Market participants in the cryptocurrency industry are now used to seeing initial coin offerings (ICOs) coming in from the left, the right and the center.
The news of any upcoming token sale seems to be an everyday event that does not have the same fanfare to it as its counterparts in the past.
ICOs are expected, they’re part of the new reality.
It is also normal for most of these ICOs and ventures to proclaim that they will bring some sort of new magical solution that will solve large problems affecting a sector.
They promise to either revolutionize a typical process or introduce never before seen inventiveness to their potential user base.
That is why it is extremely important to vet and analyze such offerings upon their arrival to determine if they have what it takes to be a great blockchain venture.
Given the aforementioned reason, when news came about of one such upcoming ICOs by the name of Oasis Labs, it only seemed prudent to go through important aspects of the project in order to determine its value proposition.
Oasis Labs Review: The Market Opportunity
Oasis Labs will be raising funds for its Ekiden protocol, a project that will focus on privacy-centric smart contracts while also ensuring that it doesn’t fall prey to the scalability issues that have affected many a blockchain as of late.
Since smart contracts typically do not enforce the masking or protection of private data despite being highly secure and immutable after being executed, their usage in privacy-based environments leaves a lot to be desired.
Oasis Labs aims to resolve this very problem through the usage of their trusted execution environment (TEE), which could be applied through a wide variety of situations and fulfill use cases across multiple industries.
The comprehensive solution that Oasis Labs puts forth is comprised of a total of four layers, application, computation, storage and consensus, it will attack the problem of scalability, security, and privacy.
TEE technology works in a subsection of a computing environment, where even the host computer that is running the application does not gain access to the data that it is processing even while being aware of the execution of the application’s operations.
This ensures that any private data remains safely tucked away from the prying code of any other applications that are not supposed to see it otherwise. A prime example of this technology is the Intel Software Guard eXtensions (SGX), which is something that even the Oasis Labs white paper for Ekiden alludes to.
That is exactly the kind of privacy technology which Oasis Labs will apply through its Ekiden platform. This coupled with the ability to perform private transaction off-chain also means that the high-throughput which Oasis Labs and Ekiden cite in the white paper could be logically achievable.
Not all transactions will be processed through the main chain and would minimize the bottlenecks of congestion.
By combining the security, efficiency, and capability of blockchain technology with the privacy of TEE, Oasis Labs and its Ekiden platform claim to build a new blockchain network from scratch.
The platform would not only employ private smart contracts through its systems but will also remain highly scalable due to its switching capabilities between multiple TEEs through blockchain, among several other functionalities.
This provides Oasis Labs and Ekiden an opportunity to cater to those entities that want to delve into the world of smart contracts but are concerned about their privacy and the risks that they could be exposing themselves to due to sharing any sensitive data.
They can do so in a highly scalable manner.
Needless to say, this includes but is not limited to financial institutions, government operations, and even some privacy-centric technology firms.
However, not all seems to be going well for Oasis Labs and Ekiden at first glance, since even though numerous websites are referring to the link of this white paper of Ekiden on behalf of Oasis Labs, the presumably official Oasis Labs website contains no information on the white paper or links to the just as newly minted social media pages that the platform has seemingly set up for itself.
While it can be argued that Oasis Labs has just launched its solutions with its first ever tweet being sent out on May 30, 2018, it seems like the project’s team fell short on the planning aspect, since anyone who visits the website or goes after the hype of an upcoming ICO would most certainly require all the information they could, and Oasis Labs does not have much to offer on that front.
Oasis Labs Review: Crowdsale
There is no information available on the dates or specifics of the crowd sale from Oasis Labs, and its website and Twitter have not divulged when details such as the distribution of tokens or when the allocation of funds will take place.
With that being said, the project does boast of a well-written white paper and a team that seems highly qualified in terms of IT.
While none of the notable members hold any significant experience in blockchain technology, it could be understandable since many startups proceed with individuals that are experienced in other platforms but translate their work proficiently on blockchain for the first time in a funded project (case in point: Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin).
According to the white paper, the team of scientists and engineers collaborating on the platform comprises of people from revered institutions such as Cornell, University of California and the National University of Singapore.
Several of the team members have been involved in or started companies that were acquired.
Dawn Song founded Ensighta Security which was later acquired by FireEye, further information on Dawn’s activities in technology, research and academia can be located here.
Another team member, Bobby Jaros founded LookFlow, a company that was later acquired by Yahoo! According to a yahoo profile, Bobby seems to be in charge of leading deep research at Yahoo Labs.
Noah, another team member worked with Dawn Song to develop an enterprise level data security protocol, a protocol that is currently being integrated into prominent companies like Uber.
This alludes to the fact that the project has a strong team behind it – with a strong track record of execution – it certainly gives Oasis Labs and Ekiden some extra points toward legitimacy.
The project has a stellar white paper which mostly focuses on the execution and technicalities of the project, which is exactly what a great white paper needs. However, it does not provide much information on the roles of the individuals who are part of the team, which could come as a future development.
On paper, the Oasis Labs’ project for Ekiden seems wonderful and something that could give strong competition to Enigma, another privacy-centric blockchain platform.
The project theoretically has quite a few strengths. The ability to support and seamlessly be compatible with Ethereum makes it a compelling solution.
The project also looks like it has strong support from significant players in the industry, the incubation/institute/ecological fund of Binance, called Binance Labs has invested in the project.
In regard to their community, Oasis Labs has about 9905 members in their Telegram Group indicating some awareness.
However, it simply seems too early to tell how the project could go because it has very limited information available through official channels and all other news that surrounds it is either through speculation or by automatically created pages on multiple websites which only list the company’s information on the lines of “Coming Soon.”
Therefore, we might need to give Oasis Labs a chance to eventually update its website with pertinent information. But if that does not happen in a few weeks’ time, then it would just cause a big question mark to appear next to this promising Ekiden project.
While news broke about Oasis Labs’ ICO very recently, the project’s website remains only as an introductory page for now with no information or direct links available to its team information or white paper through the domain.
This also causes Oasis Labs to not have any ties through its official domain to the Ekiden white paper and that remains a grave cause of concern for potential investors.
Individuals would expect that the team at Oasis Labs would at the very least, have a section for their white paper.
Potential investors are also kept in the dark in regard to roadmaps, token economics and even the dates of the token generation event. Furthermore, official titles of the team members are also not present. These titles are important because they would indicate what each team member would bring to the table and the specific activities that they have done in the past that makes them a great candidate for the role.
Additionally, the fact that some of the team members may not have updated their social media accounts to reflect their position would Oasis Labs might cause for concern.
Investors would also need to know about the project, as noted above there isn’t as much information present about the project on social media or other platforms. This lack of visibility and awareness of their solution and what they are trying to do is quite detrimental.
Yet, they are hiring for community managers, business development representatives and more positions that could help to bring more visibility and awareness.
There isn’t any public code provided on their Github either.
Granted, their white paper is compelling and makes for an interesting read but more specifics in regard to forward momentum in the project is certainly needed.
The project stands apart from the most popular smart contracts platform, Ethereum, by theoretically allowing the execution of privacy based smart contracts in a scalable and cost-efficient manner.
It would be interesting because it would fill the gap, it would serve a purpose and provide a solution that would certainly be accepted and embraced by the marketplace.
It also differs in its usage of a completely customized platform where it is going to be building its solutions from scratch, which could give it a competitive edge.
Ekiden can also be quite compelling if it truly can cater their specific solution to all EVM based blockchains.
However, once again, all of that depends largely on how Oasis Labs improves on the delivery of information to interested individuals, because no matter how great a project can be on paper, it renders to be unusable if it does not communicate well with its potential market.
Oasis Labs Review: Conclusion
The project is certainly quite compelling due to a variety of reasons. It looks like it has a caliber and highly engaged team, in addition to a strong community and a theoretically strong solution.
For this project to represent a strong buy, we would like to see more concrete activity in regard to their code base and implementation.
It is certainly no contest that they could be providing a solution that would immensely impact the blockchain and potential projects that will be built on it.
Without more concrete information and activity to show progress or metrics and milestones to measure the team by, it becomes a riskier project.
Most concerns should be alleviated as soon as the whitepaper is deployed but until then this will simply be a project to watch.