Photo credit: ARK community design t-shirt
Amidst the current sea of blockchain tech, revolutionary development, ICO scams, gains, losses and media barrage, ARK stands out as a one of the most stable of ships.
With statements like “Bitcoin is going to zero” and “crypto is a bubble” blockchains which retain stability of token price are becoming increasingly attractive to many. Level headed individuals who are interested in investing in cryptocurrency and blockchain tech, and are excited about its intrinsic value, are more likely to be attracted to markets which are capable of long term steady growth and value. Rather than the pump and dump type scenarios that are so appealing to hardened get-rich-quick speculators.
The relatively lower volatility of ARK’s token price (amidst massive price swings in the ecosystem as a whole) speaks for itself as to the stability of the token. However, is this an indication that ARK is a solid offering with real life applications and little to no hype – or does this mean that there is simply not much going on with the tech?
Well, without getting too technical, let’s take a look at the tech and capability behind ARK.
ARK’s Tech and Team
Some of the first things to look at when evaluating a blockchain project is what is it, what is it developing, and who is doing this development.
What is ARK?
In a nutshell, ARK is a programmable blockchain running on a delegate proof of stake system (DPoS). Built with the Ethereum blockchain in mind, it has and is busy developing a number of features such as SmartBridges, a diverse range of programming language compatibilities, and ‘point-and-click blockchain creation’. We will get to that in a basic kind of way in a minute.
Who are the People Developing ARK
In keeping with decentralization, the ARK team currently comprises of 17 core members from 11 different countries. Among these members is the well known (in the crypto space) Francois-Xavier Thooren who prior to ARK was a core developer for Lisk, a successful and well funded cryptocurrency.
At the basis of a stable coin and market has to be a functionality (or functionalities) which provide real world value. As it stands, the tokens of blockchains already provide a high level of value as virtual currencies and mediums of exchange. However, blockchain tech has rapidly moved beyond offering something as simple as a new currency or store of value. New blockchains are now more and more being developmented with deeper layers of functionality and value.
ARK is no exception to these new generations of cryptocurrencies. First up:
ARK is the Blockchain that can connect blockchains
As we speak, literally hundreds (and soon to be thousands) of blockchains will have blossomed into being with a focus on monitoring, automating and streamlining almost every sector of business and society. This is incredibly exciting. There is just one problem. None of these blockchains can speak to each other. Imagine for example two sections of a supply chain, each with its own well functioning blockchain tech automating, streamlining and storing data. Great. But at the switch over from one segment of the supply chain to another, there is no connect.
That’s like having post offices, but no postal system! Or an excel sheet that cannot be opened in anybody’s Excel except your own version.
The developers behind ARK obviously thought of this issue from the get go, because ARK is one of the first blockchains to implement a technology to remedy the situation.
And it is called SmartBridges. ARK Smartbridges are designed to be able to make links, or bridges between different blockchains, so that they are interoperable.
ARK is programmable and currently supports 14 programming languages (and counting)
Another area in which ARK is leading the way is in its programmability. Being programmable puts ARK at the forefront of the race to get blockchains to talk to each other and link up via smart contracts.
And currently, ARK supports the following programming languages.
- TypeScript API
- Swift iOS
With R, C, Rust and C++ coming soon. This means that almost any programmer will find ARK a compatible platform to program on and work with.
Combined, these two features of programmability and SmartBridges are incredibly exciting because they have the potential to solve a massive problem that has been going on since the birth of computers and databases. And that is that databases cannot talk to each other. This problem has cost the world forests worth of paper, and years of lifetimes, used to re-enter data from one database to another. Think Vogon style Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy inefficiency. This article describes the situation better than I can ever hope to, so go and check it out if you are interested in how blockchain based applications can end Earth’s slavery to admin.
That’s not all
Besides this giddying potential of ARK’s to minimize unnecessary administration and mindless and incessant data-re-entry, it has quite a few other nice things, both developed and in the wings.
- Easy to use and streamlined wallet
One of the beliefs of the creators of ARK is that cryptocurrency has to become accessible to everybody. A product of this must be their easy to use and well functioning wallets. Simple and intuitive, and containing everything you need, ARK wallets are a pleasure to use.
- Point – Click – Blockchain
This feature of ARK’s has won them the reputation of having the potential to be the WordPress of blockchains. Previously everyone hired a developer to build them a website. Now, a vast portion of people wishing to build a page simply use WordPress to create their websites. ARK is aiming to provide the same function in the blockchain space. Need a blockchain for your business? If so, don’t hire a team of coders, simply clone ARK at a few clicks of your mouse. Worth noting, any business that does this will be SmartBridge compatible from the word go.
- Fast transactions
ARK’s transaction times were already deemed to be swift (with 8 second block times), and at the moment they are currently overhauling their ARK Core and state that this will result in even quicker transactions.
- Reducing fees
At the moment the fee for ARK transactions is 0.1 ARK. However, once the core update is completed transaction fees will be 0.01 ARK.
- ARK is busy integrating with the Interplanetary File Sharing System (IPFS)
ARK is currently busy with a protocol to integrate with the IPFS. This has huge ramifications in the ‘cutting down on data entry’ area and is in line with their goal of blockchain based interoperability. When integrated with the IPFS, ARK will be able to address large amounts of data and place the immutable, permanent IPFS links into the ARK blockchain without the stressing the chain itself.
ARK as an Investment
ARK’s team, tech and projects shows that the token is backed by some serious real world value, hard work, and innovation. This could explain why amidst the hype, scepticism and bloodshed the markets have undergone, it has stood out for its relative price stability.
Another area which could be keeping the price of ARK relatively stable is its incentives to ‘holders’ and long term investors.
ARK rewards Holders with Crypto Style Dividends in the Form of Voting Rewards
In short, if you hold ARK, and go through a couple extra steps, you can earn voting rewards.
The reason for this is linked to ARK’s delegated proof of stake (DPoS) system. The DPoS system essentially mines new blocks and brings new ARK into the world. Unlike Proof of Work systems (such as Bitcoin), mining earnings are not solely distributed to miners lending their computing power to the network to process transactions. They are also distributed to people who are holding ARK tokens.
There are still people lending computing power to transactions. These people are called delegates (instead of miners). The 51 top delegates receive the newly mined blocks of ARK. Holder’s of ARK need to vote for the delegates offering the best service, and/or rate of rewards in order to become part of the delegate’s pool earn their percentage of the delegates rewards. There are also delegates who one can vote for that distribute delegate earnings to causes. In this case if you back the cause and want your potential voting rewards to go to it, you can then vote for the applicable delegate.
Rates of Voting Rewards
Rates of voting rewards vary from delegate to delegate. Your rate of rewards will depend on which delegate you choose and vote for. Rewards received can either be withdrawn and sold, or retained within the ARK wallet. If retained this causes compound interest, which of course causes an increased growth rate of your investment or holdings.
This situation is very appealing to those wishing to invest in the crypto area. The less speculative type of investor is likely to be reassured by the new age form of return. This system of course incentivises long term holding, which increases price stability and once more attracts long term investors interested in reduced risk.
Is Ark Built to Last
As with all long term investments, an important aspect is whether or not a project is built to last. And whether or not it will be able to survive, thrive and evolve in the ever innovating blockchain space. With new capabilities being developed on an almost a parabolic curve in many areas of tech, something which is cutting edge and of value today, may be a white elephant with very little value or use in 5 years time.
Whether ARK will become the WordPress of blockchain, and be linking blockchains like nobody’s business into the future, is anybody’s guess.
But guesses can be educated, and based on how ARK is positioning itself as one of the most cutting edge, flexible and interoperable blockchains out there – it would not be unfounded to say that its chances of continued evolution and growth are exceptionally high.