Today, if someone could figure out a way to make toast on the blockchain, they would probably do it. Before you know it, there would be a new ERC20 token complete with a whitepaper, a fancy website, and an ICO with a target of a few million dollars.
Everyone is so caught up in putting stuff on the “blockchain,” yet very few people pause to think about practical applications of this revolutionary technology. I’d like to think I’m one of those people.
So let me tell you a little story!
The year is 2026. Bitcoin is priced at $12,000,000 and Ripple is finally $5. Everything is on the blockchain. Your cat, your favorite show, your morning coffee, and your family doctor are all somehow on the blockchain. Somehow.
Since you were one of the early investors in the blockchain industry, you’re now sitting on a huge pile of moon money. Let’s say that you’re a chef, and you’ve decided to start a company for mass producing donuts at a global scale (because let’s be honest: there is no such thing as enough donuts).
First, you need to worry about ordering the raw ingredients from bulk suppliers. These suppliers have all agreed to use a specific blockchain to verify and track shipments, costs, and general logistics. As the manufacturer, you want to be able to track this data for your own records, as well as use smart contracts to ensure security and reduce human error.
Next you need to manage and track the manufacturing and distribution of your donuts from your factories to the stores. Your talented engineers put their heads together and choose a different blockchain ecosystem that tracks your operation costs, your manufacturing throughput, and your warehouse facilities across the world.
Finally, you need to choose a method of payment that you accept from your customers. Since your donuts are so delicious, people literally can’t wait to eat your donuts. So you want a cryptocurrency with fast transactions. Privacy would also be appealing, since you don’t want your consumers to suffer scrutiny from their peers after stuffing half a dozen donuts into their faces in one sitting.
So after supply, manufacturing, distribution, and sales, you have at least 3 different blockchains that you need to keep track of in order to monitor the logistics of your donut empire!
You hire a few more engineers to build a proprietary system that reads data from all these blockchains and presents you with a high-level overview of your donut logistics. You know exactly when the next shipment of sugar will arrive at your processing facility in Europe, how many batches of donuts are ready to be shipped to retailers, how much revenue you’re generating from selling delicious diabetes, and exactly how many sprinkles are on each donut you’re selling. The money is rolling in, and your donut empire is taking over the world.
Your donut empire is so efficient and secure, not a single donut goes to waste without you knowing about it.
So what’s the problem?
Let’s say a couple of years pass and one of your raw suppliers goes bankrupt. You scramble to find a new supplier to keep things rolling. Unfortunately for you, all the best suppliers today recently transitioned to a new trending blockchain for their own logistics. Your fancy internal logistics software is outdated and completely useless now, since it can’t interact with this new blockchain. You realize that your dependency on a specific blockchain has jeopardized your entire donut empire. Any number of things can happen that may force you to adopt a new blockchain solution for managing your business.
The only solution you would have with current technology is to spend a lot of time and money to rewrite most of your software to support the new protocols. Since you’re depending on three different blockchains, the chance of this problem is multiplied… by three.
This is a major problem in the blockchain industry right now. With so many projects and cool new technologies surfacing almost every day, the entire sector is moving at lightning speed. It is almost impossible to build any business application on such a volatile foundation because the cost of maintaining systems through the evolution of blockchain is just too damn high!
So what’s the solution?
In the world of software, these kinds of problems are actually pretty common. APIs are changed all the time, systems are made obsolete by superior alternatives, and the needs and requirements are constantly evolving. This is why most modern systems, from video games to databases and mobile apps, are all engineered to be resilient to change. Some applications are even cross-platform, allowing the same system to run on different hardware in completely different environments. In general, this concept is commonly referred to as interoperability: the ability for various systems to interact with each other.
There are many different techniques that software engineers and programmers use to maximize interoperability of their systems based on the needs and requirements of the problem they’re trying to solve.
One particularly interesting solution to interoperability is the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The JVM allows applications written in Java to run on any JVM-supported platform without modifying the program itself. If you write a program in Java on a Windows machine, you can easily deploy it on Linux or Mac OSX with little to no extra effort on your part. If tomorrow a new operating system is produced, as long as Oracle adds JVM support for it, you can deploy your application on that system with little effort. In some use cases, this level of interoperability is absolutely critical.
Without JVM, you would need to implement the same application differently in code for each and every platform you intend to deploy on:
However, with the help of JVM, you only need to write your application once:
Clearly, this problem is already solved in software development. So why can’t we just apply the same technique to blockchain?
At this point, you’re probably wondering what Quant Network has anything to do with all this. Why is that even in the title of this article, Zeenobit? Are you high?
Well. No. Not at the moment. I think.
It’s simple. Quant Network is trying to be the JVM of blockchain.
As a software engineer, this is a little bit too exciting for me, because it is solving a very real problem in the world of blockchain right now.
Quant Network is building a blockchain interoperability solution called Overledger, which is basically a blockchain “operating system” that sits on top of existing blockchains, providing a unified interface for all of them.
With this Overledger “blockchain OS”, users can create Multi-Chain Apps (MApps) that utilize Treaty Contracts: smart contracts that interact with multiple blockchains simultaneously.
Going back to our donut example, with Quant Network, your software engineers only need to write your internal logistics and tracking database once. Through the use of Overledger, your database would be compatible with any blockchain ecosystem you may encounter (so long as it is supported by Overledger — more on this later). This makes your donut empire resilient to change, reduces your risk, and allows you to quickly adapt to emerging technologies.
In my opinion, the need for blockchain interoperability is absolutely crucial for mass adoption of this technology in the corporate and consumer worlds. So far, Quant Network is providing the best solution to this very real problem.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and happiness.
When I heard about Quant Network and what they’re trying to do, I was very skeptical at first, mostly because of my experience as a programmer.
You see, an interoperability middleware is great and all, but it has one major flaw: The developers of that middleware are the bottleneck for your systems that are sitting on top of it. This isn’t a huge problem for JVM because new operating systems and platforms aren’t common occurrence. But in the world of blockchain, it’s a much bigger issue.
Back to the donut fantasy. Let’s say that your sugar empire is all running on Overledger with fancy MApps, Treaty Contracts, and all that goodness. Just as before, your supplier goes bankrupt, and you find a new supplier which uses a different blockchain for their logistics.
But Quant Network doesn’t support this new blockchain. So now what do you do, aside from waiting and crossing your fingers while possibly (definitely) losing money?
Luckily, Quant Network already has a solution to this problem. They will be making everything open source, so that anyone can contribute to the Overledger project.
Since anyone will be able to integrate new blockchains into the Overledger, Quant Network essentially allows you to future-proof your operations. If, by the off-chance you are the first company to want to integrate a new blockchain with Overledger, you can just pay one of your own engineers to do so, and now all your systems work beautifully again!
The best part of this is that any future donut empires (hypothetically speaking, since you plan to run a donut monopoly) don’t need to add support for this new blockchain ever again. It only needs to be done once, and then everyone can utilize it. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, it is great!
If you wanna learn more about Quant Network, just check out their website:
I’m very excited about the possibilities that this project is introducing to the blockchain industry, and I believe that it’s something you should definitely put on your radar as blockchain gains more and more traction in our world.
I hope you found this post useful. If you did, let me know so I can post more stuff like this!
If you wanna chat with me, or if you have any questions, you can always find me in the Apollo Project Discord server. It’s a place full of nerds who get a bit too excited by blockchain, trading, and all things crypto related. So if you also enjoy nerding out about trend lines and Ichimoku clouds, you’d feel right at home!