Ontology (ONT) is a blockchain platform for building decentralized trust systems. It was launched by Chinese blockchain startup Onchain; the company behind NEO, on November 27, 2017. While NEO and ONT share many similarities, ONT is more data focused and is specifically designed to provide blockchain solutions for businesses, governments, and organizations.
The team behind Ontology believe that existing trust networks have a number of problems, such as weak privacy protection, ineffective identity verification, and data management monopolization. All of these problems can be solved using blockchain technology. But while public blockchains are inherently trustless because a transparent ledger removes the need for institutions of trust, such a high level of openness only allows for a small number of possible blockchain use-cases.
Companies and organizations still need trust. Institutions like hospitals, universities, and corporations can’t place their trust in an anonymous, decentralized ledger. They need to verify the identity of their users, manage their assets, and control trust issuance within their ecosystem.
Ontology wants to become the solution by providing enterprises with the tools to establish trust mechanisms and tailor them to their specific needs without needing previous knowledge of distributed networks. It combines a host of distributed services, such a data exchange, an identity verification system, and various other industry-specific functions to create a trust network which is cross-chain, cross-system, cross-device, and cross-application.
ONT Pricing, Market Cap and Volume
ONT was launched without an ICO, but a large number of tokens were distributed in a series of airdrops to drum up interest in the project. There is a limited supply of 1 billion ONT, and the tokens are distributed as follows:
– 28% goes to institutional partners
– 25% is set aside for the development of the Ontology ecosystem
– 15% goes to the Ontology core team
– 12% will go to the Ontology community
– 10% goes to the NEO Council
– 10% goes to the Ontology technical community rewards
Ontology uses a dual-token model like NEO. ONT will generate ONG (Ontology Gas) just like NEO generates GAS. ONT is currently a NEP5 token that doesn’t release ONG. Once Ontology’s mainnet goes live, users will be able to exchange the NEP5 ONT for ONT on the new mainnet, which periodically releases ONG.
The value of ONT has gone up steadily since its launch. Its market cap was first listed as ~$400 million USD by Coinmarketcap in March 2018, and it has since risen to cross the ~$1 billion USD threshold.
Coinmarketcap lists the circulating supply as 241 million ONT, but the real circulating supply is 537.5 million ONT. It is unclear why the ONT team hasn’t fixed that discrepancy, but the real circulating value will almost certainly have a drastic effect on the listed market cap.
How Ontology Works
Ontology has a flexible design structure that is modularized and easily expandable in order to meet the needs of different industries. Ontology features a variety of modules for fulfilling its use case, which are outlined below:
Data Directory – Data can be registered to directories and data identifiers (ONT ID) can match and verify requested information in the decentralized system.
Data Exchange – All entities that use Ontology can use its data exchange. Users can trade information while maintaining full control of their data. Ontology attests data throughout its life cycle and can provide copyright protection for exchanged data.
Data Attestation – Ontology not only stores data, it also records its use. Every data transfer, usage, request, and matching is recorded on the ledger. Companies can use this module to create a private record of data use.
Email Registration and Authorization – Ontology’s adjustable configurations can be used to build an identity registration and authorization system. Community authentication and industry-specific verification methods can also be used to identify participants through the blockchain.
Smart Contracts – Enterprises that use Ontology can implement smart contracts and use them to grow and scale.
Crypto Package – Ontology features a series of data security modules, including multi-factor authentication, encrypted data transfer, multi-party key management, key sharing protocols, ring signature modules, secret sharing mechanisms, and blind signature modules.
Ontology marketplace – The Ontology marketplace is a distributed data exchange that provides data products, predictions, and computing resources. The marketplace connects with major cross-chain systems to create a large data exchange platform.
GlobalDB – An IPFS module that can be used for distributed transactions, real-time checking of the blockchain, scalability, and off-chain data interactions. It provides multiple back-end database module options, including RocksDB, cockroachDB, levelDB, and TIDB.
HydraDAO – A module that handles DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations) development and cross-chain big data interaction. It provides support for big data management, smart contracts, and governance mechanisms.
ONT ID – A verification service for individuals and enterprises as well as physical objects like IoT (Internet of Things) devices and mobile phones. It gives entities complete control over their ID and also allows users to grant management rights to others.
Ontorand Consensus Engine
Ontology uses a more effective version of a delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (dBFT) consensus mechanism called the Ontorand Consensus Engine (OCE). OCE is based on the Distributed Networks Architecture (DNA) developed by ONchain. It has unlimited scalability potential and a low hashing rate, making hard forks unlikely.
OCE can confirm a transaction in 20 seconds. The speed at which a new block is created is only limited by Internet speed. OCE gives all ONT holders consensus rights, eliminating cases where miners or users with large token holdings control confirmation power. The protocol chooses who confirms the blockchain using a verifiable random function.
Ontology vs. NEO and Other Platforms
Even though Ontology is connected to NEO through Onchain, it’s not a NEO project. Onchain designed DNA (Decentralized Network Architecture) to bring blockchain solutions to Chinese businesses and government agencies. NEO acts as the foundation of DNA and Ontology is DNA’s implementation.
NEO needs autonomous trust protocols to facilitate the transition of businesses to blockchain, which is a role Ontology can fill. Blockchains created by Ontology are linked to NEO and are part of NEO’s digital asset smart economy. The two platforms are designed to work together to bridge the gap between blockchains and the real world.
Other than its link to NEO, Ontology has plenty of useful application scenarios:
Multi-Source Identity System for People – Users can collect and manage their own identity data from various sources including banks, public institutions, businesses, friends, family, and colleagues. They can create a comprehensive personal profile and secure it with multi-source identity authentication.
Multi-Source Identity System for Objects – IoT devices can be registered on Ontology by product owners or producers. Each object can have its own API and interact with other digital identity holders. Objects can be tracked throughout their life cycle with multi-factor authentication.
Data Exchange – User data collected by service providers can be traded on Ontology’s data exchange to better tailor services for users while maintaining their individual privacy. This would also be useful for collaborative computing and AI training.
Equity Management – Ontology can be used to create a trustworthy equity management system that is transparent and secure.
Community Management – the platform provides the framework for online communities to run in a purely decentralized system instead of using centralized service providers like Facebook or Twitter.
Content Generation and Trade – Ontology can build a distributed trade system for content generators and consumers with terms that are reasonable for both parties.
Buying, Storing and Selling ONT
ONT can be traded on most of the major online cryptocurrency exchanges. The best places to buy and sell ONT are Binance, Huobi, Gate.io, OKEx, Kucoin, Bitbns, and BCEX. When it comes to storage, Neon is the most recommended wallet for ONT. In order for ONT tokens to appear in Neon, you need to enter this hash in the settings menu.
Liquidity of Ontology
ONT has good market liquidity but interested investors should note that the market cap listed on Coinmarketcap and other sites is for only half the circulating supply, and that’s a big problem. The value of ONT will likely tank once the real circulating supply is listed.
Despite that concern, Ontology is still a promising project. Its parent company, Onchain, has shown it has the chops for developing and maintaining large blockchain projects (NEO) and the company has the support of the Chinese government, which makes it a significant player in the Asian crypto market.