Elastos is a blockchain aiming to build a “New Internet” where all data exchange is peer-to-peer and storage is decentralized, while ownership of data remains verifiable. The network aims to protect data from being stored in centralized servers and sold by corporations, or stolen by hackers. However, according to the Elastos whitepaper, the project is not a blockchain, but a network operating system powered by blockchain technology.
The creation of Elastos was started when in the late 1990s Rong Chen – the company’s founder, who was at that time working for Microsoft as an engineer with focus on operating systems, began work on an Internet infrastructure maintaining the decentralization level the Internet was first envisioned to be at. The goal was to enable users to communicate directly with one another while storing their own data, without the need for any intermediaries. In 2017, Rong Chen combined his operating system with blockchain technology to establish Elastos.
Elastos allows its users with full control over their data, including ownership, storage, and control over how many copies of it exist, moreover the Elastos blockchain users are said to be allowed to monetize their own data.
The Elastos blockchain uses a PoW consensus mechanism based on the SHA256 algorithm. Blocks on Elastos are produced every two minutes and have a size of 8 megabytes. The network’s scalability is intended to be derived from sidechains according to its whitepaper. In 2018, Elastos launched merge-mining, also known as AuxPoW, which allows the mining of two or more cryptocurrencies at the same time, without sacrificing overall mining performance, while using the same computational power. The program was made possible due to Elastos employing the same hashing algorithm as Bitcoin, and was aided by strategic partnerships with some of the biggest Bitcoin mining pools.
The merge-mining specification is officially recognized by Bitcoin and used by Namecoin, in the same context Elastos is considered the auxiliary chain from where the algorithm’s name Auxiliary PoW (AuxPoW) is derived. Merge-mining allows Elastos to leverage the hash power of the Bitcoin blockchain, providing an energy-efficient computational solution, since it doesn’t require any additional computational power to be used by the main chain (in this case – Bitcoin, or any other SHA-256 based blockchain).
The Elastos blockchain consists of a mainchain, the Elastos Identity Chain – EID sidechain, and the Elastos Smart Contract Chain – ESC sidechain.
Elastos’ mainchain is a sovereign open-source blockchain protocol storing cryptographic proofs on top of which the whole ecosystem is built. It is secured by a PoW consensus mechanism leveraging merged mining to complete transactions and payment transfers. The mainchain also uses Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) supernodes when achieving consensus and providing finality for solved network blocks. The DPoS has sidechain support, and can be customized by developers from a variety of consensus mechanisms to meet their needs.
The Elastos Smart Contract Chain (ESC) provides developers with the environment to run smart contracts on EVMs, and build in Solidity. The ESC uses DPoS to optimize its scalability and speed.
The Elastos Identity Sidechain (EID) issues the so-called decentralized identity for stakeholders and Web3 apps, and provides its service for free. Each DID comes with a public and private key and a unique ELA address. EID is merge-mined with the mainchain making it secured by a PoW consensus mechanism.
The Elastos ecosystem consists of decentralized services that can be integrated by developers within their dApps, these include Connectivity SDK, Peer-to-peer (P2P) network referred to as Carrier, decentralized storage called Elastos Hive, and decentralized identity.
The Elastos SDK provides an interface for all operations requiring user interaction in a walled app, such as exchanging decentralized identity (DID) credentials and interacting with smart contracts. The SDK has a flexible architecture allowing custom connectors to be dynamically added to the interface, with the two recommended connectors currently being the Elastos Essential connector – implementing communications between dApps and the Elastos Essentials wallet, and the Local Identity Connector which manages simple operations to easily onboard new users.
Elastos’ P2P network is completely encrypted and decentralized, it also issues special digital certificates named Carrier IDs which are used to transmit and coordinate network traffic between virtual machines and dApps. Through this product, Elastos provides its users with a secure off-chain communication tool for data exchange across the whole Elastos ecosystem. The P2P network, merged with the Elastos digital identity service removes the need for IP addresses, while maintaining a high level of security. Elastos nodes are the entities tasked with storing information and utilizing communication exchange by users across the Elastos ecosystem, unlike the Carrier or any intermediate servers which do not save or use any of that data.
Through the Elastos Hive users can choose how and where they prefer to store their own data, such as search history, online retail purchases, and social media activity. Moreover, the Elastos Hive provides users with a place to store documents, photos, and videos. The product allows users to store data in a decentralized manner on local devices and virtual machines, as well as set permissions for others to access their stored data, leveraging the Elastos decentralized identity (DID) service.
DID is the Elastos mechanism for securing personal identities which aims to provide anonymity and privacy features while eliminating the need to trust centralized organizations with storing data. The product runs on the Elastos Identity Chain and can be used by any person or device to create a digital identity on the web. DID is compatible with numerous dApps, products, and services within the Elastos ecosystem. One DID can be managed by several parties in joint ownership through a multi-signature parameter for enhanced security and transparency.
Elastos fees vary and are designed to incentivize miners generating blocks as well as supernodes signing them, and are paid in the blockchain’s native ELA token.
ELA is a native token and is primarily used to store information on the DID sidechain, process network payments, and facilitate trades across the network. It has other functions on the different Elastos sidechains. On the ESC sidechain, ELA functions similarly to Ether for payments and smart contract computations, while on the DID sidechain the token is used to update identity data, register new identities, and more.
ELA’s total supply is programmed to increase by 1.32 million each year to maintain pace with inflation and other purposes. It can be staked to allow its holder to run their own supernodes on the network and earn passive income rewards.
The Elastos Foundation behind which stands the Elastos team was co-founded by Rong Chen, who has a rich background in IT and founded a company called Kortide which provides cross-platform environments for developing apps, widgets, and services on top of popular smartphone platforms. The other Elastos co-founder is Sunny Feng Han who teaches physics and is a principal of a school. He has developed online teaching and learning programs and is a Blockchain Advisor at Huawei Central Institute, as well as Secretary General of Asia Blockchain DACA.
Elastos has numerous partnerships established, among which are collaborations with Encentive for Web3 development, Cyber Republic DAO to spearhead growth, Omnicom Agency TLGG to drive awareness and adoption of tools, Telos Web3 Blockchain Ecosystem, and many others.
The Elastos ecosystem consists of various projects such as Silver – the ecosystem’s launchpad, Shadow tokens – a cross-chain bridge, Filda, CreDA, Bunny Punk, Pasar, Feeds, Tuum, Phantz Club, and numerous other platforms.
The Elastos roadmap for 2022 includes the development of a user-friendly DID integration application and self-hosted KYC service launched through DID 2.0. A basic DHT permissionless network will be implemented for Carrier as a completely open underlying network layer supporting basic services. A full library of applications workflow is to be published, instructing developers how to utilize and integrate various SDKs. Around that time, Elastos also plans to launch economic incentive mechanisms on Carrier v2 to attract community nodes and further improve the robustness of the Carrier network. Furthermore, the Elastos team plans to introduce full support for Hive Vaults to the Elastos Essentials wallet in addition to Vault backups and transfers to further standardize DID credentials. Development for Carrier’s peer-to-peer data security communication based on a DHT permissionless network is said to be completed by the end of 2022, as well as an upgrade to the Elastos DPoS consensus to DPoS 2.0 featuring random Candidate Node selection. The last thing on the current Elastos roadmap is a complete transition of the Hive network to a Layer 2 network based on the Carrier v2 base layer DHT network.
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