Building Smarter Blockchain Apps
In the last article, we explained why we dreamed up Valence and how it evolved out of the need to make NavTech’s subchain more versatile. You can view it here: https://valenceplatform.org/learn/welcome-to-valence
Today we want to talk about how Valence will enable people to build advanced applications that interact with the NavCoin protocol, and where Valence sits in both the application architecture and the wider blockchain landscape.
The software the NavCoin Core Developers are building for NavCoin remains focused on making NavCoin the most useable cryptocurrency on the planet. Valence will enable all NavCoin Developers to build advanced features on top of the protocol, akin to NavTech, which will help work towards this goal. All while leaving NavCoin slim enough to compete as a high-speed global payment platform.
There are two key takeaways here:
1. NavCoin and Valence can combine to create something more than the sum of their parts.
2. One simple use case for Valence is to bridge the gap between existing centralized systems and the decentralized world we are trying to build.
What does ‘Valence’ mean?
‘Valence’ has a number of definitions, but one that stood out for us is in chemistry — it’s a measure of an element’s combining power when it forms compounds or molecules.
What does that mean for NavCoin?
Valence as a platform sits parallel to the NavCoin protocol and enables developers to build advanced second layer NavCoin applications with endless possibilities. Valence apps themselves are roadmapped to have the ability to leverage each other’s data and even other blockchains, compounding the potential power of each application and therefore it’s potential to use NavCoin for .
Valence Can Solve Real-World Business Problems
A lot of blockchain projects have become so hyper-focused on the technology that they have blockchain tunnel vision. Blockchain technology is revolutionary and has a very specific set of properties which makes it unparalleled at solving business problems involving trust, ownership, and transparency.
However not all business problems can be hit with a blockchain-shaped hammer. Through no fault except perhaps being too ambitious, blockchain solutions are often proposed which replace an entire existing business model from start to finish. This approach can work well if you’re a purely digital startup, but even then there are current limitations — for most businesses, not everything they need to function is on a blockchain yet.
There are many technical challenges as well as the difficult task of disrupting an established market leader — which has customers, networks, money, and influence — meaning a lot of these new blockchain projects may never reach their potential.
Most industries can benefit by applying blockchain to the right parts of their business model, but trying to replace an entire business with “it’s X but on the blockchain” can be highly impractical. A lot of industries have legacy systems and real-world dependencies that can’t all be on the blockchain at the flip of a switch. It’s going to take time, and Valence will be there to help shift traditional businesses onto the blockchain.
One of the many ways to implement the Valence Platform is as a Blockchain oracle, a bridge between existing centralized systems and the fully autonomous blockchain based world we are all working towards.
This is how Valence will be utilized in NavChange in the first instance — The NavCoin Core developers proposed instant exchange platform — and is a good example of one of the important roles Valence can fulfil.
NavChange and Valence
NavChange is an instant exchange platform — which is planned to allow for NAV to be exchanged with other cryptocurrencies (e.g. BTC, ETH, LTC) with minimal or in some cases zero fees. It will be open-source and take the form of an API. This allows it serve as the independent backbone to NavMorph, NavDelta and any future projects which requires a multi-currency exchange.
Valence enables safe and smart instant exchanges with NavChange
To integrate with existing exchanges, NavChange needs to run as a service which feeds data onto the blockchain. It will rely on real-time data from multiple exchanges to determine the current price of the currency it’s agreeing to exchange. It has to be able to execute the often multi-step exchange procedure between currencies. It has to be able to confirm if the exchange was successful in order to verify the release of funds. Most of which is happening inside an exchange’s database and not on a public blockchain. Whether we like it or not, most blockchain applications which want to perform complex tasks are currently required to interact with legacy systems in similar ways which are considered black holes to the blockchain.
The major point of difference with existing instant exchange services like Shapeshift or Changelly is that NavChange will record all the data about each instant-exchange to the public Valence blockchain which can be viewed, validated and therefore used in smart contracts and atomic swaps.
The NavChange application handles all the complex logic of interacting with the exchanges and logs these interactions on the Valence blockchain. Making as much of the interaction with these legacy systems as possible publicly verifiable, auditable and autonomous.
While not perfectly decentralized, it offers us an enticing middle ground where legacy systems collide with blockchain to create data that can be used in autonomous smart contracts. Something which is going to be extremely useful to many businesses as they transition to this new decentralized way of thinking.
Valence Beyond NavChange
With applications like NavChange paving the way, we can create a set of tools for developers to build all kinds of applications that record data to the Valence blockchain to then be used in smart contracts. Whether Valence is used to record an instant exchange, hotel check-ins, product deliveries or sports results, these outcomes which get recorded to the public ledger are what can drive conditional payments of NavCoin without clogging up the NavCoin blockchain itself.
Developers are going to play a huge part in deciding which blockchains succeed. It doesn’t matter how good your platform is — if it’s not able to provide easy to implement, targeted and tangible benefits to the large audience of existing developers, it will be difficult to achieve mass adoption.
Valence will provide a clear path for developers to build blockchain driven applications that can integrate with their existing platforms. Targeted to provide the benefits of a distributed ledger in the areas of their systems where it has tangible benefits. All while prioritizing NAV as the settlement layer for conditional payments governed by the data apps generate.
This type of bridging application is just one of many ways to deploy an application on Valence. The Valence Platform also offers a range of public, private and decentralized application configurations which we will further explore in the upcoming technical white paper.
Fighting for the same future
Blockchain technology has been around for nearly 10 years now, but as an industry, we’re still figuring out the best way to take this technology from the fringe to the mainstream.
Blockchain’s are conceptually quite simple — they’re primarily a shared ledger. But from this simple concept arise emergent properties that have wide-reaching implications.
There’s no way of knowing all the uses we’ll find for blockchains in the future. The immediate areas which its proving it can be transformative are Data and Money.
Re-establishing an individuals autonomy over their finances is already well underway and something which is at the core of cryptocurrencies like NavCoin. Similar to the previous paradigm of money, the majority of the world’s data is privately owned by large corporations and it generates them unprecedented revenue.
Beyond the technology, what ties NavCoin and Valence together is the philosophy behind them. We believe in a world where decentralized networks are used to both empower individuals and provide economic opportunity.
NavCoin and Valence want to bring about a future that decentralizes power in these two key industries. To do this we will create transitional paths for businesses to become more transparent and enable individuals to retain autonomy while creating new economic opportunities.