As we enter the unknown of another bitcoin bull market, resurgent public interest in cryptocurrencies is likely to follow suit. One of the defining narratives since the fading intrigue into bitcoin and altcoins during the 2018 bear market was the callid card of “buidl,” focusing on improving the infrastructure and underlying technology of blockchain networks.
The core initiative has been to explore various applications of blockchain technology, and how experimenting with some of the consensus rules (e.g., proof-of-stake) can lead to more scalable, interoperable public blockchains.
As recent research by Global Coin Research indicates, the broader blockchain market is molding, in many instances, to geographic preferences — such as the popular support of blockchain-based games in South Korea. The result has been a vast tinkering with blockchains to tackle emerging markets at the convergence of social or economic preferences and innovative technology.
In particular, the race for scalable blockchain infrastructure, specifically public blockchains, is amplifying — covering a range of applications from finance to gaming.
Platforms like Cosmos and Tezos, hailed as scalable alternatives to Ethereum, have launched to much fanfare in recent months, and Polkadot’s mainnet launch is scheduled for later this year. I had a chance to speak with Chris Wang, the former Founder of Disney’s Playdom gaming social network, about the broader industry’s state amid his ongoing work with ThunderCore, another rising “next-generation” blockchain network — of which he is the CEO.
Joresa Blount: Can you describe the motivation to start ThunderCore and how your past experiences with Playdom and Disney relate to your initiative to bring a scalable blockchain network to dapps?
Chris Wang: I think one of blockchain’s greatest value propositions is that it can bring transparency and fairness to everyone. While this is a great technology, when I first started, it wasn’t very practical because of how slow and expensive validation is on a distributed network. So, I decided to build a high-performance blockchain to reduce those deficiencies and help make the technology available to everyone.
At Playdom, we built many of the early games on Facebook and generated a wave of game developers to create even more of those fun, intuitive social games. Those lessons are important when working in another emerging technological field, and we plan to use that knowledge from the Playdom experience to reproduce similar results on the blockchain.
Joresa: Coming from a background with conventional games hosted on centralized infrastructure with major brands like Disney, can you describe the primary advantages of dapps on decentralized blockchains and how they can improve existing application archetypes? Are they direct competition to popular applications today or more of a complement to them?
Chris: The primary advantage is transparency. You can verify that game developers are not cheating through reviewing the smart contract code on the network, which is part of the reason why gambling and gaming apps are so popular among dapps right now. In the context of gaming, for example, any probability such as random loot drops in a game are open for everyone to see.
Any wholesale transition from traditional apps to blockchain-based applications seems unlikely in the short-term considering the significant hurdles still facing adoption. However, I believe that both dapps and conventional apps can co-exist in a mutually beneficial environment for users in the long-term.
Joresa: ThunderCore is compatible with Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM). Can you explain the importance of bridging to Ethereum?
Chris: ThunderCore supports EVM which allow dapp developers on ThunderCore to leverage existing Ethereum tools and resources for dapp development.
ThunderCore also is planning to support cross-chain assets which will allow assets on Ethereum, such as DAI, to be imported onto ThunderCore. This reflects our respect for the existing Ethereum ecosystem and our desire not to reinvent the wheel. Our basic goal is to make it as easy as possible for developers to leverage ThunderCore’s scalability.
Joresa: What type of decentralized applications (dapps) does ThunderCore cater to? For example, does your past experiences with Playdom aspire ThunderCore to focus more on the gaming sector or another area like financial applications?
Chris: Our high-performance consensus engine enables quick and easy deployment of dapps that can scale right away. As a result, dapps that have initially struggled to gain user adoption drawing from performance issues on networks like Ethereum can benefit from building on ThunderCore.
For example, with the narrative of DeFi accelerating, more complicated financial products on the blockchain will require better-performing infrastructure — like for settlement. Similarly, the blockchain gaming experience is currently marred by a poor user experience since basic game functions often require individual transactions, fees, and lag times. With a more robust infrastructure that can meet gaming execution demands, blockchain games can become more analogous to conventional gaming apps.
Joresa: You have some major roadmap milestones on the horizon, including the ThunderCore Jupiter mainnet release, staking pool service, and ThunderCore Haikili. Can you elaborate on these pillars in ThunderCore’s development and how they relate to the broader industry?
Chris: Staking pool services empowers every class of our token holders to take part in the ThunderCore consensus mechanism. Due to this service, for staking TT tokens, holders do not have to run nodes or engage with staking service providers.
In our roadmap, we also have cross-chain assets support coming. With cross-chain assets, we can import and use Ethereum assets — such as DAI and ERC20 tokens. They allow ThunderCore users and developers to leverage the Ethereum asset ecosystem, which is useful for helping share resources and onboard more users from Ethereum’s massive community of supporters.