Less Than One Percent of Developers Can Access Blockchain. Here’s How We Fix It.
Blockchain has seismically altered the ways we communicate digitally. Yet, despite global interest in the technology and real-world use cases that let companies use blockchain to do such things as monitor food safety, record the activities of endangered species and complete real estate deals, blockchain technology hasn’t reached its full potential. In fact, its real-world use cases have been stunted for two reasons: First, we haven’t yet built a bridge connecting the existing centralized and developing decentralized worlds; and second, there aren’t enough developers and architects with the expertise needed to access blockchain, let alone develop new, innovative apps on its technology.
In 2018, Vijai Anma and I decided to rectify both of these issues by co-founding Cone, a developer platform that democratizes blockchain by enabling anyone access to the technology. We’ve done this by providing an API that connects existing applications to blockchain, thereby making them blockchain-aware applications, or BaApps.
Why have we done this, how do BaApps work, and what’s in it for you? Let’s explore.
Bridging the centralized and decentralized worlds
Public, irreversible and immutable, blockchain doesn’t require a central authority. Because it is designed to be accessible to the masses, we need to break the roadblocks that prevent developers from adopting and using the technology. This is the power of decentralization, which Cone makes possible with our easy-to-use API.
Despite the disruptive nature of blockchain technology, the world isn’t about to shake its hold on centralized systems any time soon. Today, many applications still interact with a centralized data storage system. In finance, for example, most applications that offer money or data transfer rely on a central intermediary that can facilitate the transfers. This results in high costs that could be avoided by using autonomous smart contracts to handle a wide range of operations in a trusted, transparent and efficient manner.
Companies that recognize the cost-effectiveness of blockchain or that already have a use case for it may run into problems when faced with the prospect of moving their application from a centralized infrastructure to the blockchain. Participating in the crypto ecosystem involves opening multiple cryptocurrency exchange accounts and managing various wallets and transactions across different blockchains. This fragmented and cumbersome user experience is highly inefficient, and a lack of transparency of underlying data in the decentralized ecosystem prevents the flow of new investments into the ecosystem.
Most companies don’t have talent with the technical expertise needed to move their applications to a decentralized system, or they have simply invested so heavily in their existing centralized applications that it’s difficult to get approval from decision-makers to move to new decentralized applications, or Dapps.
Cone eliminates the need to hire in-house blockchain developers by providing a universal developer API, which makes it easy to access high-quality transaction data consolidated across exchanges, wallets and blockchains. This allows applications originally developed for use within centralized infrastructure to instantly become BaApps.
Using recognizable languages to provide access to the masses
Blockchain is currently inaccessible to all but a small minority of developers, and increasing access is crucial to democratizing the technology.
Consider this: There are more than 20 million web developers in the world, millions of whom use server scripting languages and open-source platforms such as PHP and Node.js. Countless web application labs have cropped up around the world, and would-be developers can even educate themselves just by perusing the internet. Just as stars are formed in interstellar clouds of dust and gas, the creative global nebula of web development is the birthplace of web applications that change how we live. For example, it’s hard to imagine a world without online retail sales and webmail.
Of the millions (and potentially billions) of web applications being developed, only a handful of the most disruptive, innovative applications rise to the top. In other words, competition leads to tremendous innovation.
Although web development is open to all people, fewer than 175,000 developers have the expertise necessary to integrate and interface with blockchain networks. This is because it has been too difficult to learn the complicated new languages of blockchain (such as Simplicity and Solidity) necessary to integrate with older applications or create new Dapps.
Building BaApps using Cone’s innovative development platform also means developers don’t have to uproot and replace their current applications and expensive legacy systems. For example, if a company sees a cost benefit to moving a payroll application created using Java to the blockchain, developers can use our API interface to move some of the features of storing data to a blockchain using Cone’s platform.
When people talk about innovation, they often focus on ideation. Yet without enough people able to execute them, ideas never have a chance to grow legs. The solution is apparent: Make it easier to develop on blockchain technologies.
Rather than relying on only a few thousand blockchain developers, our universal developer API enables millions of web developers to access and develop BaApps on blockchain technologies. This will unleash innovation, leading to more experimentation, exciting ways to connect the centralized world and decentralized worlds, a slew of new real-world use cases and the next generation of successful platform launches.
Vipool Prajapati is the co-founder of Cone, a universal API that connects apps to any blockchain, exchange or smart contract. With over 15 years of experience driving the success for companies ranging from two-person startups to large corporations, Prajapati has also developed technical solutions in networking fields and pursued entrepreneurial interests in web, mobile and blockchain domains.