Token Classification: Utility token, Tokenized Security
Function: Interoperable Blockchain
Project Status: Functioning
Consensus Algorithm: Delegated Proof of Stake
ICO: Nov. 7th, 2016
Report Date: April 7th, 2018
Ark is a blockchain ecosystem which aims to be a user and developer-friendly platform that encourages the adoption of blockchain technology. The Ark Ecosystem serves as an interface between proprietary blockchains and the unique features they incorporate. It provides APIs and plugins for other blockchain projects to integrate with the native use of Ark. Value is created by allowing all compatible blockchains to interface via Ark. As it expands its bridging concept to more blockchains, the potential use-cases and consumer services will expand along with it via the network effect. Through a focus on their core technology and consumer-level services, the Ark Ecosystem hopes to increase consumer adoption of both their platform and blockchain technology as a whole.
The Ark Ecosystem began as an offshoot of Crypti, Lisk, and, BitShares. Though they currently share a homogenous codebase with Crypti and Lisk via a code fork, the future Core V2 upgrade will rewrite this codebase from the ground up. At the heart of the Ark Ecosystem is its SmartBridge functionality, the mechanism by which proprietary blockchains are connected to the Ark blockchain. SmartBridges allow communication between blockchains and enable the Ark platform to utilize the features and services incorporated into the blockchain that has been bridged. A SmartBridge is easily activated by inserting a snippet of code into the core code of any blockchain. Once implemented, any SmartBridge compatible transaction between the two blockchains can be completed through the Ark wallet.
SmartBridge technology encompasses two parts: Encoded Listener nodes and Vendor Fields. Even if a blockchain has not implemented SmartBridge code into their core code, this functionality is still available via special Encoded Listener nodes. These may be created by anyone wishing to act as a medium between blockchains. Nodes serve as a hub listening for SmartBridge compatible transactions. These nodes then collect fees for exchanging data or currencies between blockchains. Encoded Listener nodes set their transaction fees and may be independently adjusted by the node operator.
Vendor, or SmartBridge, fields are the code inserted into a blockchain’s core code that creates a direct link to the Ark blockchain. The basis of the vendor field is a 64 character data field in every transaction on the blockchain. Ark’s Improvement Proposal for Core V2 will increase the vendor field to 255 characters to increase flexibility.
Ark employs a modified Delegated Proof of Stake (dPoS) consensus algorithm created by BitShares. By design, this consensus algorithm eliminates the issues Proof of Work (PoW) presents concerning the centralization of computational power as well as rising real-world waste of electricity. Due to the fixed number of elected delegates, the consensus algorithm is not truly decentralized; however, it promises better decentralization than Proof of Work. Delegated Proof of Stake acts as a representative democracy and individual users stake their tokens to nominate delegates to serve on their behalf. The delegates validate transactions, secure the network, and are awarded transaction fees and tokens to cover their operating costs. This system creates a vested interest in the productivity and security of the network. If the delegates perform poorly or act against the will of their voters, the votes may be rescinded and assigned to another delegate, ensuring the long-term security of the network.
Any holder of ARK tokens may stake their tokens by voting for a delegate. As that delegate forges new blocks and receives rewards, their voters will be compensated. Many delegates will even refund voters’ voting and transaction fees. Delegates have varying proposals, fees, and pay-out structures, so when staking tokens, it is important to find a delegate that aligns with the voter’s interests.
All fees are paid to the forging node that processes the block which contains those fees.
August 28, 2018: Core v2 Update:
Development has recently been completed on the v2 code. The Ark team has deployed to DevNet, and testing has commenced. Reports from users running the updated code is that it’s smooth to deploy, and functionally complete.
Desktop Wallet v2 is still being built, but dev work has indeed continued, and the Ark team is committed to its completion.
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