ONT Is Ontology’s Native Asset, Undergirding The Platform

What Is Ontology (ONT)?

Ontology is a project designed to bring trust, privacy, and security to Web3 through decentralized identity and data solutions. It is building the infrastructure to provide trusted access to Web3, allowing individuals and enterprises to rest assured that through regulatory compliant digital identity solutions, users and their privacy come first.

The Ontology blockchain is a high speed, low cost public blockchain. It is designed to bring decentralized identity and data solutions to Web3, with the goal of increasing privacy, transparency, and trust. To achieve this, users and enterprises are provided with the flexibility to build blockchain-based solutions that suit their needs, while also ensuring regulatory compliance. Through Ontology’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), Ontology ensures frictionless compatibility with Ethereum, the first step in the creation of the Ontology Multi-Virtual Machine and further interoperability for the chain.

At its launch, Ontology chose to forego the popular initial coin offering (ICO) model in favor of a series of community distributions and airdrops of its ONT cryptocurrency.

This helped to quickly establish both organic price discovery and a passionate community and helped the project to avoid subsequent regulatory scrutiny.

For example, for a brief period any person who signed up for the Ontology newsletter received an airdrop of free 1,000 ONT, which reached a value of $10 per token soon after the token became listed on major exchanges like Binance.

Ontology launched its own MainNet on June 30, 2018 and has been up and running smoothly since.

Who Are The Founders Of Ontology?

Established by Li Jun in November 27th, 2017, Ontology is building the infrastructure to provide trusted access to Web3, allowing individuals and enterprises to rest assured that through regulatory compliant digital identity solutions, users and their privacy come first.

As a philosopher with a technical background, Li Jun named the project Ontology, 1) in philosophical terms, “Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being, becoming, and reality.” 2) In the Semantic Web, there is a very basic protocol called Ontology. Across the technology and philosophical field, Ontology refers to the basic infrastructure of things, which matches our vision of building a decentralized and credit-based infrastructure.

How The Ontology Blockchain Works

Ontology is a high performance, open-source blockchain specializing in decentralized identity and data. Ontology’s unique infrastructure supports robust cross-chain collaboration and Layer-2 scalability, offering businesses the flexibility to design an enterprise blockchain that suits their needs. With a suite of decentralized identity and data sharing protocols to enhance speed, security, and trust, Ontology’s features include ONT ID, a mobile digital ID application and DID used throughout the ecosystem, and DDXF, a decentralized data exchange, and collaboration framework.

Ontology’s customizable approach has successfully gained traction, and as of December 2021 there were close to 100 decentralized applications (dApps) running on Ontology’s mainnet. Top-performing Ontology-powered dApps include Wing and Unifi Protocol, both of which are decentralized finance (DeFi) projects focused on cross-chain interoperability. Furthermore, Ontology has secured a number of high-profile partnerships, including an agreement with automobile manufacturer Daimler to help explore ways of modernizing automotive mobility and financing using blockchain technology. In collaboration with Daimler, Ontology is currently developing a minimum viable product (MVP) for Welcome Home, a blockchain-based in-vehicle experience and identity verification service for drivers that helps to validate the user’s data, while respecting their privacy, and security. As a pioneering MVP product, Welcome Home combines the premium experience of Daimler’s mobility units with Ontology’s technical superiority, especially as it relates to decentralized identities and data protection.

Ontology’s backend systems run on its next-generation Ontorand Consensus Engine (OCE), which in turn relies on a customized consensus mechanism called Verifiable Byzantine Fault Tolerance (VBFT) — a combination of Proof of Stake (PoS)Verifiable Random Function (VRF), and Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). In short, VBFT adds an impressive level of scalability to the underlying PoS model, providing additional security and verifiable randomness through the VRF node selection process, and delivering shorter finality rates with BFT — ultimately combining the relative advantages of each component into a complex and dynamic framework.

While the potential use cases for Ontology are virtually unlimited from a client perspective, the platform’s primary user advantages center on two distinct features:

  • ONT ID: a tamper-resistant, decentralized identity framework 
  • Distributed Data Exchange Framework (DDXF): a distributed data exchange and management framework

How Ontology Coin Works

Ontology allows for the creation of multiple blockchains built atop the main Ontology blockchain. This goes hand in hand with Ontology’s focus on catering to businesses. Instead of forcing businesses to use a single public blockchain, with set rules and specifications, Ontology gives businesses that choose to build with Ontology’s technology more flexibility in designing a blockchain that works for them.

Founder Jun Li said in a presentation to the Sydney NEO Meetup,

They [businesses] have a lot of requirements. They want their own blockchain with their governance model.

Privacy is another concern for businesses as well since businesses usually don’t want to reveal all of their data publicly, especially data that’s proprietary or has to be private to stay compliant with consumer protection laws. Indeed, this is a big reason that many businesses have shied away from Ethereum or even Onchain’s NEO project, which are both fully public blockchains.

On the other hand, Ontology lets businesses benefit from things that blockchain technology can provide like:

  • Smart contracts (self-executing contracts of computer code), which can automate processes and increase business efficiency
  • Cryptographic identity proofs, such as those provided by ONT ID, without having to deal with sensitive documents like passports
  • Tokenization of data, as with Ontology’s upcoming DDXF, which will make data trackable (the record of where data goes and what happens to it will be recorded on the blockchain) and transferrable across different systems or blockchains, such as those that are part of the Ontology ecosystem

Ontology makes all of the above possible while enabling businesses to selectively choose what information they want to share from their own blockchain to the main, public Ontology blockchain. This is a potential boon for businesses who don’t want to get left behind in the blockchain revolution but fear that their data will fall into the wrong hands.

Ontology’s Dual-Coin System

Since the launch of Ontology’s mainnet, the project has relied on two tokens to secure and power its network:

  • Ontology Coin (ONT): Ontology’s primary coin, ONT, originated as an NEP-5 token on the NEO platform. However, in June 2018 the Ontology mainnet was launched and the NEP-5 ONT tokens were swapped for native mainnet ONT coins. Rather than holding an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), the Ontology team airdropped free ONT coins to NEO holders as well as to people who signed up for their email list (1 ONT for every 5 NEO held). Additionally, they held a private token sale — open only to select strategic investors. ONT has a total coin supply of one billion ONT, of which almost 90% are in circulation as of 2021. Within the Ontology blockchain ecosystem, ONT grants its token holders governance rights and the ability to stake tokens. These roles improve the network’s security by helping to verify transactions. When a user stakes their ONT coins with a node, they are essentially locking their ONT in a smart contract for one voting cycle, in order to secure their vote for which node will participate in consensus for block processing. Each block takes 1 – 30 seconds to process, which means that each staking round can range from 16 hours to 20 days. Users who stake ONT coins also earn staking rewards, thereby allowing them not only to play a role in steering Ontology’s decision making, but also to benefit from their involvement in the project. However, when you stake ONT you receive your staking rewards in Ontology Gas.
  • Ontology Gas (ONG): ONG is produced every time an Ontology block is confirmed. Essentially, it’s the gas that powers the Ontology mainnet, thereby allowing users to earn transaction fees when they help keep the blockchain operational. ONG is also used when performing operations on the Ontology blockchain such as executing smart contracts.

What Makes Ontology Unique?

Ontology offers a variety of real-life use cases and allows businesses to build their own blockchain on top of the Ontology blockchain. This provides businesses and enterprises with more flexibility, enabling them to create customized blockchains to fit their specific needs.

The Ontology chain is designed with interoperability in mind. The network currently supports three virtual machines (Ontology EVM, NeoVM, WasmVM), helping to break down barriers to development and provide a familiar environment for those wanting to build with Ontology. This is the baseline infrastructure to enable easy, cross-chain building for Web3.

Of course, providing the infrastructure is only one of the solutions to the challenges provided by Web3. The user experience is also crucial, and this is another area where Ontology is uniquely placed to make a positive contribution. ONTO Wallet gives cross-chain access to the user, placing Web3 in the palm of their hands. Combine this with ONT ID, which allows users to keep control over the ID and data. Furthermore, with features like ONT Login, which simplifies the registration and password management procedures, Ontology has the tools available to provide the most seamless access to the next iteration of the Internet.

Ontology Technology

What makes Ontology unique from other blockchain projects is that it isn’t just a single blockchain, but is a network of blockchains that was designed to make it easy for enterprise users to migrate proprietary systems to distributed ledger technology with minimal downtime and disturbance of the systems involved.

While the main blockchain is public, the other chains attached are like a private space for the enterprise. It gives them the benefits of blockchain technology quickly and easily, without the need to hire a development team or worry about security, which is provided by the main Ontology blockchain.

Ontology Sidechains
Interaction amoung mainchains and sidechains on Ontology. Image via Ontology Blog
 

Besides the differences in the two networks, you’ll also find several similarities in the design of NEO and Ontology, which shouldn’t be surprising considering they share some of the same development team.

One of the key similarities is that they are both smart contract platforms used to host decentralized applications (dApps) and are competitors of the Ethereum network.

Ontology was developed to specifically address the enterprise usage problems encountered with the Ethereum network. The major issue comes because Ethereum is open-source, but many enterprises aren’t interested in an open-source platform because they prefer to keep their data proprietary and safely away from prying eyes.

Ontology Compared
Ontology compared to other sidechain solutions
 

Ontology has an additional role besides supporting enterprise needs, and that’s to act as a bridge between NEO and legacy systems. And unlike many existing blockchain projects, Ontology is unconcerned with its cryptocurrency becoming a consumer-facing transactional currency. Instead, it is focused on the needs of its enterprise user base.

Key Features And Takeaways Of Ontology

Ontology is not a new project, but it has drawn a lot of attention lately, especially with corporate clients. Ontology has made it to the list of top crypto projects and its native token, ONT, is one of the most traded tokens on major exchanges. Ontology has some of the following key features and takeaways:

Ontology aims to build a trust network which is decentralised and allows its users to control their data, with the ability to “assetize” it.

Ontology is known as a Blockchain-As-A-Service (BaaS) which is something that is becoming more common with emerging blockchain technologies and projects.

Ontology aims to provide corporate users with an easy way to benefit from decentralisation as well as the distributive nature of blockchain technology.

With Ontology, users can use ID management, smart contracts, decentralised data exchanges, and the ability to create, deploy, and manage their own digital assets as well as decentralised applications (DApps) on the platform.

The same developers behind NEO created Ontology and for this reason, users will see a lot of similarities between the two, especially with the dual token system where ONT is the same as NEO and ONG gives the network power, the same way that Gas powers the NEO network.

Ontology was created by Onchain, a company heavily involved in the development of distributed network architecture as well as blockchain solutions. Onchain was founded by Da HongFei and Erik Zhang, who were also behind the development of AntShares that later became NEO.

While there are many similarities between NEO and Ontology, there are also distinct differences that set them apart and make them valid and necessary as separate networks. Onchain may oversee both projects, but it remains a separate entity from both NEO and Ontology.

Ontology is unique from other blockchains as it is not just a single blockchain but a network of blockchains that were designed to simplify the process of migrating proprietary systems to distributed ledger technology (DLT), all this while ensuring minimal downtime and system disturbance.

While the main blockchain of Ontology is public, other chains which are attached to it provide a private space for enterprises and corporate entities. This provides them with the benefit of blockchain technology in a quick and easy manner, without having to hire development teams or worry about compromising security.

Ontology, much like NEO, is a smart contract platform that can host decentralised applications (DApps), which places Ontology and NEO in direct competition with Ethereum.

Ontology was created to address the enterprise usage challenges experienced with the Ethereum network. This is as result of Ethereum’s open-source code, with many enterprises showing a lack of interest in an open-source platform as they prefer to keep their data safe and away from prying eyes.

Apart from supporting the needs of enterprises, Ontology also acts as a bridge between NEO and other legacy systems. Ontology is also not concerned with becoming a consumer-facing transaction currency and instead aims to meet, and exceed, the expectations of enterprises.

Ontology has more than 39 available DApps which is listed on the platform.

Ontology Coin Roadmap

Ontology, with its ambitious vision, has an equally ambitious roadmap.

Up until this point, Ontology has achieved things like the following:

  • Joined the DIF (Decentralized Identity Foundation – includes Microsoft, IBM, and Ethereum Enterprise Alliance among others) as the 1st Chinese blockchain project
  • Chosen to be part of Microsoft Accelerator
  • Ontology Development Platform added to Google Cloud Platform Marketplace
  • Launched the 1st cross-chain testnet
  • Had two of its proposed blockchain standards approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Grown to a global community covering 19 languages

So after all that, what’s next?

Ontology Mining

As result of the use of the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism along with the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), native tokens cannot be mined.

Ontology as a two-token system consisting of ONT and ONG. The ONT token provides holders with voting power on developments in the network. ONT holders are rewarded with Ontology Gas, or ONG, which is generated by the system. ONG is used to execute smart contracts, network storage, and several other functions on the platform.

In the Ontology network, there are 15 consistent nodes who have been voted in by the community and who will participate in the consensus of each block. Users vote for nodes by staking ONT tokens in multiples of 1 ONT per stake.

Staking is done in terms of rounds, comprised of 60 000 blocks per round. Block generation ranges from between 1 to 30 seconds, meaning that each round can last from between 16 hours up to 20 days.

When users stake their ONT, they lock their ONT in a smart contract for one round, securing their vote. Once users want to add or remove a stake for a node, they can submit a request to carry out this action. However, the action will only take effect within the next round.

Pros And Cons

Transaction Fees

Should You Buy Ontology?

Instead of competing with other projects and blockchains who cater for normal users, Ontology aims to make it easier for enterprises to transfer their data to distributed ledger systems, which are some of the most secure solutions along with being trustless and immutable.

In addition to this, Ontology aims to increase trust by using blockchain-based IDs, which could save significant amounts of resources which are currently put towards guaranteeing trust.

Ontology has a dedicated, solid team behind it, and it has already earned the trust of enterprises around the world, with potential to attract more and with this, the attention of more investors.

There is a lot of potential as ONT has remained within the top 30 cryptocurrencies and as result of its ties to NEO, it is likely that Ontology will continue to grow at a rapid yet stable pace, allowing it to conquer the blockchain needs of the business world.

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