Blockchain happens to be one of the revolutionary solutions of the twenty-first century, if not the revolutionary solution. The creation of a trustless economy, open transparent ledger, automated payment, to name a few revolutionized the way the world saw IT solutions. It was obvious that the adoption by the masses would be only a matter of time. But was it so?
Since the introduction of blockchain through Bitcoin in 2009, the crypto-world has progressed quite well in a decade. However, even in 2019, the enterprise adoption of the blockchain is seen wanting. Why is that important? Well, the success of any concept is its adoption by the enterprise; the proof of the pudding, so to say. Blockchain seems to have everything that an enterprise needs, especially, transparency and security, then why is there a delay in adoption?
The answer lies in the way that the blockchain world has evolved. Blockchain solution allowing free access to all or any user is deemed as public blockchain. Enterprise finds it difficult to adopt such a public chain since the information does not remain private. To bring in privacy, private blockchains were tried out across many industries. However, the cost of development was prohibitive, making it difficult to progress beyond the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage. The many which did progress beyond the PoC stage found limited use cases as compared to traditional centralized solutions.
And there were cases where organizations wanted a hybrid solution encompassing part of the public and private chain. The question was how to make that work.
While many were thinking of the answer to these basic questions, there were few more challenges which had to be addressed.
What were those Challenges?
The problems enumerated in this section were reasons which inhibited the progress of blockchain:
1. Lack of Reliability
Public blockchains pose a challenge for enterprises’ ability to control their IT assets. Besides, hard-forks of any kind may hamper the working of solutions in an enterprise environment. It is true that hard-forks themselves would not affect the working of the previous versions of a solution, but the flow of information within an organization’s web of systems might lead to failure at a vulnerable point. Anticipating such a failure would be a tough task, and definitely something that would not be welcome.
Besides, the volatility in transaction fees also makes the dependence on public blockchain a question mark. One of the basic premises of any enterprise is to ensure that costs are constant for a financial year. The blockchain does not inspire that confidence.
2. IT Integration
In an attempt to be competitive, organizations had embraced IT solutions for more than eight decades. These IT systems are so intricately wound with the enterprise’s functioning that it is at times difficult to let go of legacy systems. Now, if we add blockchain to the equation, the whole gamut of integration goes for a toss. To fathom all possible points of contacts between systems and further integrate them with the blockchain would appear to be a mammoth task. Therefore, apprehension on the introduction of blockchain may remain.
3. Software Development
One of the glaringly evident issues is in the space of software development. With blockchain, enterprises have to deal with their IT team having to learn a new programing language altogether. The cost of such learning, the dearth of ready knowledge and furthermore, retention of such a knowledge base would be challenging. As such, most enterprises will adopt the wait-and-watch strategy to reach a stage where IT workers with sufficient knowledge of blockchain programming are available in plenty. This waiting, therefore, delays the blockchain adoption.
4. Privacy Issues
We did discuss privacy being of utmost importance for enterprises, especially with standards such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force. Public blockchains, therefore, may not be an ideal solution considering the risk that the enterprise would have to take to secure the data. A potential breach of privacy may even have legal implications, not to mention the costs associated with such a breach.
5. Scalability Problems
The robustness of scalability of blockchains still needs to be proved; more so in cases where there is a spike in usage across a specific period. While blockchains can handle simple scalability, sudden scalability requirements are not addressed yet. In other words, there is still some work to be done before the scalability requirement in all scenarios is effectively handled.
6. Interoperability Constraints
Interoperability constraints are what the world will encounter as the blockchain wave progresses. There are nearly a hundred public blockchains and twice that number of private implementations, so how will each blockchain talk to the other? The way these chains are evolving now is that there is hardly any similarity in their framework. So, for such chains to talk to each other would require developers to know almost all the solutions available out there; that is if such integration is required for the smooth functioning of a blockchain solution at the enterprise level. Such integration and interoperability will be a challenge.
These are issues that need to find a solution today more than ever before. Also, organizations would be keen to look at a robust solution addressing the mentioned issues. The question is, are there blockchains even thinking in that direction?
It turns out there is one solution which is indeed thinking in that direction.
Who are we talking about?
We are talking about Aergo. Having looked at the challenges so far and the fact that the IT industry is poised to grow beyond USD 4 trillion over the next few years, it is obvious that the blockchain world will see a lot of action. Aergo intends to be at the forefront of this action.
In their own words, Aergo is described in their whitepaper as follows:
AERGO intends to be a distributed modern ecosystem built around a high-performance, secure and easy to use public blockchain (that we call AERGO Chain)
The Aergo architecture is designed in such a way that it can work as a public or private or both public and private chains. In doing so, Aergo intends to become the blockchain of choice for enterprises and a potent bridge between public and private blockchains. Also, it intends to have a normalization layer where the blockchain on one side and the legacy IT systems on the other side could talk to each other.
Well, I am sure that gives a sense about Aergo but let’s get to know more. We will take a look at the Aergo platform.
Aergo is an open source project and will create a technology and operational framework which will support an ecosystem of developers (dApps), cloud delivery partner and enterprises. The idea is to create technology which is simple and can be easily learned by developers. In doing so, Aergo supports the effective progress of the blockchain.
Some of the features of the Aergo Chain are depicted below:
Aergo also brings forth a tried and tested solution. In fact, the Aergo platform is based on COINSTACK from Blockco Inc. which has operations in the U.K., South Korea and Hong Kong. The solution is live for nearly 25 million users across 20 in-production systems. This further bolsters Aergo’s credentials as one that can work for enterprises, across domains and industries.
We mentioned earlier that Aergo could work in a hybrid public-cum-private chain configuration. The intention behind such a hybrid functioning is to bring together the practicality and innovation of public chains with that of the performance and security of the private chains. This would be similar to what cloud infrastructure did about a decade ago. Enterprises can easily set up their blockchain applications over a public chain and as need be can migrate the same to a more protected environment over a private chain. This kind of setup would mean that Aergo has to be ready for information exchange between multiple instances of public chain with that of the different private chains. Aergo from the looks of it is quite ready for it.
Such an ecosystem is depicted below:
Core Elements of Aergo Platform
Having understood the Aergo platform, let’s understand the core components of the platform.
Aergo Chain is an open source blockchain operating system forming the basis of the Aergo platform. Aergo Chain would be a new protocol consisting of a global public decentralized network of enterprise blockchains run by node providers.
Aergo Hub forms the layer which hosts the applications (dApps) and connects them with the Aergo Chain. There would be two repositories, and the dApps would be stored on either one depending on how the expected function.
Aergo Public Repository – This repository would be used mainly for open source projects
Aergo Private Repository – As the name suggests this would be for a secure private environment, much like the ones that Enterprise grade IT would require
The dApps orchestration, provisioning and deployment would be managed through Aergo Horde.
As the name suggests, the Aergo Marketplace is expected to be a one-stop shop for software applications, computing resources and other services optimized for Aergo Chain. These services too would be managed through Aergo Horde.
Some Functions and Capabilities of the Aergo Platform
Having understood the Aergo Platform so far, let’s take a look at the attributes that form the characteristics of the platform.
1. Consensus Algorithm
Blockchain followers will understand that an effective consensus algorithm is needed to verify and validate a block creation. There have been numerous forms of such validating algorithms before, like Proof of Work, Proof of Stake and others. The Proof of Work mechanism, as used by Bitcoin, is highly energy inefficient and as such taxes the chain. Having seen the past performance of various consensus algorithms, Aergo employs the “Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS)” algorithm.
While the platform allows users and communities to choose their preferred algorithm which suits their business, the default algorithm is DPoS. DPoS propagates decentralization as also is more stable in preventing erroneous hard-forks.
2. Smart Contracts
The Smart Contracts operating within the Aergo Chain are termed as AERGOSQL. The AERGOSQL is an attempt to bring in the ease of development of a smart contract with the basic knowledge of SQL. As such developers need not learn a new language to script a smart contract.
3. AERGO File System (AERGOFS)
AERGOFS allows the Aergo Chain to scale up better for scale-out and scale-up of IT systems. The AERGOFS provides structured and unstructured data storage capability for AERGO Chain. It is based on Facebook’s Haystack technology.
These are some of the capabilities which allow Aergo to function as an effective platform for enterprise use.
Aergo token is a utility token which will enable the working of the Aergo Ecosystem. Aergo tokens will fuel the following activities:
1.Running a Smart Contract (AERGOSQL)
2.DPoS Consensus Algorithm
3.Payment for Blocko’s technical support
4.Payment for Aergo Hub Services
5.Payment for Aergo Domain and Aergo Marketplace
In total there would be 500 million Aergo tokens issued. The allocation of tokens and use of the proceeds are shown in the table.
Aergo Development Roadmap
Here’s a look at the Aergo Development and Deployment Roadmap.
Aergo attempts to address the challenges that hinder enterprises from adopting blockchain as a solution. In the process, Aergo comes up with an open source, easy to understand, and scalable solution, both for the public and private chains. In doing so, Aergo launches the next generation blockchain, one that truly encourages enterprises to look at blockchain seriously and confidently.
Aergo’s attempt is in the right direction, and it appears that it will be successful. Aergo could well and truly become the blockchain fuel for autonomous business!