How to avoid development hell


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Cointelegraph is following the event of a wholly new blockchain from inception to mainnet and past by means of its sequence, Contained in the Blockchain Developer’s Thoughts, written by Andrew Levine of Koinos Group.

We just lately launched the third and remaining model of the Koinos testnet, which is why I need to speak about one thing few tasks like to speak about: Constructing blockchains is growth hell. On this article, I’ll clarify why and the way different builders can keep away from getting caught in it.

At first blush, constructing a blockchain doesn’t sound so arduous. A blockchain is only a mixture of well-established cryptographic primitives, which, when correctly applied, enable for the development of a ledger containing a verifiable historical past of transactions by a community. The extra decentralized the community, the extra reliable the historical past.

Blockchain “frameworks”

In an effort to make constructing new blockchains simpler, different groups have launched blockchain “frameworks” that, in principle, ought to remove the necessity for builders to fret about constructing the blockchain itself in order that they will give attention to no matter distinctive options they need to construct into the blockchain. Cosmos, EOSIO and Polkadot’s Substrate are examples of such blockchain frameworks.

When our crew stopped engaged on Steem (the world’s first fee-less blockchain), our authentic intention was to leverage an present blockchain framework to construct a blockchain designed to be as accessible as potential. We had spent 4 years refining Steem’s fee-less design and figured that, by porting that answer into an present blockchain framework, we may ship a blockchain that was much more accessible than some other blockchain in comparatively little time.

Associated: Inside the blockchain developer’s mind: Proof-of-burn blockchain consensus

Really fee-less and general-purpose

However we have been stunned to seek out that not one of the present frameworks allowed us to create the sort of actually feeless person expertise we have been seeking to convey to the market. We didn’t simply need to take away charges on a technical degree, we needed to empower builders to construct functions that have been free to make use of. Additionally they lacked numerous different options we believed have been required to ship an appropriate developer expertise.

The ability of a general-purpose blockchain stems not from the options the blockchain engineers construct into the blockchain however from the options that builders add to that blockchain as sensible contracts. That is doubly true for a blockchain framework that ought to actually be essentially the most general-purpose blockchain possible because the complete thought is to permit folks to construct any sort of blockchain they will think about. And but, the prevailing frameworks didn’t empower us, probably the most skilled blockchain growth groups, in our makes an attempt to construct the blockchain we needed to construct in a number of methods.

The present frameworks not solely made it inconceivable for builders to create free-to-use functions, however additionally they pressured builders to be taught new and infrequently troublesome programming languages and dramatically restricted the speed at which each functions and the blockchain itself may enhance.

Associated: Inside the blockchain developers’ mind: Building a free-to-use social DApp

Liberating builders

We needed to construct a blockchain that might free builders to construct insanely nice functions that strange folks would love to make use of. That allowed the builders to work within the programming languages they already knew and beloved (what we name “common language help”); that allowed their functions (and the blockchain itself) to quickly evolve; and, most significantly, it allowed them to construct functions that have been free to make use of.

However as a way to construct that blockchain we first wanted a very general-purpose blockchain framework that might not solely enable us to construct the blockchain of our desires however as a pure consequence of being essentially the most general-purpose framework possible, ought to enable anybody to construct the blockchain of their desires.

Koinos is that final general-purpose blockchain framework that can function the muse for the last word feeless layer 1: Koinos mainnet. The Koinos Blockchain Framework (KBF) is designed to be the only blockchain possible, containing solely these cryptographic primitives essential to assemble a blockchain and the appropriate “system calls” to permit for the widest vary of behaviors to be added in-band (with out a arduous fork) by means of the importing of a sensible contract.

Infinite upgradeability

The good thing about this design is infinite upgradeability, however the associated fee is that it makes getting the system calls proper all of the extra necessary. Lacking a system name or designing it incorrectly would imply having to take care of an in any other case avoidable arduous fork. As a result of arduous forks are so time-consuming, political and disruptive, they’re the only largest issue limiting a blockchain’s skill to enhance itself, which is in the end felt by each single developer whose utility is constructed on such a platform.

Now we will see how each utility and blockchain builders can get trapped in growth hell: working in programming languages they aren’t comfy with, on platforms that drive them to include charges and that enhance at a snail’s tempo. Beneath these circumstances, even minor modifications have extremely excessive stakes, and we haven’t even factored in these eventualities the place there are tens of millions, typically billions, of {dollars} in danger.

That’s growth hell. Because the core growth crew behind the Steem blockchain that needed to oversee 23 arduous forks, we all know this terrain higher than nearly anybody else, which is why we have been so dedicated to banishing it, effectively … to hell.

Constructing the Koinos Blockchain Framework from scratch with a wholly novel microservice structure and getting it to the purpose the place we may launch variations 1 and a pair of of the testnet have been extremely difficult. However integrating the suggestions we acquired from these testnets, fixing the bugs they uncovered, and finalizing the all-important system calls have been a complete different degree. However we went by means of that growth hell with the hopes of creating it in order that others received’t ever must.


Testnet v3 is, due to this fact, greater than “simply one other” model of the testnet. It’s the remaining model of the Koinos Blockchain Framework, which is why we’ll now consult with the testnet, not by a model quantity, however by the title: Harbinger. It’s the end result of practically two years of working, figuring out and implementing all the required system calls wanted to present blockchain builders the last word degree of freedom and permit their utility builders to learn from a platform that’s enhancing at a extra speedy fee than some other blockchain on the market.

In fact, everytime you’re making an attempt to resolve a very necessary downside, some degree of growth hell is inevitable. You simply need to just remember to don’t undertake applied sciences that increase the stakes unnecessarily and that the objective you’re striving for is value the associated fee.

For us, that objective just isn’t solely sparing blockchain builders (together with ourselves) from numerous hours spent in developer hell but in addition leveraging this new expertise to construct Koinos mainnet: the last word feeless layer 1 for empowering builders to construct insanely nice blockchain-based functions.

No extra growth hell

The KBF goals to remove growth hell by permitting builders to construct any blockchain they will think about just by writing sensible contracts, which is infinitely simpler than working within the blockchain code itself. And that’s precisely the place we discover ourselves in now. Whereas growing the blockchain framework was extremely difficult, now that it’s over, all that’s wanted to finish Koinos mainnet is simply two sensible contracts: one for our proof-of-burn consensus algorithm and the opposite for governance.

Not solely is writing sensible contracts far less complicated than blockchain growth, however this additionally implies that blockchain builders now get to make the most of the ever-expanding instruments which are obtainable to sensible contract builders just like the AssemblyScript SDK one among our group members constructed. AssemblyScript doesn’t simply produce much more environment friendly sensible contracts than these written in C++ (that was a shock), it makes sensible contract growth accessible to JavaScript builders.

For the reason that KBF turns any sensible contract developer into a possible blockchain developer, which means that growing customized blockchains will now be accessible to JavaScript builders with much more languages to come back, reminiscent of Rust.

Should you’re eager about working Harbinger, we’ve made it insanely straightforward to run a node so that you might be up and working in beneath 5 minutes.

This text doesn’t include funding recommendation or suggestions. Each funding and buying and selling transfer includes danger, and readers ought to conduct their very own analysis when making a choice.

The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed here are the creator’s alone and don’t essentially mirror or symbolize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Andrew Levine is the CEO of Koinos Group, a crew of trade veterans accelerating decentralization by means of accessible blockchain expertise. Their foundational product is Koinos, a feeless and infinitely upgradeable blockchain with common language help.