AMA Session Recap (Hosted by Crypto Royals)
Our hosts for today's AMA Crypto Royals and all of the supporters have been kind enough to make us feel at home on our very first AMA session.
Here are the questions and topics you have been most interested in, while Sfera Technologies’ own Zdravko and Dimitar did a phenomenal job at answering as extensively and thoroughly as possible.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the Qs and As!
Q1: Can you please introduce yourselves, as well as Ephemeris?
A: Zdravko: I’m Zdravko, founder and CEO of Sfera Technologies. I’ve been in the space industry for almost 8 years now. Back in 2017 I and a few friends with experience in the industry founded a space tech NGO focused on practical space initiatives, but we realized many of the processes are pretty inefficient and outdated, so we began working on new concepts on how to solve those. It was around that time I also got into blockchain/crypto and realized many of the issues existing in the space industry could benefit from blockchain-based solutions. Over time, we developed the concept for a ground station network, and we realized the potential to expand this into a new generation of data infrastructures for space, and that’s how Ephemeris came to be.
In brief, Ephemeris is a protocol designed to both simplify and provide a trust framework for space data and all the parties involved in its delivery and consumption. Right now getting satellite data is a very difficult and fragmented process. It literally relies on paperwork and often one-of-a-kind storage/processing elements that can’t communicate with each other. Through Ephemeris, this becomes a streamlined environment and ecosystem where the benefits of space data can be channeled much more directly.
Dimitar: I’m Dimitar, partner at Sfera Technologies, and CFO of the company. Worked in project management and marketing for over 15 years, with a variety of industries including blockchain, fintech, gaming, and the luxury industry. In 2015 I moved into finance and worked as a prop trader, trading Futures and FX markets. Four years later I joined Sfera Technologies to develop ground-breaking services and applications for the space industry.
Q2) Could you please tell us about $EPH; its total supply and features?
A: Zdravko: $EPH is a utility token designed to power — initially — a few core elements. The first is a smart contract-based ground station network, HomePort, which is approaching Beta deployment. It will provide space enterprises with third-party ground station capability and trust mechanics. The stations deliver data to designated storage spaces on a decentralized cloud, which is the second element. A distributed computation grid will allow the data to be processed and distributed; and finally, the protocol will enable the creation of decentralized marketplaces for satellite data, which is currently a huge bottleneck.
Dimitar: The total token supply is 200,000,000 $EPH.
Q1: After looking at your roadmap, I couldn’t find any plans regarding NFTs. Nowadays NFTs are the biggest trend & they have a big impact in the community, with most new projects adding them to their projects. Haven’t you considered having NFTs in your platform?
A: Zdravko: We have considered NFTs! There can be a couple of NFT use cases in the framework of a space mission, for example in unique identification of orbiting satellites or Earth stations as each of these is usually one-of-a-kind. Having them expressed as NFTs can open the doors to some interesting interactions with the rest of the ecosystem. We’ll be announcing more on this, it’s WIP.
Q2: What are the 5 biggest benefits of using satellite imagery over drones?
A: Zdravko: Satellite imagery just delivers much more data with a broader scope, much faster. This is because a satellite (particularly in low Earth orbit) can:
- Circle the entire globe in about 90 minutes;
- Snap an area that can be hundreds of kilometers across, usually with a decent spatial resolution (1–10 meters per pixel would be common nowadays);
- Continuously revisit large areas and therefore servicing many customers who need satellite observations, across jurisdictions;
- Carry entire arrays of sophisticated imaging instruments;
- Operate 24/7/365.
Drones simply can’t do that, they’re mostly useful to complement a satellite dataset or for specific local uses. Satellite images offer these platform-specific benefits.
Q3: You comment that Ephemeris has the HomePort ground station network, which reduces paperwork and greatly simplifies missions. Were you the creators of this ground station network, or did another company provide you with this infrastructure?
A: Zdravko: Yes, we conceptualized the ground station network as a smart contract-based automated service and deployed an initial prototype, working to deploy in Beta. The stations on the network are provided by third parties — companies and agencies we partner with.
Q4: How will the data be stored in the system? I am assuming that even though you don’t want to be constrained by the various rules in the myriad of jurisdictions, the data will have to be stored securely, right?
A: Zdravko: The data will be stored on an existing decentralized cloud, using Ephemeris as a bridge between the storage and apps operating on our protocol. We’ve already selected a platform and will announce this collaboration soon. Securely storing the data is a top priority and the platform we’ve selected will adequately address many of these concerns.
Q5: What are Ephemeris’ top priorities in 2021? Could you share some plans for the upcoming year?
A: Zdravko: Our top priority is to deploy our ground station service commercially, as we already have some industry partners and demand for it. This will run in parallel with the development of protocol elements. Our primary goal for next year is to have a full-fledged commercial service with 30+ ground stations in the network.
The focus is mostly on LEO (Low Earth Orbit) missions and disseminating data from them. Support for deep space missions is on the schedule for next year as well. Once all these data streams are unlocked, all applications and features on Ephemeris will have unique access to a solid stream of satellite data that can be processed, marketed, and shared.
Q1: Do you plan to work on a platform for DEX, staking, and farming in your project?
A: Dimitar: Yes, we have an allocation for network rewards and planning to involve our community in a big way. You can stake $EPH or participate in the computational grid to earn rewards.
Q2: How has the experience and background of your team been effective in the success of your project so far and how do you aim to revolutionize the field of blockchain and NFT?
A: Zdravko: What we are working on right now is precisely motivated by our background in the industry — we’ve seen first-hand how clumsy and outdated many of the processes in the industry are.
We know the exact sources of most of the industry’s problems. Satellite data is a perfect example — for decades the handful of enterprises that could deliver satellite data had only a few government customers. They never cared about anyone else. Now that data is becoming increasingly used in pretty much every sector of the economy, there’s a need for new ways to deliver this data, process it, and market it.
We know where the trust issues in the industry are, and where compromise may be found.
Q3: The key to spaceflight is in lower costs through standardization and wide participation. Although, most major enterprises may seem reluctant to the concept of renting ground stations instead of increasing prices. How do you plan to make this idea adopted?
A: Zdravko: That’s precisely the shift we’re seeing — enterprises both large and small increasingly prefer to get ground stations and data infrastructures as a service instead of building them in-house. It’s just too expensive to build it in-house, not to mention maintain it over time.
Most enterprises could go for AWS/Azure or a brokerage, but in both cases, enterprises have to relinquish some oversight/control of the service and will have to trust the provider of the service to handle sensitive data privately. All this can be solved on Ephemeris, which would make it a preferable environment for the space industry to handle data.
Q4: What is your competitive advantage in the market over similar projects?
A: Zdravko: We’re quite unique in the blockchain space but in the space industry we have a couple of competitors and we have some distinct advantages over them. In terms of major competition like AWS Ground Station and Azure Orbital — Ephemeris would provide much more flexible and sovereign data infrastructures, which is great for many companies which want to avoid getting locked in with those cloud mastodons (and there are plenty of such companies!).
Other competitors like Leaf Space, RBC Signals, or Infostellar are more or less brokers or managed service providers which focus singularly on the ground station service and, at the end of the day, use AWS or Azure for their data storage and station management. With applications on Ephemeris, these services will be cheaper, more reliable, and also have access to data marketplaces, which is not the case with any of our competitors.
Q5: Collaboration is one of the key aspects of a project. Do you have plans to work with some of the projects in the near future?
A: Zdravko: We have a steady pipeline of partnerships coming up in the space industry — these include space agencies, startups, infrastructure operators, data companies, and many more. Our collaborative approach is firmly focused on producing real-world benefits and use cases because when we have a functioning ecosystem, the benefits can spread out naturally. Our approach to blockchain partnerships is to work with the best platforms to solve these real-world use cases
Thank you for taking your time for our AMA session. We hope to see you in the future ones!