Blockchain in general seems to suffer from a problem of “not being useful” — despite the best efforts of numerous well funded groups and foundations — really the only things that “tokens” are being used for is to:
- Exchange as the price goes up and down. This would be BTC (Bitcoin)and nearly everything else
- Fuel SmartContracts to Easily mint new tokens such as ERC-20 and BEP2 standards
- Exchange tokens that facilitate the exchange of A+B
So, we are basically still at square one– as we were 10 years ago when BTC was born– with little to no practical innovation except that these “coins” being easier to mint and trade.
The Ethereum Foundation has made amazing strides to attempt real-life adoption but any attempt at scale on a massive shared public network quickly gets squashed when it becomes apparent that high value financial transactions such as coin speculation, gambling and pseudo-gambling (CryptoKitties, etc) will always capture network resources over low value transactions such as tracking thousands of points in a supply chain.
So, the answer for making blockchain useful — besides buying and selling coins- lays in the single word of “predictability”.
For useful work to be done on a blockchain at scale, the operators need to know exactly:
- How much it will cost today — and for that matter how much will it cost in one month or one year.
- What is the speed this transaction will be executed and am I guaranteed to have this transaction executed.
If these two points can be guaranteed, then we can be in business. Now there are existing technologies which allow these — and they are called “private blockchains” or as some like to describe them as glorified databases but the point of a blockchain is to secure the trust of counter-parties to effectively manufacture a trustless environment.
This brings us to the solution of Unification and the Hybrid Blockchain, merging the best of both worlds to effectively scale Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) to Enterprises and then the masses.
Technical note: the core Unification technology is a fork of the Ethereum technology, modified for scaling and enterprise usage.
How this is implemented practically can be in three different forms which we will attempt to explain in most simple terms. These methods are BEACONS, WKRCHAINS and TOKENFORGE which we will now discuss in detail to determine which solution is best for your entity.
BEACONS — Plainly put, a Beacon is a plugin that you add to your existing database structure (AWS, Oracle, MySQL etc..) that will periodically (every few seconds to hours depending on configuration) take a snapshot of this database and reduce this snapshot to a 48 character one-way encryption key which represents the entire database. We call this a BEACON and it is then uploaded to the Public Unification Blockchain for forever keeping.
The advantage here is it requires no restructure or change to existing structures but provides an immutable security tracker to ensure that the database was not maliciously tampered with. For example, an evil administrator could quietly and retroactively change records and erase his tracks — a BEACON prevents this as it would result in a mismatch and security alert.
A BEACON can be a highly useful and low-touch way to start exploring the industry but obviously is only for very specific cases — for a more wider approach, many entities are implementing what we call WRKChains.
WRKChain — or, Work Reconciliation Key Chain, are semi-private consortium blockchains. WRKChain was designed so that the deploying agent gets to select the initial validators in the network. A practical example would be: there is a consortium of insurance companies who want to share some data with one another to prevent multi-billing fraud, but also needed to not give away the farm and maintain a competitive distance with certain details.
In this case, the consortium would come together and agree to each host a “node” on the WRKChain. All of the heavy lifting would be done by this private consortium, but periodically their “conclusions” would then be timestamped and sent to the immutable public UND Mainchain. This situation ensures the following:
- Data speed and cost is controlled in a private environment — meaning that for each transactions/query- there is no public blockchain being accessed or fee to be paid as all the Tx happen privately within the consortium.
- The actual “cost” occurs when the conclusion (headers of each block produced) is sent to the public Mainchain and this cost is fixed and predictable.
The “usefulness” of a WRKChain is for when there needs to be trust created in a trustless environment — typical examples will be supply chains and industry consortiums.
A WRKChain is typically a closed environment that does not require a “token.” When a client believes that a token may be required, we direct them to the 3rd pillar of Blockchain, the TOKENFORGE.
TOKENFORGE — may have the qualities of a WRKChain where it is run by a trustless pool of peers or it may be de facto centralized — however, the key element of TokenForge is it allows two distinct types of tokenization:
- Fungible Tokenization — This is when all tokens are the same- so for example, Bitcoin is considered fungible where 1 Bitcoin always equals 1 Bitcoin. Applications like this typically find ground in government/institutional issued/backed stable coins and for tokenization of loyalty points/in-game currency for consumer endeavors.
- Non-Fungible Tokenization — This can be executed in conjunction with Fungible Tokenization but follows the premise that a “unique asset exists on the blockchain” — so for example — a piece of fine art or real estate could be “tokenized” and shares of this token subdivided and sold; another example would be in-game items, such as a “magic sword” where only one unique copy of that asset exists. This would allow the player to immutable own and transfer this item beyond the confines of the game.
Now it should be stated clearly that the above use cases can theoretically be implemented on the public Ethereum Blockchain (via ERC20/721 standards) however as described at the beginning of the article, the public Ethereum chain is not suitable for a production environment because each Tx will require holding and spending ETH for every single user. For example; to transfer your “magic sword” would require holding the 3rd party currency of ETH and be subject to price and “gas” fluctuation.
TOKENForge and WRKChains are based in the Ethereum codebase designed by Ethereum engineers — but are made to be scalable and usable in a production environment by Unification. We consider these not a competitor, but rather an evolution.
This article should be considered a primer or a calling card to the possibility of blockchain for your organization. There are numerous configurations and use cases not discussed in this article, that can be explored on the enterprise section of the Unification website.
If you would like to speak to one of our discovery engineers you can visit www.unification.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation where we can go over some of the other use-cases and implementations to discover which path is right for your cause.
Connect With Unification
One Pager — http://go.unification.com/businessblockchain
WhitePaper — http://go.unification.com/whitepaper
Twitter —http:// www.twitter.com/unificationUND
Telegram — https://t.me/unificationfoundation
GitHub — https://github.com/unification-com