Dapp development is one of the areas gaining massive growth in blockchain. It can be challenging for a blockchain developer to stay current on the latest developments in blockchain technology. The technology is changing and improving rapidly. It is even more difficult to try to anticipate future changes. However, there are several areas that may impact decentralized application, or dApp, development over the next five years. These may include a change from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in the Ethereum blockchain, emergence of more robust smart contract scripting languages, and improved front-end tools to access blockchains.
Proof-of-Work versus Proof-of-Stake
In order to create a dApp on the Ethereum blockchain, a smart contract must be developed and deployed on the blockchain. Any transaction on the blockchain must be verified by miners through what is currently called proof-of-work or POW. POW involves solving a complex mathematical problem using powerful computers. The miner who is the quickest to solve the problem is allowed to add a block to the chain and get a reward. This process tends to be inefficient and uses a lot of electricity and power.
A new method called proof-of-stake or POS may replace proof-of-work within the next five years. In a POS system, there are no miners solving complex mathematical problems. There are only validators. The validators will put up or stake an amount of ether on the block they think will be added to the chain next. The validator who adds the block will only receive transaction fees and not mining rewards of new ether. The POS process currently being tested for implementation on the Ethereum blockchain is known as Casper.
This POS approach should greatly reduce the amount of electricity needed to validate transactions and blocks. POS should alleviate the negative backlash from the current environmentally unfriendly mining approach and lead to economic finality. The new POS approach may increase the popularity and sustainability of the Ethereum blockchain and lead to an increase in the development of dApps on that particular blockchain. It is also possible that other blockchains, such as Bitcoin, may adopt a POW approach if it is proven to work on the Ethereum blockchain.
Smart Contract Scripting or Coding Language
The most popular programming or scripting language for smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain is Solidity. Smart contracts are integral components of dApps. Solidity is still evolving and improving. The scripting language will probably improve substantially over the next five years. The increased robustness of the Solidity language should allow for more innovative, complex and secure smart contracts. It is also possible that an alternative language, such as Rust, may eventually replace Solidity as the primary language used to develop smart contracts.
Front-end Tools to Access dApps
In order to access the Ethereum blockchain and dApps, users must use a gateway application on the internet. For example, one of the more popular gateways is currently MetaMask, a Chrome extension. However, there are a number of alternatives to MetaMask, such as Mist, Parity, Toshi and so on. At some point over the next five years, it is reasonable to expect that these gateway tools will improve and make it easier for non-technical users to access the blockchain. The more user-friendly and less technical the front-end tool, the more the blockchain will move into the mainstream. A byproduct of this may be an increase in demand for dApps.
It is reasonable to conclude dApp development will change significantly over the next five years. The switch from POW to POS for block validations should lead to more dApp development. More innovative and complex smart contracts, which underpin dApps, may be created due to the emergence of more robust programming languages. In addition, browsers to access the blockchain may improve and become more user-friendly. This should lead to increased demand for dApps from the general non-technical population.
This is a guest post.
About the Author:
Michael is a professional tech writer and content strategist with an app development background. He specializes in Android & iOS app design, as well as blockchain & dapp technology.