What is ARK?
Last Updated: 1st November 2018
ARK is a blockchain platform that is dedicated to increasing cryptocurrency mass adoption by building a user-friendly platform that includes practical services that consumers can utilize, and constructing fast and secure core technologies to facilitate a robust and decentralized ecosystem.
One aim of the platform is to increase the interoperability of many different blockchains in the ecosystem by use of ARK's SmartBridge technology. This SmartBridge allows for communication between validated bridged blockchains. This means that the platform can function as an intermediary to merge varying blockchain ecosystems such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, to produce one unified and connected ecosystem. ARK’s SmartBridge communicates between blockchains using encoded listener nodes that sift through data for tasks that it can perform. In order for ARK to become an intermediary between various blockchains, a small snippet of code would have to be inserted into these blockchains to allow for interoperability.
In order to trigger an event on one blockchain via a different blockchain, an individual will have to first check if that blockchain is SmartBridge compatible. If it is, then the individual can execute a SmartBridge transaction to the compatible blockchain via the ARK wallet.
If Alice wanted to send 5 ARK to her ETH wallet, this transaction would require an encoded listener with a back-end ability to exchange currencies i.e. an exchange such as Coinbase, Binance etc. Once Alice sends her 5 ARK to her ETH wallet, the encoded listener sees this transaction as an exchange function. The encoded listener would see that Alice’s transaction requires a conversion, and then convert the 5 ARK to the equivalent ETH tokens using its back-end currency conversion function. The encoded listener would then rebroadcast the ETH transaction on its way to Alice’s wallet.
An encoded listener is a node that functions as a hub for listening to SmartBridge transactions. These nodes can be set up by anyone wishing to help the network. Encoded listeners can perform tasks such as passing data between blockchains using the SmartBridge or helping in currency conversions. In exchange for these services, encoded listener nodes collect a small transaction fee.
Delegated Proof of Stake
ARK utilizes a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm (a detailed explanation of the DPoS model can be found here). With this DPoS model, there are 51 active forging delegates (aka forging nodes), who are chosen by a voting mechanism that is built into the DPoS model. These forging delegates are able to forge ARK and collect transaction fees in exchange for providing their services.
ARK Delegates and Delegate Voting
Any node that is running the core ARK blockchain that wishes to become a forging node must first register their account in the network. A fee of 25 ARK per delegate account is required for the registration process. Voting for a node to become a forging node will require a fee of 1 ARK per delegate vote. The voting weight of each wallet will be divided evenly between all delegates that have received a vote, for example:
If Bob, using his wallet, votes for D1 (Delegate 1), then D1 will receive 100% of the voting weight of Bob’s wallet. If Bob decides to vote for an additional delegate e.g. D2, then the entire voting weight of Bob’s wallet is split evenly between the two delegates. In this case, D1 and D2 would received 50% of Bob’s voting weight. If Bob chooses to vote for a third delegate e.g. D3, again, the total voting weight of Bob’s wallet is divided evenly between the three delegates. So, D1, D2, and D3 would all receive a voting weight of 33.333%. The 51 forging delegates with the highest number of votes will be eligible to forge blocks.
The Future of ARK
ARK is attempting to solve one of the very important issues in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space today, interoperability. Public blockchains and their corresponding tokens, are normally touted as the next era of the internet. One aspect prevent that from being the case, is the ability for blockchains to communicate an exchange value among themselves. ARK’s use of its SmartBridge technology may prove an important step in the achievement of a more interconnected blockchain ecosystem.