Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) have gone on to be heralded as the saviour of many industries and already existing technologies. The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is also often considered ripe for use alongside DLTs, because the two technologies support each very well. Decentralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) marketplaces and, more generally, software marketplaces, are considered to be good applications of decentralized platforms as well (indeed, this is happening already)
Among those particular spaces/high-level industry changes that DLTs seem to be working towards establishing, none have as much momentum as the Web 3.0 space. DLTs are all about distributing power more equally among a group of stakeholders, and preventing any one entity from having too much control or influence in its role.
The internet was built with this spirit of democracy in mind, letting anyone access information from a fair and open repository. As we all very well know, things have not turned out that way. Whether it’s a government, tech corporations, an ISP or advertisers, there are several entities that have a firm grip over what data is accessible on the internet and how it is accessible. This has become a major cause of concern as our data becomes ever more valuable.
Web 3.0 effectively makes true the promises of the early days of the internet - free, equal and uncensorable. The movement is bringing decentralized protocols and technologies to the internet, making truly decentralized - free from censorship, transparent and offering cloud services at a negligible cost, which in turn puts personal, professional and economic growth in the hands of the individual.
The Waves project is one of the many initiatives that are endeavoring to establish solutions for Web 3.0. We take a look at what the Waves paltform has to offer, as well as its plans for the future and competing projects.
The History of Waves (WAVES): From Humble Beginnings to Bringing in Web 3.0
The Waves platform was launched in 2016 by Alexander Ivanov, a Russian entrepreneur who is behind many other crypto startups, who also serves as the project’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). While the project’s overarching is to offer “a wide range of purpose-designed tools for making the process of developing and running dApps easy and accessible” in the context of Web 3.0 applications, the Waves platform offers much more that, effectively acting as a suite of tools and services that businesses and startups can leverage to transition into the decentralized era.
The project conducted its ICO in May 2016, raising $16 million, which for the time was an impressive amount. At the time of publishing to token is trading at $0.77, nearly five times as high since just after the launch of the ICO. All time highs for the token were in the range of $16.
The team has released several products and made several changes to the network since its launch, a testament of their work ethic and organization. Notable developments include the launch of a decentralized exchange (DEX), Microsoft Azure integration, multi-signatures, a blockchain messenger and, of course, smart contracts - the latter being an important development for the facilitation of decentralized applications (DApps) and Web 3.0 solutions.
The team has released several roadmaps, and a new updated version is expected soon. The most recent roadmap provided by the team shows that the team is working on several enterprise features and solutions, which are categorized under the Waves Enterprise sub-project. For 2019, the accompanying developments include a whitepaper, a Waves 2.0 whitepaper, the release of sidechains and the release of Waves Enterprise 1.0. As for 2020, will bring the testnet of Waves 2.0 and more implementation of solutions for Waves Enterprise.
Web 3.0 is considered a long-term goal and application of DLTs. Much of the work being put into this initiative is still early days and Waves’ solutions can be thought of as a gateway - the laying of the foundational bricks - to a platform that will eventually offer all of the benefits and features of a decentralized web.
Currently, however, more than being a Web 3.0 gateway, Waves offers developers and businesses several tools and services that allow them to utilize the strengths of transparency, immutability and automation inherent in DLTs to help them better their business models and processes. It is something like a Blockchain-as-a-Service platform, another major niche that several projects have attached themselves to.
Below we examine these particular solutions that Waves offers, and how the team is preparing solutions for the wider use case that is Web 3.0
The Purpose of Waves (WAVES): Multi-Purpose on its Path to Web 3.0
Several technical developments come together to facilitate the Waves platform’s overall goals of serving Web 3.0-related features. These include Wavs-NG, an on chain protocol that addresses scalability and performance issues; oracles, which allow the blockchain to be connected to real world data; Ride, a smart contract programming language that the team claims improves development speed and accuracy; Waves Keeper, a browser extension that has Waves web services and Dapps integrated; and a Waves Wallet itself.
Waves runs on a type of Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm called Leased Proof-of-Stake, which the team states is cost effective and increases security by letting users lease WAVES tokens to another account.
Waves is something of a multi-purpose platform that offers many different services. The most notable of these is the security token issuance platform called Tokenomica, the Waves DEX and Waves Enterprise. Waves also allows user to issue regular ICO tokens via Waves itself, even via the Lite Client.
Tokenomica is an exchange that allows companies to raise capital via the issuance of “smart securities” - essentially tokens. As is the case with Waves’ other solutions, the process to launch tokens is quite simple and quick. From end to end, the process takes a few months, but each step on the part of the issuer is not very long. Like other token issuance platforms, issuing tokens automatically brings liquidity and trading benefits to the issuer and investors.
Waves Enterprise, which is currently a big focus for the project, offers blockchain solutions for businesses, as the name would suggest. This is a private network that offers hybrid solutions to business that want to customize blockchain solutions for high performance and strong security. It offers both Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Authority (PoS) consensus algorithms.
Corporate client screen from Waves Enterprise. Source: https://wavesenterprise.com/whitepaper.pdf
The most important feature of this initiative is that allows businesses to integrate blockchain solutions into projects that are currently being worked on a global scale through Waves’ system integrator. However, the capacity for smart contracts to be written in any user defined programming language can be seen as being very attractive for businesses and their developers. For a fuller picture, we recommend reading the Waves Enterprise whitepaper.
Waves Labs is another aspect of the Waves effort that is worth mentioning. Through this, the team is supporting and empowering developers and startups that are building on the platform. Accompanying this is extensive documentation and tutorials on how to build on Waves, something that the team finds extremely important, as evidenced by the thoroughness of these tutorials. Waves Labs includes an incubator and grants, and several third party developments like the Ventuary Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).
Waves 2.0 is the overall goal that the team is working on currently and is set for release in 2020. Waves 2.0 will bring some major upgrades to the platform. This is currently in the research stage, but more details on Waves 2.0 are expected in this quarter.
Partnerships and Collaborations
The Waves team has established several partnerships, with projects, enterprise entities and with governmental authorities. The team seems keen on getting players on board so that they can test and realize the benefits of the Waves platform whose solutions, as we have seen, span several different uses. Several of these partnerships are focused on Russia, which is likely a result of the project’s Russian founder and CEO’s experience in entrepreneurship.
Waves has also established a partnership with Deloitte, one of the “big four” professional consulting firms. Deloitte CIS and Waves have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see a strategic partnership where Deloitte will help clients run Initial Coin Offering (ICO) services on the Waves platform, as well as aid them in using the platform for business processes.
Waves is also available on Microsoft’s cloud service, Microsoft Azure. The platform’s BaaS features will be available for businesses and developers, allowing them to launch their own blockchains and related services quickly. This is a smart move that other projects (like Stratis) have also taken in order to expand development and use of the platform.
All of the big four firms have shown an incredible level of interest in DLTs, with each already looking into solutions that the technology could offer. After all, auditing is a major part of these firms’ services, and auditing is well known as being an area that DLTs could better with transparency and automation.
Along with Deloitte, Waves is working with Juscutum and Kesarev Consulting to develop blockchain solutions for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Particularly, these entities are helping Kazakhstan form cryptocurrency regulations.
Similarly, Waves is working with the officials of the crypto-friendly nation of Malta form regulation and foster innovation through discussions and implementation of the platform. Waves’ founder Ivanov spoke to the country’s prime minister to discuss the application of the Waves platform in government and corporate scenarios.
Burger King Russia has also issued a token on the Waves’ platform using the platform’s token issuance feature. Appropriately called “Whoppercoin”, issuing 1 billion such tokens which can then be redeemed for Burger King’s famed Whoppers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of partnerships. Waves has several other partnerships which give a bigger sense of the adoption of Waves and the team’s strategy when it comes to expansion.
What Projects is Waves Competing With?
Investment in decentralized finance has been growing remarkably. Source: https://defipulse.com/
Waves has most definitely made a lot of progress and passed many milestones in its agenda, but this is a very tight space with many projects operating in the very same use case, whether it be the creation of solutions for Web 3.0 or for enterprises via the features of BaaS platform. DLTs have been advertised as miracle pills for what is definitely an extraneous number of industries, but Web 3.0 and BaaS are without a doubt two use cases that have already been concluded to be necessary applications. DLTs can greatly transform many businesses that can involve themselves in these two use cases - and many projects and teams know it. This puts Waves in a bit of a tough spot as far as market share is concerned.
A quick listing of the competitors will give you some sense of the quality and quantity of competition that Waves is facing: Polkadot, Cosmos, Golem Network, Substratum and Ethereum itself; and to a lesser degree, BaaS and DeFi focused projects like Stratis, Lisk and OmiseGO. It doesn’t take much experience in the blockchain space to see that these are all highly respected projects that are deploying promising solutions that are boating us towards Web 3.0, blockchain development and decentralized finance.
Of course, we have to ask ourselves about what “competition” means in this space. Could it be possible that several similar projects could exist? After all, we have several ride-sharing apps, online learning academies, exchanges, development tools and so on. We have to assume that, since it is too early to tell how the future of blockchain will pan out (grand as the statements coming from the media might be), there is no telling how a commercial level of blockchain existence will be in the future.
Waves has developed many solutions with different purposes, which is a really good thing going for it. The team is also working closely with regulators in the crypto-friendly nation of Malta. By embedding itself in the enterprise space, and successfully executing its promised solutions, it does prepare itself for a time in the future when businesses and developers will want to turn to DLTs to expand and enhance their products and services.
Waves has a wide and thorough approach to developing an ecosystem, and the specific areas of focus of Waves are all demonstrably useful. Couple this with a strong work ethic and constant communication, and the potential and quality of the Waves project appears clear.
It is entirely worthwhile to watch the development of Waves, which regularly updates the community with how its agenda is progressing. You will be hard pressed to find projects that are as thorough with their approach to building solutions for Web 3.0. What’s more, Waves has already released several working products, for both individuals and enterprises, something many projects cannot boast of.
Investors will no doubt want to hear more about Waves 2.0, which would offer more information on the long term vision of the project. However, as it stands, the project appears to be a solid effort that could very well become a go-to hub for enterprise development, token issuance and trading.