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When analyzing a project, the Eden Labs team looks for projects that do something unique or do it much better than its competition. Quality projects should be able to explain complex ideas simplified to their audience. In addition, projects that rely heavily on a broad user base have to have an incentive for the first ten people to join the network before a million users is ever achievable. No project will succeed if it requires a million participants to bring any value to its users.
ULedger aims to provide organizations with a highly scalable and efficient blockchain solution for their existing data infrastructure. This will provide them access to high quality data storage and transfer, lower costs, transparency, immutability, process integrity, and high throughput. The ULedger protocol provides a foundation for the development of both private and public blockchains with an added layer of security and efficiency as data doesn’t need to be shared between nodes. This is a result of the unique bifurcation between immutability and consensus.
Traditional businesses tolerate inaccurate and compromised data which ends up costing them heavily. The main issues plaguing businesses are:
- An overall lack of trust and integrity regarding business data
- A reliance on inaccurate data
- Difficulty in proving the integrity of data
- Data security breaches
The dangers associated with the centralized model of information storage have been publicized frequently. Whether due to a lack of reliable security or near fraudulent misuses of data, the trust placed in centralized institutions is often broken. Facebook’s recent misuse of user data and the Equifax security hack are prime examples.
ULedger utilizes decentralized ledger technology to provide enterprises with trustless and immutable data storage.
Its key components are:
- A decoupling of state and consensus (meaning no shared state throughout the network)
- ULedger acts as a top layer platform to existing business infrastructure
- Compatibility with all blockchain platforms and apps
- Scalability and bandwidth advantages
- Integrate-able with modern day accounting, information, and database networks used by most businesses
The bottom line is that ULedger provides a protocol that enables customizable and interoperable chains to be built according to the needs of enterprises. Blockchains built on ULedger will be highly scalable and efficient and interoperable with all their existing platforms. This is critical for any project targeting the business environment.
The technology of a platform carefully aligns the actors, incentives, and rewards. A well-constructed marketplace will result in an Adam Smith style system, one where everyone benefits from the pursuance of self-interest. Misaligned incentives, bad governance systems, and poorly optimized features will lead to winners and losers, and the collapse of the platform.
ULedger is a protocol, not a platform. In today’s industry, these terms are commonly confused. The key differentiator between the two is that true protocols are stateless (think lightening network as an example). Protocols that have a global state are distributed (or replicated) state machines (Ethereum, Bitcoin, etc.).
Today, blockchains combine the state of the network with a global consensus. Consensus is critical to decentralized computing. Because computers (nodes) are distributed widely across the network, the nodes must come to a consensus regarding the state of the network. This consensus is particularly important when digital assets such as tokens are being traded: Bitcoin transactions and ledger balances are dependent on every preceding transaction. The network needs to reach consensus regarding the state of these transactions, or it will fork into a new chain. Without consensus, Bitcoin could not be trusted. Ultimately, the goal of any ledger is to make events, data, or transactions order-able against any other event. The network then must agree with this ordering. Bitcoin and most blockchains use timestamps which are then broadcasted to the entire network.
The issue with this common coupling of state and consensus is that the consensus protocol thus limits efficiency and transaction throughput. In other words, if the network can’t come to a consensus fast enough, it can’t process more transactions. Even solutions such as side chains, while theoretically highly scalable, are still dependent on an eventual global network state.
ULedger however, takes another approach. ULedger is attempting to create a ledger where events can still be ordered and confirmed, all while avoiding the pitfalls of a global state. In simple terms, this means that every node stores its own history, and through mathematical proofs, shares this state with a sufficient number of other nodes, to ensure that their history is both secure and verifiable. This also has security benefits as foreign nodes aren’t storing the private data present in medical records, business emails, or any other sensitive information.
ULedger makes use of vector clocks to solve the following dilemma: How can transactions be ordered without maintaining a global state?
Vector clocks are simply algorithms which allow events to be ordered in a distributed environment. The events are ordered in what are called “Hash Calendars.” Hash calendars are DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs) that maintain the order of transactions. They also include information about the relative time that the transactions were received. However, the difficulty arises in making sure that all nodes maintain a legitimate hash calendar. Without a global state, nodes could create illegitimate event orderings, creating fraudulent reports or corrupt audits.
In order to confirm that individual nodes are maintaining appropriate event orderings in the form of hash calenders, a process known as Cross-Merkelization is used. Cross-Merkelization requires nodes to broadcast out the hash of their DAG to neighboring nodes. Those neighbors include the hash in their DAG structure and return their own hash to their neighbor, who subsequently includes it again in their DAG. This creates an intertwined network of DAGs, ensuring that the same history is shared between nodes, without needing a global state.
Imagine a spider web of interconnected chains. The chains don’t include the actual private information, merely a proof that the information is legitimate.
In order to prevent tampering or modification of these cross-merkelized DAGs, merged mining is conducted. Merged mining allows multiple PoW Blockchains to secure and mine each other’s chains. By applying PoW to the cross-merkelization, ULedger ensures that these combined DAGs cannot be arbitrarily changed without redoing all of the historical PoW. PoW is also a strongest-link principal. All the chains within a merged mining system have the security of the most secure chain.
Essentially, ULedger has created a ledger that does not require a global state. Users maintain a history of events on their ledger and, through cross-merkelization and PoW, ensure that those histories correlate with all the other network nodes – and cannot be changed.
Due to ULedger’s protocol design, operating without a global state, ULedger can be used with any consensus mechanism and its throughput is dependent only on the maximum CPU availability of the node.
Functionally, ULedger would allow a user to host their ledger on their home computer, maintaining whatever information they wanted. The only variable throttling their performance is how strong their computer is. They can store their information safely and privately, but still verify the authenticity of the information across the network. Third parties would then be able to trust that information.
Through this advanced protocol, ULedger offers a number of products to help bring relevant solutions for both enterprise and personal objectives. The following services are currently functional:
ULedger Data Integrity
This solution provides businesses with a platform to effectively store data. The ULedger blockchain stores data such as emails, transactions, sensitive data, or any other relevant information. The service integrates seamlessly with existing data programs.
ULedger provides a solution for auditing on an enterprise level. With the use of the third party blockchain service, records are logged in a trustless and immutable fashion.
These ULedger solutions provide companies with a traceable history of email communications.
Also, many other ULedger services are in development, focusing on data storage and management solutions for both individuals and enterprises.
It’s important to recognize that a protocol of this nature is not relegated to simple business data operations. The protocol could support dApp development and provide more scalable solutions to existing platforms.
Additional notes: Because of the nature of cross-merkelization and a unique ledger design, the larger a node is, the more the node will have cross-merkelized with its neighbors. This decreases the probability that there will be a different history existing in another area of the network (because the large node is already connected to so many other nodes; this confirms that their ledger history is shared by others). Thus, for smaller nodes, there is a security incentive to cross merkelize with these larger nodes. Essentially, if one user can’t connect with enough nodes to ensure immutability and security, connecting to one large node which is well connected will suffice. The large nodes will charge fees in the form of ULD.
ULedger provides a novel and highly innovative solution to the scalability issues plaguing current DLT platforms. ULedger’s decoupling of transaction immutability from network consensus is ingenious and sets a new standard for protocols. The protocol should prove highly scalable and applicable to a wide variety of scenarios. The technology is already proving effective in several different enterprise solutions. The implications of this breakthrough are also more significant than simple enterprise data storage. It could even provide a solution to the oracle integration problems facing Ethereum and other platforms.
ULedger provides a simple roadmap defining the future objectives of the project. The project has been in development since 2016 and is already operational with half a dozen clients/partners, so there is no big release date. The listed objectives show ULedger’s commitment to improving the protocol and providing a clear set of developmental objectives.
Total Minted Tokens:
- The first offering will be offered to early investors. 1920 “units” will be sold. Each unit is sold for $25,000. Each unit is convertible (at the time of the public offering) into:
- 40,000 ULDS tokens (worth $20,000)
- 767 common equity shares (valued at $5,000). In total, 15% of the company’s equity will be sold
- 40,000 ULDS tokens (worth $20,000)
- All unsold tokens from the private offering will be allocated towards the public offering.
- The equity offering is only available for the private funding offering, not the public offering.
- ULDS is a security token to be registered with the SEC and issued at the time of the public sale; the ULDS tokens have a profit sharing mechanism. 10% of ULedger profits will be shared amongst the ULDS tokens.
- The utility token, ULD will be airdropped in the future. The exact specifications regarding this release have yet to be announced.
- In addition to being tradable as a security on a token exchange, ULDS can be redeemed at any time for $0.50 worth of ULedger service fees. This provides ULDS holders with an equivalence in value to the purchase price of the tokens.
- 30% Marketing and advertising
- 35% Platform Development
- 20% HR costs
- 10% Legal expense fund
- 15% Partnership deals
Intrinsic Value of the token to the ecosystem: ULD is spent in exchange for receiving premium service on the ULedger node network. As mentioned above, ULD is used as an exchange of value to compensate large nodes for acting as centralized connection points. Connecting to large nodes increases the immutability and security of the individual chains; there is an incentive for users to pay these large nodes for their services. Connecting to one large node may offer the equivalent security of connecting to ten smaller nodes. This is the nature of how connected each node is with the entire network. However, if a user does not want access to these nodes, ULD is not needed. In addition, ULedger could conceivably use any number of tokens for this exchange of value. ULD’s demand and value will be a result of the closed source network. In the beginning, no one will be able to fork ULedger and implement other tokens — forcing the network to use ULD.
ULedger’s token model is a security token. Security tokens beg a number of questions that utility tokens do not. While the value of utility tokens relies on the intrinsic token value to the ecosystem and the network effect, security tokens depend on company cash flows and service contracts. The details regarding these equity-specific questions are difficult to answer in ULedger’s case. However, the redemption terms around ULDS ensure that there is a floor to its value.
Ecosystem & Rivals
Transitioning organizations onto decentralized ledger solutions will take considerable effort, time, and money. Organizations expect trust and integrity when it comes to data since inaccurate and compromised data only hinders growth. The goal of enterprise blockchain solutions is to deliver high quality, business-ready, and efficient results.
Some companies have built blockchain solutions fit for enterprise use such as 0Chain, which offers sub-second finality, fast high-security storage, and infinite scalability with parallel chains. Dfinity also boasts of security, speed, and scale for their customizable private chains. However, their use of experimental cryptography is worrisome. Zilliqa is a high throughput public blockchain platform designed to scale to thousands of transactions per second – ideal for running enterprise dApps that demand high transaction rates.
However, these projects are not in direct competition with ULedger due to the fact that such projects provide only state-based ledgers. Their scalability and throughput are thus always dependent on the efficiency of their consensus mechanisms. Since ULedger decouples state from consensus, it’s most appropriate to compare it to projects attempting a similar solution.
Both Solana and Kadena take similar approaches to ULedger in their implementation of ledger-based technology. However, there are several critical differences between ULedger and both Solana and Kadena.
Solana Vs ULedger
- Solana is a high performance blockchain which, similar to ULedger, decouples machine state and timestamping.
- The main difference between the two platforms comes in ULedger’s use of PoW and merged mining. Combined with cross-merkelization, this makes it extraordinarily difficult to arbitrarily influence the ledger, or to modify the history shared with other nodes. There is no such solution with Solana.
- In addition, ULedger uses their developed technology of merged mining and cross merkalization to order events within the ledger. This technology is similar to ‘Roughtime’ and allows for the ordering of interrelated event timelines relative to one another across nodes. Solana uses its Proof-of-History protocol to complete a similar task. The Proof of History uses PoS to elect a leader who produces the proof of history.
- Solana is more susceptible to attack than ULedger since Solana does not make creating alternative blockchain histories as difficult. Unlike with ULedger, conceivably, on Solana, the larger a node became, the more likely it would be that they could create alternate histories.
Kadena Vs ULedger
- Kadena uses Chainweb which is a parallel-chain, PoW protocol, compromised of many ‘sister’ chains. ULedger, however, does not need a consensus algorithm due to the architecture of the system.
- Like ULedger, Kadena offers private and public blockchain solutions.
- The most significant difference lies in that Kadena still requires a global state for the network. ULedger has no such need.
- Similarly to ULedger’s cross-merkelization protocol, Kadena mixes its peer chain’s merkle roots together to form a single superchain to strengthen the network. Unlike ULedger, Kadena’s superchain offers an effective hash rate that is the sum of each individual chain.
ULedger faces a few projects trying to achieve a solution to a similar problem. However, none of the competitors offer a result as trustless, interoperable, and scalable as the one provided by ULedger. Enterprise blockchain solutions are still maturing as the technology and economy grow, but ULedger is poised to become a leading solution through its decoupling of state and consensus. The only question is, how will ULedger perform under the demands of widespread adoption; other enterprise blockchains have answered this as they already have large, operational networks.
Team & Leadership
In the rapid, challenging, and dynamic industry of DLT startups, the team is an imperative component to a project’s success. The frequent need for pivoting and the challenges of a new industry necessitate a team with a strong background in distributed ledger technology, technical and engineering educations, and proven reputations. Team bios, LinkedIns, past work experience, and publishing work are all reviewed and analyzed.
Josh McIver, Founder & CEO
- Strong entrepreneurial background in technology startups
- Co-Founder & former President of Grey Beacon, LLC
- Former Auditor at Deloitte
- Former Director of Strategy and Business Development at The World
Taulant Ramabaja, Co-Founder & CTO
- Co-Founder of Bitsapphire and Sudobase
- Former Social Media & Online Community Organizer at NextSeo
- Former Social Tech Organizer at Ipko Foundation
- Bachelors Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology
Pete Anewalt, COO & Development
- Former Sr. VP, Professional Services & Customer Success at Balihoo
- An experienced executive with an understanding of software technology and real-world business environments
- Co-Founder and Sr. VP, Product Managment at Healthcare Data Diagnostics, LLC
Dave Otander, VP & Compliance
- Former COO, Director of Operations & Trading at The CAPROCK Group
- Former VP Operations at CitiGroup/Smith
- Seasoned financial services professional with experience in compliance, trading, portfolio management, operations & human resources
Wencen Wu, Research Scientist
- Assistant Professor at RPI
- Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology
Lum Ramabaja, Software Engineer
- Former data scientist at 7LYTIX
- Machine learning engineer student
ULedger’s team features several members with strong technical and business backgrounds. Their CTO is well cited within the space and is quite capable of heading a project of this magnitude. However, the team is small and lacks many full-time developers. While experienced, the team requires PhDs or the kind of accreditations that would give us full confidence in their ability to develop and market a product such as ULedger. Expanding and scaling the team will be critical to ULedger’s long-term success. However, it is important to note that ULedger is drawing on developer talent from Bitsapphire, a blockchain consultation company which ULedger’s CTO cofounded.
Advisors serve important roles in projects, bringing legitimacy, expert guidance, and unique outlooks. However, there is a market for paid advisory roles, and thus, these positions are looked at skeptically. Every effort is made to confirm any listed advisors through outside sources.
- Former President of Kaspersky Labs
- President of Rubicon Capital
- CEO of Wachsman PR
- Marketing Advisor & Investor Outreach
- Legal Advisor
While the advisory team is engaged and committed to assisting ULedger in marketing and development, ULedger lacks impressive, industry-relevant advisors. The advisors, while competent, don’t bring the kind of validation and legitimacy to the project that well-known executives and influencers can bring. ULedger would benefit greatly from bringing on additional advisors, especially those experienced within the DLT industry.
Partnerships represent both institutional investors as well as enterprise involvement. As with advisors, partnerships legitimize projects. A focus is placed on projects engaged with enterprises and corporations within their respective industry.
- Deloitte provides auditing, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services through worldwide independent firms. They are one of the Big Four accounting firms.
- ULedger’s ledger has been combined with AI to create a predictive and preventative model for transaction fraud.
- A project focusing on bringing distributed ledger technology to the construction industry.
- Fetch.ai is offering a decentralized, blockchain-based ledger, focused on underpinning the emerging world of autonomous agents. These agents, whether IoT devices or automated cars, can use the Fetch platform to perform autonomous tasks and be rewarded. This ultimately allows for a more seamless interaction between the autonomous devices and those who are willing to pay for their services or data.
- Budbo blockchain solution for the supply chain issues plaguing the cannabis industry. The project sold out their ICO successfully and already launched their application in November of 2016.
- eShipGlobal is an international shipping service for universities, students, and faculty.
- WebBank Inc., a Utah based, industrial bank, providing financing solutions. It engages in a range of banking activities, including making loans, issuing credit cards, and taking deposits
- Sales Mercenary is a consulting company specializing in sales optimization.
- Better Bookkeeping is a small business specializing in tax and accounting service.
- Panaton is the US subsidiary of Sirma Group, founded 2007, Delaware C-Corp, HQ in Boise, Idaho. The company is specialized in software engineering, system integration, and product design. They use ULedger’s blockchain email solution
- The city of Boise, ID with a population of around 200,000 people, is implementing ULedger technology within their utility infrastructure and email system.
- The cooperation is especially beneficial for city utility management. By using ULedger’s protocol, much of the process can now be automated.
- Thomson Reuters is a multi-billion dollar, mass media, and information firm.
- The company is exploring ULedger services for several use cases, such as data.
- integrity and reporting.
ULedger has already shown success working with existing businesses. Providing solutions to the City of Boise, Deloitte, and Thompson Reuters bring considerable legitimacy to ULedger. At the moment, Thompson Reuters is not yet a paying customer, but is still in a trial period with ULedger. ULedger has a mix of large and small partnerships, but the platform clearly provides strong value to their customers, evidenced by the quantity of companies using ULedger. It will be important for ULedger to continue to add to their list of large enterprise partners, in addition to the smaller businesses listed above.
Marketing & Social
Social media and community engagement measures both how many in the community are aware of the project, as well as what the project’s level of engagement is within the community. It’s important to see active posting on Twitter and Medium, as well as a well-administrated Telegram or Slack.
- Twitter. A well-managed account that’s been active for a long time since October 2016, with recent tweets at 279 followers.
- Reddit. Inactive channel for the past months, with 88 readers.
- Facebook. Vague activity and 54 likes.
- Telegram. A community of 1255 members.
A website is the initial representation of a project’s professionalism; serves as the first impression for potential investors, and acts as a key tool in conveying the team’s vision. Thus, the importance of reviewing the website for clarity, sophistication, quality, transparency, and professionalism.
ULedger has a quality website. The website presents the project less from a technical perspective and instead focuses on the relevant advantages that their platform provides to enterprises. This is appropriate considering that this is ULedger’s targeted market.
ULedger lacks a strong social media following and doesn’t have a particularly active Twitter. However, their Telegram is well moderated, and the team is responsive to questions. They post comprehensive articles on their website blog as well. It’s important to recognize as well that social media metrics are less relevant to a project that focuses more on enterprises and less on a massive public user base.
- Their fund-raising token represents profit sharing and equity. However, it’s difficult to understand precisely how profitable these tokens could become as there are no details regarding their service model, cash flows, or other factors that are important when considering the investment potential of equities. Essentially, equities beg further information that utility tokens do not.
- There are inconsistencies between their website and whitepaper. The team members and advisors do not appear to be updated. In addition, the partnerships sections need updating.
- The team is small, lacking in many engineers, and not together in one location. However, we do recognize that ULedger is receiving development support from Bitsapphire.
- The revolutionary components of ULedger – an architecture decoupling state from consensus – will be difficult to convey to established businesses not familiar with the technology. Whether these companies use ULedger will depend largely upon the support, efficiency, and marketability of the platform in comparison to the competition.
- The enterprise blockchain industry is a competitive field; while ULedger is approaching the goal in a novel manner, ultimately they’re still vying for the same market.
- There aren’t any metrics available in regards to ULedger’s retention of customers. In addition, considering the early stage of most of these use cases, it’s difficult to conclude how satisfied these customers are. Because of ULedger’s security token and BaaS approach, these are important metrics to consider.
ULedger boasts a solid technical team, decent partnerships, and a strong vision. But their strength lies in their goal of implementing a ledger without a global state or better said, a ledger the decouples state from consensus. This novel technical design has yet to be applied on a large scale within the industry, giving ULedger a robust competitive advantage. The design should enable ULedger to serve as a scalable, efficient, and widely applicable platform for both individuals and businesses.
However, ULedger has yet to develop a reliable media or marketing presence. It remains to be seen how the project will gain traction, primarily as they compete with emerging third generation DLT platforms. While their technical advantage is significant, already we’ve seen competition in the space utilizing a design without a global state. Eden Labs believes that there will be an increasing number of projects applying similar approaches soon.
The token design is the central area of concern for ULedger. It’s a known challenge for architecture without a global state to support an intrinsic token. Without a global state and smart contracts, tokens are generally reserved as a means of exchange for network services. In ULedger’s case, these services are in the form of increased security by way of highly connected nodes. Regardless, their fund-raising is for a profit-sharing token, one that supports their Ledger-as-a-Solution model. However, an equity or profit-sharing model is difficult to value when information regarding future cash flow and the service-model specifications are undefined. The ability to redeem ULDS tokens for $0.50 worth of ULedger services does put a solid floor on the token’s value.
Regardless, we see ULedger as more of a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) company, evidenced by their token economics, established partnerships, and approach to the industry. This is also a result of their protocol design; they’re not building a ledger, they’ve instead constructed a protocol on which ledgers and other solutions can be designed. This has positive aspects and some drawbacks. The positive aspect is that ULedger should maintain the flexibility needed to provide many customized services to businesses. They also are approaching a market with less competition. While other platforms in the industry compete to be the main dApp development platform, ULedger is approaching a more niche market, one that will increase dramatically as demand for BaaS solutions increase. The downside to this is that they will likely never be as profitable or capture as much value as Ethereum or other dApp development platforms. This doesn’t mean they can’t capture value.
The next few months will prove critical to ULedger’s design, as they complete their token raise, work towards ironing out their ULD token distribution, hire new blockchain developers, and begin marketing to a broader audience. Regardless, an entirely novel technical design is difficult to find in today’s DLT industry where projects merely make small tweaks to the tech developed by their competition and market it as revolutionary. For this reason, ULedger is a project to follow carefully.
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Disclaimer: This is not investment advice, merely our opinion and analysis on the project. Do your own research.