EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The advent of Web3 has brought many interesting products and concepts. For instance, Decentralized Finance (DeFi) allows users to access sophisticated financial services without a bank account. It can also be expected that many traditional institutions will in the near future join the DeFi market. 

This shift to DeFi would present challenges regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements since regulatory compliance is a usual requirement in TradFi markets. At the same time, newcomers to DeFi might be reluctant to give out private information. 

Ruby Protocol addresses this challenge by focusing on performing KYC without giving out private identity information. The functional encryption will be utilized to ensure that only controlled KYC information is revealed. 

The network’s native token, $RUBY,  provides several utilities to the holders. The total supply of RUBY tokens is finite and is subject to deflationary pressure.   

Ruby Protocol is registered in the Cayman Islands, and the governance is proposed to be eventually transferred to  RubyDAO.

The team has a solid technical background and includes early adopters of cryptocurrency. Moreover, Ruby Protocol has also been backed by multiple investors.

At present, however, the project is yet to launch its Testnet and the Mainnet.

Our researchers gave Ruby Protocol a final rating of C. The breakdown of this rating is available at the end of this report.

 

PRODUCT & COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Introduction to Ruby Protocol

Ruby Protocol is “a private data management framework for Web3.0.” It implements and proposes a privacy layer interacting with the multi-chain ecosystem. The protocol will be compatible with multiple blockchains, including Polkadot, Solana, Polygon, Ethereum, BNB Chain, and Avalanche.

It is also a “fine-grained private data access-control gateway” across different organizations and entities in the decentralized and traditional financial world. 

The vision is to attain a fine-grained transaction market of user data. The design of the marketplace needs to achieve privacy, transparency, security, fairness, and regulation. Users could use any Web3 end-user client, such as Metamask, to interact with the marketplace. Encrypted data will be stored in a decentralized storage solution like IPFS. In this way, Ruby Protocol could be considered a Layer 2 privacy solution for the data marketplace.  

Ruby will implement decentralized Functional Encryption (FE) to satisfy the privacy needs of users. Additionally, Ruby Protocol assures that its policy management layer will make sure that the design of the underlying policy and attribute ecosystem is in harmony with the regulatory compliance requirement. Ruby will also design and apply a private payment scheme specifically customized for monetizing private data.

The protocol’s notable features include:

  • Zero Knowledge Proofs and micropayment schemes.
  • Privacy-centric smart contracts.
  • Decentralized identity-based encryption.

The ecosystem of Ruby Protocol includes these elements:

  • RUBY token

RUBY is the Ruby Protocol’s native token. The token will be used for the security of the Ruby Protocol blockchain and the incentives and construction of the data transaction market. Stakers deposit it as collateral to run a node on the network.      

  • RubyDAO

RubyDAO will be an autonomous community organization based on any future blockchain network that Ruby Protocol intends to deploy or Polkadot’s on-chain governance mechanism. Ruby token holders can apply for grants, adjust governance parameters, or initiate governance proposals.

  • Treasury

A treasury has been set up to incentivize teams or individuals who contribute to the project. It is hoped that the treasury can ensure the development and decentralization of the protocol. Any usage of the treasury is approved via online governance. Developers can submit their proposals to the community. Submissions that are voted on and approved will be permitted to claim financial support from the treasury.

The revenue of the treasury will mainly come from two sources: 20% of the commission that RubyDAO collected from the transaction revenue of the data marketplace and 20% of the block rewards.

  • Ruby Data Marketplace

The marketplace structure mainly contains five parts:

  1. Functional encryption: All users’ data will be stored and processed in Ruby’s fine-grained functional encryption algorithm.
  2. Data Marketplace: A proposed solution on how all objects will be involved in the deal-making process and data transactions.
  3. Data Copyright Protection: To ensure the data marketplace is effective, Ruby Protocol will build a data copyright protection mechanism to secure the copyright of data owners.
  4. Data Pricing Model: To help data owners in making a reasonable monetization and pricing strategy.
  5. Review System: A review system to help owners have better choices when buying data from data owners.

 

Illustration of the interactions involving Ruby Data Marketplace. Source: Ruby Protocol

 

A whitepaper outlining the technical and architectural elements of the protocol is available here. The whitepaper is quite technical in some parts. Besides tokenomics, it also introduces key features of the protocol and presents a roadmap.  Besides the whitepaper, a one-pager and a pitch deck are available here and here. Project Wiki is available here as an informative source. 

According to the roadmap, Ruby’s Testnet will be launched in Q3 2022, while the Mainnet is promised for Q4 2022.

Success Factors

Based on our understanding, there are several success factors for the project. These factors are listed below: 

  • The growth of the Web3 industry.
  • Substrate integration.
  • Backing by multiple investors.
  • The technical background of the team.

 

MARKET CONDITIONS AND COMPETITION

Market Conditions

According to Huobi Research, the advantage of Web3 storage solutions, which derives from making it possible for users to archive, retrieve, and maintain their own data, sets the stage “for the exponential growth for capital investment in this space.”

The available data supports this point: for the past three months, the Web3 industry, compared to the other crypto sub-sectors, has had the most monthly investments, still in the lead in July.

 

Monthly Investment by Category. Source: Footprint Analytics

 

As of July 20, the storage coin sector has a market cap of $3.74 billion, representing 0.35% of all cryptocurrency sectors. Per data from CoinGecko, there are 39 storage coins.

The global big data market is predicted to grow from $157.9 billion in 2020 to $268.4 billion by 2026 (a CAGR of ~12%).

Competition

Regarding data privacy computing, Ruby Protocol’s main competitors are projects like Oasis, PlatON, Secret Network (previously Enigma), ARPA, and Phala.

  

Ruby Protocol compared against competitors. Source: Pitch Deck

 

Some projects, such as Mintlayer and Lit protocol, that attempt to implement access control grounded on non-cryptographic solutions like access control list (ACL) may also be considered slightly close peers.

 

How is the project different from its competitors? 

These features differentiate Ruby Protocol from the competition: 

  • A privacy computing solution based on user data attributes for functional encryption computing: This is the main differentiated advantage of Ruby Protocol. Users can have fine-grained control of their data. Therefore, data buyers can access the computing results while the specific data content of users remains private.
  • Confidentiality requirements on the underlying message and the secrecy of the access control policy: ACL does not give confidentiality protection on the access control policy, while functional encryption can enforce confidentiality requirements on the underlying message and guarantee the secrecy of the access control policy.
  • A private data management middle-layer bridging the Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 world: ACL solutions make it difficult to expand the access control policy to the real world beyond blockchain platforms as ACLs can only be applied as smart contracts that run on the smart contract platforms. At the same time, a functional-encryption-based solution can be accustomed to the access control policy defined on terms external to the blockchain world.
  • The easily upgradeable smart contracts: It is not easy to upgrade smart contracts that correspond to the ACL. In contrast, the revocation mechanism of functional encryption can be obtained by adjoining an additional time dimension to the original attribute universe. Every key will be naturally revoked once a specific time passes.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

Product

Ruby Protocol applied for the Web3 Foundation Grants Program, and the grant delivery was accepted (Source: Twitter). One of the conditions that must be met is that all code produced as part of a grant is open-source and must also not rely on closed-source software for full functionality. Ruby Protocol’s product license under this grant is Apache License 2.0. The repositories are available here.

Ruby Protocol’s architecture consists of four layers, which are:

 

 

A data copyright protection mechanism is in place to guarantee the accuracy and uniqueness of the data source, so that data copyright of the original owner of data can be secured during the circulation of data. The data copyright protection mechanism includes four functional modules. The structure is illustrated below:

 

The structure of the data protection mechanism. Source: Whitepaper

 

The four modules are:

 

 

The interactions taking place in the registration module. Source: Whitepaper

Blockchain

Ruby Protocol is building its own layer-1 blockchain. It will be a parachain connected to the relay chain of Polkadot (Source: Discord).

Consensus Mechanism

As the development of Ruby Protocol is based on the Substrate blockchain development tool and fits in the ecosystem of Polkadot, it will implement the same consensus mechanism as Polkadot, NPoS (Nominated Proof of Stake).

Further details are available in the whitepaper.

Security Audit

It is believed that audits will be commissioned later, given the current stage of protocol development. The project team acknowledged this in a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) on July 21, 2022. Such audits would include all the crypto libraries, smart contracts, and Substrate pallets (Source: Twitter).

 

ROADMAP

One version of the roadmap is published on Ruby Protocol’s homepage and in the pitch deck, available here and here. The roadmap published on the project’s Wiki and in the whitepaper, available here and here, is inconsistent. The details across the roadmaps do not match. For example, the roadmap used on the homepage and the pitch deck lists 2020 Q4 as the point of Ruby Protocol’s establishment, while the roadmap used on Project Wiki and in the whitepaper lists 2020 Q3 as the point of establishment.

 


Roadmap. Source: Pitch Deck

 

TEAM

The Ruby Protocol team consists of seasoned cryptographers, engineers, data scientists, and early adopters of cryptocurrency. It is believed that the team possesses an advanced understanding of cryptographic encryption and zero-knowledge algorithms, with backgrounds covering both academic and engineering spheres. The team claims its cryptography expertise has allowed them to deliver impressive results.

Suhas Hegde (Co-Founder) has worked as a Blockchain Architect at DigiBite Payment Network and as a Senior Software Engineer at Nasdaq.

Beni Issembert (Co-Founder) is a former Beam Privacy CMO and currently works as Concordium’s CMO (a Proof-of-Stake for businesses backed by IKEA, Volvo, and Geely). Beni has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Sciences from John Hopkins. He has worked in the digital world as an entrepreneur since 2005. Beni is also a published author and respected thought leader in Blockchain, specifically within the areas of privacy and identity (Source: GitHub).

Tyler Gellatly (Co-Founder) is a business leader with experience building and scaling start-ups, capital fundraising, and operational execution.

David Spade (Technical Architect) graduated from the University of Nottingham and is a full-stack developer with eight years of experience in software development. David also has deep knowledge of zero-knowledge algorithms and is an expert in data science.

Advisors

Dylan Dewdney, Marketing Advisor, is a longtime crypto enthusiast (dating back to 2011). Dylan was a Chief Evangelist of Beam and Head of Growth for AdEx. Dylan was a key part of their Go-to-Market (GTM) and general growth strategies. In 2017, Dylan Co-Founded Harbour DAO, which became an open-standard set of tools for building governance structures and voting mechanisms on ERC-20. Dylan is a respected peer among many different projects and areas of business and is also the project lead and CEO of DeData project Kylin Network.

General Comments on the Team & Advisors

The team has a strong technical background. However, it does not appear that Ruby Protocol is currently hiring for any roles.

During our review period, we did not find evidence that the team members have taken part in any previous or current illegal projects or projects that were controversial. We did not find evidence of the advisor’s involvement in any controversial projects either.

 

LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE SPECIFICS

Jurisdiction

Information on the legal structure of Ruby Protocol indicates that a company named “Ruby Technology Ltd.” is registered in the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands enacted legislation in May 2020 to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. Under the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) Law, digital asset businesses must be registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). 

Partnerships

Ruby Protocol has joined the Confidential Computing Consortium. The Confidential Computing Consortium is a group of projects that endeavors to define Confidential Computing and speed up its acceptance and adoption in the market.

Ruby Protocol has partnered with Prove Anything to contribute to the Web3 industry.

Ruby Protocol has closed a $7.3 million seed funding round.

 

Key Backers of Ruby Protocol. Source: Pitch Deck

Legal Advisors

The project has not appointed legal advisors or team members responsible for legal matters.

KYC/AML

Details concerning KYC & AML have not been released yet.

Token Classification

$RUBY is a utility token with the following utilities:

  • Staking to secure the Ruby Protocol.
  • Governance (Voting for protocol upgrades).
  • Utilizing as the method of payment for transaction fees on the network.

 

TOKEN OFFERING

The total supply of RUBY tokens is 1 billion. The project has not announced the public token sale so far.

 

Token Allocation and Vesting Schedule. Source: Pitch Deck

 

The project has allocated 15% of the tokens for the Foundation Reserve and 10% towards ecosystem development. 

The project details the percentage of tokens allocated across various funding rounds. However, further details related to seed prices have not been released.  

10% of the tokens allocated for the founding team will be subject to a 48-month vesting period, with a 12-month cliff and monthly vesting after that. Usually, projects have more extended lockup periods to align management interests with the project.

 

TOKENOMICS

The RUBY token supply is finite. The system might become deflationary as 70% of RubyDAO revenue will be used to repurchase and burn in the secondary market.

Ruby Protocol has not disclosed how the tokens allocated for Foundation Reserve and ecosystem development will be used.

Slashing is implemented for validators who misbehave (Source: Whitepaper).

It has not been disclosed what will happen to any RUBY tokens left unsold.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

Token Supply

  • Staking Rewards: To obtain staking rewards, holders of RUBY token can delegate their tokens to validators.32
  • Token unlock and vesting: Different token holder categories are subject to varying vesting schedules.

Token Demand

  • Staking: All the nodes have to stake RUBY tokens and run nodes to secure the Ruby Protocol’s decentralization.
  • Utility: $RUBY has several utilities in the ecosystem of Ruby Protocol. For example, RUBY tokens can be used to vote for protocol upgrades, or they can be used as the method of payment for transaction fees happening on the network. 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA AND VIRALITY

Ruby’s social media presence is yet to reach comparable levels to other projects.

The Twitter channel of Ruby Protocol has 4.7k followers, and the account is active.

The Telegram and Discord (available here) channels of Ruby Protocol have 2.2k and 896 members, respectively. In both channels, community discussions about the project are on varying topics.

Ruby Protocol has 87 followers on LinkedIn, and the account is active. The project has no presence on Facebook.

Ruby Protocol has a limited presence on YouTube.

 

RISKS TO THE PROJECT

The following list of risks is not an exhaustive one. Some of these risks may or may not materialize:

  • The volatility of digital assets: In general, volatility in the values of digital assets can be significant, and indirectly, a decrease in the value of digital assets could have a material and adverse effect on Ruby Protocol.
  • Third-party risks: Ruby relies on third parties for its existence. Therefore, the risk profile of Ruby Protocol is dependent to a certain extent on third parties. For example, Ruby Protocol fits in the ecosystem of Polkadot, and therefore any risks affecting Polkadot can negatively affect it. Similarly, any vulnerabilities at the Substrate level could affect Ruby negatively.
  • Lack of adoption/interest: Ruby Protocol needs demand from users. Slower growth of users or lack of demand by them may hinder the progress of Ruby Protocol.
  • Regulatory/Legal Risks: The occurrence of regulatory inquiries or regulatory actions could restrict or limit the project’s progress. Moreover, evolving or new laws and regulations in certain jurisdictions may negatively affect the project. The project’s ability to comply or not comply with these new laws or regulations could have financial or reputational risks involved.

RATINGS

Everything you see in this report is the aggregate result of an extensive research process carried out by a distributed team of researchers and crypto enthusiasts around the world. The process consists of 60 questions divided into three phases. Researchers are called to answer these questions about a project, while providing links or screenshots as evidence to support their answers. For every answer, they also provide a rating from zero to ten. The average of their ratings is detailed below.

 

Our researchers gave Ruby Protocol a final rating of C.

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER

This Report is for informational purposes only and/or all or any of its content thereof, should not, may not and will not be taken to constitute, either as a whole or in part, any investment advice or recommendation or similar, regulated, or authorized advice, and D-Core by producing, disseminating, giving away, or making available this Report does not, should not, may not and will not be taken to advise on investments, or carry out any similar activity, or any regulated activity or any other authorized activity. D-Core is not authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority or by any other competent EU or elsewhere or otherwise competent authority to carry out any regulated activities and/or any activities within the scope of these authorities’ competence.

D-Core excludes and disclaims all liability and/or responsibility whatsoever and/or howsoever caused, arising out of any actions, or omissions taken, or made by any authorized and/or other recipient of this Report in reliance on, or arising out of, or in connection with any or all content of this Report. Any authorized and/or other recipient of this Report acknowledges, accepts and agrees that they carry out their own independent research and act in their own sole risk in reading or using any or all information contained in this Report. In any event, recipients of this Report are urged to seek professional advice before making any potential investment decision in relation to the project described herein. Any authorized and/or other recipient of this Report accepts this Disclaimer in full. For the avoidance of doubt, this Disclaimer is binding against any recipient of this Report whatsoever.

 

REFERENCES

  1. “Ruby Protocol: Welcome.” https://wiki.ruby.io/. Accessed 18 Jul. 2022.
  2. “Ruby Protocol – Web3 Privacy-Centric Infrastructure.” https://ruby.io/. Accessed 18 Jul. 2022.
  3. “Ruby Protocol — A Cross-Chain Privacy-Centric Data Monetization ….” 7 Jul. 2021, https://rubyprotocol.medium.com/ruby-protocol-a-cross-chain-privacy-centric-data-monetization-framework-f628ef94d8db. Accessed 19 Jul. 2022.
  4. “Functional Encryption: Definitions and Challenges.” https://eprint.iacr.org/2010/543.pdf. Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.
  5. “Ruby Protocol: Welcome.” https://wiki.ruby.io/. Accessed 18 Jul. 2022.
  6. “Ruby Protocol – Web3 Privacy-Centric Infrastructure.” https://ruby.io/. Accessed 19 Jul. 2022.
  7. “Tokenomics – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/tokenomics. Accessed 19 Jul. 2022.
  8. “Ruby Protocol — A Cross-Chain Privacy-Centric Data Monetization ….” 7 Jul. 2021, https://rubyprotocol.medium.com/ruby-protocol-a-cross-chain-privacy-centric-data-monetization-framework-f628ef94d8db. Accessed 19 Jul. 2022.
  9. “Roadmap – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/roadmap. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  10. “Roadmap – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/roadmap. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  11. “Team & Backers – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/team-and-backers. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  12. “Massive Growth and Capital Gains with Arweave, Filecoin and Stratos.” 17 May. 2022, https://research.huobi.com/upload/202205/17/202205171057122937.pdf. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  13. “Storage Coins – CryptoSlate.” https://cryptoslate.com/cryptos/storage/. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  14. “Top Crypto Categories by Market Cap – CoinGecko.” https://www.coingecko.com/en/categories. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  15. “Big Data Market | Size, Trends, Forecast | 2022 to 2027.” https://www.marketdataforecast.com/market-reports/big-data-market. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  16. “What is Secret Network (SCRT) | History, Roadmap, Economics.” https://messari.io/asset/secret-network/profile. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  17. “Competitive Edges – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/competitive-edges. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  18. “Competitive Edges – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/competitive-edges. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  19. “Web3 Foundation Grants Program – GitHub.” https://github.com/w3f/Grants-Program. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  20. “Technical Architecture – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/technical-architecture. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  21. “Ruby Protocol – Web3 Privacy-Centric Infrastructure.” https://ruby.io/. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  22. “Suhas Hegde – Bengaluru, Karnataka, India | Professional Profile.” https://linkedin.com/in/suhashegde. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  23. “Ruby raises $7.3M to give users greater control, privacy over their data.” 15 Mar. 2022, https://cointelegraph.com/press-releases/ruby-raises-73m-to-give-users-greater-control-privacy-over-their-data. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  24. “Tyler Gellatly – Co-Founder – Societal – LinkedIn.” https://linkedin.com/in/tngell. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  25. “David Spade – Technical Architect – Ruby Labs – LinkedIn.” https://linkedin.com/in/david-spade-aa780421a. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  26. “Dylan Dewdney – Founder and Lead Initiator – NFT3 | LinkedIn.” https://linkedin.com/in/dylan-dewdney. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  27. “Cryptocurrency regulations by country – Thomson Reuters.” 1 Apr. 2022, https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2022/04/Cryptos-Report-Compendium-2022.pdf#page=32. Accessed 20 Jul. 2022.
  28. “Ruby Protocol Joins Hands with Prove Anything – Medium.” 19 Jul. 2022, https://medium.com/@rubyprotocol/ruby-protocol-joins-hands-with-prove-anything-706cd1de5381. Accessed 25 Jul. 2022.
  29. “Team & Backers – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/team-and-backers. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  30. “Ruby Protocol – Web3 Privacy-Centric Infrastructure.” https://ruby.io/. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  31. “Tokenomics – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/tokenomics. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  32. “Tokenomics – Ruby Protocol.” https://wiki.ruby.io/getting-started/tokenomics. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  33. “Ruby Protocol ♦️ (@RubyProtocol) / Twitter.” https://twitter.com/rubyprotocol. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  34. “Contact @rubyprotocol – Telegram.” https://t.me/rubyprotocol. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  35. “Ruby Protocol – LinkedIn.” https://www.linkedin.com/company/rubyprotocol. Accessed 22 Jul. 2022.
  36. “Ruby Protocol Official – YouTube.” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKVY1-ZgODgxUnzz-k7s18g. Accessed 23 Jul. 2022.