Ekiden project by Oasis Labs is a blockchain platform for dApps that solves problem of storing and using sensitive information.
Table of contents:
Intro and Overview
Oasis Labs is creating Ekiden platform – a dApp platform with high level of security and scalability for all EVM-based blockchains with 4-layers architecture (that includes application,computation, storage and consensus).
Word “Ekiden” means a long distance relay race – a Japanese sport, also popular in Belgium, Australia and Canada.
Oasis labs focuses on sensitivity of information and promise to make a solution that will overcome fundamental limitations of Ethereum smart contract technology.
The main problems of smart contract system are:
- High costs of on-chain computation of fully replicated smart contracts ($26.55 to add 2 numbers together one million times in an Ethereum smart contract in 2017 according to Oasis Lab data)
- Doubtful privacy and low security as user pseudonymity doesn’t ensure privacy protection.
- There’s also a problem of verifying correct computation which require public disclosure of contract state and user input
New platform will be useful for healthcare organizations and financial institutions that are interested in blockchain capabilities but need to balance between transparency and privacy. For healthcare that means to be able to conduct large-scale research and use machine learning power without exposing patients identities.
|Type of token||utility|
|White paper||Read Whitepaper|
|Hard cap||$45 million for private sale|
|Total Cap Size||TBA|
|Team||15 team members/ 0 advisers|
|Public Sale Date||Won’t be held|
|Total Token Offered||TBA|
|Private sale Date||Ended|
The Ekiden network consists of three primary actors: clients, compute nodes and consensus nodes.
- Clients are end users of smart contracts. Clients can create smart contracts or execute existing ones.
- Compute nodes utilize multiple Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) to run smart contract programs. Compute nodes process requests from clients by running the contract in a TEE and generating verifiable proofs that attest to the validity of the computation. Compute nodes also perform key management for contracts via the key manager. The key manager TEE creates or retrieves existing keys upon request.
- Consensus nodes maintain the distributed ledger via the consensus layer. Consensus nodes are responsible for the ledger of smart contract states and validity of state updates.
Another feature is implementation of Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), that means that Ekiden will be fully compatible with the Ethereum Network. ERC20 smart contracts automatically inherit the guarantees of the protocol, including secret contract state and high performance via off-chain execution on compute nodes. Thus any ERC20 dApp will be able to use Ekiden for scaling. For new dApps Ekiden will support Rust and all EVM-compatible programming languages (Solidity, Vyper, Flint, LLLL and others).
Ekiden prototype network showed 600x greater throughput during tests, and also 400x less latency, and 1000x less cost compared to the Ethereum network. Tests also show that Ekiden network will be able to support computation-intensive apps with machine learning or AI.
Ekiden will be good for dApps that require exceptional confidentiality (for example healthcare or finance applications that contain sensitive information). Contracts will run inside an isolated piece of hardware called a secure enclave. The enclave acts like a black box, keeping the computation private from a computer’s other applications, its operating system, and its owner. It also generates cryptographic proof that the programs were executed correctly, and that proof goes on the blockchain.
To achieve this, Ekiden combines blockchain technology with an offchain EVM-scaling solution, utilizing hardware-based Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) like Intel SGX. Besides Intel SGX, Ekiden will be compatible with Keystone, an open-source enclave designed by a team of Berkeley and MIT researchers.
Market and competitors
Recently in our blog we regularly have been telling you about new platforms for dApps, there is a big list already (Blockcloud, Chromapolis, GenEOS, Kryptopal and others) and all of them are trying to solve the same problems: safety and security, privacy, scalability and speed.
Here’s a list of competitor blockchain platforms:
- Enigma is a data-driven platform with the very similar idea of confidentiality based on smart contracts.
- Golem – is a project specialized on rendering (for games, films, tv, etc.) and machine learning. Computational power can be rent with use of GNT cryptocurrency.
- SONM also specializes on rendering and machine learning. Apart from specific software, to solve computational tasks can be used Claymore miner (each task id will represent rent of the computational resources). Computational power can be rent with use of SNM coin.
- QuarkChain – is a sharding blockchain platform for dApps, that utilizes a two-layer blockchain structure, cross-shard transactions, collaborative mining, and horizontal scalability to achieve unprecedented TPS results while maintaining high security level and full decentralization. The project is entering the market with a target of 100 thousand TPS, while it has already demonstrated over 2,000 TPS on their testnet
- Kadena is the first private/permissioned blockchain technology with high performance at scale with an implementation of the Scalable BFT consensus protocol. Kadena executes over 7,000 transactions per second with latency in the low milliseconds and consistent performance on cluster sizes of up to 256 nodes.
- Thunder Token is an EVM-compatible public blockchain that uses a “fast-path” on top of a standard blockchain called the “slow-chain”. In normal conditions, all transactions are instantly confirmed on the fast-path, and we barely have to use the slow-chain. If the fast-path is ever disrupted, a provably correct mechanism is invoked to fall back to the slow-chain, and nodes can continue to communicate and confirm transactions on the slow-chain.
- Pchain also supports EVM and claims to be the first to do so. Pchain is utilizing multiple side-chains and transaction sharding for maximum scalability, cross-chain functionality (ERC20, BCH and others coming), and smart contract invocation.
- Algorand is a payment protocol that attempts to tackle blockchain scalability issue without sacrificing security and decentralization. Algorand uses a new Byzantine Agreement (BA) protocol to reach consensus among users on the next set of transactions. To scale the consensus to many users, Algorand uses a mechanism based on Verifiable Random Functions that allows users to privately check whether they are selected to participate in the BA.
- Dfinity is a public network of client computers providing a “decentralized world compute cloud” where software can be installed and run with all the usual benefits expected of “smart contract” systems hosted on a traditional blockchain. They gain 1,000 TPS.
- Chromapolis is a blockchain platform for dApps where the data is stored in a relational database.
- Ultrain is a smart contract and cloud computing platform project based in Singapore that is aiming to create a sustainable commercial ecosystem for industrial dApps, convenient for AI applications, network management and IoT services. Main focus is on solving the scalability problem reaching high TPS figures (20,000 tps on the mainchain and up to 5,000 tps on sidechains).
- Other competitors are iExec RLC, Elastic, Perlin.Network, Hypernet, DeepCloud, Blockcloud
There is no road map published
Team and advisory board
The team has a very strong computer science background, all core team members work in universities and do research in several Labs. Most of them have PhD degree in Computer Science major.
- Dawn Song – CEO and co-founder of the project is a Professor of Computer Science at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley and a former professor of Carnegie Mellon University. She is als o co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts. Her academic interests include deep learning, security, distributed systems and blockchain. LinkedIn profile
- Raymond Cheng – CTO and co-founder of Oasis Labs is a post-doctoral researcher at UC Berkeley who specializes in distributed systems, security and privacy. Linkedin profile
- Noah Johnson – CPO and co-founder of Oasis Labs is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley with expertise in program analysis, security policy enforcement, and privacy-preserving techniques. Noah has developed the first practical system to provide differential privacy for general statistical queries. This work was featured in Wired and Gizmodo, and is in use today by Uber. Has no Linkedin profile.
- Bobby Jaros – COO and co-founder – was the previous CEO of Lookflow, which he founded out of the Stanford PhD program to commercialize deep learning. Lookflow was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 to power image search at Flickr. Linkedin profile
Aside from the core team members, Oasis Labs have more than 10 engineers working on the project.
There are no advisors listed on the official web site at the time of this review.
Binance Labs, Bitmain, Dekrypt Capital, DCVC (Data Collective), FBG, Foundation Capital, Huobi Capital, Metastable, NEO Global Capital, Pantera, Polychain, The House Fund, and many others.
Token distribution and token sale details
|Total Token Offered||TBA|
|Private sale Date||Closed|
|Public Tokensale Date||Won’t be held|
In July 2018 Oasis Labs announced that they have raised $45 mln in a private sale with such investors as Accel, Binance, Pantera, Polychain, Metastable, Foundation Capital, Electric Capital, DCVC, Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and others.
After that the team decided not to arrange a public token sale and to focus on product development instead.
Oasis Labs web page doesn’t have enough traffic for Similarweb to show their results, according to Whois service, the domain name was registered in 2012 and updated in March 2018. For now, traffic is mostly direct (40%) and search (35%).
The project has a profile on the Github.
Media and community
Unlike social media, a small number of serious publications about the project have appeared in Internet publications: Forbes, MIT Technology review, Cointelegraph and others. This indicates the quality (not quantitative) attention of the target press. In addition, these publications are not marked as a press release, that is, the initiative and attention comes from the expert community not being paid by the team.
Conclusions and editorial opinion
Risks and Potential
- The idea of using blockchain-agnostic protocol that will allow to solve privacy problem
- Ethereum dApps can be easily integrated with Ekiden, which gives.easier and faster implementation, and in the long term, rapid market coverage.
- Ekiden has 600x greater throughput, 400x less latency, and 1000x less fees than Ethereum.
- Developers can work both in Rust and all EVM-compatible programming languages. This also will make it easier for developers to start using the project.
- The project has a very strong team with related experience (successful startups acquired by Yahoo, FireEye etc. and research programs for Uber and others).
- Major investors participating in private sale: Binance Labs, Bitmain, Dekrypt Capital, DCVC (Data Collective), FBG, Foundation Capital, Huobi Capital, Metastable, NEO Global Capital, Pantera, Polychain, The House Fund, and many others.
- Serious media attention: CNBC, MIT Technology Review
- There’s no detailed roadmap or plans described
- Social media activity is quite low
- Lots of competitors already on the market and coming up
Oasis Labs project is definitely a very interesting approach considering their highly professional team with a strong portfolio of enterprise-level solutions and investors interest on this stage already. Oasis Labs platform will offer higher throughput and security level than existing options. Reduced media activity might have been a disadvantage in case of planned public token sale, but in Oasis case with private sale already successfully held, it can be conscious decision of the team not to spend additional budget on marketing campaign.
Although we should not forget that the competition is now really high with lots of projects already launched and planning to have a crowd sale soon, Ekiden by Oasis Labs is definitely worth tracking.
- Site: 3
- Team: 4.8
- Project idea and whitepaper: 4
- Technology: 4.5
- Media: 2