Multi-chain integration is to blockchain what the assembly line was to Henry Ford. One-off customization is fine for Bugatti; but for the rest of us, practicality and price matter. Ford’s genius was to use the practicality of the assembly line to bring automobiles within the price range of the ordinary person. A hundred and thirteen years after formation, Ford is still one of the world’s largest family-owned businesses.
As blockchain evolves, we can see the same philosophy that Ford brought to cars echoed in the projects creating exceptional value in the market today.
Blockchain ecosystems like Cosmos, Ontology, and Polkadot are all the rage, creating a ton of market buzz and beginning to turn the industry away from the boutique and towards mass enterprise adoption. Interoperability finally seems to be a priority for more than a few specialized players in the market.
In the meantime, Komodo, the original multi-chain platform, keeps quietly progressing. Komodo has offered independent blockchain creation since January of 2017, but it’s about to offer a range of services and products that have rarely, if ever, been seen in this arena before.
The platform is undergoing a massive overhaul this summer, launching the Antara framework on July 15, with a new website, a new visual identity, an updated white paper, and a partner network program. And the possibilities are spectacular.
Like the growing range of multi-blockchain technologies, Komodo’s ecosystem focuses on decoupling services that have traditionally depended on centralized singular blockchains in previous iterations of the technology.
Security, for example, is normally shared on singular blockchain networks. Komodo instead offers security that is separated from a central agency via Delayed Proof of Work, or DPoW.
Scalability is an obvious advantage of this variation on the tech, offering independent solutions and autonomy for individual developers. “Single chain is simply not the best solution for scalability, autonomy, or security” Komodo CMO Steve Lee explains.
Sovereignty on the blockchain
One huge advantage of a multi-chain ecosystem, Steve Lee argues, is sovereignty. With Komodo, developers own their network solution, rather than being forced to raise funds in the host network’s currency, like Ethereum, for example.
Sovereignty extends to Komodo’s “smart chains” — an evolution of Komodo’s “asset-chain” technology, with a greater emphasis on baked-in composability and programmability.
Smart chains are considered the first “layer” of the new Antara framework. These smart chains can have their own consensus rules, their own network, and launch their own unique currency, with transaction fees paid natively instead of via the KMD currency.
Komodo at the core, Antara framework on top
Komodo functions as two “chips”, Lee explains, with the Komodo core handling decoupled DPoW, scalability, interoperability, and updates for life for all users.
The second “chip” is Antara — previously known as the over-simplified “crypto-conditions”. Blockchain services are built into the chain, enabling easy plug-ins that can be added as developers choose.
With the open ecosystem of Antara, developers can create and share solutions, adding their solutions to a collective dynamic library. This ease-of-use encourages adoption of the technology. For the head developer at Komodo, James Lee, adoption is the key goal, so development needs to be as easy and free of barriers as possible.
Komodo is therefore built as the core foundation, with Antara functioning on top of the structure. Antara’s contract-base front-end can then be used to insert written code into the chain as custom modules for an unlimited myriad of utilities.
Rent or own?
To get a clearer picture of the uniqueness of this ecosystem, think of this simple comparison. “It’s like choosing between leasing and owning a property”, Steve Lee explains.
“When you lease a spot, like on the Ethereum blockchain, you are not guaranteed of certain important elements. Gas costs, for example, can vary wildly. You have to wait on the platform developers to fix bugs that affect the entire ecosystem. You depend on the Ethereum core team to fix the problems.”
Unlike Komodo, Ethereum operates as a monolithic mainframe upon which all tokens depend. Fixing the system is much like trying to repair a car while driving it.
Komodo, on the other hand, is more like owning property. The infrastructure allows developers to run independent blockchains, where changes can be tested separately and implemented or adapted to a range of blockchains when ready.
The developer’s autonomy is much greater and not nearly as dependent on a central core of people. Using Antara, developers can create oracles; their own token DEX; stable coins; non-fungible tokens; and so forth, all while operating independently, but secured via Komodo.
Because of Antara’s plug-and-play functionality, modules like the Quantum-secure digital signature scheme, Dilithium, can be added to any chain on the network. For mass multi-signature transactions, the MuSig plug-in can be utilized.
Developers can take Komodo technologies like these, that have been developed already, and simply plug them in to their own chains. Since they are contained separately, there is no need for them to be fully integrated into the superstructure, so there is much more room for experimentation and customization.
Building a chain in a minute
Antara enables web-based blockchain creation, with a myriad of configurable parameters, spun up easily on to AWS, literally within a minute.
There are 18 different ways to customize a Smart Chain, according to Komodo technical writer Daniel Pigeon. You can choose your consensus rules, hashing algorithm, pre-mine supply, block time, block rewards, size and frequency of reductions in block rewards, privacy settings, and more.
Networks on Komodo can operate a single chain or instead launch multiple chains for greater performance demands. The created chain can then be launched via the AWS Partner Network, with “AWS cloud computing services available to create both seed nodes and mining nodes for any Smart Chain.”
One of the greatest advantages of such a system is its built-in security. Normally a small network with relatively little mining power would be highly vulnerable to attacks. Every chain built via Antara, no matter how niche, enjoys Bitcoin-level security thanks to Komodo’s Delayed Proof of Work solution. DPoW harnesses Bitcoin’s enormous hashing power to secure all chains, mitigating security and integrity concerns.
Komodo has signed up a number of blockchain-agnostic partners to act as development houses, creating modules on Antara that can then be shared for everyone to use on the network. These development houses will provide training and replicate modules which can then be added to the open ecosystem library.
A number of independent chains are already operating in Komodo’s ecosystem, including Hush, Einsteinium, and GameCredits. Hemp Coin (THC) is in the process of fully migrating to the Komodo ecosystem. Developers can choose to operate as a side-chain of Komodo or to be completely integrated, like Hemp Coin, with the full feature set provided by the Antara service.
With such a vastly adaptable framework, developers can collectively build a platform for their specific needs with a virtually infinite variety of services. The chain is shared and fully interoperable, so all updates are automatically shared. Through this system, developers can build their own independent blockchain, but still benefit from all the updates to the larger ecosystem.
Komodo’s white label products
Komodo also offers a growing range of white label products that can be accessed by anyone building on the platform. These include “a multi-coin wallet, mobile atomic swap DEX, custom block explorer, decentralized crowdfunding application, and SPV server integration.”
Komodo’s DEX is in development, currently in closed beta. The DEX will be a true, fully decentralized atomic-swap exchange, supporting the swapping of any coin without the need for any intermediary party. It is a truly peer-to-peer exchange which will include P2P communication features. Interestingly, the DEX will even provide atomic swaps on mobile devices. Previously, Steve Lee explained, such an exchange would not function on mobile due to stability limitations of mobile internet. With an improved BitTorrent layer, swaps of this nature are now finally possible.
The Komodo wallet, Lee explains, is being revamped as well, with new multi-coin support and a built-in atomic-swap DEX. Liquidity for the DEX, Lee explains, will be accomplished on the back-end with shared pools acting as liquidity providers. More liquidity could be added via coin communities, market-makers, and even OTC-based atomic swaps.
A new emphasis on composability
With the rebrand, James Lee has decided to stick with the Komodo name, but will be refreshing the brand with a new whitepaper, new features built on Antara layer and an emphasis on composability and smart-chains. Composability and flexibility are highly important, with the ability to create and provision hardware to applications dynamically as needed. Resources can be re-assigned dynamically via the shared resource pool. Chains can be spun up, taken down, or altered in purpose on the fly.
Lee compared Komodo’s rapid development with the evolutionary progression of blockchain technology: Bitcoin began it all, acting as a sort of complex calculator. Ethereum moved the tech forward, acting as a sort of mainframe, with terminals plugging into a supercomputer.
Composability, Lee argues, is the next step forward, providing a library of tools via the Antara module system. This framework will be simple to implement, but flexible enough to enable growing complexity and adaptability over time.
Note: although we discuss the technical specifications and use-cases of Komodo extensively in this piece, please be aware that this is an editorial piece and not one of our deeper digital asset research reports, which are conducted by our analyst team for our upcoming SIMETRI research platform.
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