Project Review: Aelf

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post

I’ve been following Aelf since January of this year when Crush Crypto called the project their “Crusher of the Month”. I did not buy in then, but have recently started to look at this project in more depth. My only holdings happen to come from their referral Candy Program. Basically, it’s a referral system to increase awareness of the Aelf project. You earn Aelf tokens for liking Aelf’s Tweets. So apologies if you’re following me on Twitter and you see me giving every one of Aelf’s Tweets a heart. Now you know why. Also, full disclosure, the link above for the Candy Program is my referral link. You earn tokens for referring other people. It reeks of multi-level marketing but I don’t mind this time around. Aelf has been pushing its project along.

What is Aelf?

Aelf calls itself a decentralized cloud computing blockchain network. I call it a generation 3 blockchain. That term is overused in my opinion. The project came out late 2017 and has been largely flying under the radar. Out of the projects coming out of the Far East the first projects that come to mind are probably Neo and Ontology. Qtum, another project out of Singapore, is one of my favorite projects (see my previous writeup) and also flies under the radar. Aelf even more so.

In its whitepaper Aelf highlights three pain points (resource segregation, performance, governance) to bring real world businesses to the blockchain. The Aelf project aims to develop a blockchain solution that differs from Ethereum in many ways, namely:

  • Performance: Higher performance through parallel processing and using a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm
  • Resource segregation: Creating side chains to handle specific use cases, whereas Ethereum uses Smart Contracts for different use cases within the parent blockchain
  • Governance: using Smart Contracts to assign governance structures based on user roles (also see my post on DAOStack – another project focusing on decentralized governance)

One analogy Aelf likes to use is it aims to create a system for blockchains, much the same as Linux has done for operating systems. Aelf did not have an ICO so it escaped the endless YouTube circuit of shilling projects. Personally, I think this was a good thing for Aelf. They quiet raised 55,000 Ether from notable investors (some of whom I highlight below). I’ll say this as I think it rings true in crypto… pushing out real product doesn’t necessarily equate to prices on the exchange. But I’m in the business of bringing projects that are trying to build real technology for real problems.

The team

Core team

Aelf was founded by Ma Haobo. He was founder/CEO of Hoopox, a technology consulting and software development shop focused on the blockchain. If you go to their website you’ll see they partner with Onchain (which shares two founders of NEO). Version 1.2 of Aelf’s whitepaper is stored on Hoopox’s directories. It dates back to November 2017. Aelf has been around for six months and it’s still very much under the radar. If you’re a Binance user you may have seen ELF on the exchange and said to yourself… “what is that?” Ma Haobo was also the CTO of GemPay and AllCoin.

Side note and additional reading: article by Ma Haobo 

Under Hoopox, they gained experience in introducing businesses to the blockchain. They are very active on Twitter, Medium, and other social media outlets. COO Chen Zhuling just recently posted a thoughtful article on crypto regulation for both Western and Eastern markets. Fu Li was also Technology VP at FBG Capital (one of the investors listed below).

aelf team.png

Grid Foundation

The Grid foundation was set up as a non-profit entity to promote Aelf’s technology development and build out its business ecosystem. Many projects have a similar setup such as Neo Global Council (Neo), Qtum Foundation (Qtum), Loki Network Foundation (Loki, upcoming project – see my most recent post). If you’re wondering why Grid is the name of the foundation, it’s because the project was formerly called Grid. I like Grid better than Aelf, but hey it’s not my project.


  • Zhou Shouji, founding partner of FBG Capital (invested in Zilliqa, EximChain, NucleusVision)
  • J. Michael Arrington, founder and CEO of TechCrunch (also advisor to NEXO)


Basically it’s a who’s who of crypto investing.

  • Draper Dragon
  • Blockchain Ventures
  • FGB Capital (founded by Hitters Xu, founder of NEO and

Aelf is really innovative, and really quiet

Aelf featured a ton of features on its roadmap with aggressive timelines. This is comon in crypto but what is uncommon is the openness of their progress. Projects such as Cardano, Qtum, Neo, Ethereum update the public on their progress. Aelf does the same, but it seems as if the public could care less. I’m not sure why. A few features of Aelf detailed below.

Main chain and multi-layer side chains

Aelf uses the concept of side chains to handle unique business scenarios. For example, financial or insurance products wouldn’t necessarily have much in common with a chain focused on healthcare. Each industry has its own set of unique requirements. I’d even argue that industries across countries will layer on additional set of country/region specific requirements. You could see “USA finance chain” and “Germany finance chain” for example. Handling different tasks on multiple chains makes it easier for different businesses to feel comfortable they have the right tools at their disposal as well as the efficiencies gained using their own chain. No need to have the whole banking sector slow down on the account of an ICO or Crypto Kitties.

Cross Chain Communication

Blockchains outside the Aelf ecosystem, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, will be able to communicate on a messenger platform to Aelf’s parent chain and side chains. They accomplish this through a Merkle tree and an external verification input. Aelf’s main chain houses the index of the system boundaries. Other projects have since added this feature on their roadmap, but Aelf put it out there nearly six months ago! I also give the Aelf team a nod of approval for foreseeing a world of multi-chains and the need to operate between them. I’m curious when Aelf will join Icon, Wanchain, and AION in the Interoperability Alliance.

Parallel Processing

Non-competing transactions will be processed in parallel. During block formation, nodes assign transactions to different groups. Those groups are then processed in sequence. Once the groups have batched their transactions, the groups are processed at the same time.

Scaling Power and Performance

Enables scalable performance as computational power increases. The Aelf kernel (GitHub repo for Kernel) enables each node to operate in clusters. Essentially, when more computational power comes online, it not only enhances security (hashing power to PoW), but also increase throughout (TPS).


Stakeholders will be able to approve protocol level amendments. Side chains will be able to join or exit from the main chain according to their consensus protocol. Aelf’s protocols has two levels:

  1. The main chain with DPOS consensus
  2. Side chains can choose their own consensus mechanism

Scheduled Mainnet Launch

Aelf recently launched its testnet. Its testnet (GitHub repo) allows companies/organizations to create their own tokens. The mainnet is scheduled to launch in May 2018, so we believe the token provides good value right now before the launch of mainnet.

Aelf hits the road

Aelf is an active team. They post on social media and they hit the road. Lately, I’ve tracked them at events in Korea. Recent events Aelf has attended:

  • April 6th, Blockchain Asia (Seoul)
  • April 3rd/4th, Deconomy (Seoul)
  • April 2nd, Krypto Seoul Meetup (Seoul) – AION, Fusion were also in attendance

Purpose of Aelf Token

There are several benefits to the Aelf token such as:

  • Fee payments for network transactions
  • Mainchain voting rights
  • Enable side chains to connect to Aelf’s main chain (public chain)
  • Reinvestment into Aelf ecosystem (proposals, startups using side chains)

Here are Aelf’s token metrics:

No ICO, only a private sale back in December 2017. The team distributed 250,000,000 (25%) of the 1,000,000,000 total supply during this sale. The remaining tokens are for the following people/tasks:

  • 250,000,000 (25%): Grid/Aelf Foundation, 3 year vesting period
  • 160,000,000 (16%): Team, 2 year vesting period
  • 120,000,000 (12%): Marketing/Air Drops, 3 year period
  • 120,000,000 (12%): PoW Mining, 100 year period
  • 100,000,000 (10%): Advisors/Partners, 2 year vesting period

The mining rewards will decrease over a linear gradient across the 100 year period.

Drivers of Value

Aelf has already hit the exchanges. It has launched its testnet. It has major backing from investors. So why hasn’t its token increased in value? Simply, I don’t know. Cryptocurrency valuations are so topsy turvy in that using analogies from stock prices tied to a company’s intrinsic value leaves me scratching my head. But if I were to recommend a few ideas to the Aelf team here’s where I would start.

Pack your bags and visit the West. Pull a play out of the Neo Dev Con playbook and build your own City of Zion. Find developers and entrepreneurs to work with you.

I love your Candy system, but I think too much attention is spent there. No other project has a bounty system as slick as Aelf’s, but all of that time spent building this tool could have been reallocated elsewhere.

Since raising funds in November it seems that the development cycle is long and slow. It’s really not that long, but in crypto it feels like anything taking more than a quarter is falling into “stale” territory. Many of the features that identified Aelf as a promising “heterogenous multi-chain and interoperable” beast are starting to come out with other projects. Loom just recently launched its first dApp sidechains back in March (link). Aelf runs the risk of falling into a “me too” category even though it was an leading thinker in the space.

With that said, Aelf’s price jumped 29.17% (24 hour change) at the time of this writing. It caught my attention so I thought I’d dust off this draft I had for this project.

If you learned something, please consider joining the Aelf Candy System (my referral link), earn yourself some tokens, and for me as well. Thanks for reading.

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