The idea behind SuperNET is simple. Take a series of coins that offer genuine innovation and unique advantages. Take a set of services for which there are known and significant markets, and to which cryptocurrency brings new advantages. Put them together under one user-friendly roof and allow everyone to enjoy the collective benefits. So says Brandon Hurst, english author for bitcoinblog.de. To be fair: Brandon is not objective. He has been involved in SuperNET since the beginning and has a financial interest in the project. In this article he gives some insight in SuperNET.
by Brandon Hurst
Bitcoin, and crypto in general, have some problems. None are insurmountable, but the way we typically approach them sets us up for failure. Put simply, instead of collaborating to fix them and sharing the rewards, crypto communities can be fiercely tribal and competitive, to their own detriment. The SuperNET is a bold new initiative that seeks to bring together the best technology and the most attractive services under one roof, rewarding all involved.
Bitcoin is king of crypto and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Its immense network effect means that no altcoin has a chance of unseating it in the near future, and possibly for many years – if ever. Yet the long bear market of 2014 tells us that this doesn’t make it invincible. Unless new money comes into crypto (with Bitcoin being the biggest beneficiary of that investment), it will struggle to advance beyond a niche interest. To do that, crypto must offer users something, or many things, that fiat cannot.
Unfortunately, whilst Bitcoin’s wide use make it relatively robust, this also means it is less able to adapt – development has slowed to a near-standstill. Politically, Bitcoin is a disaster, since changes to the protocol are invariably controversial and are therefore rarely made.
Altcoins, on the other hand, are highly adaptable. With small, agile communities and low market caps, they can innovate in a way that Bitcoin never will again. But, of course, they lack its vast user base. If you want to create a new service or feature – whether that is a coin with outstanding privacy technology, a decentralised store or a killer poker app that has no respect for borders or jurisdictions – there are likely faster and more suitable coins to base it on or around.
Zero-sum economics vs collaborating to succeed
All too often, these altcoin communities adhere to a zero-sum mentality: if one coin is going to succeed, it must be at the expense of others. There’s a limited amount of money in crypto, and this approach assumes that taking a bigger slice of that pie means competing with the others.
The brainchild of anonymous crypto developer jl777 (‘James’), SuperNET looks at things differently. It’s a collaborative approach, born out of a frustration that different coin communities have so much to offer each other, and the benefits of working together could be orders of magnitude more powerful than the small-minded and inward-looking mentality that many people will instantly recognise. A better solution than fighting for a larger slice is to make the pie bigger, brining more users into crypto.
The idea behind SuperNET is simple. Take a series of coins that offer genuine innovation and unique advantages. Take a set of services – of many and diverse kinds – for which there are known and significant markets, and to which cryptocurrency brings new advantages. Put them together under one user-friendly roof and allow everyone to enjoy the collective benefits, both in terms of the utility this offers and the very significant revenue streams those services represent.
It’s an idea that caught the attention of enough investors to raise 5,700 BTC back in September – the third-largest ICO ever, after Ethereum and Maidsafe. A total of 816,016 assets were sold and are trading on BTer (against BTC) as well as the NXT Asset Exchange – currently at significant premium over ICO price, despite the long downturn.
Features and services
SuperNET is nearing v1 release, which is expected to happen in the next fortnight. Nevertheless, it is a constantly-evolving project, as new assets are acquired, new projects funded, new coins researched and incorporated. There are many, many cryptocurrencies, initiatives and revenue streams involved. For a longer list and more information see the bitcointalk forum thread, but just some of the most interesting and exciting include:
- BTCD, a coin based on a totally new anonymity protocol. Small fees will be charged for anonymising transactions for other coins, including Bitcoin. It also provides the infrastructure for SuperNET’s anonymous peer-to-peer communication network.
- Distributed and instant crypto-to-crypto exchanges.
- Traditional exchange integration and fiat gateways.
- NeoDICE – a remake of the legendary SatoshiDice, which fell from favour after it began requiring confirmations (the remake circumvents the problem).
- Pangea, decentralised poker.
- SuperNET News Network – a new way of serving content to readers and rewarding writers and investors.
- Decentralised storage.
- FinHive: using trading algorithms to profit from the Forex market and bring the profits into crypto.
- FreeMarket – a decentralised marketplace.
These and many other initiatives are due to be implemented in the new client on a rolling basis.
Scam or vapour?
Naturally, an undertaking of this magnitude has drawn its fair share of detractors, who have accused jl777 of perpetrating a scam or being unable to deliver what he promises. One of the major criticisms has been over his anonymity. (As a well-known and widely respected figure in the crypto community, this scepticism was not enough to deter investors from handing over millions of USD equivalent in cryptocurrency.)
These objections have subsided over time as over 40,000 lines of code have been added to the github repository, most or all written by James himself. The API of the SuperNET core is available to install and download, and can be tested by anyone who wants to use it. A community of over 300 people, including dozens of developers for its many services and other contributors, has gathered on Slack (open to all on application), and a temporary client with preliminary functionality has already been released. Momentum is building and expectations are high.
SuperNET remains a promising project, if only due to the huge amount of talent it has attracted and the enthusiasm it has galvanised in the same place. It’s no surprise that a superficially similar project, BlockNET, was announced shortly afterwards, with at least some of the same goals (though a different ethos and approach to investment; broadly, SuperNET can be seen as a cross between a VC and mutual fund, whilst BlockNET is a service provider).
Whatever the outcomes of these projects, and others like them, the collaborative approach is one that is starting to gain traction as developers and communities recognise there is more to be gained from working together than in-fighting – and almost no limit to the projects that can be delivered with enough vision, talent and hard work.