Umbrella Network AMA Recap W/ PlayMining Community
Umbrella Network’s President, John Chen, and Joel Bergeron, Umbrella Network’s Strategic Partnerships and Business Development Manager were recently invited for an AMA by the PlayMining community to answer questions from the community.
AMA w/PlayMining Community || Friday, 3rd December 2021 |
Time: 2:00 PM UTC
Umbrella is a scalable, community-owned oracle that securely brings external data on-chain. It is the first decentralized oracle service to empower the community with the scale and security modern DeFi applications require.
The transcript is almost entirely in its original AMA form, mildly edited for punctuation and readability only.
*** AMA Starts ***
Q1.So here is the first basic question!
Could you please introduce yourself to us as well as Umbrella Network?
JOHN CHEN: Yes sure, my name is John Chen, and I’m the President of Umbrella Network.
I’ve been an investor in the crypto space since 2017. I joined Umbrella at the end of 2020, a little after the project launched and I currently focus on overseeing all aspects of the project, ensuring we are delivering against our roadmap, as well as managing the growth of our ecosystem and community. I am currently based in the US, just moved back after spending 6 years in Singapore.
Umbrella Network is a layer 2, decentralized, community-owned data oracle. Like all oracles, we bring off-chain data on-chain so smart contracts and apps can access it. Almost all smart contracts and dApps need data to run and be useful applications.
Oracles are the critical component that provides that data. For many applications, they are only as good as the data they are provided. Imagine if a DeFi application provided the wrong financial pricing data, or a gaming app didn’t properly give random outcomes to players but instead was favoring certain results, nobody would trust/use it.
So, while it’s critical to get the right data on-chain to smart contracts, one of the current challenges is that it is expensive to get data at scale on-chain.
JOEL BERGERON: Hi everyone, my name is Joel….I am the Strategic Partnerships and Business Development Manager at Umbrella Network. I am a Canadian, living in Portugal! I’ve been in the blockchain space since 2015…
Back then, I was living and working in Bali, Indonesia consulting for technology startups before the digital nomad movement…was even a thing.
That’s where I watched a demo that would change my life forever.
Two Indonesian rice farmers who had never had a bank account, traded six months’ worth of rice crop in Bitcoin…using just their cell phones.
All I could think while sitting in complete shock and awe was…THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD!!! 🚀
I help Umbrella Network in two exciting ways:
1) To go out into the world and find the important data that is needed to fuel smart contracts and help people build disruptive blockchain solutions. Everything from crypto pricing data, renewable energy data, gaming, and sports to name a few.
2) I then can go find great companies and developers who want to use this data to help change the world through blockchain technologies.
So I will go for another important question!
Q2: I want to know some advantages of Umbrella Network. Could you share with me a few special advantages of your Umbrella Network?
JOHN CHEN: Umbrella Network’s main value proposition is our ability to deliver data, at scale and securely onto the blockchain at incredibly low costs. The main difference, and advantage, of Umbrella Network compared to other oracles in the ecosystem is our ability to aggregate data via a Layer 2 solution using Merkle trees.
This allows us to aggregate thousands of data points, and potentially hundreds of thousands, to the blockchain in a single transaction, whereas other oracles can only bring one data point per transaction.
This advantage allows us to offer data at a significantly lower cost than any other oracle on the market. It also gives us the ability to offer more data than anyone else as well.
So whether it’s the price of both BTC/USD and ETH/USDT, or the entire S&P 500, all of it is aggregated and put on-chain at once. This leads to massive cost savings, is much faster, and is more secure.
While most other oracles offer a few hundred data points at most, we currently offer around 2,000 data pairs, right now all for free. We plan to have over 10,000 data pairs available for applications to use.
So another important question to be asked!!
Are you ready??? 🤗🤗
Q3: How do you differentiate Umbrella Network from competitors such as Chainlink? 🤗
JOEL BERGERON: Great question.💪 So like we touched upon earlier, Umbrella differs from other oracle projects on several fronts, with the main one being that we have the ability to aggregate data, which we do via a Layer 2 solution using Merkle Trees.
This allows us to bring thousands of data points to the blockchain in a single transaction, whereas other oracles like Chainlink only bring one data point at a time per transaction. This allows us to offer data at a much larger scale, more frequently, and at a significantly lower cost than Chainlink. ✅
👉 One other major differentiator is the fact that we are architected to be more decentralized. While Chainlink is the current dominant player in the oracle market with a great team, fantastic marketing, and a clear first-mover advantage — they are sometimes seen as a more centralized oracle.
👉 That’s because they essentially operate under a Proof of Authority consensus, simply due to the fact that the senior team there has the final say as to who can be a validator in their network. This is in some ways due to the fact that it is rather costly for Chainlink to bring data on-chain. So only very large corporate/professional validators can operate on their network.
We are more decentralized because we are able to allow almost anyone from the community to become a validator. We operate under a delegated Proof Of Stake consensus, which is far more democratic and decentralized and we can allow almost anyone in the community to be a validator because of the incredibly low costs to be a node operator. Operating a node for some of the other oracles could cost 50–100x more in comparison.
Q4. Could you explain to us step by step how users can order the existing products on your platform and receive the delivery? and if you can, indicate the duration of the delivery and each of the requirements that users will have to meet for it.
JOHN CHEN: We are an oracle, so we provide various types of data feeds to our users. Those data feeds are currently available on 4 chains, Ethereum, BSC, Polygon, and Avalanche. With more chains being added constantly, we will be rolling out support for Solana, Cardano, Arbitrum, several parachains on Polkadot, and more later this year.
As mentioned earlier, we currently offer over 2,000 data pairs, from major cryptocurrency pricing pairs like ETH/USD and BTC/USDT to mid and small-sized project tokens, stocks & commodities, options pricing data, and volatility metrics, to a random number generator to provide verifiable randomness.
We can pretty much bring almost any data off-chain on-chain. Currently, we are working with various partners to bring on more types of data such as weather, sports data, energy data, real estate, private assets, travel data, and much more, onto the chain. Our data is updated very frequently, in some cases as frequently as every 20 seconds, with the potential to update even more frequently, depending on business need and the chain that it’s on, making it accessible any time, almost instantaneously.
Because we are a layer 2 solution, we can also provide a lot of custom solutions including complex off chain computations, before putting the data on chain, so there is a lot of versatility on how we can work with various partners and their data needs.
You can bring lots of types of data as well as volume and you will increase to support lots of chains! That’s a wonderful vision!!
Excited to hear that and it’s really nice
JOHN CHEN: Our goal is to try to bring as much data as possible on-chain, to help further support innovative projects such as yourselves!
Q5: What is the difference between Layer2 and First Class, and what are the use cases for Layer2 Oracle?
JOEL BERGERON: ✅ We currently offer our data feeds in 2 types, FCD and L2D. First-Class Data are data price feeds that we don’t aggregate and write directly to our smart contracts, that anyone can look up and pull. This type of data will always be free from us.
👉 This is essentially the data that other oracles currently offer, the major price pairs like BTC/USD, ETH/USDT, etc. We currently offer around 70–80 price pairs as FCD.
We will never charge for this. Our L2D is the data that we aggregate before putting it on-chain. This contains the majority of our data feeds, which is currently around 2,000 and growing rapidly. For new partners, we can create new data feeds usually as L2D, but it can also be as FCD based on partner needs.
The use cases for L2 data are almost endless.
👉 Companies are choosing Umbrella to bring larger and more complex data sets on-chain — to help revolutionize their business.
Industries like sports, renewable energy, healthcare, insurance, IoT, track & trace, and gaming come to us when looking to bring their business-critical data onto the blockchain.
Q6 : How important is the community to your project? and How can we collaborate or help share the developments of the project?
JOHN CHEN: We are a community-owned project, so yes the community is incredibly important to us. It’s vital to keep the community intact, engaged, and informed.
For our project’s development, we currently have a Community Council, which are select members from the community that serves on a governance board, that helps with overseeing our community ambassador program and that is now taking on various governance functions for the project and as part of our transition to becoming a DAO, we recently launched a governance portal as well as a voting platform, so the community can now discuss and submit proposals for the improvement of Umbrella, and subsequently vote on those proposals. So anyone who is a token holder in our community can help to influence the future of Umbrella.
Furthermore, as a community-owned project, the majority of our token allocation, roughly 60%, is allocated to our community, which includes our token holders, validators, partners, and in the form of rewards given out to token holders who stake in our programs.
Another important question 🤗
Q7: Please tell us about the goals you want to achieve this year? 🚀
JOEL BERGERON: 👉 One of the key goals we are looking to achieve this year is market adoption. We spent a lot of time last year getting our product onto the mainnet, going live on 4 major chains, and rolling out a lot of various product features.
✅ We announced over 50 partnerships as we tried to build out our ecosystem. Now our major focus is on getting projects to start using our oracles and data feeds. Even if a project has the great tech, it’s meaningless if there is no usage.
So we are spending a lot of time right now integrating with some of the partnerships we announced last year, as well as working with new partners such as DEAPcoin / Play Mining.
JOHN CHEN: We are also working on adding more data feeds and data partners. Rolling out some more product features to enhance our tech and user experience, and also focusing on building more custom solutions across various market segments, with a particular focus on some high growth areas like blockchain gaming, Gamefi, and the metaverse, as well as a continued focus on DeFi.
Lots of stuff happening at Umbrella, so look out for lots of great news and announcements in the coming months ahead!!
PART TWO: LIVE SESSION
Q1. Did you consider community feedback/requests during the creation of your product in order to expand on fresh ideas for your project? Many projects fail because the target audience and clients are not understood. So I’d like to know who your ideal consumer is for your product?
JOHN CHEN: As a community- project, we are always listening to our community, and as we move more towards being a DAO, this will only increase. Past feedback from the community has led us to add new features and functionality which affected how we have developed our roadmap and what to prioritize.
Now that we have rolled out a governance portal, we expect even more engagement from the community in the future.
Q2. Marketing is a central element for every project so that everyone knows the potential that a project can bring is vital to achieving the goals set. What is your strategy to attract new users and Investors to your platform and keep them long-term?
JOHN CHEN: We are a product-focused, long-term project. We are just moving into the second year of the project, so things are still at an early stage.
In terms of marketing, we believe that the most important aspect right now is
1) Successful achievement of our roadmap so that proper product features and functionality is rolled out and
2) Market adoption so that we have projects using our data feeds. Once we have these, we can then leverage our various marketing channels across PR, partners, media channels, influencers, and our own community to get broader market exposure. The goal here is to build real value for our partners, which will translate into real value for our community.
Q3. @Joel_UMB Can you list 1–3 killer features of this project that make it ahead of its competitors? What is the competitive advantage your project has that you feel most confident about?
JOEL BERGERON: Great one!
1) Bring Custom Data On-Chain Easily. Our architecture allows us to bring new data, from almost any source on-chain easily and at an extremely low cost.
2) The Merkle Tree Innovation.
Here to revolutionize your business and the entire oracle ecosystem.
The Problem with Layer-1 Data Feeds and the current oracle system is that whenever data is requested, the oracle incurs a transaction fee and passes it to the dApp/smart contract.
Umbrella leverages Merkle trees to anchor data to Layer-1 Network to ensure that the data points Umbrella provides are cryptographically verifiable and the oracle itself is highly scalable.
Allowing thousands of data pairs to be bundled and committed into a single transaction and for a single fee.
3) -Advanced Options Pricing
Providing you with the same toolkit as Wall Street level options pricing, here to power DeFi.
Options and derivatives trading in cryptocurrencies has been ineffective due to a lack of quality data — the Implied Volatility (IV) curves are so haphazard that the trading activity is oftentimes more gambling than probabilistic mathematics.
By querying prices across several price discovery mechanisms, and using Time Weighted Average Pricing (TWAP) methodology, we’ve been able to make the IV curve as smooth as that of any S&P 500 index.
Q4. PARTNERS are the most important that strengthen the ecosystems of all projects. Could you tell us about your project partners and the partnership strategy it has adopted?
JOHN CHEN: Yes agree. For us, partners mean market adoption and data usage. It means cross-marketing opportunities between communities. It means the overall growth of our ecosystem. Last year, we announced over 50 partnerships.
Some of those are now starting to integrate, and this year, we will be ramping up partnerships even more, as we aggressively look to grow across multiple market segments, and grow both our partners that will be using our data, as well as our data vendors in terms of the types of data and solutions that we will be offering.
Q5. Can you share your social media links so we can keep ourselves updated?
JOEL BERGERON: Sure!
Thank you so much for spending time with our community dear @Joel_UMB @chen225
Any last words for the #DEAPcoin community? 🤗❤
JOEL BERGERON: Stay tuned for more exciting things to come with this amazing partnership! ✅ We are just getting started!
JOHN CHEN: Thanks for having us on to share about Umbrella. it’s been fun! We look forward to working with DEAPcoin more and strengthening our relationship!
About Umbrella Network
Umbrella Network is a scalable, cost-efficient, and community-owned oracle for the DeFi and blockchain community. Its Layer 2 technology uses the latest advances in Merkle tree technology to write multiple data points on a single on-chain transaction, so it allows for batching data to smart contracts accurately, securely, and inexpensively.
Umbrella believes a community-owned oracle is not only possible but essential to creating a truly decentralized financial system.
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