Aeternity

The Tech

Beginner

By Matt Hussey

Learn

Jan 22, 2019

Aeternity is a smart contract blockchain network that runs faster than competitors by hosting contracts off the main network. It’s also mobile focused and built for scale.

What you will learn

What you will learn

What Aeternity is, how it’s different from competitors like Ethereum, and why it stands a chance a mass adoption.

What happens when the “godfather of Ethereum” breaks off and forms his own blockchain? Aeternity that’s what.

This platform seeks to right the wrongs of its famous predecessor. So instead of having smart contracts on the blockchain (which slows everything down), Aeternity takes them off-chain.

Instead of having decentralized apps Dapps that are clunky and hard to use, Aeternity hires a whole team of people to make their interface so easy, “your mom can use [it]”.

Aeternity also uses three different programming languages to satisfy different needs on the blockchain. Ethereum only has one (Solidity), which has a reputation of being hard to use and easy to mess up.

Can it succeed? We find out below.

What is Aeternity?

Aeternity is a blockchain network that offers everything you would expect – smart contracts, its own token, and decentralised apps. But it prides itself on being faster and more energy efficient than competing blockchains. It also offers extra security features for smart contracts that are aimed at mass adoption.

Who created Aeternity?

Aeternity was founded by Yanislav Malahov, who famously calls himself the ‘Godfather of Ethereum’. Evidently, he worked closely with Ethereum’s founder before Ethereum was officially named. The legend has it that Malahov disagreed with how the Ethereum project was progressing, and started his own project to correct those flaws.

Did you know?

Aeternity is based in Liechtenstein, which has a population of just 38,000!

A brief history

  • 2017 – Founded
  • January 2017 – Public testnet launched
  • March 2017 – Whitepaper released
  • April 2017 – Initial ICO
  • November 2018 – Mainnet called “Roma” launched

What’s so special about it

  • 🤝 State channels – Traditionally, smart contracts are built right into the blockchain. This takes up a lot of space and slows things down. Aeternity has solved this by allowing smart contracts to take place off the blockchain, or ‘off-chain’. It also offers increased privacy. The contracts are only put on the blockchain in the case of a dispute, allowing people to have contracts that can be kept hidden.

  • 👍 Governance – Aeternity has put a major emphasis on community power by giving all stakeholders (token holders) a say in what happens. The more tokens you have, the more weight you carry.

  • 📱 Consensus – Aeternity uses a hybrid proof of work and proof of stake method. Usually, proof of work relies on raw computational power, which takes lots of electricity and only allows people with the most powerful computers to stand a chance in the mining game. Instead, Aeternity uses the “Cuckoo cycle”, which depends on computer memory bandwidth. This proof of work means that theoretically, any device from laptops to tablets can be used to mine AE tokens.

  • 🌦 Oracles – Aeternity focuses on real world data for smart contracts. For example, some smart contracts depend on outside information to be fulfilled – like the weather or a share price. Oracles act as helpers that retrieve and confirm that information on behalf of the smart contract.

How is AE produced?

AE tokens are mined using the Cuckoo Cycle proof of work algorithm. Other coins using this include BitCash and Grin coin. Instead of relying on raw computational power (which favours monster computers that hoard electricity), it relies on computer memory. That makes mining accessible to people with everyday computers. Currently, smartphones don’t quite have enough power to mine tokens, but the idea is one day they will.

What can you do with AE tokens?

Like other blockchains, AE tokens are the fuel you need to do anything on the platform. This includes access to Aeternity’s version of decentralised apps (known as ‘aepps’).

Some ‘aepp’ examples include:

  • Multiplayer video games
  • Crowdfunding
  • Supply chain management

The future

Since Aeternity’s mainnet only launched in November 2018 (after being delayed for several months), it’s still early days. The jury’s still out on whether Aeternity will become the platform of choice, especially in an increasingly crowded smart contract space. Aeternity will need to keep finding ways to distinguish itself from competitors as it goes toe to toe with giants like Ethereum, as well as EOS and NEO. That said, Aeternity is widely praised for its mobile-first, built for scale approach. It tackles many of the problems that weigh Bitcoin and Ethereum down.

The off-chain smart contracts certainly set Aeternity up for mass adoption – piquing the interest of more traditional businesses.

By Matt Hussey

Learn

Jan 22, 2019

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2019 © Decrypt Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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