Let’s Face It — The Current Blockchain Landscape Simply Isn’t Friendly Enough For Developers.
Before we dive into why we believe Constellation Labs will make your average developer feel warm and cozy inside when building on our platform, let’s take a look at some of the main obstacles currently existing in the blockchain development space.
Heavy criticism has been lobbied against blockchain developers and projects by those in the wider technology industry at large, mainly due to fundamental engineering issues not being addressed in the space, and not simply a result of cryptocurrencies inherent volatility.
Major enterprises are hesitant to jump in as well, with one of the contributing factors being a vast computer science language barrier. Ethereum’s Solidity doesn’t easily integrate with the existing industry standard protocols, and Bitcoin’s scripting language is highly restricted and isn’t scalable. We’ve also seen the limitations of Bitcoin’s once novel Proof-of-Work mechanism, which gobbles up vast quantities of energy, whereas Proof-of-Stake coins such as NEO and DASH can be seen as utilizing a protocol that just assigns money to trust, allowing the system to essentially be bought and controlled (EOS, cough, cough).
Ethereum and Solidity wanted to secure the Virtual Machine layer, but we already have powerful VM tools in Amazon Web Services and other Cloud Providers all going unused, while the blockchain heavyweights are busy porting over this and essentially creating an inferior copy that they can control, a term in the engineering space called the “Inner Platform effect”. This is essentially a predatory approach to creating an eco-system, and is the opposite of what we’re building at Constellation.
In short, very sophisticated distributed system tools that we can take advantage of already exist, so we don’t need to change the game in that sense. The blockchain industry should stop trying to overcomplicate things, and we should utilize the functional distributed systems that already work. Let’s use the existing framework! Other protocols are trying to replicate them in their sandboxes, and are simply messing them up.
To some in the wider tech space, Bitcoin is viewed as nothing more than a linked list with some hash and a nonce, and not some beacon of technological ingenuity. This isn’t to bash either of these projects, as they’ve both gotten us this far — the point is to illustrate how much of a closed sandbox (especially from a developers perspective) that these projects truly are, and to highlight the main advantages for developers that can build on Constellations protocol, without any of the restrictions and bottlenecks of existing blockchain infrastructure.
To further illustrate this point, let’s take a look at a popular example that most will be familiar with — Apple. Steve Jobs, in all his genius, had a specific vision that he wanted to see out with his Apple products, which eventually resulted in the Apple landscape becoming an utterly closed system. Want to upgrade the RAM or hard drive space on your new MacBook, or customize it in any way similar to a PC? Good luck with that. Want to develop an app for their app store? Gotta get it past Apple first. Ethereum’s smart contracts operate in a similar manner, as potential developers are pigeonholed into using and learning Solidity and playing in the sandbox that Ethereum has set out for you.
Now that we’ve laid out some of the main issues developers face when trying to port over to the blockchain space, let’s dive into the three major advantages of building with our protocol.
Three Main Advantages of Building on Constellation
Familiarity — If you’re already a regular application developer, you’ve more than likely deployed an AWS, and you have all of these habits and routine usages from using programming languages like Python and JVM. At Constellation Labs, we’re focused on being language agnostic and are building our protocol with a set of existing programming languages and tools that your average developer is already familiar with. Among them, are JVM, Python, Akka, MapReduce, Algebird and Scala, as well as Spark. Each one of these are essentially applications of math in the machine learning and distributed systems space.
Instead of forcing you to learn an entirely new program like Solidity, we want blockchain to come to application developers. We recognize that there are existing standards in the developer space, so we’re creating this system in a way that developers would expect to use it.
Virtually any other protocol or coin out there requires an entirely new set of coding and developer skills in order to build upon it. We’ve had enough of this coding catastrophe. Constellation is giving developers the flexibility to essentially copy and paste existing code for their new blockchain applications utilizing our protocol. In addition, when you develop with us, you’re not just getting an ERC-20 token — you’re getting your own blockchain. We’re setting out to be the tool for building you’re own blockchain that will be interoperable within a greater ecosystem.
Freedom — Customers on Constellation have essentially complete freedom, as they aren’t locked into our platform in order to foster their development like they might be with Ethereum or Bitcoin’s specific coding languages (Solidity and Ivey, respectively). In our eyes, this approach is antithetical to creating a truly democratic platform. We recognize the fact that developers have spent years using a certain set of coding languages, and most won’t want to take the time to learn yet another. To reiterate this point, here’s what our VP of Engineering, Ryle Goehausen, had to share:
“It’s much easier to deal with developers working in the same codebase and platform, so we’re targeting JVM at first, and then Python developers. From the beginning, we’re trying to make things agnostic as possible, and the most features [on Constellation] will be available on these languages.”
We want people to be able to use and integrate blockchain technology without having to rewrite their entire project specific to some particular blockchain. Developers will have the freedom to move their code around, and leverage their existing knowledge base and apply it to the blockchain landscape.
In addition, we’re not afraid of people trying to fork our code, and in fact, if people fork our code and create their own project, we’d be excited about that! We want modularity and new development. It’s not about locking people down. We want people to build on top of this and build nearly whatever they want.
Scalability and Reputation — As we touched upon earlier, POS is a reputation model that just assigns money to trust, and we want reputation to be one of the big focuses of our project. We believe that there is a better way to do consensus that doesn’t have these vulnerabilities, and so people can’t just buy into and rig the system. Let’s take a look at a quick example that shows the limitations of this approach:
- Say you’re a small application blockchain developer and building a POS coin. Theoretically, a competitor can come in with more money, buy up your stakes and in the process, sink your coin and destroy all of your work.
If you have POS coins, you’re essentially saying it has to be the most centralized coin possible, and in order to foster development, you have this competitive aspect where people are basically betting money against each other.
With Constellation, we’re not about just having one singular DAG- based blockchain that’s stable, but we’re going to be supporting thousands of independent blockchains and blockchain developers. We’re creating a safe and secure environment for both the little guys and enterprises alike to come and build. To summarize this all in the words of our CTO, Wyatt Meldman-Floch:
We want to allow for people to create a true internet of blockchains by proposing a new way of doing consensus/scaling and interoperating between chains. We’re tailor-made for those who really want to build an application and own their own chain, and create a utility token that solves an actual purpose. So, are you ready to build? Dive into the Orion Portal, which will allow developers and community members to earn tokens for contributing to our community in a wide variety of ways. You can also register to host a Testnet Node here.