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Blockchain technology. The Evernote app. Two completely different worlds, right? Well, there might be a whole lot more in common than you may think. Before the internet took an irreversible hold on the world, digital note-taking took place on simple programs like Notepad. Notes could be easily taken and saved onto your local—but isolated—machine. As the internet grew, the need to access this type of saved information across multiple devices soon became vital. Eventually, Notepad was usurped by the Evernote app, which utilized the power of “the cloud.” Evernote allowed notes to now become accessible across multiple devices and via peripheral services, including Quickbooks, Dropbox, Google Drive and many more.
As the internet opened the door to a new wave of cloud applications—just like Evernote—Blocknet is creating an internet of blockchains for a new generation of decentralized applications that can interconnect any blockchain to another. Blockchains today are at the cutting edge of technology, yet their isolation is similar to that of the original Notepad app. Specifically, there’s an obstacle that needs to be tackled: blockchains can only communicate with themselves and cannot communicate with any other blockchain. Data cannot be transferred between blockchains. This places enormous limitations on what blockchain technology (as a whole) has the potential to achieve. Blockchains need to evolve in the same way that Notepad lead to Evernote. Blockchains should be able to freely and effortlessly connect with any other blockchain.
Blocknet has built an interoperability infrastructure that enables blockchains to connect with one another, creating an “Internet of Blockchains.” The Blocknet protocol gives blockchains the ability to communicate, opening the door for cross-chain applications. By allowing blockchains to integrate with each other, directly chain-to-chain, without being a middleman to the data itself, the Blocknet protocol gives any application the ability to utilize different blockchains. In addition, the Blocknet protocol offers a solution to the issue of “blockchain bloat,” that often results in fewer transactions being broadcasted by that particular network and an increase of network transaction fees.
Just as Evernote and Quickbooks can connect directly to each other and share data, the Blocknet protocol enables the same potential across blockchains, and in a completely trustless manner. Previously, developers who wanted to create a dApp (decentralized application), had two options: either build on a solo platform or create their own blockchain. If they chose to develop on a pre-existing platform, they were forced to work within its limitations. If they decided to create their own blockchain, then they needed to build their functionality from scratch, which may not have been as secure as existing solutions available. Developers may now have their cake and eat it too, being able to combine the best of both worlds by incorporating any blockchain that they wish into their dApps.
Using the Blocknet protocol, a developer can tie in functionality from other blockchains. If storage is needed, tie in Siacoin. If computation is needed, tie in Golem. If identity is needed, connect with Digi-ID, a new feature on Digibyte. If privacy is needed, add ZCash. This not only opens up endless possibilities, but it speeds up development by utilizing already completed solutions and allows more time to be spent on the application itself.
With Blocknet’s recent reveal of its Blockchain router: XRouter, developers can build blockchain applications without the need to download the entire chain. Most blockchains require the entire blockchain to be on your device before an application will work. This would be like Evernote requiring your device to hold not just your notes, but everyone else’s notes as well. This would defeat the entire purpose of Evernote and likewise, it is the one thing that is keeping blockchain technology from gaining traction and reaching mainstream adoption. Just as the cloud allows applications to access data remotely, XRouter allows blockchain data to be accessed in the same way. XRouter will be accessible to developers via simple APIs when it is fully released in July. Blockchain technologies now have the potential to explode into the consumer market in the same way that cloud applications did in years past. Blocknet is making this possible today.
The first dApp built on this protocol is Block DX, a decentralized exchange that enables direct wallet-to-wallet trading, where no third party is required and your coins remain in your possession at all times. It is entirely trustless and works across a growing number of standalone blockchains. Block DX is just one of the projects being built with this new interoperability technology.
A world of consumer-facing blockchain-based applications is not far off. The cloud opened the door to Evernote and an entirely new wave of innovation. The future of cross-blockchain decentralized applications is as endless as the world of cloud applications, and the Blocknet protocol looks to position itself as the engine that drives these trustless applications of tomorrow.