As you probably acknowledged by reading our previous analyses, data is the core preoccupation of many blockchain related projects. Rockchain is another one of them but with a little twist that may convince some investors to participate in their ICO, will you?
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What is Rockchain
Rockchain is a French project that proposes a decentralized cloud storage system more suited for companies than regular users. The concept of Rockchain is that, unlike most of data related blockchain projects, the network aims to serve as a trustless platform for private rather than public use. Participants to the network share their files via DappBox like they would share them with Dropbox: They simply host them and tell to the network who is able to access the data and in which way. The Rockchain network, built on top of the Ethereum network, ensures that no one is able to hack files or permissions by making them managed by the rules of the global Rockchain smart contract.
So, at this stage you may think “hmmm yeah that’s cool but how is it different from other storage services and why is it actually more suitable for companies?”. Well, Rockchain is actually built for the storage of companies’ sensitive data. When you are a company and you want to share your private data with very specific rules, you don’t want it to be everywhere in the world even if it is encrypted. To summarize, Rockchain could be seen as a public smart notarization system for local sensitive data, like a kind of meeting point between the old and new notarial worlds.
How it works
It is the part where it begins to be a little bit touchy. If you are a technical buddy, you may be interested in the whitepaper, since it is a lot about technical terms. However, we don’t particularly like the fact that they made it unclear for the average investor, since it is difficult to grasp the concept of the project by reading the whitepaper only. We also felt that all these fancy function names were just a smoke screen to say “look we are already pretty advanced on this” while there is still many unknown aspects (all the political and economical management of the nodes) and no working product.
That being said, I can explain here few of the mechanisms described in the Rockchain documentation. So, Rockchain is actually made of one public network, built on top of Ethereum, and an unlimited amount of private nodes/networks that only communicate with the public nodes to ensure that all transactions are valid. The public network is maintained by the ComputeReduce nodes while the private networks are maintained by the FactMap nodes. Rockchains borrows from UNIX file system permissions its distributed access rights system (how you store, share and access data on the network) for local networks. There is 3 types of users: The local nodes groups access to local data from inside. Peers nodes groups are users that connect to local networks from the external public network. « Other groups » are basically guests.
Rockchain network will not be limited to file storage and access management, it will also include some functions that will enable basic operations on files, like merging them in many different ways (but that’s expected with the PERIDOT edition, see the roadmap below). The incentivization system is not explained in details, but we already now that the team is intending to provide a complex rewards system that takes into account every operation made on stored files (see chapter 6.4, p. 29 in the whitepaper).
|Start||November 1 – 11 am GMT|
|End||December 1 – 11 am GMT|
|Total supply||100 000 000 ROK tokens|
|Conversion rate||1 ETH = 1 000 ROK|
|Soft cap||18 000 ETH|
|Hard cap||100 000 ETH|
|Distribution||80% investors – 19% team – 1% bounties.|
|Use of funds||76% development – 12% investment – 8% reserve – 4% others.|
|Tokens Release||When the ICO ends. Early investors and team members are vested 15 days.|
The team, essentially composed by french peeps, is mainly specialized in business and blockchain development. While the background of each individual is not astounding, it is good to see that the genesis team is highly relevant to the project. The main issue here would be the absence of a reputed player in at least one of the two previously cited fields.
The Roadmap is interesting for this project because it is tied to the funding, like the Kickstarter system. So If Rockchain team reaches a 18 000 ETH funding during the crowdsale, which is the soft cap, they will work on releasing AGATE, the essential edition of the network. This will take them 1 year. If they reach 54 000 ETH (+ 36 000), they will also work on the ONYX edition, which will add some functionalities to the AGATE edition, like type access rights, event correlation condition, etc (see p. 43 in the whitepaper). Finally, another 46 000 ETH (100 000 ETH total) will fund the PERIDOT edition, which features merge functionalities.
Interview: Sebastien Jehan, CEO
There are many existing solutions in the data storage and sharing domains. If I have a company, why should I use the Rockchain network to manage my data?
If you have partners in your decision-making process (like insurers who receive sales files), you want to communicate this information other than by email while keeping a traceability of your exchanges. In this case, Rockchain’s DappBox notarizes exchanges automatically. In addition, you can programmatically manage any access right with your partners with the Ethereum network. It also applies to client files, KYC, etc.
Now, if I’m a regular user, is Rockchain suited for me?
As Rockchain is an infrastructure, no. That being said, you can use a Rockchain’s Dapp to protect your personal data, like your medical records, so you can get advises without your data being transferred (this is the case with genomes.io, our Dapp on human DNA).
Oh, this is very similar to Doc.ai features, interesting! Now a question for investors. The ICO market has recently changed. The greediness has become the norm and we see more and more projects popping up, asking millions of dollars without giving any guaranty about what is going to happen after the ICO. What do you offer as a guarantee to investors who find your project interesting?
Firstly, if the ICO doesn’t reach the minimal (soft) cap, we distribute the ROK tokens anyway because we are going to launch the infrastructure anyway. So, if we don’t reach the soft cap, our investors get their ETH back and the corresponding ROK tokens. This is a unique feature.
Secondly, we have 5 persons multisig on funds and we also enhanced the ERC20 smart contract so the tokens are locked to avoid secondary markets during the ICO.
Thirdly, we distribute 80% of the tokens, which places us among the 4% most generous ICOs. We want to avoid any market manipulation. We also do a complete KYC which is implemented in the smart contract.
Finally, we play the transparency card during all the process: 76% of funds is devoted to development, our development schedule is defined in our three distinct editions and we promised to communicate regularly on the project’s progress.
To give accurate marks to Rockchain is quite difficult. The context is a bit complicated right now with the market shifting to a less speculative hype, the project is clearly lacking exposure and is aiming to operate in an already very competitive field. Regarding the context, we clearly entered in a phase where we need to be way more demanding and cautious about the projects and their ICOs. We recently saw the devastations of greed with such promising projects: too much poured ETH, too few tokens distributed, too big bonuses for early investors, etc. On these aspects, Rockchain is a green flag with their 80% distribution to investors and their Kickstarter way of being crowdfunded.
Rockchain concept is not bad and the team behind it sounds serious. The whitepaper, despite the questionable word stuffing, is well done overall. It is often unclear, but it is complete and realistic. When you talk with the team members they don’t try to oversell their product and show that it is about something real. However, the team may be honest in its approach, it doesn’t resolve the competition issue that kind of makes Rockchain already obsolete. The focus on private networks is a smart idea though, but will this idea allow Rockchain to break through? Does this specificity justify a whole 100 000 ETH? And, most importantly, will investors be interested in something they are not concerned by? Like I said, the situation is complicated. For these reasons, we will give a 4.5 to the FLIP, because no one knows what is going to happen when the ICO is done, and a 5.5 to HODL, because who knows what a serious team of French developers can accomplish in the long term!