Ardor vs. the Competition, Closing Remarks

This is the final installment of a series of articles that compares Ardor to other blockchain projects with similar features or goals. You can find the rest of the series here:

Or you can download the complete series as a free ebook here: Ardor vs The Competition

This series started with a brief, informal reddit post with my initial reactions to the Plasma paper. I didn’t know at the time that it would launch me on a tour of half a dozen other cryptocurrency projects, ranging from sidechain platforms (Lisk, Stratis, arguably Komodo) to colored-coins platforms with unique features (NEM, Waves), to a project that eschews the blockchain altogether in favor of a completely different data structure (IOTA). Now that we have come full-circle, with the last two articles focusing once again on Ethereum, I think we have reached a good place to conclude.

This series has covered a lot of ground, and I won’t attempt to summarize everything here. Instead, I would like to share my thoughts on an overarching theme that emerged from my research on these projects.

Scaling Securely

As I’ve mentioned before, my primary interest throughout this series has been to survey various approaches to the difficult problem of scaling a blockchain. What I’ve learned is that there are many different strategies, but most involve a trade-off with security. I am certainly not the first one to make this observation, but I think it bears repeating here in the context of this series.

At one end of the spectrum, the most secure way to launch a new blockchain project is probably to issue a token on an existing blockchain that has already secured itself. This is the colored-coins approach that Nxt, NEM, Waves, and Ethereum use, for example. Transactions involving these tokens are recorded directly on the underlying blockchain and are therefore just as secure as any other transactions on it.

The obvious drawback of this approach is that it doesn’t scale particularly well: every node on the network must process all transactions involving all tokens on the blockchain, even if the projects that those tokens represent have nothing to do with one another. Moreover, all of this transaction data is stored forever on the same blockchain, bloating it at a rate proportional to the combined transaction volume of all of the projects running on it.

So-called “vertical” scaling methods, which aim to allow each node to do the same amount of work faster, or store the same amount of data more efficiently, are the natural way to scale this strategy. NEM’s Catapult project is a good example, as it focuses on optimizing the full client’s code and the communication protocol used on the network. Waves NG, an optimization of the forging protocol, is another example.

This approach to scaling ultimately runs into limits, though. At some point, adding enough users and transactions will break these designs, and the only viable option is some form of “horizontal” scaling, where each node on the network processes and stores only a subset of all transactions.

One reasonable way to scale a blockchain platform horizontally is to push each project onto its own independent blockchain, which is the approach that sidechain platforms like Lisk and Stratis are taking. This approach occupies the other end of the security-scalability spectrum: it naturally partitions both the total computational work and storage required to run the platform and allows different nodes to handle each partition, but this scaling comes at the cost of decreased security. Specifically, with N projects running on a sidechain platform, the weakest sidechain is secured by at most 1/N of the total miners or forgers, and likely far fewer than that, especially in its infancy.

Ardor partially transcends the security-scalability spectrum, successfully partitioning the storage of child chain data without sacrificing security. The price of this benefit is that the entire network must still process each transaction. It will be interesting to see the details of Jelurida’s plan to push child chain transaction processing onto dedicated subnets of the network, which would provide the missing computational and bandwidth scaling, but until then, we must refrain from speculating.

IOTA is a bit of a special case, as its design is fundamentally different from a blockchain in a couple of important ways. Without rehashing the whole mechanism of “eventual consensus” on the tangle, allow me to say that IOTA’s tangle (as it is implemented today) seems to me to be primarily a form of vertical scaling, with an element of horizontal scaling. Each node sees and stores every transaction, and although nodes can continuously prune the tangle over time, reducing the storage requirement, “permanodes” on the network must still store the entire history of the tangle in order to bootstrap new nodes trustlessly. On the other hand, nodes do not necessarily need to validate each transaction, as they can accept transactions that are sufficiently deep in the tangle as having been confirmed by other nodes on the network as long as they are referenced by all tips.

In other words, IOTA partitions the computational work required to validate transactions, but not the bandwidth required to relay them or the data that must be stored.

Eventually, IOTA plans to introduce “swarm” nodes to divide up the work of transaction validation and tangle storage. This will be a form of full horizontal partitioning, but I have not yet been able to find technical details, so in my opinion, it belongs in the same category as Ethereum’s Plasma and sharding proposals: a plausible-sounding idea that needs further development before it can be accepted as a real solution.

On that note, I’d like to make one final point about Ardor’s approach towards scaling: while it is not a panacea, at least at this early stage, it is important not to understate the value of an architecture that exists and actually works. Perhaps it goes without saying, but Ardor’s developers are not just hypothesizing about theoretical solutions to a difficult problem. They have proven that they can devise an ambitious but realistic design, implement it in a reasonable time frame, and in doing so make substantial, concrete progress towards a truly scalable blockchain. Not every team can make those claims, no matter how promising their initial ideas sound.

Final Thoughts

There is plenty more to be said about all of these projects, but this will have to suffice for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these articles even half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. On a personal note, I would like to thank you for reading this far, and for sharing these articles with other blockchain enthusiasts. It has been immensely rewarding to see people offer their support, comments, critiques, and all manner of other reactions. I am humbled and deeply grateful that you took the time to engage with my work.

If I may leave you with a parting thought, it is this: after all is said and done, I see tremendous potential in several of these projects, but I am especially excited about Ardor. Its parent-chain/child-chain architecture simultaneously addresses two very important problems: how to cope with bloat, and how to offer a blockchain as a service to clients who do not have the resources or expertise to start their own blockchains. It is anybody’s guess what economic value markets will ultimately assign to Ardor’s solutions to these problems, but in my humble opinion, Ardor compares quite favorably to the competition on both points. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Try Ardor on testnet

About the latest Ardor testnet version

Nxt News – October 2017 (IV): At least once a day, allow yourself the freedom to think and dream for yourself.

October 2017 (IV)

Welcome again, fellow Nxters! Halloween is almost here and autumn is well underway so grab your favorite warm beverage and catch up on the news from the last week of October. The Nxt Foundation is proud to introduce the ANG, the final round of the IGNIS ICO will begin this week, (sad) news from MyNxt, the announcement of an Android full node client and much more awaits down below.

As always, our newsletter is aimed at being accessible to new readers while providing important and cutting-edge info for our power-readers who are already experts in the blockchain space. We welcome everyone and thank you for taking time to read and learn with us!






This week’s newsletter is put together by James, Jose, apenzl, and rubenbc.


  • Introducing The Ardor and Nxt Group (ANG)

This week the Nxt Foundation announced the launch of the Ardor and Nxt Foundation (ANG) with the mission statement of

“To provide the users, project owners, and businesses around the Nxt and Ardor ecosystem with a better environment to collaborate, communicate, and utilize Nxt and Ardor blockchain technology and be more active while maximizing the benefits gained by the community.”

The Nxt Foundation was originally created to be a point-of-contact for businesses interested in using the technology, which Jelurida will now become as they themselves are the developers. However, the Nxt Foundation has expanded its role in the past few years, including but not limited to, providing and supporting community tools, such as Nxtforum, the Nxt and Ardor subreddits, and multiple others, in addition to helping users directly as well as working on expanding the community itself.

Travin Keith writes:

With the decline in the role of speaking with interested parties on behalf of Jelurida, we believe that the shift to focusing on the community is a natural progression. To reflect these recent changes, the Nxt Foundation launched the ANG, which will be an initiative to provide the community with a better environment, such as organizing meetups around the world, as well as to provide a better ecosystem for the projects that use Nxt and Ardor blockchain technology.

We @ Nxter.org welcome the initiative and look forward to working with the ANG.


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The penultimate round of the IGNIS ICO is over. Next week the ultimate round will be for sale with up to 160,000,000 JLRDA* available for purchase at a rate of 1.45 NXT : 1 JLRDA. It is not too late to support Jelurida and their efforts. Remember, the more money that is raised in this ICO the more time and resources Jelurida will devote towards supporting and developing Nxt, Ignis and the Ardor platform.

With the announcement that the Ardor mainnet will launch on Jan. 1, the JLRDA tokens will instantly revert to IGNIS tokens at this moment and will be freely fungible. Also, users holding NXT at the time of the Nxt blockchain snapshot will get 0,5 IGNIS per 1 NXT they hold in their account. The Snapshot will be taken on the 25th December 2017.


Ignis ICO Schedule
Dates JLRDA tokens for sale Price of 1 JLRDA in NXT
Aug 05 – Aug 12 60,000,000 0.40
Aug 26 – Sep 02 80,000,000 0.55
Sep 09 – Sep 16 100,000,000 0.76
Sep 23 – Oct 21 100,000,000 1.05
Oct 28 – Nov 04 up to 100,000,000* 1.45

* If any batch is not sold completely at the end of the designated time frame, the remaining unsold JLRDA tokens will be added to the next batch. The last round will be reduced by up to 20M JLRDA tokens allocated by Jelurida for promotional and marketing use.


Live stats from the Nxt Blockchain

Ignis ICO Whitepaper

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  • BuyArdor.info – A Step-by-step guide on how to buy and store Ardor (ARDR)

For the uninitiated, of for the forgetful, this is a handy guide for the setup of the Nxt Client, of which ARDR is currently an asset. Easy to follow for the technologically inept. Once the wallet is set up, enjoy freely trading ARDR tokens.


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  • Ardor vs. the Competition, Pt. 5: Stratis

A sixth article in the “Ardor vs. the Competition” series was published last week. This installment covers Stratis, a new going-to-be Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform based on the Bitcoin protocol.

Segfaultsteve writes about the benefits of Ardor versus other competing blockchain solutions, that are explored in great depth. His first post highlighted the technological supremacy Ardor has over Plasma, the next installment talked about the LISK blockchain and the functionality provided by it, the third compared Ardor against NEM/Mijin/Catapult. The fourth covered IOTA and the debacle with the code base, and 2 weeks ago his post covered Waves, the Nxt-like decentralized exchange (DEX).

Links to previous articles:


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  • Meetup CodePen, New York

CodePen has announced their first Meetup in New York, and the Nxt Foundation is sponsoring community member Patoshi to promote the use of the Nxt and Ardor technologies. For our readers around NYC this is an excellent opportunity to meet other members of the community as well as learn more about Ardor and Nxt. Don’t forget to bring a dev friend.

Patoshi wrote:

thanks @travin and nxt foundation to help sponsor our first event here in nyc. I’ll be presenting an ardor session using it to make something with codepen to a room full of devs. — https://www.meetup.com/codepen-nyc/sponsors/


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  • 3rd-Party MyNXT.info Wallet will Shutdown by the End of 2017

MyNxt wallet users, be prepared to migrate your account or move your tokens. MyNxt announced last week the closure of their web wallet because of no clear path to monetization and massive usage of the Nxt light client feature and the Jelurida public node. Users have until the end of 2017 to export their passphrase or their holdings. Accounts will function normally until the end of November 2017.

In their words:


Due to the wide usage of the Nxt light client feature and the Jelurida public node, the lack of manpower for development and support, and no clear path to profitability, MyNxt is closing new user registrations and will phase out the MyNxt web wallet feature by the end of 2017.

New users can download the Nxt Client or use the Jelurida public Nxt node instead.

Existing users will be able to operate the MyNxt wallet normally until the end of November and will be able to export their Nxt accounts until the end of 2017. For instructions about how to continue using your Nxt accounts outside of the MyNxt wallet, check our FAQ page: https://wallet.mynxt.info/faq.php

Thank you all for your support! We hope to continue to see you as both Nxt and Ardor move forward!


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  • The NXT, Ignis and Ardor timeline in Chinese

Jelurida’s timeline has been translated into Chinese and shared on btc38.


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  • Riker Interview with Labo Blockchain from Japan

A Japanese language interview of Riker, Lior Yaffe, from Labo Blockchain in Japan.


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  • Janus – Status Update

An update from our friends Janus on their new JNSHash Mining project. According to current projections, they will have a more than decent farm up and running by November! Good job guys, we are excited to see this project and we raise our warm beverages to you!

Bjorn wrote:

We will be constructing the last Nvidia rig we can squeeze in before BTC gold, this is of course a highly speculative coin, I personally feel it’s unlikely to be unprofitable but it could go either way, high risk/reward as all crypto usually is.

One thing I should mention, although the past isnt a perfect indicator, often a large BTC dominance eventually pours back into altcoins it may seem rough at first but this could also translate into a second 12 month mining boom cycle.

If this occurs then JNSHash could perform very unexpectedly well.

As our team is also in this good times and bad, let’s cross our fingers we make the right choices in terms of highest output and I maybe get to keep some of my hair in the process some speculative coins could go high, it’s not impossible, if not we can remain steady on the tried and true ones either way.

Ok that is all, again enjoy your time with your families, stay well.

Another shipment of 1080 Ti’s arrived, just in time to add hashpower for BTC gold!

Join the “Janus Token” YouTube Channel

You can find a list of all paid dividends here. Also, follow the Janus news on https://nxter.org/janus, and Janus Twitter.

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  • Adel – Status Update

Last week Adel announced that their collaborative AdelWiki platform is almost ready to launch. Adel was also present at several blockchain conferences across Europe.

They wrote:

Adel’s Collaboration Module ▲ Coming Soon
The AdelWiki™ collaborative platform is almost ready for launch. It will allow members to submit ideas and collaborate with a slack and WiKi interface. We’re putting the finishing touches on this module.


Wrap-up ▲ Smile Expo’s ICO Event
Adel co-founder Gabriel Dusil spoke about blockchain innovation in front of an audience of 200 a major European conference dedicated to ICO investments last week. The Smile Expo event in London focused on ICOs and drew a diverse crowd of investors, government officials, banking and fintech executives and hundreds of journalists.


Deloitte Innovation Event ▲ Adel Seminar
Continuing rounds of speaking engagements to get the word out about Adel, Dusil presented Blockchain market opportunities to over 30 Deloitte executives in Prague. He was invited as the keynote speaker of the event to introduce Deloitte’s future leaders to the world of cryptocurrencies. The event was recorded, and will be posted shortly.

Adel’s NEW Homepage ▲ adel.io Coming Soon
In anticipation of the wiki collaboration module release and huge coming announcements, Adel is completely overhauling its homepage and refreshing content, multimedia, listings and more. As we prepare for an exciting next few months with a lot of press coverage, the new site will reflect the hard work that’s been going on behind the scenes and set the stage for Adel 2.0 – look out for the release by the end of this month.

You are the rock and foundation of this community and we extend our deepest gratitude for your contributions and support. If you have a few minutes, please kindly share your favorite Adel news from today on your social networks – we look forward to connecting again soon!

Read the latest great Adel article:

Adelphoi: “I am more than just a trader’s coin” — Adel Ecosystem Ltd.

Follow Adel In Medium

Adel’s first incubated project will be iFin.io.


More info

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  • SuperNet Asset Migration From Nxt AE 

Last week SuperNet announced they will be migrating from the Nxt AE to Komodo. The asset transfer swaps will be open until March 1st 2018. The Nxt community originally supported c-developer jl777 and SuperNET with 5% of the entire NXT marketcap.

Vanbreuk wrote:

jl777 has published today this update and asked me to manage the communication with the Nxt community.

I will take care of the user support in the Nxt side, so for any doubts about how to send the assets please ask in this topic. However, here’s the available information in clear bullet points:

 How to send your assets for migration?

Send your assets to NXT-MRBN-8DFH-PFMK-A4DBM, the official SuperNET account in Nxt, adding to the asset transfer a permanent message (make sure you check the “Message is Never Deleted” option under the message box in the Nxt Client) with the destination Komodo address where you want your tokens to be delivered when the swaps are processed. To obtain a Komodo address if you don’t have one, check the Komodoplatform website for upcoming new download links for the Agama wallet. Advanced users can try the Komodod client repository.

IMPORTANT: If you have any doubts or support requests for the Agama wallet or Komodo in general, please go to the SuperNET Slack and ask in the #agama or #komodo channels. This NxtForum topic is ONLY to provide user support for sending the Nxt assets to swap correctly.

The transfer of the new tokens to Komodo addresses will start to be processed by jl777 in December, and the swap process will be open until March 1st, 2018. For other announcement details, please check the quote in the top of this post. If you have any doubts, please ask and I will contact jl777 if necessary.


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  • Lior Yaffe in Medium – Ardor Full Node on Android

Hallelujah, an Android full node has been tested successfully for Ardor. With Android 8 (Oreo) you can run a full Nxt or Ardor node on any device that runs Android, which will be most of our electronics and appliances, and maybe even our future robot overlords. Either way, this is great news for the entire ecosystem.

Lior wrote:

Now with Android Studio 3.0 getting closer to a stable release with full Java 8 support, the Jelurida developers decided to give it a try and it works quite well. Naturally there are some limitations, the main one being that your device has to Support Android 8 (Oreo) which is currently only supported by few brand new devices. Also the JavaFX desktop wallet is not supported on Android but this is not a major concern since we can merge the existing Apache Cordova wallet app with the full node to provide a visual wallet.

Being able to run a full blockchain node on Android may not seem like high priority at the moment, but in few years when Android is integrated into virtually every device, and data connection is nearly unlimited, every car, TV and refrigerator will be able to run Ardor and NXT full nodes and you’ll be able to always carry your full node with you in your pocket.


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  • Catalist.co Interviewed Riker in “Even an Unknown Programmer from Hadera can Raise Millions Without any Supervision”

Calcalist, one of the biggest financial news sites in Israel, interviewed Riker last week. The humor-filled article is, as of publishing, only available in Hebrew, but should soon be translated into English and other languages. The article wanted to interview a widely regarded blockchain expert, Lior, after the Israeli programmer raised millions in an ICO.

Quotes from Riker:

Calcalist is a very popular web site in Israel, one of the 3 most popular financial sites, and linked to the most popular news site (ynet.co.il)

I will translate it later unless someone do it first, it’s written with a lot of humor.

The title reads “Even an unknown programmer from Hadera (my home town) can raise millions without any supervision”

Then “Lior Yaffe a Java programmer without business experience raised already 7-8 million euro during the ICO of the Ignis coin, and its not over yet. ‘Anyone who is telling some nonsense story on blockchain raises 100’s millions dollars. We have real technology’ he says.”


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  • Medium – Long-term and Passionless? Get back to the Moon and Beyond, Ignite that Passion!

Blockchain enthusiast, R0bInI0, wrote a passionate piece on Ardor. He describes the revolutionary nature of the platform and the problems that are solved by it, such as the infamous blockchain bloat problem.

Ardor (ARDR) is a blockchain-as-a-service platform, like Stratis and Ark are but completely different.

Ardor is the first that has solved the blockchain bloat and scaling issues that every blockchain and blockchain platform like Ethereum and Bitcoin faces out there today.


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  • CryptoCoin Daddy – NXT to be used as ICO Platform: NXT Coin Future

Post documenting the recently released timeline from Jelurida in regards to NXT and the plan to develop Nxt as a simple and secure crowdfunding solution for new ICOs in Q1 2018.

NXT coin future


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  • TradingView – ARDR Breakout on Volume Within the Week to 6k Area

34 0 3 Flag pattern appears to be converging near the $BTC.X hardfork. Expect 3 areas of resistance, 5000, 6000 and 7000 satoshis.


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  • TradingView – ARDR Moon Mission


If it can go above the cloud, the sky is the limit.


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  • TradingView – ARDR Rectangles

Currently in a higher rectangle – the potential attempt at a higher base – bulls could be looking to exhaust sellers either through attrition or price movement one way or the other. Would not be surprised to see a break below the rectangle or at least another move down to yellow major support before a move higher. Resistance is almost futile at this point, but it is cute to watch.
  • TradingView – ARDR-BTC – Where Now?

46 0 2 While indicators are bearish and sell volume is increasing, there is a cluster of supports around the current price action. Key levels highlighted using trend lines and moving averages.


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  • Weekly NXT/ARDR Price Evolution

The following graphic shows the NXT / Bitcoin exchange price at Poloniex over this past week:

The following graphic shows the ARDR / Bitcoin exchange price at Poloniex over this past week:

Live stats from the Nxt Blockchain Asset Exchange:


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Yes, that is all for this week, Nxters. Make sure you have more of your favorite warm beverage available as you stay tuned next week for more up-to-date coverage on the final and ultimate round of the IGNIS ICO, the new year launch of Ardor, ongoing projects, and much more. For those who cannot wait a week to learn more, visit our site. We explain in much more detail about Jelurida, Ignis, Ardor, and everything else that is pertinent to the platforms and the momentous ICO.

Follow us on Twitter for important breaking updates during the week as they happen. Stay tuned and stay informed, dear readers. See you back here next week!

Help us grow and help us continue to provide excellent and focused coverage on the ever-growing blockchain space by rewarding us for our efforts. Donation address: NXT-TK9J-MEKH-MUP9-HFCH2.

Ardor vs. the Competition, Pt. 5: Stratis

This post is part of a series that compares Ardor to other blockchain projects with similar features or goals. You can find the previous posts here:

This week I studied Stratis, a blockchain-as-a-service platform based on the Bitcoin protocol.


The goal of the Stratis project is to enable businesses to create their own customizable blockchains, choosing from a set of prepackaged features. Additionally, the Stratis Group, which guides the development of Stratis, will offer consulting services to help businesses find ways to use blockchain technology effectively, and presumably will also help them configure and deploy custom blockchains on the Stratis platform.

Put this way, Stratis sounds an awful lot like Ardor. But in most of the details–to the extent that details about Stratis are available, anyway–the two platforms are quite different. More on those differences in a bit.

Currently, the Stratis platform comprises several parts:

  • NBitcoin, a comprehensive Bitcoin implementation in C# inspired by Bitcoin Core;
  • NStratis, a fork of NBitcoin that adds a proof-of-stake mining algorithm and an alternative proof-of-work algorithm;
  • the Stratis Bitcoin Full Node, which can run on either the Bitcoin network or the Stratis network, and which serves as the basis for the rest of the platform;
  • the Breeze Wallet, a simplified payment verification (SPV) wallet for both Bitcoin and Stratis that implements TumbleBit to make transactions private; and,
  • the Stratis Identity module, which allows third parties to attest to the identity of the person controlling a Stratis account.

Note that most of these components are currently in alpha.

Particularly noteworthy in this list is the integration of TumbleBit into the Breeze Wallet. The TumbleBit paper is rather dense; if you’re interested in the details, I recommend instead this excellent presentation by two of the authors. In a nutshell, TumbleBit uses one-way payment channels to transfer funds from a set of payers to an intermediary called the Tumbler, and from the Tumbler to a set of payees, without any of the parties having to trust one another. The key innovation over other payment channel implementations is that TumbleBit uses blind RSA signatures in a clever way to prevent the Tumbler from knowing which incoming transaction maps to a given outgoing transaction. If many accounts are transacting through the Tumbler, then it is impossible to trace the funds in an output account back to the input account that sent them. Not even the Tumbler can link the two accounts.

Stratis’s Breeze Wallet provides TumbleBit functionality for both Bitcoin and Stratis, making it useful to a much larger audience than would be the case if it worked only on the Stratis network. Moreover, since the TumbleBit protocol uses off-blockchain payment channels, it is possible to make many payments through the Tumbler in approximately the same amount of time as it takes to make a single payment.

The Stratis Identity module is still at the proof-of-concept stage, but it is functional nevertheless. Users can log into their Microsoft, Google, or LinkedIn accounts using the Stratis Identity mobile app, and these services will notify Stratis of the successful login. A special account owned by Stratis then records an attestation to the successful login by hashing the corresponding personally identifiable information (e.g., name and email address) and storing it on the Stratis blockchain.

An attestation by Google that a person owns a particular Gmail account is perhaps not the most useful identity service, but it is easy to see how the same mechanism could be used to prove ownership of some piece of information that is much more difficult to verify. For example, a government agent might attest that somebody presented a valid photo ID, together with a name and address. If a user can provide the name and address that match the hash on the blockchain, that would probably convince a service provider that the user also owned the corroborating photo ID, since the government agent attested to all three pieces of information together.

TumbleBit integration in the Breeze Wallet and the Stratis Identity module are two examples of the kinds of features that Stratis intends to offer on their platform. I’m not completely sure I’ve grasped the overall architecture of Stratis, but from what I can understand, the idea is for the Stratis blockchain to delegate the backend processing for each new feature, such as TumbleBit and Stratis Identity, to a dedicated set of masternodes. For example, the upcoming Breeze Node–not to be confused with the Breeze Wallet, which uses SPV instead of requiring a full node–will be a masternode that serves as a Tumbler. Similarly, there are plans to build masternodes that process Stratis Identity transactions, though I don’t really know what that means and can’t find any details.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Stratis team has planned several other features, most notably a way to deploy sidechains anchored to the Stratis chain. My understanding is that this will be the main mechanism that Stratis uses to provide customizable, private blockchains to clients.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any details about how sidechains on Stratis will work. The Stratis white paper refers to Blockstream’s sidechain paper, but that is the only hint I have found so far about Stratis’s design. In particular, it is not so easy to securely and trustlessly transfer value between two blockchains without having at least some of the miners on each chain validate all transactions on both chains. The details, including how the sidechain protocol handles forks and reorginzations, are crucial in order to evaluate how secure the mechanism is.

Even supposing that transfers between the Stratis chain and sidechains are secure, there is also the matter of the security of the sidechains themselves. The Stratis white paper says in several places that the Stratis chain will somehow provide security for its sidechains, but it doesn’t explain how that will work. Typically, sidechains are completely independent and must secure themselves.

Compared to Ardor

With Ardor, on the other hand, the parent chain does provide security for each child chain.

In fact, this is one of the most important differences between Ardor’s parent-chain/child-chain architecture and typical sidechain implementations. Unfortunately, without more technical details from the Stratis team, it is impossible to do a proper comparison between their design and Ardor’s approach.

One comparison that we can do is between Stratis’s TumbleBit feature and Ardor’s Coin Shuffling feature. (Note that Coin Shuffling will not be available on the Ardor chain itself, but it will be available on Ignis, the first child chain, and other child chains can also choose to support it.) This feature is Nxt’s implementation of the CoinShuffle algorithm, which allows a group of users to trustlessly agree to transfer a fixed quantity of coins from their (input) accounts to a set of output accounts, one per input, without any user being able to know which of the other users controls each of the other output accounts. The algorithm is not very complicated, and section 4.2 of the CoinShuffle paper gives a good overview of how it works.

I don’t claim to be an expert on either algorithm, but the TumbleBit approach seems to me to have a couple of advantages over CoinShuffle. Because it uses off-blockchain payment channels, it is potentially capable of scaling to a high transaction rate in addition to adding a measure of privacy to payments, addressing two problems at once. Also, if the goal is to prevent an observer from noticing correlations between several payments–which might leak information about a business’s customers or supply chain, for example–it would probably be more convenient to make the payments back-to-back from the same account via TumbleBit instead of having to first shuffle each payment to a new account.

On the subject of identity verification, I think the Stratis Identity module is an interesting proof of concept, but in my opinion Ardor provides a much richer set of tools for identity-related services. While a service like Stratis Identity can be built relatively easily on any blockchain, Ardor offers a couple of unique features that could extend such a service for some interesting applications.

On Ardor, identity validators will be able to attest to the identities of account owners using Account Properties. These are arbitrary bits of data that can be permanently associated with an account on the blockchain, rather like attestations in Stratis Identity. One novel feature that Ardor will add, though, is the ability to issue assets that can only be traded by accounts that have a specific property set.

In cases where government regulations require that asset issuers know who is purchasing their assets, this feature will allow issuers to restrict trading of their assets to accounts whose owners’ identities have been verified by compliant identity providers. This level of control will hopefully help put blockchain-based securities on a firmer legal foundation, and will make it easier for asset issuers to comply with the law.

Even apart from regulatory compliance, asset issuers will probably find other uses for this feature. For example, a club or other private organization could express eligibility requirements for membership as a set of required account properties, issue an asset that only eligible accounts could obtain, and then use the asset to pay dividends to or conduct polls of members.

Some Thoughts on Marketing

Even having read this far, you might still be wondering what exactly the Stratis platform is and how it works. To be frank, I have found myself asking these questions too, even after many hours of reading about Stratis. At the risk of speaking perhaps a bit too close to the edge of my knowledge, I think it might be helpful to compare and contrast the marketing efforts of Jelurida and the Stratis Group in order to shed some light on why it is hard for me to answer these very basic questions.

Reading the Stratis website and the white paper (linked above), I got the distinct impression that, to be blunt, those resources weren’t really written for me. The language they use reminds me of how the salespeople at my company talk, and I learned a while ago that engineers and salespeople tend not to understand each other very well.

I read that Stratis offers “simple and affordable end-to-end solutions” to “streamline and accelerate [my] blockchain project development”; that it is a “powerful and flexible blockchain development platform designed for the needs of real-world financial services businesses and other organizations that want to develop, test and deploy applications on the blockchain”; and that its “one-click process means that new chains can be launched with unprecedented speed, tailored for the needs of the organization”; but I still don’t really understand what any of this means, much less how Stratis will accomplish these things.

This type of language conveys precisely zero information to me. Without technical details, I am completely, hopelessly lost. I know that there are plenty of people who are fluent in business-speak, though, and those people can probably read the Stratis white paper and come away with a decent, if very high-level, understanding of what the company plans to do. In contrast, it took me multiple passes through the white paper before I began to grasp the big picture, and I’m still not sure I have it right.

The Ardor white paper, on the other hand, contains substantial technical detail about how Ardor works and what distinguishes it from other blockchain platforms. It is obvious, both from its content and how that content is organized, that engineers played a significant role in writing it. Upon completing my first pass through it, I understood pretty well what problems Ardor solves and how it solves them.

The point I’m trying to make with this comparison is that business-minded people and technically-minded people often speak different languages, and the marketing materials that the Stratis Group and Jelurida have created seem to reflect this difference. Personally, I found it extremely frustrating to find so little technical substance in Stratis’s resources, and this frustration has probably prevented me from really understanding Stratis.


Is my assessment of Stratis too harsh? Maybe. I do think that TumbleBit is an interesting piece of technology, and it seems smart for the Breeze Wallet to implement it for both Stratis and Bitcoin. Moreover, if we drop the white paper’s contention that the Stratis chain will secure its sidechains, and instead assume that sidechains will be responsible for their own security, then I can use my imagination to fill in enough of the gaps to come up with at least a rough mental image of what Stratis will look like when it is complete.

This mental image, though, is basically a direct competitor to Lisk. Sure, Stratis is based on .NET and the Bitcoin protocol instead of JavaScript and Lisk’s predefined transaction types, and the feature sets that the two teams intend to offer don’t overlap perfectly, but essentially both projects aim to provide a central, public blockchain and a set of tools for easily creating sidechains on it. Both projects are in rather early stages of development, too, and for this reason it can be difficult to find technical details about them.

Ardor is quite different. Built on the Nxt codebase, it is already far more mature than Stratis, despite not having launched on its mainnet yet. Its parent-chain/child-chain architecture achieves the goal described in the Stratis white paper–a means for businesses to create customizable blockchains without having to worry about securing them–better than existing sidechain architectures. And the rich variety of features that Ardor already supports will take quite some time for Stratis to emulate.

Perhaps just as importantly, Jelurida and the Nxt community have done a great job of making technical information about Ardor and Nxt publicly available. This information lends credibility to the Ardor project and strengthens the community. In my opinion, it is what separates true marketing from hype.

Try Ardor on testnet