Nowadays blockchain has become a synonym of the "new internet".
But really, from the perspective of people who develop blockchain software, a blockchain is more the modern version of hardware, and merkle-trees the new servers (take these terms for their comparative, not absolute meaning).
Internet is a standard protocol for exchanging information: navigating through web pages and accessing external servers seamlessly.
Today, in blockchain, we are still awaiting the "internet of blockchains".
Just a small fraction of users today has access to blockchain. Therefore, very few people have hands in the business and that's why it is so difficult to find information about the topic. Think about how you operate on a blockchain in a decentralized way: you now have to run a node of the blockchain you want to operate in. Some blockchains are faster than other, some have so-called "light clients".
But the real deal is that each blockchain is different, and for each different blockchain a different software has to be run, even if it is produced by the same software house.
Is this not familiar to you? Does it not remind you of floppy-disks?
Well we accept even comparisons with the early days of the internet before standard protocols had emerged. To us it really does: blockchains todays can handle a limited amount of transactions and smart contracts cannot be too-big.
Blockchain today do not store data, as the size of the redundant chain would increase exponentially in a way that cannot be handled by the machines running the nodes. And for each blockchain you have to fire up a separate client, just like with floppy-disks: users had to load one software at a time by plugging in the physical disk and removing it, just to plug in another one for accessing another software.
This is very encouraging for us on the prospects of the sector, and takes us to a prediction (take it with a grain of salt..): the internet of blockchains will be a protocol which will be adopted by web browsers and will allow browsing to different applications on different blockchains seamlessly.
How? Nobody has the answer, nobody can tell when this is going to happen. And most importantly, nobody know how there applications are going to be used by the commercial users.
So how will the "digital hard-disks" look like?
We believe eventually blockchains are going to be embedded behind the modern internet, so that internet users will be able to swap between different blockchains seamlessly.
Maybe we will not use https://*some_domain* to connect to a website, but something different. Maybe the difference will be in the https. It would be pretty cool if this new industrial revolution resulted in just the change of a prefix for users, wouldn't it? Well that little change requires so much work nobody knows when it will happen, and what users will be supposed to do different.
Blockchain, a bit like the microprocessor, is one of the greatest inventions of our times, and is eventually going to be embedded almost everywhere, in one form or another. It will be a basic pillar of web 2.0, and, just like has already happened in the past, people will use it without the need of knowing what it means and maybe even without realizing, even though it is remarkable the mainstream interest in understanding what is "blockchain".
We use many cryptographic tools we are not aware of, like PGP, SSL, they are embedded in our browsers and make our communications secure and we recognize them by the symbol:
And boy how much work in the background to just have this icon appear on a website (it is normally much much smaller on your web browser as well 😁).
So when is this new "internet of blockchains" protocol going to be invented or shown to the world, and adopted? A few weeks from now, months or years?
Blockchain startups are already at work, and for sure it is an ambitious and demanding task.
Thank you for getting until the end of this (for some) boring article, if you like it, please show us your love!
My name is Gabriele Rigo, founder of RigoBlock: a protocol developed on top of the Ethereum blockchain which will allow users to create their own decentralized pool of digital tokens instantly and without fees.