I have agreed to serve as an advisor to the Status team and SmartContract.com team. This blog post is to explain their projects and state why I’m agreeing to advise them.
What is it?
Status is a mobile Ethereum OS that manifest itself as a mobile app for iOS and Android. It is a gateway to access Ethereum Dapps (decentralized applications) on a smartphone, an encrypted message service, and is attempting to build a network of community powered services as part of the “Status Network”. Status recently held a token distribution for the “Status Network Token (SNT)”. SNT tokens are used as a utility to power the Status client with services including governance of the Status client, participation in a Fiat-to-crypto ‘Teller Network’, A Decentralized Push Notification Market, and more. Click here for a blog that explains their vision.
Why I Am Advising Them
The Status co-founders have been active participants in the Ethereum community for a long time. They have consistently been very transparent of their product and its history and struggles. Status has pivoted several times on an ideation and software level. That is to be expected of a project that took the risk of dreaming big back in 2015 when Ethereum was in its infancy. Just looking at Jarrad’s On a technical level Status was one of the earliest projects to integrate a geth light client and is one of the only projects currently using the Whisper communication protocol to handle in app encrypted messaging. If you browse their Github you see a history of contributions and innovative projects that were well ahead of their time (check out syng client). I have known co-founders Jarrad Hope and Carl Bennetts for a long time and have complete trust in their integrity as people and love for this community. When looking at projects in this space, a solid team is one of the top two things to look for. A groundbreaking idea is great, but execution of the idea is much more important. A solid team is needed to execute and I have little doubt that the team at Status can and will execute their vision.
What is it?
When you first hear about blockchains you get to a point in your understanding of the concepts where you question how useful this technology can be if it is completely walled off to the outside world. Secure data feeds (sometimes called oracles) between the real world and a blockchain aim to solve this. Trusted data feeds provide information like sports scores, stock prices, and generic API calls to a blockchain. This can help provide more useful real world use cases that rely on information that is only available outside of a blockchain, like if you want to trigger a blockchain event the next time the Cubs win the World Series. Implementing a secure way to do this is super hard. I mean very hard. There are multiple places along the path for data from a feed to be manipulated, maliciously or not, and pushed to the blockchain permanently.
The SmartContract.com team has been working since 2014 to tackle these problems. They have a product called ChainLink that allows you to connect your smart contract to a data feed from any web API and some payment networks. They recently partnered with Cornell’s IC3 organization to help launch the first Intel SGX secured link between smart contracts and external data. This helps solve some of the issues around data tampering when using unsecure hardware. They are developing a decentralized oracle blockchain middleware called the “LINK network” that allows anyone to become a provider of external data. These utility tokens will allow you to monetize the data you are sending to smart contracts and get paid in LINK tokens. They are currently in the pre-sale phase of their token sale for LINK tokens.
Why I Am Advising Them
I am in love with the use case they are tackling. I think it is incredibly important to have a secure service for trusted data feeds. It will enable so many use cases that are currently being stifled by the necessity of blockchains being closed systems. I only recently met the SmartContract.com team, but so far I have had good interactions with them. They have been working on this problem since before Ethereum was even a thing and I believe they have the most experience tackling this problem. They have a working data feed product today that anyone can try called ChainLink. The astounding thing is that it is designed to work on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Hyperledger. Not many blockchain companies are targeting the 3 most popular blockchains. Click here for an example of a data feed from ChainLink that pushes the Ethereum price in USD.
As you have seen in my explanations, my main reasons for advising any group is because I believe in the team and the idea. These two companies meet my requirements which are as follows:
- Have a team that can execute an idea.
- If they have a token, it must be a utility token with a purpose and not a security.
- Their idea or product must be useful at least and innovative at best.
These requirements do not mean I will advise your project. Status and SmartContract.com are the only companies I am publicly and officially advising. I do not plan to pick up anymore advisory roles in the near future. I have an IoT/blockchain security start-up called Oaken Innovations that is gaining a lot of traction that I dedicate my time to.
There is a lot of money and ideas being thrown around in the blockchain space. Be cautious of any token sales or promises that blockchain start-ups make. Watch for a team with actual code, a working prototype, and a solid team. Those are the groups you want to associate with.