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Monthly Report: April 2018

Step by step we are moving to the Livenet release: fixing bugs, improving the system and preparing it to the public. We are attracting more people to contribute to system development and participation in the network as suppliers. Not to mention that we discovered a new scenario for using SONM, which was previously underestimated — proxy servers for network accessibility problems solving. This month was full of exciting events but first things first.

Development News

DWH. We have made a data warehouse, and it is necessary when the software (your SONM instance) is reading or searching data from the blockchain, for example, to show a list of orders in the Marketplace. Searching inside data structures, implemented in smart contracts is inefficient and requires additional efforts, making smart contracts more complex, at the same time effective search is almost impossible on smart contracts. Therefore, we decided to implement a data warehouse: Workers, Nodes, and the Wallet will use it. So far, we are going to store only the current market operations (orders, transactions, etc.), and the history is not storing there. In the future, we will add support for historical data and make it possible to run DWH on user’s side to improve its performance. DWH is implemented in the same way as geth node — everyone may have it’s own. It’s like a personal caching layer between client and blockchain. It’s made for “light clients” convenience and it’s not a critical centralized component of the system. Read more in the article here.

Gates and Gatekeeper bot — this is a system of gates, which is intended to transfer tokens between the main network and SONM Sidechain. We create gates based on smart contracts in Ethereum and the Sidechain both. When a user wants to move tokens between chains, he transfers tokens to a gate smart contract on one chain, and then the equal amount of tokens is released on the other chain (our software automates the whole thing, so you don’t do that with hands, just push “deposit/withdraw” button). This process is described step by step in the article. While we are calculating and working around possible stake conditions and numbers for masternodes, that would carry the gatekeeper tasks, and we temporarily implemented this gatekeeping using centralized trusted code, which will exist until we launch gatekeeper masternodes. Details on masternodes will soon be announced.

Benchmark for Worker. We have implemented benchmarks facility for measuring Worker hardware, including 12 benchmarks for a start. The current list of benchmarks is stored on GitHub, and it is performed in a way, that will allow us to extend and update the list when needed. Benchmarks are launching automatically at the Worker before setting the computing power for sale in the marketplace.

Below you can see an image with benchmarks that have already been implemented.

KYC service for “Registered” level. We implemented a user identification procedure by cell phone number, using SMS service. This “Registered” status is optional, SONM facility is not requiring you to take this step, however, to be able to receive tasks from market-making bots, a supplier has to pass this step. This service is implemented as an external service, beyond the boundary of SONM software. To register you need to visit an external website, enter your EthAddr and phone number, get an SMS and enter — then you get the “Registered user” status for that EthAddr. The fact of identification will be recorded on the blockchain, but not your phone number — only if you would like to disclose it in your profile, people could see it.

Wallet transforms into GUI. Initially started as a wallet application to work with SONM tokens, the wallet now is becoming a full-fledged Graphical User Interface to work with SONM system. New interfaces are being added:

  • Deposit/withdraw funds (SNM tokens) to/from sidechain. This is SONM-specific functionality, not available in other ERC20 wallets. It allows you to move tokens to and from sidechain.
  • Profiles — allows looking for a counterparty on SONM Market, search by country or other criteria, view profiles etc.
  • Orders — allows you to pick the desired offer to purchase resources using filters.

GUI progress is in the final stages of development and currently is being tested internally by the SONM team. Meanwhile, you can see the prototype screenshots:

USD/SNM pair price data oracle. As we reported, we decided to have SONM market prices in USD, which would be better user experience. At the same time, the payments would still be processed in SNM tokens (which is fundamental for us). This way, a supplier receives a sum of SNM tokens, equal to the settled price in USD, and to make it work, the market smart contract must know the USD/SNM pair price. So an oracle is a service, which runs offchain, check the USD/SNM price and places it on the chain. This is a typical solution for blockchain world. Currently (to make things working as soon as possible) we temporarily implemented this as a trusted centralized bot, which would soon be retired and this work would be carried on by gatekeeper masternodes.

Autosell bot. We have created a specialized bot for SONM Workers that helps to get the best possible deal on the market with available supplier’s resources. The Autosell bot scans the Marketplace for further multidimensional backpack optimization — it takes all current requests on the market: CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD and creates an optimal offer to sell Worker’s resources on the market, according to current demand. For now, the bot is just a prototype, and we are going to include it in a future SONM release.

TDD (test driven development). Integration smoke test “Lucky scenario” implemented and passed. Preparing the launch of testnet, we have implemented our first automated integration smoke test, which we called “Lucky scenario.” It checks the availability and operability of all key elements of the system, including Blockchain components, DWH, networking components, Worker, Node, and CLI. The test runs a complete cycle of work from the resource definition into a deal settlement, task execution, and deal expiry. At the final stages of development, this script was used as a criterion, that integration works fine, and developers were making things to work together to satisfy this test, thus, using test-driven development on a high level. But what is really important, is that at this moment the system at the whole is finally working altogether, what is confirmed by this integration smoke test. Here’s a screenshot from the console:

Application use cases development

Operation A. We used this experiment as an excellent chance to try a real application of SONM, and get a lot of feedback. We understood some essential things and figured out how to simplify a process of node installation and launch — we have made an auto-deploy script that makes the installation process easy like never before. Soon we will publish a special blog post detailing the progress of “Operation A”.

Marketing

Partnership news

Hacken. We are preparing for active cooperation with our partner — Hacken company. The upcoming release of the SONM (live net) will be checked by our partners — they will make a technical audit to find and identify vulnerabilities. Prior to the release of the live net version, our partners will check all the key elements of the system and provide us with the information necessary to eliminate vulnerabilities.

Events

Russian Internet Forum 2018. Our team took part in one of the most significant events of the year where IT companies from Russia and abroad presented their products and achievements. The forum hosted more than 8,000 visitors, 600 speakers, and over 100 separate events. The SONM was represented by co-founder Alexey Antonov and Marketing Director, Olga Kazmina.

Here are some photos from the event:

Moscow meetup. We organized a meetup in Moscow for our community in Russia. The meeting place was gorgeous — we met on the rooftop in heart of Moscow. All tickets were sold out the day before the meeting, and there were many of us. SONM CTO, Igor Lebedev spoke about plans of the company and answered a lot of your questions. Best questions were rewarded with SONM branded sweatshirts, and everyone was happy. Also, for the first time, all our supervisors were at the meetup and met with the community in real life.

Here are some photos from the event.

Consensus NY prep

This year SONM is visiting the most important event in cryptocurrency world — Consensus 2018 as the Title Sponsors, and that means you might see a lot of SONM presence there.

This month we worked hard on preparing this very special event. We dedicated a lot of time to the booth — it is 6 times bigger in dimensions than an average one, and hence a lot of planning is need to prepare all the necessary deliverables and make the best impression. We also developed and produced a special set of SONM branded products, that you’ll surely like. (We’re looking forward for the next giveaway when we can share it with you!).

We spent a lot of time preparing SONM events during Consensus days. There will be two speaking slots for us:

Igor Lebedev, SONM CTO, will take part in the panel discussion on “Mining Boom” topic and share his expertise on the technical side of mining and how it changes as an industry.

Aleksei Antonov, SONM co-founder, will be speaking on the future of mining and share his vision on possible scenarios of future hardware utilization.

We also be announcing a SONM nomination at Consensus Hackathon. Cannot reveal all the details yet, but if you’re attending, register by the link:

Also, we’re preparing a special SONM meetup. It will be the biggest one in SONM history so far, and we’ll open the registration on Eventbrite later this week, so you can reserve your ticket.

We invite all of you to visit us at Booth 205!

Recent press coverage

We received a lot of press mentions of SONM this April. Here are the highlights from latest media coverage.

Forbes. SONM and our CEO Sergei Ponomarev in the recent Forbes article “Meet The Russians Behind Your Blockchain (And Cryptocurrency, Too)” on the role of Russians in the development of blockchain technologies.

Technative. Our fresh announced “Fog computing challenge” was covered by Technative, which allowed us to spread the word about the contest for developers and get more attention.

Dailyfintech published a very positive review article about the SONM and mentioned the “Fog computing challenge.” Thank you!

Fog Computing Challenge.

We have announced a worldwide online challenge with a prize Fund of 200 000 dollars. We want to involve as many people and teams as possible in the platform development process. In total, there are fourteen competitive tasks, some of which are difficult, but for them, a large reward is assigned. To encourage developers, we decided to allocate part of the prize fund for teams that did not make the best, but a good result and lost to leaders. If you have not heard anything about it and would like to participate and try to win — join here, it is not too late yet.

Team News

We have strengthened our QA Department to test new system features in time. We also hired an experienced DevOps team Lead.

Viktor Kapral — DevOps Lead. Viktor Kapral is experienced professional with more than ten years of background in IT industry. Viktor has a unique experience of administering a large cluster of application servers. Over the last 3.5 years, he has worked with E-government systems and gained experience in designing large information systems as well as their monitoring and scaling.

Sergey Kudasov — Senior QA Engineer. Sergey has more than five years of experience in Quality Assurance. Previously, he worked as a system integrator in government biometric projects. As QA Engineer will help to build a consistent testing practice with a focus on automation, early performance testing, and clear architecture. He has a lot of experience in Python, Js, Java, Golang, Selenium, Appium, JMeter and other tools.

Remote developers. We started working with remote software developers to extend our performance. Currently we have three of them: one working at Trusted Platform (results are not public), another one at Core repository (you may check our github), and the third person working at GUI (check our github).

Conclusion

As you can see, our team is growing and the project is overcoming the challenges — “Operation A” has proved that we can provide computing power even on the MVP version and a customer can run Docker containers on SONM Workers. Now we are preparing the platform for the launch of the Livenet version and already see the interest from the business side to use the capabilities of the system — someday we will proudly show real outstanding use-cases to the world. Very soon we will go to New York and tell the blockchain community about our project and offer them our solution. In the meantime, stay tuned — all the fun ahead.