What is Elastos?
Elastos is the safe and reliable internet of the future. Built utilizing the blockchain, this technological breakthrough provides the first completely safe environment on the web where decentralized applications are detached from the internet while also permitting full scalability to billions of users. Elastos enables the generation of wealth through ownership and exchange of your data and digital assets.
Elastos is not a blockchain project but rather a network operating system project powered by blockchain technology so in that sense, Elastos is not directly competing with any other blockchain projects. It can work together with them to form this new ecosystem where the decentralized applications run directly on the device instead of running on the blockchain along with decentralized peer to peer network to transfer assets in a completey closed sandboxed environment, thereby solving the three pillar issues that are prevelant in the internet of today - security, scalibility and decentralization.
Elastos uses internet as the base-layer infrastructure rather than an application where decentralized applications are forced to never directly connect to the internet and only interact with Elastos runtime(which in turn acts as a middle layer, then connecting to the internet). Within the elastos ecosystem, everything from devices to virtual machines to users to DApps have a DID(Decentralized ID) issued by the blockchain and everytime the application requests any sort of internet access, the ID has to first be verified using the blockchain which in turn eliminates many of the man-in-the-middle attacks, virus attacks, etc
The Elastos Value Propostion
- First is consumer/enterprise IoT as the key Elastos feature is security. In essence, this is targeting the onboarding of infrastructure/industrial software. ‘DApps’ here would really be non-interactive secure software behind smart devices, not something you and I would really interact with on a tablet for example but necessary to be secure if you want sustainable IoT.
- Second is consumer DApps, i.e. B2C. This really takes advantage of the P2P network aspect of Elastos and user IDs on the blockchain, with the security being an added plus but not the prime driver per say. These DApps will have their own side chains/tokens for whatever utility they serve. Elastos has a number of DApps already building on the platform - Zapya is a good example on the consumer end for P2P file sharing with 500 million users. Elastos often talks about facilitating a real digital asset economy where ‘scarcity’ and thus re-sale/trading of digital assets is possible (today if you buy a movie on the internet you can’t resell it like you can in the real world, which Elastos thinks should be fixed). Again, a big market with essentially the whole eCommerce market as a target market, underpinned by the security of Elastos.
- Third is enterprise DApps, i.e.B2B. Again this makes use of the P2P network, a good example here is ULink (China rentals) or the seed company Elastos has building DApps on it. Here the emphasis really is ability to track supply chain or information across the value chain and uses sidechains again.
- Bitcoin = Trustworthy Ledger: Bitcoin introduced the power of decentralised ledger technology to the world, showing how we don’t need financial institutions to transact value. Bitcoin's purpose is a digital currency, with the intent to become electronic cash. Bitcoin is great; however, it is extremely outdated. Bitcoin has very slow transaction times, expensive transaction fees and uses Proof of Work mining which is vastly uneconomical. Thanks to Bitcoin, the 2nd generation cryptocurrencies were born.
- Ethereum = Trustworthy Ledger + Smart Contracts: Ethereum, as well as many others, are second generation cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was one of the first cryptocurrencies to introduce ‘smart contracts’ and the concept of decentralised apps. Smart contracts put the trust of contracts in the trust of code. For example, If I bought a TV from an online merchant, the payment would only clear once the TV had arrived and I was satisfied with it. They can be coded to included things like ’14-day money back guarantee’ and every other element that is in a normal contract. Drastically improving efficiency and breeds a new generation of trust. Ethereum is a great project, however the scalability of smart contracts that are hosted on the Ethereum network is limited. A game called ‘CryptoKitties’ caused massive network congestion and that is just one of many decentralised applications that use smart contracts.
- Elastos = Trustworthy Ledger + Smart Contracts + Monetizable Dapps and Digital Assets: Elastos is one of many new cryptocurrencies that are build on a third generation blockchain, focussing on a few main elements to combat the scalability issues that arise with 2nd generation cryptocurrencies:
- Storage and Speed
- Bugs within the smart contracts(security vulnerability)
- Deletion of redundant data
The issue with second generation smart contracts is that they have to run solely on the blockchain, which causes network congestion and high transaction costs. Decentralized applications for Elastos are run by blockchain technology but can be built on current Operating Systems (IOS, Android and Linux). Elastos understands the importance of ease of use for both the consumers and the producers. The integration of multiple well known coding languages make development relativity easier than other blockchains. They also support Android and Apple Operating Systems, which most other blockchains do not.
Elastos is not just the new internet, but the entire smart economy. Focusing on digital assets, monetizing computing power and spare storage, financially incentive trade of digital assets all combined with the highest level of security and the removal of the middleman. With speed, security and minimal cost at the heart of Elastos, it is bound to scale over time. Elastos is a third generation blockchain technology that tackles the issues we have with second generation blockchain projects such as Ethereum.
Elastos is not a traditional Operating System
A little history
Back in 2000, when Rong Chen came back to China and started his own business, the central government needed a general-purpose operating system for intellectual properties. It wasn’t a consumer-oriented mobile phone operating system back at that time. In 2004, the 2.0 project got started and the idea became more concrete. The development was more for smartphone platforms instead of desktop general-purpose operating systems. The project, which lasted three years, completed its beta version by 2006, and its first smartphone in 2007. Compared with the previous basic technological principles, it hadn’t changed that much. Now it’s time for Elastos to enter a new chapter. And it has little to do with the previous projects. In the 2.0 era, the team was developing their own kernel and the kernel was constructed from scratch, starting from the boot.
Completely different definition of an operating system
This is what Su Yipeng - the chief architect of Elastos had to say:
Now we have a completely different definition of the computer. It’s not referring to the specific hardware anymore. We really think of the network as a computer. The so-called OS is not the same as the traditional general OS. When I talk about Elastos with others, I usually don’t bring up the OS. Because the concept of Elastos is completely different from the OS of the cellphone hardware. We now define the SmartWeb as the combination of blockchain technology and the traditional internet. We call this the new internet which supports decentralized applications on the SmartWeb. Elastos wants to do something far more than a simple blockchain project. What we really want to do is an internet application platform combining blockchain and internet. It’s not a simple blockchain architecture anymore, nor an architecture facing specific hardware platform. But we can still use a lot of code from before. It’s not contradictory.
Elastos does not use IP addresses
The internet has nothing to do with computing. Computing has nothing to do with the internet
Rong Chen often says that the internet has nothing to do with computing. Computing has nothing to do with the internet. He doesn't mean the network doesn't exist but rather there's a separation between computing from the network and communication. Elastos proposed a long time ago that they should only focus on the computing logic, not which device the service was located at or which server it should connect to. It's not what the application should be focusing on.
Because the entire system needs consistency, it is dangerous for the system if it is allowed to write directly to the location of a system. For example, Elastos accesses the resource through the ID of the resource, not through specifying an IP address to access the computer. The Elastos architecture includes P2P networks. P2P refers to the relationship between entities to entities, not physical computers to computers. The ID of a P2P network represents an individual or an entity, not a computer. Today, we can use our ID to communicate with someone on our cellphones. Tomorrow, even if I change a cellphone, we can still communicate with the same ID. So, specific applications should not care about which cellphone you use or how you access it.