Umbrella Network AMA w/ CryptoTiTans: Recap
Umbrella Network’s Head of Marketing, John Chen, was recently invited for an AMA by CryptoTiTans to answer questions from the community.
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. Can you please introduce yourself?
Yes sure, my name is John Chen, and I’m the Head of Marketing for Umbrella Network. I joined Umbrella at the end of last year and currently focus on marketing, community, and pretty much anything outside of actual engineering. I have an entrepreneurial background, having started up several businesses across consumer goods, digital media, and marketing. Just prior to Umbrella, I was running a digital media and marketing agency in Asia. I’m originally from the New York area, but I moved out to Singapore about 6 years ago, which is where I live today.
Q2. Can you please introduce Umbrella Network?
Umbrella Network is a decentralized layer-2 data oracle service. So like all oracles, we bring data, usually off-chain data, onto the blockchain. We give dApp developers access to rich and comprehensive data at the lowest price point and highest scalability.
What makes us different from all the other oracles out there, including Chainlink and Band, is that we aggregate our data before bringing it on-chain. Other oracles have to bring one piece of data at a time. So if a dApp needs the price of both BTC/USD and ETH/USDT every single minute, then a typical oracle would have to write twice to the chain every minute, once for every data pair. Whereas with Umbrella, we are able to aggregate data together, thousands of pieces of data currently, but potentially millions of data points, all at once and write it to the chain. This gives us tremendous advantages in terms of scale, speed, and cost of getting that data to users compared to other oracles.
Q3. What are the advantages of your project?
As mentioned before, our main advantage is our 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 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.
So whether it’s the price of both BTC/USD and ETH/USDT, or the entire S&P 500, all of it is rolled up and put on-chain at once. This leads to massive cost savings, is much faster, and is more secure.
As a result, this gives developers access to a lot more information, at much lower costs, and allows them to offer more complex solutions to their clients — similar to tradFi systems — but decentralized and much more cost-effective.
While most other oracles offer a few hundred data points at most, we currently offer over 1,200 data pairs, all for free right now. And we plan to have over 10,000 data pairs available by the end of this year available for applications to use.
And finally, it’s not just crypto price pairs or even financial data that we can bring on-chain. If there is an API in the real world, chances are we can bring that data. So it could be real-time weather, sports stats, insurance info, real estate pricing, personal health insurance, eCommerce data, you name it. The types of data we can bring on-chain are virtually unlimited.
Q4. Please tell us about the goal you want to achieve this year?
We have several goals set for this year which include:
1) Getting product adoption. This means getting onto Ethereum Mainnet, which is happening the next week, and getting projects to use our data feeds. This means making major partnerships with projects, not just in DeFi or blockchain, but across various sectors, for significant data usage of our oracles
2) Becoming multi-chain interoperable. We believe the future of DeFi and Blockchain lies in cross-chain compatibility, and not just one chain. So we want to be where the applications are, regardless of the chain, where there is the need to access data. We want to be there and be that provider. Our current roadmap has us integrated and supporting 8 chains by Q2 2022, including BSC, ETH, MATIC, SOL, ADA, and AVAX among others.
3) Moving into the enterprise market, we believe there is a massive market opportunity in that segment, which quite frankly dwarfs that of DeFi. Not that we are abandoning DeFi, far from it, as that will continue to be a core focus, but we believe there are multiple sectors that present massive market opportunities that we can work on.
So while there has been considerable progress made in DeFi, and projects bridging traditional chains and decentralized apps, there has not been as much progress in the traditional enterprise market. This is where the need for big data processing is tremendous. And our oracle is well suited for high speed and scalable data processing.
Q5. Every project has a story behind its name. Can you tell us more about your story?
Good question. So we think that an oracle should do more than just move data from one source or multiple sources onto the blockchain. It must also serve as protection by ensuring and securing the data quality and making sure the data isn’t manipulated or corrupted.
We do that with our network of community validators using a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus. That’s what the nodes represent that make up the umbrella frame in our logo.
It’s the community of validators forming our network that protects and ensures data quality. So that’s how we got to Umbrella Network. It’s a network of data nodes, and that of a network of protection for your data.
PART TWO: TWITTER Q&A SESSION:
Q1.One of your main objectives for 2021 is to obtain market adoption and real use case scenarios with applications. Could you comment on what are the main real scenarios you are evaluating for the application and use of Umbrella?
To be honest, the potential is almost endless. Almost every application on the blockchain needs access to data. Any financial application will need access to financial data, and that needs an oracle. The majority of games will need a random number generator, and that is best offered by an oracle. Any application that needs real-world data, whether it is stock quotes, healthcare data, real estate prices, eCommerce data, or even supply chain information, needs an oracle. As more applications move onto the blockchain, the need for various data pairs from oracles will continue to explode.
And quite frankly, the novel use cases for data, some of it we can only imagine today. An Uber can’t really exist yet on the blockchain today because of current limitations, but that will change soon. But all these scenarios are the ones that Umbrella can support because we are able to bring data on-chain at a massive scale and at incredibly affordable costs. It’s something that other oracles today continue to struggle with.
Currently, we are working on many applications, from providing Wall Street level advanced arbitrage-free options pricing models to help further the innovation in derivatives trading in DeFi, to a verifiable random number generator for the gaming sector, to enterprise-grade high throughput transaction processing of corporate client data, just to name a few. And this is just the beginning.
Q2.Umbrella Network highlights and emphasizes bringing BIG DATA to the world of Blockchain. What are actually the main features behind this Big data and how does it solve the data-related issues in the Blockchain world?
This is one of the current challenges in the blockchain ecosystem today. Right now, there doesn’t exist an oracle that can process at the volume, scale, and cost efficiencies that enterprises need for big data level capacity. At least not one that is not being developed by corporations on their own private blockchains.
But we have built something that can handle the high TPS, deliver the high throughput necessary for big data processing, and at proper economies of scale so that we can provide to others at a low enough cost point to implement it without prohibitive costs.
This simply does not exist in the market today. So we look forward to being able to further our entry into the enterprise big data market, which has tremendous potential. Stay tuned for more developments on this front.
Q3. Chainlink is generally the most popular oracle network but the risks and centralization points of it are always talked about. Could you summarize some points where UMBRELLA has better specifications than Chainlink for example? Is Umbrella more decentralized?
Chainlink is the current market leader and dominant player in the Blockchain ecosystem today. It had the first-mover advantage along with the majority market share today. But it is still early in the overall market development, and we believe there is room for several players, though I think they tend to differ in opinion on that.
There are those who maintain that Chainlink has a more centralized structure, effectively having a Proof of Authority consensus, as they have the final say on who can be a validator in their network.
This is in some ways due to their architecture, which makes it rather costly to bring data on-chain, as they, like the majority of oracles in the market today, bring data on-chain one piece of information at a time.
As a result, it is incredibly expensive to run a validator node for chainlink. It’s why the majority of them are their corporate partners or professional validators.
For us, because we are so much more low cost to operate, both in terms of the cost of data that is eventually passed onto the developers who use our data feeds, as well as our community of validators who operate our nodes, it is relatively quite affordable.
Operating a node on chainlink would cost tens of thousands of dollars a month, whereas for us, it is less than $2,000, and that cost continues to drop as our network grows. So we are able to allow almost any member of our community with basic experience running a cloud server, to be able to operate a node, and most importantly, afford to operate a node. This also allows us to be more decentralized.
So in summary, the key point of difference is in our architecture which allows us to aggregate data and leads to all the benefits we have including significantly lower cost of data, much higher scalability, and more decentralization than our peers.
Q4.Can you share with us your tokenomics? How much is the total and circulation supply of your tokens? Will there be a buy-back system or token burning in the future?
So at the center of our project is the $UMB token, which is a utility token used for staking, and will soon be used for governance for our project. And as a community-owned project, a full 60% of our token allocation is reserved for the community, which includes the broader community as well as validators.
More than half of that 60% is reserved for our staking program, which runs for 4 years and is what stakers receive when they stake in our Hadley and Polar Streams. You can find more info about our programs at staking.umb.network.
We have a few staking programs that currently reward anywhere from 80% on our Hadley Stream to over 400% on our Polar stream.
Our max supply is 500MM, with the current circulating supply at around 88MM. We plan on having various mechanisms for reducing the supply including doing potential buybacks and token burns. We will most likely not come close to the theoretical max cap of 500MM. As a community-owned project, down the road, part of that will be decided in conjunction with the community.
More details on our tokenomics can be found here -> https://medium.com/umbrella-network/an-update-on-umbrella-networks-umb-tokenomics-b81030bd699e
And in terms of our token currently, we IDO’d back in February of this year, and we are currently listed on Uniswap, Sushiswap, PancakeSwap for DEX’s, and available on Ascendex, gate.io, and MEXC for CEX. We also have imminent plans for another listing, which we will be announced, so please stay tuned on our announcement channels.
Q5. Do you have any plans to attract non-crypto investors to your project? Because it would be a success for a project to get more investors who are still not in the crypto world. What are your plans to increase awareness around Umbrella in non-crypto space?
We think it’s important to have both crypto investors as well as broader support in our community. We have several plans in place to do that.
One is through broader outreach via press and exposure through non-crypto-based media. But that also means we need to have news and information that is also interesting for the broader public.
One way we believe we can do that is through our work in several areas that have broader public interests, like NFTs and gaming, for instance. Another arises as we enter into the enterprise market.
So as we enter into various industries like gaming, NFTs, digital advertising & media, or the supply chain market, non-crypto investors, including both mainstream and casual investors will start to take note of this.
This, we believe, will build further awareness outside of just the crypto space. This is a long-term strategy that we believe will garner broader support outside of just the crypto investors and enthusiasts, as we continue to expand our capabilities and help to broaden our oracle utility across multiple market segments.
PART THREE: LIVE SESSION:
Q1. Would you explain the economic model of Umbrella Network? You have over 1,200 data pairs available for purchase on your platform, but do you take any fees per purchase? Are there any other ways of investing on your platform aside from buying data?
Currently, we are offering all of our data feeds for free. We offer 1,200 data feeds, more than any other oracle in the market today. But we will have over 10,000 data available before the end of this year.
It is very easy and cost-effective for us to add new data feeds due to our architecture. By next year we will start to charge for our data, but it will be on a SaaS-based model, where we would charge users based on the volume of data that they consume.
So depending on the tier of data usage, they would be charged a monthly fee. Similar to how you would subscribe to your mobile data plan, you pay whatever monthly fee based on the data plan that you have. This is different from all other oracles today, which usually charge by data pair making it significantly more expensive.
About other ways of being involved on our platform aside from buying data, you can become a token holder and stake your tokens to earn fees from the validators doing the consensus, so all token holders would essentially profit share from the network.
Though it won’t go into effect until we roll out our DPoS consensus mechanisms in Q1 of 2022. Currently, you will be able to stake to earn rewards, and this will continue for another 4 years.
Q2. Can you tell us about your project and team’s long-term vision? How big is your team and will you add more to your in the future?
Our overall long-term vision is to drive the cost of data on the blockchain to as close to zero as possible and to be the provider of data for all the applications that need massive volumes of data. Right now that is one of the major problems on the blockchain.
If you compare this to the internet age, we are still in the late 1990s. where there is little data available, and it costs an arm and a leg to get it. As a result, there is a lack of advanced applications being developed because data is expensive and hard to come by.
As a result, there were limited uses for the internet and your mobile phone. We need to get to the age of Wifi and 4G, where data is plentiful and cheap. Now you don’t think twice about your data consumption, and applications have thrived in this environment. Uber, Netflix, Fortnite, etc; those applications would not have existed without the advent of abundant and affordable data.
In terms of our team, we are around 22 members currently, with the engineering team being about 17–18 of that 22, as we are development-heavy. But we are growing rapidly, and looking to hire more blockchain engineers, more marketing, BD, community managers, etc. So if you guys know anyone who’s qualified and interested, please join our community and ask our mods about the opportunities.
Q3. There are investors like me who like to invest in tokens for the long term. Could you please explain why I should buy and hold your token in the long term?
We have very attractive staking programs currently that incentivize long-term token holding. And when our DPoS consensus launches in Q1 of 2022, token holders will be able to participate in the profit-sharing of the data validation when they stake their tokens with elected validators who will be verifying the data.
Additionally, we have been very execution-focused on our project, having set aggressive milestones, and meeting those deadlines. We also have over 40+ partnerships already forged, all within the past 6 months, and we expect many of them to start to integrate after our Ethereum mainnet launch by the 29/30th of this month.
As we begin to roll out additional features, many that are industry-first, and expand to support additional blockchains, our inherent value to the blockchain ecosystem will increase substantially. And finally, one area that has massive potential is our entry into the enterprise big data market, which is currently underserved by blockchain projects and holds immense unlocked value. So we are overall very optimistic about future prospects.
Q4. Umbrella collects data feeds from various sources to calculate the most accurate pricing in the market. But, it also uses the Delegated Proof of Stake consensus model. How does this consensus model help maintain data security? Why use DPoS instead of PoW, PoS, or others?
We chose to use DPoS over PoS or PoW because it is more efficient, less energy-intensive, and more democratic than the rest. Ultimately, as a community-owned project, it made more sense to allow token holders to be able to vote with their tokens and elect/delegate the validators who would be able to represent them in the PoS consensus mechanism.
Q5. Are you working to AUDIT your project, to make it more secure and reliable?
Yes, all of our smart contracts are fully audited by Slowmist. Future enhancements and releases will also be audited. We are an engineering-focused project, so we take code security very seriously.
We are launching our own internal token bridge next week, to bridge between ETH and BSC as we are already live on BSC and will be live on Ethereum by month-end, and that will be audited as well.
It was a pleasure having you here today
Thanks for all these great answers
And thanks for being here
Thanks for having me! I hope it was informative, and please come by and join our telegram group if you guys have any additional questions. Here are some of our socials:
Telegram Community — https://t.me/umbrellanet
Telegram Announcements — https://t.me/umbnetannouncement
Discord — https://discord.gg/G9x4TsHSd7
Twitter — https://twitter.com/umbnetwork
Medium — https://medium.com/umbrella-network
Website — https://umb.network/
Join the discussion on Telegram at https://t.me/umbrellanet