Everything You Need to Know About Loom Network, All in One Place
October 24, 2018
Update: Our official loomx.io website has the most updated info on Loom Network. This article is old and the information is outdated.
One of the first things newcomers discover about our project is that we don’t have a “whitepaper”—a document that has (rightfully or not) become somewhat of a requirement for companies building blockchain tech.
In short, we think talk is cheap — and the only thing that ACTUALLY matters is tangible results.
It didn’t make sense to us to publish in-depth documentation for a product that didn’t exist yet — so we figured we’d build the product first, get a bunch of developers building DApps on it, and then release the in-depth documentation.
It’s not that we’ve been secretive about what we’re building.
We’ve written over 50,769+ words of content on our Medium publication since we started this project in October 2017.
That’s 50,769+ words exploring our best ideas — our theses about scaling Ethereum, building DApps, and why we think online games and social apps are the next industries to be disrupted by blockchain technology.
But recently, there’s been a massive surge of interest in our project.
…and while we’ve written TONS of content, it might be tough for newcomers to know where to start.
So we decided to create this article to index and organize all the good stuff just for you.
Think of it like a “table of contents” for everything we’ve written so far.
This index will be updated regularly, so it will be a one-stop buffet curated with everything you need to become a certified expert on Loom Network 😉
Ready? Let’s dive into it.
1. What Is Loom Network?
Loom Network is building a fundamental infrastructure platform to help Ethereum scale.
It allows developers to run large-scale applications, and is the first Ethereum scaling solution to be live in production.
In short, you can think of Loom Network as EOS on top of Ethereum.
The Loom SDK
The fundamental building block of Loom Network is an SDK that allows developers to quickly build their own blockchains without having to understand blockchain infrastructure. Think of it like a “build your own blockchain” generator.
DAppChains: Each DApp on its Own Sidechain
The Loom SDK generates what’s called a DAppChain — a Layer 2 blockchain that uses Ethereum as its base layer.
Running each DApp on its own sidechain to Ethereum has a number of benefits, but most importantly:
- DAppChains can use alternative consensus rulesets (like DPoS) that optimize for high scalability.
- Using Ethereum as a base layer means DAppChain-based assets (like ERC20 and ERC721 tokens) can have the security guarantees of Ethereum, especially when backed by Plasma.
DPoS: Enabling Massively Scalable DApps
Our SDK allows developers to choose their consensus algorithm and rulesets to customize the scalability and security tradeoffs to their DApps needs.
Out of the box, we support Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), which enables large-scale DApps with gas-less transactions and sub-second transaction times. Online games and social apps are the two initial types of DApps we’re focusing on, but you can build any type of DApp using the Loom SDK.
2. Understanding DAppChains
To better understand our core thesis on scaling and the benefits of DAppChains, read these two articles:
3. Understanding Plasma
Plasma allows users to securely transfer their digital assets onto sidechains from Ethereum mainnet without the need to trust the sidechain’s consensus algorithm.
By implementing Plasma on our DAppChains, we can ensure better security for asset owners and allow more critical operations to be run on the sidechains.
Here are two articles explaining our usage of Plasma on Loom DAppChains:
- Plasma on Loom Network DAppChains: Scalable DApps With Ethereum-Secured Assets
- Practical Plasma (Volume I): Gaming—focuses on some of the real-world user benefits of securing sidechains with Plasma
4. The LOOM Token
We have an article specifically devoted to explaining what the LOOM token is and how it works:
5. What Progress Has Loom Network Made So Far?
a) The First DAppChain Went Live on March 14, 2018
As our head of growth Dilanka put it, “it’s like Steemit and StackOverflow had a baby.”
On DelegateCall, you earn karma points when your questions and answers get upvoted, which are redeemable for an ERC20 token on Ethereum mainnet. Thus you can earn real money by contributing instead of just useless karma points.
Try it out yourself by signing up and asking a question to see an example of how performant DAppChain-based DApps can actually be in production — it feels just like a normal web 2.0 app, even though it’s running 100% on the blockchain.
Then check out the DelegateCall block explorer to watch the DelegateCall DAppChain get updated with your question in real-time.
If you want more info about how it works, the following article goes into more detail on some FAQs, as well as DelegateCall’s technical implementation:
b) The Loom SDK Beta — Opened to the Public on June 12, 2018
Our dev team put in some serious work to get this beta release ready for the public — and in just a little more that two months after the private alpha was first released.
Read the announcement for more info on the Loom SDK and what it means for both developers and non-developers:
Check out the docs site for developers, now available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean:
c) CryptoZombies — The World’s Most Popular Ethereum Code School with over 300,000+ Students
CryptoZombies is our free code school where developers can learn to build games (and other DApps) on Ethereum.
When we set out to create Ethereum-scaling tech, we realized that a blockchain platform is only as useful as the applications that exist on top of it.
And the best way to make sure your platform is chock-full of useful applications is to make it as easy as possible for developers to build on top of, which means:
- Building the first popular applications in-house (which we’ve done with DelegateCall for social sites, and are doing again with Zombie Battleground for games).
- Creating a killer set of tutorials that walks them through the development every step of the way.
So we created CryptoZombies to train the next generation of blockchain developers. First to teach them how to write their first smart contracts on Ethereum, and later to teach them how to build their first Loom Network DAppChain.
CryptoZombies has since blown up and has become the world’s #1 resource for learning Ethereum development.
Now we’re in the process of building CryptoZombies 2 — to upgrade your blockchain-app-developing, Solidity-slaying dev skills to the next level.
We’ll also be creating a global network of CryptoZombies meetups to help even more people learn how to build Ethereum DApps.
d) Zombie Battleground — Private Alpha Launched on August 15, 2018
Zombie Battleground was completely funded on Kickstarter in 1 Day and released (in alpha) to early backers literally 3 days after the campaign ended. Two weeks later, we released the second alpha build, which also included Android and iOS versions.
If you didn’t already know, it’s a 100% on-chain collectible card game targeted at mainstream audiences, playable on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
It’s the world’s first truly scalable blockchain game, meaning it looks and feels exactly like any other mobile game. You don’t need any cryptocurrency wallet or tokens to play the game… You don’t even need to know what a blockchain is!
e) PlasmaChain Launch — August 24, 2018
A Plasma Cash-backed Hub for Transacting Between Sidechains and Ethereum Mainnet
Formerly known as ZombieChain, we rearchitected, rebranded, and launched this sidechain as PlasmaChain.
Originally, the Loom SDK was designed for every DApp to run on its own sidechain, each with its own consensus algorithm and ruleset. But after talking with a bunch of developers, we learned that a lot of them simply wanted a shared chain more scalable than Ethereum to deploy to.
The Zombie Battleground Marketplace is already running on PlasmaChain as you read this.
“As the central hub that acts as a bridge between multiple sidechains and Ethereum, PlasmaChain will be one of the most important pieces in our vision moving forward.”
f) Lots of other side projects / developer tools
For developers, by developers.
We’re nerds at heart. So along the journey, we’ve built a number of side projects:
- EthFiddle.com — has become the #1 Solidity code-sharing site for Ethereum developers
- SolidityX — a secure-by-default superset of Solidity that compiles down to regular Solidity (protecting against known security holes); we’ll eventually make this part of our SDK
- EthDeploy — an easy way to spin up private Ethereum blockchains for testing and demoing your DApps
- CryptoZombies Origins: What is Blockchain? — an in-browser playable game/tutorial that teaches the basics of the blockchain
6. What’s coming next?
We recently wrote an article outlining our roadmap for the next few months. Take a look here:
And here’s an updated roadmap for 2019 and beyond:
There’s also quite a few secret announcements that we don’t want to reveal yet, because we’re Loom Network, and that’s how we roll 😜
Want to learn more?
As I said, we plan to update this post more and more in the future to make it as comprehensive as possible.
In the meantime:
- There’s a lot more in-depth articles on our Medium publication.
- Subscribe to our private mailing list for an (entertainingly written, thanks Dilanka) weekly update of the latest Loom Network news
- You can also follow our Twitter or Telegram announcements channel for more immediate updates.
Loom Network is the blockchain platform of choice for serious dapp developers — the Universal Layer 2 that provides developers the tools they need to build functional user-facing dapps today.
New to Loom? Start here.
Want to stake your LOOM tokens and help secure Loom Network? Find out how.
And if you enjoyed this article and want to stay in the loop, go ahead and sign up for our private mailing list.