Dispelling uncertainty around Callisto as a DApp platform and smart-contracts in general

Dexaran
Dexaran
Oct 3, 2019 · 6 min read

This article aims to provide some education about the programmable blockchains (aka “smart-contract development platforms”) and explain the reason of Callisto not being one of them despite the fact that it has built-in smart-contract system.

Let me dispel some myths around smart-contracts, blockchains and development in this area as well as provide my own vision of what future awaits Callisto.

Myth: value of a project reflects the development progress

Let’s just compare two projects: ADA (Cardano, top 12) and CLO (Callisto, ranked 712)

The main goal of ADA is to serve as a development-platform for smart-contracts.

The main goals of Callisto are the implementations of an experimental protocols of (1) protocol-level funded security audits, (2) economical value of time-locking mechanisms (Cold Staking), (3) vote-based governance system. Callisto has never pretended to be a competitive development platform.

The development progress of these platforms

ADA:

Ada is in development for almost 3 years now and it has not accomplished any of its final goals yet.

CLO:

  • 1 active DApp: Cold Staking contract
  • While it is hard to estimate the number of users in Cold Staking, it is obvious that ~50% of CLO total supply is engaged in staking
  • 12,9K active unique addresses

Callisto has accomplished 2 of 3 main goals (Cold Staking, Auditing system) already during 2 years of development.

It’s just obvious that the current market situation does not reflect the actual use cases/ development progress or adoption of DApps. DApps are not what brings the value to a project if ADA is still at top12 position with 0 DApps. AION (ranked 116) is better at this metrics as well.

NOTE: I don’t want to insult Charles Hoskinson with saying this. I respect all his intentions and all the great work IOHK did. We have based our governance model on IOHK paper as well. The fact is: ADA has not developed any of its core features for almost 3 years now. I wish its done so that I can evaluate developing smart-contracts for ADA.

Why we don’t need “yet another DApp platform”

The answer is quite simple: the industry doesn’t need smart-contract development platforms that have no decisive advantage over existing ones.

Developing a smart-contract platform that will have a decisive advantage often requires (1) a team of professional developers, (2) a clear and deep understanding of what to improve and (3) the same amount of funding that Block.One, Ethereum Foundation or Justin Sun invested in their projects.

Quickly evolving protocols require constant maintenance (which requires a team of professionals) to keep up with the developing ecosystem. There is no reason to have a platform that will not evolve as fast as its competitors because this will hurt all the projects (DApps) that are built on top of it. Thus there is definitely no reason to have a DApp platform that will hurt its DApps in long term.

If you don’t have all of the three above mentioned components then you are just wasting time and lying to people by promising what you can’t deliver. Attracting DApps to a platform that is not competitive in long term will simply hurt this DApps and their development teams.

I recall a number of ICOs and projects that launched on ETC back in 2017. None of them were nearly as successful as ETH ICOs were. This is an issue of mass adoption and network effect. If we have two competitive development platforms then it is better for a DApp developer to go with a larger one if it has no real disadvantages compared to its competitor. Ethereum was 30x larger than Ethereum CLassic at that time (measured by community size * market cap).

I don’t want Callisto to be a DApp development platform

Its clearly enough that we are not focused on protocol development or a development of better virtual machines, compilers or any features that could make smart-contracts better. We focus on security and improvement of already existing smart-contract platforms instead. It’s better to work on improving already existing platforms instead of competing with them if we do not have a decisive advantage. This will hurt those DApp developers who will follow us if we are not going to win this race.

If we decide to compete with TRX or EOS then it will be a complete waste of time and resources because we don’t have enough funds, experience or reasons to develop something better than these platforms already have.

Callisto is currently built on the old Ethereum code, which is ridiculously cumbersome and inefficient compared to newer protocols. The only reason for Callisto to rely on this code base is that our mission is to provide our core improvements for ETC. This was the goal announced from the very beginning and we accomplished it exactly as we promised. Now its time to think about better options for ourselves.

If we have a plan to move to a newer codebase or a consensus protocol, then we have absolutely no reason to develop tools, infrastructure and attract smart contract developers to CLO. All of these tools, DApps, and infrastructure improvements will be thrown away when we upgrade to a newer protocol. This will turn the development of these features into a complete waste of time and resources.

Why have we promoted Callisto smart-contracts in the past?

I was skeptical about smart-contracts in Callisto since the very beginning and I’ve transparently expressed my opinion every time I was asked. Read this article as an example.

Not all team members shared my views regarding this in the past. I can’t handle 100% of the development at my own so I focused on what I thought is the most important: Cold Staking, Auditing, Governance.

It should be noted that the situation was not that clear and it was hard to make any decisions earlier. EOS was in “early adoption” stage, Ethereum 2.0 was coming and a number of projects were developing. Now the scenario of the upgrade is obvious and I hope that we came to a consensus regarding this within the team. It’s necessary to determine the scenario of the upgrade and what the protocol we will rely at. I did a lot of research about the smart-contract platforms recently, which includes: TRX, EOS, Ethereum2.0, AION, IOST (I would call ADA but research was limited to “no features yet”). Telegram Network is on my TODO list now.

Now EOS 1.8 came to existence and it addresses a number of important issues as well. I’m waiting for the upcoming EOS CPU patch that will resolve a CPU leeway attack that I designed recently.

Now it’s clear that we should no longer promote DApps in the CLO, because we are looking forward to switching to a newer and better code base or a consistent protocol.

Why did we accepted Monopoly game development then?

I have two reasons:

  1. The proposal received a lot of positive feedbacks from the community

2. We can re-implement the DApp once we switch to a newer code base to illustrate the difference between the old smart-contracting systems and a newer ones. Currently there are not so much DApps that can describe the advantages of using newer platforms compared to older ones because there are not so much DApps that were deployed on both development platform types.

Alright, I’ve said a lot about what risks the development of DApps on Callisto can pose. To be honest I need to say that we are a decentralized community and everyone is welcome with their ideas. If someone decides to build a DApp on CLO then he must keep in mind that:

  • We are going to upgrade the Callisto code base and it is highly possible that we will switch to a newer VM with no backwards compatibility, so a developer will have to deploy his DApp on Ethereum, Ethereum CLassic, TRX or any other EVM-compatible chain once Callisto will implement an upgrade
  • We are not going to build smart-contract development tools or provide any peripheral services facilitating the use of smart-contracts in Callisto because we are looking forwards for a newer code base and better VM
  • It may be hard for Callisto-based DApp to achieve mass adoption. This is especially relevant for tokens. Exchanges tend to list ETH-based tokens with ease, while CLO-based token will be unlikely to get listed on some of the large exchanges.

Developers should consider these aspects and approach the choice of platform with all responsibility. However if someone decides to develop a DApp on Callisto then we will support this intention with whatever we can:

  • We will be happy to announce any DApps and help developers to spread the word about their projects.
  • We offer security enhancements.
  • A DApp developer can deploy exactly the same code on any of EVM-compatible chains with ease.

Why do we have smart-contracts in CLO?

Ethereum protocol was the most advanced one when we started the development of Callisto Network. We had a set of ideas and I had a knowledge of how to implement it in smart-contracts. Thats why we decided to implement it this way.

We had an option to cut off smart-contracting layer but it would require significant changes with no real advantages, thats why it was decided to leave them “as is”.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade