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Lisk quietly gaining momentum

Lisk launched three weeks ago, just a couple days before The DAO concluded its ICO and the Bitcoin price started moving after a long period of dormancy. Unsurprisingly, its launch was quiet, but it has become one of the top coins in terms of market capitalization (worth over $40 million at time of writing)

Lisk Launch Context

What is Lisk?

Back in March, Lisk raised approximately 14,000 BTC (worth then $6.15 million) in its ICO. Lisk’s pitch is to let developers use Javascript to build decentralized applications (Dapps), including smart contracts and distributed autonomous organizations. The programming languages currently used in cryptocurrencies (such as Ethereum’s Solidity) are complex and pose a high technical barrier to entry for would-be developers. JavaScript is the most popular language on Github and is widely used in web development.

Lisk currently has every decentralized application to run on its own sidechain, linked to the Lisk blockchain. The Lisk main chain is secured using a delegated proof-of-stake protocol, in which the network elects nodes that will confirm transactions.

The use of sidechains will allow Lisk to scale in ways Bitcoin currently can’t. The team can make changes to the main blockchain while the sidechains continue operating on their own.

With the sidechains, our mainchain stays extremely lean and efficient because it doesn’t get polluted with all the dapp data  – CEO Max Kordek in an interview with Cointelegraph.

This flexibility comes with some initial caveats. It leaves the security responsibilities to the sidechains, who need to convince enough nodes to run it. For smaller Dapps, this number might be small and could even be just the developer team’s own nodes. Lisk has drawn a distinction between decentralized and trustless–you still need to trust the developers to some degree. This may not be an issue, given how much consumers today trust developers, and if users of Dapps are trusting the code, they might be more likely to trust the sidechain’s security even more if the developers are securing it.

Lisk: more entrepreneurs, more ideas

Earlier this year, Lisk ran a contest for the Dapps that people were excited about building and in May, they announced three winners, who show a preview of what might be possible using Lisk’s protocol.

  • Dust aims to develop a decentralized reputation system
  • Discovr registers art on a blockchain, reducing forgery and increasing discoverability for artists.
  • Criterion provides registers ownership and proof-of-existence on a blockchain, enabling things like an immutable land registry.

None of these are original ideas: entrepreneurs are tackling them in Ethereum, Bitcoin, and in other protocols. However, innovation isn’t about one solution to a known problem–many people trying to solve something leads to a better outcome. Opening up these problems to anyone working in Javascript can widen the number of potential solutions.

Lisk: looking forward

Lisk is riding momentum. Its ICO raised over $6 million (at a time when Bitcoin’s price hovered just above $400). It was listed on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace even before it launched. It just added some high-profile advisors who think it has the potential to grow like Ethereum. They are opening an office in Berlin. They’ve announced they will soon release an updated whitepaper.

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