Even if mainstream adoption has not yet arrived, there is no shortage of active blockchain projects. As of now, there are 2081 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap. And this is only taking into account the projects with their cryptocurrency.
The lack of interoperability between all these different networks will eventually prove to be an obstacle. This obstacle could hinder the achievement of the mass by the blockchain. It is also what Wanchain is trying to tackle, and why the project is very excited.
So, what is Wanchain? Imagine networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum are their private islands. Wanchain is the bridge between these islands.
If you've been in crypto and blockchain for a while, you may have experienced how fragmented the landscape is. You need a dozen different wallets and you have to use a lot of different exchanges. The practical use of cryptocurrency, both as utility tokens and for regular purchases, is an even bigger problem.
Wanchain presents a way to make transfers between different blockchains or distributed registries. At his bare bones, it is a DEX protocol (decentralized exchange). A way for someone to exchange Bitcoin with Ethereum, without having to find someone willing to exchange their Ethereum with their own Bitcoin.
The value proposition of Wanchain extends beyond the crypto swap. It is also designed to facilitate the exchange of data between different registers. This raises far more significant implications for what Wanchain can do.
If successful (they must be able to solve the old problems of scalability / security / privacy), it could allow apps or programs built on different blockchains to communicate with each other. The result is a blockchain ecosystem that, instead of existing in pieces, is all linked together in a way that makes it easy for the world to adopt.
A background for Wanchain
The project was created by the Chinese technology company Wanglu Tech. It is now managed by the Wanchain non-profit foundation. The network itself is a fork of the Ethereum code.
The foundation managed an ICO that was completed in October 2017, collecting over 120,000 ETHs. They launched the main Wanchain network at the start of 2018, converting the ERC-20 token distributed in the sale of token in native WAN tokens.
The Wanchain development roadmap has several steps. Wanchain 1.0 – the mainnet version – arrived in January 2018. Wanchain 2.0 landed in mid-2018 and brought the operability between the Wanchain and Ethereum networks. Wanchain 3.0 designs the same for Bitcoin.
In 2017, Wanchain became part of the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance, along with ICON and Aion. The group is an attempt to come together to promote cross-cutting transactions and connectivity between different chains. Each project brings this focus to another area of the world, with Wanchain focused on the Chinese market.
Cases of Wanchain use
One of the biggest positive aspects of Wanchain is that it offers an almost unlimited number of potential use cases. As it pushes operability between networks, as opposed to targeting a use case, in particular, Wanchain's potential is as high as that of the blockchain itself.
The Wanchain Foundation's Medium Account illustrates several examples of example use:
The easiest way we can see Wanchain implemented is to enable transactional transactions and exchange of different currencies. If the traditional use of cryptocurrency increases, there may be a problem with the need for 50 different currencies for 50 different services. Imagine: go out in the morning and pay for your coffee with Bitcoin. So pay the gas with Litecoin. When it's time for lunch, pay the bill with Dash and when you get home pay the rent with Ethereum. This means having to keep all these coins, which is not ideal.
Wanchain takes that situation away, allowing the exchange of coins through different chains. For example, you can keep Litecoin and pay for everything with Litecoin, regardless of the currency accepted by the seller.
Companies can trace their supply chain to find the source of any problems, regardless of the chain used by other parties along the supply chain. It again breaks the negatives of competing blockchains, which can force companies to do business only with suppliers or distributors who use compatible systems with their own.
Currently, patient medical data is stored securely within a facility's records. This is for good reason, since it is the data that must be private and confidential. Yet it invites complications and delays if the patient has to seek treatment in another facility. Wanchain provides operability between the two networks means that they can transfer information where it is needed with intact speed and privacy.
Identification and verification IDs become cloudy when international boundaries are involved. This could change when countries adopt the blockchain to register identities, but only for countries that use the same platform. For privacy reasons, a public registry can not be used in this case, so a country that accesses another's ID database is difficult.
Wanchain provides a more efficient solution for cross-border identity verification. Countries can use a private blockchain to ensure that IDs are valid. IDs can remain valid in different countries with different systems, thanks to the Wanchain cross-chain data protocol.
Another part of the Wanchain ecosystem is their blockchain incubator, WanLabs. Highlighting the number of ICOs and startup blockchain who have suffered or died completely, the Wanchain Foundation wants to provide support for future projects in the blockchain space.
For projects that pass the verification phase, the foundation assists in areas such as:
- Blockchain consultants
- Technical Guide
- Legal support
All of this is part of Wanchain's general premise, which is to promote the broader blockchain ecosystem, not just its own chain.
At the announcement of WanLabs at the beginning of 2018, Wanchain also announced several projects that will be part of the WanLabs system. These projects are:
- Freedium: a platform that uses blockchain to unlock financial services for everyone, especially those in emerging countries.
- CryptoCurve: a company that provides blockchain applications and development solutions, starting with Curve Wallet.
- Theia: a digital asset management platform.
- BlockMedx: a company that builds health infrastructure and pharmaceutical technologies on the blockchain.
- AllSpark: a platform for creating and distributing intelligent content based on the contract.
- Intellos: a decentralized and community-driven financial ecosystem.
The head of the Wanchain Foundation is the CEO and founder Jack Lu, also CEO and co-founder of Wanglu Tech. Prior to starting Wanglu Tech, Lu was co-founder and CTO of Factom, another startup blockchain. Factom is still strong today, sitting in the top 80 in the cryptographic market capitalization.
The rest of the Wanchain team is largely based in China, although the project is spreading to add more international coverage. In particular, they have bases in Singapore and Austin, Texas (where WanLabs headquarters are located).
The future of Wanchain
Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018, Wanchain is halfway through the planned release phases. Wanchain 1.0 and 2.0 have been released and 3.0 is scheduled for the end of 2018. Wanchain 4.0, the key version that will complete the initial Wanchain roadmap, is marked by the end of 2019. This version will include operability with private chains , which is central to the final game of the project. Expect a significant increase in value if 4.0 is released with a few hitches, as Wanchain will begin to be able to provide some real-world use cases.
Another important point of reference is a plan to move to a PoS model with masternodes, in 2019. The move has been planned for some time, but so far little details are available, due to some unrest in the Wanchain community. If they will be able to deliver at the start of 2019, this could be another positive step for the Wanchain and WAN currency. It combines the staking out of PoS and the successful interoperability of Bitcoin / Ethereum, and the future looks bright.
Wanchain could fail? Of course, any blockchain or cryptographic project can. And Wanchain is in a position where its value is almost parallel to that of the entire blockchain ecosystem. Specifically, the case of the blockchain remains silent as it is today. If the blockchain does not make its way into traditional businesses, or a platform rises to dominate the market, Wanchain may not have many reasons to exist.
We still have to see the final form of Wanchain, to know if it will really be a disruptive force in the adoption of commercial blockchains. Yet it seems that the pieces in use and the clear cases of use are the main protagonists of the blockchain once the development program is fully realized.