Umbrella Network
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Umbrella Network

Umbrella Network AMA w/ Satoshi Club: Recap

Umbrella Network’s Head of Marketing, John Chen, was recently invited for an AMA by Satoshi Club to answer questions from the community.

Umbrella Network AMA w/Satoshi club

At: Satoshi Club Telegram Channel

On: Wednesday, 15th September 2021 |Time: 3:00 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 ***

PART ONE:

Q1. Let’s start! Introduce yourself, please. How did you get to be involved in crypto & Umbrella?

Please tell us about your position at Umbrella☂️

Yes, sure. My name is John Chen and I’m the Head of Marketing at Umbrella Network. Prior to Umbrella, I was mainly focused on running my own independent digital media and marketing agency based out of Singapore. But I’ve been investing and following the crypto markets since 2017/2018.

Give us a brief introduction to the project. What is the essence of Umbrella Network?

I joined Umbrella back at the end of 2020 when things were just getting started, and I handle marketing, community management, and help with pretty much anything that’s not actual coding and development.

So Umbrella Network is a decentralized, community-owned layer 2 data oracle. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but in essence, we, like all oracles, bring data, usually off-chain data, onto the blockchain.

Q2. Also, we would like to know more about your team. Who is on the project team core?

We are an engineering-heavy team and have a total of about 18 engineers now I believe, and we are still hiring blockchain developers to grow the team, and another 3 or 4 that’s in marketing, operations, and other support areas. The senior core team, led by our founder Sam Kim, has been working together on blockchain projects even before Umbrella, so we have a long and extensive working history.

Q3. How long does it take to develop a project? What plans do you have for the future? And what can we expect from Umbrella Network?

With respect to Umbrella, it started out as an idea back in Q3 of 2020 and started getting legs by the end of that year. Things really started ramping up in early Jan of this year, with the core team and early prototype being developed. We IDO’d back in February this year, and then went live on ethereum testnet in march, followed by BSC mainnet launch in May. So while we are a young project, we have been fortunate to make some decent progress within a fairly short period of 6 months or so.

Q4. Are you a public team or anonymous?

We are a fully public team. You can find bios and profiles of the team on our website umb.network.

Q5. How did you choose the name of the project? And what country is it based in?

Good question. We think an oracle must do more than just moving 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 validators and community members. 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.

We are fully decentralized, so our team is spread out across the US, South America (Brazil, Argentina), Europe (Poland, Ukraine), and Asia (India, Singapore).

A lot of time zones haha.

PART 2: PRE-SELECTED QUESTIONS:

Q1. **Q1 from Telegram User @Jmagsss**

Umbrella Network recently released its updated roadmap which covers plans for the rest of the year. I saw on that roadmap that by November, Umbrella Network will deploy a conversion module that will eventually enable conversion of rUMB to $UMB tokens. However, this doesn’t imply that the rUMB shall become convertible to UMB by that time. The direct conversion of rUMB to UMB tokens is still scheduled to a later date. When can we see the actual and fully functioning user interface/platform where users can convert their rewarded rUMB to the native token $UMB? Also, while waiting for its release, where else can users convert their rUMB to UMB tokens?

So the rUMB tokens are what UMB token holders receive as reward/yield when they stake it on our staking portal. Current APY for staking ranges anywhere between 90% and 400%+ depending on the staking program.

The rUMB that is received will be redeemable on a 1:1 basis for UMB tokens in the future. As of now, the rUMB will convert either by Feb 2022 or earlier if certain achievements/milestones are met on the project. Realistically, we probably expect this to happen at the end of this year, though this isn’t finalized yet. So on the roadmap, we have listed out the actual User Interface that the community will go to with their rUMB to do the conversion.

So the community will be able to see the full UI in November and be able to convert their rUMB probably in December.

And while waiting for the release, it’s possible for holders of rUMB to sell on the secondary market on Uniswap, but it would be at a discount to the value of UMB.

Most people we see choose to HODL.

Could you share the roadmap with our community?

Yes sure, so like I mentioned earlier, we are already live on BSC Mainnet, and we are currently live on ethereum testnet. We will be going live on ETH Mainnet in less than 2 weeks, by the end of September, which is a major inflection point for us, since so many projects, especially in DeFi are there, and we will be looking forward to providing low-cost data to those dApps once we go live.

After this major milestone, we will be continuing to expand onto the other blockchains, and have on our roadmap to integrate and support Polygon in October, Solana in November, Cardano in Q1 2022, and Avalanche and a few parachains on the dot in Q2. So we’ve got an aggressive and ambitious roadmap to support 8 chains by Q2 of next year, as we see the future being multi-chain, and we want to be on as many blockchain ecosystems to support the data needs of developers and their applications as possible.

Wow, that’s really a big target, do you plan to cover all the important chains? Cosmos too?

After we finish the current roadmap, yes. We will be assessing additional chains to integrate and support into. This is only the beginning as we look to become a true multi-chain interoperable oracle.

Besides the chain integrations, we’ve got a ton of other exciting developments as well. From advanced product feature releases to major partnerships and acquisitions that we have planned that we will be sharing with our community in the coming weeks and months. Exciting times!

Q2. From Telegram User @JesusFre1tes

I read on your website that Umbrella’s decentralized nodes are built using Layer 2 Merkle Trees. My question is, by using this technology, how do you solve the clustering of thousands of data pairs into a single transaction, thus differentiating yourself from your competition? Does this technology significantly reduce costs while increasing the scalability of the system?

So that is our key differentiator, that we use Merkle trees which are essentially binary hash trees, to aggregate and store our data. Other oracles in the market today, whether its market leaders like Chainlink, Band, and pretty much everyone else, do things one by one. So if someone wants to get the price of BTC/USD, or the stock price of TSLA, or even the temperature in New York City, each of them is a data point, and would require to be pulled and written onto the blockchain. What we do is aggregate all of the data and write it on the chain all at once. This leads to massive savings in costs, especially given the high gas fees on chains like Ethereum.

That key difference leads to a multitude of advantages, from cost savings to massive ability to scale the data, to be able to refresh data much more frequently, to have a lot more variety of data. All these things become prohibitive when costs are sky-high. So for us, we currently offer 1,200 pairs of data to developers, from cryptocurrency price feeds, to stock prices, stock options, commodities, etc. and we will soon have over 10,000 data pairs available by year-end. As a means of comparison, other leading oracles only offer maybe 100–250 pairs of data today.

And right now, we are actually offering all of our data feeds for free.

You definitely have something to be proud of.

Yeah, we are really excited to continue building.

Well, thank you for the clear answer, would you like to tell us about security? Have you done audits?

Yes, all our contracts are fully audited by Slowmist. We are an engineering and dev heavy project, so that was of utmost priority.

We will be releasing our own token bridge solution in the next week or two, and that’s just finished being audited as well.

Q3 From Telegram User @Cheriemike

The consensus mechanism that Umbrella Network’s blockchain uses is (DPoS) Delegated Proof of Stake algorithm whereby users of the network vote and elect delegates to validate the next block. My question is, what is your reason for using DPoS and not PoS and PoW etc? How can users vote for the delegate they want using DPoS? How many users can participate in the process? What % can a user stake during the DPoS process and with what rewards? Can you also tell us the % allocated to your community that will be responsible for selecting validators, participating in governance, etc?

Okay, lots of questions to unpack. So let’s start with why we went with DPoS. We are a community-owned decentralized project, so we believe for us, going with Delegated Proof of Stake consensus, where the community of token holders is able to elect who to represent them as validators in the consensus process to validate the data, is the most secure and democratic method to allow proper community participation. PoW is not efficient, and standard PoS doesn’t offer the democratic method of voting that we wanted to give the community to elect validators.

UMB token holders will be able to elect, using our UMB utility token, the validators that they want to represent them.

As of today, we have already rolled out our community validator program, which allows people in our community to apply to become a validator. This is a key part of our project, to be as decentralized and community-operated as possible. And a large part of this is again, due to our different architecture, because it is much cheaper to operate the validator nodes due to the lower costs. Other oracles are more centralized because, in some ways, they can’t have anyone run and operate a node. We ran some analysis on some other major oracles, and it would cost upwards of $16,000 a day to operate a node. Hence it is not economically feasible for the average person to run, and that’s why in the end, it goes to a handful of professional validators that have the capital to operate. In our program, community validators can operate for less than $200 a day.

Сould you tell us about your tokenomics btw?

So 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 are getting when they stake in our Hadley and Polar Streams. You can find more info about our programs at staking.umb.network.

More details on our tokenomics can be found here -> https://medium.com/umbrella-network/an-update-on-umbrella-networks-umb-tokenomics-b81030bd699e

Q4 From Telegram User @antoni_azx

Staking is one of the most popular features in the crypto world, however, there is a great risk since users assume full custody of their own assets. Can you tell us then what optimizations your staking system has to reduce the risks? Also, what are the differences between rUMB and UMB in your staking system?

We have 2 main internal staking programs, our Hadley Stream, where users stake their UMB into our staking vault in return for rUMB, which currently yields about 90% APY, and our Polar Stream, where users who have provided liquidity to our ETH-UMB pool on Uniswap would stake their LP tokens in return for rUMB, which currently yields 400%+ APY. Again all of our contracts have been audited and safe. However, as an added precaution, we recently partnered with Uno Re and Polkacover to offer insurance on those staking programs.

so stakers into those programs can now elect to purchase an insurance policy on the UMB that they stake. So in the very unlikely event of some unforeseen black swan event, and their stake gets compromised somehow, they are insured and covered 100%. We are one of the few projects to offer this type of policy to stakers. It will be rolling out soon in October.

In terms of the difference, I think I mentioned this before, UMB is our utility token that really sits at the center of our project that will be used for governance, validator consensus, and currently can be staked as well, while rUMB is the reward token that is given out by our staking programs, and will be redeemable 1:1 for UMB later this year.

Is there a minimum amount of tokens needed to stake?

There is no minimum, nor maximum staking amount. There is no lockup period either.

You can stake however much you want, and withdraw anytime you want.

Where can we buy tokens?

Our token is currently available on DEXs like Uniswap, SushiSwap, Pancakeswap, and on CEX including Ascendex and gate.io.

There will be future listings as well on more major CEX and will be announced when ready.

We will be waiting for the coming announcements, don’t forget to share it with our community.

The next 2 weeks will have a flurry of exciting announcements, so we will be sharing it all with you guys!

Q5 From Telegram User @Highpee

Out of the 500,000,000 tokens that you have, you allocated 33% to Community reward and 5% to marketing/Airdrop. Can you describe your plan and what it has to do with this community reward allocation? Since you already have a 5% token allocated to airdrop, how will this 33% be released to your community, and for how long will it take before the community will start benefiting from it? Also, what will a community member need to join Airdrop marketing events, which you reserve 5%of tokens for?

So that 33% or more than half of the 60% I mentioned earlier, is what is earmarked for our staking programs. UMB token holders, and those who provide liquidity, can stake their respective tokens and earn part of that 33% of 500M over the next 4 years!

That is how it goes back to the community. We want to foster long-term holders and support.

We did a few airdrops at the beginning of the project in Feb and March. More recently, we are doing an airdrop to UMB tokens holders on BSC that will run for another few months. We will be planning more community-focused programs that will use those tokens, as well as some NFT based incentives in October and beyond, so stay tuned!

These are huge numbers🔥🙌

Yeah, we are committed to our community and we are committed to being a truly decentralized oracle with a community-focused, DPoS-based consensus model.

I think your community is very grateful to you for this concern.

We are fortunate to have an amazing, supportive, and welcoming community!

Thanks for the answer. What is your max supply and what is your market cap?

Our max supply is 500M, our current circulating supply is 85.7M, and we have a current market cap of 18.5 Mil.

We are still an early-stage project, so there is a lot of potentials as we deliver on our key milestones.

What deflationary strategy do you have? Some burning token events?

We have done 1 token burn to date, where we took a community vote, and the majority voted to burn 1.5M tokens. We live-streamed the event as well ->

In the future, there may be more of these things if the community decides they want to pursue more deflationary token burns, and it’s possible we may implement other measures to implement deflationary strategies. Again, since we are a community-driven project, there will be various tools at our disposal in the future.

Q6 From Telegram User @Asela1112

Umbrella Network has announced a partnership with IX Swap on the 14th of September & through this partnership, you hope to provide real-world asset data to IX Swap’s liquidity pool & AMMs. Will this Partnership enhance the growing area of Umbrella Network? What kind of privileges will you be able to redeem? Please give us more details on this Strategic partnership with IX Swap? Do you hope to an alliance with more DEXs in the future so that you can provide real-world Asset data through your oracles?

Umbrella Network ecosystem

IX Swap is the latest partnership we announced. We have, to date, announced over 40 partnerships with several projects.

We are excited about the IX Swap partnership because not only will we be looking to provide a variety of pricing data feeds to them from cryptocurrencies and stocks, but also private asset class data. On the backend, we will also be working with them to create these custom data feeds of private asset data, something that isn’t even that readily available in traditional finance. So it will be innovative for a DeFi project to create this type of data for a difficult to price, illiquid asset class. We will be looking forward to the challenge.

And overall, this just continues our strategy to try to partner with and provide data to as many projects as we can. Our collective goal is to drive the cost of data down to as close to zero as possible. Because only then can true innovation happen in the blockchain ecosystem. Right now, it’s like we are in 1995 and the internet is just evolving. Back then, it was super expensive and slow to get data. People were paying hundreds of dollars a month to use a 2400 baud modem to dial-up to the internet, so you could barely do anything but browse some static web pages. But once the bandwidth went up and costs went down, there was an explosion of growth. Nowadays, people take wifi and practically free data for granted. Think of all the amazing things you can do now, from watching movies to playing massive online games, to calling an uber on your phone. A major factor contributing to this is that data became extremely cheap and readily available. We hope to be able to do the same within the blockchain industry.

PART 3: LIVE SESSION

Please share with Satoshi Clubbers useful links before the open chat.

Yes, great! Please come visit and join our community, we are very welcoming and will be happy to share more information and answer more questions. Here are some links:

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/

Q1. I saw that next month you’ll be releasing the Verifiable Random Number Generator which aims to stop the exploitation of bugs in vanilla RNGs and unfairness for the players. So this can be an interesting feature for gamification and other projects. Can you tell the actual use cases of your new generator and on what fields are you seeking to implement it at first?

Yes, good question. This was actually suggested by members of our community. While we had considered releasing a VRNG, it wasn’t initially on our priority list, but when community members brought up a quite practical case to incorporate it sooner, we assessed and added it to our roadmap. And this actually worked out very well because we will have immediate uses for the VRNG as it has many applications, particularly in the gaming sector which is currently seeing explosive growth, and an area that we are aggressively pursuing projects in currently. So definitely look out for developments in this space in October and beyond!

Q2. 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 dominant player in the market, and we have the utmost respect for their team and project, but we have taken a different approach with our oracle design. And while Chainlink has the first-mover advantage and can provide major pricing feeds securely to larger projects, it can be challenging for smaller and mid-sized projects to get their tokens incorporated into their price feeds. Or for that matter, the projects that need large volumes of data, or very frequent amounts of data. In such cases, our oracle network may be more suitable. And in regards to the centralization, yes Chainlink has high operating costs to run a node, which is why the majority of operators are large corporate or professional validators, leading to some claims of centralization. Whereas for us, due to our more optimal cost advantages, it’s much cheaper to run a validator node, so we can extend this to the broader community and be much more decentralized. But all-in-all, we think there is a large enough market opportunity for multiple oracles to exist and thrive in the marketplace.

Q3. Hello🙋‍♂️

@chen225

You categorized the data in two ways called First Class data & Layer 2 data. What are these data categorizations? What is the difference between them? In which manner will it affect Umbrella Network’s Oracle system?

We offer 2 types of data, First-Class Data (FCD) and Layer 2 Data (L2D). The First-class data is what we call the most popular data set and includes major cryptocurrency price pairs. Those price feeds can include price pairs such as BTC/USD or ETH/USDT. Those feeds we will always provide for free and anyone can pull that data from our contracts. L2D is where we aggregate the data into Merkle trees, with most of the processing done on our layer 2 Sidechain. This is where the bulk of our datasets will sit. Right now that is offered for free as well, but sometime next year, we will start to charge for this data. But unlike other oracles that charge per data feed, we will most likely have several pricing models, including a SaaS-based model where we charge a monthly fee to users based on the volumes of data they consume, and we will be many times cheaper than any other oracle in the market.

Q4. Have you developed or are you planning to develop a program for ambassadors so that the project can attract more people?

Yes, we currently have an ambassador program. For those who want to join that community and help spread the good word on Umbrella, and also earn UMB rewards, project swag, and get direct access to the team, you can apply here! -> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdk4QpD8APHBhOpUikqM3rQsdJlLDMfU3tv-Kwq_IRCfeRkXg/viewform

Q5. How can I join the network validator program of Umbrella Network and create my own services?

Currently, we are running our community validator program in cohorts. We already have Cohort 1 and are taking applications for Cohort 2. By next year, we will most likely no longer have cohorts and will be even more open so that almost anyone that has basic experience running a cloud server can operate a node and be a validator. You can apply here -> https://forms.gle/hZD217SdGyT5cV3w7

Q6. From what sources do you obtain the data?

How do you ensure that the data is accurate?

We get our data from multiple sources, many of which are professional data aggregators that offer institutional-grade data. So that means they themselves are getting data from multiple sources. In the case of cryptocurrency data, the data would be pulled from multiple exchanges, both CEX and DEX, and then the data is sanitized, volume-weighted averaged, and then our validators would check and validate the various data streams. Not all oracles pull from premium data sources, and some even scrape from the public, free data sources only, which can lead to data quality issues. We are pulling from premium, paid data sources to ensure data quality.

Q7. Is Umbrella Network’s data limited to price streams only? What other data types will there be? I’ve read that you offer about 1,200 data pairs. Will this number increase?

So currently, the majority of our 1,200 data pairs is financial data, which includes most cryptocurrency pairs, stocks like TSLA, Gamestop, Apple, commodities like gold, oil, various indices, derivatives and options data, and even the entire S&P 500. But there really is no limit to the types of data we can bring on-chain. As our project continues to evolve, and the needs of our partners' increase, we can pretty much bring any data that can be pulled in the real world via API and bring it on-chain. So this can include weather, sports stats, gaming data, real estate info, healthcare, and personal data, eCommerce, etc. You name it, and we can pretty much surely bring it on-chain. And because of our unique architecture, it isn’t costly to bring large volumes of data on-chain or to provide it very frequently, so there is massive potential for dApps to really innovate with our data oracles and bring in all types of data to develop applications that were previously difficult to develop because of data constraints.

Q8. How can someone request or propose a new pair of information/data to be traced by Umbrella Network? How to add a new integration to the feed?

Currently, in order to add a new pricing feed to Umbrella Network, you will have to contact us and request it. However, as it is fairly easy and almost free to do it, we can pretty much add it very quickly, as long as our data sources are able to provide that data. So for cryptocurrency, for example, it’s very easy and cheap. In the near future, we will provide the community the ability to do this so anyone can go and add their own price feeds by following a certain framework that we provide so that we can scale more effectively.

Q9. Currently, how many & which projects are utilizing Umbrella’s Data feeds?

We have a few projects using our data feeds today, and several are now in the process of integration. More will be onboarded after our Ethereum mainnet launch. We are also working on a larger integration whereby by later this year, once the integration is done, we will be processing far more data volume than any other oracle in the ecosystem today, by several orders of magnitude. So stay tuned for more news on this front.

Q10. Hello🙋‍♂️

@chen225

Since you provide data for blockchain developers at a low cost, don’t you have an idea of combining more third-party Oracle systems into the Umbrella Network ecosystem? If yes, what kind of third-party blockchain Oracle systems are you looking for? What kind of privileges will you & third parties acquire by joining hands?

So we know other major oracles have marketplaces and a network of oracle nodes run by third parties. Part of the reason for this is the high cost to operate nodes, so they offload some of those costs to third parties. We don’t need to do that, and so we can maintain and operate our own network of community-operated nodes. This is more secure and effective, so we don’t plan on changing that model. Stay tuned for more developments on this front as we have a lot in the works to expand on this, particularly as we grow to support more and more layer 1 blockchains.

***AMA Concluded***

Join the discussion on Telegram at https://t.me/umbrellanet

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