Already we have seen numerous smart contract operated online casinos accepting the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, as well as Dogecoin. It could be argued that these casinos are part of a set of decentralized blockchain ecosystems and therefore they are pioneering the way for the future predicted decentralized internet.
According to Forbes, the idea came from Ethereum’s co-founder Joe Lubin in a Lisbon Web Summit just held in which he said that a new version of the internet is likely to be released sometime in the near future. Admittedly there has been no mention of a start-up working on such a project, but there are ICOs out there with whitepapers explaining that their concept is to help the blockchain with scalability issues.
As the World Wide Web has only been around for just over two decades, it is hard to imagine that anything could come along and replace it. Most have written off the possibility of blockchain technology because each ICO has designed their own ecosystem with different ledgers as well as their own smart contracts. Each system also processes their own in-house protocol.
Well, the possibilities are there if the aforementioned solutions being designed using blockchain technology to make sure that the entire ecosystem as a whole can scale as mass adoption takes place.
Imagine this – the blockchain as a whole would be all ecosystems connected into one large connected blockchain. Therefore there would be a blockchain ecosystem, which would be the internet, and hundreds if not thousands of mini-ecosystems connected to this, which would be the websites and servers on the internet. For instance, the Ethereum ecosystem would be part of a fully connected blockchain ecosystem.
This is the main issue with Lubin’s suggestion. That said, the did say that to achieve a new decentralized internet it would take a lot of work. Clearly, this is not something that is going to happen overnight or anytime soon, but the possibilities are there.
As mentioned, the overall aim would be to connect all the current ecosystems into one network. This means there would need to be one common protocol so all the system to connect, exchange data, and basically in layman’s terms “talk to each other”.
This is exactly why there are projects out there focusing on the scalability of the blockchain as a whole. They are looking for ways to design and implement a common protocol that could act as a middleman (or let’s say act as a translator) between the different blockchain technologies.
For those that are not overly tech savvy on how early networks worked there is an easy way to explain this. There were only three main competitors out there using networks to connect their computers in office so they could exchange information. This was before the internet or World Wide Web existed.
At the time, Microsoft computers communicated using a protocol called NetBios. Novel Netware used its own protocol called NCP and Apple another networking protocol and named it AppleTalk. However, if you plugged in an Apple device on the same network as the Microsoft device, they could not exchange data because they used different protocols.
Eventually, another computer would be needed on the network to act as the translator between Apple and Microsoft devices. The same applied to Novel devices to communicate with Microsoft or Apple and so on. This is probably the initial solution that will begin to connect Ethereum with Bitcoin, and Enjin with Litecoin and so on.
Although having a gateway as a solution to translate one protocol’s language to another protocol’s language enables connectivity, it does slow the process down somewhat. Now at first, this was not a problem with Microsoft, Apple, and Novell networks. However, as the networks grew, so did the number of gateways (translators) needed.
In the end, scalability became an issue as these gateways would eventually become a bottleneck. Like a road that merges from two lanes to one lane in rush hour – basically during peak hours everything bottlenecks at these junctions.
For those that don’t know, the TCP/IP protocol is how devices on the internet are able to transmit data to one another. Everytime you connect to an online casino, you are handshaking with the casino’s TCP/IP protocol, which passes data too and from your device and vice versa. The same applies to emails, everytime you access a website, connect to an app and so on.
Now going back to the example of the gateways (translators) imagine what happened to all these networks with gateways bottlenecking when the internet was released.
Luckily the US military had already thought of a solution. It came in the form of a protocol called TCP/IP. Eventually, Novell, Microsoft, and Apple phased out their original in-house protocols and all new operating systems began using TCP/IP.
For one large blockchain eco-system to work a TCP/IP style protocol is going to be needed. Already, ICO’s working on scalability projects are looking at solutions that are very similar to how the internet’s TCP/IP protocol was invented.
One of the major advantages the TCP/IP protocol had was that only Microsoft, Novell, and Apple really needed to use it. There are obviously a few other operating systems such as UNIX and Linux, but then we have just five systems that need to adapt.
At the moment we have more than one thousands blockchain ecosystems out there each with their own standard operating procedures. Somehow for Lubin’s all-in-one decentralized internet to work, every ICO is going to need to agree on a standard protocol.
With that said, data used and processing power needed on blockchain networks is minuscule compared to the internet (the current way we are connected). Therefore gateways will, in theory, work initially because it will take decades before bottlenecks do become a problem for the blockchain based internet. Nevertheless, with mass adoption and growing world populations it will be a problem that will need to be dealt with – maybe one we may or not see within our lifetime.
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