Ethereum was the pioneer in the blockchain industry as the first to offer Smart Contracts and dApp development with a way to deploy them onto the blockchain. They did this with their new programming language, which they called Solidity in their own development environment, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
All was ticking along nicely, but then a barrage of problems quickly arose with having all of the dApps on one single chain. The fees for using DeFi and other apps like Uniswap became untenable, as miners who were paying more in gas fees began charging astronomical fees to the user, with their own add ons. The lack of competition enabled them to really control the marketplace as they saw fit. In addition to this the wait time to enter a block became longer and if something happened to one block, it could affect the entire network, as apps were not isolated.
Multi Chain Approach
Other projects, seeing these problems quickly stepped into the fray to try and solve them. They did this by offering various new sidechains and single chains that could be interoperable and integrated with the EVM. The idea was to have multiple interoperable chains, instead of just one of them.
Dr. Gavin Wood, who had now left Ethereum to follow his vision of how the future of the space should look, created Polkadot. This was a new way to bridge its relay chain, using parachains, to external networks like Bitcoin or Ethereum in order to make them interoperable, and interconnect using Polkadot. However, Polkadot was not the first to solve this interoperability issue. Before it, came Ardor and Stratis.
Ardor with its multi chain approach to the blockchain whereby a unique parent - child chain structure is built. The security of the entire network lies in the parent Ardor chain. Ardor is a product by Jelurida, the company that is also responsible for NXT, the first POS blockchain. NXT is so old that it was even mentioned in Ethereum’s first whitepaper as a project that conducted a very successful ICO and thus this is one of the reasons that Ethereum chose the ICO model in the first place. Jelurida has been known for quite some time as a pioneer in the crypto space.
And then eventually Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, announced that Ethereum would follow a similar path with its groundbreaking ETH 2.0 that is already in motion today. ETH 2.0 mimics the same model of having a main chain (the beacon chain) and then other smaller ones offshooting that will use the main chain for security and for IBC capabilities.
This will solve the issues of a single chain and it will help the fact that the EVM simply does not understand other programming languages. To deal with that, a way to convert those languages into something that could be read by the EVM was needed. However this came with its own unique set of risks, namely security issues and the additional work needed to convert the smart contracts to make executable.
On this challenge, Stratis was born, a seamless multi chain development platform option for developers looking to code in the traditional languages, in order to implement functionality of the .NET infrastructure into smart contracts. Stratis allows users to build in .NET CLR which runs parallel to Ethereum/s EVM. However, .NET CLR also understands C# and all the traditional and non-traditional programming languages that can be used inside the .NET Framework. That means that whatever the developed code is, this is how it stays and how it is executed, with no need to convert it. Stratis may currently be the underdog but they raised their funds before the big wave of 2017 and the fact that they are still here speaks volumes for the future direction of the blockchain.
The New Normal?
The future of blockchain takes away from the original vision of a single chain authenticating and verifying transactions and brings the ability for developers to scale their apps, in a secure way in the coding language of their choice. Polkadot have done it, Ethereum are doing it with Ethereum 2.0 and other projects like Ardor and Stratis have got it too. The real question remains how far away from this multi chain system becoming the new normal are we?