Review of Elastos (ELA): Building an Internet of the Future
Elastos is a cryptocurrency project that recently raised money through an ICO.
They claim to be creating a "smartweb" that will be powered by the blockchain. While this is no doubt intriguing, there are a number of other projects who have similar goals.
So, how does Elastos differ and what are the use cases for ELA tokens?
In this review, we will take you through everything that you need to know about the project including the technology, team, roadmap and pros / cons.
With that being said, let's jump right in.
Over the past decade, digital content has become a massive part of the Internet browsing experience. Today we have access to more videos, pictures and songs than we could ever consume in a lifetime.
Yet with the way the Internet functions, it has become increasingly difficult to identify the owners of a piece of digital content, as well as to generate money from that content while making sure the earnings go to the original creators.
Furthermore, centralized content providers like Spotify, Netflix and Youtube force you to pay for your consumption in the form of monthly subscriptions or viewing ads, and the revenue generated aren’t always fairly divided out to content creators.
These are the core problems that Elastos is trying to solve. Elastos is creating a new kind of Internet-using blockchain technology. They are building a network of Dapps that will enable users to exchange digital content peer to peer.
Users will be able to issue ID’s for digital content, track how many times a piece of content has been viewed, and ensure that all forms of monetization for that digital content is directed to the original creator.
How It Works
Elastos is taking a unique approach to how users access and exchange content.
They are building a network of Dapps that are powered by blockchain technology, but do not have to run on the blockchain itself. Instead, these Dapps will only be accessible via users operating systems (Android, iOS or PC).
In order to make this possible, Elastos is adopting a design philosophy created by Rong Chen, Chairman of Elastos and a former Microsoft employee. Chen’s main goal was to create a platform for applications and services to operate without connecting with the Internet directly.
This would prevent them from being exposed to malware, hacks and data leeks. This philosophy would later become integrated with Blockchain technology to form the Elastos Smart Web.
Elastos Smart web has 4 pillars:
- Elastos Blockchain: using blockchain technology, Elastos provides a decentralized web where every device, individual, Web site and digital asset has a trustworthy ID.
- Elastos Runtime: Runtime is an operating system that prevents applications and services from directly accessing the Internet. Elastos Runtime runs on a customer’s mobile device or PC.
- Elastos Carrier. Elastos Carrier is a completely decentralized peer-to-peer platform.
- Elastos Software Development Kit: Dapps use the Elastos SDK to access their IDs and Elastos Carrier services on the Smart Web.
Elastos Smart Web
By developing a network of Dapps that don’t connect to the Internet, Elastos is able to prevent people from stealing and re-uploading content online where it can’t be monetized or kept track of by the original owner.
Elastos Runtime feature creates a closed environment for storing, viewing and monetizing digital content on the Elastos Smart Web. Within this closed environment, ELA tokens are used to pay for access to digital content.
Content creators can even limit the number of copies that are allowed to be in circulation within Elastos ecosystem, creating scarcity. For example, an author can decide to only release 5,000 copies of their book on Elastos.
The limited supply means that as demand increases so does the price of the book. Once a consumer has finished reading the book, they can earn a share of the book's revenue by reselling it to other users.
The Elastos blockchain uses merged mining with Bitcoin.
Merged mining is the process of allowing two different cryptocurrencies based on the same algorithm to be mined simultaneously. This allows low hash powered cryptocurrencies to increase the hashing power behind their network by bootstrapping onto more popular cryptocurrencies.
In this case, the Bitcoin blockchain works as the parent blockchain to Elastos.
Elastos has a large engineering team to help develop and maintain the 4 pillars of their Smart Web platform.
Rong Chen – Chairman
Rong has an extensive technical background as a senior software engineer at Microsoft. Based on his experience there, he developed the philosophy for applications and services to operate without connecting with the Internet directly. This technical solution forms the basis for the Elastos smart web.
Other experiences include being the Chairman and CEO of Kortide, which provides a cross-platform innovative environment for developing applications, widgets and services on top of the most famous smart phone platforms (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).
Sunny Feng Han – Co-founder at Elastos
Sunny comes from an academic background, with a PHD in Physics from Tsinghua University. He is also a visiting scholar & research associate at Columbia University, and an Advisor at Huawei Central Institute
Elastos has a diverse range of investors with expertise in Blockchain technology. Notable advisors include:
- Jihan Wu, CEO at Bitmain
- Hongfei Da, Founder and CEO of NEO
- Runde Wang, Founder of Cooix
- Elastos’s history starts from May 2000, when the company founder, Chen Rong, returned to China from working at Microsoft to begin research and development for the first-generation Elastos network operating system
- Their first major investment didn’t come in until 2013, when Elastos received $31 million in funding from Foxconn group.
- Their second major investment came from Bitmain in June 2017. Following the investment, the Elastos blockchain project officially hit the ground running.
- The first Elastos public blockchain was released in December 2017.
- Elastos raises $94 million for their initial coin offering
- The decentralized version of the Elastos Carrier was published open source in February 2018
- The framework for mobile web applications will be published open source in August 2018
- In December 2018, the mining of Elastos Chain and Elastos ID Chain by external nodes will be open and accessible.
On February 1st 2018, Elastos token (ELA) launched on exchanges at a price of $38. The price reached an all-time high of $89.19 on February 23rd, before falling to an all-time low of $18 on July 30. This has been broadly in line with the general fall in cryptocurrency prices.
ELA tokens can be purchased on the Huobi Exchange and BCEX.
- The system creates financial opportunities for both creators and consumers, thus incentivizing more people to use Elastos
- Elastos is able to prevent people from stealing and re-uploading content online where it can’t be monetized or kept track of by the original owner. Their Runtime feature creates a closed environment for storing, viewing and monetizing digital content on the Elastos Smart Web.
- Very strong technical team and group of advisors from already successful blockchain companies (NEO, Bitmain, etc)
- Elastos closed environment is not 100% full proof from content leaking. Users could still screen capture content and release it online.
- Elastos also doesn’t have a way a verifying that a piece of content actually belongs to the uploader before they assign their ID to it.
There’s no clear solution for how such an issue would be resolved if multiple users were in disagreement over who owned a song or video. The revenue sharing model around remixes is also uncertain.
Elastos is developing a valuable alternative for artists and content creators to share their content in order to maintain control and maximize opportunities to monetize it. They’re not the first blockchain company aiming to develop a new kind of internet. For example, there are projects such as Substratum which want to decentralised the internet or Po.et which wants to use the blockchain to secure IP.
However, Elastos was able to set itself apart by developing the Elastos Smart Web, which enables content to be exchanged peer to peer in a closed environment that is not connected to the internet.
Online digital content is highly saturated and usually has a very short shelf life. Although it’s virtually impossible for Elastos to prevent content from being leaked online, the platform seems to have done a great job of limiting leeks.
Ultimately, any content creator who wishes to discover alternative ways to monetize and maintain control over their work should definitely consider Elastos as the go-to platform for sharing current and future projects.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.