A mainnet launch is a defining time for any token. When crypto started bubbling last year, the most common critique from the Warren Buffets and Jamie Dimons was that crypto was all hype and no product. And they were partially right; last summer, many of the trendiest ICOs existed only only on paper, with years of work ahead of them.
Since then, the bubbles have stopped bursting, the pot has cooled down, and we’re finally getting a chance to see what’s been cooking. For new projects, a successful main net launch is the next step towards adoption: a chance to show that the programmers know what they’re doing and that it can be done. For investors, it’s a chance to see how their money’s been spent.
Here are five of the most important main nets expected in the coming weeks:
Scheduled Mainnet Launch: “May”
The Nuls network is trying to simplify the blockchain ecosystem with “a customizable universal public blockchain infrastructure” with plug-and-play modularization. Once launched, the project hopes to create a frictionless experience, allowing businesses and customers to interact through multiple blockchains, programming languages and smart contracts without needing a degree in computer science.
The Nuls network is still keeping a low profile, hopefully because they’re so busy behind the scenes. The mainnet, which began beta testing in April, was originally expected to open its doors in May, although the team announced a delay on May 21st.
Scheduled Mainnet Launch: “Q2” (May or June)
Ontology has a fairly simple goal: making blockchains accessible to businesses and consumers. To do that, the network is building a system of verifiable trust in which businesses and consumers can interact with data, without having to worry about sharding, oracles or lightning. The founders, Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang, are old NEO veterans with enough experience to pull it off.
That said, Ontology is still a pretty ambitious project, especially if it manages to pull of a mainnet launch after only three months. That’s about half a second in EOS time.
Scheduled Mainnet Launch: “shortly after” June 2.
EOS’ goal is to provide a faster, more scaleable, and more efficient version of Ethereum, with more network capacity and no fees.
The “Ethereum Killer” took a lot of heat over the past year, mostly for the extravagance of its coin offering: EOS raised over two billion dollars in the course of a year-long token sale, compared to Ether’s pauperish $18 million. John Oliver took aim at the token on his HBO show, and at least a few of his shots hit the mark. It’s also taken some shade in the crypto community for steering in the direction of more centralization.
Still, EOS does seem like one of the more levelheaded projects in the market. The CEO, Dan Larimer, is an old hand in crypto-space, having already launched BitShares and Steem. Even Vitalik Buterin lent a hand, or at least a finger, to the project’s development. And, snide remarks aside, EOS does seem a likely candidate for success: you can probably hire some good programmers for a billion dollars.
Scheduled Mainnet Launch: May 29.
After several delays, the Oyster Protocol is finally going to have to put up or shut up. The team has already pushed back several signposts, including the main net release, which was scheduled for last month.
Part of the difficulty is understandable, since the Oyster-pearl system has a lot of moving parts. In short, it’s trying to replace the two most annoying things about the internet: ads and cloud storage. Instead, the system will allow websites to borrow some of the visitors’ processing power, which is used to authenticate data stored on a decentralized web. With one foot on the Ethereum blockchain and another in the Iota Tangle, no wonder this project went into overtime.
Scheduled Mainnet Launch: May 31
Another project with a lot to prove will get its chance at the end of this month. Tron, which calls itself “the internet as it was meant to be,” aims to provide a decentralized content and gaming system, and it’s had plenty of hurdles on the way. Last year, Trustnodes called Justin Sun’s company “a fourteen billion dollar white paper with no product” and some of that expensive paper turned out to be borrowed. Since then, after the obligatory mea culpas and contritions, Tron has dusted itself off and continued to steam ahead—with a revised white paper.
It’s tempting to poke fun at Tron and its boy wonder CEO, but the amount of resources the company has amassed make it a formidable contender. As much as the cryptoverse pokes gentle fun at Justin Sun it seems unwise to bet against him. With hundreds of programmers and several partners throughout Asia, a successful mainnet would give Tron a big network advantage—if they can pull it off.
The author is invested in PRL, NEO and ETH, which are mentioned in this article.