Ever Wonder How You Can Easily and Quickly Build on The Blockchain? Metis is For You!
Contributed by Metis Ambassador Collins Munyendo
What is blockchain?
Chances are high you have heard about blockchain technology and how it is going to change the world. You have probably also heard about cryptocurrencies and how they are going to revolutionize the ways we transact in ways never seen before. But what exactly is blockchain technology? Are there any benefits of using blockchain at all? Where and how can this technology even be applied? And how can you even get started using it?
Blockchain can seem complicated, and while it is, it has a very simple concept at its core. Think about an account you have with a bank. Every time you go to the bank and use the ATM to withdraw some funds from your account, the bank provides you the money and updates your account balance in a central server that stores this information. This server is known as a database. Simply, a blockchain is a type of database that is used to store financial transactions, with some blockchains, such as the Ethereum blockchain able to store more than just financial information. However, a blockchain significantly differs from a typical database like that of the bank in a number of ways.
Before we explore how a blockchain differs from a normal database, let’s take a step back and look at the issues that plague normal databases like those used by banks. With the ever-increasing cyber threats today, imagine if a hacker managed to successfully breach and get access to the bank’s central database server. The attacker would be able to transfer funds from a person’s accounts as well as modify other records including their loan details among others. Isn’t this scary? This is where a blockchain comes in!
A blockchain is simply a database that is duplicated and distributed across a network of computers. Each block records information such as transactions, with new information added to every participant’s ledger. Unlike centralized databases, blockchain involves storing records on many distributed computers with these records permanently recorded. Normally, the participating computers are run and operated by many different people in different geographic locations. These records are stored along with their timestamps into blocks that are linked to each other such that it is impossible to modify records without alerting all other computers that are participating on the network about the change. This forms the basis of transparency and immutability guaranteed by blockchain technology. The diagram below provides a quick overview of how a blockchain works:
Image courtesy of 101 Blockchains
Due to the transparency and immutability that it guarantees, blockchain technology provides a wide range of applications. Most likely, you have heard about Bitcoin, a famous cryptocurrency that relies on blockchain technology to publish and verify transactions. However, blockchain applications go well beyond cryptocurrencies. With the rise of Ethereum, a decentralized blockchain that can allow you to store any records including digital certificates and smart contracts on distributed computers, applications of blockchain are limitless. For instance, using smart contracts, you can automatically transfer ownerships including land title deeds to other people upon fulfilment of conditions such as payment. This all sounds amazing, but how can you get started building applications, otherwise known as decentralized apps (DApps) to take advantage of the benefits offered by blockchain technology?
Even with the rise of layer 1 blockchains such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, it remains quite difficult and expensive to directly build applications on them. This is due to the high transaction costs coupled with a limited number of transactions that can be processed at a time by these layer 1 blockchains. Further, it remains unclear how folks can build on top of these layer 1 solutions, with this mostly restricted to people with a good programming background and experience. Is there any way we can make blockchain accessible and usable for everyone, not just folks with a good technical background?
This is where the Metis framework comes in. Metis has designed a layer 2 blockchain solution to solve the challenges of limited and expensive transactions inherent in layer 1 blockchains and is fully compatible with the Ethereum ecosystem. Metis employs an optimistic rollup scaling solution where multiple transactions are bundled together and are sent as a single transaction to the Ethereum blockchain. This ultimately leads to fast, cheap, and secure transactions compared to just using Ethereum on its own. Furthermore, you do not need to have any programming background to take advantage and build amazing products on Metis’s layer 2 blockchain.
Who are the players on the Metis framework? Metis is using Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DACs) to process transactions. While typical companies have boundaries, are restrictive, and leverage closed decision-making processes and ideals, DACs provide for new possibilities where individuals can freely join and leave companies. Interestingly, individuals have the ability to form groups for specific projects, but split from these groups once the projects are accomplished. Individuals in Decentralized Autonomous Companies also have equal rights and can be anything, from a person, a company, all the way to a country.
Creating a Decentralized Autonomous Company on Metis is very simple, only requiring a few clicks! All you need to do is create the DAC by providing its name, description, as well as an optional logo. You then provide an amount of Tokens to stake and you are ready to go as shown below:
Image courtesy of Metis.io
Note: The reason why you need to stake your Metis Tokens is to prevent spam and ensure a secure network.
What does Metis offer?
Metis provides you with a unique opportunity to find people that can be trusted to do business with in an ever-growing digital world. As individuals publish transactions on the Metis framework, it becomes easy to know which individuals you can work with. Essentially, you eliminate the risk of putting trust in others as you can assign tasks to individuals and only reward them upon completion of these tasks. This ultimately frees you up to focus on the business objectives of your organization. Just imagine how many freelancers you can now hire to do all your work for you, while having some reviewers check their work and get them transparently paid on time? Of course, the applications go way beyond just freelance work!
How does Metis work?
When individuals want to work together on the Metis framework, they have to agree to a transaction and stake an amount from their wallets to prove that they can be trusted. Existing wallets including MetaMask that communicate with the Ethereum network can be easily connected to Metis accounts in order to facilitate this. After staking, individuals can then proceed to collaborate on the Metis framework. This could be something as simple as having a project and distributing the deliverables between each other. They can also decide how the funds generated from the project will be transparently shared among them upon completion of the project. If everything goes well and each individual fulfils their deliverables, the stake will be appropriately distributed to these individuals as agreed and the record of the successful transaction will be permanently recorded on Metis. If everything does not go well, the staked amount will be revoked, and the record of the unsuccessful collaboration will also be recorded. The funds will be redistributed back to the original owners.
As more and more transactions are published on the Metis framework, both successful and unsuccessful, individuals or organizations begin to garner a reputation on the network. Successful transactions increase an individual’s reputation while unsuccessful transactions decrease that individual’s reputation. With this, you can quickly figure out individuals or organizations that can be trusted as well as those ones that should not be trusted.
Why should you use Metis?
Metis provides you a chance to focus more on your business objectives by not having to worry about individuals you are transacting with. This is due to the reputation tracking on the platform that enables you to quickly know which individuals to trust. Furthermore, Metis supports open-source communities. Metis also has crowdfunding capabilities that can provide transparency and trust when raising funds for different courses, with these funds efficiently and effectively distributed to the right parties upon completion of the fundraisers. Further, the process is transparent.
How can I test the Metis solution?
Metis has developed a test network to demonstrate how easily and quickly a DAC can be created and staked, you can also quickly join other participating DACs as well as manage your own DAC. You can additionally create and assign tasks under a DAC and reward individuals for completing their tasks. The Metis test network looks as follows:
Image courtesy of Metis Test Net
The Metis framework also supports Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). NFTs are tokens that have unique properties that cannot be interchanged with anything else. NFTs could include pieces of art that are “one-of-a-kind” for example, the Beeple NFT. Recently, Metis had its first community minted NFT known as “Rebuilding the Tower of Babel” that was sold for 16.1 ETH (the currency used on the Ethereum network). All the 256 tribes who received the Shard NFT will be able to claim a share of the sales proceeds! With more NFTs on the way, please sign up and join a tribe to give yourself a chance to share future proceeds!
While blockchain has been around for decades, it still remains a huge challenge to directly build applications on the existing layer 1 implementations such as the Ethereum blockchain due to high transaction costs as well as programming skills required. Metis has been developed to solve this, with the solution providing a scalable layer 2 blockchain that is fully compatible with Ethereum and can allow folks of different skill sets to build amazing products that are decentralized in nature.
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