June’s here. And since we’re not one to miss a hard deadline, that means today we’re officially launching the Loom SDK public beta, as promised 2 months ago.
In this post I’m going to cover:
- How developers can get started using it today
- What this release means for the greater blockchain community, even if you’re not a developer
- Our upcoming roadmap and major focuses for the remainder of 2018, and
- Some significant LOOM token utility updates we’ve added over the past couple months that you might have missed
Ready? Let’s dive into it.
1. The Loom SDK — Now in Public Beta
First thing’s first: Developers, you can now get started with the Loom SDK by going to loomx.io/developers.
After following the installation instructions for getting set up, you can begin using our Unity SDK or Cocos SDK to build a DAppChain game, learn how to communicate with a DAppChain from your Go and Node.js apps, or learn to deploy and run Solidity contracts on a DAppChain using Truffle & Web3. (Among other things).
The SDK also comes packaged with multiple example DApps you can simply download and run out of the box: A Unity-based side-scrolling adventure game, a social network, and 2 examples for using Phaser and WebSockets for browser-based games.
As we’ve learned from the 207,623+ developers who have used our course CryptoZombies.io to learn to build Ethereum DApps, the easiest way to gain mass developer adoption is by giving people fun sample DApps to hack on and learn by example. And that’s exactly what we plan on doing for the Loom SDK.
We have a CryptoZombies “Loom SDK edition” course planned in the near future that will make it even easier for developers to learn to build their first DApp on the Loom SDK.
If you were a fan of CryptoZombies.io, you’re going to absolutely LOVE what our team has been cookin’ up in the Loom Laboratory.
Yeah. We’ve been busy.
Just check out our SDK release notes to see what our developer team has been up to.
We’ve been averaging 2–3 public releases per week since our first stable beta release a month ago.
And for those of you who aren’t developers…
2. I’m Not a Developer. Why Is This Significant? 🤔
At Loom Network, our goal is to bring blockchain applications to the mainstream.
Three of the biggest hurdles that have prevented that from happening so far are:
a) Scalability limitations of existing blockchain platforms
b) UX issues that prevent blockchain apps from being as fun and usable as traditional apps
c) Developing blockchain apps is hard, so there simply aren’t enough developers trying to build cool sh*t.
The Loom SDK is a huge step forward in solving the issues that until now have prevented blockchain applications from reaching mainstream audiences.
The availability of the Loom SDK to developers makes it a lot more likely that you, as a user, will see blockchain apps that go totally mainstream in the next 6–12 months.
But let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of why this is the case.
a) The Loom SDK allows for highly scalable blockchain applications, while still being fully compatible with Ethereum
DAppChains built using the Loom SDK run on DPoS, which is a consensus algorithm that allows for very high transaction throughput. This enables applications to reach mainstream scale without clogging up the network and grinding it to a halt.
But unlike other DPoS blockchains, Loom DAppChains run as sidechains to Ethereum, meaning developers can access this scalability while still taking advantage of the security and network effects of the world’s most widely used decentralized blockchain.
For instance, instead of creating a totally new token standard on a brand new blockchain and trying to convince everyone to switch, your app running on a Loom DAppChain is compatible out of the box with Ethereum token standards like ERC20 and ERC721 (which already make up 87% of the top 800 tokens by market cap).
b) The Loom SDK enables apps with a seamless user experience
Until now, it wasn’t possible to run a truly interactive game on Ethereum.
Say you wanted to write your character’s position and movements to the blockchain. On Ethereum, your users would need to engage with a MetaMask popup and pay gas every time they moved their character — then they would have to wait 15 seconds or longer for the move to get saved to the blockchain and confirmed before proceeding.
Not a great user experience.
On a Loom DAppChain, this UX is improved significantly, which enables things like fully immersive online games on the blockchain.
- Users do not need to pay gas fees on the DAppChain, which prevents the mental transaction cost associated with having to make a micropayment for every move you make in the game.
- Sub-second confirmation times enable interactive user-facing DApps. Nobody wants to wait 15+ seconds after their opponent finishes his turn to keep playing.
- Users don’t need to sign every transaction on the DAppChain, which massively improves the user experience of being interrupted by popups.
And since these DAppChains run as sidechains to Ethereum, this functionality extends what Ethereum developers are able to do with their existing DApps.
In plain language, that means you can have your CryptoKitty saved securely on Ethereum mainnet, and have a game in which you use it to battle other people’s CryptoKitties on a sidechain.
c) It’s now MUCH EASIER for developers to build these blockchain applications than ever before
At Loom Network, we’re big fans of Steemit, and we think it serves as an early example of what’s possible with decentralized applications.
But Steemit is not a trivial piece of software. For the average developer, it would be a serious undertaking to try to build their own Steemit-like DApp and the blockchain that underlies it.
The Loom SDK now makes it possible for a single developer to build a Steemit-like DApp in a matter of days or weeks, rather than months or years.
We’ve abstracted out all the hard “blockchainy” stuff, like consensus, and made it plug-and-play — so now all developers need to focus on is coding the core application logic.
This will massively increase the number of developers who are able to build blockchain applications with the potential to go mainstream, and decrease the time and budget necessary to make it happen.
And for games specifically:
That means any traditional game developer can now just jump in and start making a blockchain game.
To hammer the point home of just how simple it is, just check out what the attendees of our recent Tokyo Hackathon built in just 9 hours of first downloading the Loom SDK.
These were regular Unity game developers who had little to no experience with blockchain development beforehand.
And this is just the beginning.
Just like we did with CryptoZombies.io for Ethereum developers, we’ll have more and more resources coming in the near future that will make it even easier for developers to build the next generation of revolutionary decentralized applications.
And what else does the future have in store for us?
3. Loom Network’s Upcoming SDK Roadmap and Major Focuses in 2018
With the public release of our beta SDK, we’re now coming to the end of the roadmap we laid out in April.
So we thought it would be good to take a step back and paint a picture of what’s to come for the rest of this year.
a) Upcoming Features for the Loom SDK
The public release of the SDK beta does not mark the end of our plans for the SDK — it’s only the beginning. The SDK will be receiving weekly updates for many years to come.
We have all sorts of features planned over the coming months. Here’s a sampling of features that are coming very soon.
By end of June:
- TransferGateway support for ERC20/ERC721/Ethereum
- ERC721 Plasma Cash support
- Unity Solidity examples
- Cron blockchain support
- Token pegging
- ERC20/ETH Plasma Cash support
- Hardfork manager
- Extended Sybil resistance framework
Aside from just improving the Loom SDK, we have a few major projects we’ll be devoting a lot of our internal resources to, like ZombieChain and our blockchain-based mobile collectible card game, Zombie Battleground.
So let’s take a peek at our plans for those.
b) ZombieChain & Shared Sidechains
One of our major focuses over the coming months will be integrating the SDK with ZombieChain, so developers can deploy their DApps to shared chains.
We’ve been in close contact with over 300+ developers who have been using our closed beta since we announced it 3 months ago — and this has allowed us to get a lot of hands-on feedback from the people who are building the next generation of Ethereum DApps.
What we found is that most of our beta testers didn’t want to host their own DAppChain for a brand new DApp — most of them simply wanted an easy way to deploy their DApps to a chain that’s more performant and scalable than Ethereum.
So our next major focus after releasing the SDK is on our first shared sidechain, ZombieChain — which will make it even easier for developers to launch their first highly scalable blockchain application.
If the Loom SDK makes it simple for developers to build their own highly scalable DApps, ZombieChain makes it EVEN SIMPLER.
You can think of ZombieChain as being similar to what EOS plans to offer with their mainnet, except that ZombieChain is fully compatible with Ethereum. More details in the official announcement.
Here’s our anticipated timeline for ZombieChain, and a preview of where we’ll be going with the shared sidechains concept:
End of June:
- Launch ZombieChain testnet
- Launch ZombieChain mainnet
- Add Sybil resistance functionality
- Open up ZombieChain to external validators (validators will earn payments in LOOM tokens from the DApps running on ZombieChain)
We’ll be opening up applications to become a validator in the near future, and will have more details as the time approaches.
Validators will be required to stake a large amount of LOOM tokens as a security bond, around 100,000 LOOM.
In September, we plan to launch a shared “GameChain”, with the focus of being optimized for high-performance Unity games. The first game running on it will be our very own Zombie Battleground.
Some features we’re currently researching to include on this chain:
- Ephemeral transactions (short lived blocks that don’t get persisted for more than a few minutes). This enables games that need to write a ton of data to the chain (like character position data) without causing massive blockchain bloat over time.
- Multi-region low-latency zones for games that require a fast update cycle.
- Marketplace support (for buying and selling in-game assets). Think of this like a decentralized Amazon or Ebay, exclusively for in-game items from dozens or hundreds of different games, starting with cards from Zombie Battleground.
- Cross-DAppChain Plasma Cash, enabling “sidechains of sidechains”, or as one of our community members coined it, “Loomception” 😳
- Loom BiFrosts: DappChain “clearinghouses” that enable trading of tokens or data between multiple DAppChains without the expense of hitting Ethereum mainnet. They will also have connectivity and asset pegging to Ethereum.
Sound exciting? I hope you’re as pumped as we are.
But that’s just the nerdy stuff.
What we’re REALLY excited on is bringing the world its first mainstream blockchain-based game.
c) Zombie Battleground: Bringing Blockchain to the Mainstream
If you’re a fan of online gaming and you missed our announcement for Zombie Battleground, you’re definitely going to want to check it out now. This game is going to be EPIC.
This is not a game whose adoption will be limited only to those who currently own ETH or BTC. As an iOS and Android mobile game that’s free to play, with Zombie Battleground we’re targeting mainstream audiences.
All the cards you earn in the game are represented by ERC721 tokens on the blockchain, which means you’ll be free to buy and sell them on our massive p2p marketplace.
But from a regular user’s perspective, it just looks and feels exactly like a regular mobile game — the fact that the cards are stored on a DAppChain in the backend will be totally invisible, until they decide to learn about ERC721s and how to redeem them on Ethereum mainnet.
Selling the cards they’ve earned for free by playing Zombie Battleground may even be the way thousands of new users discover Ethereum and earn their very first ETH 😳
Pretty cool, huh?
And as I mentioned previously, the DAppChain we build Zombie Battleground on will pave the way to become the shared GameChain, our second of many shared DAppChain universes — this one optimized for high-performance gaming.
We have a very major announcement around this game coming within the next week, so I won’t spoil any details yet. Follow us closely so you don’t miss it!
4. LOOM Token Utility Updates
I know, it’s been a lot of updates crammed into one article.
We’ve continued to add more and more uses for the LOOM token since we officially released it in March.
So I thought it would be a good idea to cover all those different use cases here, to make sure everyone’s all caught up on all the different things you can use your LOOM tokens for.
a) Developers: Token Staking & Payment to Run DApps on ZombieChain (and other shared chains in the future)
Here’s how it works:
- Developers who want to run a DApp on ZombieChain lock a minimum of 10 LOOM tokens into a smart contract to power their DApp (more for higher volume DApps).
- Each month, tokens are deducted based on how much shared “bandwidth” that DApp consumes (measured in Transactions Per Second). Developers can choose to cap their throughput at a certain tier to prevent unexpected costs.
- The tokens that are deducted from developers each month get paid to the DAppChain validators as fees for running the DAppChain.
In this way, the token model is similar to EOS’s, except since the LOOM token isn’t inflationary, the real cost of running their DApps is more transparent to developers.
b) Users: Zombie Battleground Game Membership Benefits
In Zombie Battleground, there are multiple ways to earn new cards.
You can earn new card packs simply by playing and getting rewards — the game is built to give “lots of loot” so free-to-play players aren’t penalized for not shelling out a lot of cash.
Players who are short on time can optionally choose to pay money for cards — either through buying random card packs directly from us, or buying individual cards directly from other users on our marketplace.
But there’s a third way you can earn cards — by staking your LOOM tokens.
Players who stake their LOOM tokens can get a “game membership” that will give them free packs of cards (and other benefits) each month.
When you stake the tokens, you don’t lose them — you can get them back whenever you want, at which point you’ll stop receiving the monthly rewards. And if you leave them staked, you’ll continue to earn in-game rewards each month.
c) Developers: Enterprise Support for the Loom SDK
For enterprises who want to run their own standalone DAppChain and want hands-on support from our dev team while running it, we’ll be providing premium support at a cost of 100,000 LOOM per year.
d) Users: Access to Loom Transfer Gateways
This was the original use case of the token: DAppChains are free-to-use for users, but once the user wants to transfer their assets to Ethereum (or another DAppChain), they’ll need to own 1 LOOM token as a membership key.
This will also play into our design for Sybil resistance and account verification, which we’ll be talking about in more detail in a future article.
e) Developers: Loom SDK License Tiers & Running Nodes
As mentioned in our token FAQ, developers will need to own a sufficient number of tokens to cover their license tier both for using the SDK and operating a node on a private DAppChain.
Memberships will start at 10 LOOM tokens for the basic version of the SDK, and range up to 10,000 LOOM tokens for larger deployments.
End of the Line… Until Our Next Announcements!
Hope you enjoyed this massive update… And I hope you’re as excited about the future of blockchain applications as we are.
We’re really looking forward to seeing how our upcoming game Zombie Battleground is received by the general public.
Oh yeah — did I mention that we have BIG news on that front coming in the next week or so???
So if you’re not already, get your butt on our super-secret private mailing list.
You’ll get Dilanka’s hilariously witty and entertaining updates, which regularly get rave responses like this one:
That’s all I’ve got for you this week! Until next time…
Loom Network is the multichain interop platform for scaling high-performance dapps — already live in production, audited, and battle-tested.
Deploy your dapp to Loom’s Basechain once and reach the widest possible user base across all major blockchains today.
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