Written by LiquidApps
DAPP Network Services Will Enable Developers to Decentralize in a Few Easy Steps
Decentralization is the next great step in the technological revolution, unlocking new business models and making the internet a more prosperous, free, and human place. With the DAPP Network and its multi-blockchain services, all blockchains can become more versatile, and internet companies and applications can get ahead of the curve by safely taking the necessary steps to prepare for the decentralized future.
In 1998, long before the internet became embedded into the fabric of our society, MIT economist and future Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman predicted that “by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”
At the time, Microsoft and IBM were the tech sector’s sole representatives in the list of top 10 most valuable public companies. Fast forward two decades to the present day and you’ll find 7 internet-based companies in that same list, with Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon each crossing the $1 trillion market cap threshold at some point in 2019.
Krugman and his fellow naysayers have been making similarly grim predictions about the future of blockchain technology. Yet decision makers in both the private and public sectors have shifted from asking whether or not blockchain can provide added value to their organization to investing the resources necessary to research, test, and deploy blockchain applications.
In a survey of 1,386 senior executives at companies with $100,000 or more in annual revenue, Deloitte found that 83% of them believe that there is a compelling business case for blockchain, with 53% going as far as listing blockchain development in their top five strategic priorities.
From large corporations to young startups, forward-thinking organizations from a variety of industries are exploring ways to leverage the blockchain’s transparency and trustlessness in creating novel business models and value chains. Decentralization and the democratization of trust is an inevitability. Businesses pioneering enough to start shifting towards decentralized applications (dApps) stand to benefit from a significant head start over their competition.
While the days of blockchain technology powering mission-critical applications at scale are still ahead of us, there is no need to wait for the future to start building. With the DAPP Network, not only can any business or application potentially decentralize in just a few simple steps, the services already running on the network can deliver significant advantages to an application’s stack right now.
What the Internet Took to Get Here, and How Blockchain Can Replicate Its Growth
Hindsight is 20/20.
It seems like the internet was always destined to become a critical component of the global economy.
But the early web was bogged down by resource limitations and a poor UX that made it unsuitable for widespread enterprise use. Many solutions needed to be built on top of the base-layer internet protocols, such as HTTP, so that the web could power a suite of productivity platforms: email clients, social media, and other critical business tools that are integral to our lives today. Only when developers could begin to move resources away from infrastructure and towards building experiences did the internet revolution really take off.
Some of the tools that helped to evolve the internet include:
Amazon Web Services (AWS), a name synonymous with cloud computing, was initially launched in 2002 as an Application Programming Interface (API) providing external developers with access to unique features from Amazon.com. Developers could search Amazon.com for a list of products, receive a result in XML format, and incorporate the list into their own websites. Since Salesforce introduced the first API in 2000, these interfaces have become essential to accelerating innovation on the web by allowing technologies to build on each other.
Instead of having to store all necessary data on local servers, cloud providers allow companies to house their information on remote servers and grant their employees on-demand access to the data from wherever they might be. In addition to the cost savings and convenience that came from outsourcing tasks such as resource provisioning and load balancing to AWS or one of its competitors, cloud computing ushered in the era of remote work by enabling a distributed team of engineers to share a unified virtual environment in which to develop, test, and deploy their projects.
Rich Web Applications Frameworks
HTML, the Hypertext Markup Language, has been the backbone of web applications since the first website launched, which was built using HTML exclusively. The original CERN website isn’t exactly aesthetically appealing:
Similarly, today’s blockchain-based applications face various challenges that prevent them from scaling to a wider audience. Just as the drastic improvements mentioned about propelled the web to mass adoption, second layer services running on the DAPP Network could evolve dApps from a mere novelty to an absolute necessity:
1) User Onboarding
Account creation and key management is a major cause of friction for new users entering the blockchain space. The cost of resources associated with opening a new account, as well as the lack of password recovery and other popular account management tools create a high barrier to entry for potential dApp users. LiquidAccounts creates a seamless onboarding process by enabling dApps to provide free, customizable accounts to their users.
2) Interblockchain Communication
Absent the ability to interface with one another, blockchains are no better than the inefficient traditional systems they sought to replace. Value remains trapped in mutually-incompatible silos, and developers are faced with the task of recreating a different version of their application for each base-layer blockchain. LiquidLink, the IBC solution running on the dApp network, breaks down the walls between chains by allowing them to communicate value and rich data sets with one another. Multi-chain applications can then emerge, connecting superior components from various base-layer networks in an end-to-end, decentralized, trustless solution.
3) Web Oracles
Blockchains have been hugely successful at creating closed digital universes in which all participants share a single source of truth. However, external sources of information from both the wider internet and the real world are crucial to fully unleashing the potential of smart contract-based applications. Exchange rate information, sporting event scores, and the outcome of an election are just a few examples of data sets that need to be accessed and manipulated from within a contract. LiquidOracles enable businesses to source external information in a trustless manner while retaining the ability to configure their data sources to suit their objectives.
Businesses have a decision to make: either they can make blockchain an important strategic objective and assume an active role in its development and direction, or they can play catch-up at a later stage, at the risk of losing ground to their competitors.
While the eventual goal is to potentially enable the transition from app to dApp in just a small number of clicks, businesses can already begin their gradual decentralization by tapping into the DAPP Network services currently available.
Decentralization Is A Journey, Not A Destination
Just as the web had to undergo a number of transformations before it could spread to billions worldwide, both the user experience and the development lifecycle of dApps have significant hurdles to overcome before the vital services we depend on can run entirely on blockchain technology.
However, falling into an all-or-nothing mindset can be unproductive.
Decentralization is often cast as binary: either fully centralized or fully decentralized. But companies can gradually decentralize components of their stack, rigorously testing each change before moving on to the next component.
Both established companies and disruptive projects in the crypto space have adopted the policy of incremental decentralization to increase the value proposition of their business. For example, Jack Dorsey and his team are exploring ways to utilize Bitcoin on both Twitter and Square.
Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the evolution of blockchain technology is inadvisable. Although decision-makers may be hesitant to decentralize as it would mean giving a greater degree of control to their users, ignoring this wave of innovation may prove costly down the line.
Ignore the Future at Your Peril
Take the case of Kodak.
In 1975, an engineer at the company named Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera. However, since Kodak’s entire business model relied on the supremacy of print and film photography, they were dismissive of Steve and his creation, which they feared could cannibalize their core business.
Instead of racing ahead and capturing a significant segment of this nascent market, they waited 18 years before finally relenting and releasing a digital camera.
In 2012, Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
The imperative to adopt early is especially pronounced in the blockchain space. Configuring systems towards the specific knowledge domain within a business is time-consuming and could leave laggards with an insurmountable gap to close. Moreover, once the blockchain system has been tailored to the unique needs of the business, accelerating it from prototype to production comes with its own set of challenges and expected delays.
By staking for DSP services, familiarizing themselves with the Zeus SDK, and integrating decentralized components from the DAPP Network into their tech stack, businesses can assume a commanding lead in the race for mission-critical blockchain applications.
Imagine All The Apps Becoming dApps
A philosopher by training, Dr. Larry Sanger joined the team at what was then Nupedia in the effort to democratize information and leverage the wisdom of the crowds to create a comprehensive encyclopedia. Sanger incorporated emerging ‘wiki’ technology to allow anyone to edit encyclopedia entries directly from a web browser, and, from there, Wikipedia was born.
However, Sanger has since turned into an outspoken critic of the knowledge-sharing website he helped create. According to him, the site has become overrun by trolls and low-quality contributors so much so that “the inmates [have] started running the asylum.”
But Sanger refuses to give up on his vision. In December 2017, Sanger joined Everipedia as their CIO, with the goal of disrupting his own creation by building an encyclopedia on the EOS blockchain. Everipedia hopes to tackle the quality problem plaguing its predecessor by moving the entire process of approving articles, making edits and storing information to the blockchain for all to audit. In addition, their native token is used to incentivize high-quality content creators to contribute to the project.
What if, rather than recreating a crowd-sourced encyclopedia from scratch on the blockchain, Wikipedia could utilize a plug-and-play platform of services to provide trustless functionality to its existing site? By potentially enabling such a platform to materialize, the DAPP Network creates efficiency gains for both existing applications and those that have yet to emerge.
As a decision maker or an application developer, you can begin planning the gradual decentralization of your offering with the DAPP Network services available today.
The time is now. Will you lag behind, like Kodak? Or will you be on the cutting edge of blockchain innovation?
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