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Spacemesh ICO Review: A highly-decentralized p2p blockchain computer formed by individuals


A project where the team was inspired to resolve some of the fundamental issues that exist in the current blockchain offerings and re-imagine an open blockchain network which aims to become a system, capable of running general-purpose smart contracts to scale, powered by energy-efficient and incentive-driven, secure protocols.

PROS

  • Extremely solid team academically and technically
  • Unique approach to consensus that is ‘greener’ than other approaches
  • Evolving project that will continue to build out solution

CONS

    Scalability and decentralization are two of the most discussed issues when talking about blockchain technology today.

    We are confident this is not your first time reading about them, nevertheless, we will explain their possible impact on the space, and if you are new here, Welcome! Don’t forget to follow the hyperlinks for word and acronym meanings:

    Scalability is essential to achieve mass adoption. A blockchain needs to be able to function effectively when the number of transactions per seconds required increases.

    Decentralization is one of the key qualities of this “DLT” technology, and provides both trust and security.

    While it is true that many projects in their current development phase are trying to improve decentralization and solve scalability issues, we can say that none of them has real-world tested and proved that their solution was correct.

    We will focus on some of the existing consensus algorithms like Proof of Work: Which we know, needs an immense amount of energy to create and validate new blocks.

    Proof of Stake: requires large security deposits that are locked for long periods of time.

    One project who has taken it upon themselves to solve these problems and more is Spacemesh, a project where the team was inspired to resolve some of the fundamental issues that exist in the current blockchain offerings and re-imagine an open blockchain network which aims to become a system, capable of running general-purpose smart contracts to scale, powered by energy-efficient and incentive-driven, secure protocols.

    So… what is Spacemesh? To make it easier, let’s look at 4 points that describe Spacemesh:

    1- It is a blockmesh operating system.

    Based on a chain with mesh topology – layered directed acyclic graph (DAG). they are using an incentive-compatible protocol.

    To help maintaining decentralization it enables far more frequent rewards than a blockchain.

    2- This operating system neither relies on PoW nor PoStake.

    The heart of Spacemesh is a new consensus protocol that replaces PoW with Proof of Space Time (PoST).

    Users will provide security to the cryptocurrency network via their hard drives, allowing the system to use their free storage space, which is also energy-efficient.

    3- Which powers a decentralized (because of the mesh topology), secure (decentralization & hardware), and scalable (DAG) smart contract global computer.

    4- And a cryptocurrency with a permissionless consensus protocol.

    Anyone can join the network, participate in the process of block verification to create consensus and also create smart contracts.

    It is early on in this project and the team is still developing their technology, so stay tuned but if you don’t want to miss out on any of our reviews/features on the best projects in the crypto-space. Join the community!


    Problem

    As you would’ve read above, Spacemesh and their talented developers have set out to solve some of the problems that are plaguing quite a few of the projects in the crypto-currency space.

    These problems, as we have stated before in some of our previous reviews are going to halt the mass adoption of the technology until their issues can be satisfactorily resolved and used case reinforced.

    So what are the problems that the team is attempting to solve.

    • Centralization Tendencies
    • High energy usage
    • Governance
    • High-Barrier to entry
    • Security, Scalability and Storage
    Centralization Tendencies

    If we take 2 of the more well known Proof of Work currencies, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), we can see some commonalities in their growth pattern and the trend towards centralization.

    After the creation of each currency it was quite easy to use a standard PC to “mine” the blocks for each of these currencies and the PC owner was more or less assured of winning the block often enough to make it worthwhile for them to continue to mine – however – over time as more and more people began to mine it became increasingly difficult to win blocks and as time progressed the hardware used for mining would also evolve to specialized integrated chips called ASIC which completely took over the Bitcoin hashing power, these specialized hardware units are predominantly concentrated in 1 country(China) and by 5 miners who own about 75% of $BTCs hashrate – this creates a scenario that could impact the Bitcoin network if something were to happen (like the recent flooding in parts of China) that took out a significant portion of the hashing power.

    High energy usage

    It goes without saying that with all of these mining companies and individuals running these specialized computers that the power consumption is extremely demanding.

    It has been estimated that energy consumption for Bitcoin mining consumes as much as it would for a small country.  Earlier 2018 estimates told us that it would take 42 Terawatts of power just to keep the Bitcoin network secure and while Bitcoin is the largest network, ETH is not far behind at 20 Terawatts of power consumption for mining. That is where Spacemesh really shines, in the fact that it is power friendly and green.

    To put this into perspective, the power consumption for just ETH and BTC mining could power approx 9 million US households.  These 2 cryptocurrencies are not the the only coins that need to be mined due to their “Proof of Work” consensus. This kind of power consumption cannot be ignored.

    Governance

    Governance is also an issue that will be addressed by the SpaceMesh team.

    According to this article by Fred Ehrsam – governance is one of the most exciting areas for the blockchain.

    But what is ‘Governance’ in the blockchain space.   The best way to describe it is – ‘how the blockchain will incentivize and coordinate’.   Fred defines governance in 2 ways :

    1. Incentivization – In the simplest terms what do the participants receive for participating in the blockchain.   In the case of BTC, ETH and many other coins – the incentive is the coin itself, received for some definable ‘work’ that benefits the chain.
    2. Mechanism for Coordination – this is an action carried out by participants in the blockchain, getting together to ‘determine’ the operations of the network- how this is achieved is different from project to project.

    One very recent example is EOS,  who has implemented their governance model which consist of 21 block producers, this has recently been a topic of discussion due to its very public problems in its implementation.

    Regardless, governance is a key issue that will be addressed by the Spacemesh team

    High-Barrier to entry

    Another problem that the team is trying solve is that of the high-barrier to entry.  Whether the coin is working on a Proof of Work consensus or a Staking model the cost to join and benefit from the network financially is quite high.  This creates a have and have not scenario which is not fair. Crypto needs to be open to all people in all walks of life without them having to worry about purchasing expensive equipment, or acquiring a significant number of coins to participate.

    Security, Scalability and Storage

    A final set of problems that the team will be looking to address is the security of the chain, the scalability of the chain and lastly the participants staking of their personal hard drive storage.

    Due to the problems that we’ve previously mentioned with power consumption, fairness, high barrier to entry and others; the team is taking a novel approach to resolving and as you’ll read in the solutions section, the team has implemented a new consensus algorithm called ‘Proof of Space Time’.


    Solution

    In this section we will try to explain the solutions Spacemesh plan to implement to counteract the challenges outlined in the problems section. Use the CLICK HERE link to have a closer view of the diagram and continue reading to learn about the solutions proposed by the team.

    CLICK HERE → https://my.mindnode.com/x17LkSSPoQxFx3uSKPm7MqDthxpayrG6dGyZqXTE#581.7,-2570.7,-10

    1- Decentralization:

    Spacemesh considers a system decentralized when it checks off these 3 bullet points:

    • A normal home computer should be capable to work as a full p2p network node.
    • The nodes must be distributed world wide.
    • Nodes must be proportionally distributed among all entities

    Spacemesh plan to develop solutions that involve both core ​protocol​ properties and an ​incentive​ structure to ensure decentralization.

    Their “hardware approach”, based on their consensus protocol and the need for storage space on hard-drives, will help distribution, due to the fact that current/regular users will be able to work as nodes for the system.

    2- Protocols:

    Spacemesh protocols will be designed to run efficiently on regular, store-bought PC´s. Therefore, investing great amounts of money to develop an specific ASIC for running Spacemesh nodes won´t be profitable.

    As simple as having 250 GB of free space on your computer alongside a modern CPU, will be more than enough to run the PoST consensus protocol.

    3- Incentive:

    They are focusing their attention on accomplishing a real incentive-compatible protocol, which allows for a fair and highly-predictable compensation method.

    This along with the fact that everyday users will have the opportunity to participate in the network providing it with security, storage, and decentralized computational capabilities, will help in the widespread adoption of the project.

    4- Governance:

    To improve governance issues that tend to arise in DLT’s, as explained in the problems section, Spacemesh will create a Foundation, an organization whose responsibility it is to ensuring network growth, maintain decentralization in the network, and forge a path for the projects future innovations.

    Proposed governance structure for Spacemesh

    Spacemesh foundation is a not-for-profit organization that owns a relatively small amount of Spacemesh tokens.

    5- Security:

    They are working on various and different approaches to maintain security without damaging scalability/decentralization and accessibility.

    Security Proofs

    • Currently developing an incentive compatible and safety correctness proof of their consensus protocol
    • This is crucial to build a robust blockchain platform in a permissionless setting.

    Bounty Program

    • To identify both theoretical and implementation-related security vulnerabilities

    Independent Security Audits

    • Conducting comprehensive security audits is vital to test and expose the system weaknesses. It can easily improve performance in the future.

    Large Scale Network Simulations

    • Across several regions around the world in the go-spacemesh open source project. They will test the network reliability in case of adversarial conditions before going to real usage.

    Different security assumptions than PoS.

    PoS makes several assumptions to create security. In spacemesh the security relies on a honest majority of a “physical” resource , based on the free space in different hardware locations, rather than a “virtual” one.

    7- Scalability:

    Spacemesh accepts that it is to soon in the project to predict a determined speed of the network, but their goal is to easily improve current PoS and PoW based systems scalability.

    8- Energy Waste:

    Since the consensus protocols efficiency will based on the physical capacity (the amount of free storage space in a hard-disk) and not in the computational power provided, the amount of energy wasted in the application of the consensus algorithm will be hundreds of times smaller than current PoW protocols.

    9- High Transaction Fees:

    Spacemesh tokens will be considered a means of payment, therefore the number of transactions will be higher. Along with that, there’s an easier entrance into the system, i.e. lower transaction fees.

    Nevertheless they still need to find proper balance between tx and fees to reward both users and miners.


    Main Features

    You’ve been given a lot of great information above and in this main section we will continue to explore Spacemesh’s unique and novel approach to their consensus protocol briefly, but with a little more detail.  

    Spacemesh

    The Spacemesh Protocol is a mesh, as the name suggest, a layered directed acyclic graph (DAG) not using Proof of Work or Proof of Stake protocols but uses something called PoST- Proof of Space Time which we will cover in detail here.

    Proof Of Space Time (PoST)

    Pioneered by Professor Tal Moran, SpacemeshOS chief scientist, and Dr. Ilan Orlev.

    Here’s a brief definition of PoST by Spacemesh:

    It’s a trade off between CPU work and space-time. It allows a prover to convince a verifier that they spent a “space-time” resource – storing data in space over a period of time.

    The difference in Spacemesh’s use of PoST is that they take a simpler approach allowing space-time tradeoffs(a user has allocated a certain amount of space for a certain amount of time on their hard drive)  that do not require any non-standard assumptions beyond standard oracles.

    In the PoST protocol, provers set aside storage space that is locked for a certain amount of time, this consensus protocol is based on storage space hence the name Proof of Space Time and uses extremely large amounts of storage.

    PoST proof has two phases for verification in its consensus mechanism: a commitment and proof phase which leaves it at a bit of a disadvantage comparatively to PoW whose consensus mechanism verifies transactions algorithmically via (“work-done”/ the merit of work by the miners) and is considered a single stringed approach.

    Also, knowing/measuring the length of time between the generation of the commit and the time the prover learns the challenge for the proof phase, this interval of time is not fully known so Spacemesh created the Proof of Elapsed Time(PoET).

    PoET – is the single string the PoST is not and is able to verify the a certain amount of time, represented by T, must have passed the moment the challenge was learned.

    The commit string from PoST —–> now becomes the challenge string for PoET —–> and lastly the PoET becomes the challenge for the proof phase of the PoST. Because of the time parameter for PoET is verifiable, the verifier can be convinced that the prover did in fact reserve the data as they had said for the requested length of time.

    The Spacemesh Foundation plans on creating and maintain free PoET public servers as a utility to the network and incentivizing the community to run PoET servers by opening sourcing the server source code.


    Roadmap

    sticker_2

    Q4, 2017 – Go-spacemesh App scaffolding

    Q1, 2018 – Core p2p and node capabilities

    Q2, 2018 [Milestone 1 : Catch A Fire] – Published White Paper 1 with initial protocol tech specs

    Q3, 2018 [Milestone 2 : Nice and Smooth] – Publish White Paper 2 with full protocol specs and security proofs

    Q1, 2019 [Milestone 3 : Ring of Saturn] – MVP 1 code-complete and test net // Packed node software for all major platforms running on test net

    Q2, 2019 [Milestone 4 : Giant Steps] – MVP2 – code complete and testing on test net // MVP1 main net launch – Spacemesh

    Q3, 2019 [Milestone 5 : The Immortal] – MVP2 main net deployment // Integrated state channels, private transactions, and programmability dev focus

     


    Team + Advisors

    Professor Tal Maran – Chief Scientist

    • Professor Tal is a currently a Faculty member in the School of Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel.
    • Notable previous positions: Postdoctoral research at Harvard University
    • Graduated with Phd at The Weizmann Institute of Science.
      • Focused area of study was in cryptography, designing secure systems in the real world and end to end verification.
    • 21 Publications.
    • Tal website does not contain information on when he completed or worked at these locations so the years of these facts are unknown.

    Dr. Iddo Bentov – Chief Scientist

    • Dr. Iddo has been around the bitcoin space since 2011.
    • Currently postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University.
      • Focused area of study was in cryptography and cryptocurrency where he has 10 academic papers and 22 publications.
    • Also working succinct zero-knowledge proofs at SCIPR Lab.
    • He has been involved in 2 blockchain projects StarkWare and Virtue Poker.
    • Holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

    Yosher Joshua – Core Platform Developer

    • Yosher has 3+ years work experience as a Software Engineer at 1 small company and one he started up.
    • He also volunteered for 2+ years as a Android Developer for the Israel Defence Forces
    • Skill he learn in this time:
      • PHP (Laravel) and Node.js microservices for the backend, and various technologies for frontend, starting from HTML, CSS and Javascript, to Angular and Vue.js
      • Java, MySQL, PHP, Node.js and MongoDB

    Yuval Zalmenson – Software Architect

    • Yuval has 12+ years work experience in the Software Engineering and Research & development space.
    • Notable previous positions:
      • Software Engineer at Dell.
      • 6+ years in Research & Development at Israel Defence Forces
    • IT Skill set:
      • Network security, Storage Systems, Software design and architecture, C++, C, Java, team/product leadership, cross-platform development, Internet technologies and protocols, network protocol analysis and designing anomaly detection methods, filesystems.
    • Holds a Master’s of Science, Computer Science from IDC Herzliya Israel
    • Holds a BA, Mathematics and Computer Science at Technion from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

    Anton Lerner – Software Architect

    • Anton has 13+ years in the IT space.
      • The last 2 years has been in IT Architecture.
      • 5 years as a Senior Storage Engineer at Dell
      • 5 years as a programmer, R&D in Israel Defense Forces.
    • IT Skill sets:
      • C, SQL, Python. Security, Object Oriented Design, TCP/IP and .Net.
    • Holds BA, Computer Science and Management at the Open University

    Tomer Afek – Co-Founder

    • Tomer Brings 18 years of work experience into this project. Currently he only holds one role with is with Space Mesh. This is a positive as it shows all his focus is into one company.
    • Notable previous positions:
      • Co-Founder and CMO at Showbox. Showbox transforms brands and publishers into digital video powerhouses.
      • CEO at Convert Media. New York -based Contextin is a revolutionary display media buying platform.
      • Investment Manager at Evergreen Partners. Israel’s first Venture Capital firms. Current $700 million venture capital funds and invested in more than 120 technology companies.
      • Director of Channels Marketing at Sanctum. Leaders in automation Web Application Security Firewalls and testing software.
    • Holds a B.S.c, Computer Science, Economics at Tel Aviv University.

    Rami Kasterstein – Co-Founder

    • Rami brings in 25+ years into this project. He is currently hold 6 leadership positions at 5 different companies. All these positions are so different it allows him to lead a company from every angle.
      • Managing General Partner/Managing Partner at Scale up Crypto Capital. It is a Venture Capital Fund focused on the late and growth Stage of Technology companies. This would allow him to have a big network work of connections in the crypto area.
      • Founder and CEO at Everything Me for 8+ years. Everything Me is a launcher for Android devices that adds contextual capabilities to mobile phones
      • Board Member at LawGeex. LawGeex uses AI technology that automate the review of approval of day to day business contracts.
    • Holds M.Sc, Computer Science at Weizmann Institute.
    • Holds B.Sc, Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

    Ifat Linur – Head of Operations

    • Ifat brings 13 years work experience in leadership roles.
    • Noteable previous roles:
      • GM Israel at eko for 5+ years. She grew the team from 9 – 50 employees in 3.5 years at 2 sites Israel and NY. She did it all here including:
        • Recruitment, Salary reviews, Interviewing, drafting employment contracts, options agreement etc.
      • CEO at Aroma Espresso Bar TLV. She supported a budget of 4 million per year. She launched the loyalty club and supporting IT framework, built the customer Service Department, etc.
    • She has been educated at Boston University, New York University and Ono Academic College.

    Aviv Eyal – Co-Founder

    • Aviv brings in a ton of knowledge, 25+ years worth. He has another current roles as an consultant for Musicsoft Arts LLC. He advises companies on blockchain integration, value tokenization and web3 distributed apps. And Building smart contracts and apps MVPS.
    • Notable previous positions:
      • Co-Founder/CTO of Gong. Mobile tech company.
      • Advisor at YouNow. A newer type of Youtube company.
      • Founder at Musicsoft. Details are as above.
      • VP at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
      • Co-Founder and CTO at crackle Inc. This is a video streaming type app which was acquired by Sony.
      • Co-Founder and CTO of Sony pictures Entertainment. Due Sony buying his own company Crackle Inc.
      • Co-Founder and CTO of Friskit Inc. It was a webapp for music based on java, C++ tech.
      • Software Designer Engineer at Microsoft, Corp.
    • Holds B.Csm Philosophy and Computer Science at Tel Aviv University.

      Julian Loss – Researcher

      • Currently a Ph.D. student in the general field of provable security at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
      • Holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from ETH Zurich.
      • His interests include efficient and practical designs of basic cryptographic primitives such as digital signatures, protocols for distributed consensus.

        Gal Alkobi – HR and Operations

        • Holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Organizational Behavior

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