Stratis is one of the earliest of a range of blockchain development platforms. It was initially as platform whereby developers could easily create their own private blockchain.
Stratis wanted their platform to be the premier blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) tailored for use by organisations. However, since launching, Sratis has increased the scope of their project. They want to build out a larger blockchain development network that will take on the likes of NEO and Ethereum.
Can Stratis actually compete in this highly competitive space and provide an attractive alternative to these blockchains?
In this Stratis review, we will attempt to answer that question by taking a deep-dive on the project. We will look at the technology, team members and unique advantages of its blockchain. We will also analyse the STRAT token and whether you should consider it.
Let’s jump in.
Stratis began as a project that wanted to assist enterprise logistics with a BaaS model. However, as the demand for developer ecosystems has grown, so too have the ambitions of Stratis. They are now trying to build their own developer blockchain. There are many other projects that are trying to do this but the main difference between them and Stratis is that it is using C# for Microsoft’s .NET framework as the programming language of its blockchain.
Ethereum has one advantage over Stratis in that it was the first smart contract network, however its use of the Solidity programming language could be its weakness. Stratis uses a far more familiar programming language and can achieve the same blockchain architecture and include sidechains as well.
Stratis is certainly gaining on Ethereum, launching C# smart contracts as an alpha in May, followed by alpha sidechain support in June. This brings Stratis on par with leading smart contract blockchains. In fact, for many companies Stratis will be the preferred solution since blockchain knowledge isn’t all that common at the older, more traditional tech companies.
These older tech companies do have armies of programmers familiar with C# and the .NET framework and are most likely to pass over programming a blockchain with Solidity if they can use the more familiar C#.
Stratis offers this familiar programming language, and the ability to use all the same features to create a feature-rich blockchain with the ability to include sidechains and smart contracts. This will allow the old-guard tech companies to easily build their own blockchain solutions on the Stratis main chain, keeping their own projects separated and safe on sidechains.
There’s certainly promise, but it will take time to realize the vision of Stratis. Let’s take a deeper look into the project and its related STRAT coin that powers the network.
Stratis is designed as its own blockchain that also offers a suite of development tools in C# that enable companies to use the security of its blockchain to build their own chains. This saves resources for the companies who don’t need to hire new blockchain developers or rewrite all their legacy software to work with a new platform.
At its core Stratis is an updated, enterprise friendly version of Bitcoin. It’s more scalable, it’s faster, and it moves away from the resource hungry Proof-of-Work mining of Bitcoin. Then it adds the Stratis platform that enables sidechains, smart contracts and the addition of decentralized apps.
Stratis differs from other blockchain projects by using the C# programming language. With over 6 million C# developers it aims to mesh easily with the existing systems of traditional tech companies across the globe. It has created a suite of tools and resources for developers to enable them to build their own blockchains, and it also offers the use of its blockchain as a mainchain to secure added sidechains.
Additionally, it offers consultancy services for businesses that want to utilize blockchain technology, but don’t know where or how to get started. As an example, they might advise a fintech company, showing them how blockchain technology can be used to verify funds are being delivered to the correct people, to track transactions, and to validate customer identities.
The main operating company for Stratis is the Stratis Group Ltd which is based in the city of London. They are comprised of some pretty experienced developers with specialties in enterprise software and blockchain.
Stratis was founded in 2016 by the current CEO, Chris Trew. Chris has over 10 years of experience in Enterprise IT. He is also a backend developer who has built numerous applications in C# and ASP.NET. He started to cut his teeth in the blockchain ecosystem in 2013 and worked as a volunteer on the Blitz project.
Chris is also joined by Nicolas Dorier who developed NBitcoin merely as a learning exercise. NBitcoin is now one of the most comprehensive cross-platform bitcoin frameworks. He has also authored a book on blockchain programming in C#. Nicolas has also done some work on Bitcoin’s core project.
The Stratis blockchain uses Proof-of-Stake (PoS) as its consensus algorithm, and the STRAT token as its native token on the network. Because Stratis uses PoS it means there’s no resource intensive mining needed to secure the network, nor any expensive hardware required. It was developed as a low inflation cryptocurrency and holders are able to generate rewards by staking coins, if they have enough to operate a node.
Operating a masternode requires staking 250,000 STRAT, which has a value of $392,500 at the $1.57 price on September 7, 2018. That’s obviously out of reach for most, but there has been talk of adding lower tier nodes that require less coins.
The primary purpose of the STRAT token is as gas for the network, or a way to pay for network transactions. Naturally you can also buy it as a speculative investment, and the coin is listed on well over a dozen exchanges, including Binance, Bittrex and HitBTC.
As of September 7, 2018 the STRAT coin is #49 on Coinmarketcap.com with a market cap of $155,347,489. That’s at a price of $1.57 with a circulating supply of 99,004,672. Stratis hit an all-time high price of $21.21 on January 8, 2018.
Stratis was one of the first successful ICO’s, raising 1,000 BTC back in June/July 2016. This success led them to start their own ICO platform in May 2018 to help others see the same success. It’s certainly a generous offering, but could spell signs of trouble at the company.
When Bitcoin rose in popularity most other cryptocurrencies struggled to gain an audience. So, they turned to the ICO as a way to gain market acceptance, and to raise funds to continue development. That’s how Stratis got its start in 2016.
ICOs became even more popular in 2017 when Ethereum began hosting tokens on its blockchain, allowing companies to bypass the long and expensive process of creating their own blockchain. That year saw nearly 1,000 ICOs launched and $5.6 billion in capital raised.
It wasn’t all good news though as over 50% of those ICOs were failures. Perhaps even worse was the roughly $1 billion lost by investors to fraudulent ICOs. These losses drew the attention, and ire, of government regulators. That put a negative light on ICOs.
Soon after major online as networks like Google, Facebook and Twitter banned ads for ICOs on their platforms. ICO prices fell across the industry and people became increasingly wary of projects releasing new coins via an ICO.
2018 still sees a good volume of ICOs, but it also sees more and more projects avoiding the negative stigma associated with ICOs. Many have gone back to the airdrop to distribute tokens, and still others are opting to hold private sales, offering their coins to venture capital firms and high net-worth individuals rather than selling them to the public.
This calls into question the decision of Stratis to release an ICO platform in May 2018. In some respects it seems as if the management team is stuck in the past. Sure 2016 was just two short years ago, but in the cryptocurrency world 2 years is like 2 generations. A turnkey ICO solution at this point seems to fly in the face of the negative view of ICOs and the increasing government scrutiny.
Even though the launch of an ICO platform makes it seem as if Stratis is out of touch with the rest of the cryptocurrency industry, it remains a strong and impressive blockchain project. And while the value of the STRAT coin has dropped throughout 2018, that’s more a feature of the overall decline in cryptocurrency markets. A $1.57 price now is still a more than 22,000% gain from the $0.007 ICO price of the coin. That’s a pretty hefty return in just over 2 years.
Stratis has also recently been listed in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, which was a big win for Stratis founder and CEO Chris Trew. The listing isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Stratis as a project, but rather because the coin is written in C# for the .NET framework.
The .NET framework was developed by Microsoft, and because of Windows enterprise usage the .NET framework and C# programming language are both embedded in every industry. As the developer of the .NET framework Microsoft has a huge stake in the survival and growth of the framework and the C# language, making acceptance of Stratis by Microsoft almost a given outcome.
Company’s using legacy systems built on C# and .NET will find the transition to a blockchain solution will be easiest and most cost-effective when using the Stratis solution. Most of these companies already have C# developers that can be reassigned to a blockchain project, and they’ll make quick progress thanks to their familiarity with C#.
Unfortunately for Stratis the blockchain universe evolves very quickly. Their C# kit was vaporware until May 2018, meaning there were a number of projects that caught up to and surpassed Stratis. And the Breeze wallet, which sounded so innovative in the summer of 2016, wasn’t all that revolutionary when it was release as a beta mainnet product in November 2017.
It’s unfortunate, but the Stratis team seems to be working at a far slower pace than new projects, especially those from Asia. The early excitement over Stratis hasn’t translated to early adoption. In fact, other than the acceptance into the Azure Marketplace, the largest partnership so far is with Earth Twine, an unknown startup that is looking to disrupt the seafood logistics business with a blockchain solution.
One hopeful development is the newest partnership with UK Meds, the fastest growing online pharmacy in the UK, just announced on September 5. UK Meds plans on using the technology to improve patient safety and to improve the UK Meds supply chain.
Startis has the distinction of being the first successful ICO, and remains impressive to this day, but some say it needs to step up its game if it doesn’t want the distinction of first successful ICO to be the largest distinction the project ever reaches.
While it has solid technology and a strong partnership with Microsoft, it isn’t seeing the type of adoption it needs. If it can leverage its strengths there is still hope for growth within the blockchain industry as it offers several viable and helpful use-cases.
The inclusion of the Stratis platform in the Microsoft Azure marketplace is a big win, and investors have to be happy with the 22,000% return since the ICO, even if the price of the coin has been sliding in 2018. Investor sentiment may be falling, but there’s still plenty of good to be said for STRAT.
The launch of an ICO platform doesn’t seem to be the best move in 2018 as government regulators have been taking aim at ICOs, but fortunately Stratis has several other platform developments and partnerships.
Doubtless an enterprise blockchain solution in C# may not sound as technologically advanced or sexy as other blockchain projects, but it’s just these nuts-and-bolts type applications that are often the most useful and profitable. In fact, the use of C# makes Stratis more attractive to traditional tech companies with legacy systems, since they won’t have to start from scratch to migrate or integrate their systems with blockchain technology.
The Stratis solution shows real promise, but we have to wait and see if they can truly deliver.
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