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What is Band Protocol (BAND)?
While you may have heard of the Band Protocol (BAND), you could be forgiven for not knowing what role this asset plays in the ever-diversifying crypto space. In simple terms, Band Protocol is software that has been designed to incentivize a network of users to provide real-world data to decentralized applications (Dapps) running on popular blockchains such as Ethereum.
To put this into context, let's say that a Dapp developer wants to enable users to place wagers on the future price of gold. However, it must determine the asset's future price at a precise point in time, utilizing off-chain data to facilitate a viable and functional smart contract. This is where Band Protocol enters the fray. It utilizes its proprietary software to incentivize a particular class of blockchain users (known as validators) to provide and verify the external datasets on the network.
In this respect, the protocol acts as an intermediary between legacy Internet data sources and blockchains. Band is often described as a 'decentralized oracle' system that maintains transparency by publicly checking and validating off-chain information.
Most importantly, the protocol ensures that the data supplied by its users isn't manipulated or inaccurate, therefore solving one of the key challenges facing the facilitation of trustworthy and highly lucrative smart contracts.
Band's native token is key to the protocol's incentive mechanism. The validators charged with checking transactions and off-chain datasets must hold a certain amount of BAND coins to participate in the network actively. Tokens can be purchased directly or delegated by other users, with the top 100 candidates (determined by the size of their holding) selected by the network to become validators.
Of course, validators are also compelled to abide by specific rules such as remaining online during specified periods, responding to network events promptly, and ensuring that they confirm transactions accurately. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in the network confiscating some of the BAND tokens they hold while preventing them from claiming any relevant rewards.
Band Protocol History
The Band Protocol was initially launched as an ERC-20 project on the Ethereum blockchain in September 2019, with the concept was developed by an eponymous startup based in Thailand.
The venture was driven by three founders, namely CEO Soravis Srinawakoon, Chief Technology Officer Sorawit Suriyakarn, and Chief Product Officer Paul Nattapatsiri. Before its launch, Band Protocol raised $3 million from venture capital firms (including Sequoia Capital) before accruing a further $5.85 million as part of a lucrative Initial Exchange Offering (IEO). Shortly afterward, the protocol transitioned from the Ethereum blockchain to its proprietary alternative, utilizing Cosmos technology to relay data across multiple networks in real-time successfully.
The protocol boasted an initial supply of 100 million BAND tokens, approximately 12.37% of which were sold during its token sale. Further private token sales have been carried out since, raising a further $2 million in funding in the process.
Overall, it's thought that more than 27% of the BAND token supply has been sold to early-stage investors, with a further 25% reserved for the function of the Band protocol industry. A further 22% has been set aside for the development team and the foundation that oversees the network's advancement. In total, there are more than 20.4 million BAND coins currently in circulation.
What is a Band Protocol (BAND) Wallet?
As we've already said, you'll need to hold a certain amount of BAND tokens to become a network validator, which in turn means that you'll need a wallet to provide safe and secure storage.
Ultimately, there are two main wallet categories for cryptocurrency, each of which offers various advantages depending on your usage and the size of your holding.These are as follows:
We'll start with hot wallets, which are essentially multi-purpose pieces of software that allow you to store, buy, and sell a host of cryptocurrencies, including BAND tokens. This category can be broken down further into desktop and mobile wallets, which are available on various device types and are MADE accessible through an Internet connection.
This represents the key distinction between hot wallets and cold wallets. The latter isn't connected to the Internet and therefore offers an additional layer of protection against malware attacks (we'll have a little more on this below). Of course, desktop and mobile Band wallets offer the advantage of being incredibly accessible and easy to use, while the increased risk of cyber-attacks shouldn't be as much of a concern if you only hold a relatively small amount of tokens.
Overall, you may be better served by using hot mobile wallets, as smartphone operating systems are less susceptible to malware than desktop alternatives.
As we've already touched on, cold wallets aren't directly connected to the Internet and therefore are not vulnerable to malicious attacks or online hacks. While this makes them popular amongst crypto whales who hold large token volumes, they're relatively inaccessible and can make it challenging to execute regular purchases or currency exchanges online.
Cold wallets are effectively physical objects that serve as a simple store of crypto tokens without offering any additional features or services. The most famous example is a so-called «hardware» wallet, which resembles a standalone USB stick with an OLED display.
Costs vary between $70 and $150 for a decent hardware wallet, so it's up to each individual to decide whether this offers value concerning their total crypto holding.
Paper wallets can also be used, usually taking the simple form of a physically printed QR code. Aside from being difficult to store safely, paper wallets are also wholly unsuitable for sending partial funds to a recipient.This is a significant disadvantage, although it's completely free to store your BAND holding on a paper wallet.
Your choice of wallet is essential, not least because this will hold your private critical data. This is a hashed, 256-bit key that affords you total control over your funds while it can be used to verify transactions securely and in real-time.
What is a Data Oracle?
Central to the Band premise is the concept of data oracles, which work by sending data from the outside world to a functional blockchain. As we touched on earlier, this data is then utilized by smart contracts, typically to determine when to dispense money and recipients.
For example, farmers regularly purchase agricultural derivatives, which offer much-needed insurance in drought wiping out their crops. So, if extreme weather decimates production during a particular season, the derivative will pay out a lump sum to negate such losses.
An oracle helps a smart contract perform this sequence of tasks automatically, creating a practical and transparent agreement that can be executed according to key and off-chain datasets.
Blockchains need data oracles to access and process real-world information, as on-chain networks are primarily designed to provide immutable storage and deterministic computations. However, there has been a historical issue with using centralized oracles, which may remain under the control of third-party operators and is more susceptible to manipulation.
Fortunately, the Band Protocol negates this by operating as a decentralized oracle, which utilizes off-chain data checked and verified within the network. This immediately grants smart contracts access to reliable data while also eliminating any potential central points of failure.
Band PROTOCOL (BAND) Wallet Features
You can manage your BAND tokens and broader crypto portfolio through the Atomic Wallet, which is available in various iterations on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.
This non-custodial wallet also tackles one of the primary security challenges associated with desktop and mobile wallets by refusing to store your private keys on a centralized and vulnerable exchange. Instead, your private keys are encrypted with Atomic Wallet and stored directly on your chosen device, affording you complete control of your funds while minimizing the chances of your funds or sensitive information being stolen.
Despite this additional layer of encryption and security, Atomic Wallet is easily accessible and features many features to users. For example, the platform supports more than 500 crypto assets within its built-in exchange, enabling you to manage your BAND tokens and other ERC20 coins through a single, intuitive interface.
What's more, you can exchange these tokens securely and with complete anonymity, as you won't be required to verify your identity or follow intrusive KYC protocols to use this built-in service. You will need to provide proof of your identification to buy selected tokens directly through Atomic Wallet, of course. Still, you currently can't obtain BAND tokens through this method on the platform.
However, you can access BAND coins indirectly through Atomic Wallet by participating in the platform's membership and reward scheme. Simply buy in with the minimum requirement of 100 AWC (the wallet's native token) before exchanging your holding with BNB on Binance Dex.
Then, you can swap your tokens with BAND through the built-in exchange while earning monthly rewards as a participating member. Interestingly, you can also stake BAND tokens in exchange for an annual ROI, but we'll touch on this a little later in the piece.
How to Store BAND Safely?
Even when storing your BAND tokens on a secure platform such as Atomic Wallet, we'd still recommend that you take additional steps to safeguard your holding and minimize the risk of theft and hacking.
For example, we know that you can store your private keys on your device as an Atomic Wallet user, but you can protect yourself further by retaining this in a password-protected file. This creates an additional layer of encryption that provides further peace of mind, especially when storing your tokens on a desktop device that may be more vulnerable to malware attacks.
There are also some universal steps that you can take regardless of the specific device that you use. For example, you should update your operating system software regularly, whether Android or iOS or Windows or Mac. Of course, smartphone users will know that both Apple and Android devices prompt you to install updates as and when required, but you may have to be a little more proactive when using a desktop device. It would help if you also ran scheduled updates as quickly as possible, as hackers only need momentary vulnerability to make their move.
Last but not least, you should also take the time to regularly back up your wallet.dat files (ideally every week or so). This will restore your data and currency balance up to a previous point in time, which may prove crucial following a hardware or system failure. Just remember to back your files up to a separate device such as a USB stick or a hard drive, as this ensures that a copy of your data remains safe and secure.
Staking BAND on the Atomic Wallet
We spoke earlier about how you could stake BAND on Atomic Wallet in exchange for annualized rewards in the form of tokens with a tangible cash value.
BAND is one of just 17 crypto assets that can currently be staked on Atomic Wallet, while it's also one of the most rewarding. You can stake your BAND holding and earn a 17% rate of return, which is second only to the 20% annual ROI available when staking AWC.
But what does this mean in practical terms?
Well, you can stake anywhere between one and 100,000 BAND tokens for a period of between 24 hours and 12 months. You'll also have to stake your entire BAND holding to participate, with the available rewards increasing incrementally in line with the number of tokens that you commit.
For example, let's say that you stake a holding of 100,000 tokens at the current market price of $8.35. Over 12 months, you'll yield an additional 17,000 BAND tokens, with a total cash value of $141,950.00.
Of course, staking the same amount over a shorter period will reduce your total earnings. More specifically, staking your holding for six months will see you earn 8500 BAND, with a total value of $70,975 (at today's rate).
The reward distribution cycle continues every day, so you'll be able to claim your earned rewards whenever you like. The unstacking period for your holding is equivalent to 21 days, and you'll need to claim your rewards before using tokens for transfers or further staking.
However, you'll retain access to your BAND holding while they're being staked, which means that you can continue sending, receiving, and exchanging tokens online.
Just note that this may impact your earnings, as rewards are continuously calculated based on your real-time balance.
BAND price and price history
Upon its launch in September 2019, the BAND token was valued at a nominal $0.6836. What's more, it continued to hover around this price until July 2020, when the asset broke out above $4.10 following the further development of BandChain Phase 1 (which included full oracle functionality).
August saw a further hike to $15.46 as the network grew to support basic smart contract applications and continued to work on its GuanYu Testnet #3.
While the subsequent correction that ensued saw the price fall back to $4.2324 in November, it has benefited from the wider crypto bull run that gathered significant momentum in Q1 2021. Subsequently, the BAND price reached an impressive high of $21.01 at the beginning of April before settling around the $8 mark.
In terms of future growth, experts have forecast incremental increases over the next four years. This could see BAND break out above $24.88 by the end of 2025, especially as it begins to deliver on its potential as a decentralized oracle.
Top 5 things to know about BAND PROTOCOL (BAND)
- The Band Protocol functions as a cross-chain data oracle, so while it works with decentralized apps on Ethereum, it's also compatible with those developed on alternative blockchains.
- Band recently joined the OpenAPI initiative alongside tech giants like Microsoft and Google. This initiative helps define APIs' standards, which is what the protocol uses to extract data from off-chain sources and fulfill smart contracts.
- BandPhase 2 is expected to be launched in the second half of 2021. This is likely to give more flexibility to institutional-grade data providers who want to earn fees from the information they provide.
- The Band Protocol currently has a total market capitalization of $169,675,208. As a result, this asset is the 177th-largest in the world by this metric.
- Since its inception, the Band Protocol has raised $7.9 million from a total of 10 investors. These include Binance Labs, ZBS Capital, Yield Ventures, and Dunamu & Partners.
The Band protocol is currently less than two years old, but it has already made a splash in the crypto space. This is thanks mainly to its ability to extract verifiable and immutable data from off-chain sources, which has the potential to underpin some incredibly lucrative smart contracts in the future.
The immense potential of BAND is also reinforced because it has its unique blockchain in Cosmos.