ELAruolan and DingNing have come up with an informative piece discussing how cross-chain should be a middleware to the infrastructure of the future internet. This is a translation of the article.

(original link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/2sdeFV1Z8wHuMcz0V2gzkA)

In the development history of blockchain, there have been many difficulties such as throughput and scalability. In order to solve these problems, developers have taken pains to put forward technical solutions such as side chain, sub-chain, lightning network, DAG, sharding and cross-chain. But are these solutions the right package to solve all these problems? Can they become the standard protocols for the future Internet? Let’s discuss the Internet from the perspective of cross-chain technology.

  1. The core of the Internet is a series of agreements

At the heart of the Internet is a set of protocols, collectively known as the “Internet Protocol Suite.” They define detailed rules on how computers are connected and networked.

There are several layers that make the Internet work. Each layer has its own function, and just like a building, each layer is supported by the next lower layer. A user usually comes across only the top layer, and does not interact with the layers below.

As shown in the figure above, the bottom layer is called the “Physical Layer”, the top layer is called the “Application Layer”, and the middle layers (from bottom) are “Link Layer”, “Network Layer” and “Transport Layer”.

The lower the layer, the closer it is to the hardware; the higher the layer is, the closer it is to the user. Each layer is designed to perform a function. In order to achieve these functions, there needs to be some common rules. These rules are called “protocols.” There are many protocols defined at every layer, but the general term for these agreements are called the “Internet Protocol Suite”, which is the core of the Internet.

  1. The essence of the Sino-US 5G competition is to compete for protocol standards for the next generation Internet

The US media said that the early development of mobile communications was largely driven by US and European companies. With the arrival of the next era–the 5G era–the way people use the Internet will once again be transformed. A competition that determines whether the United States or China is dominant is unfolding. (https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1611294599609936400&wfr=spider&for=pc)

This competition in the field of science and technology has been ongoing, and has become increasingly fierce with the advent of the 5G era. The one who establishes the standards for the new Internet will take the greatest benefits. The original protocol standards of the Internet are mostly controlled by Western developed countries, which poses a great threat to China’s Internet security and its competitiveness of the future Internet.

  1. Cross-chain technology is not a protocol but a mechanism

In many white papers or technical articles, cross-chaining is called a “protocol”. The information transmission protocol only governs how information is received, and the feedback received by sender does not consider the problem of repeated transmissions.

However, to synchronize the data between the ledgers, you need to make sure that the two ledgers change in the same way, otherwise there will be problems of double spending or loss of value.

Due to the rapid development of blockchain technology, the accounting mechanism and consensus mechanism of the chains are different. The establishment of a common cross-chain protocol becomes more complicated. Cross-chain “agreements” are more like bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Individual differences are more obvious in the process of coming up with the agreements, and thus large-scale unification is difficult. There is a need to implement an accurate cross-ledger accounting for two ledgers by some technical means.

At this point, cross-chaining is actually a mechanism. Cross-chain is essentially a set of clearing mechanisms among chains, and the essence of clearing is accurate accounting.

The most important application scenarios after cross-chain implementation are decentralised trading, centralized bidding, and decentralized exchanges with hybrid clearing modes.

  1. Cross-chain technology can be used as a middleware for the underlying technology of the Internet in the future

Cross-chain literally refers to connecting different blockchains, just like the bridges between two islands. In simple terms, cross-chaining is how to move a token on one chain to another. From an accounting standpoint, a single blockchain solves the problem of how to accurately record accounts in a ledger. Cross-chain solves the problem of how to accurately record two accounts in two ledgers.

Middleware is software between the operating system and the application, and some people think it should be part of the operating system. When people use middleware, they are often a group of middleware integrations to form a platform (including development platform and running platform). However, there must be a communication middleware in this group of middleware. In other words, middleware=platform+communication.

Cross-chain technology can promote the development of the blockchain industry and can be used as the middleware of the new Internet underlying technology. However, cross-chain does not solve the problem systematically as it has not reached the level of Internet architecture, but only in blockchain development. The current measures of applicability and scalability appears to be just taking stopgap measures.

  1. The father of the Internet and giant tech companies in both China and overseas are a preview of future trends
  2. Microsoft disbanded the Windows working group and turned to developing the DID system. (https://wemedia.ifeng.com/49290420/wemedia.shtml?    
  3. Huawei Blockchain Strategy (http://tech.163.com/18/1031/14/DVF113TV000998GP.html)
  4. Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Internet, regrets some of the flaws in his work, but he believes that blockchain technology can help in the repair of some Internet problems. (http://www.ctoutiao.com/1361431.html)

You can see that the world’s top technology companies and the father of the Internet are going to use blockchain to remedy the Internet with blockchain as an underlying technology for the future of the new Internet, hoping to build a secure, credible and decentralized computing environment. They have all seen the future trends, understand the nature and function of the blockchain, and they understand the use of blockchain as an integral component of Internet development.

The vision of Elastos is to create a blockchain-driven Smart Web (the new Internet), to integrate the Internet into the unified environment of the operating system, and create a secure, credible and decentralized Internet ecosystem. In such an environment, data can be guaranteed as private, and a huge free market economy can be formed to truly realize the value of the Internet.

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