Bloq believes that tokenized networks are going to be widely adopted and will provide a foundation for a future that is both more efficient and equitable. If that assumption is accepted, then what tools are needed to get from here to that point?
Doing our part to bring this future closer, today we launch BloqCloud — a cloud gateway to decentralized networks and the most widely accessible expression of Bloq’s multi-chain, multi-network, multi-token mission. This platform will deliver a suite of services across an ever-growing list of networks and protocols, giving developers and organizations of any size (and experience level) the basics they need for building on multiple public and private blockchain networks.
Read on to learn more about what inspired us to build the BloqCloud platform.
The Pain of Progress
Ten years into the age of open and decentralized networks, one might ask “Why aren’t there 100 million users for this technology yet?” The short answer, at least for the builders, is that there are far too many pain points going from zero to a fully realized dApp or smart contract system. These include the need to buy tokens, the necessity of providing private information to second-and-third-tier token exchanges, poor user interfaces, the need for rarified skill sets, high-maintenance infrastructure, and “but-what-if-I-get-it-wrong?” barriers to experimentation.
Further, everyone is building in silos, if for different reasons. For one thing, many APIs are purpose-built for one network and one network only. Further, enthusiasts and a fair number of startups tend to develop a monomania for their favorite networks. Within enterprises, the analysis-paralysis of “But what network do I build on?” means that promising projects and ideas might never get out of the official-corporate-center-of-excellence regime.
While Bloq’ers eagerly anticipate the tokenized future, we are also very pragmatic about what it takes to get there. It turns out that mobile phone history provides a guide: one API to access many networks.
What Twilio Did
Developers have been here before in another context: mobile integration. For example, you might remember attempting to subscribe to text updates on a website and having it require that you supply the name of your mobile carrier:
A company called Twilio fixed this, providing a set of APIs that were compatible with the major carriers’ networks. As a result, a large amount of friction disappeared for developers and, ultimately, end users. Therefore, you probably haven’t encountered a screen like the one above in some time. Twilio provided access to many networks through one API, with the swipe of a credit card.
We’re seeing a similar problem-solution pattern take shape today. Similarly, open network development is unnecessarily fractured, without an easy on-ramp. This requires developers and organizations to care maybe a little too much about the networks they are using. We believe that, once we’ve helped others surmount this limitation, new applications and even entirely new businesses will spring up around open decentralized networks.
We’re starting with the open networks with the most economic activity (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic, when all services are taken together), with more chains and services to come. The BloqCloud platform is about meeting the majority of developers and organizations where they are — bringing the universe of decentralized networks to them, in an API-driven way that is both familiar and transformative. Today’s launch reflects only the very first services and networks we will support. We also look forward to working with other token and network teams to add their protocols to our service. BloqCloud is the gateway to decentralized networks.
The Ten-Year Vision
Today, BloqCloud is about fixing the pain points that have hobbled development on decentralized networks for the past decade — providing a quick, easy, familiar REST API on-ramp to this decentralized future that is easy to build upon, inexpensive, and extensible to additional networks and services. One API, many networks.
On the ten-year roadmap, though, we want to answer the question “What token do I need to accomplish what I want to do?” Again, a developer need not care. Simply pay with a credit card or Bitcoin (or, soon, Metronome and Lightning), connect to the BloqCloud API, and use the decentralized service as it was intended. This moves the BloqCloud paradigm from “Twilio for open networks” to “Alibaba of open networks” — that is, we don’t “warehouse” the inventory but, rather, connect the buyer (i.e., network user) and seller (i.e., decentralized networks) with a minimal amount of economic friction (fewer tokens to buy, custody, and use).
This is the gateway to decentralized networks. BloqCloud is live and available to help you build the next generation of applications and, it is hoped, entirely new businesses. What application will you build tomorrow?
Now the real work begins.
Jeff Garzik is Bloq’s Co-founder and CEO.