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One thing has held true for more than five years – while the market goes up and down and over-funded market leaders delay upgrades, the teams behind Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, and NXT, the first pure proof of stake cryptocurrency, continue to quietly release innovative blockchain solutions at astoundingly fast rates.
Lightning Network has launched and grown to some 4000 nodes. Meanwhile, in January 2018, Jelurida, the company incorporated by the developers of NXT, launched the first live multi-chain full blockchain as a service platform, Ardor, to address issues of scalability, bloat, and interoperability. In August, Jelurida made their groundbreaking smart contract framework, Lightweight Contracts, available on the Ardor testnet, with a mainnet ETA of early 2019.
The Limits of Smart Contracts 1.0
Currently, well-known smart contract frameworks on the blockchain suffer from basic early development challenges, preventing them from becoming reliable tools for mainstream business adoption. Key shortcomings of existing frameworks can be summarized by five challenges:
- Contract life cycle management – Find a security bug? Good luck re-deploying.
- Transaction fees – Want to use my service? First, you’ll have to buy some “gas,” in the form of cryptocurrency, to use to sponsor your transaction fees – no matter what service you are trying to use. This means there will be some crypto-tax implications for your end users.
- Integration with External Services – Want to leverage an existing database? Contracts are part of the blockchain consensus,