As part of its goal to provide a generalized platform for blockchain development, co-founder of ethereum and Parity Technologies founder, Gavin Wood, has said his company will launch its do-it-yourself build-a-blockchain tool, Substrate in the coming weeks.
Wood said, “If everyone can build and deploy their own chain, then suddenly Polkadot becomes a much more interesting prospect.” He added that Substrate will help Polkadot reach its “main bet” – as a simple mechanism to allow people to build and launch their own blockchains.
“Substrate is much more general than ethereum,” Wood said, adding: “We really wanted to make something pure and general.”
His company Parity Technologies had announced that it had used the Substrate codebase to deploy “Shasper” – the latest iteration of ethereum's scaling roadmap, that mixes scaling solution sharding with consensus switch, proof-of-stake.
While Substrate is already actionable, Wood emphasized that work remains to be done prior to its public release, specifically as relates to developer documentation, as well as “rounding some corners and removing any sharp edges.”
“I'm giving it a three-week countdown or something on these lines,” Wood said.
Wood also made it known that the Substrate software will be relicensed to Apache 2, a more permissive, business-friendly license than the current GPL3.
According to the Wood, the new license, “instantly opens the door to all of the Fortune 500 to actually experiment with it.”
On top of that, Wood also presented a new Polkadot design that, in his words, allows for “infinite scalability.” This entails a tree-type structure of Polkadot chains running on Polkadot chains, something “cyclical and self-referential, what mathematicians call composability,” he said.
Wood continued, “[It's] a hierarchy of chains and the reason that it's possible is that Polkadot can host itself, and every time you go down a level you can scale up 100 times.”
Together with Polkadot – that is targeted for release in Q3 2019 – Wood said today's Substrate release paves the way for blockchain networks of all kinds to coexist.
“The vision is pluralistic, multiplicative world with lots of teams doing their thing but being able to interoperate and intercommunicate in a trust-free, autonomous fashion.”
No Hard Forks
It could seem a bit complicated, and sure enough, much of Wood's presentation hinged on clarifying the distinction between Polkadot and Substrate.
Unlike on ethereum, protocol changes with Substrate do not require a system-wide upgrade, or a hard fork, to be activated.
“Substrate-based chains can upgrade themselves, and this ability to change is useful for fixing hiccups along the way,” he told CoinDesk.