Why Ardor and Blockchain Blockchain as a Service is Important
The blockchain space is full of old and new project with huge promises. Nevertheless, a very small part of them succeed to deliver their promises and more importantly provide the world with robust and secure building blocks to reshape our relations online and offline. I truly believe that Ardor has this potential, and I will try to explain why.
- TL;DR – Why Possibilities For Ardor’s Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform Endless
- What Are Parent-ChildChains?
Ardor is version 2.0 of a previous blockchain project called Nxt and pronounced Next. Nxt was born in late 2013 when BCNext, a member of the bitcointalk forum, posted an article where he presented the project as the Next generation of blockchain technology mainly driven by Bitcoin at that moment.
In order to continue working on the project with other developers, he asked the forum members to fund his project and promised to give them Nxt token when the blockchain will be launched. At that moment, the term ICO didn’t exist yet, but we can clearly say that this was the first ICO in blockchain space, which can explain some home the small amount of 21 bitcoin received (equivalent of 20k$).
Despite the small amount of funding, BCNext and his friends worked hard and succeeded to launch the Nxt blockchain and reward their investors. Nxt is running in production now for 4years and has a lot of impressive features compared to all blockchains started in the same period:
— It uses Proof-of-Stack
— It has Smart Transactions which are a large set of possible transactions like MultiSig transactions embedded in the core code, tested and fully secured
— It has many features like: Decentralized Market Place, Decentralized Asset Creation and Exchange, Decentralized Monetary System, Decentralized Voting, Decentralized Data Storage, etc.
Aware of all the challenges that a blockchain project has to face, the Nxt team started imagining and new way of tackling them and came out with Ardor. Because of fundamental changes in the Ardor architecture compared to Nxt, the former will be a new brand fresh blockchain. The majority of existing blockchain projects today are built using an equivalent architecture of the Bitcoin blockchain, by this I mean a time-stamped succession of transaction blocs (see figure below).
This kind of architecture wasn’t a problem during the first days of blockchain technology, but when the user base grows, the transactions number grows with it which can very quickly put underlying protocol in difficulty. Some projects answered to this concern by decreasing the block creation to time to minutes or seconds, and others increased the block size. But both solutions have drawback.
Indeed, reducing the block time increases the number of orphan blocs because a block needs some time (inherent the internet latency) to propagate from US to Japan for example, and increasing the block size will increase the consumed bandwidth of the miners which is problematic in some countries where there are limitations on the download/upload bandwidth (Africa, Latina America and some major Asian countries).
Another issue with this architecture is that all kind of transactions are mixed in the same block. Think about Ethereum, where in a single block you can find Ether transfer transaction, Tokens transfer transaction, Call to Smart Contract …etc. When you are building a service on Ethereum (a decentralized App or Dapp), you would prefer that your users have a quick access to your service, but unfortunately their actions will be mixed with all other Ethereum users. Thus, if a second Dapp is having an issue and causing a network congestion, then your users need to wait until the problem is solved before going forward.
Last but not least is the problem of Blockchain bloating. Indeed, bitcoin transactions which occurred in 2010 are still recorded in the bitcoin blockchain and every new bitcoin node need to download all the bitcoin history and revalidate, which can take from hours to days depending on your internet connexion. This transaction history is needed for security and transparency reason, but does all nodes need to have to work correctly? The answer is no.
Here where the new Ardor architecture is a true major advancement in the Blockchain space.
What Are Parent-ChildChains?
Well, it means that there isn’t only one and unique blockchain that should handle everything. Instead, there is multiple ChildChains created by inviduals or project developer only by a button click (not after Ardor launch but sometime after) and will deployed worldwide. Each childchain has its native cryptocurrency or token and has a set of features selected at creation time (or added later). But these childchains don’t live their own separate live, but they are orchestrated by the Parent chain.
This chain has the responsibility of making everything synched in this global architecture.
The set of feature can range from Asset exchange, Voting polls, Decentralized Market place, Monetary system and many others coming with Ardor release.
Thus, let’s imagine how two different projects can live within this ecosystem of childchain (or as I like to call it an EcoChain):
– Project A is a Private Equity platform
– Project B is Music streaming platform
Project A will request Ardor to create its own ChildChain and call it PrivX, where only Asset Exchange and Data Cloud features are activated. The asset exchange will serve for the issuance & trading of the private equities, and the data cloud feature will enhance the first feature by storing or attaching relevant information/data about issued equities (patents, accounting reports, partnership contracts…)
Project B doesn’t want to be polluted with Project A transactions because it expects a high volume compared to Project A, thus it will request Ardor to create its own ChildChain VibeMe with Market Place feature only. Music singles will be presented as digital goods, and the the purchase transaction will be used by the user(automatically in VibeMe app) in order to decrypt/unlock the content and listen to the song.
These two example don’t have a lot in common besides using the blockchain technology for time-stamping and property management & protection. Thus, their transactions don’t need to be mixed in one unique blockchain, and having separate blockchains is better approach, while still benefit from the same level of reliability, security and scalability.
Thus, it uses Proof-of-Stack as a consensus algorithm, which is the most environment friendly algorithm, and doesn’t need a huge amount of hardware (ASIC or GPU) to efficiently run the blockchain. Indeed, a basic laptop is largely enough, I even managed to run the Ardor testNet in a Raspberry Pi device. Many old and new projects are trying now to move to Proof-of-Stack. Ethereum is one of them.
Ardor’s Effective Parent and Child Chain Architecture Makes It A True Blockchain-As-A-Service (Baas)
The Parent-ChildChain makes Ardor a true Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers. Indeed, Ardor nodes will be run publicly by thousands of users around the world which removes any Single point of failure. When Amazon, Microsoft, IBM or any other institution sells a BaaS solution, they also sell the fact that blockchain nodes will be hosted & managed inside their infrastructure and makes of them a centralized third party which is against the Decentralization and Peer-to-Peer philosophy.
Features are developed in the core protocol. Indeed, instead of having a basic protocol only for transactions as bitcoin or a Turing complete enhanced protocol as Ethereum (the Turing completeness is in the EVM side), Ardor approach is to build a set of common features as described above in the Core protocol then enable developer to build upon these features. By choosing this approach, Ardor team provide tested and secure building blocks for mainly every use case. These features are accessible via API calls, and mixing these calls in the client or sever (the app server not the blockchain server) side, developers can build riche and complex use cases.
Last but not least, Ardor is build using Java language, which is a multiplatform language and the most used programing language in the world according to TOIBE Index. This means that it already has a complete and riche development environment where we can also perform formal verification of the code. It’s also very common in enterprises. Thus, every enterprise or consortium of enterprises who want to build their own private or consortium blockchain can simply clone Ardor code (by respecting licence matters) then adapt the code to their internal needs and use all the development and software factory/deployment/integration tool they already have.
The Possibilities For Ardor’s Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform Endless – TL;DR:
To sum this up, Ardor’s Blockchain-as-a-Service platform is built with interoperability between its child chain. Users from Ardor’s different child chains will be able to transact between each other directly, and their swap transactions are secured by their Parent chains.
Now is time for me to stop writing, and to let you continue to imagine all the use cases you can, the possibilities are endless. The Ardor blockchain will (hopefully) reshape blockchain and build a harmonised digital world.
If you are and enterprise or a consortium of enterprises, than start thinking about how can you modify the Ardor building blocks to fit your specific needs, and if you need help, contact me and I will glade to help or guide to Ardor developers team.