Ark is a digital currency and platform that aims to create efficient ways for individuals and businesses to use their blockchains. The platform also creates an effective means of communication between different running blockchains, which has not been established before.
At the moment, it’s considered one of the fastest-growing currencies with a current price of $1.43 and a five-year projected price of $410.69. It has scheduled inflation of 6.31% in 2017, 5.93% in 2018, and will maintain a steady decrease to 4.02% by 2027. The ARK crew, the team behind the platform’s development, is bent on introducing blockchain to the masses with their fast and secure core technology. They would also like to offer practical services and solutions for real people and problems.
ARK was launched in February 2017 and is based on the models of three other projects, namely Lisk, Bitshares, and Crypti. The ARK platform is considered an all-in-one solution to blockchain problems because of its speed, scalability, decentralization, allowance for collaboration and open source nature.
How Does ARK Work?
ARK functions in a similar way to other blockchains in terms of recording transactions and the need for consensus. However, the platform uses the Delegated proof-of-stake consensus algorithm to verify its transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Litecoin, which make use of miners, ARK leaves the security of its network in the hands of 51 selected delegates.
Although there are usually a lot of nodes on the network vying to be delegates, the selection is left to token holders who cast votes. ARK coin holders can only vote for one delegate at a time, and each vote carries a cost of one ARK. The more tokens a user has, the more powerful their votes are.
Usually, potential delegates draft proposals, detailing what they hope to contribute to the network and why they should be voted for. To pull votes, some of these contestants promise to share profits earned from forging new blocks on the ARK blockchain. This means that users who vote for those delegates receive dividends from their block rewards over time.
The genesis block of ARK contained 125 million ARK, and each delegate receives two ARK for forging a block. The time taken to confirm an ARK transaction is about eight seconds, a faster transaction time than Bitcoin (10 minutes), Litecoin (2.5 minutes) and Ethereum (14 seconds). Currently, ARK blocks can only contain 25 transactions, a figure that may change in the future as the team improves on their technology.
ARK has a unique technology known as SmartBridge, which enables users on its blockchain to communicate with other blockchains. Essentially, this means that users on the ARK blockchain can simply plug in a SmartBridge and send a message to another network like the Ethereum blockchain. The platform achieves this through data functions known as Vendor Fields and Encoded Listeners.
Cross-blockchain communication like this has never been done and truly sets ARK apart from other digital currency platforms. The essence of this communication can be seen with platforms like Ethereum on which apps are built. Due to the use of SmartBridges, users on other blockchains can now interact directly with such apps and even smart contracts. This technology makes altcoins more powerful and ensures that none of them stand alone in the long run. ARK token ensures that coins can gain different functionalities from their counterparts in a joint effort to serve a broader audience.
To connect a blockchain to ARK, a small snippet of code must be added to the code of that particular blockchain. The code snippet doesn’t harm or manipulate the system in any negative way. It only ensures that the chain is bridge-compatible with ARK. As long as a blockchain is bridge-compatible, a SmartBridge transaction can be issued to it via the ARK wallet.
For example, a user who holds ARK tokens can interact with a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain by sending the transaction through a SmartBridge from their wallet. The ARK code snippets on Ethereum facilitate this interaction and grant access to the user. The same can be said for other blockchains as well.
Benefits of ARK
Although ARK has its disadvantages, they are substantially outweighed by the advantages of the platform. Some of these advantages are:
- Transaction Speed: Typically, ARK transactions are confirmed within eight seconds because the center of ARK produces quick exchanges. This makes scaling easier, especially for users who need to make several micropayments within short intervals. Compared to platforms like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the transaction speed of ARK is one of the best that currently exists.
- Security: The issue of security is a source of continuous worry in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. All platforms are charged with maintaining security to ensure their long-term maintenance. Without proper measures in place, a platform can be manipulated by malicious actors who initiate double spending transactions and steal other users’ tokens.
To avoid security breaches, ARK ties together all its security and cryptographic functions throughout the entire framework. To further improve on the currently existing measures, ARK regularly carries out hazard examination and tests.
- Self-Sustenance: ARK aims to satisfy its customers and ensure that they can carry out transactions without facing the complex technicalities of blockchain. As a result, there are measures put in place to ensure positive long-term user experience which can be upgraded with time. This fortifies the sustenance of the platform in the long run.
- Privacy: ARK offers users the ability to conduct exchanges through its anonymous network integration. This integration contains discretionary protection, ensuring the privacy of those transactions.
- Decentralization: The Delegated proof-of-stake consensus protocol creates a system that is properly decentralized. It also eliminates the economies of scale seen in proof-of-work systems like Bitcoin. The votes are spread out among users according to their stakes, and the delegates are not permanent, ensuring that several people have the chance to contest for the position at one point or the other.
Disadvantages of ARK
- Although there are measures put in place to ensure the security of the system, just like any other platform, there is no guarantee that users’ funds will remain safe. Hackers can find ways to get past security features to steal funds. This is why users are advised to be careful and store their tokens in hardware wallets.
- Government regulation hinders the mainstream adoption of ARK, leading to stalling of the platform’s activities. Pending when strict regulations are made in the cryptocurrency industry, the platform will continue to function as others. However, there is uncertainty about what effects those regulations will eventually cause.
- The idea of voting for delegates may cause economical rifts since the value of a vote depends on how much the voter has on the network. As a result of this policy, the wealthier users may have more control over who become delegates and chaos may eventually ensue.
While new cryptocurrencies frequently emerge, they seldom have unique use cases and value propositions. ARK has continuously proven that it does not have that problem. Its innovative SmartBridge technology may play a more significant, long-term role in the cryptocurrency market than is expected. Despite its few disadvantages, the platform has managed to offer several advantages to both users, exchanges and other blockchain platforms. In time, ARK may be known as the foundation for more exciting future applications of blockchain technology.