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Ark (ARK), is the cryptocurrency you might have heard about but may not know much about. For the uninitiated, Ark is a delegated proof of stake (DPOS) blockchain that hopes to connect blockchains through so-called, ‘smartbridges’. The Ark project was founded on the idea that all blockchains were meant to be connected, with connection increasing efficiency and potential use-cases.
So far, the Ark team has delivered, quickly achieving and bypassing goals on Ark’s extensive roadmap. As of the time of writing, Ark’s blockchain has gone through over 4.8 million eight second blocks without any major hiccups.
SmartBridges and Interoperability
The ARK team likes to call its project an “all-in-one blockchain solution”, effectively defining their aforementioned smartbridge technology with one simple statement. Smartbridges enlist the help of ‘Encoded Listeners’, which are essentially lines of code that listens for inputs on multiple blockchains. Once implemented with a partnering blockchain, the encoded listener will be able to interact with the other end of the line, Ark’s blockchain.
For example, the Ethereum/ARK smartbridge allows for Ark operations and transactions to be executed on Ethereum’s interface and vice-versa.
Although promising, this technology still remains in its infant stages, with smartbridges only being implemented in Bitcoin and Ethereum as of June.
If the Ark team accomplishes what they plan, there will be smartbridges linking all blockchains, allowing for seamless communication through series of chains.
Point. Click. Blockchain.
Another one of Ark’s catchphrases “Point. Click. Blockchain,” alludes to their blockchain creation system, which is currently in the works. With the system, users of the Ark blockchain should be able to create their own blockchains based off the Ark mainnet. You can currently create your own Ark-based chain, but the Ark team is reportedly creating an easy-to-use UI for the creation of your own chain.
Ark’s team plans for the completed tool to be available and accessible for all users of the Ark blockchain, even those with minimal technical skills. This system should allow for users to create chains for their own products and businesses, in a manner that doesn’t require over-extensive testing or funding.
It is unclear when this tool is going to be released, but according to the roadmap, it is already 61% through its development cycle, with some expecting a release within the upcoming months.
Delegated Proof Of Stake (DPOS)
Ark uses a consensus mechanism called delegated proof of stake, which takes a unique twist on classical proof of stake. DPOS uses a series of dedicated nodes, or so-called delegates, to help verify transactions and push the blockchain forward.
Ark has decided that 51 delegates was the perfect number required for operation of the blockchain, allowing for normal Ark users to allocate their tokens to these delegates. While there may be more than 51 nodes in operation, only the top 51 will be able to validate blocks, generating 2 Ark for every block.
When users allocate their tokens to delegates, these delegates will often distribute a majority of the validation rewards in return. This allows for normal Ark wallets to stay offline, while still generating Ark, a popular passive income alternative to the always-on POS system.
Obtaining integration with a service like the Ledger, is a partnership that many projects strive for. Ark has recently integrated their DPOS system with the Ledger Nano, allowing for users to keep their funds under lock and key while still gaining rewards.
There are many in the community that say that Ark’s team is what makes the project so great. Looking at the team’s expansive lineup, it is clear to see why so many think so. Ark’s core team is currently comprised of 17 hard-working and passionate individuals, with 11 holding co-founder roles. Seeing such a large group of individuals stay a part of the project for such a long time shows how much potential this project has.
Lars Rensing — CFO and Co-Founder
Lars has been held as one of the key figureheads of the project, appearing in multiple interviews with a variety of cryptocurrency media outlets. He has been regarded as one of the cornerstones of the project, with a vast amount of experience in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. His leadership and experience have propelled Ark to become one of the top cryptocurrency projects.
Mike Doty — Managing Director and Co-Founder
Mike is another core team member, directly managing all aspects of the project. Mike graduated from CalTech almost 30 years ago, and has garnered a vast amount of computer science experience since then. In 2014, he got involved in the cryptocurrency industry, using his expertise to help a variety of cryptocurrency projects.
Francois-Xavier Thoorens — Head of Development and Co-Founder
Francois-Xavier has worked extensively in the technology industry, gathering experience with a multitude of technologically based startups. Mr.Thoorens has previously worked with the Lisk cryptocurrency team as a core developer, and has since transferred his development experience to the Ark project.
One aspect which the Ark team prides itself with, is that they are not a ‘hype machine’, allowing for adoption and market impact to come with a product, rather than an expensive marketing campaign. This is why they would rather have their heads-down with development then pushing out a copious amount of promotional materials.
Ark Core v2.0
Ark Core v2.0 is a monumental update for Ark, with this version of Ark being a total overhaul of the old version. V2.0 should come with a dynamic fee structure, an increase in transaction throughput along with support for multisignature wallets. This updated version of the Ark code will begin to look fundamentally different from Lisk’s code, which Ark was forked off of in early 2017. The arrival of Ark Core v2.0 should come with cheaper transactions along with support for the upcoming VM feature.
Ark VM - Ark Smart Contracts
Smart contracts have been historically built on Ethereum, however, Ark hopes to shake this up by adding their own version of smart contracts to the Ark ecosystem. Ark’s team has made it clear that they are not trying to take over Ethereum’s role as the smart contract king. However, this addition will still be welcome in the Ark ecosystem, allowing for DApps to be built upon the Ark platform. Ark VM is expected to be released by the end of the year, with a few expecting the VM release to come with Ark Core V2.0.
Ark is a great project, with an equally as great team. It is by-far one of the foremost players in the interoperability sub-industry, with a solid product and an ambitious schedule ahead of the Ark team. If implemented correctly, Ark Core v2.0, along with its innovative blockchain creation tool should continue to make Ark a strong competitor in this ever-changing cryptocurrency market.