IoDLT April Progress Update

NOTE: You can see previous IoDLT updates here.

IoDLT April Progress Update

Hello NEM Community!

We are pleased to present our April update. We’ve dedicated April to tackle the COVID-19 crisis head on with Symbol. Our efforts during April yielded significant progress and several exciting developments. Now, our Symbol-based solution, ANT$, has the potential to go commercial. We pitched ANT$ to an independent government agency, and we got invited to submit a full proposal!

Tech Progress

  • We are excited to unveil our newest product / protocol: ANT$. This is based on the developments in our last update, where we had a PoC for COVID-19 tracker. This PoC was based on our original article back in early February, where we demonstrated how multiple data sources could be used to predict future outbreaks. ANT$ is the blockchain portion of that article that defines a common protocol for data to be easily gathered, sorted, and analyzed. However, ANT$ has been expanded into a protocol that can be used for any sort of incentivized data reporting.

ANT$ is a decentralized, incentivization based data reporting protocol. Users, referred to as the “ants”, are able to be rewarded by contributing to an open data market. Much like the biological ant, the ANT$ system depends on the distribution of ants over a specific area to report and relay information.

Through the ANT$ protocol, anyone can have an on-chain data repository, set rules for what should be sent to it, and if / when a user should be paid for that data. The data submitter can be either completely anonymous or authenticated, depending on the objective of the entity creating the call-to-action for real time data.

On the frontlines of healthcare entities fighting COVID-19, using the ANT$ platform, anonymous patient data and data from participating hospitals and clinics can be efficiently gathered and analyzed. ANT$ is a solution that can be deployed for local and federal governments’ benefit to keep tabs on all aspects of the outbreak. ANT$ is one of the first platforms to track COVID-19 data using a blockchain. ANT$’s will not be exclusive to the COVID-19’s response; it can be a very versatile protocol that powers many applications on Symbol across a wide range of industries. The target market can be both governments and businesses.

  • We will be updating Axon to utilize the ANT$ protocol, as it solves the pain-points we were experiencing with Axon and defining a common protocol that not just devices, but other applications can also communicate with the blockchain.

  • We’re planning an “Axon Lite,” which will be a pure microcontroller-based device (as opposed to containing both a microprocessor and microcontroller) that will simply sign and send Symbol transaction payloads. Axon Lite differs from Axon in that it does not contain the same processing power and is not capable of video, audio, or machine learning, but it allows for simple, low-power, and low-cost applications.

  • We are currently evaluating various distributed storage methods to utilize with Symbol. This will enable ANT$ to store pictures, videos, and audio in a distributed manner, with something akin to AWS buckets. Symbol keeps a record of when something was stored, and who stored it, and helps facilitate p2p access control mechanisms to the information (transferring an access key for a file). This service would have strict access control mechanisms to only allow authorized users to view the data - in our case, authorized users could either be whitelisted on-chain, or have shown to have paid for access.

  • Our devnet is still running strong with over 250k confirmed blocks. We’ve been using it for tracking our COVID and Axon data. We are grateful for Ample for hosting a node! In the coming weeks, we will be working on updating our network to the newest release with TLS integration.’

  • With ANT$, we’ve also created a couple of COVID-19 data reporting bots using our SDK. For now, these bots are reporting data to an on-chain data archive.

  • An ANT$ SDK has also been created. While still in relatively rough shape, it is fully functional and used to create the applications you see above.

PoC Progress

  • Using ANT$, we have a PoC COVID-19 tracker (which has been tracking for the last couple of weeks) that amalgamates a few different sources that are tracked on our devnet - you can see it here: Please note that it is still in heavy development.

  • As part of our COVIDathon submission, as well as for the Symbol community as whole, we’re creating an ANT$-powered mobile app in the next month. You can view the Adobe XD designs here - please note that the design is not final, but it represents what we aim to achieve. We hope to also include the ability to pair your wearables to record anonymised health data.

Sales / Partnerships Progress

  • We are very excited to announce that we have been officially invited to submit a proposal for ANT$ to an independent government agency after submitting a Project Pitch to them. The proposal has the chance to be accepted for a sizable grant. Support is provided to ensure success and potential commercialization of the proposal.

Articles / PR / Other

  • We are still participating in the COVIDathon, with ANT$ being our submission. We are happy to report that we were picked proceed to Phase 2 of the hackathon, and are preparing for a full submission that is due by the end of this month.

We are very grateful for the feedback and support from NEM Ventures and the NEM Community. We are looking forward to the NEM Group and the promising future that it will bring with Symbol.

Once again, thank you to everyone!

IoDLT Team


I remember buying some of those Ant $hares in 2017. Isn’t that called NEO now?

Apologies, this is a bad attempt at humor. The idea is good. Not sure if people will accept a blockchain for private information, but when users are incentivized to share information and it’s executed well, it might just be used next to the anonymous-until-sick Googe/Apple shared Covid-19 early warning API. I will be watching what happens next. The name is either poorly chosen, because it had already existed and was rebranded, or greatly chosen, because Ant Shares were successful and this wil remind people of a successful token.

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