Elastos are creating a ‘Smart Web’ of dApps and might be sensibly considered as the Chinese equivalent of Blockstack. The Elastos blockchain will be merge-mined with Bitcoin and utilize a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) network of ‘Super Nodes’ atop this. The Elastos team designed the blockchain to be compatible with NEO and Ethereum. Developers can establish sidechains for any dApp on the network, enabling greater scalability and low transaction costs at high speeds. The Elastos Operating System takes computation load off the blockchain itself by running dApps on user devices— the network also features a novel traffic routing mechanism between peers in the network.
The Elastos Carrier code has been open-source since April 2018. The Elastos Decentralized Identification System sidechain went live in July 2018 and merge mining commenced with the Bitcoin mainchain in August via the btc.com mining pool. The Alpha release of the Elastos Smartweb included an Android browser, an ID sidechain, the second version of the Elastos SDK and a handful of demo dApps.
Elastos held a token sale in January 2018 and has partnerships with Tsinghua Science Park and Foxconn. Elastos has some 200 million RMB (of the order of 30 million USD) in funding. Elastos was founded by Rong Chen, an ex-Senior Software engineer at Microsoft, who went on to act as CEO of Kortide, building apps and services on the major smartphone platforms and the Elastos SDK. Elastos also recently joined the Intelligent Grouping and Resource Sharing (IGRS) association.
Elastos uses a hybrid consensus mechanism in which the mainchain is merge-mined with Bitcoin to leverage Bitcoin’s considerable hash power, then a network of Elastos-token-holder elected ‘Super Nodes’ vote on blocks through a Delegated Proof of Stake architecture. Adding a DPoS-type voting mechanism onto the PoW component of consensus introduces security benefits and effective oversight on miner influence. While DPoS can have such benefits, critics of DPoS claim that such a consensus method entails issues such as the outsized influence of large token holders, exchanges, and (arguably) systematic vote-buying schemes, DPoS also helps the network manage forks by only approving blocks from the miners who are deemed to have appropriately updated their software. A deposit of 5000 ELA tokens will be required to stand for election as a Super Node within the DPoS portion of the consensus process, along with some information via the Elastos wallet, such as node name, public key, location, and node website.
The Elastos network is primarily comprised of the following four key elements:
- The Elastos Blockchain, which leverages Bitcoin’s security and connects various side-chains
- The Elastos Runtime OS, a lightweight OS running key parts of DApps on user devices
- The Carrier peer-to-peer network routing protocol for applications and Virtual Machines
- The Software Development Kit (SDK) for dApp development
Collectively, these elements present a product offering focused around user-data autonomy and scalable distributed applications supported by the atomic-swaps between various assets on sidechains. Applications in the Elastos ecosystem are not permitted to communicate via IP packets, instead, the communications are managed by the more secure Carrier protocol which underpins the token incentivized flow of data and management of services.
In 2019, the Elastos iterated on its interoperability plans through the development of sidechains and smart contracts compatible with both Ethereum and NEO. At the same time, the project made progress towards a more complete dApp ecosystem by designing a decentralized identifier (DID) specification that complies with the industry-standard W3C specification.
The Elastos blockchain’s native token is called ELA. Transaction fees accrued via the network of sidechains and their interactions with the mainchain are paid in ELA. ELA also acts as an incentive mechanism for developers to build dApps on the platform via a system of rewards. Plans are in the works for some 16 million ELA to be transferred to a governance body called the Cyber Republic (CR), the original incarnation of which was a bug bounty fund, from the Elastos Foundation. Arbitrators earn a portion of transaction fees for facilitating the transfer of assets between the main Elastos blockchain and associated friend chains. The annual inflation of ELA is 4%, of the 33 million ELA created at the Genesis block, annually which equates to ~1.32 million, of which 70% will go to rewarding miners and DPoS stakers and 30% will go to the CR.