The current #1 challenge according to most people in the blockchain space is scalability. ‘On-chain or off-chain?’ is one of the many questions that keep quite a few people awake these days. Luckily, there are a lot of projects trying to solve the scalability challenge.
While scalability is definitely a big one, it is just one of multiple roadblocks on the route to mass adoption. Another one is user-friendliness or usability in general. Although I am not a developer, the technical people I know say blockchain development is definitely not easy and most of the time it brings a lot of headaches. There are few ‘standards’ and there is a lack of developer-friendly interfaces/tools/infrastructure for blockchain design and management.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine told me to look into Aergo, a project that aims to tackle the scalability challenge and simultaneously enable enterprises and developers to easily design and launch their own blockchain applications. Of course this caught my attention and I decided to learn more about the project. Below you’ll find what I dug up so far.
Let’s start with how Aergo positions itself:
“Blockchain fuel for autonomous business. Aergo proposes to be a 4th generation, enterprise ready, blockchain protocol combined with an IT platform that uses advanced technologies.”
Aergo focuses on making designing and managing blockchains as easy as possible for enterprises. With its platform it aims to foster an ecosystem of dApps, technologies and service providers that leverage secure cloud delivery models. Thereby it intends to increase corporate adoption of blockchains.
“Through Aergo businesses can benefit from both public and private blockchain innovation, whilst being able to build, deploy and manage new services.”
Aergo is a South Korean project, which is interesting because we all know how popular blockchain and crypto in general are in South Korea (and they seem to like to pay a hefty premium to get their hands on some coins).
Most Aergo team members are based in South Korea and are coming from Blocko Inc., a leading blockchain tech company and IT integration-service company. Aergo’s core is based on open source technologies combined with Coinstack from Blocko. After IBM, Blocko is probably the company that has deployed more blockchain systems in production than any other company in the world.
In the past few years Blocko has received almost $5mn in seed and early stage funding. Last month they secured another $8.9mn in a Series B funding round, which brings it to a total of $14mn in funding. That is a nice war chest and of course access to the networks of the VCs.
Blocko’s BaaS solution Coinstack, which is based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), has already been deployed to 25 million users in over 20 in-production systems. This means they already have experience with the challenges that accompany the deployment of a blockchain. Some lessons learned are for instance:
A few of the big names the team has already worked with are: Samsung, Shinhan Financial Group (the largest financial services firm in SK) and Hyundai-Kia Motors. I haven’t taken a look at the current state of these implementations yet though. Next to that, Blocko has set up a special division called Blocko XYZ to build the first dApps on Aergo.
Aergo wants to build a fast and scalable blockchain protocol ready for enterprise adoption. There are 3 elements that form the Aergo Platform: Aergo Chain, Aergo Hub and Aergo Marketplace.
Aergo Chain is a public internet of blockchains which contains an SQL-based smart contract engine. Delegated Proof of Stake (dPoS) is used as the consensus mechanism, similar to what is used in STEEM and EOS, and known for its high throughput capabilities.
Through the Aergo Hub the users of the platform, mostly enterprises and developers, can access computing power for running their applications. It aims to be the web-based blockchain hosting service for managing separate independent private blockchains based on the Aergo chain. It is similar in nature to the popular public cloud web services of Amazon AWS.
This is where the users of the platform will search for and purchase software applications, computing resources and all kinds of other services. It is simultaneously the place where third parties like cloud infrastructure companies and service providers can offer their products and services to users of Aergo.
Although they call it a token, it is actually native to their protocol so technically I would say it is a coin, but to avoid confusion let’s use ‘token’. The token is basically the fuel within the Aergo ecosystem, similar to what we see with a lot of other blockchain projects. How it works:
The team is quite big and seems to be a bit more 'senior' than most other projects. I see this as a good thing. This also reflects in the way in which Aergo has presented itself so far. A bit more of a ‘corporate’ than a ‘start-up’ approach. The fact that Aergo has a lot of full time developers at its disposal is also promising.
A little background on the board members:
- Phil Zamani: Vast experience in tech. Worked at Banco Santander (Head of Big Data) and Deutsche Telekom (Senior Vice President of Cloud Business Unit). Definitely seems to know how the business works.
- Hunyoung Park: Blocko CTO with 10+ years experience in database development and distributed systems. Previously also worked as principal software engineer at TmaxData in Korea.
- Roderik van der Graaf: Founder and Managing Partner at Lemniscap. Previously was the Managing Director of Caldera Capital. Very well connected in the VC world and blockchain space.
I’ve also checked the LinkedIn profiles of the other team members, developers and advisors and Aergo seems to have the right type of people to pull the project off. The only type of people that I miss are industry insiders or at least one or two people coming from other serious crypto projects. Those would be able to share their in-depth knowledge about the pre-ICO phase and the months after the ICO.
The backers of this project are some familiar names in the space:
- FBG Capital (Zilliqa, Nebulas, Origin Protocol)
- GBIC (Icon, Aelf, Mainframe)
- Lemniscap (Fantom, Harmony, Emotiq)
- Rockaway Blockchain (Wanchain, Zilliqa, Aion)
- Block Crafters Capital (DAV Network, Cosmochain)
For a project like this, I have to say that the roadmap (at least the current public one) is a bit thin. It is quite general and doesn’t cover a lot of details. Seems okay though, but just a bit too vague. I would be great if the team could publish a more detailed one in the near future.
The alpha will be released in Q3 2018, the testnet will be available in Q4 2018 and the mainnet will be released in Q1 2019.
Some info on the token metrics:
- Total Supply: 500 million
- Tokens for Sale: 30%
- Company reserves: 25%
- Employees and Affiliates: 5%
- Advisors/Key Backers: 10%
- Community Incentives/Strategic Partners: 30%
The private sale has already ended. Specific dates and details for pre-sale or ICO are unknown.
Use of Proceeds
- Research & Development: 40%
- Marketing: 15%
- Ecosystem incubation: 30%
- Strategic alliances & Business Development: 10%
- Miscellaneous: 5%
Official Aergo channels
- Website: https://www.aergo.io/
- Telegram group: https://t.me/aergoofficial (currently 23k+ members)
- Telegram Announcement group: https://t.me/aergoannouncements (currently 5k+ members)
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AERGO_IO (currently 1,800 followers)
- Medium: https://medium.com/aergo
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/teamaergo/
My final thoughts
(not financial advice…)
Overall I think Aergo has big potential. The team is solid and has relevant experience with the challenges of current blockchains and enterprise adoption. There is definitely a spot for Aergo in the space and their focus on corporate blockchain adoption is a good thing for everybody. I also heard the private sale was oversubscribed, so I expect quite some hype around the project as we approach the ICO and I think it will be hard to get in.
In coming period I would like to see a few more things from Aergo though. First, I hope the team will push out a more detailed roadmap (maybe even split it up into a technical roadmap and business development roadmap) and receive more detailed feedback from the community on it. Second, I think it would be a good idea for the team to show their faces a bit more and do at least two (English) interviews/AMAs in the coming weeks, potentially with someone like The Crypto Lark (@larksongbird)? Last, I would like to see the technical white paper and smart contract being published so these can be reviewed by others as well.
Personally I am definitely going to keep an eye on Aergo. I will also try to get in touch with the team for some additional info and dubbelchecks on any information I find.
Good luck to the team! So far I like what I see :-)
I hope this post has given you some more insights into this project. Please contact me if you have relevant additional information or found information that contradicts with what I have found.
Also, let me know what you think about Aergo and this type of post in the comments!
- Aergo Business Whitepaper V5.0 (70 pages): https://paper.aergo.io/AERGO_Whitepaper_v5.0.pdf
- Blocko website: https://www.blocko.io/
- Aergo Debut Stage @ Seoul (video): check it here
- Aergo Frequently Asked Questions (article): https://medium.com/aergo/aergo-frequently-asked-questions-16c61d3acdad
- ICO Review by The Crypto Sphere (video): check it here
- ICO Review Aergo by Block42 (article): https://medium.com/@block42/ico-review-aergo-35435c96535b
- Aergo Network: Linking public networks with private blockchains to drive enterprise adoption (article): https://medium.com/whitepaper-debunked/whitepaper-debunked-argo-network-by-blocko-review-e724301612e2
- Samsung SDS and Blocko Partner over Blockchain For Digital Money, Payments & Identity (article): https://www.ccn.com/samsung-sds-blocko-partner-blockchain-digital-money-payments-identity/
All information presented above reflects what I have been able to find up until now. See this article as a basis onto which you can built further with your own research and keep in mind that everything can change quickly.
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Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor, trader or developer. I am just a blockchain & cryptocurrencies enthusiast. Make sure you do your own research, draw your own conclusions and do not invest any money that you cannot afford to lose.