Today I am writing about a project I truly believe in. I am on the same page with Ian Balina when I state that I see this project is an all-star ICO. This is not your average run-of-the-mill vapour ware ICO with No MVP. This is a working platform with a great team behind it. You can find AMA’s on YouTube (Link 1) with live demonstrations of their TPS progress to date and you can also try out their platform for yourself on their website, these are linked at the end of the article for your convenience. Also, they have a pretty good bounty programme running at the moment which I shall link also (Link 2).
As always with any of my articles please don’t consider this investment advice, I hope you will read this article and consider it a starting point for your own research. At the time of writing the market has taken another nasty dip, however this is the time when smart investments need to be made, And I truly fell this is one of them. I would also like any of you who enjoy this article to please upvote it and check out my previous work and stay tuned for more.
I will be diving deep into this whitepaper (Link 3) today and basing my article off videos and my personal experience on their platform. All this information can be found within their website and whitepaper. As such I imagine this is going to be a long article.
So, to begin Sparkster is essentially a decentralised cloud platform that will allow anybody to build software in plain English via simple drag and drop function. In their whitepaper they confess that this was inspired by MIT scratch. In today’s world programmers work in various kinds of code languages, these all require training in different types of languages. For example solidity is one of the most popular used today which “is a contract-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts” (Wikipedia, 2018). This is currently used on many blockchain platforms, it was developed by Ethereum’s project solidity team for use on the Ethereum virtual machine and is the most popular language used at present.
Sparkster aims to provide a platform which will allow smart contracts to run at 10 million TPS per second, which would make it the fastest decentralised cloud software in the world.
In their whitepaper they suggest this project was conceived after spending 14 years working with software engineers designing and building ERP software for a start-up. Sparkster was born from the frustration of this process and after 6 years of R&D they have the working product we see today. This is an enterprise ready platform. They also claim they have already signed deals with large tech companies (ARM & Libelium).
They also talk about how the entry is trying to make things more practical but it is not far enough. Sparkster are the market leaders here as they are targeting an audience of 99% non-software developers and allowing them to build software. Interestingly in 2018 at the mobile world congress they presented the use of this platform using AI facial recognition to detect a cleaner in a house and opening a door lock, I seen this on YouTube video, which I will link below (Link 4). This is a team which have proved they have a working product.
- In their whitepaper they claim they want to become the world’s first platform where people can build their own visions into reality and create financial independence for themselves and contribute to society.
- Sparkster will tear apart the barrier to entry to software creation. Their drag and drop functionality on the platform allows this. Up until yesterday I had no clue how a smart contract worked at the basic level, now I consider myself an expert software developer- Who would have thought I could throw away my old life and upskill over 24 hours? Ha.
- What I also love about this project is that it will empower people to bring their own ideas to the table and be able to sell them, thus creating financial independence.
- The Sparkster, (2018) website (Link 5) suggests they will further disrupt the 200 billion cloud computing industry and combat the extortionate prices large centralised cloud provides like AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM charge.
- This is a finished product guys, please try it yourself if you don’t believe me.
As per Sparkster, (2018) claim the biggest problem faced today is that organisations and individuals who wish to implement AI, IOT and smart contract technology have limitations placed on them. Most notably being that their own IT departments are adapting too slowly and there is a serious lack of experienced personnel in these areas. When I watched the AMA that Sajjad Daya (CEO) did with IAN Balina, he described that it is hard to interpret what you want to a developer and get the result you require; the end result then often does not meet your expectations. This of course leads to time wasting as it requires much back and forth correspondence. He stated that this can be months down the line (Something I have experienced in my own organisation). This traditional “software development lifecycle” is truly a slow and painful process, just as they claim in their whitepaper. Also, when changes need to be made to the software down the line it is very expensive.
Further-more the team claim that most business software used today (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft etc… is in-capable of interfacing with the technologies of the future (IOT, AI, Smart contracts). The Sparkster whitepaper further goes on to suggest that the talent is just not there in the industry today to face this challenge either and much up-skilling is required. The team believe that the high capital cost and time periods to replicate vision onto software in the traditional manner is the biggest problem facing enterprises today as it curbs innovation. I concur with this sentiment.
How they will achieve/solve this
According to their whitepaper, this platform is the solution to all of the above problems. It is a Platform which targets the new era of AI, IOT and smart contracts and all tailored to non-developer/software experts “making is accessible to the 99% who do not know how to code and don’t want to learn” (Sparkster, 2018).
They will create this platform by targeting users of cell phones, notebooks, laptops and other personal devices- who in essence will all become miners on the network. This will then in turn provide users with Spark tokens as a reward for contributing spare capacity. Using these devices is far cheaper than todays centralised systems according to the team. They further proclaim in their whitepaper this lower cost will arise from using inexpensive nodes and as this scales the cost goes down; compared to traditional cloud computing which remains constant. Companies will provide the value via paying for the software creation.
To scale the platform, they will make personal use free, but limited to a certain number of transactions per month. This restriction can be lifted by referring others. The commercial use will be via ongoing fees (licences, transaction fees, storage fees etc...). The team also describe how the platform and cloud are complimentary, which will allow users to build software 100x faster and cheaper than traditional means, so this will be a very popular mass blockchain adoption platform in my view.
Their plan for growth
A marketplace will essentially become available when users sell their software creations via peer to peer transactions. So, value really depends on how users use the platform. Also, users lending their free memory (CPU) on phones etc… will be awarded spark tokens. These can all be used to negate the fees paid.
According to their whitepaper they will also focus on strategic partnership. As mentioned above they have already partnerships with ARM (World’s largest computer chip designer) and Libellium (Industrial sensor and gateway distributor). They also plan to target vertical markets, specifically IOT and smart contracts as growth is forecast to be huge in both. I personally see the use of smart contracts in society as the single biggest use case of blockchain in the future.
What is amazing about this platform is that you can actually try it for yourself on their website. I conducted the 6 walkarounds myself and was very impressed by what I experienced. I have never attempted to try create anything with software, but the process was made so simple by Sparkster. You can literally drag and drop different interfaces together and define the behaviour of each block. It’s a very simple and intuitive approach to building smart contracts. As described by Sparkster, (2018) whitepaper you just snap together blocks that describe the “what” you want without worry about “how” it works, they even attribute it to building with Lego. The walkthroughs bring you through how to create a simple calculator and by the 6th lesson you have developed a complex insurance smart contract from which premiums can be calculated and payments automatically made.
Sparkster claim that this will make the creation of smart contracts 100 times faster and cheaper than traditional software development, a claim which I am starting to believe after experience their walkthrough. This is a rare project which already has a working platform- Why wouldn’t you be impressed?
Most ICO’s today are nothing but vapourware, who look for you money and don’t even have minimum viable projects to offer. I would advise you all to look at their AMA’s on YouTube and partake in their walkthroughs and you will see for yourself.
A more detailed look into their platform
According to Sparkster, (2018) their smart software is made up of:
- Flows- The definition of the software, made up of all core components of the platform.
- Functions- Single building blocks that perform units of work which can be plugged together to build processes (e.g. an insurance policy as seen in their walkthrough video). The have a well-defined user interface also.
- Documents- Basic data storage entities on the platform, they differ from functions as they are there to retrieve, persist, update and delete data. Sparkster say that they are there to represent an entity in the real world e.g. a user’s car insurance policy. Furthermore, storage nodes on the cloud will be rewarded for this storage and retrieval of data.
- Integrations- This is the interface to the outside world. Sparkster say they provide a simple abstraction to a 3rd party API or webservices. What I like about this is that somebody can create this (e.g. shipping quotation) and allow others to use after its created via the market place. Sparkster aim to allow people to do this without worrying how it all works.
- Devices- These replicate devices in the real world comprising of commands and fields (Bidirectional data transfer). In their whitepaper they use an example of a temperature probe in a greenhouse where the temperature feeds back to the action field. It is very complex stuff.
- Gateways- these represent a group of devices connected to one gateway. Sparkster say these are all connected to the internet allowing the platform interact with them all individually or as a group.
- Smart Contracts- This is the element I found most fascinating during the Sparkster walkthrough videos. This allows you to create smart contracts to allow transactions on the platform. Currently they are using Ethereum smart contracts and Iota smart transactions. I found the whole process so easy. They further state that all the above components can interact with the smart contracts, which was proven to me in the walkarounds.
Their claim of 10 million TPS
From what I can understand from their whitepaper and from an AMA with their CEO this will be a step by step approach to 10 million tps, admittedly a few years down the line but they already proved their platform works and is running at over 50k TPS with 50 cells. They don’t seem to have hit any scalability issues just yet. And I should not need to remind you that 50k TPS is much more than other blockchains products out there.
In their whitepaper they tell us that this is designed to be a specialised blockchain for the use of “smart software”, What is important to understand is that they can reach higher TPS because they don’t have to “act” like other blockchains, in that most of their clients will want to keep data private which “eliminates the necessity of maintaining global state” (Sparkster, 2018). This in turns allows them to shard their distributed hash tables into client groups, where “one shard never needs to have any awareness of another other shard” (Sparkster, 2018). They will essentially isolate cells from one another in order to scale to this level. They give a great example in their whitepaper where if a company like Air BNB want to put customer data into cells (usernames broke into separate letters per cell), where millions of customers make up their base.
Overall their theory is that there is technically no limit to the number of TPS they can achieve, this is just a target number. I have full confidence they can pull it off, what other blockchain is proving this live on air like this team is?
Sparkster, (2018) website describes how traditional cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have huge costs, relating to server costs, backup power, staff, security and cooling. Decentralised cloud computing will be the death of these organisations. For instance, Sparkster claim that by executing small software components on one’s mobile phone these costs fall near to zero, they envisage a world where a lot of these miners will join the decentralised cloud and make reduce the costs further.
Their cloud will facilitate the execution of smart software created on the platform. Their whitepaper further suggests that one can simply download the Sparkster mining app on their phones which will provide user generated smart software environment (SRE). Companies will stake bids on the exchange for their software to run in a decentralised fashion and stake Spark tokens (Amount willing to pay). The team are envisaging this as a free market where bidders can stake as much as they like and miners ask for anything they like. Payment is made to the miners via these tokens.
They further say computer and storage nodes can join the network and be paid in Spark tokens, but they are required to stake tokens themselves as collateral to ensure they operate honestly. Sparkster will have verification nodes to validate transactions from computer and storage nodes and if any “bad behaviour” is found then they take these staked tokens in the form of a “bounty”. In my opinion this will make it a very secure platform.
Sparkster Technology Stack
The below image from their whitepaper shows the levels “smart software” goes through to facilitate decentralised cloud computing.
Source: Sparkster, (2018)
What is very interesting is the high throughput they can sustain with such a high TPS. If you know anything about blockchain you will understand this is a challenge for every blockchain, the more users to a platform the more scaling is required. For instance, in the bull run in December I remember how slow the Ethereum blockchain became, this was also attributed to the increase in ICOs and DApps launching on the platform.
Sparkster claim their cloud is capable of “scaling linearly without any overhead curtailing its meteoric performance” (Sparkster, 2018). They can achieve this by isolating cells within the chain. They further claim that the whole Idea is to “isolate” chains, essentially creating independent blockchains which have their own hash tables and never synchronize with each other- they describe this like a human cell, which once splits never shares anything with another cell. It is a very simple concept, user’s data is stored in a specific cell, so why would another unrelated company using the Sparkster platform need to know about of access the information in the 1st cell. Each “cell” is capable of 1000tps and because they each have their own hash table this results in 2k tps and so on and so forth.
Essentially data is streamed in parallel but synching is never needed. This is huge- this is a platform which unlike any other blockchain is designed for mainstream adoption. Any company can use it and store data and be sure of a high throughput. As mentioned above they are already at 50k TPS- which is far better than most blockchains today. This is a true working product and I can see this getting to 10 million.
Time for a quick history lesson, bitcoin uses proof of work and Ethereum use proof of stake. These are two most common consensuses used today by blockchains. Bitcoin relies on the party with the highest hashing power whereas Ethereum on the party with the highest amount of money. This team has chosen to implement the Steller Consensus Protocol (SCP), because it is better.
Sparkster describe this as a commercial version of the Federate Byzantine Agreement System (FBAS) (1000tps per second). They will also implement a layer for incentives to keep parties honest and minimise risk of attack as SCP does not have this. This will be done by awarding of Spark tokens to computer (donate CPU memory on device) and storage nodes (contribute storage space and network bandwidth). Clients of the platform will be covering these incentives. The team believe this extra layer is required to ensure the platform surpasses traditional cloud platforms and I tend to agree with them.
Their whitepaper further suggests that a proof of work consensus will be used to calculate these incentives. This will allow misbehaviour to be detected and stakes taken from them by verification nodes. Page 35-39 of the whitepaper goes into detail how these are all calculated, which is linked below for your interest.
As they don’t use global state this algorithm allows the platform to “hash the clients ID and extract a bounded number” (Sparkster, 2018). This will identify a particular client within a cell.
One of the biggest fears of any data platform is privacy protection. The Sparkster team say that their cloud deconstructs data into fragments, encrypts them and disseminates them across the network of nodes. This is particularly important now with the EU’s general Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as discussed in their whitepaper. So, any hack to the platform will wield meaningless returns. They also claim they use “zk-SNARKs… a zero-knowledge proof to ensure that client data is obfuscated, even from other network participants” (Sparkster, 2018).
They also claim they can detect software intrusions such as tampering with the code, memory or thread. Once their system detects this all client data is automatically deleted from the memory along with the access keys to the Sparkster network, as claimed on their website.
In their whitepaper they also claim that any software built on the platform is “entirely bug free”. This is true because even though you as the users dictate the logic, the actually underlying code is very uniform and consistent.
Their app will also use public/ private keys and digital signatures and check sums will be used to detect file tampering. In their whitepaper they also state that cache data won’t be stored, all data will be encrypted, all communication is SSL/TLS and they will employ 3rd parties to detect malicious payloads in the memory.
Multi chain interoperability
Sparkster can already be used with both Ethereum and Iota, with plans to increase this down the line. This is all to cater for preferences of the user. This is a very transparent platform and tailored around usability and ease.
Source: (Sparkster, 2018)
• Symbol: Spark
• Circulating supply: 290,000,000
• Token Type: Utility
• ICO price: 0.15 USD
• Token spec: ERC20
The value model proposed by their whitepaper suggests that the global marketplace will be the value driver of the platform. So, people can create and sell content on an open peer-peer market, with the value flowing though the Spark token. Small platform fees will be charged on transactions on the platform (Not on free contributions).
It is a utility tokens because its purpose is to facilitate payments, it will also be the only currency accepted on the platform. Once the decentralised cloud is released in Q4 2018, miners will be able to earn Spark tokens.
I believe this will be a market leader when it comes to mass adoption of blockchain, this is truly a one model fits all platform and it is with growth of the platform which will drive the value of the tokens up. Also, the Spark token is essential to the cloud functionality as miners need to stake tokens to ensure good behaviour, if the opposite occur verification nodes claim these takes, this makes the tokens essential to the smooth running of the platform.
Breakdown of token distribution
• Token sale: 67%. This is a very healthy amount, something which is being avoided by many ICO’s out there today. This will be a strict whitelist only ICO. The majority of these were sold at presale (250 million tokens) for investors buying more than 25k, the remaining 38 million tokens are earmarked for their crowd sale (Excluding US persons).
• Sparkster initial investors: 20% (Vested 2 years). I am happy with this also as it shows they are some big investors on board and they don’t hold the majority of the tokens.
• Sparkster team: 10% (Vested 2 years). This is fair as I believe incentives are essential in any organisation to drive work performance.
• Exchange listing liquidity: 2%. This I am unsure about, I would probably like this to be slightly higher and to secure some high-volume exchanges upon release. They do state in their whitepaper any unsold tokens will go towards this, but I see this ICO being a sell-out.
• Sparkster dreamers charity: 1%- This is nice to see, something for the good of humanity, this will go towards educating the poorest in the world in technological innovation, according to their whitepaper.
Use of funds:
• Corporate and large account sales team: 25%. This is great as this means they are targeting large organisations off the bat.
• Marketing: 25%. I am very happy to see this as this ensures the word will be spread, I have to hand it to the team their marketing so far is top notch.
• R&D- 20%. Also, very happy with this as it shows that even though the team have a working product they will continue to improve on their platform.
• Developing a global customer success team- 10%.
• Expanding infrastructure- 10%
• Reserve- 5%
• Accounting/legal fees- 3%
• General Admin expenses- 2%
In my view the team has a huge wealth of experience within it. This consists of:
2 all-star advisors
• Professor Gary Leavens who is well regarded and known for his experience in programming software.
• Juan Albelo who is the senior vice president of SAP.
4 on the leadership team
• Sajjad Daya (CEO)who has founded several companies, he come across as very confident in his AMAs which is something I like to see in a team. He is not afraid to show his product to the world himself.
• Amit Kumar- Has worked with Sajjad for 11 years and is VP of technology. He has a wealth of experience in IT.
• Shabeer Kirmani- He is the technical evangelist with great experience in fortune 100 firms. He also conducts the product walkthroughs on the Sparkster website. He has been friends with Sajjad for 6 years.
• Dayanie Rajeev- She is the VP of Human Resources with a lot of experience in her role. She has also worked with Sajjad for over 10 years.
17 further team members (Sparkster Warriors)
• These team members range from software engineers, developers, designers, project team leaders, programmers and digital marketers.
• There is so much experience in this team it would take all day to write about them, but a wide encompassing team like this shows they are serious about what they doing.
This is a not to be missed ICO. I really feel like this is one of the all star ICO’s this year. There is nothing more that really needs to be said, I would just advise you that if you are considering this project then go to their website and test the platform for yourself. It is the walkthroughs that sold me on this project and one which I will be investing in.
Additional reading (Links)
Link 1- AMA with Ian Balina (All-star ICO):
Link 2- Sparkster bounty programme: http://sparkster.me/try?r=DU2VUW45
Link 3- Sparkster whitepaper: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_341kbDEDc9PWn4lbsCGpAmcqDqcggUq/view
Link 4: Sparkster founder & Ceo speaking at MWC 2018:
Link 5: Link 5: Sparkster website: https://sparkster.me/
• En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Solidity. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidity [Accessed 11 Jun. 2018].
• Sparkster (2018). Build and Run Decentralized Software in Plain English. [ebook] Sparkster whitepaper, pp.1-57. Available at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_341kbDEDc9PWn4lbsCGpAmcqDqcggUq/view [Accessed 11 Jun.
• Sparkster.me. (2018). Sparkster – Build Apps, Write No Code. [online] Available at: https://sparkster.me/ [Accessed 11 Jun. 2018].018].