Covalent ICO Overview
The Covalent ICO and COVA token sale are raising funds to launch a privacy-protected, decentralized computing platform and protocol. To optimize scalability, Covalent leverages trusted hardware enclaves to move data computation offchain. Network nodes serve to collectively verify results of the offchain computation once a task is finished and submitted to the chain.
Covalent ICO Value Proposition
Covalent offers a distributed network layer for computing to extract value from data without compromising privacy. The system architecture is purpose-built to monetize and utilize data in a reliable, secure and efficient way without any party ever gaining direct access to the data itself. Privacy of computation guarantees security for data providers, while proof of computation ensures model output results are verified and reliable for data consumers. To maximize scalability, trusted hardware enclaves conduct computation tasks in an offchain environment.
The Covalent Virtual Machine (CVM) relies on a hardware-based enclave, or Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), to make large-scale computation compatible with smart contracts. Intel SGX will initially provide the TEE for offchain computation.
While network nodes, referred to as SGX Host Miners, perform typical functions like block production and transaction verification, they also host hardware enclaves for offchain computation. Each computation instance occurs offchain on a single node to reduce onchain network load and maximize privacy. When a compute task is complete, the offchain node submits proof of computation along with the reported output results to the smart contract protocol for verification by other nodes in the network.
Covalent employs use of TEEs as an optimized solution for both privacy and proof of computation, as the contents are not accessible to any network participants, even Miners themselves.
Covalent hosts a Data Marketplace to facilitate transactions. The network allows data producers to choose between different methods for data sharing, including streaming, licensing and bartering schemes. Data consumers will include data aggregators, model trainers and other owners seeking more data. Traceable ownership ensures data owners are compensated at every stage of the distribution and usage process.
The Data Marketplace consists of three types of participants:
- Data Owners (DO): list their private data sets on a pay-per-use basis
- Model Trainers (MT): train models on datasets acquired via the marketplace
- SGX Host Miners (SHM): facilitate transactions through verification of privacy and proof of computation
Data Owners first encrypt a dataset and publish it to an index on the Data Marketplace. Model Trainers search the index and choose a desired dataset for use. Once a dataset is selected, the MT submits a buy order and is routed to the Owner and SGX Host Miner through libp2p, an IPFS p2p protocol. If the DO agrees to the request, the dataset is sent to the SHM along with a hash of the dataset to the MT. The MT also sends model software and a hash of the desired data set through an encrypted channel to the SHM.
Once the task is complete, the SHM sends the encrypted results to the MT, and a key to decrypt the results to the DO. The DO finally sends the key to the smart contract, which provides the key to the MT to access the computation results and rewards the DO for use of the dataset.
COVA is the native protocol token of Covalent, serving as a unit of exchange for transactions between network participants. COVA is also the reward mechanism for miners that host hardware enclaves, produce blocks and verify transactions. Network users will make payments and deposits with COVA, which can serve as a stake against malicious behavior. COVA will initially be released as an ERC20 token until launch of the mainnet.
Covalent ICO Team
Vincent Li (Co-founder) was a doctoral candidate at Harvard University before departing to pursue a opportunities in finance. Vincent spent 3 years as an engineer, starting off in high-frequency trading firm before moving to Citadel, a leading hedge fund. He left Citadel for a position at Gigster, a freelance software developer startup, where he spent a year before moving on to found Covalent.
Raymond Gao (Co-founder) holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University, where he spent two years as a Research Assistant. He is an early adopter of BTC and ETH as both an investor and miner. In 2016, he joined FreeS Fund as an investor in Big Data and IoT companies before founding Covalent.
Shundan Xiao (Co-founder) has 5 years experience as a Software Engineer in the Bay Area, including stints at Amazon, LinkedIn and Gusto.
The Covalent ICO team has another 9 members. Complete details on the team are available here.
Covalent ICO Strengths and Opportunities
The Covalent ICO proposes a more equitable vision for data sharing through mechanisms like traceable ownership to ensure providers can control how their data is used over time. The recent acquisition of 23andMe by GlaxoSmithKline, which included the rights to 5 million customer DNA records, is a sobering reminder how desperately a paradigm shift is needed.
In sectors like healthcare where data is both scarce and sensitive in nature, Covalent presents a potential win-win scenario for all stakeholders. A greater number of individuals are incentivized to securely share their data, providing enterprises better access to higher-quality datasets.
For fields like precision medicine in particular, sufficient data is so scarce that government-funded initiatives rely on volunteers to meet the enormous demand. Leveraging the current need in the data-driven healthcare industry, a pilot-project between Covalent and an enterprise partner would lay a solid foundation for growth.
Progress markers on both the business and tech fronts are indicative of an early stage project. Still, the Covalent ICO has made crucial headway building a sizeable community of supporters and awareness in the space that are indispensable. The core team members have demonstrated track records scaling startups, building tech products, and even prior blockchain development products. Covalent has also received institutional backing from FBG, Zhenfund, BlueHill and Node Capital.
Covalent ICO Weaknesses and Threats
While the team has indicated to us an early iteration of the network is under development, no product demo or code is currently accessible to the public. With the team’s focus fixed on tech at the moment, a detailed roadmap for measuring product progress would certainly be welcome.
Targeting adoption from the individual level up to the enterprise, an articulated go-to-market strategy that includes partnership targets, adoption efforts and a program for building the ecosystem user base will be critical at the next stage for outpacing the competition.
With a product concept that has potential to reach a sizeable market beyond just crypto-savvy users, Covalent could stand to profit from structuring their marketing efforts accordingly. Building a thriving and sustainable ecosystem from the ground up will ultimately depend on a strong user base at both the supply and demand ends. We will be closely monitoring developments as Covalent moves into the next phase.
The Verdict on the Covalent ICO
The Covalent ICO offers a comprehensive, decentralized platform to tap the inexhaustible flow of unutilized data produced everyday in the digital realm. While the Covalent ICO is still missing some key progress indicators on both the tech and partnership fronts, the credibility of the team, well-designed product concept and support from top institutional partners all point toward a solid project in its early stages of development.
We have been in discussions with the Covalent ICO team and our ratings are based on conversations and information that they have asked us to keep confidential. Please note that our review does take into consideration the token data that has been shared with us, but we have been specifically requested not to share the token metrics that we have seen at this point. We will share them as soon as they are made available by the team.
As a Top 10% rated ICO, we will look to make a small bet on the Covalent ICO.
Learn more about the Covalent ICO from our Telegram Community by clicking here.
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COVALENT ICO REVIEW SCORES
The Covalent ICO may seem at first glance to fly in the face of prevailing consumer sentiment: in an era of data breaches and crumbling public trust in Big Data, Covalent wants to actually increase data utilization.However, their solution is carefully marketed through use-case examples, and it is clear that under-utilized or poorly-utilized data can be just as costly as over-utilized data. With their focus on privacy, the team may have found a market segment that is in desperate need of the product. A strong team and interesting tech round out a strong offer; but as is often the case with an early-stage company, partnerships and proof of an MVP will define progress from here.
Progress To Date……………………8.2
Community Support & Hype…..8.3
Price & Token Distribution……..7.3
- Team brings both technical and business experience to the table
- Strong backing from influential institutions
- Large community support base
- Product development in beginning stage
- No partnership announcements with enterprise users
- Unclear strategy for user adoption
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This category accounts for the leaders, developers, and advisors.
Poor quality, weak, or inexperienced leadership can doom a project from the outset. Advisors who serve only to pad their own resumes and who have ill-defined roles can be concerning. But great leadership, with relevant industry experience and contacts, can make the difference between a successful and profitable ICO, and a flub.
If you don’t have a team willing and able to build the thing, it won’t matter who is at the helm. Good talent is hard to find. Developer profiles should be scrutinized to ensure that they have a proven history of working in a field where they should be able to succeed.
What is the technology behind this ICO, what product are they creating, and is it new, innovative, different – and needed?
The IOTA project is a spectacular example of engineers run amok. The technology described or in use must be maintainable, achievable, and realistic, otherwise the risk of it never coming into existence is incredibly high.
Tokens which have no actual use case are probably the worst off, although speculation can still make them have some form of value.
The best tokens we review are the ones that have a forced use case – you must have this token to play in some game that you will probably desire to play in. The very best utility tokens are the ones which put the token holder in the position of supplying tokens to businesses who would be able to effectively make use of the platforms in question.
There doesn’t have to be a market in order for an ICO to score well in this category – but if it intends to create one, the argument has to be extremely compelling.
If there is an existing market, questions here involve whether it is ripe for disruption, whether the technology enables something better, cheaper, or faster (for example) than existing solutions, and whether the market is historically amenable to new ideas.
Most ideas have several implementations. If there are others in the same field, the analyst needs to ensure that the others don’t have obvious advantages over the company in question.
Moreover, this is the place where the analyst should identify any potential weaknesses in the company’s position moving forward. For instance, a fundamental weakness in the STORJ system is that the token is not required for purchasing storage.
With many ICO ideas, the timing may be too late or too early. It’s important for the analyst to consider how much demand there is for the product in question. While the IPO boom funded a lot of great ideas that eventually did come to fruition, a good analyst would recognize when an idea is too early, too late, or just right.
Some of the least compelling ICO propositions are those that claim their founders will achieve some far-off goal, sometime in the future, just so long as they have your cash with which to do it.
More interesting (usually) is the ICO that seeks to further some progress along the path to success, and which has a clearly-identified roadmap with achievable and reasonable milestones along the way. Founders who are already partially-invested in their products are generally more invested in their futures.
Having a strong community is one of the fundamental building blocks of any strong blockchain project. It is important that the project demonstrates early on that it is able to generate and build a strong and empowered support base.
The ICO marketplace is becoming more crowded and more competitive. While in the past it was enough to merely announce an offering, today’s successful ICO’s work hard to build awareness and excitement around their offering.
One of the biggest factors weighing any analysis is price. The lower the price the more there is to gain. But too low of a price may result in an under capitalized project. It is therefore important to evaluate price relative to the individual project, its maturity and the market it is going after.
The total supply of tokens should also be justified by the needs of the project. Issuing a billion tokens for no reason will do nobody any good.
Communication is key. The success of a project is strongly tied to the project leaders’ ability to communicate their goals and achievements.
Things don’t always go as planned but addressing issues and keeping the community and investors in the loop can make or break a project.