Æternity, a new blockchain for scalable smart contracts interfacing with real-world data, is launching the first phase of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) later today, Monday, April 3.
The "Friends, Family and Real Innovators" who will participate in the first ICO phase, which will last only 3 days until April 6, will receive 1000 AE tokens per one ETH, with a limited edition AEternity branded Ledger Nano S hardware wallet. Latecomers will have to wait 45 days for the next phase, with less appealing conditions.
Created by "Ethereum Godfather" Yani Malahov, Æternity is a new blockchain developed from scratch, which wants to be "the Apple of blockchain" by having all the pieces ready in a full stack scalable platform. Most of the transactions are done off chain in state channels for increased throughput.
Malahov is a digital nomad without a bank account. Æternity has no bank account either: everything is bought and sold with crypto. Legally, Æternity is incorporated in Lichtenstein, where they can decide if they want to be a for profit or non-profit at a later time.
"Æternity is a next-level, brand new blockchain technology in the making, with many features that tackle current issues of blockchain systems in an elegant way," claims their FAQ. For technical specs the FAQ refers to the Æternity whitepaper, which describes the platform as a highly scalable blockchain architecture with a consensus mechanism, which is also used to check the oracle, and state channels integrated to increase privacy and scalability.
"Tokens in channels can be transferred using purely functional smart contracts that can access oracle answers," notes the whitepaper. "By not storing contract code or state on-chain, we are able to make smart contracts easier to analyze and faster to process, with no substantial loss in de facto functionality."
Most of Æternity code, including the blockchain itself, the contract language and Virtual Machine (VM), as well as the oracle, governance and consensus mechanisms, has been prototyped in the programming language Erlang. "We have used Erlang/OTP because it makes it easy to write code that can respond to many requests in parallel and does not crash," notes the whitepaper. "The servers with the highest up-time in the world are based on Erlang."
The Æternity documentation makes a many references to Ethereum. Though the project presents itself as a complement, rather than an alternative, to Ethereum, a sense of of antagonism is in the air. According to the team, Æternity is a suitable platform for all sorts of applications that require high throughput and scalability, including nano and micro payments, smart-contracts using oracles to initiate millions of parallel transactions, sidechains, multiplayer games, and prediction markets.
According to Malahov, scalability problems similar to those encountered by Twitter in the early days - users would log into Twitter and have to face a graphic of a whale with an annoying: “Twitter is over capacity” message - limit the potential of today's blockchain technology, and Æternity's state channels represent a viable solution.
Crypto Insider reached out to Malahov to find out more.
You are often called the "Ethereum Godfather," why is that?
I proposed this title as there were already ~5 people who claimed to be Ethereum “founders”. This was when I arrived at the Ethereum house in Miami in January 2016. It is not the case that one guy or even just 5 created Ethereum out of nothing. I helped more in the background to what eventually led to Ethereum, before there was a name for it. Politics were and are still not so much of my interest and when you share ideas freely, you decentralize them from day one.
Malahov, the anti-Buterin?
No. Not anti at all. Different. I am also not anti Satoshi. How could I be? We are not competing. We focus on different things.
How is Æternity different from Ethereum?
The Æternity blockchain whitepaper explains best. There are other innovations, too. Æternity builds on more ideas and more experience than just Ethereum.
To answer your question where Æternity excels Ethereum:
- Problem: Scalability/Confidentiality of smart contracts and transactions, solved in Aeternity with state-channels.
- Problem: Governance, solved with build-in Prediction Markets to help collect information.
- Problem: Decentralization, Æternity’s mining is optimized for standard hardware.
- Problem: Security on Endpoints, Æternity comes with hardware wallets.
- Problem: Adoption, Æternity features a full-stack approach also for UX, with crypto at it’s base.
Why is Æternity better than Ethereum? What important applications can Æternity support that Ethereum can't?
Æternity is built to scale for massive mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. Ethereum to Bitcoin is like Æternity to Ethereum. Bitcoin is still great. Ethereum, too.
Is the Æternity platform suitable for Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and Corporations (DAOs and DACs)?
Depends how you define a DAO. Æternity is a DAO, as in the original sense. Æternity is specialized on different, more real and mainstream use-cases though.
So you haven't made up your mind on whether you want to be for-profit or non-profit. What will the choice depend on?
A big misunderstanding is that foundations are always non-profit. We went for the most simple legal form from the start, to not have a bureaucratic overhead, too early on. And I believe Æternity blockchain needs a non-profit foundation, which will be created after the first contribution campaign. We take nominations for board members.
Governance? POLITICS? OMG. Please explain?
No, Politics shall be avoided via using prediction markets to leverage the wisdom of the crowds to make the right decisions together. Prediction markets collect information and project it to a single number, the likelihood of something happening. One can also interpret it as an emerging new global consciousness. Less endless discussions, more numbers.
What's the development status of Æternity?
A testnet featuring state channels is built and runs at this time and we are working on optimizations. Zack Hess, our Technical Lead, is working on the oracle. I am am looking at this from a higher level at the moment and working on the æpp space model, so that soon the core blockchain has a visual UX. Don’t hesitate if you are a designer or developer to contact us, ideally in one of the public chats.
What's your business model?
The ETH collected in the contribution campaign will be spent on development, events and other activities which foster growth in the community. Becoming a standard for mainstream programmable value transfer is what we are aiming for. Many opportunities on the way.
Why should I want to be in from the beginning, and what should I do?
It is a special moment for people who believe that we are not at the end of innovation and this is an excellent opportunity to become part of Æternity. You will help bring Æternity a big step forward and if you contribute as one of the first 1000, you will receive in addition to the AE, also Æternity limited edition hardware wallet. The contribution campaign is designed to be the most fair, most simple and most secure. The best way to prepare is to have some ETH in the value you want to contribute. For people or institutions who want to contribute with fiat or Bitcoin, they should contact Bitcoin Suisse to handle the process.