Years ago little was known about Blockchain, and today thousands of enthusiasts successfully test and implement services built around it.

AntShares is one of those platforms developed by strong believers in the immense potential of Blockchain. Cointelegraph spoke with the CEO and Co-Founder of AntShares Da Hongfei about the project and its value for the market.

What is AntShares?

AntShares is a decentralized and distributed network protocol based on Blockchain technology. Sounds like a description of any other platform developed on top of the Blockchain? Wait until you know more.

AntShares allows digitalizing real-world assets, enabling registration, depository, transfer, trading, clearing and settlement via a peer-to-peer network. AntShares keeps records of the transfers of digital assets with e-contracts. In AntShares digital tokens generated by e-contracts function as general underlying data and could be used for recording titles and assets, including equities, creditor’s claims, securities, financial contracts, credit points, bills and currencies.

The platform has a potential to be applied for areas like equity crowdfunding, equity trading, employee stock ownership plans, peer-to-peer financing, loyalty programs, private equity funds and supply-chain financing.

A gap in the market

Sounds like an ambitious project, right? The idea for a project was inspired by nothing less than market demand. CEO of AntShares Da Hongfei explains:

“The team started the project two years ago truly believing that it could make some real progress and pave the path for greater industrial adoption of this revolutionary technology. There is a strong demand not only from the community of investors, geeks and crypto-lovers, but genuinely from the market players and policy makers.”

Speaking of the inspiration behind AntShares, he continues:

“Ants have a social structure in which they enjoy equality but shoulder different tasks. Share is both a verb and a noun. I think the name AntShares speaks for itself, that we were actually inspired by these diligent and marvellous creatures and the spirit of the Internet and the theme of our time.”

Innovation drives ahead in the competition

With technology developing at a really fast pace it is getting more and more challenging to stay competitive on the market and stand out among services playing around with the Blockchain.

There are many Blockchain projects which focus on digital assets. According to Da Hongfei, what makes Antshares stand out from that crowd is that the service is made to bridge the real world in compliance. Therefore, Da Hongfei does not really see any obvious competitors in this direction. However, compliance is not the only thing which keeps AntShares ahead of similar projects. Da Hongfei summarized at least three features which make AntShares innovative and therefore unique.

First of all, the platform has built-in KYC/AML APIs, with an optional user-controlled identity check. This allows market players to use this public chain without getting cold feet, while users may choose to stay anonymous as long as all parties involved agree.

Secondly, the platform offers a Superconducting Transaction Feature. Exchanges will no longer offer escrows, but only match-making. The “escrows” will be replaced by onchain-broadcasting of private-key-signed order requests. This eliminates any previous moral/tech risks associated with traditional exchanges.

Thirdly, the direct using of fiat currency is available to eliminate regulatory risks in terms of government interference.

Last, but not the least, the platform adopts an original dBFT consensus mechanism, ideal for private/consortium chain reconstruction and also practical for the major market players.

For geeks out there, there is a White Paper published by AntShares where you can learn more about the system’s model and algorithm.

Keeping things transparent

AntShares project has been under development since 2014, and in November 2015 its testnet went online. Already 2016 has been quite eventful for the project. It released the first and the only original consensus mechanism dBFT in China and became the most covered Blockchain story among security brokers.

For any Blockchain or cryptocurrency start-up the issue of trust is very important. According to Da Hongfei, the trust and interest comes from continuous open-sourced development and vibrant community interaction. Therefore, Antshares strives to keep all their actions as transparent and clear for the community as possible. To follow the current state of the project, as well as the future direction of its development follow this link  to the Official Road Map.

Microsoft and other partners

At the moment AntShares is focusing on the Chinese market. However, the team has some major partnerships to announce. For instance, a few months ago AntShares entered into co-operation with Microsoft. As Da Hongfei said to Cointelegraph, Onchain (AntShares’ Business sub-entity), Fadada and Microsoft have initiated a consortium Blockchain called The Legal Chain. It has been created to provide digital evidence storage services, including digital contracts, intellectual properties, e-medical records, etc. The Digital Data Judicial Authentication Center, a subdivision of the National Information Center, will be ensuring authentication services for the data stored on The Legal Chain.

Da Hongfei says:

“We are trying to come up with more daring and creative plans for a global expansion. For that,we are trying to expand our team by hiring more experienced and enthusiastic developers. As for the near future, we will be launching the mainnet quite soon.

In the long-run, we are planning to make AntShares a universal Blockchain framework. With different plug-in modules, this framework could be applied for a public chain, a consortium chain or a private chain. We have a cross-chain adaptor module which is under development, which will be applied to create interoperability among these different chains”.

As we learned from Da Hongfei, in China interest in the project from different players and different spheres is incredible. Financial institutions, non-profit organisations, academic institutions and many others are really excited about the initiative, and that certainly will drive the project ahead.