Contributed by @nixops
This article is presented in a way to hopefully shed some light into a recent announcement Cratus adopting the use of the Burstcoin Blockchain. I hope that this information helps answer a lot of questions.
Software, first and foremost.
Often times I get asked, “What is the most overlooked piece of blockchain and emerging technology around it?” I always like to answer that we overlook the software. At first glance you may say, wait… it is all software, and you are correct but we are often overlooking just what that software is capable of performing. This is something in most cases just ignored. A blockchain can solve problems and applying the understanding of the software unlocks it’s maximum potential.
Let’s walk through a little piece of software understanding here. When interacting with another company or entity in software we do this using API. Each company and service has it’s own API and or guidelines of using said API, (here is an example of a public API). This allows for us to build software using their API and thus adding value to our existing service or a newly created software service. This is how businesses integrate with other entities now. But in a decentralized world, how do we do this without compromising and moving to a centralized model?
API’s, every coin has them.
Each and every blockchain(to my knowledge), has API’s available. When you run your own node you are running a server or API server. This is how you will process and validate your own transactions but also how you will interact with a chain. Burst has a very well documented API as well as API Examples. Burstcoin allows for use of the Proof of Capacity algorithm as well as a lower overall power use cost as it utilizes hard drives, here is a crash course. Burst is easy to write applications to use in a variety of ways.
In the context of software it is important to understand that a transaction could mean anything. Well anything that can be an agreed upon issuer of “state” or a transaction on the chain. Take a moment and think back to the API, if we begin to treat on chain application development as we would a VPS, we begin to see a lot of similarities. Yet, for all intents and purposes (of what we want this transaction to mean) are missed if we do consider it a VPS like construct. Instead, think of it as conditional issuer of a state, or transaction. This makes things a little more clear, now that we know that this transaction is happening because of a condition or this amount in said transaction is occurring because of a condition… This is important, because the amount does not have to be large amounts, and with that we can create a lot of interesting implementations. This will allow for a lot of the “everyday” world to use the chain in a meaningful way.
Integrating the pieces.
In most cases, to interact with a partner and/or third party, some API’s would have to be proposed or inbound the network access to some degree to validate certain pieces or access information. This can become very cumbersome and insecure. Blockchain transactions can create a trustless conditional confirmation with said transaction. What I mean by this is a state can come from some source that is agreed upon or that issues it in a measurable way, which can then issue a transaction to represent this “state”. One way of thinking of this is using verifiable source or event to trigger the transaction. There are a lot of ways that this can be utilized.
I am intentionally being vague in hopes to spin off some ideas on how you would integrate this type of system into a project you may be working on. Once we begin to use the software, we realize that we are using the transactions to incentivize the network to perform our tasks. Miners are rewarded and the network continues to sustain. When we consider this idea, we now can see a very elaborate and autonomous system that can operate with some well crafted code, an AT(SmartContracts), and a dApp or two.
Increase of transactions.
Will this use increase transactions? Yes… by how much? That will be left up onto their end as they roll it out in their own implementation. By doing so, this will further incentivize the miners. Growth of the network and expansion spurs from such implementations. As Burst moves forward with implementing tangles and tethered assets, there are a lot of opportunities for the chain to be used by private businesses in these kinds of ways. When leveraged correctly, you solve very complex use cases by taking advantage of Burst and the features it currently has and what will be implemented in the coming months.
As more dApps, services, and companies leverage the chain, there will be stronger demand for miners as well as decentralization for better network stability. This is where Burst will excel beyond that of coins that promise lightning fast network consensus. They fall victim to centralization as Proof of Stake requires a master node and or “block producer” as they are called in some coins. Since Burst is truly a decentralized coin, our mining pools are a group of peers guaranteeing processing and confirming transactions. We also have the solo miners who are performing these tasks as well. This allows for stronger security and guarantee to the immutability of the transactions on the chain. In comparison, masternodes and/or “block producers” are nothing more than businesses that operate the servers who process the transactions. In this case, they are typically paid with the coins as an incentive to continue to operate nodes. I will save the rest for another day on the inevitable halt of scale with this model.
In comes Burst network for being able to utilize in a lot of cases zero cost mining by leveraging solar and other alternative energy resources. Due to the individual being able to participate in the network while not being limited to growth of the company or “block producers”, Burst is able to expand at a much larger, safer, and more efficient scale. When scaling data centers, it becomes much harder than start mining and running a node.
Blockchains have a cost.
There is a lot of hype around the idea of using a blockchain for everything. Developing on blockchains’ has a cost and not all things are meant for the blockchain… and that should be acceptable. The information you plan to put on the chain, because ultimately no matter what the action or event captured, will just be information stored in a data format. The data used whether in a message, in transaction format, or multi out… there is a fee as well as a transaction. This is where using a chain with a dApp can have a cost or if we just associate with a pure AT implementation.
Each chain has a transaction cost and this is how chains are incentivized to run, holding the ledger. Each dApp has its purpose and its developer(s) understands based on the architecture, distributes the cost. In some cases, like on some Proof of Stake coins, you must understand their pricing system. Again, this is a point where scale can create issues with some systems that restrict to those node models. Burst will be capable of executing said transactions, as well as AT execution.
Private business, using a public chain?
Using the blockchain for private use is entirely possible. To approach this, we must understand a couple of different options that Burst provides us. One, we can use the Burst messaging platform to encrypt the transaction and include information there (this could include links.) Two, we could encrypt and upload a file. In some cases, someone may want to encrypt a file and store it on the Burst chain, this can be done with using GPG.
With the aforementioned options we now see a lot of interesting places, along with API’s, where a blockchain can be useful or replace an existing system. Do keep in mind that blockchain transactions do take time… in the case of Burst, around a 4 minute average block time when exploring and developing a project. In a lot of cases, having an immutable record of the event is how they may leverage the ledger and a meaningful interaction for having such a record.