OST Project Update | June 2018
Our vision at OST, “Open Simple Token,” is to be the essential technology fabric that enables the decentralized web. Our strategy is to build shoulder-to-shoulder with the blockchain community and with businesses, as we create the tools and services required to bring the benefits of blockchain to the mainstream.
OST is built on the OpenST protocol which provides for creating Branded Tokens on open scalable sidechains, as a viable solution for scaling Ethereum to internet-grade transaction volumes. Over the past month we made tremendous progress on many fronts, including:
- Enhancements to the OpenST protocol
- Work on “OpenST Mosaic” — a method to ensure economic finality of Branded Token transactions on the OpenST sidechains
- Signing additional partners to build on OST, including the LGBT Foundation and FinComEco
- Holding a highly successful OST alpha II challenge wherein 73 development teams from around the globe integrated OST-powered branded tokens into their applications.
In this month’s update we provide a summary of many of the recent developments at OST as well as a detailed look into what our teams are currently working on.
This update covers the following topics:
- New team members
- New Partner Companies
- Product updates
- OpenST Protocol
- OST KIT Releases
- OST KYC
- OST Wallet
- Alpha II & III
- Blockchain Demo Day in Berlin [event canceled by hosts]
- In case you missed it
Please note: As always, all dates provided are directional and subject to change based on business requirements and macroeconomic conditions. While we intend to provide the community with detailed and highly transparent updates, information on some projects may be withheld due to confidentiality agreements or competitive market dynamics.
New team members
Now counting almost 60 blockchain enthusiasts, Team OST is thrilled to welcome Anagha Murtarkar, Dhananjay Patil, Shlok Gilda, and Tejas Sangani, our latest Back-end Software Engineers, and Shraddha Patil, Front-end Software Engineer — all recent graduates from the Pune Institute of Computer Technology!
We are also excited to have Aman Pruthi join our team in India as a DevOps Engineer, bringing with him 3+ years of experience.
Shoutouts to Gulshan Vasnani and Mohit Anand: Gulshan is joining the Protocol team in Pune as a Blockchain Developer, and Mohit recently started as our Director of Blockchain Strategy Consulting in Berlin. The Blockchain Strategy Consulting team helps Partner Companies integrating their products with OST technology, and it also guides our partners through different tokenization models to help meet their business goals.
We are still on the lookout for new team members in Berlin, Pune and New York — so if you’re passionate about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and the promises OST technology holds: APPLY TODAY!
New Partner Companies
We recently announced two brand new Partner Companies, both working hard to make the world a better and fairer place for all.
GMEX Group / Block Commodities / FinComEco
This collaboration facilitates the launch of a token-based ecosystem which will enable sub-Saharan farmers to deploy the profits from the sale of their surplus crops in the wider economy by being rewarded in FACES (Feed Africa Commodities Eco-System) tokens powered by OST technology and the OST token.
The utility OST tokens enable consumer transactions to become part of the FinComEco and Block Commodities supply-to-demand value chain, which helps facilitate a sustainable and increasing improvement in the sophistication and living standards of smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
— Hirander Misra, Chairman of GMEX Group and CEO of FinComEco
Powered by OST technology, the LGBT Foundation will launch “LGBT Token” in cooperation with Hornet Networks, one of the largest social networks for gay men with more than 25 million members globally, and Revry, the LGBT answer to Netflix, reaching 70 million homes in more than 100 countries.
We’re saving a ton of time, money and technical resources by teaming up with OST rather than pursuing our own ICO; allowing us to go to market faster, safer and fully compliant with financial regulations.
— Christof Wittig, President of the LGBT Foundation & CEO of Hornet Networks.
The OpenST protocol is the foundation of the OST project and it also defines our vision: To be the essential technology fabric that enables the decentralized web. The OpenST protocol facilitates the creation of Branded Tokens on open scalable side blockchains, enabling mainstream brands to have their own crypto-backed token economies with Internet-grade transaction volumes. Specifically, the protocol allows for the staking of OST on the value chain, Ethereum, and the minting of ERC20 tokens of equivalent value on OpenST sidechains.
As a reminder, here’s a brief history of the work we did on the OpenST protocol:
- v0.9.1 introduced session key management, proof of stake validators, and specifications for open validation and OpenST block rewards.
- v0.9.2 improved usability to facilitate application by the OpenST-Platform and other services. Additionally, it increased test coverage, with additional unit and integration tests, and added continuous integration with Travis CI.
- v0.9.3 marked the introduction of OpenST Mosaic, which will essentially improve the speed and functionality of the OpenST protocol by cutting the processing time of transactions on par with internet-grade transaction volumes. You’ll find more on our recent work on OpenST Mosaic below.
- v0.9.4 will focus on improving end-user experience, a crucial element to support mass adoption of cryptocurrency and tokenized economies. To handle key management for users and for application developers cleanly, OpenST 0.9.4 will introduce token holder smart contracts for end-users. Branded Tokens will be minted into, and owned by, each end-users’ token holder contract. Every end-user will be the owner of the contract, and the owner of their Branded Tokens.
With OpenST Mosaic we enable economic finality of transactions on OpenST utility blockchains (with Proof of Stake). This is a cornerstone technology for OpenST that contributes back to the Ethereum ecosystem with a new tool to scale and compute more efficiently on Ethereum mainnet. OpenST Mosaic rewards a decentralized network of sealers with transaction fees (in $OST tokens) for securing Branded Token transfers and transactions on the OpenST utility chains. Sealing represents the consensus algorithm for a blockchain.
For OpenST 0.9.3, and in preparation of v0.9.4, our goal was to use internal Proofs of Concept (POCs) for OpenST Mosaic to validate our design and specifications for this approach to securing value staked in one blockchain for its utility representation in a separate blockchain:
The Proof POC was designed to validate Ethereum’s “Patricia trie proofs” in smart contracts which is a technical part that goes into finalizing the OpenST protocol. We want to take a moment to express our gratitude for the many open-source projects out there for generating, verifying and parsing Merkle Patricia proofs, which allowed us to complete this POC much faster than if we were to do it all by ourselves!
Using the data from the Proof POC, the OpenST protocol contracts are being refactored and restructured to ease the burden of providing and confirming such proofs.
The Game POC forms the foundation for OpenST Mosaic to interact with OpenST and was designed to test the OpenST Mosaic incentive games hypothesis. Findings will be integrated into existing protocol smart contracts for both the value and utility chains.
The Gateway POC was designed to prepare the OpenST implementation for protocol upgrade capabilities in OpenST 0.9.4 by further decentralizing its staking and minting capacities. This POC has been completed but still needs further testing which we are currently working on. We are incorporating the work of the Gateway POC into the protocol, improving the robustness of the code, and adding more test cases. We will use the findings from the Gateway POC to stake value through Gateway contracts, rather than directly with the protocol contract.
In this new structure, the Gateway contract for a Branded Token will serve the role of staking account, rather than an external account. This adjustment to the architecture splits staking for a branded token into request stake and accept or reject request functions in the Gateway contract; this extends the ability to stake to any account that meets policy objectives that can be administered off-chain (e.g. KYC validations) without extending access to the private key for the branded token’s staking account.
Whereas implementing the work and findings of the Proof and Gateway POCs represents the logical completion of the OpenST Protocol, completion of the Game POC leading to Mosaic will enable us to achieve our decentralization vision by decreasing our role as the central trust authority
Outside of our POC completion, we have brought our contracts in line with Solidity v0.4.23 which brings, among other enhancements, the ability to provide a “reason” when a transaction fails; this will not only help testing, but also may eventually be useful for debugging at runtime.
Certain protocol functions have been updated to employ hashlocks, which increases the autonomy of protocol participants and will support improvement of KIT operations, by making it so that the accounts that initiate and complete certain processes do not necessarily need to be the same or identified.
OST KIT Releases
All the OST KIT API’s developed thus far are now fully available with solutions coded in PHP and Java, thanks to our latest SDK updates. Here are the Github repositories for both SDKs
OST KIT PHP SDK: https://github.com/OpenSTFoundation/ost-sdk-php/tree/V1.0.0
OST KIT Java SDK: https://github.com/OpenSTFoundation/ost-sdk-java/tree/v1.0.0
As a quick reminder, our Developer portal is also a helpful resource to get started with the PHP and Java SDKs and contains our official Quick Start Guides for both.
We worked hard to make sure our Know Your Customer / Anti Money Laundering solution was fully compliant with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) since the regulation went into effect on
May 25th this year. End-users who shared their personal data with companies using OST KYC will have the option to request the deletion of their personal data.
To optimize the workings of our solution, we have been working on refactoring the code base, marking the release of OST KYC 1.2.
As announced in last month’s update, we developed ways for OST KYC to use facial recognition and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to verify identity details with the data submitted by users. We are pleased to announce that both recognition features will be released by the end of June 2018.
Update 11 July: Release of both recognition features got moved to July 2018.
It’s worth mentioning that it’s always been the plan for OST KYC to become an integral part of OST KIT rather than a standalone product. This will help our Partner Companies to build tokenized economies that are fully compliant with financial regulations.
One of the important problems to solve in bringing blockchain technology to mainstream consumers is enabling simpler and more consumer-friendly wallets. As OST enables projects like Unsplash and LGBT Token to issue their own branded tokens on side blockchains, we need to develop wallets that can hold branded tokens within our partner companies’ apps as well as across OST-powered branded token economies.
We are thus working on two versions of wallets:
- A white-labeled wallet that can be embedded within our partner companies’ apps and services. e.g. the Unsplash wallet.
- A standalone OST Wallet that can hold branded tokens and OST and other crypto currencies.
First, we are working on the embedded wallet, to enable end-users of our partner companies’ apps to better view and understand their token balances and transactions within the tokenized economies of our Partner Companies.
This is enabled by the Balance and Transaction Ledger APIs, which are currently under development
- The Balance API, a lightweight version of the current Users API, allows OST Partner Companies to embed a simplified, current token balance overview for its end-users.
- The Transaction Ledger API provides our Partner Companies with ways to integrate a transaction overview dashboard for its end-users.
We aim to release these APIs in early July, as the major new features for the OST KIT Alpha III challenge. This will enable OST KIT Alpha III development teams to design and integrate branded token wallets into their solutions.
We’ll then turn to OST Wallet, a standalone wallet for transacting within and across OST-powered Branded Token economies. OST Wallet will also enable end-users to move their earned tokens to another wallet, or to exchange them for OST and eventually Ether or any other tradeable asset. Application sessions can be authorized and revoked from the wallet, and all interactions are securely managed by end-users’ token holder smart contract.
Alpha II & III
OST KIT⍺ Phase II is an opportunity for developers to build a Proof Of Concept (POC) integration between their website, app or platform and the OST KIT blockchain toolkit. These POCs allow us to build and iterate the OST technology together with the OST community, resulting in a global force that’s pushing the OST project forward.
OST KIT⍺ Phase II was concluded on 24 May, with a grace period of one extra week for developer teams that wanted to make use of our latest OST KIT PHP APIs. Phase II resulted in an amazing collection of unique use cases by teams from all across the globe, providing the OST team with a wealth of learnings and insights!
The infographic below represents the impressive diversity of all the OST KIT⍺ Phase II Proofs of Concept:
We published the winners for the 5 additional reward categories on our blog last week — don’t forget to check out all the 60+ successful integrations on our Challenges page!
All Alpha II developer teams that successfully created an integration with OST KITa have been notified and will receive the first distribution of reward tokens in the first half of July, followed by 11 more monthly distributions, concluding in June 2019.
We’ll kick off our OST KIT⍺ Phase III program in July, and we’ll be sharing more information about the rules and challenges in an upcoming blog post. Be the first to know when the OST KIT Alpha III program is open for applications: Sign up now to stay up to date >
In case you missed it
We recently hosted a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on YouTube with our CEO Jason Goldberg and Chief Blockchain Strategist Benjamin Bollen fielding many interesting questions from the community. You can find the full video recording on our YouTube Channel.
We are also publishing all questions answered on camera in a series of blog posts. Jason kicked the series off, elaborating on the greater vision behind the OST project and how we’ll go about achieving our goals. Our team has also answered all of the questions asked via our AMA subReddit.
Keep it coming
That’s all, folks! Thanks for sticking with us to the end. Like what you see? Please share with others that you think would be interested in keeping up with OST. And please share feedback! Your feedback is the engine driving the OST project forward. Tweet to us on Twitter, tag us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube, work with us on Github, subscribe to our Reddit and join the conversation on Telegram.
OST is building the complete blockchain toolkit for business.
Our ambition is to be the blockchain technology partner of choice for businesses of all sizes and levels of technical sophistication, enabling any business to create, launch, and manage their own branded digital token economy powered by OpenST protocols and OST blockchain management software. The OpenST protocol enables companies to launch branded token economies on highly scalable, open, cryptographically auditable side blockchains. OST is actively investing in an ecosystem of developers and apps built on OST, to help drive requirements from actual use cases.