Blockchain’s rapid development has given rise to may different kinds of chains, naturally leading to the birth of a new technology — cross-chain technology. In fact, cross-chain applications has been a hot topic of discussion in the cryptocurrency community.
Cross-chain, as its name suggests, allows the transmission of value and information between different blockchains. Here, we take a look at how this new technology can impact blockchain use.
The beginning of new business ecosystems
Blockchain technology’s unique selling point is that it can provide a brand new solution for all kinds of businesses, such as finance, credit markets and the internet of things. Many blockchain programs target a specific industry or specialisation, using public blockchains to enable commercial use, and in turn creating a brand new business ecology. In the cultural industry, there are already countless excellent programs based on blockchain platforms, such as Steemit, a blockchain-based content rewards social media platform where users who provide quality content can earn Steem dollars.
Then there is online music streaming platform Spotify, which recently acquired blockchain startup Mediachain to kickstart the company’s entry into the blockchain world. Through the use of a decentralised, open media library, copyright traceability and a tokenisation rewards mechanism, it is the company’s hope to create a fairer, more transparent and more rewarding environment for original music creators and copyright holders.
It is in a similar vein that Ink Labs Foundation has come up with global blockchain solutions targeting cultural and creative assets. The aim is to speedily protect intellectual property, create a decentralised market for creative content transactions, and enable the free flow of assets and information, so as to build a completely new global ecosystem for creatives. Built on the Qtum Blockchain platform, Ink’s intention is to build a vibrant, high-volume and secure market for IP assets.
These elegant systems reinvent the traditional business model of the arts and culture industry, allowing creatives new ways to monetise and protect original content in a new ecosystem.
However, most blockchain systems are built on a single, isolated ecosystem, so information and assets cannot be transmitted across different blockchains. This greatly limits the potential of blockchain solutions. That is where cross-chain technology comes in.
Evolution begins with cross-chain technology
Cross-chain technology works in three main ways: notary schemes, sidechains or relays, and hash-locking. From the perspective of practical use, cross-chain technology in relation to blockchains is still under research and testing, and still in its infancy. That said, there are notable highlights, such as Ink’s latest cross-chain protocol breakthrough.
The cross-chain protocol is a revolutionary method that connects Ink’s consortium blockchain and the trusted public chain. The cross-chain protocol provides interoperability for all the blockchains and enables the exchange of value and information between blockchains. Combined with the advantage of the public chain’s decentralised function, and the nodes authority and trustworthy of the consortium blockchain, it will lay the foundation of a broader global blockchain market for Ink.
The Ink Cross-chain Protocol is implemented based on the cross-chain endorsement node on the side of the consortium blockchain/public chain. When the consortium blockchain/public chain initiates a cross-chain transfer, the protocol requires the initiator to pass several independent cross-chain endorsement nodes to cross-verify the transaction. The cross-chain interaction can be triggered after a specific endorsed combination has been confirmed.
Ink’s vision is to connect global cultural assets using blockchains, such that original content gets a boost on the global platform both in terms of value and transferability. Ink targets different cultural arenas, customising, deploying and applying different blockchains. Consortium blockchains are the basic building blocks of original content distribution. Using trustworthy public blockchain platforms such as Qtum to build a decentralised global cultural assets market, creators can use the platform to get their share of copyright fees and establish IP tokens. Users and the creators’ audience can buy tokens to pay for content.
For instance, a musician in Singapore released an album. Fans of this creator’s music from all over the world can purchase listening rights using IP tokens. At the same time, a hardcore fan who has been avidly recommending and promoting the album can earn a certain number of IP tokens. Owners of these IP tokens can use the Qtum public blockchain or other consortium blockchains to convert them to INK currency before using that to purchase other IP tokens that will allow them to enjoy other original content.
The future of global cross-chain ecosystems
The upcoming INK token cross-chain transfer app will enable two-way exchanges between Qtum and Ethereum INK currency. Related apps are also in the works, such as cross-chain interaction in complex scenes and cross-chain oracle. The cross-chain interaction will adapt the appropriate infrastructure for various application functions so as to meet demand and maximise efficiency. As for the cross-chain oracle, it will use an endorsement mechanism to verify information from within the blockchain and from outside the chain, with the objective of enhancing the interoperability of the underlying chain.
In the future, the cryptocurrency world is one with cross-chain protocols enabling the bidirectional interaction between different blockchains, and realising the free flow of information and value. This will improve usability and widen the scope for cryptocurrency. In addition, in bringing together different blockchains, cross-chain technology improves the scalability of the blockchain ecosystem.