Komodo Platform Token Sale (ICO)

Komodo is a privacy-centered coin with Zcash technology and a new delayed-proof-of-work (dPoW) consensus mechanism that uses Bitcoin hashrate to secure itself and other coins.

Update: The Komodo ICO is over. They raised 2636.37BTC, worth $1,983,781 at the time of the sale’s conclusion.

S+C Rapid Reaction

  • Komodo is a much more promising project that it might first appear. It came at a bad time (seeming like a suspicious attempt to cash in on Zcash’s hype) and with little of the marketing efforts and materials the ICO world has grown used to. This seems to reflect a focus on technical issues and development more than anything. It’s also been changing recently.
  • SuperNET is an ambitious project years in the making. The long-term success of KMD though depends on reality aligning to that vision: multiple Bitcoin-cloned altcoins and decentralized exchange activity. SuperNET launched a token in 2014 that entitled holders to dividends from a variety of SuperNET projects, but it never quite took off. There are compelling arguments for using Komodo to secure other blockchains instead of launching metatokens, but the latter has a lot of momentum right now.
  • Jl777 has a long and established history in the community. So does the rest of the Bitcoin Dark (BTCD) development team. The BTCD-KMD swap shows an enduring support of past communities. KMD is a replacement for Bitcoin Dark (BTCD), which served a similar ‘anonymous-transactions’ purpose in SuperNET. The fact that this vision has remained consistent is a good sign.
  • There are some risks in the early roadmap for Komodo. Notary nodes are promised a steady stream of income to function, and if the team runs out of cash to pay them before KMD becomes valuable enough to take over compensation, the network could devolve into nodes run by the development team. In addition, the drivers of demand for KMD (an anonymous currency, a way to pay for notarization, a payment rail for SuperNET) require other developments.

Project Description: The Vision of SuperNET

SuperNET has existed as a project since 2014, when altcoins were taking off and people were still trying to understand the role of the myriad tokens being launched. Anonymous developer jp777 imagined SuperNET as “The Internet of Coins”–a world where people could seamless hold, trade, and use any cryptocurrencies.  SuperNET calls these “assetchains.”

This vision hasn’t changed, but it now has have different strategies. Realizing the SuperNET vision involves a couple components.

  • Iguana: a codebase that underlies all aspects of the ecosystem. Iguana can serve as a node to Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency based on the Bitcoin codebase. Iguana is also the basis of a multiwallet that can parallel sync multiple different blockchains.
  • InstantDEX: a decentralized exchange that allows native currency swapping without transferring coins to an exchange. An early version, EasyDEX, functions like a decentralized Shapeshift by trading with exchange order books, but the eventual version, InstantDEX will have more features for decentralized trading activity.
  • Komodo: a cryptocurrency that will replace Bitcoin Dark, the coin originally envisioned as a truly anonymous cryptocurrency. Komodo will also play a unique role in supporting the launch of other cryptocurrencies.
  • Assetchains: multiple, easily launched blockchains based on the Bitcoin codebase and secured to Bitcoin’s blockchain through Komodo’s delayed proof-of-work.

“SuperNET is the vision, iguana is the software, komodo is the coin” -jl777

The Role of Komodo in SuperNET

Komodo brings two innovations to the cryptocurrency industry.

First, it brings anonymous transactions using the same zsnark technology as zcash. In fact, it is a modified fork of zcash.

Second, it introduces a new security process they call delayed proof of work (dpow). The Komodo blockchain periodically notarizes itself to the Bitcoin blockchain, allowing Komodo to benefit from Bitcoin’s established security and limiting any attacks on its chain to whatever hasn’t yet been notarized. The Komodo blockchain is mined using the same equihash function as in Zcash, but it has an added round-robin feature. KMD tokenholders vote on 64 notary nodes, who take turns getting a reduced-difficulty block–so anyone could technically mine any block, but the notaries periodically have an easier time.

Dpow is imagined as a generalized notary blockchain: other blockchains can write themselves to the Komodo blockchain and be included in the notarization to bitcoin. Developers have an easy command that blockchains can include in their codebase to notarize themselves. It is part of the vision of SuperNET: allowing altcoins to flourish and in this case, piggy-back on the security of Bitcoin via the Komodo blockchain.

What is the KMD Token?

The KMD token being sold will be used for fees on the network and as a general purpose, anonymous token. In some senses, it is a direct competitor to zcash that secures itself to the Bitcoin blockchain but has the disadvantage of less funding, a less visible team, and less hype.

KMD also has some other capabilities as a currency: it will be able to natively exchange with a variety of other currencies utilizing trustless atomic swaps. Atomic swaps refer to instant cross-blockchain trades that don’t rely on a trusted escrow service like an exchange. Currently, trading BTC for ETH requires either going through an exchange that serves as an escrow, trusting the the other person you’re trading with, or utilizing a contract that serves as an escrow. With an atomic swap, the two transactions are processed simultaneously. This is possible because Iguana enables nodes to interact with all networks from Bitcoin-derived protocols. So KMD will be able to swap with other currencies, enable them to swap with each other, and swap with fiat currencies if a fiat chain was launched.

Delayed Proof-of-Work

However, the dpow protocol has value beyond anonymous transactions. Developer jl777 writes, “I see KMD more as an “OEM” [Original Equipment Manufacturer] instead of retail, so the mass marketing for KMD is probably not needed.” In other words, KMD allows others to launch their own altcoins (based on the Bitcoin protocol) while Komodo helps provide it security, similar to how Apple designs and markets the iPhone while Foxconn manufactures it.

The long-term value of KMD will more likely depend on usage of the dpow blockchain by other cryptocurrencies. At present, a cryptocurrency that doesn’t want to worry about the security of its own blockchain has several options as a metatoken on Ethereum (as an ERC20 token) or on Bitcoin as an omni token. There are two disadvantages with this approach.

  • At the mercy of the parent chain hard fork: a metatoken has to follow the winning fork in the base blockchain.
  • Pay fees in another currency: either BTC transaction fees or Ethereum gas fees puts transaction costs susceptible for the volatility of the other currency.

Using the dpow method means that other currencies can periodically notarize themselves to a highly secure blockchain instead of existing on top of it. This would give it a little more autonomy and keep it as secure as the last notarized state.

This has one important requirement: acquiring KMD to pay notary fees. Given that Komodo nodes will sync with the blockchains that might notarize themselves, this should be very easy using atomic swaps. This does keep other nodes dependent on KMD’s value, but

What gives the token value?

In sum, there are several sources of potential value for KMD tokens.

  • As a cryptocurrency enabling anonymous transactions while being secured by both Bitcoin’s PoW chain and its own round-robin proof-of-work mining.
  • As a secure cryptocurrency instantly exchangeable with other currencies forked from Bitcoin–a bridge token or payment rail.
  • As the means of paying for notarization to the Bitcoin blockchain

Individually, each is a tough sell, either due to existing competition, dependency on broad adoption of a new technology and technique [using DEX over exchanges], or the future launch of new chains that decide to notarize.

Notarization is likely to be cheap. Indeed, it must be much cheaper than direct notarization to Bitcoin in order to incentivize other blockchains to choose Komodo. Developer jl777 has estimated notarization would cost .003 KMD, and under a variety of scenarios, this means there will likely not be a large market (in terms of $) for notarization services–at least, not enough to drive demand for KMD and push up the price.

Notarization will likely be cheap for other chains--but may not drive demand for KMD
Notarization will likely be cheap for other chains–but may not drive demand for KMD

Also, each KMD holder will get a 5% annual percentage rate.

What are the sale terms?

People can participate using BTC or swap BTCD (Bitcoin Dark). The BTCD swap will involve a snapshot of the BTCD blockchain; holders will get KMD and a new asset that has the same revenue-stream rights that BTCD did. Users can read more about that here.

Price: Tokens will be allocated proportionally with bonuses for early participation, starting at 25% in the first week and going down 5% each week. For swapping BTCD, a set rate of 1 BTCD per .00532074 BTC was established. The team created a downloadable excel sheet where you can do the calculations yourself.

Distribution: There will be 100m tokens created initially. 90% are offered in the ICO, with 10% held for future development, advisors, and bounties. There is also no founder’s wallet, as in Zcash. KMD will also appreciate at a max rate of 5% per year in order to guarantee a 5% APR for coins that have been involved in transactions.

When will the token be distributed?

There is actually a test net currently running with active Notary nodes. Developer jl777 said that it might be transitioned into the mainnet, with existing allocated fees kept by nodes and all other tokens distributed amongst ICO participants. The mainnet will launch [the testnet will transition] two weeks after the ICO ends.

What is the project status?

Project funds will be used to support development and keep the Notary nodes running with a stream of monthly income and paying transaction fees associated with notarization. There is not a clear marketing budget, which is unfortunate because the project suffers from low coverage.

The stream of monthly income might seem suspicious, but at $500/month, it doesn’t seem like an efficient way to scam people out of cryptocurrencies.

Gauging overall progress on SuperNET is difficult, because while the vision has remained stable over time, it has changed forms. Earlier roadmaps included NXT. The SuperNET team began launching NXT-based tokens in 2014, including a UNITY token that entitled holders to dividends in other SuperNET asset coins, most of which have fallen out of relevance.

Further Reading