What does it mean to be 'blockchain agnostic'?
4 min read

What does it mean to be 'blockchain agnostic'?

B2B software often arrives with its own set of big words. Being agnostic is simply an abstraction layer in software development that separates concerns to allow a decoupling of dependencies between two layers of technology.
What does it mean to be 'blockchain agnostic'?

B2B software is often boring. Databases, HR systems, logistics.

Yet, there's nothing more boring than 'middleware'. That layer of connectivity between applications that keeps everything working. Because after all, it's less about the application itself, than the over-reaching business process and the business events people care about.

Blockchain Middleware

BCware, the company I've just joined, has put together a team of people from early TIBCO days to solve the connectivity problems enteprises have connecting traditional (web2) systems into dApps (web3 decentralized applications). Our audience is finding that while Web3 innovation is critical, few of the teams coming from Web3 back into the enterprise have really thought through how everything works (well) together.

This is where our team's experience comes into relevance. While it's not always useful to speak about things we did decades ago, we were literally the team from TIBCO that put the real-time market data into the first release of Yahoo! Finance. And, of course, more.

What to do about the "it's bad for the environment" concerns?

If you've been paying any attention to Web3 and NFTs, you're bound to have come across the conversation about the environmental impact of Proof-of-Work on the environment.

While I think most times the conversation tries to distill a super-complex topic into a soundbite, and is therefore less-than-useful, it is a conversation that's happening.

I found this Decoder Podcast episode with Steve Aoki super interesting in how he's shared the internal conversations his team is having about Ethereum, the environmental impact, and whether or not to switch to a chain that's more environmentally friendly. I linked directly to this conversation about 48 minutes into the episode:

Steve Aoki on why he’s a ‘crypto believer’ — Decoder with Nilay Patel — Overcast

It's so interesting that he talks around his opinion (which feels like it's very similar to mine), and also shares in a way that respects the conversation about the environmental impact.

What I'm trying to say... it doesn't matter (for the moment) what you think about the environmental impact conversation, but the conversations are happening (as they are at Salesforce and elsewhere).

An environmentally friendly chain

Steve has launched his "social club" directly on Ethereum.

Solana, another chain, is more energy efficient. Here's the March '22 update on energy consumption and carbon footprint:

Solana’s Energy Use Report: March 2022
Average emissions per validator shrank, while Solana’s overall carbon footprint grew because of network growth.

Wouldn't it be great if Steve's team could easily port what they're to Solana? But it's a big effort. Especially if you take an "on-chain" approach to bridge between chains (an approach that seems to be the security weak-point in many cross-chain implementations).

Being blockchain agnostic

This is what it means to need to blockchain agnostic.

You want your dApp to run on any chain, with a minimal amount of work. You don't want to have to re-engineer your app after-the-fact to support additional blockchains.

That's where BCware comes in. In fact, we're launching an NFT application soon (I wish I could share more details, but please subscribe below for more soon!), and it's going to launch on Ethereum, Polygon, Flow, and Solana simultaneously.

We make it easy to support many different chains.

This is critical because it's less about the chain and more about the community. To reach a community, a dApp team needs to go to the community, support their wallets, coins, and more. Not make the community adopt something new because that's where the app runs.

You can support multiple chains, which allows for changing macro technology trends (like Proof-of-Work vs Proof-of-Stake and the resulting conversation about environmental frienliness) and also allows teams to reach their target communities more effectively.

As you do this, you immediately notice two things:

  1. Leveraging legacy "data" enriches the quality of dApps. Want to connect to a kafka or NATs based messaging infrastructure? Just plug it in to BCware. Want to get data from Salesforce, MongoDB, Postgress, or more? Yep, just plug it in. Now, if you want to attach a loyalty program to an NFT membership it's easy-peasy because BCware can connect all the pieces while delivering the performance and reliability expected.
  2. Orchestrating data (and processes, and events) into, and in-between, smart contracts is another challenge, one layer higher than the blockchain abstraction layer. BCflow has been designed from the ground up to solve this problem (among many others). It's an event-driven orchestration engine for smart contracts.

Summary

Being blockchain agnostic means being able to reach new communities, adapt to new technologies, and stay engaged in the macro-conversations about Web3 adoption without placing a huge amount of complexity in the application itself. This complexity makes it harder (slower) for developers to produce, increases long term cost-of-ownership, and has a high impact on a team's overall ability to be responsive to market needs. This last point, about responsiveness, is especially important in the rapidly-evolving world of Web3.

Plugging into the Web2 information infrastructure enriches applications and the experience delivered to customers. It's something that's harder than it looks. And, that's not just our TIBCO experience talking... its' what customers are telling us as they try to move their Web3 experiments out into the real world.

Once teams have accomplished being more agnostic, and started moving experiments into the real-world, orchestrating it all across multichain smart contracts is the next challenge to anticipate, and we've preemptively built the pieces necessary to do so.

Learn more at bcware.io and (please) subscribe below to keep in touch.

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