It’s the smartest crypto you’ve never heard of. Ergo takes the best of Bitcoin and integrates Sigma protocols so powerful they make Ethereum look like it would lose a game of chess against your cat. If you’re tired of spin and hype over solid tech, Ergo will remind you that in crypto, it’s always been fashionable to be intelligent. Bright is the new black, people, and Ergo is set to dazzle you.
DeFi is set to be the major blockchain trend for 2020. Many new smart contract platforms are positioning to become one of the handful of big players in the space. With a strong head start, competent development team and impressive network, Ethereum’s place in this billion-dollar (and growing) movement is assured. The others must offer something different – dramatically different – to differentiate themselves against this background. Ergo is a smart contracts and DeFi platform that may have what it takes to carve out a niche in this fast-moving and competitive new sector.
Powerful But Safe Contracts
Ethereum is an exceptional platform, but there are things it does not do well. Its Turing-complete smart contracts are powerful, but dangerous – as incidents from The DAO to the Parity wallet exploits have proven, with tens of millions of dollars in collateral damage. With complexity comes uncertainty, and potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities. Contracts can be expensive to run, and depending on network conditions may execute unpredictably – or not at all.
Ergo takes a fundamentally different approach to smart contract development. The team, which has extensive experience with blockchain platforms, frameworks and organisations from Nxt and Waves to Scorex and IOHK, has adopted a declarative model for programming whereby it’s always known in advance how much code will cost to run – and, indeed, whether it will run precisely as intended. While that might on the surface limit code complexity, it’s nevertheless possible to create Turing-complete scripts by iterating processes across multiple blocks. That means Ergo can support versatile dApps that run predictably, with known costs, and don’t have any of the dangers of unrestricted functionality.
The platform is unashamedly conservative, basing as many features as possible on Bitcoin – after all, Bitcoin is the most battle-tested crypto network in existence. Ergo’s UTXO model, PoW mining and finite supply draw on Bitcoin’s approaches to consensus and economic incentives.
But Ergo also incorporates cutting-edge research into new cryptographic processes, using Sigma protocols to enable DeFi applications that would be either complex and messy or simply impossible on other platforms. Sigma protocols are a well-known class of zero-knowledge proofs that allow developers to implement very powerful processes very elegantly. For example, what if you want to build a privacy service that allows any one of a dozen different accounts to spend funds from an address – but no one can tell who has made each transfer? Such a ‘ring contract’ is possible with Ethereum, but it would require a clunky and expensive workaround. With Ergo’s Sigma protocols, it’s possible to implement this kind of use case and many others quickly, efficiently and – above all – securely. Sigma protocols have not been deployed in such generic form within crypto before. Yet this kind of out-of-the-box functionality is hugely valuable, especially when no other DeFi platform offers it.
Ergo’s team has been working on the project for over two years, attracting interest from some major players in the crypto space (including Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson) but avoiding mainstream attention until now. With the platform’s core functionality now substantially complete, the developers are seeking to expand the network, form new partnerships and make a mark in the nascent DeFi movement.