The Blockchain 1.0 and 2.0 generations have been focused primarily around Bitcoin, emerging cryptocurrencies and impressive ICOs (initial coin offerings). Now, Blockchain 3.0 is coming into play and will target real-world use cases to encourage the mass adoption of blockchain technology.
One key aspect the blockchain 3.0 generation focuses on is the development of “Dapps” - decentralized applications. Unlike today’s common apps, such as Uber or Gmail, dapps do not require “middlemen” to function. Dapps are revolutionary in that they connect users and providers—customers and businesses—directly.
One of the first companies to target the development of Dapp growth is ArcBlock. ArcBlock serves as the world’s first blockchain ecosystem for building and deploying decentralized applications. ArcBlock is aiming to seamlessly connect between the existing system and services, and blockchain networks, throughout dynamic industries. This will further empower blockchain technology to be implemented into the real world for long-term use.
“When people talk about blockchain today, they only see crypto currencies represented by Bitcoin,” ArcBlock’s Founder and Lead Architect, Robert Mao said. “Now, blockchain is evolving to a stage with decentralized applications at the core. In the future, the value decentralized apps will create will exceed what cryptocurrencies have created today. We founded ArcBlock and built a global team with the purpose to create the next-generation blockchain ecosystem for building and deploying decentralized applications. We are extremely excited about the bright future of blockchain.”
Why Blockchain Technology Isn’t Being Used
Since 2014, Mao had been focused on the application of blockchain technology in non-financial fields. His observations, along with those from his colleagues, have revealed five challenges blockchain technology poses for developers and business owners:
#1) Underperformed Functionality
The blockchain that Bitcoin is built on is designed to handle just seven transactions per second. Ethereum can only handle a few more, which was demonstrated during December of last year with the traffic jams on the Ethereum blockchain due to the CryptoKitties application. This is a clear example of the limitations facing blockchain technology in terms of handling large amounts of concurrent users. As a result, blockchain technology is less competitive in comparison to non-blockchain alternatives.
#2) None Consumer Friendly
Nearly all blockchain applications currently require users to either run a blockchain node or install a “light node”. This requires users to have an understanding of blockchain technology, which is also preventing its expansion for wider use cases.
The extremely high cost of using blockchain technology is also a major barrier to mainstream adoption. This limits developers who need the flexibility to build free services. Similar to the Internet, blockchain technology should be able to support free applications. Developers and businesses should only charge users for their innovations and development of the app, instead of charging transaction fees, etc.
#4) Locked-In Platform
Most of the time developers have to decide which blockchain to support from the beginning to the end. Infrastructural design and code are usually secured within the blockchain platform and are irreplaceable once applied. Many blockchain platforms cannot provide optimal user experience without support on various blockchain technologies.
#5) Lack of Features
Decentalized applications on the blockchain are a great idea, yet the majority of them lack functinal features and do not offer the ability for the blockchain community to contribute to the feature stacks.
The Power of Blockchain Technology and Cloud Computing
These five challenges have not yet been addressed in the blockchain 1.0 or 2.0 generations (that have been primarily focused on cryptocurrency and ICOs), which is why ArcBlock is aiming to solve these problems by creating a blockchain 3.0 generation. This will enable wide spread adoption of blockchain technology by encouraging the development of decentralized applications.
ArcBlock aims to do this through a revolutionary new design that combines blockchain technology with cloud computing. ArcBlock is designed to run natively in the cloud. ArcBlock will initially build on top of AWS and Windows Azure, then expand to support Google Compute Engine, major cloud computing players in China, and other platforms. ArcBlock can also run on a single computer for testing and development. This design principle makes ArcBlock fundamentally different from other platforms in the blockchain world.
For instance, in ArcBlock, a node can be a “logical computer” comprised of one or more virtual machines, or a group of cloud services working together as a computing environment. This approach marks a significant step forward that will help elevate blockchain and decentralized applications to the next level.
“ArcBlock is a comprehensive solution that combines blockchain technology with cloud computing, rather than a standalone software package or set of APIs,” Mao said. “In addition, it’s a marketplace driven by token economy. ArcBlock’s ‘Miners’ will contribute not only computing resources to the system, but also reusable components, new services, or ready-to-deploy applications to get token rewards. This is a blockchain 3.0 application ecosystem developed by the entire ArcBlock community - we’re just jump-starting the project.”
In order to expand its presence, ArcBlock has also been actively building partnerships with key industry leaders. For example, ArcBlock recently joined IBM PartnerWorld program, a program developed for companies that wish to partner with IBM. In addition, ArcBlock has also become an IBM Cloud Solution Provider and is in progress to becoming a IBM Blockchain Partner. Furthermore, earlier last year, ArcBlock also joined SAP’s Blockchain co-innovation initiative, and has become a member of SAP Blockchain Early Access Program. SAP has been actively seeking innovative companies to join their SAP Blockchain Early Access program since 2017.
The Promise of Blockchain 3.0
While the buzz around Bitcoin and ICOs is exciting, the next generation of blockchain technology – blockchain 3.0 – will be focused on real-world use cases that will let developers and businesses utilize blockchain technology. And with the growing interest in decentralized applications, it only makes sense to start developing a blockchain platform that will accommodate the growth of Dapps.
However, the challenges associated with blockchain technology today pose a problem for many of those interested in getting started with blockchain technology. By combining cloud computing with blockchain technology, ArcBlock manages to solve these problems and more. This represents a major technological advancement that will usher in the new generation of blockchain applications in the future.
Andrew Rossow is a Tech Contributor for The Huff Post and a practicing Internet Attorney Cyberspace in Dayton, Ohio. He focuses on trending topics involving technology, privacy, and cyber-crime. Rossow is also a tech contributor for Cyber Defense Magazine, an Advisory Panelist with The CyberSmile Foundation, and a Legislation Committee Member with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s “CyberOhio Initiative.”