Cointelegraph follows the development of an entirely new blockchain from the ground up to the mainnet and then in the In the Mind of the Blockchain Developer series written by Andrew Levin of the Koinos Group.
People use social apps on a daily basis, but despite all the hype surrounding supposedly “next generation” blockchains, none of these social apps are decentralized. Let’s see why, based on two types of block chains: Ethereum and Steem.
Ethereum has more developers than any other public blockchain, yet none of these developers have been able to create a regular social app. At one point, Steem was one of the most widely used blockchains of any kind in the world, making it one of the most used social DA apps in the world, with a market cap that reflected this at an all-time high of around $2. Billion. .
Steem was able to grow very quickly and attract hundreds of thousands of regular users, but it never achieved the same level of developer adoption as Ethereum and ultimately failed to realize its potential. How and why this happened is a valuable lesson in building both DApps and blockchains.
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Ethereum: Blockchain for public use
When Steem was created, Ethereum was the only viable blockchain a developer could use to build their own DApp without forking and re-encrypting an existing blockchain like Bitcoin.
With Ethereum, instead of building a blockchain from scratch only to support a specific application (such as a social network), a developer can simply write the code required for their application and upload it to the Ethereum blockchain as a “smart contract”. This will allow the developer to use all the hard work already done by the developers of the Ethereum blockchain and focus on their applications.
Allowing developers to upload code to the blockchain creates endless possibilities, including the ability to upload code that uses all network resources, rendering it unusable. Some kind of limit had to be imposed on this “infinity”. To solve this problem, Vitalik Buterin invented “Gas” – a decentralized system for charging code execution fees on the Ethereum (Ethereum) blockchain.
Related: Ethereum Fees Rise, But Traders Have Options
Paid Ethereum’s design was brilliant and set the general blockchain design direction for a decade, with nearly every successive blockchain implementing some form of gas.
The genius of Ethereum is that it has given developers access to an unlimited programming language (“Turing-complete”). The genius of gas is that it decentralizes what developers can do with this language. This is the primary conflict (limited vs. limited) that explains why there are no major social DApps on Ethereum.
Commission-free block chains
The developers of Steem have taken a completely different approach to Ethereum. They have built a very simple blockchain (“framework”) called Graphene that can be easily converted into a tangible social blockchain (“application-specific blockchain”).
In addition to social features, Steem developers have experimented with a system for regulating network usage, which is fundamentally different from gas. In short, it was free.
When Steem was first launched, many said it was a scam precisely because of the free “bandwidth” system. They believed that due to the fees of Bitcoin and Ethereum, a blockchain without fees was doomed to fail.
Related: Which Blockchain Is Most Decentralized? Expert answer
While the transportation system in which Steem was launched was far from perfect, offering social features and allowing users to shop for free, Steem quickly became one of the world’s most valuable and widely used blockchains…but in the end it ended up never competing. with Ethereum.
smart contract rule
The reason why Steem has never been able to compete with Ethereum, to many people’s surprise, has nothing to do with the free model, which the core developers have continued to improve over the years and which still works to this day.
Steem has never competed with Ethereum for the simple reason that graphene (the blockchain it was built on) has not had smart contracts. The graphs made it easy to run blockchains with certain features, but it was by no means “easy” and changing these features or adding new ones was very difficult, unlike Ethereum which allows any developer to upload any code they want whenever they want.