Agoric — Research by Cryp2Gem

Secure Smart contracts

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FOUNDED: 2018, SF, US

WEB PAGE: https://agoric.com/

WHITEPAPER: https://agoric.com/papers/

FIELD OF INTEREST: INFRASTRUCTURE

SHORT DESCRIPTION:
Agoric believes that bringing the world economy online requires making it easy for the world’s programmers to develop smart contracts. A key to this is enabling a safe and secure development environment that Agoric can achieve through our object-capability-based Javascript execution environment, building on the team’s decades of prior research and successful implementations carrying billions of dollars.

*NodeJS for DeFi
*Public Layer-1 PoS chain with Tendermint sped and security
*JavaScript smart contracts with familiar tools and development environments
*Object-capability security model for easy risk partitioning
*Build with encapsulated components for exponential composability
*Easy to compose smart contracts and go to market strategy

CHAIN: Tendermint/Cosmos

CONSENSUS MECHANISM: PoS with BFT

LIVE MAINNET: Mainnet planned for Q2 2021.
LIVE TESTNET: https://agoric.com/testnet/
Applications for incentivised testnet with a deadline on 20th March ’21: https://validate.agoric.com/

Already 36 testnet validators: Chorus, Sikka, Figment, Dokia Capital, Iqlusion, KalpaTech, Chainflow…

DEV ACTIVITY (Github): https://github.com/agoric
Agoric Github has 48 repositories and nine contributors.

Main (pinned) agoric-sdk repository with 4828 commits from January 2019 made by 21 contributors (source)

Agoric hosted a Gitcoin Virtual Cross-Chain Hackathon together with Cosmos and Band Protocol. The winners of Agoric’s challenges made good use of our Zoe platform for building reusable smart contracts.

Late last year, the team released Agoric Alpha which enabled JavaScript developers to get in on DeFi quickly and easily. Alpha includes Fungible and non-fungible tokens, Atomic swap, Covered call, Simple exchange and Automated market maker (“autoswap”).

Check out how to JOIN THE ALPHA!

PRODUCTS: under development; testnet is live

COMPETITORS:
*Ethereum. $205B. The first smart contract platform, and by far the biggest in terms of developer activity and adoptance.
*RSK. $1B. Smart contract platform running as a sidechain of the Bitcoin blockchain.
*Ardor. $240M. Lightweight smart contract capabilities and no blockchain bloat with contract code itself is a simple Java class uploaded to the blockchain.
*Telos. $28M dPoS blockchain based on EOSIO software with a focus on governance.
*EOS. $3,8B. dPoS blockchain based on EOSIO software and a smart contract platform.
*Algorand. $3,1B. Trusted, public, and permissionless PoS infrastructure for the borderless economy. They developed smart contracts built directly into Layer-1 to operate securely without compromising scalability or security while maintaining low execution cost.
*Tezos. $3B. A decentralised, open-source PoS blockchain network can execute peer-to-peer transactions and serve as a platform for deploying smart contracts.
*AVA Labs. $3.9B. An open-source platform for launching highly decentralised applications, new financial primitives, and new interoperable blockchains and a malleable version of Ethereum allows users total control at all technology stacks.
*Cardano. $39,5B. A multi-tiered blockchain project building out a PoS consensus mechanism capable of hosting smart contracts, dApps, and offering users a store of value.
*Edgeware. $150M. A smart-contract chain with a community-managed treasury, decentralised proposal system and network of DAOs. Parity Substrate based with an option of deployment of Solidity/EVM smart contracts.
*Moonbeam. NA. An Ethereum-compatible smart contract parachain on Polkadot.
*Cosmos. $5,1B. A far-reaching project that seeks to add a communication layer between various blockchains. Although its primary focus is interoperability, it also enjoys robust smart contract functionality.

Agoric Founder Dean Tribble: “We love Ethereum, which has had enormous success in combining the power of smart contracts with the integrity of blockchain execution. However, some of its strengths for early growth are real issues for large-scale, mainstream adoption, in particular with security: we believe existing security models don’t satisfactorily prevent theft of data or money.“

TEAM:

The Agoric core team (source)

The Agoric team has been deeply involved in developing smart contracts, from initial discussions in the early 90s to Brian Warner’s involvement in the prescient Least Authority security audit of Ethereum. Realising that a world of smart contracts would not be possible without better software, the Agoric team has been actively creating the right environment for crypto-commerce.

*Mark S Miller, Co-founder & Chief Scientist. Mark S. Miller is a pioneer of agoric (market-based secure distributed) computing and smart contracts, the leading designer of the E and Dr SES distributed persistent object-capability programming languages, inventor of Miller Columns, an architect of the Xanadu hypertext publishing system, a representative to the EcmaScript committee, a former Google research scientist and member of the WebAssembly (Wasm) group, and a senior fellow of the Foresight Institute. Mark worked as a Goolge’s Research Scientist for more than a decade before moving to Agoric. His Google research publication can be found here: Mark S Miller’s Research Publications

*E. Dean Tribble, CTO. Dean Tribble co-designed the negotiation process and contract for the first smart contracting system, AMiX. As a Principal Architect at Microsoft (for a decade), he co-designed the Midori distributed object-capability operating system. As founder and CTO for Agorics (acquired by Microsoft), he architected the brokerage information system for Schwab’s active traders and the WebMart electronic contract system for SunLabs. As CTO of VerifyValid and VP of Deluxe, his echeck systems have carried billions of dollars.

*Michael S Jablon, COO. Mike is a proven industry disruptor. In his 25+ years of strategic leadership, he has leveraged disruptive technologies (IP, VoIP, Smart Home) to both drive monumental change and unleash brand new business opportunities. At Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable), as VP of Product and Strategy, he launched and led the growth of Digital Phone to over 4M subscribers and $2B in annual revenue. Off the clock, Michael is a wanderer, usually travelling sans map or a solid plan.

*Brian Warner, Engineering Lead. Brian Warner built Foolscap, a Python-based distributed object-capability system. He created Buildbot, a popular continuous-integration system, co-founded the Tahoe-LAFS capability-based secure distributed storage system, and co-authored the prescient security review of Ethereum. At Mozilla, Brian developed a framework for reviewing modular browser add-ons, co-developed Firefox Sync, and led the Firefox Accounts login system’s security design.

*Venessa Alexandra Pestritto, Director and Partner Programs. As Director of Strategic Growth at Ripple, Vanessa built a significant investment portfolio of tech companies with novel use cases in protocol development, ecosystem tools, and smart contracts. She previously consulted on fintech and government projects and has advised brands such as Chobani and eBay on their accelerator programs. Venessa was also a P3 Pod Leader for Parity Partners. Vanessa actively advocates for workplace diversity and the advancement of women and Latinos. After being stranded in Barbados with her husband and two kids during Covid quarantine, she is now a New Jersey resident.

*Rowland Graus, Product Leader. Rowland Graus is a highly accomplished startup software company product leader. He has launched multiple enterprise products driving the growth of millions in revenue. Rowland began his career in private equity, where he led research projects resulting in billions in acquisition value. Rowland is obsessed with defi products and is probably farming yours right now. Rowland earned his BA in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

*Santiago Semino, Marketing Manager. Santiago is an expert blockchain and smart contract growth marketer. He was previously at Hype Partners, a Berlin-based blockchain project marketing company. There, he worked on numerous initiatives to launch global developer programs and execute successful funding rounds (ICO & Private). He co-ran the international OFFDevcon blockchain conferences in Prague and Osaka. On the side, you will find Santiago surfing Product Hunt or writing for UI/UX publications. He has a BFA and MFA in Art, Design, and Media.

ADVISORS:
Zooko Wilcox, Zaki Manian, Naval Ravikant, Brendan Eich, Jason Potts, Joe Clack, Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson

PARTNERS:
Cosmos, Interchain, Zcash, Moddable, Metamask, Chainlink, RMIT, RELM

Agoric and the Interchain Foundation formed a strategic collaboration to develop the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) Protocol in July 2019. Agoric co-design and helped deliver a new IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication) protocol, in partnership with the core developers of the Cosmos Network, to form the foundation of both the Cosmos and Agoric networks.

Jae Kwon, Interchain Foundation President, founder and CEO of Tendermint and co-founder of the Cosmos project, says, “We are fortunate to be able to work alongside the giants at Agoric toward building a common IBC specification. Agoric’s experience and approach to formalising secure smart contracts in a decentralised environment is much needed and well-aligned with the Cosmos interchain vision.”

Ethan Buchman, the co-founder of the Cosmos project and Technical Director, Interchain Foundation, adds: “The Agoric team has been working on protocols for transferring digital rights between mutually distrusting parties for decades, and we’re honoured to be collaborating with them on IBC. Their input has been precious, and the alignment between our protocol stacks means we can move forward together using IBC as a common foundation. The Cosmos Network, the larger interchain ecosystem, and the global developer community will surely be much better off as a result.”

INVESTORS:
Seed round investors: ZCash Foundation, Polychain and Naval Ravikant.

Venture round investors from May 2019: gumi Cryptos Capital, Interchain Foundation, Kilowatt Capital LLC, Lemniscap, MetaStable Capital, Outlier Ventures Rockaway Blockchain Fund, Xpring.
Based on Crunchbase, there was $4M of funds raised so far. The seed round is supposedly not included in this amount.

TOKEN USE CASE:

The Agoric Economy consists of three tightly coupled components:

The Agoric Ecosystem is where consumers and producers exchange goods and services and build decentralised finance dApps and other businesses.

The Local Currency Machine mints the native local currency, providing users with a stable medium of exchange and store of value for on-chain assets. The local currency machine reduces transactions costs to encourage adoption.

The Staking Market is where market participants in the Agoric ecosystem bid to have their transactions confirmed by validators. Stakers delegate their native staking token to validators to incentivise the correct execution of transactions and are rewarded for securing the network.

A core design principle for the Agoric chain is to reduce transaction costs to encourage adoption and use. A stablecoin that provides a stable medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value is an essential component. Stablecoins provide a mechanism that helps ensure that the on-chain holdings one has converted from real-world assets retain their value until used. A stablecoin helps ensure that long-term contract costs are constant and used with greater confidence.

The Agoric Token System Features two native tokens: a stable local currency pegged to the US dollar (USD) using a unique stabilisation mechanism and a staking token whose value derives from the economic activity Agoric ecosystem. The stablecoin ensures predictable pricing so that participants in the economy can transact stably and reliably. The staking token ensures that the system's security grows in tandem with the economic activity on the network.

The Agoric staking token represents capital in the Agoric crypto-economy, ensuring the chain’s ongoing operation and security. Stakers and validators provide security for the Agoric ecosystem and earn rewards for providing this security. The following graphic describes how the global consumer economy’s value flows through the Agoric crypto-economy and how the decentralised transactions are secured.

In the Agoric economy, market participants provide collateral in tokenised financial assets, brought via IBC and other mechanisms to exchange for the stable local currency. The value of that currency is kept stable and pegged to US dollars. The tokenised asset will trade close to a 1:1 exchange rate with its real-world counterpart. Any movements away from that rate can be traded at a profit to restore the balance.

The economy enables users to buy and sell stable local currency on demand. Borrowers pay a stability fee, which flows to the stability pool. Demand for $Ag increases with the growth of economic activity on the chain, resulting in a corresponding increase in the stability pool. These fees ensure that network security and economic stability scale with economic activity. Onchain markets, including a system-provided AMM, support automated liquidation of collateral. Automated liquidation occurs if the collateral’s value falls below the required collateralization ratio. If this is not sufficient to cover defaults, additional mechanisms will be triggered.

TOKEN METRICS:
TOKEN: AST
TOTAL TOKEN SUPPLY: 1B
FULLY DILUTED MARKET CAP: TBA

TOKEN DISTRIBUTION:
9% Investors
10% Private Sale
10% Community Sale
10% Foundation
15% Token Decentralisation
10% Operations
20% Staking Rewards
16% Team

ROADMAP:
*Q4 2020 Alpha Release
*Q1 2021 Beta Release & Incentivised Testnet (March)
*Q2 2021 Mainnet Release

The current plan is to release the mainnet in the summer of 2021 (Q2). The timing for token sale has not been determined.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Telegram 1,5k
Discord 5,3k
Twitter 5,6k
LinkedIn
Medium

NOTES

Smart contracts (transfers of rights enforced in code) are significantly challenging to program securely. The participants may not entirely trust each other, and the amount of value at stake makes smart contracts an attractive target for hackers. With hundreds of millions of dollars disappearing overnight with no recourse, lax security can no longer be tolerated. Agoric uses an object-capability (ocap) security architecture, in which access to a programming object itself is the authority to use the object. This approach has been used successfully to create secure operating systems and control untrusted scripts in Google’s Caja project and Salesforce’s Locker Service. In 2007, Mark Miller joined TC39, the JavaScript standards committee. In TC39, Mark Miller (and later, Dean Tribble) championed the features needed to secure JavaScript. Besides the sheer number of developers familiar with it, JavaScript as a language has several features that are preferable for smart contracts, including a clear separation between the purely computational language and host-provided access to the outside world.

To further secure the language, Agoric has created two subsets of JavaScript. SES (Secure EcmaScript) is the maximal secure subset of JavaScript that allows for object capabilities and is focused on backwards compatibility with current JavaScript applications. By contrast, Jessie is a much narrower subset designed for writing highly reliable code, including smart contracts.

Building on 30 years of experience, Agoric is developing a secure distributed ocap platform for smart contracts and market-oriented programming. The platform supports the development of smart contracts and market institutions across many different scales, from large public blockchains to small two-party contracts.

Ocap platform consists of:
*A robust architecture for building secure smart contracts.
*A foundation in JavaScript for maximum reach.
*A cryptographic routing fabric for inter-chain interoperability.
*A library of market abstractions and a framework for securely composing them
*A framework for secure user interaction.

Agoric empowers individuals to securely execute transactions, establish new markets, and craft novel exchange patterns — without centralised control. Agoric uses an object-capability (ocap) security architecture, in which access to a programming object itself is the authority to use the object. All kinds of digital assets can be easily created, but they can be transferred in the same ways, with the same security properties.

Agoric uses its token standard ERTP (Electronic Rights Transfer Protocol) for transferring tokens and other digital assets in JavaScript. Using the ERTP API, you can easily create and use digital assets, all of which are transferred the same way and with the same security properties. ERTP uses OCaps (object capabilities) to enforce access control.

Agoric has developed Zoe, which enables offer-safety enforcement. Zoe guarantees offer safety, meaning that when a user makes an offer and is escrowed with Zoe, Zoe guarantees that the user either gets back what they said they wanted or gets back (refunded) originally offered and escrowed. When a user escrows with Zoe, they get back a JavaScript promise for a future payout.

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