For quite a while now, the blockchain community has been drooling over the prospect of Plasma, a blockchain scaling infrastructure that was announced by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Much of the ongoing excitement surrounding the update is because the scalability issue has plagued blockchains since their creation.
As the number of blockchain transactions per day has grown dramatically, blockchain networks still have a very difficult time processing large amounts of transactions. It’s not uncommon for it to take dozens of hours for a transaction to be confirmed, sometimes several days. This creates a problematic cap on the number of blockchain transactions that can be verified each day, which is a tremendous issue cryptocurrency need to be solved if they want to exist as a long-term, viable payment method.
This is where the Plasma update comes in. It systematically removes unnecessary data in the Ethereum root chain, trimming down the blockchain’s size and allowing for faster operations. Plasma relies on a series of smart contracts to create a hierarchy of sidechains off of the main blockchain. The sidechains gather data and periodically relay information back to the root chain, the Ethereum blockchain. Thus, it is more efficient and cost-effective to interact with the system’s participants. Decentralized apps can run without worrying about the backlog.
However, another contender has emerged that is more promising than the Ethereum Plasma update. It is blockchain company Jerlurida’s Ardor platform, a proprietary invention which could very well signal the beginning of the end for the blockchain scalability issue.
What is the Ardor Platform and How Does it Work?
The infrastructure of the Ardor platform is quite simple in theory. It uses the parent chain–the Ardor chain–as the main backbone of the network. The parent chain is intentionally small in size because its main objective is to secure the entire network. It is not responsible for processing any transactions or interacting with decentralized apps–it is built for security.
The parent chain is just one of many chains in the network. The network also uses child chains which are secured by the Ardor parent chain. These child chains are responsible for the network’s functions and transactions.
This architecture leads to two fundamental results, both of which facilitate greater blockchain scalability. First, blockchain bloat is dramatically limited and transaction speed is significantly upgraded. By splitting functions between the Ardor parent chain–security–and all the network’s child chains–all other features–each chain can focus on its own tasks and responsibilities, rather than one main blockchain trying to do everything.
Second, the platform allows companies to create their own projects using their own child chains. Thus, rather than all dapps and platforms running off of one blockchain–as is the case with the Ethereum network–the Ardor platform creates a way so that each company has its own unique child chain secured by the Ardor parent.
What’s more, child chain transactions are pruned and removed from the blockchain without affecting the parent chain. This reduces blockchain bloat and also allows child chain transactions to be conducted with the child chain’s token, rather than the main chain’s.
How Does Ardor Compare to Plasma
At first blush, Ardor is very similar to Plasma. Both create a chain hierarchy that allows the main chain to have a specific function while child chains facilitate their own functions. However, this is where the similarities stop.
First, the platform has already been developed and is in full operation. The first child chain, Ignis, has already completed its token sale. This is in contrast to the Ethereum’s Plasma upgrade, which is still in the works without a specific release date.
Second, Ardor’s parent chain is lean and solely dedicated to network security. It’s small size and narrow focus allows it to avoid bloating, whereas the Ethereum chain is already bloated and carries a whole host of functions, regardless of how many child chains pick up the slack.
Third, the Ardor platform uses a Proof-of-Stake protocol, whereas the Ethereum blockchain uses the Proof-of-Work protocol. This allows it to be less prone to a 51% attack, more economical, more eco-friendly, and more decentralized. When it comes down to it, the Ardor platform seems like a clear choice.