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What Makes A Project An Infrastructure Project?

One should never take the potential of blockchain technology lightly. However, there is a big difference between creating a viable decentralized ledger and providing an infrastructure backbone. Several projects rise above the norm in this regard, each of which has its own specific purposes.

Blockchain Technology Is An Enabler

Of the many different types of innovative technology on the market today, blockchain appears to be a completely different creature. Governments or other centralized entities do not control it, yet it is capable of existing globally. With blockchain technology come many great opportunities yet equally great responsibilities. This decentralized technology can empower billions of consumers globally, but only if it is implemented correctly and made accessible without friction.

So far, there have been thousands of concepts, ideas, and proofs of concept regarding blockchain technology. Ideas span various industries, segments, and use cases, ranging from financial purposes to voting and tracking the origin of products one buys in the shop. The addition of smart contracts plays a key role in this regard, as these contracts allow for a higher degree of automation and even interaction with the real world.

None of that would be possible without the necessary infrastructure providers capable of suiting the needs of the many. Some use blockchain technology to its fullest advantage, whereas others try to create a “bridge” between distributed ledgers and the real world. Every approach is valid, as they will all bring this technology to a much bigger user case. Decentralization will happen on a global scale. Eventually, the only question is “when”.

Infrastructure Project Examples

Numerous examples of decentralized and blockchain-oriented infrastructure projects exist today. These ventures do not necessarily focus on being a payment network like Bitcoin but rather bring the necessary tools to developers worldwide. 

API3

The technology world would not be working the way it does today with API endpoints for different services and products to look into. An API is mainly used to provide and acquire data from, whether it is for monitoring, analytics, or even up-to-date price information. API3 is one such provider of data, mainly to build powerful decentralized applications. As a provider of decentrally governed and quantifiably secure data feeds, the project has a lot to offer to developers globally.

At their core, smart contracts remain incapable of interfacing with real-world data. That is unfortunate but also something that developers can resolve with relative ease. Providers such as API3 provide data feeds, data aggregation from first-party oracles, and do much more, all with the help of world-class API providers. By empowering first-party oracles rather than intermediaries, the data is far more reliable and transparent than it would be otherwise.

Another popular decentralized oracle service goes by the name of Chainlink. The project is known for providing price data to smart contracts by tapping into multiple sources and APIs. However, its technology is not only used within the cryptocurrency and DeFi industry. Chainlink’s oracles are in use by dozens of service providers, including Google Cloud, Oracle, and many others. In addition, several data providers within the crypto space – such as CoinGecko, Kaiko, CryptoCompare, Kraken, Binance, and Huobi-also use Chainlink’s oracles for accurate price information.

The use cases for Chainlink go much further than just providing price information, however. The team’s technology is making inroads in the Know-Your-Customer verification space courtesy of a recent partnership with Blockpass. Additionally, the oracle service is also a part of selling ESports data with the help of GameScoreKeeper. All of these developments are very intriguing and highlight the versatility of blockchain technology. 

The Standard

As one of the newest infrastructure providers on the market, The Standard raises the bar for decentralized finance. Rather than catering to the needs of existing and experienced cryptocurrency users, the protocol brings real-world assets into the DeFi fold. A remarkable decision, although one that leverages both precious metals and crypto assets alike.

Giving users an option to borrow against their existing assets without having to liquidate their holdings is what will usher in an alternative financial system. Moreover, The Standard brings back the Gold Standard in a modern and decentralized manner, something that will prove valuable to the people holding trillions of Euros in bullion today. Previous efforts to tokenize gold and other precious metals have been unsuccessful, as precious metals are not a commonly used payment method in this modern era.

To solve that problem, The Standard will let users mint a stablecoin -the Standard Euro – when they borrow against their current holdings. This stablecoin will have broad adoption among DeFi protocols but also merchants. Furthermore, a Standard debit card linked to the S-Euro will facilitate global spending of this stable asset. A solid all-encompassing approach to put a different spin on decentralized finance and stablecoins. Moreover, including precious metals into the fold will allow for an alternative financial system that requires no intervention from banks or governments.

Ethereum

It is safe to say that the majority of decentralized products and services on the market today would not be possible if Ethereum wasn’t around. This blockchain is heavily developer-focused and offers innovative features to explore sue cases one would otherwise never think of. Decentralization is a powerful tool, but it requires the correct infrastructure. Ethereum provides that infrastructure through its blockchain and smart contracts, and soon, its upgrade to proof-of-stake and sharing. The sharding upgrade will also improve the ecosystem’s overall scaling by processing information across parallel chains.

Although Ethereum might not exist without Satoshi Nakamoto creating Bitcoin, it receives a lot more praise than the world’s leading cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is clearly devised as an alternative payment solution but offers little else than that. Everyone can use Ethereum’s network for payments too, but its smart contracts allow for far more complex and powerful use cases, either through products or services. The advent of decentralized finance is just one example of what Ethereum’s technology can achieve, although it can only succeed with the help of competent developers who prioritize security above everything else.

Many developers are building on the Ethereum blockchain today. There are many opportunities to explore for passionate coders, ranging from decentralized finance to Non-Fungible Tokens and distributed applications to decentralized gambling. Anything one can think of can, in theory, benefit from a decentralized and blockchain-based approach. That doesn’t mean everything NEEDS a blockchain, though, but it never hurts to explore the opportunities at one’s disposal. With the upcoming scaling changes and improvements, that process will become even more accessible than ever before.

The Benefits of Blockchain-Based Infrastructure

There are several crucial benefits to leveraging the potential of blockchain technology as an infrastructure concept. Obvious benefits include security, transparency, and ease of management, as all network blocks connect to one another to form a chain. With these challenging aspects taken care of on the technology level, it frees up more time for developers to look at what they really are passionate about today.

Other benefits become apparent by tapping into a distributed ledger, such as energy efficiency and better accessibility. A blockchain is accessible by anyone with a device that can connect to the internet. Moreover, removing intermediaries from the equation allows for energy sustainability and greater control over the overall energy consumption. one cannot take these benefits lightly, as they are inaccessible via other means.

The transparent nature of blockchain as infrastructure – or solutions extending the blockchain, such as smart contracts – makes it easier for network participants to see and acquire information. Every bit of information is time-stamped and data-stamped, creating an irrefutable record. Moreover, the information is recorded immutably, ensuring no one can modify it later on. Such technology can serve many use cases, including payments, voting, general record-keeping, etc. 

Additionally, the use of blockchain – and smart contracts – paves the way for automation in this digital era. Whether it is transactions, transfers of data, or checking for real-world conditions to make a contract execute a specific function, it is all possible. Many use cases can be unlocked through automation, as can be seen through infrastructure providers such as Chainlink and The Standard. The opportunities are virtually limitless, yet only the bold teams will explore the opportunities at their disposal.

Closing Thoughts

There is a growing need for blockchain projects that serve as infrastructure providers. Even though the industry has grown and evolved over the years, there is still much to learn and discover. Everything can be improved upon, although there are some very good ideas out there already. However, their implementation may require some small changes in the future, which allows for broader innovation. 

Upcoming providers like The Standard raise the bar for any finance-oriented solution trying to leverage blockchain technology and smart contracts. The time has come to decentralize finance and return control to the individual rather than the wealthy few. Slowly but surely, this transition becomes more tangible and more users gain access to financial services and products. The future looks very promising for this industry and its many infrastructure providers.

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