Looking for the best or how we chose the blockchain network for the project
We will talk about how we made the decision to use the blockchain network for a new project.
This story happened in the late spring of 2018. We refused the blockchain (AplaNet) proposed by the project’s stakeholder and chose a different solution for the product (Emercoin).
NOTE: The AplaNet team has currently solved most of the problems that we have described below. So all the moments to which we paid attention, had a place to be at the end of spring.
We worked on the project, which requires a blockchain (really needed, not as usual) to solve business problems. On his example we will talk about the criteria for choosing a blockchain network.
Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot tell more about the business case of the project. Therefore, the article is not about that.
Small lyrical digression about smart contracts
Now there is a big HYIP around smart contracts and many companies offer to use them in almost any blockchain solution. We believe that mindlessly choosing smart contracts is a road to nowhere. A smart contract is not a panacea. To solve a certain class of problems, ordinary decentralized storage is sufficient.
What was offered initially?
The project stakeholders suggested using the AplaNet network. We have not previously used this network, so we decided to conduct a study.
The popularity of the ICO exit, in general, has passed. The most interesting stories (including fraudulent ones) occurred at the end of 2017 - the beginning of 2018. But this is not a reason for being inattentive to details.
By what criteria should the blockchain be evaluated from open sources:
- Demo (usually on official sites);
- Technical description of blockchain solutions and documentation;
- Habr (in the case when there is a reference point for a Russian-speaking specialist);
- Social network.
The story of the demo ended fairly quickly - we could not use it, attempts to write test contracts led to bugs in the demo itself.
To the credit of the project team, by the time the article was published, they corrected all the bugs that prevented us from trying the demo and making a decision on how to use it.
Yes, it happens. Demos break. We wrote in support. Wait until she answered the opportunity was not - began to explore open sources. We found out that Apla is a large investment project, respectively, it must have a decent open descriptive side in order to attract customers.
Technical description of blockchain solutions. Documentation
In general, there was no sufficient technical documentation of the language of Simvolio smart contracts.
NOTE: fixed by the project team at the moment. Although it is necessary to clarify that the reference to the Protypo language still leads to 404 (August 15, 2018).
The description of the implementation of the system should push technical experts to use it. In our case, we not only did not find the comparative characteristics and analytics of the Simvolio language, there was also no sufficient documentation to get started.
The official blog from developers shows openness and desire to cooperate with their customers. A blog in which developers describe their product solutions is a great practice for products like Apla.
Unfortunately, at the time of our study of the official blog of the project, we found publications from the developers, dated the end of 2017. It seemed that the project was not supported.
NOTE: since June 19, active publishing has begun on the blog . True, the overwhelming majority of them are about general blockchain concepts without reference to Apla and about the agreements concluded. We did not find any technical stories about Apla itself.
Considering that part of the Apla team is Russian-speaking, one can see a landmark on the market of Russian-speaking companies, where Habr sometimes plays a key role in product positioning.
The only material on Habré, dedicated to the project Apla. And even he is not about technical aspects, but about investments and success stories. We are certainly happy for the project team, but we, as casters, want to know more about the implementation and the process of use.
We are well aware that social network accounts exist only for marketing tasks (like all the other sites that we monitor in principle, but these do not contain technical explanations). Here is the essence of the other, visiting these accounts in May and now (August 2018), we see that they are inactive or deleted.
These are exactly the main company accounts, because links to them lead from the site’s header . This carelessness once again makes you think that the project is not supported. The Youtube channel has a decent amount of quality entries, but again, many of them are not about the project itself, but about the blockchain in general. And those videos that describe the implementation have less than 100 views (August 2018).
We wish the Apla project development and will be happy to re-examine it at the next appropriate occasion. Unfortunately, at that moment we were not ready to use such a blockchain solution.
Another blockchain network
Our choice fell on Emercoin, this is Bitcoin fork. What advantages does this network have and why did we decide to go to it?
These are not smart contracts.
We wrote at the very beginning that smart contracts are not a panacea. But many teams still use them to solve any problems. Besides the fact that this is not a solution to all problems, there is one more.
Any language of smart contracts is turing complete. This leads to increased security requirements for code written on it. Development in blockchains today is mainly done by backenders, who are used to the fact that a wide infrastructure in backend organizes code security. In modern blockchain infrastructures, not everything is so rosy.
Fuel to the fire adds immobility released in production solutions. Not for nothing, the audit of blockchain solutions is a very fast-growing industry today. It is necessary to conduct a very good analytical work before release in production, since there will be no going back.
In this whole situation, I want to protect myself as much as possible. Emercoin is not a smart contract, it is NVS-contracts (Name-Value Storage), in fact a decentralized storage. Moreover, this is bitcoin fork. This guarantees us an increased level of security for the Bitcoin source code that is present in Emercoin. It is impossible (or very, very difficult) to write malicious code on the Emercoin network.
PoW + PoS
Emercoin supports Proof of stake and Proof of work mining. This guarantees us that there will not be an “arms race” in Emercoin.
In this hybrid version of mining, no one will be able to attack 51% and diminishes efforts to increase mining capacity.
The balance in the work of the blockchain, which achieves the maximum probability distribution of adding a new block, guarantees the stability of the network for a long time. For long-term projects - this is very important. In addition to funds for development, the stakeholder of the project invests large resources in the blockchain system on which the product will operate.
Name-value storage is a repository of name-value pairs. This decentralized storage allows you to create an application of almost any level, ranging from DNS to “adult” banking applications.
The presence of NVS is essentially a killer feature of this network. In each Emercoin block, there is 25kb for the usual beckenders (discussed above) the key value of the object. You can just take JSON and write (joke!).
In contrast to the first network we are considering, ready-made working solutions with which we could not find, quite a lot of interesting products have been implemented with Emercoin:
- EmerDNS - Emercoin DNS server;
- EmerSSH is a system for managing public key infrastructure (PKI) and access control lists (ACL);
- EmerSSL - decentralized SSL certificate infrastructure;
- EmerDPO - “card index” of property certificates;
- ENUMER - record phone calls in blockchain.
These are real blockchain applications. We tried some of these products in test mode. They perform their primary functions flawlessly.
The world of cryptocurrency is such that the trade and the course should be paid attention too. The loyalty of the crypto-exchange community is an important thing. The lack of such can ruin any product built on the blockchain.
Data for August 15, 2018:
- Emercoin is trading on 13 exchanges
- The cost of EMC: AU $ 6.00
- The price chart for EMC versus USD and BTC over the past year is the same as that of most cryptocurrencies. Big growth by December 2017, then decline. This indicates the stability of the currency relative to the market.
Having started working with Emercoin, we were able to contact the chief architect of this network, Oleg Hovayko. He turned out to be a very responsive specialist. Even went to our project development chat room and promptly answers our questions right there. Striking loyalty for the main developer of such a large product. Developing in such conditions becomes really productive and just enjoyable.
We spoke very briefly about the process of selecting a blockchain network. Of course, attempts to consider other blockchains were omitted. This would make the material huge and unreadable.