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Will Blockchain Bloom Into a Full Stack Technology?

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  • Tip Bones

The development of blockchain over the prior year has been breathtaking. Although the technology is more than ten-years-old, aloft the earlier couple of years, it has rolled out of a narrow use-case in cryptocurrency, to a broader enterprise use-case, where it is being used to file and preserve data.

However, there are hundreds of public blockchains at the time, and although they can be broken down in four principal types, and are created utilizing various ingredients, and portions of code, obtained from a mixture of origins, there are indications that in the future, organizations will be able to purchase full-stack blockchain products, from one of the large vendors like Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud or, unsurprisingly, Microsoft Azure.

Single Stack Blockchain:

The transit to a single, big stack, where organizations will be able to purchase a ready-made product, is not a surprise. Competition is stiff in the blockchain space and the vendor that can accommodate organizations with effortless entrance to blockchain for data management or security or any additional need that may emerge as data sets and use evolves. 

The recruitment market encompassing blockchain is red-hot at the moment, a sure sign the entire market is progressing. So, is single-stack blockchain, the way of the future?

Buck Flannigan is VP of global partners at Winston-Salem, NC. -based Fluree, which provides a blockchain-backed, fully-featured graph database, permitting full-stack developers to create responsive UIs for interactive apps. 

He said that already, full-stack developers should be able to use their current skills, and familiarity with open standards, to be able to incorporate blockchain technology into enterprise applications.

It is all about “using the right tool for the job,” and since full stack developers by definition embrace the full spectrum of technology, they are in a unique position to ensure that blockchain or more generally DLT, Distributed Ledger Technology is utilized in the proper manner, for which it is applicable.

Full-stack developers should be able to apply their present knowledge of enterprise architecture, programming languages, and developer tooling to build decentralized applications DApps in a data-centric, web architecture.

For example, it provides the underlying platform with a blockchain-backed, fully-featured graph database.... allowing full-stack developers to build responsive UIs for interactive apps, along with regular interfaces for autonomous actors bots, and machine learning applications.

All of this is achieved without new proprietary languages or a rip-and-replace of the technologies and standards that today’s full-stack developers are invested in.

“The future will certainly be decentralized. Blockchain is an enabling technology in the Web stack that we consider developers will have an incremental, evolutionary path toward. Brand new projects can start today with the most modern technology stack to support a data-centric architecture for enterprises,” he said.

“Yet we need to respect and reconcile existing applications today that have modernization use-cases for which BlockchainDLT can add significant capabilities and unlock value."

By definition, full-stack developers encompass the entire spectrum of technology, placing them in a unique position to ensure that blockchain — or more generally, distributed ledger technology — is utilized in the proper behavior for which it is appropriate.

 Will Quantum Computing Break Blockchain?

Why Full-Stack Is A Problem:

There are difficulties though, according to John Wagster, who specializes in blockchain-based ventures for Louisville, Kenn. -the based legal team at Frost Brown Todd. He pointed out that a large, for-profit blockchain that controls the market in the same way big tech companies dominate their verticals is antithetical to the blockchain mindset, and therefore unlikely.

 Most true believers in blockchain technology, admire its decentralized nature. Public blockchains are not dictated by a central authority e.g. a government, company or individual, but instead of by a decentralized network of users, all of whom possess a vested interest in the blockchain s success.

“The strength of a blockchain lies in large part, on the basis that no single party can manage it. Indeed, most blockchains are developed using open-source code that can be copied or duplicated by anyone. On the contrary, big tech companies like to control their networks, and often change them to their unique advantage,” he said.

There are use cases for private blockchains, access for which is controlled by a company or consortium instead of all users, but such use cases are limited, and for the reasons stated above private blockchains are not likely to dominate the market.

He added that big companies are trying to get on the blockchain bandwagon by creating their protocols that work on top of a blockchain. Such protocols are an effort by existing companies to stay relevant by harnessing the power of the blockchain, by controlling access to it with a system they can control.

Protocols make it easier for uninitiated blockchain users to build applications on top of a blockchain, but they do not control the blockchain. “Time will tell whether these protocols get market traction or whether they fall by the wayside as blockchain technology becomes more ubiquitous,” he said.

Trends Driving Blockchain Forward

The Future Of Blockchain:

And make no mistake, they will become ubiquitous. According to Vlad Miller, CEO of Express, the potential of blockchain technology is such that, in terms of value, it may exceed $ trillions over the next years, as blockchain solutions will automate most business processes, optimize international financial flows.

Citing a BIS Bank for International Settlement study, he said % of central banks in the world are already exploring the possibility of issuing their digital assets - CBDC. The number of outlets accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment is also growing exponentially.

“We should expect a constant increase in the number of projects until, the emergence of new digital assets, the adoption of clear legislative regulation in most countries of the world,” he said.

And for the immediate future? Enterprise blockchain will continue to make great progress, and many of the innovations that are emerging right now will gain meaningful traction in. This will include blockchain as a viable solution for smart city initiatives, consumer products, and supply chain disruption, said Steve McNew, senior managing director FTI Technology.

More blockchain companies are going to enter the market, with private allocated ledger technology software, SaaS and network solutions, and blockchain spending will increase significantly. 

Early adopter pilot programs will begin to show ROI and other measurable benefits, which will drive more adoption and interest. As space grows, experts will build consensus for blockchain-related information governance and frameworks.