OmiseGo – The Project to Bank the Unbanked

Of all the projects built on the famed Ethereum blockchain, OmiseGo is probably one of the most well known amongst cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors around the world and for good reason. With a vision to become number one, OmiseGo is a peer to peer, cryptocurrency exchange platform. It has described itself as much more than simply an altcoin. It also acts as a financial platform, with the intent of replacing the traditional financial institutions and processes around the world, harnessing the power of blockchain.

OmiseGo, which is currently headed by CEO Jun Hasegawa, aims to establish a solution for the plaguing coordination problem affecting payment processors, as well as financial institutions and gateways. Currently, OmiseGo is ranked 33rd according to Coinmarketcap. It is currently valued at $2.49 USD, with a marketcap of $349,557,341 USD as of 1/07/2019.

What is OmiseGo Trying To Accomplish?

As mentioned before, the main aim behind OmiseGo’s development was to disrupt the existing cryptocurrency exchange system, especially how people buy and sell. It thus considers itself as both decentralized and currency agnostic due to a number of reasons. OmiseGo has started introducing certain new updates, which will be discussed in brief below.

  • White Label SDK: On 28th February 2018, OmiseGo released their official white Label software development kit for their wallet. After this release, this wallet SDK enables software developers to create their own wallets. It also opens the avenue for future OmiseGo integration into existing wallets by developers.
  • Digital Asset Gateway: Because of the presence of OmiseGo’s Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm, OmiseGo acts as a gateway for digital assets as well, apart from acting as a liquidity provider.  Because of the inherent nature of blockchain technology, any user can issue digital assets on OmiseGo’s network. Users can also track their past and present transactions, with almost all activities interlinked via an interchain.
  • Decentralized Exchange: OmiseGo has developed their own vastly scalable decentralized exchange, known as ODEX. It was conceptualized and designed to act as the infrastructure required for various markets to interact with each other. The exchange also offers impressive levels of censorship resistance, security, liquidity, and of course, transparency.  Even though early venues on the ODEX network protocol will be under centralized entities, the network will eventually transition into a system of validators.
  • ClearingHouse: OmiseGo has a system of clearinghouses which are organized for each currency to ensure payments have occurred on the blockchain. For instance, in the case of a Bitcoin transaction, the clearinghouse posts a proof that the transaction has taken place between a buyer and seller.

Powered by Plasma; Built on Ethereum

It is well documented that OmiseGo has decided to be powered by Plasma, a blockchain scaling solution that was created by Ethereum founders Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon. The solution put forward by Plasma addresses the perennially present problem of Ethereum’s scalability, which led to the infamous network clogging caused by the Cryptokitties game. Plasma thus acts as a blockchain built on top of blockchains, expressed as a series of contracts that run on top of the root chain. In OmiseGo’s case, it is the Ethereum blockchain.

To further understand this, the plasma blockchain can be described as part of a tree (branches), with the main blockchain forming the root.  The main chain or root chain in this case exists only to settle any dispute that may arise.

Thus, the main aim behind the integration of Plasma into the OmiseGo network can be summarized into the following points.

  • Single blockchain connectivity for increased efficiency
  • A fully trustless system which eliminates the need for any third-party involvement
  • Increases scalability of the existing network
  • Computations are localized
  • Fraud Proofs

The OmiseGo team has made some further advancements, with Plasma playing a key role. This will be discussed in brief in the following section.

How Much Progress in Development has OmiseGo Made Since its Launch?

The OmiseGO team has exclusively focused on the development of an eWallet Suite along and integrating with Ethereum, among other things:

  • Improvements in Plasma: With Samrong being released as an improvement in the OmiseGO network in May, the OmiseGo team opened up the network upgrade to the ODP for testing purposes, with ODP members already completing their token migration to the network. The public alpha of Samrong was finally released.
  • About Samrong: Samrong, which was released in May, refers to a hard network upgrade for OmiseGo, which also require their partners and ODP participants to migrate their token onto the new network. This release replaces the older ARI network that OmiseGo has been using.

With Samrong, a host of effective features and updates have been introduced. These are explained in brief below:

  • Improved Integration with Plasma: Samrong’s Plasma contract is expected to be more VP compliant than the older ARI network. However, due to the fact that smart contracts cannot be modified after being written, Samrong will be implemented as a separate network.
  • Better Functionality: With Samrong’s launch, the OmiseGo network will achieve greater resilience which result in less downtime. This is due to Samrong’s monitoring, stability and reliability which allows it to handle high network loads.

The new EIP 712 Transaction Signature: Samrong brings with it, the EIP-712 standard, allowing signatures to be carried out through integrations with wallets such as a Metamask. It will also allow Ethereum signatures to be displayed in a readable and structured format for the first time.

Challenges Faced and Future Path

With significant advancements when it comes to payment processing networks and host of features that are generally not found in other projects of its type, OmiseGo is well on the way of creating a system of decentralized financial payments, as well as introducing their own decentralized exchange. Challenges which include Ethereum scalability, economic implications and issues with the old ARI network, are being addressed by the OmiseGo team, as they release regular updates to the OmiseGo community.

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