Shardus: The Foundation of Our Decentralized Future
Decentralized applications need better infrastructure to scale.
In a world where there is a constant fight for power and data, as well as a lack of trust, the internet is ready to be decentralized. Developers and enterprises are racing to build distributed ledger technology that will serve as the infrastructure of our future decentralized world. Exactly what type of infrastructure will support the decentralization process is unknown, but one thing is certain: a private entity shouldn’t own that infrastructure.
Shardus is on track to solve the challenges holding distributed ledger technology (DLT) back from global adoption and is a candidate for the foundation that society’s decentralized applications will live on. There is no private entity behind Shardus. Like Bitcoin, Shardus is being developed by an unincorporated association of highly talented developers. These developers are rewarded for their contributions with ULT, the token used to license Shardus.
Shardus is not a decentralized network. Instead, it is software used as the foundation for developers to launch their own application-specific or industry-specific decentralized networks. First, there was Bitcoin, a static decentralized network where miners can add nodes to the Bitcoin network and token holders can trade BTC among themselves. Next, there was Ethereum, a smart contract platform where developers could issue their own smart contracts and develop a dApp on the Ethereum network. Now there is Shardus, software developers can use to easily launch their own app-specific or industry-specific decentralized networks so all they have to focus on is writing their dApp’s code, not the decentralized infrastructure underneath it, and they don’t have to share their network’s compute resources with other applications.
Shardus solves several challenges that smart contract platforms and decentralized networks face. First, scalability: most networks have a TPS limit, so if the adoption of applications built on Ethereum or similar decentralized networks scale, the applications become inefficient and provide a poor UX due to high wait times for TXs to process. Shardus is one of the first projects to implement state sharding into a decentralized network. State sharding allows for linear scalability, which means Shardus networks have TPS per node. As you add nodes to a Shardus network, the TPS limit increases. Linear scaling, the scaling of TPS aligned with the growth of the network, allows for global adoption of decentralized applications and a UX you’d expect with any centralized application. Shardus demonstrated linear scaling in a live network at its Q3 event at the University of Texas Dallas in 2019 (one of the first known demonstrations of linear scaling in a decentralized network in the world). Shardus Q3 ’19 Event on YouTube
Next, increasing node requirements are causing centralization issues in many “decentralized” networks. Ethereum, Bitcoin and other popular networks require each node to be a full node storing 100% of the ledger’s data. This means as the popularity of a network grows, the barriers to entry for a node operator increase as well due to the growing memory requirements. As a result, networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin are becoming centralized as it is extremely expensive to run a full node, and only a few corporations own a majority of each network’s hashing power. With Shardus, sharding state data and a proprietary consensus algorithm allow for any off the shelf computer or even a raspberry PI to run a node on a network, which means anyone anywhere will be able to add a node to a network built with Shardus network allowing for true decentralization.
Another challenge smart contract platforms face is gas fees. As dApps on smart contract platforms are sharing the network’s resources with other applications, gas fees can be volatile and affect the UX. One day you may be using a DeFi app where the gas fee is $0.01, and the next day it could be $1 per TPS. Developers can launch their own app-specific network with Shardus and not have to share node resources with other applications, allowing for a better UX.
New distributed ledger technology does not have to mean new programming languages. We’re not trying to build a rocket ship here. It is wise to reduce the learning curve so as many developers as possible can turn their decentralized ideas to reality. Shardus is written in TypeScript, a developer-friendly programming language that is popular amongst developers; this reduces the learning curve for developing decentralized applications with Shardus.
ULT is used by developers to obtain a license token for Shardus. Developers building a public application obtain a license and are required to distribute 1% of their network’s tokens to ULT holders. Corporations developing private applications are required to send X amount of ULT to a smart contract. From there, the ULT is burned and an enterprise license is issued to the corporation by the smart contract. Currently, developers who contribute to the development of the Shardus project are rewarded with ULT at $0.10 per token for completing bounties. The developers can sell ULT OTC to individuals who want to support the project. They can also swap ULT on UniSwap. A legal opinion written by US law firm Bull Blockchain Law LLC states that ULT passes the Howey test and is not a security.
The Shardus Association is a highly skilled team of developers. Shardus co-founder Omar Syed has 30 years of experience building distributed systems for organizations such as NASA, Raytheon, Yahoo and Zynga. Patents Yahoo filed for distributed systems that Omar architected can be found here. Omar is also a co-founder of Arimaa, a well-known board game that challenged developers to build an AI bot that could beat humans. AI didn’t win the competition until 2015. Shardus developer Andrew Foster has over twenty-five years of experience as a developer and has worked on projects such as Halo Wars, Castleville, and Age of Empires III.
Shardus has held itself accountable to its project roadmap by presenting a quarterly update each quarter to its community in Dallas, Texas, showing the advancements it has made in the Shardus software. All Shardus quarterly updates are recorded and can be found on YouTube here. The Shardus software is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
While there are currently several prototype applications being developed by teams with Shardus software, the first public Shardus based dApp will be Liberdus. You can check out the Liberdus test-net here. Keep your eyes on Shardus as it progresses towards supporting decentralized applications that improve our quality of life and replace many of the centralized applications we use today.
Connect with Shardus:
YouTube: Click here.