Talking tech since 2003

If you ask me, the blockchain ecosystem has had two major, technology defining moments. The first was, of course, the creation of Bitcoin, the original blockchain. The second was the creation of Ethereum, the virtual machine that has made blockchain based services increasingly common in the past year. Most services we hear about are Ethereum based, because of how relatively easy it has made creating a blockchain powered service. While most services find Ethereum to be suited for their needs, it seems there are still some out there who believe building their own blockchain is the best way to bring forth the blockchain based future we’ve all been hearing about lately.

Zen Protocol’s claim to fame is that their freshly built sidechain helps create a crypto based financial platform. Unlike Bitcoin, the blockchain Zen is built parallel to, the protocol can handle more than just transactions. According to the team at Zen, the smart contracts in their chain can actually take real world assets into account, such as commodity, stocks, and even real estate. This makes this new chain a more fully fledged financial system than the others we’ve seen so far.

According to Zen, their chain is built with technology missing from Ethereum and other virtual machines in order to make them efficient when it comes to smart contracts, and always verifiable, which is what lets the chain connect with real world assets. The chain was built with F*, a functional programming language built created by Microsoft. This language focuses on quick verification, pre-calculation, and allocation of resources, which is the missing ingredient to other chains utilizing smart contracts. The system knows to alert miners ahead of time as to how much computing resources are needed to verify a specific contract before mining, making sure all contracts will always be verified.

While this is all well and good, the question that remains is are we, as a society, ready for a fully decentralized financial system? Some people might like the comfort of a big organization “taking care” of their money, rather than a ledger that’s verified by all. While it might actually be more secure, putting your real estate, stocks, bonds, and the rest of your financial portfolio in the hands of everyone can sound alarming to some. While I do think Zen will have a certain level of popularity within those already enamored with crypto, it remains to be seen if their vision, a truly decentralized, mainstream financial system, will be realized by their product.


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