There are currently 3 generations of blockchain projects. The 1st generation were alternative currency projects. This generation is headed by Bitcoin. The 2nd generation of blockchain projects are basically platforms for dapps. The current leader in this generation is Ethereum. The 3rd generation rises from the need to fully utilize the power of seamless interconnectivity across separate blockchain networks. These 3rd generation blockchain projects aim to bring to the blockchain what internet brought to the cellphone.
AION is the first 3rd generation blockchain network that allows different blockchain networks to communicate between themselves on a global scale. There are hundreds of blockchain networks today, and AION believes that there will be thousands and millions when widespread adoption hits. This then produces a need for blockchain networks to integrate and communicate.
The CEO of AION, Matt Spoke, categorizes AION users into people who want to build on a public network, people who want to build bridges between various public (and private) networks, and people who want to use the codebase to build their own network.
What Does AION Do?
The problems that AION intends the solve are as follows:
- Blockchains, as they are currently, operate as isolated networks.
- Some blockchains use different programming language and protocols, which makes communication difficult.
- Blockchain networks suffer from scalability issues, as they are clogged by dapps.
AION is a blockchain project that aims to be the connecting bridge between all other blockchain projects (both private and public). The AION blockchain network will enable:
- Exchange of data and value between any AION-compliant blockchain (which already includes Ethereum)
- Fast transaction processing and increased data capacity
- Creation of customized public and private blockchains that maintain interoperability with other blockchains, and at the same time allow publishers to have control over consensus mechanisms, token issuance, etc.
The key features of AION that solve the above problems and enable the above functions are:
- Dapp platform with its own Virtual Machine
- Router that transfers value and logic between networks
- A framework for created chains (on the AION network) to scale to achieve very high transaction speeds
Anyone can create a bridge on AION to any other network as long as the other network is AION-compatible. The AION network is built in such a way that most (if not all) blockchains will be AION-compatible.
The AION platform has a different consensus mechanism for both interchain and on-chain transactions. This implies that consensus failure on interchain transactions does not result in the failure of on-chain consensus and vice versa. The on-chain consensus mechanism is combines BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance), DPoS (Delegated Proof-of-Stake) and a new neural network inspired verification algorithm known as Proof-of-Intelligence.
Interchain transactions are managed by bridges. The bridges use a definite consensus mechanism from the main AION chain and each bridge is secured by an individual consensus. The bridge validators will be rewarded by interchain transaction fees and (probably) a portion of block rewards.
History of AION
Matt Spoke, CEO of AION, started as a Chartered Accountant in Deloitte in Canada. He turned himself into a blockchain specialist after gaining interest in the blockchain space. This interest lead him to buy bitcoins in 2012, and in 2014 he wrote a paper on the premise that bitcoin will make auditors irrelevant. This paper got to the CEO of Deloitte, and an R&D team (Rubix) was created based on it. Spoke led that team for 2 years.
Seeing a gap in the interoperability of blockchains, Spoke left Deloitte to launch Nuco, an enterprise software company, in May 2016. Spoke’s work also helped lead to the creation of EEA (Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) where he is among the board of directors. Nuco, which AION was a subset of, existed till June 2018. Now the AION network stands independently as a project and an organization.
The AION Team
The COO (and co-founder) is Kessem Frank. He is the development head of AION. He has been active in the blockchain world for over 5 years, and he worked with Spoke on Deloitte’s Rubix team.
Jinius Tu is the CTO. He worked as the Blockchain Architect and Lead Developer on Deloitte’s Rubix team. He has been Senior Risk Engineer at Morgan Stanley for 2 years, and for over 1 year has held the position of Chief Architect and Senior Developer for a multi-exchange bitcoin trading system.
Jason Burke is the CFO. He has held CFO positions at a couple of small companies while also serving as a C-Level Advisor in Positive Venture Group Inc. (where he is the founder).
Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, was among the advisers of Nuco but not an adviser on AION. AION is considered complementary to Ethereum. The AION team is often featured in blockchain conferences and Ethereum conferences around the world. They also have the AIONEX conference from which they demonstrate recent developments in AION to the community.
The AION roadmap for 2018 is as follows:
On April 25, 2018, the AION mainnet (Kilimanjaro) was officially launched.
On May 2, the AIONEX conference team performed a live demonstration of the Ethereum to Aion Token Bridge. This means the transfer of Aion ERC-20 token to Aion coin. The interaction is expressed in the chart below:
On June 22, a new Aion pool software was launched with features like variable difficulty, round-based reward system, improved pool performance, improved payment resiliency (and recovery), improved fee processing, and more flexible interfaces. According to the roadmap, Phase 2 should be fully launched before the end of 2018.
Challenges and Competitors
The major challenge of most blockchain projects is time. Most struggle to keep up with the timelines in their roadmap because of the complexity of what they’re trying to achieve. The estimation of the timeline of a future task is based on past experience. Meanwhile, most projects are so unique and encounter unplanned problems on their path. This timeline struggle has also proved a challenge to AION.
The direct competitors of AION include Cosmos and Polkadot. Cosmos is a decentralized network of independent parallel blockchains, each one powered by a Byzantine-fault tolerant consensus algorithm like Tindermint. Polkadot is an interchain blockchain protocol that allows independent blockchains to exchange information.
The AION Token
The AION token is a utility token that fuels the AION network. It is quite similar to ETH in function. The AION token makes it possible to move value on the AION blockchain, pay for operations within the blockchain, deploy software applications, create new participating blockchains, and secure network integrity.
AION can be purchased using bitcoin and ether from exchanges such as Binance and Kucoin. These exchanges do not allow the use of fiat currency to purchase cryptocurrencies. Hence, users must purchase either bitcoin or ether from fiat-crypto exchanges like Coinbase and cex.io, then use the crypto acquired to purchase AION tokens.
It is important to know how to store your AION tokens after purchase. You will need a ERC-20 compatible wallet, or your AION tokens can also be stored in hardware wallets. Examples of hardware wallets are Ledger Nano S and Trezor. Software wallets with ERC-20 compatibility include Metamask, MyEtherWallet, Jaxx, etc. After securing your tokens in your wallet, keep your private keys well and don’t share them with anyone.
AION seems to be the current leader in the 3rd-generation blockchain projects. It is in a good position to succeed, considering the partnerships that it has forged. AION is partners with Bancor, Bitt, Enigma, Metaverse, SingularityNET, and SONM.
However, there is still a lot to be achieved before AION can become established as the leader in interoperability between blockchains.