SuperNova, the Metaverse blockchain’s upgrade in June of this year, enhanced Digital Assets (MST and MIT) on the platform and introduced one of the core pillars of Metaverse: Digital Identity (Avatars). Together, Metaverse Avatars and MST (Metaverse Smart Tokens) will revolutionize the way users interact and transact value on the blockchain. To make sure our current and future community members understand why these features are so valuable, this piece will be the first in a three-part series explaining the power of SuperNova. In this article, we would like to start by focusing on an idea that has been central to SuperNova’s development: accessibility.
Figure 1: Metaverse blockchain development status with SuperNova
Democratizing the New Reality
Metaverse is the first public blockchain to implement digital identities and to effectively integrate them into an ecosystem with digital assets (positioning us at “Our Current Status” in Figure 1). For those who are new to the community, Avatars are unique, self-sovereign identity ledgers on the Metaverse blockchain, and MST are trust-free, traceable and immutable smart properties connected to those identities. Our project is ambitious in scope: we are creating a New Reality in which all types of entities — from individuals to global enterprises — build up their Avatars’ Reputations on the immutable, decentralized ledger of the Metaverse blockchain, and store and transact value of all types through MST and MIT. In order to realize this vision — and to stay true to the permissionless principle of the original blockchain — Metaverse is striving to make these features easily accessible to all, regardless of financial resources or programming knowledge.
Although Metaverse is a pioneer in digital identity and digital asset functionalities, other projects in the public blockchain space have implemented similar features. These projects, however, have constructed substantial barriers to accessing those features, thus actively undermining their potential for growth and user adoption. In this article, we will first explore what makes those other projects so inaccessible, so we can then highlight what makes Metaverse so accessible. It is only through an open, democratized ecosystem that the New Reality can truly be achieved.
Barriers of Other Projects
There are several accessibility barriers to the digital identity, digital asset, and smart contract features of other blockchains. One barrier that stands out among them is cost. For example, take NEO, another public blockchain based in China, and their system fees exhibited in Figure 2.
Figure 2: NEO blockchain system fees (Source: neo.org)
These fees capture the baseline costs for transacting within the NEO ecosystem. It is important to note while looking at the figure that these are just the minimum fees. For instance, although the price to create a smart contract could theoretically be 100 GAS (which is still extremely expensive) as stated next to “Contract.Create” in Figure 2, in practice the price is 500 GAS or more for a basic smart contract, and 5000 GAS for smart asset creation, as evidenced in Figure 3.
Figure 3: A NEO blog post displays the 500 GAS price users pay for smart contract creation (Source: neo.org)
The current price of GAS is around $10, but previously the price has been as high as $91.94. At that all-time high price, it would have been nearly USD $460,000 to create a smart asset, and if NEO has any ambition to grow as a project, the price of GAS will surely increase again. Moreover, for users to renew a smart asset that they have already created is another 5,000 GAS per year: at the ATH price this would equate to an astronomical $460,000 annually, but even at the current price of $10, users would need to pay a $50,000 annual asset renewal fee. Yes, users can generate GAS by holding NEO, but for all except the biggest bag holders, the generated GAS is negligible in comparison to the massive fees.
By making the costs of smart contract and asset creation so exorbitantly high, NEO fundamentally disregards the ideal on which blockchain was founded — enabling anyone, regardless of resources, to take full part in the network. The project claims that these prohibitively high costs are a necessary barrier to entry to prevent scams and useless smart contracts, but in practice this rationale is nonsensical. There are mechanisms to deter and prevent fraud other than having users fork over tens of thousands of dollars, and by establishing these high smart contract and asset fees, NEO is pursuing the creation of a gated community for the monetary elite. To truly make a broad, meaningful impact, blockchain ecosystems, including their functionalities tied to digital value, need to be made accessible to all.
Another barrier preventing the everyday user from accessing the functionalities of other public blockchains is the necessity of programming knowledge. Ethereum, a public blockchain also planning to utilize digital assets, digital identities, and smart contracts, is a prime example of a project that has created this barrier.
Figure 4: Solidity code (Source: GitHub.com, contributors “Pawel Bylica,” CryptoMental,” “Erik Kundt”)
In order to develop on Ethereum, it is necessary to use the programming language Solidity, a language created by the Ethereum team and not widely known. Thus, although there are a few tutorials online, developing on Ethereum can be a highly complex task, even for an experienced developer. The public blockchain Qtum is also integrated with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and therefore requires Solidity coding knowledge as well. By necessitating the use of Solidity, these projects make the utilization of their platforms unnecessarily complex for small-time developers. Moreover, because most projects will end up having to pay to outsource their development on these platforms to third party developers who are well-practiced in Solidity, Ethereum and Qtum have ended up creating a de facto price barrier for small organizations. In his article for Hacker Noon, Michiel Mulders notes that it can cost $45,000 or more to develop an Ethereum smart contract with advanced features. With enough time, dedicated developers could eventually teach themselves Solidity to build on Qtum or Ethereum, but the opportunity cost of not using that time on other aspects of their project would be substantial. Even for NEO (and Qtum after implementation of their X86 Virtual Machine), which allows for use of popular high-level languages for dApps and smart contracts, the difficulty of implementation can still be a huge burden, slowing down development and introducing a high risk of unexpected bugs — like in the case of this ICO which had to be stopped halfway through.
One last access barrier of note is the unnecessary inconvenience and added cost of non-intrinsic digital identities. Other projects following in Metaverse’s footsteps by pursuing digital identity are relying on third party platforms to integrate with their blockchains to provide this functionality. This strategy introduces several issues (which will be discussed in the next part of this series), but from the standpoint of broad access, third party digital identities — such as Civic on Ethereum, Vetri and TheKey on NEO, and IDHub on Qtum — subject their digital identity ecosystems to token price fluctuations. The potential for high token prices and transaction fees for users to simply utilize their own digital identities is inconvenient for small developers and institutions.
The SuperNova Solution
Clearly, other public blockchains are devising many of their own digital identity, digital asset, and smart contract features with intent and consideration of their own unique use cases. Using those projects as a backdrop for comparison highlights one facet of what makes Metaverse unique and innovative: a platform built with all users in mind. Metaverse has set low system fees that are designed not to price out honest developers with minimal capital. When projects like NEO require businesses to make a huge financial commitment to establish a project on their Mainnet, they deter existing companies that are interested in the synergies between their operations and blockchain. These companies may not be familiar with the technology and are unsure of the return on investment for implementing blockchain. Other projects’ price barriers thus underscore a key value proposition of Metaverse: to let existing companies do what they do best and come to us for the blockchain network and security, as opposed to only attracting new companies that are establishing new projects.
With Metaverse, users can form digital identities and digital assets with just a few clicks. Creating an Avatar costs just 1 ETP (~$2 USD as of this writing), and the process is as user-friendly as possible. To make one, users can simply visit the “Avatar” page within the Metaverse Wallet and click “Create Avatar,” as displayed in Figure 5. Users can then choose an Avatar name and select an ETP address to link it to, shown in Figure 6. As long as there is at least 1 ETP in the selected address, users can have a digital identity in seconds!
Figure 5: Accessing Digital Identity Creation in the Metaverse Wallet
Figure 6: Digital Identity Creation Page
Creating a Digital Asset is also very simple. Once users have established a digital identity, they can conveniently register a MST or MIT, and their Avatar will receive the newly created tokens. Users simply need to go to “Assets” in their Metaverse Wallet and click “Create MST/MIT,” as exhibited in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Accessing Digital Asset Creation
Within the asset creation page, users are free to adjust characteristics of their asset such as the maximum supply and the ability to enable secondary issue — without any programming required.
Figure 8: Digital Asset Creation Page
This entire process is quick, convenient, and inexpensive. Since MST transfers are “lodged” in ETP transactions, there is a small (10) ETP transaction fee as part of the MST transfer. This minimal registration fee is an important mechanism for the system to protect itself, as free MST creation would open the system up to DDoS attacks; however, we are committed to making sure this fee does not become prohibitively high and have designed a weighted fee model in order to adjust to variability in the price of ETP.
The features of Digital Identity and Digital Asset on Metaverse are easy to implement and can be accessed efficiently and cost-effectively. By optimizing accessibility, we are positioning the Metaverse ecosystem for mass adoption. As our network grows, entities established on the Metaverse blockchain can take part in an ecosystem where value is transacted securely without the need for trust. We invite all people to establish their Reputations on the Metaverse blockchain and to begin seamlessly transacting value through MST and MIT. We welcome all people to the New Reality.
Please look out for Parts 2 and 3 of this SuperNova Solution Series!
Learn more about Metaverse: