is to obtain stable and value-added returns, which is to lock in liquidity; however, the return requires sufficient liquidity so this is a contradiction. Node staking has the expectation of appreciation and business applications on the chain have the expectation of stable value so this is also a contradiction. In the face of two contradictions, the easiest strategy is to utilize the design of two tokens that have a certain link to each other. This is similar to how we have BTC, ETH, and USDT on the market. As a complete ecosystem, you must have both and Ontology has provided them as the underlying support.

By the decoupling of the token (ONT) and the gas (ONG), Ontology alleviates the violent fluctuations of the original asset’s value to the friction fee. Forming a high circulation rate of ONG through the large blockchain applications can, on the one hand, motivate higher ONT staking, and on the other hand, gives ONG a stable increase in value by setting the unbinding curve for ONG. As the ONG’s increase in value is stabilized, the consensus node can independently lower the gas fees to ensure the stability of the gas cost in practice.

Ontology uses the VBFT consensus algorithm, which can be considered a PoS algorithm. Therefore, in the Ontology system, the three types of tokens, including a governance token, a security token, and a utility token, are all necessary. Ontology adopts ONT as the governance token and ONG as the utility token. Through this, Ontology is able to integrate stable digital currency and has launched the stable coin, PAX, on its blockchain.

The Ontology dual-token design uses ONT for staking and ONG as gas. In the Ontology infrastructure design, ONT is used as the staking tool, and the time cost of staking and the operating costs of the nodes are considered to be inputs and ONG is distributed as revenues. ONG is the utility token used as a value anchoring tool for on-chain applications.

Find out more about our dual-token model below.

3. Why does Ontology provide cross-chain?

In the design of blockchain, the governance model is the most basic requirement. Each chain can only apply one governance model and different governance requirements will form different chains. The application on the blockchain focuses on the business itself, which is not sensitive to the governance model. The same businesses or services can be uniformly provided in different governance models. Therefore, even blockchains with the same technical architecture need to support cross-chain protocols, which is cross-chain for homogeneous chains.

Cross-chain technology is the key to realizing cross-chain collaboration and the Internet of value. Simply put, cross-chain technology is a protocol that allows two blockchains to communicate with each other.

Based on the governance model, the public chain needs to consider the design of the economic model, which is token economics. Different chains have different crypto assets and demand for asset exchange and cryptocurrency use. This is the design of cross-chain for heterogeneous chains.

There are already some cross-chain projects on the market, such as Cosmos, Polka, etc. Corresponding to cross-chain itself, as a business, there is cost. In order to cover this cost, it has its own fee-charging model design. However, cross-chain, as an independent project requires the design of economic models. Therefore, in the actual cross-chain transaction, the calculation of complex crypto asset value conversion is involved. These cross-chain projects are not focused on service landing but on the exchange of different assets. So it is necessary to find more business scenarios.

To improve the interoperability between blockchains and their value exchange, Ontology has proposed a lightweight, low-coupling, safe, and reliable multichain system and cross-chain solution. The solution uses the Ontology blockchain as the main chain, and supports both homogeneous side-chains and heterogeneous side-chains, and allows interaction between the main chain and side-chains, and also between side-chains. When blockchains of different structures need to interact, dApps can realize this by invoking the cross-chain management contract.

Find out more about cross-chain below.

4. Why does Ontology provide sharding?

The governance model, economic model, and network assumptions of each chain determine the design of the chain consensus algorithm. The consensus algorithm determines the performance of the chain, which is often referred to as the “Impossible Triangle”.

The essence of sharding is a solution to extend throughput on the network. The core of sharding is to comply with the scalability solution to the unified governance model. Each shard has certain functions including the collaborative scalability amongst different shards. It’s not about the speed of the shard, but about meeting the business performance requirements for each shard.

As each shard has different functions, sharding is, therefore, suitable for different services. The design proposal of Ontology is to customize and optimize the sharding and cross-shard according to business requirements. Some business-specific technical modules can also be adapted to different shards, including Layer2, Oracle, TEE, etc., to form a framework for business solutions.

Ontology is committed to creating a componentized, freely configurable, cross-chain supporting high performance, scalable blockchain infrastructure, which makes deploying and calling decentralized applications much easier.

The Ontology Sharding supports the following features:

- Multi-layer sharding network structure

- Sharding solution based on smart contract

- Cross-shard message communication between smart contracts

- Cross-shard atomic call

Find out more about sharding below.

5. Why does Ontology use NEO VM and Wasm VM?

Different virtual machines serve different business scenarios. You can use NEO VM for light-weight asset transactions and Wasm VM for more complicated business scenarios. With the support of Wasm VM, Ontology can easily expand its business scenarios in the future.

The Ontology Wasm Virtual Machine runs in a sandboxed environment and uses the open-sourced Wagon project as the interpretation engine for Wasm. Based on Wagon, the Ontology Wasm blocks the types and methods related to floating-point numbers and added fee calculation.

Ontology Wasm advantages include:

- C++ standard support

- Rust support

- Library support

- Multi-language support

Find out more about Ontology Wasm below.

6. Why did you choose to name the company Ontology?

There are two main reasons:

1. Philosophically, Ontology is the philosophical study of being, a metaphysical branch which studies the truth of the world in ideals;

2. Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposes the concept of the Semantic Web, using a technique called Ontology that provides a complete protocol and framework for the discovery and use of potential knowledge.

Blockchain technology is suitable for high-value businesses, such as finance. Information is also another asset and has more application scenarios, which requires a large amount of technology to support it. Therefore, we chose Ontology because it’s equally about utilizing existing technology and innovating new ways to move forward.

7. Why does Ontology consider ONT ID its main feature?

The basic benefits provided by blockchain are traceability and immutability, while the corresponding cost is a high operating cost. Blockchain projects aim to solve more business scenarios with blockchain technology.

Users use the data generated by centralized services. Traditional Internet provides services at a free or low price in exchange for user data. The value of the data becomes a profit point for Internet applications. However, users do not control the usage of their data.

What ONT ID provides is a self-sovereign identity framework, supporting data ownership authentication and tracing. ONT ID helps users ensure the privacy and security of their data, giving users full control over their own identity and personal data and returning the profits of data back to those who own it, users.

Compared to existing internet-based digital identity systems, ONT ID addresses a number of the pain points observed in traditional ID systems. For example, some of the pain points include lack of individual role, data oligopoly, fragmented sources of trust, and difficulty in achieving accuracy in identity verification, in identifying and managing IoT, in assessing reputation comprehensively, and in tracing content copyrights.

ONT ID is an identity framework based on a decentralized identification protocol using blockchain and cryptographic technology, which is able to instantly identify and connect people, assets, things, and affairs. DDXF is the distributed data exchange framework. By using DDXF, you can apply the mapping to cross-system information interaction and delivery, thus using the tamper-proof and traceable blockchain technology to realize multi-system data interoperability.

On an infrastructure level, the sharding framework enables the same governance models to meet various independent business requirements; the multi-chain solution enables assets on other blockchain platforms to be used in the Ontology ecosystem.

ONT ID and DDXF constitute a complete industry solution by Ontology for tradition Internet services, including the distributed transformation of accounts system, the tracing, and authentication of information system data and further providing data interoperability cross system.

8. What is the next phase of Ontology?

Like other blockchain platforms, we will continue to explore more blockchain scenarios, provide more important functions, and continue to be an open platform.

Ontology is aimed at the smooth blockchain transformation of business applications. It can be very challenging to explore if real businesses are suitable for blockchain transformation. In addition to the financial sector, Ontology is in contact with many traditional businesses, analyzing their pain points and providing solutions for them. As we all know, this takes some time. We hope that in 2020, with the support of Ontology technology, there will be more distributed business applications in 5 to 10 different industries and with various partners.

Furthermore, we are also working on enabling user-controlled data to be used in interconnected business scenarios, forming high-value knowledge use.

So there you go! Those are 8 questions and their answers directly from our Senior Architecture Experts, Edmond CONG and Ning HU. We hope you all enjoyed our TechAMA and we want to say a big thank you to all those who participated. Adding to that, we hope that this opportunity has allowed us to clear up some of your biggest questions about Ontology.



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