RChain has been building its ecosystem from the ground up. It’s a blockchain developed by founder Greg Meredith, the former principal architect of Microsoft’s BizTalk Process Orchestration and Microsoft’s Highwire offering.
On the road to creating a highly scalable ecosystem and attracting developers to build RChain-based decentralized applications, the RChain team has had the benefit of learning from other blockchains inroads. While technologies like sharding and Proof of Stake (PoS) are in the works to scale Ethereum’s throughput, these technologies are integrated into RChain’s design.
Like Ethereum, RChain supports smart contracts. However, RChain uses RhoVM, its own alternative to the Ethereum Virtual Machine or EVM, which is the virtual machine that runs Ethereum’s smart contracts. It also has its own smart contract programming language called Rholang, designed for programming with concurrency. While the EVM runs smart contracts on a single computing thread, the RhoVM can run computing threads in parallel, allowing RChain to scale more broadly.
RChain achieves distributed consensus through PoS, with a target speed of up to 40,000 transactions per second to scale rapidly for enterprise solutions. Like most disclosed transaction speeds for cryptocurrency blockchains, including Tron, NEO and Qtum, RChain will need real-world functionality in order to put their trial results to the test. This means reaching out to innovative developers who have robust projects that can be built on the RChain network.
To catalyze the ecosystem, venture capital firm Pithia, an investment company of The RChain Cooperative, has over $170 million in capital. By focusing on the basic building blocks that will leverage the transactional power of smart contracts and the immutability of blockchain technology, Pithia intends to invest in companies that are building foundational services on RChain, starting with infrastructure – identity, supply chain, wallets.
Supply chain logistics is a key application for RChain. Identifying a broken process that involves growers, vendors, middlemen, distributors, shippers and goods such as food, pharmaceuticals and other perishable items that often require certifications, climate control and other shipping regulations, RChain-based companies hope to rewrite the fundamentals to ensure accuracy, proper accounting and document management that is clear, precise and transparent. By tracking products on the blockchain, unverified origins can be traced, and counterfeits can be eliminated.
Another key area is governance. “When it comes to governance, nobody knows how to run ‘blockchains’,” says Pithia CEO Lawrence Lerner, who got into cryptography long before Bitcoin ushered in today’s golden period for cryptocurrencies. He started working with companies such as DigiCash, an electronic money company founded in 1989 – when the infrastructure to grow today’s $400 billion market cap was completely lacking.
Lerner was resolute and committed, as he watched the industry evolve from its fragile infancy into a mighty and volatile teen who has to justify himself. The questions today are less about ‘the what’ and more about ‘the how’. “How do we have broad community discussions to make decisions to push code?” asks Lerner.
“We’re also focusing on Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKP), the next generation of identity solutions. Imagine, for example, if a blockchain-based identity system is used at the door of a bar. With a ZKP, you can manage criteria so that everyone allowed to enter is 21. You don’t even need to know their names. The gold ticket is having stored data on the blockchain that identifies you as being over 21, and that’s all that matters.” And that is how a blockchain-based identity system can streamline criteria, accelerate procedural measures, eliminate bureaucracy and drive efficiency.
Pithia is currently investing in a range of blockchain-based projects to build out the RChain network.
lifeID – the essential security layer
Hosting one’s identity and identifying documents on the blockchain is new and untested, and there are several different players in the space testing their distinct protocols. The development team at lifeID is currently working on writing those standards and developing interfaces for different blockchains, such as Dragonchain. The plan is to have standardized self-sovereign identities across many applications built on RChain. Users will be able to control their personal and private data, from driver’s licenses to diplomas to professional certificates, as they vary and manage permissions according to needs and requests. A job interviewer, for example, may need to see certain personal data while a medical researcher may need to access health records only.
The lifeID Identity Platform is also a key link for creating fully secure, scalable blockchain solutions on RChain, as it can act as the primary layer of identification for all RChain dApps. It would fundamentally change the user experience by eliminating usernames and passwords for online access, and key fobs and key cards for physical access, replacing them with single sign-on functionality.
Trusted Key is a blockchain-based digital identity solution for businesses that need a seamless and secure way to enroll consumers online. By verifying that customers are actually who they claim to be, while protecting private and sensitive data, Trusted Key is aiming to rebuild digital trust. Founded by former executives from Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec, Trusted Key recently partnered with the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a global healthcare cybersecurity consortium, to build a mobile HealthID application. The pilot project aims to reach 150 million consumers who could use a single digital HealthID to sign up for health insurance, register with healthcare providers and fulfill prescriptions online.
“People are continuously innovating on real world business problems and these issues are often about privacy and scalability, and it will always be about data,” says Lerner. “Every company is now a big data company, and every person is now an information management company. You’re going to have a personal datasphere — that data will hold payments, identity, personal information, et cetera. Companies that can manage that data will win and blockchain is the key.”