Hi, I’m Andrarchy the CEO and Co-Founder of OpenOrchard and in this post I’d like to update those interested in the progress we’re making on two of our products; the Koinos blockchain and ODESI microservices.
A couple of months ago we announced the formation of this company and the addition of 4 extremely talented blockchain engineers, thanks to their unparalleled experience working on the Steem and Bitshares blockchains.
But these people aren’t just great blockchain engineers, they’re great software engineers who can build all kinds of amazing systems, so we didn’t want to just assume that we knew what kind of blockchain we should build, or whether we should build a blockchain at all! After all, there are a number of functional blockchains to choose from.
That’s why the first step we took was evaluating the existing solutions. Through those examinations we discovered that all of them suffered from significant architectural flaws, whether due to technical debt or just old age. These are not small issues, but serious problems that we believe will inhibit the ability of those platforms to scale while meeting the needs of developers and users.
What motivated us to work on Steem was not a shared love for social media. Steem was the first blockchain that was both accessible to mortal developers and capable of delivering a positive user experience at a relatively large scale. It is this focus on building something that is both developer-friendly *and* user-friendly, that serves as the “rudder” guiding our ship as we navigate the waters of blockchain architecture.
To avoid adopting solutions that would saddle us with unwanted technical debt, we decided to build our blockchain entirely from scratch. The goal was not necessarily to*keep* everything we built, but even if we ultimately wound up adopting existing solutions, we would be doing so with full knowledge of the baggage we were taking on and a deeper understanding of what exactly we were building. It was this knowledge which we believed would pay dividends and we are happy to say it definitely did.
By building all of the components from scratch (taking advantage of modern C++ libraries that older blockchains didn’t have access to) we have been able to reconstruct the blockchain foundation with building blocks (no pun intended) that are lighter weight, simpler, more efficient, with code that is more maintainable and easier to update.
We are excited to announce that we have these components functioning in a test environment and producing empty blocks. What is even more exciting is that as we were reconstructing the foundational components of the blockchain we were not only able to build them better, but we were able to rethink how the different parts of the blockchain should work together, and how those parts could make use of some of the next-generation blockchain technology we pioneered at Steem like MIRA (Multi Index Rocksdb Adapter) and Resource Credits.
While this is a major first milestone for us, the blockchain itself is neither decentralized or useful and, of course, we want it to be extremely decentralized and extremely useful. But it is a very important first step because it demonstrates that despite the novel foundational design, all of the changes and improvements we’ve made still work together functionally to produce a blockchain.
We are now confident we can build Koinos into a general purpose blockchain that is fast and free for users, and that is capable of running Smart Contracts while ensuring a consistent user experience. Because the blockchain will be so light weight, the cost of acquiring resource rights (through staking of KOIN) will be incredibly low and therefore accessible to more developers than ever.
To make Koinos even more developer-friendly, we’ve decided to support Smart Contracts written in any programming language that can be compiled using WASM (Java, PHP, Python, Go, Rust), which means that Koinos will be accessible to more developers than many other blockchain platforms which don’t have such support
As developer-friendly as Koinos will be, *application* developers should not be required to write Smart Contracts in order to take advantage of blockchain-powered features. Application developers should be able to focus on empowering their users. ODESI is the middleware that we’re developing which will give developers the components they need to bootstrap their applications and deliver amazing and empowering experiences for their users that will just so happen to take advantage of a general purpose blockchain.
That’s why ODESI is being architected as a suite of microservices, the first of which will be user authentication and encrypted messaging because these can be built while the blockchain is still in development. As more of the blockchain is completed, we will be able to add more blockchain specific microservices to ODESI.
As you can see, this project has become quite ambitious. We still have many decisions to make and much work to do. We are eager to continue getting feedback from developers about what features you’re looking for both from Koinos and ODESI, so if you are interested in influencing the design of these products, please stop on by our discord server, and if you’d like to receive updates on our progress, you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter by going to openorchard.io and following the @OpenOrchard account on Hive.