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CoreLedger

Bringing Order To Chaos

The need for a blockchain search engine

For a long time now, cryptocurrencies and cryptographic tokens have been prominent in headlines and hashtags and, depending on the author and stance of the source, have either been portrayed as the greatest invention of mankind or the greatest evil a human brain could ever conceive. Despite all this, cryptos and tokens are here to stay and they will not be going away anytime soon.

If you thought that the flood of tokens during the wild and crazy “ICO-years” of 2016–2018 was already enormous, then buckle up; there’s an even greater torrent of tokens, both fungible and non-fungible, that are about to sweep over the market. Ever since fun projects like crypto kitties and crypto punks become lucrative, there’s been an explosion of speculative “alt-coins;” it seems like everyone on Twitter wants to create their own token and make money with it. Certainly, some of these tokens are nifty, rich, and innovative; others (dare we say the majority) are either boring copies or an outright scam. But, yet again, whether they are the one or the other, they are here to stay.

What’s in a name?

As the crypto space has exploded in popularity, it has attracted all sorts of press and newcomers. Unfortunately this has meant a great deal of confusion when it comes to understanding the difference between terms and technologies that are often thrown around interchangeably.

Blockchain technology is basic, underlying tech that makes tokens and crypto possible. It’s also useful for many other things. Technically speaking, a blockchain is just a permanent, highly secure, distributed database. Nothing that has ever been recorded onto a blockchain can be edited or deleted; it’s as close to permanent as the digital world gets. When it comes to these alt-coins and tokens, a quick look at their blockchain foundations, and how they work on a technical level, will tell you a lot about them and their ‘quality.’

Fortunately, the average user doesn’t have to understand how the token is implemented. Most users, even if they are interested, would probably have a hard time figuring out how it all works anyway. It’s a bit like expecting users to know all the code behind their computer’s operating system, or how the transmission in their car works. At the end of the day, the only useful information, and really unique property, of an eg. an NFT is the combination of its smart contract address and its unique ID within that smart contract. It’s important to know this because otherwise these tokens are often seen as “just” crypto, some expensive, useless, scammy game where one token is just like any other, and where cryptocurrencies, tokens and blockchain are all the same thing. Without knowing the basics of how a token works, that’s a fair assumption.

Out of the hundreds of thousands of tokens and cryptos available on the market, a quick glance shows a plethora of uses, with various properties and metadata. There are just a few common token standards, and they are mostly about the icon. Everything else is absolutely custom. Take most NFTs. The token points to a URL, and this URL contains a “property bag.” Within this property bag can be, well, anything; from a unique work of art, to a GIF that’s already been shared a billion times. From an outsiders perspective, this whole space is chaos.

Clearing up the Mess of Terms and Tech

As a company that offers ready-to-use blockchain solutions and components for startups and enterprises, we have a fairly good insight into what is about to come down the market pipeline over the coming months and years. To start, we can say that the industry hasn’t even scratched the surface when it comes to blockchain and tokenization possibilities. Digital items and artifacts such as NFT’s are finally having a purpose beyond speculation. As part of the digital universe, which becomes gradually known as the “metaverse,” tokenized items can be used in games, music, movies, art and so forth. These items are “alive,” because blockchain, if used properly, can give their digital presence a uniqueness, as we discussed in a previous article. Where an item is, where it was, where it goes, is all part of this rich and growing data.

However we have a problem. This “living” data is actually a mess, because there are thousands of ways to store this metadata. This variety is not only the location of the data storage, [and it should be clear that blockchain is terrible at storing large quantities of data such as video or audio files] but also the format in which the metadata is provided.

Navigating the Metaverse

In many ways, we are right back where the Internet first started with shops, company profiles, various services, both online and offline, creating the need for search engines to sort through all the mess. These search engines needed metadata, which we can now see as standardized <META> tags in the source code of a website. In the same way, there is a clear need for a standardized format for the description of artifacts on blockchain that is machine-readable.

In short, we need a blockchain search engine.

When the pervasive belief that everything on blockchain is just for speculation has finally been put down and buried, people will have to have some way to search for the things they need to do their work, such as the aforementioned audio, video, and 3D files. Sooner or later, we will meet in the digital space, not like today with video calls, Zoom, and the like, but in more immersive virtual reality. The places where we meet will be unique; they have to be, in order to be attractive, and we have to find these places somehow.

Today, in the real world, we go to Google Maps to find a specific location. When we already know what we are looking for, this process is quick and easy. Sometimes, however, we don’t necessarily know exactly where we want to go and can search a general area for things we are interested in, say coffee shops within 1 kilometer of our apartment. Our real world doesn’t change every minute, so we can be relatively certain that those businesses will still be there by the time we’ve walked that kilometer.

Blockchain Standards and Search Engines

But, in the rapidly changing and ever expanding digital realm we don’t have an option to just turn on a map. To find a specific entry on a blockchain, you have to know the unique ID what you are looking for first. And how would you find that unique ID? You need a search engine. How does a search engine match what you’re looking for with what it has in its database? With metadata. And there we are, back at the beginning of our problem.

Bringing order to inevitable chaos of digital artifacts on blockchain, artifacts that, in the not so distant future, can be spawned by the thousands each minute, is paramount. To make things even more complicated, these artifacts can also be cross-linked, further expanding the web of connection. A simple example of this would be to combine two items into one, for example creating an artwork or building a piece of digital furniture.

Another example is signing a document, a use-case that we think is not only perfect on blockchain, but also highly realistic for general adoption in the near future. In this case, both the document and the signature are artifacts on blockchain. The authorized user then simply creates a link between the document and one or more signatures. This is something that will be quite common in the future, a secure way to manage important legal processes in the digital world. That blockchain technology will play a pivotal role in this future we have no doubt.

As our world moves further and further towards the metaverse, there will be billions of artifacts, with trillions of links between them, not unlike the way neurons connect in the brain. It is totally impossible to store this interconnected data in an arbitrary text-format; the only way to organize it is to search and process it is a metadata repository. This future is not so distant any more, and the torrent of data is around the corner. We’d better start organizing now.

At CoreLedger, we believe that blockchain is a practical technical solution to improve and solve a wide variety of issues across industries and sectors, which is why we try to cut through the hype and focus on real world applications, not just what’s technically possible.

CoreLedger’s mission is to help businesses of all sizes quickly and affordably access the benefits of blockchain technology. From issuing a simple token, to enterprise- grade token economy solutions, we have all the tools you need to quickly and affordably integrate blockchain into your business whether you’re a new startup or a big multinational enterprise.

Interested in our results-focused, real-world approach? Then visit our website for more information, or get in touch with us directly to discuss your project.

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Enabling businesses of all sizes to seamlessly and affordably access the benefits of blockchain technology.

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CoreLedger

CoreLedger

Asset tokenization | Blockchain documentation | Token transaction

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