It’s well established that Ethereum is the current darling of the crypto world.
It has enabled countless companies to raise money for countless projects, many of which would not have been considered by traditional venture capitalists and investors. As a result, the value of Ethereum has skyrocketed as it has become a viable store of value.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin is correctly lauded as a genius and, at the tender age of 24, he is rightfully considered to be one of the elder statesmen of crypto. He travels the world to impart his knowledge and when he talks, people listen.
This has led other blockchain projects to assume that the only thing they need to ignite the thrusters of their crypto-rockets and launch them to the moon is a marketable front-man who can be relied upon to deliver a timely soundbite which will cause the markets to shake with the satisfaction of a collective crypto-gasm.
At this juncture, I’d like to talk about the fickle nature of celebrity. In my view, there are two types.
Firstly, you have the old-school celebrity. In the case of singers and bands, they started by performing in dingy bars for peanuts before moving on to clubs, then theatres, then festivals and then stadiums. These are people who paid their dues and who powered through multiple failures to become household names because their talent and their drive put them head and shoulders above their peers.
Their fame transcends any generational barriers — in a hundred years time, people will still be listening to Elvis and Frank Sinatra.
You also have the phenomenon of modern-day celebrity. These people tend to be the product of clever marketing. These are people who, due to the popularity of cheap-to-produce reality TV, have been given a stage, whether deserved or not. These are people who would probably be flipping burgers if it wasn’t for their appearances on programs like ‘[INSERT COUNTRY HERE]’s Got Talent’ or ‘Real Housewives Of [INSERT CITY HERE]’.
These are people whose ‘style over substance’ time in the spotlight is finite.
Like a building, true celebrity can only grow if it has strong foundations to build upon. Failure to lay the correct groundwork will invariably end in disaster as things come crashing down.
Vitalik Buterin’s status in the blockchain world is an example of old school celebrity.
People look at him now and pay homage to his expertise and the way his creation has become a game-changer but people forget that he was a cryptographer before it was cool and he worked for years to hone his craft.
Now, let’s go back to the dim and distant past of mid-2015 and discuss the first eighteen months of Ethereum.
According to Coinmarketcap, Ethereum was priced at $2.83 on 7th August 2015 before dropping to just $0.43 less than three months later on 21st October 2015 — a loss of around 85% of its value.
Of course, elements of the notoriously skittish and impatient cryptocurrency community were quick to call Ethereum a scam.
People who didn’t understand the technology were incensed and shouted down the people telling them to be patient. As far as they were concerned, the short-term price drop was indicative of a failed project and many of these naysayers sold their holdings for peanuts. Their short-term outlook, coupled with their desire for instant profits caused the weak hands to fold and move their profits into coins that had better marketing.
It took six months for Ethereum to recover its initial price before shooting up to $10 in March 2016, where it spent the next year bouncing between $8 and $20.
Enter 2017 and the year of the ICO. It’s no surprise that’s when Ethereum began its meteoric price rise. People started to wake up to the fact that Ethereum wasn’t another Bitcoin clone. All of a sudden, people started using Ethereum for exactly what it was intended for. They were using it to build decentralized applications and raise money.
In short, people started to use Ethereum in real-world cases as opposed to just currency speculation, and the resulting price rise turned Vitalik Buterin into a crypto-celebrity.
Enter Ardor, a project near and dear to my heart.
Like Ethereum, Ardor was created with a specific purpose in mind. The forward thinking developers foresaw the issue of ‘blockchain-bloat’ before anyone else. They knew that the architecture of both Bitcoin and Ethereum would only allow a limited number of transactions to occur in each block before significant bottlenecks occurred. The Ardor developers knew that this issue was a show-stopper and would be a huge barrier to the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.
Cut to January 2018 and after eighteen months of development, Ardor is successfully launched with a fully-working product that solves the issue of blockchain-bloat.
Unfortunately, the price immediately dropped due to a combination of a major market correction and the glacier-like pace that markets like Bittrex took to implement the technology. The meteoric, but hype-based gains of December 2017 were wiped out, and Ardor retraced back to it’s late November 2017 price.
Predictably, the short-sighted day traders were incensed. Like with Ethereum a couple of years beforehand, people started to call Ardor a scam.
People who bought into Ardor at the all-time high started talking about the apparent lack of marketing that Jelurida, the parent company were doing. People were livid that after just two months, Ardor had not been pumped by the feel-good, yet frequently bullshit, stories that go hand-in-hand with the world of crypto.
In short, people were angry that instead of ‘talking the talk’, the Ardor developers chose to ‘walk the walk’ and release a genuinely ground-breaking ecosystem that solves a genuine problem.
Of course the irony is that these are the same people who tend to speculate wildly on ICO white-papers with non-existent, and often non-feasible products.
These are the weak hands, the people who laugh when somebody dares to suggest that Ardor could be a serious competitor to Ethereum.
In the same way that Ethereum started with a trickle, which then became a flood, the signs are overwhelmingly positive for Ardor too. New decentralised applications are already being developed on the platform and new ICO’s are already in the pipeline.
Of course things take time. It took nearly two years before Ethereum became the mainstream store of value that it is today.
We are already seeing many of the better marketed projects start to crash and burn. People who invested in untried and untested technologies like Neo “The Chinese Ethereum” are starting to realize that the marketing hype will only go so far and that once the bluster is over, they’ve invested in nothing but hot air.
The moral of this story is that slow and steady wins the race.
ARDOR VS ETHEREUM
BYOB: Build Your Own Blockchain. That’s the technology behind Nxt, and that’s the pitch behind Ardor, a dark horse to upseat Ethereum.
Many in the crypto community might have heard of Nxt. It’s been around since 2013, although it hasn’t generated a ton of buzz. For those unaware, Nxt is an open source blockchain platform dubbed by many “the WordPress of Blockchain”. Creating a blockchain from scratch is like building a website: difficult. WordPress software handles all the back-end of creating a website. Users can easily publish posts and add things to their site without any coding knowledge. Nxt aspires to be the same thing with blockchain. For various reasons, Nxt hasn’t lit the world on fire, but Ardor, an improved spinoff, has real potential.
ARDOR HASN’T SET THE WORLD ON FIRE YET. BUT IT COULD.
Quick history lesson: Nxt had an ICO in 2013. The ICO was poorly organized, appeared to many to be a scam, and raised just 21 Bitcoin. That’s 21 BTC in 2013 prices: about $6000. Small potatoes compared to the hundred million plus ICOs popping off these days. Nxt’s development team also went through considerably turnover and upheaval. Nonetheless, they’ve grown and survived to this day. Both Nxt and Ardor are under the umbrella of a company called Jelurida.
The keys to Ardor are the “child chains.” The existing Nxt blockchain technology will handle some aspects of running a blockchain, and the child chains will handle chain-specific aspects. The parent chain is responsible for proof-of-stake processes. Child chains will handle things like voting, asset exchange, and so on.
Ardor was created with some of blockchain’s most persistent problems in mind. One is blockchain “bloat;” every transaction submitted to a blockchain stays forever in the blockchain. These transactions must be re-validated by every new node which joins the blockchain. That’s a long process and a bit problem for crypto projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin’s blockchain is currently 153 GB and growing and Ethereum’s is currently 121 GB. Comparatively, Ardor will only store key transactions on the parent chain. Most transactions will be on the child chains. These transactions can also be “pruned,” and new nodes on the network will only need to validate the parent chain transaction. The Ardor team estimates this can reduce the number of transactions stored on the blockchain at a ratio of up to 1:100.
Another issue is that when creating a blockchain based token, users need to transact in the new token, but also pay a transaction fee in a more established token. Ardor’s child chains will deal exclusively in the token of the child chain.
A last problem in the crypto world is exchanges; they’re hackable and represent a single point of failure. With more money pouring into crypto than ever before, hackers will undoubtedly keep trying to steal from exchanges. Ardor allows intendent business entities to issue a “pegged” child chain. These guarantee that Token X is pegged at a hypothetical ratio; say 1 token for $1. Here’s the kicker. Users who trust the 3rd party can trade blockchain assets against the child assets. This way, they don’t have to exchange their tokens into Ardor tokens before flipping them.
ISSUING YOUR OWN ICO ON ARDOR CAN TAKE 5 MINUTES. STARTING YOUR OWN CURRENCY CAN TAKE 2 MINUTES.
There are points in favor of both Ethereum and Ardor. Ethereum has the hot hand in the market and they’ve done a great job at marketing. Today, coins based around Ethereum’s smart contracts are a dime a dozen.
However, Ardor has a smart contact’esq feature built in as well. Ardor uses templates which allow users to create “smart transactions”. These are essentially smart contracts but they have been properly audited by core developers helping ensure safe code. As we mentioned earlier, you can think of Ardor as the WordPress of blockchains. Ardor smart transaction templates are sort of like WordPress plugins. They provide the average user with a set of easy to use contracts for the most common uses. For example issuing your Own ICO on Ardor can take 5 minutes and creating your own currency can take 2 minutes. No coding required.
Ardor offers an easy to use interface that doesn’t require coding knowledge. This lowers the barrier to entry and allows the average user the opportunity to create their own cryptocurrency, digital asset or smart transaction. Ethereum on the other hand, offers a higher level of customization, but you have to know how to code using Solidarity to be able to use it. A coding language not many people understand.
Ardor has pitched itself as more scalable, faster, and secure. Ethereum’s contracts have no time cap, something many smart contract spinoff cryptos have capitalized on. Had the DAO hack occurred on Ardor, only one chain would have been compromised, and not the entire currency. In fact the DAO probably wouldn’t have happened on Ardor, because all “smart transactions” are verified by the core team.
Every single Ethereum contract is stored forever on the same chain. Ethereum’s chain is growing fast. Child chains in Ardor aren’t involved in securing the network, so they don’t need to store the whole history of transactions. Transactions on the child chains will be bundled and hashed, and only the hash goes on the parent chain. The hashes provide a record if ever needed, but without new nodes having to process crushing amounts of data. Ardor has also toyed with the idea down the line of splitting child chains into their own subnetworks.
BLOCKCHAIN BLOAT IS A MAJOR ISSUE THAT ARDOR SOLVES
To address bloating, Ethereum has discussed “sharding” as a possible way to alleviate bloat. Currently, all nodes on the Ethereum network store and process every transaction on the network. Sharding is the concept of having a small group of nodes validate every transaction instead. But this is still in the developmental stage for now.
Ethereum is obviously the biggest name in the Baas space (Blockchain as a Service). Lisk, Ark, HyperLedger and Stratis are just a few competitors.
You can easily download Nxt and play around with it. Ardor is currently running on a testnet which you can download as well. Both are easy to examine, which is a welcome trend when ICOs are demanding millions with little more than a whitepaper and a story. The first child chain of Ardor is already going through an ICO: Ignis. The Ardor team has already announced funds from the ICO will go towards promotion and support of the Nxt and Ardor blockchains.
ARDOR’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE: IT HAS BEEN WEAK IN MARKETING ITSELF
ICO Promotion is an underrated aspect of a cryptocurrency. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” But he clearly never launched an ICO. With new coins popping up literally every day and ICO records being broken, a coin needs a good marketing team, in addition to a good idea. Nxt has done a poor job marketing itself in the past.
However, Ardor has generated some buzz, and the team has the benefit of several years of blockchain experience. Most ICO teams are staffed with bright programmers who have precisely zero blockchain experience. The team behind Ardor have been at this for much longer than most people in this space.
To recap, NXT and Ardor offer a competitor to Ethereum with an easier to use interface. Users can create their own digital assets and launch their own ICO’s. They can also create their own digital currencies in minutes. Nxt and Ardor also come with a built-in online marketplace, built in messaging and many more features. It’s less customizable than Ethereum, but better built in terms of security and scalability. It’s backed by an experienced team. But Ethereum is still the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and we’ll have to see if Ardor succeeds where Nxt failed in marketing itself.
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