Friend Unifying Platform (FriendUP/ Friend) is the first open-source virtual cloud computing platform that unifies the old, new and cloud technologies into one seamless ecosystem. It allows accessibility to diverse blockchain and off-chain applications, services, and data on any web-enabled device. Based on HTML5 and Javascript, Friend is completely skinnable and device-agnostic, giving users the freedom to customize, configure, cloud and deploy a wide range of applications from their virtual computer.

FriendUP Overview

This graph shows forecasts for cloud services adoption and revenue forecast. It is evident that cloud computing is only going to increase in demand as we go into the future.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more — over the Internet instead of the computer’s hard drive.

Gartner forecasts that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow strongly in the next 5 years reaching a projected revenue of $411 billion by 2020. Cloud computing has now become mainstream with 90% of organizations from 451 Research’s recent survey using some type of cloud service. Multi-cloud, the use of multiple cloud computing services within a single heterogeneous architecture, is the future trend. Sixty-nine percent of respondents plan to have some type of multi-cloud environment by 2019 in order to take advantage of the versatility, flexibility, agility, scalability, cost, and reliability benefits it offers. 456 Research also reported that blockchain technology has gained interest in the enterprise sector with 28% of enterprises now evaluating or using blockchain.

This huge market offers a great opportunity for Friend and its breakthrough technology to come to play, aiming to eliminate obstacles from technological silos, high infrastructure cost, and unscalable systems. Based on the Liquid Computing workflow concept, Friend is a multi-user meta-operating system that is completely device-agnostic and hardware independent, providing a functionality that covers user access, distribution, file management.

In development since 2014 by Friend Software Labs, Friend is already a versatile open-source platform for application development and deployment justified by 2000 testers over the last 3 years. The team now aims to integrate Ethereum blockchain technology into the system to redesign Friend to become an “emergent and truly autonomous operating environment and service network.” That is where “Friend Network AS,” a blockchain entity, was established to run concurrently with other conventional entities under Friend Software Corporation (FSC), aiming to bridge both technology realms.

Friend Network adheres to the concept of resource sharing where users can harness the power from multiple sources/ devices connected together into a macro-computer, aiming to improve scale, efficiency, and capabilities across any work domain while remaining fully anonymous.

The team’s ambition is to turn Friend Network into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and to create an ultimate digital ecosystem platform which blends technologies and currencies. To accelerate the use of Ethereum and other blockchains, the team will strive to make Friend Network friendly and accessible to all, as well as, to help developers start and run their businesses successfully on the Network.

FriendUP Token Overview

Token Symbol: FNT
Number of Tokens: 2,000,000,000
Mining algorithm: token is not mined but runs on the Ethereum network
Token standard: ERC20
Type of cryptocurrency: token

Friend Unifying Platform

Unlike existing desktop operating systems such as Windows or Linux, Friend is a versatile open-source platform that allows developers to build rich, distributed multi-platform applications using a range of blockchain-based/off-chain functionality and tools available on the platform with zero deployment cost.

Users can gain access to a Friend Virtual Cloud Computer which is customized and configured to suit their needs. The platform provides a set of standard applications and storage with various driver settings for user convenience. Users can perform many tasks from moving files between drivers, viewing media to launch programs or running applications remotely without installation. In addition, it allows multiple users to access the software and run it at the same time from the same host. To simplify, it is a machine that can connect the resources of another machine all into one unified experience.

The platform consist of these components:

  • Friend Core — a liquid software kernel which manages user sessions, resources, and applications available on the server.
  • App distribution framework
    • Libraries — runtime linked written in C that allows for the exchanging of pluggable libraries
    • Modules — using piped processes written in languages like PHP, Node.js, and Python, connecting users’ applications to Friend Core through modules and enabling securely exchange data between the server and the client.
    • File system drivers — allow a user to connect to any structured or unstructured storage engine and make it available in a coherent interface as a disk.
    • Application APIs and command serving — allow every application running on Friend to serve as a Friend Network host.
    • Friend Workspace — a fully-fledged, responsive HTML5 based desktop environment, offering a versatile framework and multitasking in one tab.
  • Core applications — a selection of smaller applications that enable users to adapt the system to fit their needs. For example, Friend Chat – a text/video conferencing application or the Friend Create application, which is a programmer’s editor for developers.

Friend Unifying Framework App Distribution Framework

Friend Network

The next phase of Friend aims to redesign the platform into a server node network using encryption, decentralization and blockchain technology to connect systems and apps between two or more users. Simply put, Friend Network binds all servers together into one unified network of nodes or ‘macro computer’ that handle a wide range of activities

Friend Store

An agnostic marketplace for trading between blockchain and non-blockchain technology providers, services and clients alike using mixed currency, meaning fiat-token conversion as well as token-token conversion.

The Store offers flexibility and adaptability for both worlds, closing the gap between cryptocurrency and fiat businesses. Enterprises can now utilize the blockchain-based technology that is readily integrated and pay in fiat instead of tokens using Friend accounts which can provide invoices and all related documents required in the conventional business environment.

Friend Account

The Friend Account is a core component of the Friend Network which ensures flexibility and control for users and facilitates interaction between blockchain and off-chain service providers and users alike. Friend Wallet will be held in here and used to pay for services in the Friend Store with fiat and invoice.

In a nutshell, Friend aims to become the first operating environment for blockchain and cryptocurrencies focused on accessibility, scale, security and anonymity.

Accessibility

The Friend Network consists of decentralized kernel nodes or Friend Cores. Applications can be run on the node network, allowing users from all over the world to enjoy fast response times on servers close to them on any web-enabled device from smartphones, PC-to-voice services like Siri.

Security & Anonymity

Friend provides flexible options to store data in the cloud. Users are free to choose from different storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Storj, IPFS or IPDB, in addition to the built-in storage that resides on a Friend node. Files can be stored and moved from different storage areas in a coherent and cross-compatible way.

Friends users are given freedom of choice to encrypt any information both in transit and at rest, ensuring security and retainment of digital property. In addition, the advantage of blockchain technology is that users can remain autonomous.

Scale

Applications deployed to the Friend Network will immediately be made available across the network using decentralized technologies to transport files and business logic. Developers can utilize the Friend Store to monetize it without needing an intermediary.

In essence, Friend acts as a one-stop shop for developers, where they can benefit from a rich toolset to build any app or service, deploy it and distribute access in seconds to a wide and growing audience without the need of expensive infrastructure or complicated licenses.

Token Utility

Friend Network Token (FNT) is a functional token currency used in the Friend Network and the Friend Store to facilitate the use of and trade between blockchain and off-chain service providers and clients alike. It serves as one form of payment for software and services or subscription to service providers available at the Friend Store. It is also used to incentivize users to run Friend Core servers. As the platform gains popularity, the token can appreciate in the future.

Strengths

  • Unique concept with an already working product that has been tested and gained commercial interest.
  • The team is highly experienced and has been working together on the project for over 3 years.
  • Proven success from current software company with equity funding of $3 million with existing clients.
  • Strong partnerships with both blockchains and conventional businesses.
  • First ICO in Norway to receive support and quality assurance from high-profile organizations and the government. This allows them to set global ethical industry standards along the way.

Concerns

  • Cloud computing may experience resistance to mass adoption due to sensitive information sharing.
  • Currently, they have few blockchain specialists in both core team and advisory board. The team knows this and they are actively expanding their network of specialists in this area.
  • Despite the fact that content is created often, there is lack of marketing for token sales and little building of the community to support the project. They are currently looking to accelerate both of these efforts.
  • Fierce competition with tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, or Google who dominate the cloud services market, although Friend’s concept is unique and they are positioning themselves to compete.

Competition

Friend acts an IaaS which provides decentralized open-source cloud OS, enables access and freedom of choice among diverse technologies from processing power, storage, and application on any devices without installation. The choice is limitless.

There are many blockchain-based projects dealing with distributed cloud storage such as Storj, Sia or Filecoin to computing resources exchanges like iExec and more. Although many of them are in an infancy stage of development and testing, Friend has a competitive advantage because it has an already operating platform. Therefore, Friend currently has no direct competitors in the blockchain space.

In terms of off-chain competitors, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba are key players in centralized cloud services which offer basic capabilities for cloud computing, storage and network. These giant tech companies have also started to offer Blockchain-as-a-Service as part of their cloud solutions. As the team explains, however, these corporations are more focused on access to Windows applications and proprietary cloud storage with limited availability of competing technologies.

Friend, on the other hand, offers a truly decentralized infrastructure owned by users, allowing a freedom of choices to mix and match different applications, services or storage providers from both decentralized and legacy technology into a highly customizable virtual cloud workspace accessible on all devices.

However, Friend should be cautious with the increasingly competitive this space, where flexibility and pricing for services are deciding factors.

FriendUP Progress & Roadmap

The roadmap is carefully drafted into different stages of development and implementation for the next four years, showing that the team has paid great attention to detail. The roadmap includes the following key areas of focus:

  • Unified access to a decentralized world — redesign some components by integrating with blockchain technologies — such as IPFS, Filecoin, Golem, Sonm, IEXEC, Storj and BigchainDB — to make use of the decentralized cloud to enable developers to build, deploy and distribute applications utilizing Ethereum or other blockchain technology. The goal is to accelerate the transition to a more decentralized and Blockchain-based infrastructure.
  • Friend Network v2 — enable easy deployment on a decentralized cloud infrastructure which is highly secure, efficient and resourceful.
  • Virtual Friend Cloud Computer Templates — increase the choices in functionality, resource configuration and design for Friend Cloud Computers, allowing easy distribution to heterogeneous user groups with minimal effort.
  • Friend Workspace v2 — advanced Workspace that allows self-management of cloud resources and access to multitasking cloud applications on any device.
  • Friend Store — creating a more global marketplace in the Friend Network with more functions and flexible monetization models.

Token Sale Details

Pre-Sale: 4 January – 18 February
ICO: 19 February – 9 March 2018
ICO price: 1 ETH = 20,000 FNT (~ 4 cent/ FNT as the time of writing)
Tokens for sale: 30,000,000 (60% of total supply)
Soft cap: 25,000 ETH
Medium cap: 50,000 ETH
Hard cap: 75,583 ETH
Minimum contribution: 1 ETH
Bonus Scheme:

  • Pre-Sale: 20%
  • Public Sales: 15% if minimum cap is reached or 10% if the medium cap is reached

Vesting period for team: 3 years
Token release: 30 days after the ICO
KYC required: Yes

Token Distribution and Allocation

Friend Team: 6%, which is 120,000,000 FNT
Friend Network AS: 12%, which is 240,000,000 FNT
ICO participants: 82%, which is 1,640,000,000 FNT

Maximum (75,583.3 ETH)Medium (50K ETH)Minimum (25k ETH)
Friend Team Salary44%50%65%
Office and indirect13%12%10%
Contractors10%10%10%
Marketing8%18%5%
Complementary10%10%5%
Contingency5%5%5%
Airdrop10%5%

Team

The team consists of 23 people with years of experience in FinTech, Software Engineering, and Computing. The team mainly includes experienced managers and executives, complimented with a strong team of IT specialists. However, they lack blockchain specialists to help them create and deliver a global project.

Some key team members include:
Hogne Titlestad – Founder, Chief Architect & Chief Operating Officer
Hogne has over 17 years of experience as a software developer, web application developer, and designer. He started developing open-source operating systems in 2003 and co-founded Friend in 2011. He was also involved in many tech projects such as Excursor, ARENA Enterprise, Celcius, Corvo Stage One, Network of Nodes.

Arne Peder Blix – CEO & Founder
A serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in Fintech who has built many successful ventures from the ground up in Norway. Arne co-founded and bootstrapped Accurate Equity FinTech SaaS and professional services company within equity-based incentives design, accounting, valuation, and disclosure until he sold it to a major PE in 2015. He also successfully restructured and sold MeaWallet, a mobile payment infrastructure company in 2016

Thomas Wollburg – Chief Technology Officer
Thomas has 19 years of experience in web and software developing. He used to be a project lead in Statoil, the world’s 11th largest oil and gas company based in Norway. He specialized in JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, PHP, usability, working between IT and design, and web application architecture.

David Pleasance – International sales & marketing
David is a highly experienced senior management executive with extensive national and international responsibility. He is a former CEO of Commodore Electronics, which was one of the world’s largest personal computer manufacturers in the late 1980s with its famous Commodore Amiga.

Rune Trengereid – CEO Softmerge
Rune has 25 years of international experience in steering strategy, sales, operations and transformation initiatives. He has led cross-cultural and geographically-dispersed teams in politically and geographically challenging location Rune has work experience in such companies as Baker Hughes, GE Money Bank, Capgemini, E.ON Exploration, and Production.

Friend also has many highly-experienced advisors in IT and Finance industry, including:

  • Mikko Terho — CTO Mobile Software and Site Manager Finland R&D, Huawei, LinkedIn.
  • Mark Turrell — CEO Vork & Orcasci / WEF YGL & Tech Pioneer / Author ‘Scaling’, LinkedIn.
  • Alexander Bakos Leirvåg — Innovator at Grid Labs, LinkedIn.
  • Pekka Abrahamsson — Professor of Information Systems at the University of Jyväskylä, LinkedIn.
  • Jens Guthe — Partner at GK Banking Partners, LinkedIn

Conclusion

Overall, we are relatively positive with the long-term future of the project. Friend has an interesting concept of unified access to the decentralized world to accommodate real-life demand with a proven working product which is not easy to find in ICOs.

The cloud computing services space promises huge growth potential in both economic outcomes and technological innovation. Friend’s goal to become a DAO and to create a dynamic and blockchain-friendly ecosystem, making it accessible to the wide range public, is ambitious and full of potential if the project is delivered as planned. The team behind it plays a key role in making it happen and we believe that the project can turn out successfully with a strong team who is passionate about the project.

With respect to the economics of the project, the cap required is acceptable ranging from $20m – $60m for a global scale project. And the bonus scheme is reasonable to avoid dumping after listing to the exchange.

That said, there are a few concerns we should consider including minimal marketing for the project and low community engagement. These can impact the ICO, along with the fierce competition present in cloud tech with existing players and missing blockchain specialists on the team. However, these weaknesses can be overcome and do little to tarnish the overall attractiveness of the project and the technology it aims to bring to market.

Also, be sure to check out our video review of the Friend ICO on our YouTube channel:


Disclaimer:

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