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Why Every Dapp Should be Multichain
and how those that don't breed a cultish maximalist culture
Do you know what drives me nuts?
We have maximalists (or extremists) everywhere now and it annoys me to no end.
I don’t know what happened to our society, but it seems like maximalism is the new norm.
In fact, if you have a reasonably balanced opinion, society disregards you as spineless, unable to make a decision, or just complacent.
Should you need to have an extreme opinion and be “all in” to be listened to?
Don’t get me wrong; there are times when you should go all in on your beliefs.
But when it comes to things like politics, technology, and today’s conversation: blockchains, I don’t think maximalism is the best.
This leads us to today’s topic: multichain.
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What is Multichain
Last time we talked, I explained how different cryptocurrencies power different blockchains.
We talked about how this affects decentralized social media in particular, but the truth is it goes beyond that.
A lot of these blockchains have huge followings. And a lot of them have a weird cultish behavior. The blockchain followers disregard and shame any other blockchain out there.
Don’t get me wrong; this is a new technology and we should all be cautious. There are tons and tons of blockchain projects out there, and they aren’t all legit.
But you shouldn’t just close off to any new project because you believe the one you found is the best.
And every big chain has issue.
Bitcoin maximalists (or maxis) believe that because Bitcoin was the first decentralized blockchain in the space, it’s the only one that matters. It will be the de facto replacement for currency, and no other blockchain will stand a chance.
I tend to believe Bitcoin will probably be the one to replace gold, dollars, etc, but does that make it the only important and useful blockchain?
Not at all!
The same goes for Ethereum followers too. This was the first blockchain with smart contract functionality, so any other blockchain that has smart contracts like Solana are deemed garbage.
The reverse of that one is true too. Solana followers think that the Solana blockchain is faster, cheaper, and smarter than Ethereum and will ultimately squash Ethereum into the dust.
Here is another example. There is another very popular NFT book marketplace and publisher called Book. They are built on Cardano, which has another huge cult following.
So much so they believe that what Book is doing is extremely innovative, no one else is doing anything remotely like it, and they have a blind eye to any other NFT book project out there…simply because all they see is Cardano.
The list goes on and on so I’ll stop there.
I want to hone in on the point that we shouldn’t close off on these other blockchains.
What is a Blockchain Really?
Technologists will cringe at my oversimplification, but in reality what is a blockchain?
I would define it as a fully decentralized and open database.
We talked about his last time with decentralized social media.
Anybody in the world can tap into the Deso blockchain and build a social media app with their data.
Because it’s open.
You can’t build an app that ports your Facebook friends or Twitter data or any other normal social media. Those databases are closed off.
This concept of open data is true for every single blockchain. Anyone can tap into Bitcoin and see all financial transactions.
Anyone can tap into Ethereum or Solana and view transactions, call other people’s programs, or build an NFT marketplace.
If you sell Solana NFTs on your website, anyone in the world can build an app that showcases or uses your NFTs in some way shape, or form.
Ok, you get the picture.
To summarize: a blockchain is a public database. So what’s the big deal?
How are Databases Used Today?
Here’s the thing. Databases come in a variety of forms depending on your use case. At the end of the day, yes, they have one main function: store data.
But there is a lot of technique, software, and design that goes into storing and retrieving that data as securely and quickly as possible.
The type of data really defines the kind of database you need. Some databases are faster than others, but might not 100% guarantee all the data is stored in real time.
Others can store the data in real-time guaranteed, but it just might not be immediately.
For instance, financial data needs to be secure and accurate 100% of the time. What if the stock markets had lagging data that wasn’t real-time and people could trade at lower prices than others? That wouldn’t be good.
However, what about storing the number of likes you have on a YouTube video? If you have tons of followers sending you likes, do you really care if you see the accurate count in real-time? If you see 10,000 likes but in reality, you have 10,100, does it matter as long as all the likes show up eventually?
The list of database uses is quite large: some are for storing large data (like videos), financial data, temporary data that is accessed frequently, data that relates to each other (like social data), data for AI and machine learning, etc etc.
The point of all of this is if you went into Facebook or Google or even small applications and asked what kind of database they use, what would they say?
They’d probably tell you they use at least 3 or more different kinds of databases for different parts of their product.
Because they have a lot of services and each use case needs different database technology.
Back to Blockchains
So if blockchains are databases, then doesn’t it make sense for a decentralized app (dapp) to utilize different blockchains too?
Why build an app that limits itself to just 1 ecosystem?
There are so many different blockchains, each have different users, different apps, and can be tapped into for different use cases.
In the future, this will evolve more and more. For now, we see a lot of apps being built on one blockchain. Especially with NFT projects. But slowly all these apps are supporting different NFTs from different blockchains.
OpenSea started on Ethereum, but now you can sell Ethereum, Polygon, or Solana NFTs. MagicEden started selling Solana NFTs, but now you can sell Ethereum NFTs there too!
The NFTs are stored on a single chain, but the app that utilizes them is not. They tap into all the chains.
In the future, I’d love to see apps utilize the different blockchains for their unique use cases and advantages.
Solana, for instance, is very fast, and in my opinion ideal for quick financial transactions through things like Solana Pay. Ethereum, however, has a slightly easier, broader, and more standard smart contract ecosystem so perhaps running certain programs there could be beneficial. Deso and Polygon are the biggest chains for decentralized social media right now, so they should be integrated for social interactions.
You get the picture.
We aren’t 100% there yet, but that’s what I think the future will hold.
How Spatium Plans to Become Multichain
Now let’s focus more on Spatium Stories.
As you may or may not know, Deso is the core blockchain Spatium is built on right now. All our books are currently stored on Deso.
However, technically, we store the book cover image and encrypted book file on the Arweave blockchain. Which I guess already makes us multichain :)
Deso will always remain a social layer for the app. This means to interact with any authors or book clubs, a Deso account will be necessary. For readers, we plan to offer custodial Deso accounts if you don’t want to make one. For our authors, we think it’s important they create their own accounts for publishing. But if enough interest comes in, we may add custodial Deso accounts for them too.
Deso is also the key blockchain for our Dragon Protocol encryption service. We use Deso to securely store all our encryption keys and plan to continue to do so.
However, the actual encryption/decryption processing is still done on a normal AWS server.
On an aside, I believe this still makes us decentralized.
Here is why: All the data is public.
Anyone in the world can build their own AWS server to add their own encryption/decryption service too. Anyone in the world can build their own book store or cloud reader and utilize Spatium books. Without our permission! That’s decentralized.
From a security point of view, by the way, the Dragon Protocol shares the keys between our account and the author. So if anyone else wanted to build a cloud reader they would still need the author to agree to share those encryption keys.
Anyways, as we become multichain, however, we do plan to move that encryption/decryption service onto the blockchain through smart contract technology.
Furthermore, as we become multichain one thing we will foster is storing the book NFT on multiple blockchains. This helps with data redundancy because if you publish your book on multiple blockchains and one happens to disappear somehow, then your book would be on other blockchains too.
This also allows our books to be resold on multiple blockchain marketplace apps, thus expanding the reach for our authors.
As other chains like Polygon advance social features, this also allows us to utilize the social features of not just Deso, but Polygon too!
Lastly, becoming more multichain allows our authors to utilize better payment technology and get paid in any cryptocurrency they want.
The use cases can go on and on.
But in reality, here is our current plan in bite-sized chunks:
Deso will be our base chain for social interactions and the Dragon Protocol
We plan to add (as soon as possible) Solana, Polygon, and Ethereum books, making the total chains you can buy books on 4.
Authors minting RARE books (limited edition books) will specify which chain they want to publish on.
Authors minting MOD books (infinite copies available for purchase) will have a very unique twist. MOD books will be minted on the Deso blockchain at first. But this is just the root copy. Any reader can then buy a MOD copy on whichever chain they want! The author doesn’t have to do anything to set it up and they still get paid. I believe we will be the ONLY NFT bookstore to offer this.
That’s the plan!
We hope and believe that becoming multichain will broaden the reach of our authors, increase the number of unique features we can utilize from these other powerful blockchains, and spark more unity instead of cultish maximalist behavior.