A few days ago we proposed a list of 5 promising ICOs that we selected among MANY of them.When we closed the poll, Datum was the winning project ahead of Rockchain, Monaize, Boulé and Privatix, all being very different projects. We dived in the universe of decentralized data and metadata storage to offer you a detailed and comprehensive analysis of Datum’s project.
Table of Contents
What is Datum
Datum is actually a very simple idea. It is a Dapp that store organized data (so, rather databases than pictures) and creates an economic ecosystem around it. Anyone is able to store data on the Datum network by being a data node while anyone sending data to the network becomes a data source. On top of that, anyone is able to sell the data he owns or buy the data he wants on the Datum marketplace. Those who store and share their data are paid with DAT tokens. And that’s pretty it! No impossible promise like “We re-order Universe’s atoms”, just a Dapp which enhances how we deal and interact with data, and it’s a good point for a start.
How it works
Datum works essentially like a marketplace where data consumers and data sources make each other offers for specific types of data, with money (tokens) being involved. The whitepaper is advertising an phone app that will be the gate to the marketplace. With this Datum client, you will be able to browse offers and trace your transactions. The whitepaper explains that storage nodes host data and provide computing power. They are incentivized by perceiving fees from every transaction, like a “proof of storage” mining: “Storage Nodes are economically incentivized by DAT Token rewards, paid out as a fixed percentage of each transaction and shared amongst storage nodes according to their contribution of resources” (p. 15). Unfortunately, technical and financial descriptions how the storage nodes work are mostly absent of the Whitepaper. We would like to know, by example, if the Datum network can be used as a backup storage.
The data is encrypted but is meant to not be permanent. In fact, the data stays in the Datum network as long as someone is paying for it: “Data is stored as long as storage is paid for, by either: ● Data Source ● Data Consumer” (p. 18). So, users (data sources) make transactions with data consumers about sharing some data and they both pay a fee to the data nodes for the data storage. This makes perfect sense, but we still wonder things like in which ways the payment is related to the expiration of the data.
Also, it seems that Datum is going to bridge with several blockchains. They plan integration with Civic to enhance KYC procedures and they plan to use BigChainDB to cover their data storage needs as following: “Storage Nodes are part of the BigchainDB cluster that allows Datum to provide global scale storage of submitted data” (p. 8).
The last thing that is worth mentioning is that the Datum economy is deflationist. To enable this, they propose to destroy (burn) all the tokens that are used during transactions, meaning that the deflation is correlated to the activity. It is interesting since even a surge in activity should not affect the market significantly (20 000 txs / day @ 100 DAT / tx would only be 6% burned / month).
Despite a whitepaper that makes the project looking like it is at the embryonic stage, the idea behind it is interesting and relevant to the Dapps market’s needs. Right now, we can say that the document storage field (pictures, videos, …) is quite full with competitors like Storj, Sia, IPFS or Swarm. But what about metadata storage? There is a few that proposes a working product in beta stage. Both Tierion and Po.et allow anyone to store metadata on the Bitcoin blockchain, while IPDB already works for the Ethereum network with BigChainDB. The economy side of Datum seems more conceptually advanced though, thanks to the marketplace idea. The contender, here, would eventually be Enigma Catalyst, but its data marketplace idea is more focused on algorithms than pure metadata. Datum still definitively has a card to play in the current context.
|Total supply||3 000 000 000 DAT|
|Conversion rate||1 ETH = 10 000 DAT|
|Soft cap||5 000 ETH|
|Hard cap||153 000 ETH|
|Distribution||51% investors – 29% early investors – 20% team.|
|Use of funds||60% development – 15% marketing – 15% operations – 5% legal – 5% security.|
|Tokens Release||19th November to 26th November 2017|
The team is not Datum’s Strength. Two of the three co-founders come from CPU and GPU cooling industry, which does not relate a lot with what is proposed by this project. Blockchain engineers are students BUT the advisor, Daniel Saito, used to be the boss of MySQL.
- The test launch should occur in December: “The launch of the Datum test network marks the beta release and will allow basic functionalities to be explored by developers and the community”
- In March 2018, the Release Candidate should be ready: “The feature complete release candidate will be deployed to the test network and undergo intensive testing and bug fixing over the next three months.”
- The final launch of Datum is expected for June 2018: “The launch of the Datum Main Network marks the start of the new data economy. At this point the Datum Network will consist 19 of the decentralized Storage Layer, the Datum App, Open API’s to submit and consume data and a full fledged trading system.”
Note that the Github only contains a fork of BigChainDB.
The idea of Datum is nice and comes at the right time to help better define the decentralized data storage and sharing market. The major asset of Datum is its desire to propose an easy to access marketplace where anyone can buy or sell personal data. Such a network is likely to complement already developing decentralized storage solutions if it succeeds in bringing a working economical ecosystem upon existing data networks. If the Datum network becomes adopted for its marketplace, this may lead to very interesting transformations regarding how metadata is collected and used. Decentralised Facebook-like Dapps or various IoT based applications could both be important data sources and consumers operating with Datum.
However, the whole thing (website, whitepaper, social medias presence, …) shows that it seems to be a bit too soon for Datum’s team. The team is slightly inexperienced and the project is clearly at a very early stage of its development. This can be seen in the whitepaper where de conceptualizations remain very simple. Consequently, the ICO characteristics do not match with Datum’s claims and feel too greedy. 45M $USD of max cap for 51% distributed token means that they expect their marketcap to be valued at 90M at least. When we want to compare Datum to similar caps on CoinMarketCoin, we need to divide 90M by two (= 45M!) because CoinMarketCap only takes into account tokens emitted during the crowdsales. It sounds a bit weird to me since the tokens allocated to the project are also circulating. They are in the hand of someone, which is not the case when a coin is not premined. I think this is happening because the price of the token should be set and announced by taking into account the presence of the non distributed part. But anyway, let’s see who we have in the 45M $USD range on CoinMarketCap.
To be honest, Datum could actually reach SorJ’s cap. But, even if the market cap doesn’t say it all, we don’t see Datum being as solid as Cfound.it, iExec or StorJ in the close future. Short-term speculation is most probably a bad idea on this ICO, but, for a token to hold, I would say why not? The planned scarcity could attract investors even before the launch if Datum’s application if the news are encouraging.
We’re going to give Datum a 4 for FLIPPING and a 6.5 for HODLING. Datum will be a project to follow in the long term. You can have a try at buying post-ICO depending on how the hype progress until the end of it, but if you decide to get some and keep them anyway, it is rather better to contribute to the project than contributing to speculators ETH accounts.