Elastos is one of the most ambitious projects in the crypto universe. It got lots of hype in early 2018 after its ICO, but now it’s been out of headlines for long time. Elastos has suffered more from the bear market than most of its competitors. What is Elastos? This is a beginner’s guide, which will give you the key points of this massive project.
Elastos guide – building a better internet
Elastos is such a big project that one could write dozens of pages of it. You get the clue when reading the objective of Elastos. It stands: Elastos – blockchain powered internet. This is not just another blockchain, but Elastos wants to build a whole new internet infrastructure.
It’s difficult to compare Elastos directly to any other cryptocurrency. The system is like smart contracts on steroids. The best category is probably the platform one, where we have projects like Ethereum, EOS, NEO and other similar ecosystems. Many analysts see EOS as the closest competitor.
There is also a cryptocurrency inside this infrastructure, which has the same name. Elastos can therefore refer to the entire project or its native token. The function of ELA token is to serve as digital gas inside the system. The concept isn’t different from Ether, EOS or NEO. They each have a native token, which is used to pay transactions, dApp fees and do other purchases.
As mentioned earlier, Elastos has some big plans. Let’s dive deep into the project next.
What is Elastos? The story goes back almost 20 years.
In a way, Elastos project begun already at the year 2000. The man behind everything is Rong Chen, who returned to China at that time. He had previously worked with many recognized brands, such as Microsoft.
Chen started to develop his own operating system. His goal was to build a new mobile phone.
The mobile market was changing fast in the beginning of the new millennium. The playing field started to change fast at 2006, which also moved Chen’s focus. He started to work with IoT – internet of things.
Chen wanted to build a way for IoT devices to communicate outside the internet. Each device would create its own service to the network, which users could then tap into with their mobile phones.
The Elastos cryptocurrency project was formed during the year 2017. This is when G3 was founded. That refers to co-operation between three major crypto players: Elastos, NEO and Bitmain.
This means NEO’s founder Da Hongfei and Bitmain founder Jihan Wu are also connected tightly to Elastos. These are one of the biggest names in the crypto industry.
If you aren’t familiar with Bitman, it’s the biggest mining equipment manufacturer in the world. Elastos is also tightly connected to Ontology project due to its relationship with NEO.
Elastos is a new, decentralized internet
The goal of Elastos is no less than creating a new, decentralized internet. This is a machine with many moving parts, as you can imagine with the word internet involved. The idea is basically to make all internet services safer and decentralized.
Think about the most popular services like Facebook, Skype or Twitter. They are all run through centralized operators and databases. Elastos wants to create a totally different mechanism of trust, where even the ownership of a website is decentralized.
The crazy thing is that we won’t even need IP addresses no more. These are the backbone of the internet, the addresses to the centralized servers, where all websites are located.
Elastos wants to move everything to a P2P cloud. The idea is to use blockchain only to store data required by the new digital identities and assets. The Elastos DID (Digital ID) is designed to be the backbone of the new internet.
These IDs can be used across all apps and devices. A blockchain is called trust zone in the Elastos model. It replaces a traditional database as an information warehouse.
Elastos wants to create nothing less but entirely new digital economy, which is safer, more robust and decentralized.
What if you could re-sell an eBook you purchased online? Or a game you downloaded from a P2P service? In the Elastos model, everything you’ve purchased and owned are stored in the blockchain and connected to your unique ID.
Elastos operating system
Everything described above might sound like a plan, which takes decades to finish. That might be true, but we must remember when it all started. Rong Chen has been working with these ideas since the year 2000.
Operating system is probably the best way to describe Elastos. Just like iOS or Android. In fact, it was used the Android OS program code but translated all to C language for safety reasons.
Rong Chen wants to move past the traditional server-client model. He also wants to remove IoT devices and self-driving cars from the internet.
“Let us take autonomous cars as an example: how can we make sure that our loved ones are not hacked when they are being shuttled in an autonomous car? That was one of the triggers for us to realize that we will need a paradigm shift in networking for this class of applications. Instead of relying on the classical Client—Server architecture, over the past years we have developed an operating system for the distributed web: Elastos” (Source)
Elastos operating system is run by a virtual machine inside the network nodes. The similar concept exists in other platforms. For example, Ethereum has its own Ethereum VM as well.
The key point of Elastos is that all traffic is run by the OS. Decentralized apps don’t have direct access to the network, like they have now in the current operating systems. And programmers aren’t even using traditional libraries or drivers.
“There is no need for concepts such as drivers or sockets, apps are prohibited by design to directly access the network. Network access is managed only by the runtime.”
Second there is the the Elastos Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Network, a set of P2P protocols that will enable efficient data transfer between distributed nodes, such as video and audio streaming or text messaging. The third pillar is the Elastos interface to public and private blockchains. This will allow Elastos computers to access services such as settlement or identify verification on blockchains. We are collaborating with the teams of existing blockchains to have interfaces to their systems” (Source)
This might sound a bit abstract. If we want to look at Elastos from the end-user’s point of view, it might be easier to think at the Elastos browser (called Trinity, by the way). This is the environment, where all dApps are being run.
As the picture shows below, Elastos will be part of the existing mobile and desktop operating systems as its own application.
You could think Elastos Runtime as an application downloaded on your Android mobile phone, which will give access to the dApps in the Elastos network.
Elastsos blockchain explained
The Elastos blockchain is also a very intriguing concept due to its strong link to Bitcoin. In fact, Elastos blockchain couldn’t run without Bitcoin miners.
This is the reason why Bitmain was one of the key members of Elastos development. Bitmain doesn’t only build mining equipment, but it also runs Bitcoin mining syndicates. Elastos has been working with BTC.com syndicate for long time to test the blockchain functionality.
The backbone of the Elastos blockchain is using the same Proof of Work algorithm as Bitcoin. This has made it possible for Bitcoin miners to mine also blocks to Elastos blockchain with no extra cost. This concept is called merged mining. It’s also used by few other cryptocurrencies, such as Dogecoin & Litecoin.
As you can see from the picture above, Elastos blockchain is the core of the system. It’s connected to unlimited amount of side chains, which provide scalability and services.
The public Elastos blockchain is used to store digital identities and assets. This is also the part where Ontology project connects. Elastos is going to use Ontology as a universal portal to recognize people and assets.
The Bitcoin blockchain is used to provide extra security. There are other cryptocurrency projects using this same method as well. For example, Komodo is storing some of the its blockchain information to Bitcoin blockchain.
The Bitcoin blockchain helps Elastos to become virtually impossible to take over with a 51% attack.
The consensus algorithm used by Elastos is written officially as follows: DPoS & AuxPoW, meaning Delegated Proof of Stake & Auxiliary Proof of Work. New blocks are formed built by Bitcoin miners. After that they are signed digitally by supernodes of the Elastos network. This is where the DPoS part comes from.
Finally, new blocks are published by the miners. This is quite interesting arrangement, which doesn’t even cost anything extra to the mining syndicates.
Delegated Proof of Stake has become quite popular consensus method in the past year or so. The idea is to delegate the blockchain maintenance to a small and dedicated group of operators, which are chosen by voting. It depends on a project, how many delegates there are.
DPoS public launch and supernodes
Elastos was at the peak of its popularity in February 2018. Back then, the ELA token reached 93 USD valuation. The bubble burst quite badly, which happened also to many of its competitors. Elastos sunk all the way to two dollars early in 2019. At the same time, the project has disappeared from headlines.
Many critics blame Elastos from not having a proper marketing team. The founder Rong Chen has also admitted this. The project has taken many important steps forward, but it has failed to communicate this properly to potential investors.
Probably the biggest upgrade was the DPoS consensus mechanism in the first quarter of 2019. It was running in the test environment earlier, but now it’s been published. Elastos has tested its DPoS + AuxPoW system with Bitmain’s BTC.com mining pool.
A new Elastos wallet is also released soon, which has the supernode voting system built in.
As mentioned earlier, there are maintenance nodes in the DPoS system responsible of the blockchain. They are called generally delegates, but sometimes also supernodes, like Elastos does.
Regular users don’t usually vote any special nodes to become supernodes. The ELA tokens in their possession wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway. Usually wallet softwares take care of this automatically in DPoS systems.
There are 36 active supernodes and 72 backup ones in the Elastos blockchain right now. Supernode voting will be done with ELA tokens.
There is no transaction or “gas” fee in the Elastos blockchain, which exists in Ethereum and Bitcoin. Supernodes get 35% of the new Elastos tokens when new blocks are minted and similar share goes to Bitcoin miners. On top of this, supernodes get an annual 4% interest on the tokens they stake in the system through inflation.
The crypto republic of Elastos
There are also other things going on in the Elastos ecosystem.
One interesting component is the Ethereum side chain. Elastos has basically created its own version of the Ethereum virtual machine, which is the engine running all the dApps. It supports the solidity programming language Ethereum platform is using.
The Elastos version of Ethereum VM scales up to 1500 transactions per second. You can move an app built on Ethereum to Elastos side chain and scale it properly. Similar side chain will be built for NEO as well.
Elastos carriers are also significant components of the system. Total of 870.000 carriers have been distributed during the year 2018. About 400.000 of them are online and most of them in China.
Elastos carrier is like an internet router, which works a bit differently. The traffic is randomly relayed from one carrier to another. It is also crypted, which means following and listening of the traffic is practically impossible. As is censorship.
There are also other significant steps being published, such as the Elastos browser. Check the video below, which gives you a quick update of all this in 20 mins.
One thing worth mentioning is the crypto republic of Elastos. As the name reveals, this is the decentralized governing body of Elastos. The crypto republic will take over the guidance of the Elastos project in the Q3 of 2019. They don’t govern the system empty handed: crypto republic has 16 million ELA tokens as its disposal.
Elastos is one big crypto puzzle
One should remember, that Elastos is also an open source project. Anyone can go to Elastos github to monitor the progress. There have been tons of people participating the development over the years.
Some estimate that Rong Chen has used over 700 people just when working with the OS part Bitcoin, Dash and other crypto communities have also been part of the Elastos development.
We mentioned previously how NEO and Ontology projects are connected to Elastos. One shouldn’t forget Stellar either. The founder of Stellar, Jed McCaleb, has been involved for over five years. Elastos will be using the P2P payment channels built by Stellar.
Investing to Elastos is like investing to Android, iOS or Windows operating systems. There will be thousands of applications built on the Elastos using other blockchains and virtual currencies as well.
Binance and KuCoin are two good exchanges to use for those wanting to invest in Elastos. You must purchase ELA tokens with Bitcoins. This means you have to buy Bitcoins first with euros or USD from Coinbase or similar services. Then you can move Bitcoins to Binance or KuCoin and purchase Elastos.
Nowadays it’s also possible to use a credit card at Binance. The fees are very high especially for small amounts, though.
If you purchase Elastos, go to wallet.elastos.org for storage information
Elastos is a massive project, which might actually change the internet as we know it. This article could only scratch its surface. Elastos has already over 10 million lines of code written for it.
The picture below gives you an impression of the whole puzzle Elastos is a part of.
Elastos is closely connected to NEO and Ontology projects, which are shown in the picture as well. The key to both is Da Hongfei, who is also the founder of OnChain (the box on the top left corner). OnChain gives resources to NEO and develops business solutions on that platform.
You can also see connections to Chinese government and big operators like Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu.
Elastos software development is supported by Manhattan project. The name might be familiar to many, who know their history from the 2nd world war. The project has rich backers behind it, such as Bitmain founder Jihan Wu.
If you want to dig deeper into Elastos, I recommend the following BlockchainBrad videos: Interview with Elastos Founder Rong Chen, Crypto Neo News – Elastos Operating System: Part 1 The Elastos Stellar Neo Connection, NEO Crypto News: Part 2.2 Making BIG Connections: NEO ELASTOS STELLAR.