What does the company/project do?
Ankr has the objective to build a Distributed Cloud Computing (DCC) platform on the blockchain. It distinguishes itself from other blockchain platforms in the area by building on trusted hardware. It uses a Proof of Useful Work (PoUW) consensus mechanism.
Trusted Computing involves equipping the hardware with a unique encryption key that is inaccessible to the rest of the system. This technology decreases the risk of viruses and malware for the equipped hardware. The market share of trusted hardware devices is currently increasing. Ankr sees an opportunity to leverage this technology for Distributed Cloud Computing.
How advanced is the project?
Ankr Network has released a white paper in June 2018, but has not communicated a date for the mainnet launch. As of June 2018 the private token pre-sale is active. There is not yet an official date for the public token sale. It is supposed that the token sale will occur via an Ethereum ERC-20 token. A first prototype should be released in July 2018.
What are the tokens used for and how can the token value appreciate?
The tokens allocated by Ankr Network are called Ankr Tokens. Ankr tokens will be used as computation fees across child chains. Users of the Ankr blockchain can earn Ankr tokens by contributing their computing power to the network. Users of the service may be customers or enterprises. The value of the token will likely be determined by supply and demand for Distributed Cloud Computing services on Ankr Network. The token usage is similar to other blockchain projects in the field, such as Siacoin or Filecoin.
Team & Advisors
The Ankr Team includes three co-founders, three engineers, three researchers, one UI designer, one person responsible for business development, one engineering intern and three advisers:
Chandler Song is a co-founder and the CEO of Ankr. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from Berkely University. After completing University he worked four months as a software engineer for SAP and another 4 months for Amazon. He then served five months as CTO of CitySpade Inc. before focussing on Ankr Network in February 2018.
Stanley Wu is a co-founder and CTO of Ankr with apparently more than ten years experience at Amazon. Note: his Linkedin profile is not public and he appears to have only two connections on Linkedin, which puts his profile at risk of being a fake profile.
Ryan Fang is a co-founder and COO of Ankr. Before starting Ankr he did internships for Credit Suisse, State Street, Morgan Stanley and Capgemini.
Some of the engineers and researchers stated as team members on the official Ankr Network website such as Yan Xiu and Yan Ji have not listed Ankr Network as their employer on Linkedin.
JZ Zhang, Technology Advisor : Distinguished Architect at Yahoo (over 4 years), Principal Engineer at Cisco (1 year), Microsoft (over 3 years), Blackberry and AT&T, Founder of PDX funded by Lenovo Capital. Member of Blockchain Research Group in National Internet Finance Association of China.
Christel Quek, Marketing Advisor : Based out of Singapore, advisor to Zilliqa and Switcheo Network, Founder of BOLT.
Ankr Network develops its own proprietary blockchain which consists of a tree structure of blockchains with Child Chains connected to a single management chain called Main Chain. Smart contracts are supported by the Main Chain, which will operate a Proof of Useful Work consensus, while the Child Chains will operate on a Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus.
A distinguished feature of Ankr Network is its integrated Oracle Service. A native authenticated data feed with a standardized API enables off-chain businesses to connect seamlessly to Child Chains.
Strength and Opportunities
As of June 2018 the Ankr Network Telegram Group has almost 30,000 participants. That size is remarkable, given the early stage of the project.
Sharing idle computation resources via a blockchain network is a tempting idea, that in case of a successful implementation provides for a huge market. Ankr Network promises to provide cloud computing at a lower price than Amazon or Google, since the decentralized cloud will utilize otherwise wasted computing power.
Ankr Network lists credible entities, such as Neo Global Capital, DHVC, OK Blockchain Capital, LinkVC, GBIC, BlockVC as strategic investors.
Weaknesses and Threats
Given the doubts about team members and their engagement based on their Linkedin profile, there remains a big question mark, whether the team will be able to deliver on its promises.
The Proof of Useful Work consensus mechanism that is used by Ankr Network’s Main Chain has not yet been proven to be secure in contrast to other consensus mechanisms such as Proof of Work.
The Trusted Hardware technology has reserved severe criticism, particularly because of user privacy issues that result from the usage of this technology. It is questionable whether mainstream adoption will occur in the near future.
The fact that various profiles mentioned on the Ankr website could not be verified as team members on Linkedin makes the Ankr Network ICO suspicious. The two verified co-founders have only very limited work experience, which makes it questionable whether they can execute their very ambitious vision. On top, a not yet proved consensus mechanism and questions around the trusted hardware technology make up for a very high degree of risk associated with long term holding of Ankr Tokens. However, a strong social media presence and credible strategic investors imply that the token could be hyped shortly after the public sale.