Ark: An Ecosystem of Linked Blockchains
Cryptocurrency projects are known to tout a lot of ‘potential’ applications of their technologies, with relatively little to show for all the talk. Similar to the massive Silicon Valley technology push over the last 15 years where every startup has claimed to be “making the world a better place,” a great majority of cryptocurrency projects are basing their lofty valuations on nothing more than potential. What’s more, these currencies and tokens have largely become trading vehicles, with little real-world usage.
While this speculative trend is simply a byproduct of a brand new industry, and a major project consolidation event is likely to occur sometime in the future, some projects are actively working to create their blockchain and associate coins to have real applications and true economic value. One such project is Ark, which aims to increase consumer adoption of the blockchain by focusing on two critical areas: a fast, secure core technology and practical services for real people. Ark is developing a platform to bridge popular blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) through what they are calling a “SmartBridge,” which allow for communication among validated bridged blockchains with the ability to perform tasks and other more advanced functions. Ultimately, Ark hopes to rapidly lower the barrier to mainstream consumer adoption by making a seamless ecosystem through blockchain interoperability.
Interested in Ark? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
Ark’s blockchain is built as a derivative from Lisk, Crypti, and BitShares with a few notable features, including a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus system, an expansive API toolset designed for multiple programming languages, and SmartBridges.
In Ark’s Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus system, the 51 top token holders are responsible for maintaining the network, as they work to confirm blocks and receive rewards in the form of transaction fees and Ark payouts. While not a truly decentralized structure, it does allow for any Ark holders to vote on delegates by contributing their own Ark quantity to that of the delegate’s Ark. The voter then gets a payout once the Delegate confirms a block, offering an element of decentralization.
Ark enables developers to utilize over 10 different programming languages to build on top of their blockchain, essentially eliminating the technical barrier for developers interested in building decentralized applications.
Ark’s SmartBridge communicates between the blockchains using a special data section called Vendor Fields and special Encoded Listener nodes that comb through this data for tasks that it can perform. Additionally, Ark is developing what they call “Pushbutton deployable blockchains”, which are essentially Ark’s version of ERC-20 tokens. They allow a user to deploy a new blockchain and token at the push of a button, and these new blockchains interact with Ark’s parent chain (and other premier blockchains) through SmartBridges.
Ark detailed a few potential applications of the SmartBridge system in an April 2017 blog post:
- If you wanted to trigger an ETH smart contract but hold ark, you could just send the instructions through ark SmartBridge, right in the wallet to trigger the event.
- You want to issue a record entry in Factom, but you only hold ARK. So you would go to your ARK wallet, enter the correct info and instructions for the FCT chain via the SmartBridge tab.
- I want to send 10 ARK to my ETH wallet. This would require an encoded listener with a back-end ability to exchange currencies. Once I send my 10 ARK to my ETH wallet, the encoded listener sees this TX (transaction) as an exchange function and acts accordingly.
Ark has detailed their roadmap for 2018 in an easily digestible format, and perhaps the most interesting upcoming milestone will be the implementation of ARKVM, The ARK Virtual Machine integration, which will allow users to issue the Ark Smart Contracts.
ARK was founded by 27 individuals from around the globe. Currently, ARK has 17 core team members, coming from 11 different countries.
Ark (ARK) currently has a market cap of ~$250 million with a circulating supply of 101,534,290 ARK and a total supply of 132,784,290 ARK.
Ark is one of few projects taking a pragmatic approach to technology development, focusing on building a platform that has the greatest chance of becoming a mainstream product. Ark’s blockchain interoperability is an exciting technology that has the potential to connect some of the premier blockchains. We anticipate Ark to continue to build value as a result of this approach.
More: Blockchain Mass Adoption Platform ARK Announces ARK CON: First Official Meetup in University of Geneva
Related: ARK Continue Their Journey, Opening the Gates for DpoS Blockchain Technology with New Updates
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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.