Aelf: A Blockchain for the Real World


Bitcoin initially made waves with its peer-to-peer currency and distributed ledger system that allowed for the secure and transparent transfer of value. However, as entrepreneurs moved into space, they quickly became aware of the inherent limitations of the Bitcoin blockchain. These limitations, which are slowly being addressed by Bitcoin’s core development network, include issues related to scalability, privacy and general usability.

The next generation of blockchain platforms was then born to expand upon what Bitcoin had pioneered, with projects like Monero and Ethereum quickly growing in popularity. These projects worked to target specific concerns facing the Bitcoin community, where Monero built a system for private transactions and Ethereum took smart contracts mainstream to allow for the creation of more expansive DApps (Decentralized Applications) on top of their blockchain.

As the second generation of blockchain projects is solidified as leaders in the space, the next generation is gearing up to build solutions not yet addressed by current platforms. There are a number of these projects, all targeting areas like governance, (further) scalability, and commercial adoption.

One new project in this group is aelf, which is developing a platform that supposedly functions as a highly efficient and customizable operating system, essentially the “Linux system” for Blockchain. The aelf blockchain will feature self-evolving main/side chains, commercial-scale transaction performance, efficient cross-chain communication, and an optimized ‘OS-like’ architecture. Together, aelf aims to develop their platform to target corporate entities.

Interested in aelf? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:

Platform & Development

In short, aelf is developing a blockchain operating system that leverages side chains in order to take pressure off of the main chain, while offering developers the ability to create highly customizable DApps. Overall, the aelf project is addressing a number of core areas with their OS:

Cross-Chain Interactions: Aelf leverages a side chain index system that connects all chains within the aelf eco-system. These chains all operate under aelf OS, which contributes economically to the aelf system and the use of the aelf Token. Aelf can also interact with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain systems, similar to what the Ark project is developing.

Performance Improvements: Aelf side chains are highly customizable in order to provide optimal performance based on specific business requirements. Each chain provides an effective and customized data structure, Smart Contract logic, and a Consensus Protocol that can be designed specifically for the targeted objective.

Protocol Updates (governance): One of the key principles of aelf is designating specialized nodes to perform specialized tasks. Given that the aelf block formation requires the main chain to record from side chains, the operation and maintenance become a bit complex. Therefore, the aelf team decided that the main chain will adopt Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) to ensure high frequency and predictability of block formation, ultimately working to improve the user experience. DPoS mining nodes are elected in a way that resembles a representative democracy, and the aelf token (ELF) is the tool that gives voice. The elected nodes decide how to hand out bonuses to the other mining nodes and stakeholders.

Private Chain Modules: A considerable number of businesses are interested in Private Chains to leverage the advantage of Blockchain technology. Aelf aims to provide a model similar to Amazon cloud service, “AMI,” where users can rapidly create an independent chain using a Private Chain module and obtain full ownership of it.

Aelf hopes that their platform will be adopted by a number of industries, including financial services and insurance. They are also interested in applications in digital identity, IoT systems, and even smart cities. All are fairly generic categories and we will wait for the announcement regarding any early adopters.

As you can see from the roadmap above, the bulk of the development process is slated for the first half of 2018. Moving into next fall, aelf plans on finalizing their governance structure, which includes the establishment of a non-profit called the Grid Foundation, and we should anticipate an official launch in early 2019.


Aelf is led by Ma Haobo, a blockchain and digital asset expert with previous startup experience. The larger team pulls expertise from a number of developers with strong academic credentials, with pedigrees including institutions like MIT and Monash University.

Token Financials

aelf (ELF) currently has a market cap of ~$130 million with a circulating supply of 250,000,000 ELF, a total supply of 280,000,000 ELF and a max supply of 1,000,000,000 ELF.


Final Take

Aelf is clearly hoping to capture a large share of the corporate market, as more and more companies begin to make the switch. Their focus on scalability through their system of side chains and interesting OS-architecture approach should place the aelf project in a position to make significant progress in early 2019.

More: Alphabit Fund Reveals ‘Elf’ as Cryptocurrency Pick for 2018

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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.

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