Beginner’s Guide to Ontology: The Public Multi-Chain & Distributed Trust Collaboration Platform

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Ontology is a next-generation, public, multi-chain platform that aims to provide a single, decentralized trust ecosystem through utilizing a decoupled distributed ledger architecture, combined with a decentralized trust framework. By implementing a series of protocol standards and decentralized management modules, Ontology creates an open and standardized platform that supports a multitude of industries and connects them to blockchain based services through an interactive and collaborative environment.

Ontology Website

What Are the Key Components and Technology Behind Ontology?

Ontology places a strong emphasis on open-source and technical community contributions to help improve the platform and enable long-term sustainability. The modular design and group of protocols of the platform are intended to help facilitate adoption of the platform by businesses and organizations from a variety of industries. Users will be able to manage their digital identity, manage and share data securely, manage distributed ledgers based on their needs, build decentralized applications, and use many more distinct features that help the Ontology Chain Network to stand out.

Functionally, Ontology consists of 4 layers as part of its technology framework. From bottom to top they include:

  • The distributed ledger layer that allows for cross-chain entity mapping and data transfer.
  • The core protocols that comprise the distributed trust framework, data protection and storage, and smart contract layer.
  • The application framework that consists of the application modules and protocols.
  • The decentralized feature set including data collaboration and trade, content sharing, and a reputation system.


At the underlying, distributed ledger layer, Ontology employs a decoupled architecture to support multiple different blockchains. The interactive protocol framework at this level creates an environment where chain mapping between different systems and industries is possible, taking the form of a matrix grid where an autonomous and versatile network is formed. The distributed ledger includes a consensus and smart contract system as well as functional support for the upper application framework. Industries and businesses can have their own unique public chains depending on their needs, with modifiable protocols. The key focus of this is to create a widely compatible platform for a variety of industries that also acts as the infrastructure for a highly scalable network.

Consensus Mechanism

One of the most prominent features of the Ontology platform is its implementation of a novel type of consensus mechanism that consists of a combination of the BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) consensus protocol and VRF (Verifiable Random Functions). This is known as the Ontorand Consensus Engine (OCE) on the platform or the VBFT consensus mechanism. Essentially, the OCE selects which nodes will participate in the consensus validation using a VRF, and consensus is reached by the Byzantine Fault Tolerance algorithm. Notably, this implementation of consensus mitigates against network forks, has a low hash rate, and is stable and reliable. The modular architecture of the distributed ledger also supports replacing or adding different consensus mechanisms depending on different scenarios. This type of flexibility is very beneficial to users looking to utilize the advantages of different consensus algorithms.

Ontology implements the NeoVM virtual machine, written in Go, which is used for executing smart contracts as well as for intelligent control logic of the application layer framework. The NeoVM is highly scalable and employs a “deterministic call tree” technology that allows for dynamic sharding. Additionally, Ontology uses a shared data contract model that separates data and business logic, where dapps can share data with each other using generic protocols.

Ontology Network’s Trust Ecosystem

The distributed trust framework of Ontology is where the core logic of the platform resides and is a key component that leads to the unique advantages of the platform. The framework uses a system of verifiable claims that are cryptographically authenticated and provide services such as multi-source identity verification, distributed data management, and a hybrid combination of centralized and decentralized trust models.

Trust Ecosystem

The centralized aspect of the trust model employs a group of approved trust anchors who are entities that verify identities and deliver trust mechanisms. This model is an established and widely used trust system, however, it is not suitable for complex trust relationships that will inevitably arise in a multi-chain public architecture. An additional decentralized trust model is available for users for trust transfer, and is accomplished by mutual authentication between entities. Verifiable claims on identity are used to prove certain attributes of an entity where a unique digital signature can be verified by any other entity as being authentic. Anonymous claims are also possible in this system for users who do not wish to expose the full content of a claim to a verifier, and this is achieved through leveraging the CL signature scheme.

The Application Framework and Decentralized Features of the Platform

As a result of the underlying distributed ledger layer and trust framework of the Ontology platform, Ontology is able to offer a diverse set of application protocols and modules that enable developers to build decentralized applications without needing to understand the complexities of the underlying architecture. Providing an intuitive interface for developers in systems with an unfamiliar and complex underlying architecture will become a crucial and necessary element of cryptocurrency platforms looking for mainstream adoption.The application framework is comprised of 3 layers.

  1. The underlying trust layer that includes the identity and smart contract systems
  2. The protocol and module layer that includes application modules, protocols, SDKs, and APIs.
  3. The application layer where decentralized applications can be built and the underlying layers help to solve trust issues.


Importantly, Ontology implements a distributed data marketplace using an exchange protocol and trading module. As networks and data distribution trend towards decentralization, data marketplaces will become enormous collaborative systems where important exchanges of data, computational resources, and other digital resources will occur. The inclusion of secure multiparty computation techniques also allows for network participants to conduct computations with private data without the need to share with other parties.

Ontology represents a new class of blockchain based, decentralized networks that aim to solve problems currently plaguing established platforms and providing significant enhancements from recent technological developments.

In particular, the implementation of fully homomorphic encryption, a recent development in cryptography, enables the data exchange of the Ontology platform to provide limited access control for private data as specified by a company or organization. This is a substantial improvement over existing models and gives the data exchange an added layer of useful functionality.

In the current data paradigm, data is cached in centralized repositories that are ripe for hacking and leave users of whichever platform that data is stored on essentially helpless in protecting their personal information. With Ontology, users have complete management and access control of their personal data. Any transactions related to a user’s data will notify the data owner for authorization while also offering complete control of data storage and data lifecycle management.

Team Behind Ontology and Emphasis on Community Development

Ontology was created by the Chinese company Onchain in 2017 and has a close association and planned interoperability with the NEO platform. The platform encourages technical community proposals, suggestions, and research to help improve and maintain the platform. They provide a diverse and extensive set of resources and information on how to help contribute on their Github page and their website.

Additionally, the developers behind the platform consistently refer to the ongoing research and development in a number of key areas of the platform such as state sharding and improved consensus protocols to help the platform scale effectively and operate with high-throughput capabilities.

Jun Li is the founder of Ontology and also the Co-founder of Onchain. Julia Yu is the Head of Marketing and active on their team Medium page as well as Reddit.

The ONT Token

The ONT token was initially airdropped to Neo holders is March 2018. The ONT token also has a utility Gas token that will be used in a similar format to Gas in NEO. You can find information regarding the circulation, price, and market analysis of the ONT token here. More extensive token distribution details are available here as well.

The ONT token has recently surged in price with the open-source release of their VBFT consensus protocol as well as the SmartX smart contract tool and a detailed roadmap.

How to Buy Ontology ONT

You are not able to purchase ONT with “Fiat” currency so you will need to first purchase another currency – the easiest to buy are Bitcoin or Ethereum which you can do at Coinbase using a bank transfer or debit / credit card purchase and then trade that for ONT at an exchange which lists the token.

Make sure you use our link to signup you will be credited with $10 in free bitcoin when you make your first purchase of $100.

Coinbase Website

You can purchase ONT on the following Exchanges:


Ontology aims to become the comprehensive, distributed trust network with a focus on connecting traditional, real world entities to the decentralized blockchain framework. By providing some innovative new features supported by a technically advanced distributed ledger architecture, Ontology offers a suite of digital services and modules for developers and businesses alike.

With significant advancements over the last few years in cryptography and decentralized protocols, a new wave of platforms has emerged as potential improvements over existing systems. Ontology serves as a profound opportunity to capitalize on these developments as a platform that can scale effectively and help advance the trustless and decentralized nature of the Internet.

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