Ark Coin Review: An innovative vision for blockchain interoperability
By Inkarias - 2019-12-09
What is Ark?
Ark is a project thriving to promote the democratization of the blockchain and its adoption by the public. The team behind this cryptocurrency intends to offer a blockchain solution all in one, for individuals and businesses. To do this, Ark is based on a decentralized ecosystem, as well as a system of "smart bridge" to link the blockchains between them. Furthermore, the Ark solution incentives community participation by offering a passive income system through delegated proof-of-stake.
Ark Coin Specs
|Block time:||8 sec.|
|Max Supply:||No Max|
|Minimum amount to stake:||0.000001 ARK|
|Reward structure:||varies by delegate|
|Voting Costs by delegate||vote/unvote fee|
The Ark project was first announced in 2016, finally launched in 2017 and was quickly joined by François-Xavier Thoorens who was at this moment lead developer of Lisk. In 2016, the community criticized Lisk's management team for lacking a global vision for the future of the project. Thoorens, who did not share Lisk's vision for the following years, decided to definitely leave the project. Other members of Lisk quickly followed him in this project, which represented a new opportunity and vision for these developers and delegates fleeing a project plagued by various problems. Therefore, the ARK name was chosen in reference to Noah's ark, comparing it with the state of LISK in 2016.
The blockchain of Ark (ARK) was thought from the assumption that all blockchains were made to be connected to each other. Creating a sustainable bridge between blockchains should increase efficiency and potential practical use. More importantly, the Ark project is focused on intuitively, simplicity and the creation of multiple blockchains with concrete applications. During the previous years, the team has always resumed their idea behind a single motto: "Point. Click. Blockchain. "
Smart bridges and innovative interoperability
Ark aims to create a true ecosystem of connected blockchains. We often talk about "crypto ecosystem", without the projects that make it up are truly linked together, like a true ecosystem. To remedy this, the Ark team has implemented the technology of SmartBridges.
These SmartBridges are used to connect the different blockchains to Ark's main platform. Ark plays the role of intermediary between the different blockchains. When you want to connect a bridge, you only need to incorporate a few specific lines of code provided by Ark which are specifically designed to be used by potential users. SmartBridges rely on “Encoded Listeners” function is to monitor and interact with several blockchains when they spot certain signals. Once implemented to a partner blockchain, the listener will be able to interact with both ends of the SmartBridge. For now, only some bridges such as the Ark / Ethereum and Ark / Bitcoin bridges are fully operational. The bridge between Ethereum and Ark already allows for the execution of transactions and transactions on the Ethereum interface. Interoperability may not stop there, as stock exchanges like Coinbase could also connect to blockchains via bridges and their encoded listeners. However, this is only the beginning and the team is actively working to develop more solutions and more possibilities for smart bridges.
Examples of applications (introduced by Ark team)
Example 1: If you wanted to trigger an ETH smart contract but hold ark, you could just send the instructions through ark SmartBridge, right in the wallet to trigger the event. The code embedded in the ETH chain is always listening for an ark SmartBridge transaction and will collect this info and trigger the function to issue a contract.
Example 2: You want to issue a record entry in Factom, but you only hold ARK. So, you would go to your ARK wallet, enter the correct info and instructions for the FCT chain via the SmartBridge tab. Then send it. That’s it, now the FCT chain receives the info and acts appropriately.
Example 3: I want to send 10 ARK to my ETH wallet. This would require an encoded listener with a back-end ability to exchange currencies. (ie: Shapeshift, Changelly, or Coinbase)
Once I send my 10 ARK to my ETH wallet, the encoded listener sees this TX (transaction) as an exchange function and acts accordingly. The encoded listener automatically picks up that this TX needs a conversion, so it acts as a relay node picking up the TX, converting it, and rebroadcasting the TX on its way to the ETH wallet. The encoded listener collects a small fee for processing the TX.
A low fees system for every transaction
The whole ark ecosystem has been designed to offer low fees with the native currency, the Ark coin. As far as transaction fees are concerned, a dynamic fee structure has recently been implemented. Four options are currently available to users:
Minimum fees: the transaction will be carried out at a minimum cost, with the smallest unit of measurement of ARK, or 0.00000001 ARK. However, there is no guarantee that the transaction will take place. If the transaction is not confirmed within 45 minutes, it is returned to the sender’s wallet.
Average Fees: In this situation, the transaction is done with default fees.
Maximum Charges: The maximum charge is 1 ARK; this option has been implemented to prevent a user from performing a transaction with excessive charges in error. A lot of wrong trades or transactions have been made in the past within the crypto ecosystem with sometimes up to hundreds of thousand lost and this solution prevent any problem of this kind.
Custom Fee: Performs the transaction with a fee selected by the user. These fees range from 0.00000001 ARK to 1 ARK. This system must be chosen carefully.
The version 2, currently in place within the Ark system until the release of 2.6 (which will prepare the transition to V3) is the first implementation of a dynamic fees system within a DPoS network model. Dynamic fees are a protocol-level change. On the one hand, delegates (block producers) set their own minimum acceptable fee for each transaction type.
Meanwhile, ARK users define how much they are prepared to pay for a transaction to get included in the block and blockchain. The bigger the set fee from the user, the quicker the inclusion of the transaction in the block. Node operators have an option to customize fees in the config file according to the network they are running their node for. The configuration consists of the following variables:
- minFeePool : minimum fee pool entry multiplier.
- minFeeBroadcast: minimum broadcast multiplier.
- Transaction offsets are transaction type offsets bytes that are used in dynamic fee formula calculation. Their main purpose is to adjust the fee calculation for a specific transaction type.
A wide variety of languages for integration and adoption
Finally, the Ark platform already integrates the majority of programming languages, which facilitates its use and could possibly give it an advantage over its competitor Ethereum where developers need to learn a new language named Solidity, specific to Ethereum ( we already have introduced the language and its functionalities here). The variety of languages offered with the ecosystem greatly increases the potential of general adoption by users and companies.
Push Button Deployable Blockchains with ARK Deployer
ARK Deployer offers a stark contrast to other offerings in the industry. By combining an effortless graphical user interface with battle-tested guides and procedures, anyone can create, customize, and launch a new blockchain without any technical knowledge. With ARK Deployer, the owner gains a fully functioning, standalone blockchain, not just a token or smart contract. The new blockchain can be customized to fit a specific industry or use-case through the extensible and completely modular infrastructure. The platform includes access to well over a dozen SDKs, flexible Typescript plugins, and an ever-expanding catalog of custom transaction types to implement within any project or service in a company. Ark can be easily deployed in any big company in a few steps or literally a few clicks.
The future with Ark 2.6 to transition toward V3 with HTLC and new signatures
Hash-Time Lock Contracts (HTLC)
The addition of HTLC opens up new use cases within the ecosystem. A Hashed Time-Lock Contract (HTLC) is a set of transaction types that permits a designated party (sender) to LOCK funds by disclosing the pre-image (secret) of a hash. It also permits a second party (recipient) to CLAIM the funds, or after a timeout is reached to enter a REFUND situation, where a sender can claim their funds back. HTLC transactions use hashlocks and timelocks to require that the receiver of a transaction either acknowledges receiving the transaction prior to a deadline by generating cryptographic proof of a transaction or forfeit the ability to claim the transaction, returning it to the sender. This solution allows ark to support cross-chain atomic swaps within the ecosystem and between all bridgechains. You can read more about HTLC in our previous news.
At the moment the Core Ark system is using the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) for the cryptographic part of the blockchain. While ECSDA is well known and used, there are more performant-based algorithms than ECSDA, such as Schnorr (the patent for the Schnorr algorithm expired in 2008, after that year it can be used in public domain). With v2 of the transaction types, the team will support and enable this as a default method of signing the transactions, while still retaining legacy support for ECSDA. This solution is easily provable when an adequately random hash function is used and the elliptic curve discrete logarithm problem (ECDLP) used in the signature is hard enough. Such a proof doesn’t exist for ECDSA. ECDSA signatures are also by design malleable, which may enable an attacker to spoof an existing valid signature. Schnorr signatures are provably non-malleable. Schnorr signatures have the exceptional property that multiple parties can cooperate to assemble a signature that is valid for the sum of their public keys. This is the architectural piece for a variety of constructions that improve efficiency and privacy, such as multi-signatures and other smart contracts.
The ARK blockchain was launched in February 2017 by a group of 27 members spread across the globe with now 31 members from 10 different countries in 2019, making the Ark project completely decentralized. The vision of ARK was modeled heavily on Bitshares, Lisk and Crypti, three older projects all using the Delegated Proof of Stake (dPoS) consensus algorithm. These models aren’t surprising as many team members previously shared the same vision in the Lisk project.
The complete list of the team members can be found at: https://ark.io/team
The major milestone for the end of this year is the release of the V2.6 which will bring all the features and preparatives to transition smoothly to V3. The rest of the roadmap for upcoming year can be found at: https://ark.io/roadmap
Passive income through Delegated Proof-of-Stake
Ark works through a consensus protocol in Delegated Proof of Stake,that is, there is no competition between miners, but rather a delegation of operations to trusted validators.
At the center of this process of proving delegated stakes is an electoral system that allows the election of 51 delegates. Each ARK token represents one vote in the system. This means no expensive hardware and huge electricity usage is needed, as the ARK network is directly secured by a number of delegates.
Anyone can be a delegate, but currently only 51 people actually become delegates, and these are chosen by the ARK token holders through a voting system. Each delegate receives 2 ARK for each block they forge, and since blocks are forged every 8 seconds these delegates can make upwards of 200 ARK around per day.
ARK token holders are each allowed one vote for delegate, which costs 1 ARK. It is also possible to unvote your delegate and vote for a different delegate and the cost is 1 ARK each time you vote or unvote. One method that has become popular for being a delegate is to provide benefit-sharing between the delegate and his constituents.
In addition, registering for the elections as a delegate costs 25 ARK for anyone wishing to join this process. In general, this type of DPOS gives a bigger advantage to investors who hold a major percentage of the existing supply. Another popular course for prospective delegates is to run a development project that builds on or improves the ARK ecosystem, and in many cases these delegates offer an equity stake in the new project or provide services for free.
Voting rewards are voluntary rewards given by ARK Delegates, voluntary rewards are not part of the ARK protocol and the ARK.io business entity does not run the ARK network.
How to stake ARK?
Once ARK coins are in your hands, you need to store them in a desktop or mobile wallet.
The process to vote for a delegate is quite simple and the only step needed in order to receive staking rewards (based on the assumption that the validator chosen pays rewards to avoid slashing). Few clicks are needed to start staking and generate a passive income:
- Click on the ‘delegates’ tab, and choose a delegate for forging ARK.
- Choose a delegate and click ‘vote’. This will generate a transaction for 1 ARK to the chosen person. It is also possible to use third-party sites of some delegates to vote or earn rewards.
- Enter your password and click ‘Send’ to validate the vote. You should start to receive rewards soon depending on your number of coins and the associated weight compared to the network.
Where to buy ARK?
Masters of Nodes do not recommend investing in any coin. Always do your own research.