Off-the-peg blockchain: Stratis launches ICO

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Blockchain offers big opportunities - but how do you make it easy enough for any business to access?

The blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is a paradigm shift. It’s a secure, immutable database, transparent and auditable in real time. Whilst it’s not a panacea, it’s also clear that this kind of technology offers significant advantages to a wide range of organisations, financial and otherwise.

But how do you actually set up and access a blockchain? It’s one thing for a bank or well-resourced financial company to do with their own research department and devs, quite another for SMEs with limited resources. That’s where Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) comes in.

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Off-the-peg blockchain: configure it, pay and click to deploy

Stratis: blockchain cloud services

Blockchain as a Service isn’t an entirely new idea; Microsoft offers BaaS with its Azure business apps. The key here though, is the ability to:

  1. Deploy a blockchain quickly and easily
  2. Tailor it to the needs of your organisation
  3. Access it easy
  4. Minimise maintenance

These are the goals that Stratis hopes to achieve with its cloud BaaS platform. Stratis will function with a main blockchain, on the back of which private sub-chains will be secured. Thus companies won’t have to worry about blockchain infrastructure, networks and nodes, or maintenance - they will just need to configure their subchain, deploy it and then access it from a lite client, much like cloud services like email and storage are accessed.

C# bitcoin full node

A major strand of Stratis’ strategy is the creation of a Bitcoin Core client written in C#. The Stratis network will be based on bitcoin, with a new proof-of-stake algo for consensus. Private chains will be secured on this, allowing businesses to roll out tailor-made blockchains quickly and easily - essentially configurable clones for which they set the parameters. 

But the first stage is to develop a regular client with full node capability - not in C++, like the original and currently only Bitcoin Core client, but one that uses C#. There are many more C# devs, it is far more widely used in business applications, and it is a higher-level language, meaning it is simpler to use and harder to make mistakes in. The idea is to open bitcoin development up to a far wider base of devs, as well as creating the Stratis client from the codebase. Any changes made to the bitcoin code will be immediately portable into Stratis, and vice versa (although the politics and processes of bitcoin itself mean this is a far tougher proposition). It makes bitcoin more accessible, and should bring benefits to the ecosystem overall - more developers means more innovation, greater security, more confidence, and more visibility.

Blockchain in the cloud

Cloud-based blockchain services is a bold idea. Everyone is familiar with cloud services: most of us use them, whether or not we realise it. Most businesses use them; cloud services are highly scalable, cost-effective, and convenient. And the blockchain itself is already a kind of ready-made cloud - and a hugely versatile one. Different protocols function in different ways: as a transactions protocol, a secure database, a storage medium, a software platform (smart contracts) and more.

Stratis aims to bring this to mainstream businesses with an off-the-peg approach that will make it fast and easy to deploy a new blockchain, easy to access it, and reduce ongoing maintenance to near-zero.

The Stratis ICO starts on 20 June. You can find out more about the platform and the ICO at www.StratisPlatform.com


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