Ark

Ark, A Symbiotic Blockchain. Interview: Travis Walker

The fledgeling Blockchain industry is full of exciting new technologies that promise to change the way humanity views and interacts with money.  

The true value of these technologies, however, can only be unlocked once Blockchains connect with and interact with one another. Enter Ark, an ecosystem launched on March 21st of this year, geared towards mass adoption by making blockchain technology easier to use.

 

To achieve this ambitious goal, Ark uses smartbridge technology which allows the platform to reach out to other blockchains. Unlike sidechains, smartbridges enable blockchain interconnection by sending and receiving trigger function notices and informational data through the primary ARK network by way of custom built SmartBridges and Encoded Listeners.

 

This allows ARK to make use of functionalities that aren’t native to its blockchain. ARK also plans to develop and launch a diverse set of consumer tools that can be used in the real world to promote the use of cryptocurrencies beyond the realm of speculation, where the only real use for “coins” is to profit from their erratic price movements.

 

Derived from Lisk, Crypti, and BitShares with unique improvements in functionality, ARK operates on a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm that allows users to delegate their staking power through new improved voting mechanisms to pre-selected delegates, check out Ark’s  whitepaper for more details on this innovative approach to blockchain technology.

 

We got to catch up with Travis Walker, co-founder of the Ark project and he help clear up a number of things most reports on Ark had gotten wrong and in the process managed to convince us of the ecosystem’s potential to change the game. Here’s what we discussed (No Edits):

(BitcoinHub): Most blockchain’s are designed to be highly technical and used by businesses, what prompted the decision to make Ark into a consumer-focused project?

(Travis Walker): I wouldn’t limit ARK to a consumer focused project as that would only be looking at one piece of the puzzle. We aren’t focused on one single aspect, we are looking at the bigger picture.

At ARK, we believe that in order to gain adoption, making a process that is as easy as possible for the consumer is definitely paramount, but on the flip side of that we also fully intend to streamline the deployment process of blockchains for businesses. Don’t think of ARK as a project that means to simply make blockchain easier for the consumer, but rather a project that wants to make blockchain easier for everyone.

 

(BH): How far along the technical roadmap is Ark at this point and what can we expect in the near future? (Before year end)

(TW): We have a lot of things to focus on, we aren’t just focused on the end of this year. We are focused on building the foundation to make everything we want to accomplish a reality. We have an official interactive roadmap on our website. https://ark.io/roadmap/ . We don’t give dates or do hype, it just isn’t how we want to do things, so the most up to date status will always be available on our roadmap.

 

(BH): How does one get hold of Ark? I tried to Shapeshift some Bitcoin and couldn’t find Ark on the list of available coins

(TW): Shapeshift doesn’t support ARK at the moment of this article, but we are always looking for new partners. Each exchange, like ShapeShift, vets their additions internally. The exchanges themselves have the final say which tokens they add and at what time they do so. Currently, Bittrex is the top exchange for ARK trading and at the time of this writing, with over $23 million dollars in volume in the last 24 hours. You can find an updated list of exchanges that trade or sell ARK on the exchange link at the top of ark.io. Or looking at the market tab under ARK on coinmarketcap.com.

Currently, Bittrex is the top exchange for ARK trading and at the time of this writing, with over $23 million dollars in volume in the last 24 hours. You can find an updated list of exchanges that trade or sell ARK on the exchange link at the top of ark.io. Or looking at the market tab under ARK on coinmarketcap.com.

Currently, Bittrex is the top exchange for ARK trading and at the time of this writing, with over $23 million dollars in volume in the last 24 hours. You can find an updated list of exchanges that trade or sell ARK on the exchange link at the top of ark.io. Or looking at the market tab under ARK on coinmarketcap.com.

 

(BH): Do you think Ark’s Smart Bridge Technology could render the COMIT protocol redundant? (The answer to this question had me sold)

(TW): One of our primary initiatives when starting ARK was to be as inclusive as possible. We work hand in hand with our community to build ARK and are always looking for ways to collaborate with any project that is willing.

We don’t like to look at anyone as competition but rather an opportunity to learn from one another and come together to make the technology better. We don’t make open source projects as a gimmick but rather as a fundamental statement of the goals of why we are here.

 

(BH): With 8 second block times, Ark is designed for speedy transaction settlement. What is the average Ark blocksize? And what is the maximum block size?

(TW): Average block size and maximum block size are not the same in ARK as you would see in some PoW chains, like bitcoin. ARK doesn’t suffer from size or tx restrictions. We did a lot of testing prior to our launch and decided to cap our transactions per block to 200 during the initial deployment of the network.

This allowed us to ensure that everything was running smooth and to be honest, a higher throughput hasn’t been necessary as of yet. We have tested the network at 25 tps without any degradation on our developer network and continue to optimize the code and test for future scaling efforts so that we are ready when it becomes necessary.

ARK scaling is relative to the network’s needs. In Delegated Proof of Stake(DPoS), the governance structure also allows us to increase throughput at any point in time with an update pushed to the delegate nodes.

(BH): Could you explain the voting weight system and it benefits over traditional consensus algorithms as simply as possible?

(TW): With Arks Delegated Proof of Stake(DPoS) consensus, every token holder has a vote. The weight of that vote is based on the amount of ark you hold in your wallet. (ie: 1 Ark is 1 vote, 10.000 ark is 10.000 votes.) Once you transfer tokens to your wallet, you have the option to vote for a delegate node that you want to be a validator for the Ark Network.

 

A validator is a node on the network that processes transactions and secures the network, creating blocks. The top 51 voted on Delegate nodes, become the network validators. Running the network, in a true decentralized governance structure chosen by you, the token holder.

 

Some benefits over other consensus systems:

  • Energy consumption is much, much lower than PoW or PoS as the systems required to run ARK are not process intensive.
  • Users who want to be involved can participate by voting with their monetary weight rather than spinning up additional mining hardware.
  • Voters often receive rewards for voting by the many “profit-sharing delegate nodes” currently in the top 51 positions. These delegates share a portion of their forged earnings with the users who vote for them.
  • We currently have over 53% of the ark supply being used to vote for delegates which makes a 51% attack relatively improbable and keeps a large majority of ARK tokens off of exchanges.

More detailed explanation can be found here: https://blog.ark.io/dpos-and-ark-voting-explained-68596a171ca1

 

(BH): How will Ark Shield make Ark more secure than other blockchain platforms?

(TW): The Ark Shield isn’t about core security, it ensures that Ark will have enough funding to keep the project going for the foreseeable future. I think the name, ARK Shield, just sounds like a security protocol and that can be misconstrued.

When we held our Token Exchange Campaign at the beginning of ARK’s creation, we allocated a small percentage of the initially created tokens to be set aside for future development of ARK. We don’t plan on touching it for a long time, ARK Shield is for the future, and it is professionally managed.

 

(BH):What is the minimum balance (required) for block forging?

(TW): This amount changes constantly, it slowly increases all the time as more adoption happens as well. Making for a governing competition to stay in the top 51 delegates. This also keeps delegates and token holders active as voting can change quite often.

There is a script that a community member developed, where you can see the technical numbers and amount of votes it takes to become a delegate. https://www.arknode.net/VoteReport.txt

 

 

(BH): Will the mobile app run forging functionality in future seeing as the process is more mathematical than hardware reliant? (Trick Question)

(TW): DPoS does not work that way. The wallets themselves do not forge or mine on the ARK network, this is the job of the active delegates in the top 51 and what they are incentivised to run a node for.

This is also why ARK has one of the fastest wallets in the crypto space, no syncing is needed since the blockchain is not stored client side. That being said, you will most definitely be able to vote for delegates from within the mobile wallet. (Didn’t fall for it)

 

(BH): We’ve seen how messy the scaling issue can get with the recent Bitcoin ‘Civil War’ and Etheruem’s PoS related infighting. , What scaling plan do you have in place should the need arise?

(TW): This was partially addressed in a previous question. Upgrades to the ARK core are easily implemented by pushing updates to the delegate nodes. Whether it’s increasing transactions per second, decreasing transaction fees, or protocol changes. This makes ARK’s governance model fast and efficient. We also believe in ARK’s ability to connect other blockchains(SmartBridge).

Part of why we are building the SmartBridge directly into the core ARK technology is to help alleviate some of the issues others have seen with scaling. By having every deployed ARKChain(push button deployed ARK clone) come with SmartBridge enabled right out of the box, we give ourselves a much better process for creating sidechains to do some of the heavy lifting.

Our goal has always been for the main ARK blockchain to be as lean as possible and primarily exist as a payment platform and token for the rest of the ARK Ecosystem once developed. This allows us to focus our scaling efforts on specific areas to increase speed and efficiency for that main purpose.

 

(BH): What sort of systems can be built over the Ark blockchain?

(TW): As previously mentioned, ARK is a core platform that can be used to create sidechains capable of almost anything you can imagine. Anyone who wants to fork the ARK core technology and use it to create a decentralized application that is SmartBridge capable and interconnected to the ARK Ecosystem will be able to do so, and we are excited to see what others come up with. One of the primary goals of ARK is to simplify the process of deploying sidechains and we think developers are really going to be excited about what we bring to the table.

[End of Interview]

 

That’s the long and short of it. From blockchain bridging technology to card and Point of Sale systems, Ark is a project targeted at practical, mass use of blockchain technology. The game plan is far bigger than cashing in on cryptocurrency hype.

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