Development of the ARK and Bitcoin Listeners Completed
An Encoded-Listener contains two major components:
- The listener
- The service
The listener is the component that plugs into a blockchain (such as Bitcoin) and provides standardized API access for ARK services to receive data from a blockchain. The listener stands on its own, and does not necessarily need to be run by the same person running a service.
The service is the component that provides utility to the ARK user. Services request information from listeners to confirm whether their requirements have been fulfilled to execute their customized service. Services can be provided without the service provider running their own listener. This means services do not need to download and maintain the entire blockchain that they provide services for. It is very lightweight this way, and will make it cheaper and easier for the masses to offer specialized blockchain services.
This design allows thousands of service providers and just a handful of listener providers. This has a few key benefits, such as allowing services to integrate multi-listener confirmations for improved data quality, and keeping the cost of running services very small since the majority of server costs come from running full nodes of blockchains. It also enables highly specialized services, ones that may be designed specifically for one customer. The cost of running a service is now isolated from the cost of running a listener, where the vast majority of costs are put to the listeners.
The ACES team has completed development of the ARK and Bitcoin Listeners. You can access the Github repository for the Bitcoin Listener here and the ARK listener here. We also created a demo app that those more technically inclined can clone and try out. You can access the repository for the demo app here.
We will begin deploying the ARK and BTC listeners in the near future, including both mainnet and testnet listeners. This will allow users and developers to begin requesting external data from the listeners using our API to begin building customized services. At this point, even non-technical users may clone the listener-deployment repository and begin offering blockchain data as a service.
Hosting listeners is an interesting utility for ARK. There are many ways to add value to the ARK ecosystem through a robust listener ecosystem. A listener is a bit similar to an oracle in that its role is to provide external data for blockchain applications, though they specialize in data that is derived from blockchains. In fact, an ACES listener enables ARK oracles through services that are designed to post the data to the ARK blockchain with a populated SmartBridge field. The design of ACES also enables user-friendly atomic-swap services because protocol-specific trading services can be built as customized ACES services. These services would still require the assistance of listeners to know when a request from an unknown consumer has been made. In this case, traders wanting to use an atomic swap marketplace will at some point be interacting with ARK, either through the service requiring requests to be made through ARK, and/or through the listeners charging the services fees to access the APIs. For example, those wanting to do LTC-BTC atomic swaps could leverage ARK and the ACES marketplace to find trading partners. This adds clarity to why ACES is more than an exchange protocol, that is is not competing with atomic swaps (and would likely benefit from its success), and that its design is to enable blockchain utility regardless of function.
Lastly, after deployment of the ARK and Bitcoin listeners, we will jump right in to building the BTC to ARK service which will be made available for anyone to provide. You will not need to download the entire blockchain to provide these services, as you can use the data from the ACES listener for confirmations. We expect the deployment of listeners and BTC services to be available within 2017.