Here are some of the solutions to developer pain points that EOSIO 2 boasts:
- Second generation WebAssembly (WASM) called EOS VM, which is 16x faster than version 1 Binaryen.
- EOSIO Quickstart Web IDE - a web development tool that allows new developers on the platform access to build in minutes.
- WebAuthn support which provides high security for private keys when signing in to EOSIO applications.
- MultiSig block production support that allows block producers to use different keys to sign blocks on the primary or backup hardware.
In the bullet points above, EOS VM was developed to alleviate scaling issues with bottlenecking the network with a high volume of transactions. When EOSIO 1.0 was released in June 2018, the Binaryen WASM was a good step toward interpreting issues with memory allocation, load time and run times and provided information on performance and reliability issues. Updates in September 2018 helped increase performance speed by 2 times. Now with EOS VM, speed has been increased to 16x with more efficient use of system resources. Additionally, EOS VM and its components are customizable for developers to implement unique features for their desired app functionality without compromising integration on the blockchain.
Why is catering to developers so important?
If you want mainstream adoption and you know who your target audience is, then you will know that phone and web apps are where the consumers are. We’re all plugged in to some device and we need those apps to pay bills, stay connected or game. If developers want to create those apps, they need an easy way to onboard into a blockchain to implement those apps and create funding opportunities like in-app payments or crypto transfers, or even the ability to seamlessly interact cross-chain. This is where EOSIO Quickstart Web IDE comes in.
According to Block.One’s official statement, the EOSIO Quickstart Web IDE is in the alpha support stage. It helps remove the barriers to new developers who want a space for web app development in a safe space by allowing them to use a fully integrated single node testnet that’s run in the cloud. This allows for easy collaboration and testing without being bogged down with complicated code to test and integrate apps on the blockchain. By simplifying this onboarding process, developers can begin almost immediately and updates are made in real time with the ability to commit code to the Git repositories. Because this is in alpha, the EOSIO team is looking forward to hearing feedback from app developers. At this time, there are no bug bounties.
What is WebAuthn?
I could probably write an entire piece on WebAuthn (and I probably will), but to keep things condensed, WebAuthn is a browser-based Application Programming Interface, or API, that creates strong public key-based credentials in order to authenticate an action. In collaboration with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Fast Identity Online Alliance (FIDO), and some tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Yubico and others, WebAuthn allows you to use hardware devices to authenticate and sign transactions in your browser without the needs for extensions or third-party software. There is even work toward biometric authentication methods, but I digress, WebAuthn is to help secure our credentials so they cannot be hacked or exploited.
Currently, EOSIO does have WebAuthn Support but more is in R&D to build mechanisms that will support community-facing and enterprise level clients. The EOSIO Developer Portal is full of useful information and helpful links.
Finally, we reach the MultiSig block production support that makes EOSIO 2 unique and trendsetting.
Part of the problem with blockchain is the redundant infrastructure that’s in place to maintain the history of the blockchain plus the need for core block producers to maintain the integrity of the blockchain. As the chain gets longer, so does hardware costs for service providers. Thankfully with a decentralized network, there is no single point of failure that can take down the whole network. That being said, the current consensus model requires each block producer to provide a block signing key so they can, and often do, have a point of failure which results in dropped blocks and can impact the network as far as stability, or have a cascading effect that could affect its block producing neighbor.
EOSIO 2 is currently working on the Weighted Threshold Multi-Signature (WTMsig) block production support that provides a permissions layer for multiple block signing keys. What does that mean and why should I care? Honestly, the front end user of any app will rarely look at the bones of the app they’re using but, for developers and block producers, this is important because it enables redundant block signing within the infrastructure but does not share sensitive data which could tempt hackers to wreak havoc especially if there is an app that did not go through stringent safety protocols before tying into the network.
EOSIO is definitely the platform for the future in app development and consumer use. While this is far from a comprehensive exploration of the EOSIO sphere, it is a good indication that they are highly motivated to bring crypto and blockchain adoption to the mainstream. I highly encourage everyone to read up on this project.
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