Looking Back: Blockchain Track at WeAreDevelopers Live Week

By Alex Speirs Published: October 9, 2020

Bitcoin Association was the proud sponsor of the fourth day of WeAreDevelopers Live Week, taking the reins to help put together a track dedicated entirely to blockchain.

The agenda was as filled with as much technical content as it was theoretical.

Steve Shadders, CTO at nChain and technical director at the Bitcoin SV Node Project, opened the day with a presentation, The massive scaled blockchain to meet developer needs.

‘Bitcoin never got a chance to be Bitcoin,’ he said, discussing the genesis of Bitcoin SV.

‘It doesn’t start to exhibit some of its real properties until it gets scaled, and by the time Bitcoin had a lot of users involved… by that time, constraints on how it could be used were already being implemented.’

Enter Bitcoin SV. Shadders talked about the unique features of Bitcoin SV – the big block model and the scaling facilitated by Bitcoin SV – and what it means for the kinds of applications that can be developed via the technology.

Micropayment support is one such feature. The illustrative case that Shadders used was that of Codugh, which allows API developers to monetise the APIs they create. Developers can receive micropayments payments for every call to their API, for example.

Next was a practical session on the fundamentals of smart contracts held by Dr. Tim Weingärtner, Professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. He gave a brief overview of the theory of smart contracts, and then dived into some sample smart contract code, explaining the code itself and the process of compiling and pushing the code to the blockchain.

There was also a panel, moderated by Steve Shadders, Can Blockchain change business? And how and why? Shadders was joined by Paula Pettit, Business Development Manager at Linum Labs, and David Case, Chief Architect at Kronoverse.

The panellists discussed their experiences with blockchain and gave their takes on what the future might hold as the technology grows in uptake. Looking to the future, the panel discussed whether that will mean one blockchain or many competing blockchains, where Pettit said that she expects it will either be built on one blockchain, or if not, will necessitate us finding a suitable way for blockchains to seamlessly communicate.

‘I don’t think there will be multiple blockchains that all compete with each other. I think there will be one, or many with interoperability,’ she said.

Case talked about one potential use of the blockchain as it pertains to gaming. He imagined a world where every item in a video game has its history (along with the history of everything that has ever happened within the game) permanently recorded on the blockchain. If a player acquires a sword, it is not merely a new instance of the class ‘sword’ – that specific sword has a history, from when it was first created or bought within the game, through each battle or tournament it has been involved in as it passes hands from owner to owner.

Issues of standardisation, compliance, scalability and ‘getting people in the door’ was noted by Case as the key priorities over the coming years if blockchain technology was to truly take hold.

The panellists also talked about their experiences in bringing business ideas to fruition using the blockchain. On that point, there’s no replacement for watching the responses yourself.

Nazar Hussain, Senior Backend Developer at Lisk, then took over the broadcast, presenting on the Lisk SDK. Lisk is a blockchain application platform, and Hussain demonstrated the three core architecture traits of Lisk: it’s flexible, integrateable, and open. This was done both via presentation and via a practical showcase, as Hussain worked with the SDK live on the stream, building a simple and active blockchain application in a matter of minutes.

The last talk of the day was given by Marta Geater-Pierkarska, director of ecosystem at The Linux Foundation and an evangelist of blockchain. The topic served as an appropriate bookend to the day: Leveraging Blockchain technology for business. Tying together the themes touched on by the rest of the day’s participants, she talked about Hyperledger, the Linux Foundation’s umbrella project of open source blockchains and tools, the use cases and implementations of the platform, as well as how to get involved.

You can view a recording of WeAreDevelopers Live Week Day 4 here: