Coding smart contracts that run on a Linux VM is now possible thanks to Cartesi
As blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and DeFi make the move into the mainstream, the complex processes involved in developing directly on-chain must adapt if they are to be adopted by developers and businesses outside of the space. Limitations on current blockchain platforms can be difficult to traverse and time-intensive for both the developer and the end user, creating a bottleneck that is ultimately stunting the growth of an otherwise pioneering technology.
One of the keys to mass adoption of blockchain technology lies in offering developers a way to create smart contracts with the tools they know and love; by doing this a new generation of decentralized possibilities can be unlocked whilst utilising the reliability and power of time-tested software stacks.
This is where Cartesi steps in. Launched back in 2018, Cartesi was designed to bring mainstream scalability to DApps and mainstream productivity to DApp developers as an off-chain decentralized computation platform. Cartesi gives developers who are used to working within a Linux runtime environment access to an array of well-known programming languages, tools, libraries, software, and services with which to build DApps.
Old dogs, new tricks
By creating an infrastructure that is scalable and also compatible with time-tested technologies, the Cartesi team looks to break down the barriers to entry that have no doubt held back many non-blockchain developers from exploring the near limitless potential of DApps.
“Cartesi’s mission is to close the gap between centralized and decentralized applications, both in terms of possibility and convenience.” - Erick de Moura, Cartesi Co-Founder
Based on RISC-V, a proven platform that was created as a result of research conducted at UC Berkeley, Cartesi Machines are one of three products within the Cartesi platform. Cartesi Machines offer vastly improved scalability by allowing DApps to take advantage of the increased computing capabilities available off-chain, but at the same time retaining the security that code running on smart contracts provides.
Cartesi Machines are self-contained and reproducible and transparent and consensus is reached securely on-chain with no requirement for a reputation protocol, Trusted Execution Environment, or central server. The platform’s cross-chain compatibility also makes dApps portable across the most popular public blockchains.
The Descartes SDK is what makes it possible for developers to build computationally intensive decentralized applications with their favourite Linux operating system tools and in a variety of programming languages and services such as MySQL, Python or MongoDB. DApps can use Descartes to run computations that would normally be too expensive or simply too large to execute on-chain and developers can not only save on gas fees by moving complex computations off-chain, but they also now have the option to process huge data loads that are made available by reputable and trusted data sources in a fully decentralized environment.
With the recent announcement of the implementation of popular Layer-2 scaling solution Optimistic Rollups, the Cartesi team look to “defeat the scalability limits of Ethereum, with million-fold computational gains, while preserving the strong security guarantees of the blockchain”. As well as addressing scalability issues, Cartesi rollups will also enable more people to benefit from protocols within the DeFi (decentralized finance) space built on the Ethereum blockchain by minimizing the disproportionately high transaction fees that currently plague the network.
By enabling developers to bypass the restrictions of Solidity and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) Cartesi is building this bridge between Linux open-source software and blockchain. The door is now wide open for developers from all corners of the profession to discover the true potential of DApps and blockchain, and with the eyes of the world on cryptocurrencies and DeFi, the Cartesi platform looks set to usher in a new wave of innovation.
Disclaimer: the writer has a personal relationship with the Cartesi team and used this relationship to source insights for this article. This article is not financial advice and is educational in nature. Please consult your financial advisor before investing in any digital currencies or projects.
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