• Cryptoasset Report
  • April 25, 2019

A ‘trust network’, Ontology seeks to effectively coordinate various ‘trust sources’, interconnect data systems, and develop the underlying technical foundation for several distributed application services.


By developing in concert a collection of blockchains, protocols, and decentralized systems, Ontology intends to build ‘the infrastructure for a peer-to-peer trust network.’ Ontology envisions this ‘trust ecosystem’ supporting a very wide array of applications that, broadly speaking, look to Ontology’s network to corroborate pertinent assertions, to store supporting evidence, to extrapolate from collected data, or to contribute as input various information thought to output a ‘comprehensive’ measure of trust, reputation, or expertise.

Ontology is co-founded by Li Jun, who founded Ontology’s China based parent company Onchain, and Andy Ji. The project did not have a public token sale, instead distributing a portion of tokens to the broader community through airdrops and bounties. The NEO council, which held 10% of the supply of ONT, also conducted an airdrop, gifting twenty million ONT to NEO token holders. Additionally, the project has set up a ‘research institute’ and begun incubating projects, such as TOP Network.

Protocol Details

As a ‘trust network,’ Ontology seeks to effectively coordinate various ‘trust sources’, interconnect data systems, and develop the underlying technical foundation for many distributed application services that would integrate with the network. The applications and use cases the network is being designed for are broad in scope; whole projects, some listed in SCI, are singularly dedicated to enabling some applications Ontology describes itself as building the technological foundation for:

  • A multiple-sourced identity systems for people and objects
  • Distributed data exchange
  • Distributed collaborative systems
  • Distributed equity management
  • Distributed community management
  • Distributed content generation and trade
  • Distributed reputation system
  • Distributed financial service

Ontology’s distributed ledger system is its core technology; Ontology is designing the chain to be suitable for interacting and collaborating with new public or business-based chains, as well as existing IT systems and blockchains. Ontology uses VBFT for consensus, a version of the Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm that also combining Proof of Stake and VRF. The criteria for joining and participating in consensus as a node are outlined and explained as part of Ontology’s ‘Triones Consensus System,’ a network governance model designed to support ‘the organic combination of multiple blockchain networks.’ The distributed ledger system also includes smart contracts and storage support for upper application frameworks, making use of a defaultly decoupled architecture designed to support NEO, Ethereum, and other blockchains as the underlying layers.

For smart contracts, Ontology implements a version of NeoVM written in the Go program language, and supports smart contract development in languages such as C#, Java, Python, and JS. Ontology partnered with Beosin in developing its smart contract technology, and has since released VaaS-ONT, a formal verification platform that allows developers to more easily audit Ontology based smart contracts.

Asset and Token Economy Details

Ontology utilizes a dual token system. One token, ONT, is primarily used for staking in the ledger’s consensus process. The second token, ONG, will be used as ‘gas’ to pay the computational fees required to execute smart contracts and other on-chain services. Holding ONT entitles coin holders to ‘unbound’ ONG based on ONT holding ratios, essentially acting as a rewards mechanism for Ontology nodes and other network stakeholders. Specifically, one ONG is unbound each second a block is generated, with all ONG scheduled to be unbound after eighteen years.

The project did not have a public token sale, with the one billion created ONT tokens instead allocated as follows: 12% to the Ontology Community (by means of airdrops), 28% to institutional partners, 10% to the NEO Council, 25% to Ecosystem Development, 10% for Technical Community Rewards (bounties, etc), and 15% to the Ontology Core Team. ONT was originally released as a NEP-5 token, but underwent a token swap with the release of Ontology’s mainnet.