Development Update The WAX Explorer and beta WAX Blockchain are live, and an update on the WAX Blockchain release

Worldwide Asset eXchange™ Development Update: WAX Platform Base Technology Selection and More

Apr 16, 2018

We’d like to take this opportunity to update the community about the development progress for the Worldwide Asset eXchange™.

Let’s start with a brief reminder about the overall goals of the WAX project. There will eventually be two versions of the WAX Token: the ERC20 versionthat exists today, and the protocol token that will work with the WAX custom blockchain.

Features of the ERC20 token: The ERC20 token has multiple functions. It’s currently used as a payment method for millions of items on OPSkins. It provides support for our ERC721 token initiative (detailed in the last section of this update) since both tokens operate on the Ethereum network. The ERC20 version of WAX will be used to bridge the Ethereum blockchain with the WAX blockchain, will also serve as a connector to the WAX blockchain for ERC721 tokens. Lastly, it serves as the indicator of who will receive an airdrop of the protocol tokens on a 1:1 basis when they’re complete.

Once the protocol token is released, the ERC20 token will continue to be functional and tradable, and we will continue to build out the technology of the ERC20 token to maximize its usage both as a form of currency and to facilitate the buying and selling of ERC721 token items on OPSkins.

Features of the protocol token: The protocol token will ultimately be the superior version of WAX because it will enable many of the unique features of WAX including buying and selling items through the use of smart contracts, sharing fee income among multiple parties, pegged asset contracts managing volatility, pledging to guilds, enabling exchange widgets, and more.

The ERC20 token is fully functional in its current state, and the custom blockchain and protocol token are in the development stage.

We’re excited to share our progress with you on the WAX Platform’s base technology, the ERC20 token, and the integration of ERC721 tokens on OPSkins.

Let’s get started.

WAX Platform Base Technology Evaluation and Selection:

Lukas Sliwka, Vice President of Engineering, has been leading the engineering team’s extensive efforts to identify the optimal model for the WAX consensus and chain structure. After careful consideration, we will be building the WAX custom blockchain and protocol token using a variant of EOS combined with numerous custom features and functions to support the unique requirements of WAX.

We’d like to share with you the evaluation process and our findings which ultimately led to this decision. But first, we’re excited to introduce Lukas to the WAX community:


WAX Platform Base Technology Proof of Concept:

Our engineering team performed a detailed evaluation of six chains — ARK, EOS, LISK, Tendermint, NEM, and NEO — and built local peer-to-peer networks for four of them while implementing a representative test business use-case. This project was titled “WAX Platform Base Technology Proof of Concept” and its purpose was to test several blockchain technologies to evaluate the following:

  1. General technology characteristics and its fit for the WAX Platform
  2. Code maturity and its stability as well as available documentation
  3. Development community size and its activity

This research was required to select the blockchain that will be used as a base for building the WAX Platform.

This exercise familiarized the engineering team with the amount of documentation available for each chain being considered, the flexibility and maturity of the code, and the amount of existing tools for the platform.

Criteria evaluated for each chain:

To begin the process of selecting which of the six chains were the best fit for WAX, our engineering team created an Evaluation Matrix and analyzed each chain based on dozens of sets of criteria. These criteria were divided into three broad categories:

  • Technology characteristics: General characteristics like core development language, support for additional development languages, consensus algorithm used, support for smart contracts, and others.
  • WAX Platform requirements: WAX Platform specific criteria like the ability to implement WAX DPOS algorithm and WAX specific smart contracts and messages.
  • Implementation and delivery characteristics: This section focused on MVP delivery timelines, availability of skilled developers to work on the platform selected and overall project cost.

Scores were given to each of the chains where appropriate based on how well they met the selection criteria. Below is an example of some Evaluation Matrix results (sample section only — not all criteria included):

Snapshot of the WAX Platform Utility Blockchain Selection Evaluation Matrix results (sample section only — not all criteria included)
Snapshot of the WAX Platform Utility Blockchain Selection Evaluation Matrix results (sample section only — not all criteria included)

As you can see, a detailed analysis of each blockchain considered was performed against the evaluation criteria.

Our findings from the criteria evaluation and resulting peer-to-peer networks phase:

After analyzing each of the six chains based on the criteria in the Evaluation Matrix, we took the four chains that best met the selection criteria and for each built peer-to-peer network composed of nodes modified to simulate WAX delegated proof of stake consensus mechanism that was governing that localized blockchain. We then sent sample transactions to that network and then verified that they were recorded in the blockchain and that the network achieved consensus.

For the four chains — ARK, EOS, LISK, and Tendermint — we used the documentation provided by the project (or code when documentation was not available) to build an automated peer-to-peer network with the ability to execute transactions and elect delegates by vote based on the stakeholders balance. We implemented the same use case on each of the four blockchains.

Our engineers recorded their analysis of each peer-to-peer network. For those who are curious, we have included a few screenshots of some of the final business use-case demonstrations that were performed upon completion of each project evaluation:

WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: ARK
WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: ARK
WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: EOS
WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: EOS
WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: Tendermint
WAX Peer-To-Peer Network: Tendermint

Based upon our evaluation criteria, EOS is the best fit for the implementation of WAX while also being one of the most popular platforms with high number of contributors and release frequency. EOS allows WAX DPOS implementation largely through configuration and small code modifications. Also, EOS provides a framework to implement WAX smart contracts and transactions while having existing scaffolding for Wallet and WAX Connect clients.

Uncertainty regarding timing of new features on the blockchains we evaluated

All of the blockchains we considered for WAX are in a state of periodic updating and feature improvements. It is important to note that every blockchain we evaluated was lacking in some significant way. They all required yet to be completed software development to become fully effective for WAX. This means we faced the challenge of making a blockchain decision in early 2018 based on announced software update timelines that may change. The EOS development team has a lot of work to do before WAX can use it. We have incorporated some contingencies for delays by the EOS development team but we can’t predict all scenarios. In the worst case we would have to abandon our work with EOS and migrate to the next best alternative blockchain solution which would likely be Ethereum based on what we know today.

Conclusion:

We conducted a comprehensive and methodical evaluation of the appropriate blockchains for building the WAX platform. After determining the evaluation criteria, researching each of the considered chains, analyzing features of those chains based on the evaluation criteria and building peer-to-peer networks, we have selected a variant of EOS as the base platform for WAX. As previously mentioned, Lukas and the WAX engineering team will be building a version of the EOS blockchain because while it is the superior base technology, EOS doesn’t support all features of the WAX Platform including Guilds, voting mechanisms for dispute resolution, and others. We look forward to working with the EOS core development team to accelerate the deployment of the WAX Platform.

In conclusion, the WAX Platform will be built upon a variant of EOS combined with custom-built functions, smart contracts and transactions designed specifically to support the unique features of WAX that are detailed in the WAX white paper.

ERC20 WAX Token In Use on OPSkins.com

The decision of our blockchain base model is just one of several development updates that we’ve accomplished since December, including integrating the ERC20 version of WAX on OPSkins.

We issued the ERC20 WAX Token in December on the same day that we announced that WAX Tokens as a cryptocurrency payment method was live on OPSkins.com. Customers of OPSkins Marketplace can purchase items with WAX Tokens and sell their items in exchange for WAX Tokens. In just three months after its initial release date, more than 5 million in-game digital items for more than 20 games can be purchased with WAX Tokens, with more games being added each week.

As we experiment with the use of the ERC20 WAX Token as a form of stored value, we have seen peak days of 190,000 WAX in deposits. Note the amounts will fluctuate dramatically as we experiment with the process flow and user interface. Yet the peaks are showing us potential demand even at these early stages of experimentation.

ERC721 Tokens Tradeable with WAX

Another notable accomplishment in the development department is the integration of ERC721 tokens on OPSkins, tradable with WAX Tokens.

ERC721 is a standard for non fungible Ethereum blockchain-based tokens. Given that each ERC721 token represents a unique digital asset they are also known as Crypto Collectibles™.

The trading of ERC721 tokens has experienced rapid growth since CryptoKitties exploded onto the scene at the end of last year. As a result, more than 250 ERC721 token companies have announced their launch in the last 4 months alone. More than 331,000 of these non-fungible tokens have sold in the last week according to DappRadar.com, amounting to a total of 74,000 ETH over the last seven days.

OPSkins is becoming the go-to marketplace to trade ERC721 tokens with WAX. If the WAX Platform were live today, token holders could create a guild that would trade those kinds of assets. Buyers and sellers would be able to use WAX to match trades securely and efficiently. While the WAX Platform is still in development, ERC721 tokens can be bought and sold on the OPSkins marketplace. Notably, OPSkins was the first site in the world to offer 3rd party peer-to-peer trading of ERC721 tokens.

What are the core features of Crypto Collectibles? Blockchain. Video Games. Cryptocurrencies. Peer-to-peer trading. It’s no wonder OPSkins and WAX dove full-force into this market. OPSkins added CryptoKitties to the marketplace in December 2017, and we’ve since announced partnerships with Etherbots, Fishbank, CryptoBots, Decentraland, Pandarium, Etheremon and more. Several more are in development and will be announced in the near future.

You may be asking yourself why gamers would choose to purchase their Crypto Collectibles on OPSkins rather than buy them directly from the game? In a word, convenience. Buying a Crypto Collectible directly from a game publisher involves a laborious multi-step process that requires existing knowledge of cryptocurrencies and the use of crypto wallets. In addition, ETH is the only acceptable form of payment. For example, see the process below for purchasing a CryptoKitty.

Buying Crypto Collectibles directly from games

Buying Crypto Collectibles directly from games
Buying Crypto Collectibles directly from games

It’s cumbersome, time-consuming, and not user-friendly to players unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies.

It is a lot easier on OPSkins. Players can purchase a CryptoKitty in four simple steps on the Opskins marketplace. Perhaps most importantly — they can pay with WAX, bitcoin, dozens of fiat currencies and several other payment methods offered on the OPSkins marketplace.

Buying Crypto Collectibles on OPSkins

Buying Crypto Collectibles from OPSkins
Buying Crypto Collectibles from OPSkins

The addition of Crypto Collectibles to the OPSkins marketplace not only simplifies the process for existing players of these games but also introduces the many millions of customers using OPSkins regularly to a new category of online video games. We anticipate Crypto Collectibles to continue their popularity and rapid growth throughout 2018 with OPSkins being the go-to marketplace for buying and selling these digital items outside the games themselves.

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