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Cartesi: Why We Need a Blockchain OS

A blockchain is a database distributed among network participants that guarantees accurate and secure data storage. Distributed ledger technologies are revolutionising how governments, institutions, and corporations work.

In cryptocurrencies, the blockchain ensures trust and solves the problem of consensus. Bitcoin, for instance, is the most popular and one of the earliest uses of blockchain technology. One can accurately verify the history of transactions on the network and that funds aren’t spent twice.

But the technology goes beyond just these use cases, with enterprises seeking its usage across diverse sectors, including gaming, healthcare, and identity management. 

With blockchain technology offering clear benefits in terms of reduced human error, better access to information, increased safety, traceability, and transparency, its adoption can become mainstream. 

Already, more than 70 million blockchain wallets are in use right now. Additionally, the global blockchain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 69+% in the forecast period between 2019 and 2025. 

While promising, the technology isn’t exactly foolproof. Blockchain systems have weaknesses in the form of security, transparency, scalability, transaction speed, and energy consumption. These challenges make mass adoption an uphill task. But this is where Cartesi comes into play.

Cartesi is a decentralised layer 2 platform that supports Linux and other mainstream software components. This means moving beyond Solidity and coding smart contracts with rich software tools, libraries, and developers’ services. 

What is Cartesi?

Cartesi is the first Blockchain OS to solve blockchain scalability issues and high fees using technologies such as Optimistic Rollups and side-chains. 

Founded in 2018 by CEO Erick de Moura, COO Colin Steil, CTO Diego Nehab, and CSO Augusto Teixeira, the Singapore-based project focuses on increasing the computational scalability of a blockchain by over 10,000x. 

The Blockchain OS enables the use of mainstream languages and tools like C++, Python, and SQLite and further allows the creation of much more sophisticated decentralised applications, which would otherwise be impossible on layer-1.

Cartesi supports all EVM chains, including the most popular Ethereum, BNB Chain, Avalanche, Polygon, and more. It provides traditional applications with the same level of security guarantees achieved by the underlying blockchain while preserving user privacy on applications.

The project is backed by Cartesi Labs, a program run by the non-profit Cartesi Foundation dedicated to supporting the network’s decentralisation through funding, education, research, grants, strategic alliances, and other focused activities. 

The Foundation is committed to supporting the development of the first operating system (OS) for blockchains and bringing mainstream scalability and convenience to developers and users of decentralised applications (dApps).

The network has its own native utility token CTSI, which has a total supply of 1 billion, while about 595 million CTSI are currently circulating in the market. The token is available on major crypto exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Crypto.com, Kucoin, Huobi, Bitstamp, Bithumb, Upbit, and WazirX, as well as DEXs like Uniswap, Bancor, 1inch, and QuickSwap.

CTSI powers the entire Cartesi network and can be used to pay for data processing fees on the network and for staking, which is a way for holders to earn rewards in exchange for participating in the network.

The token for The Blockchain OS is designed to overcome the problems of scalability and inconvenience of blockchain applications. It can also be used as a payment method via Binance Pay, Now Payments, and Travala.com. 

Overall, Cartesi’s decentralised team of scientists, engineers, and visionaries aims to create an inclusive, robust, and future-proof OS for the new world. 

Problems With Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is all about returning control to the people and creating a more transparent society. But the Cartesi team believes this digital revolution would not be possible without operating systems. 

After all, it’s about replacing the old with new and separating the corrupt from the transparent. The decentralised world of blockchain aims to eliminate the challenges of centralised systems controlling today’s world. 

Web3 is propelling this new world built on the blockchain, but operating systems are lost in this shift from the old web to the new value web. This makes it difficult for programmers and designers to work together to create a digital environment that is genuinely decentralised and inclusive.

According to Cartesi, blockchains must have an excellent operating system to reach their full potential and create a new world.

As we are currently seeing, many blockchain platforms are only decentralised in name. Then some do not allow the development of a dApp that uses a file system, an SQL database, or a machine learning model. There are also usually harsh limitations related to gas limits and high fees when performing computations such as looping over arrays and manipulating strings, which are commonplace in regular mainstream applications.

During the yield-farming mania of June 2020, Ethereum became almost unusable as the network flooded with transactions and reached capacity, leading to skyrocketing fees. This is why scalability has long been an issue with Ethereum. While the Ethereum Foundation has worked hard to make sharding available to raise the transaction throughput, the hefty technological challenge means it isn’t coming anytime soon.

However, to match the vigorous growth of the network, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin has been proposing rollups to defeat massive gas fees and perform better. Rollups solve a fundamental problem of data availability inherent to other layer-2 designs, where the bulk of the computational load goes off-chain, allowing for a substantial increase in throughput and transaction cost-efficiency.

Not only do popular blockchains like Ethereum face scalability issues, but there is also a steep learning curve involved that prevents developers and companies from entering the crypto world. 

How Will Blockchain OS Help?

Cartesi aims to solve the issues with blockchain technology with its “The Blockchain OS,” which was founded to bridge the best of two worlds — intense computational jobs with the independence of central authorities as seen in the decentralised world of tomorrow. 

The Blockchain OS is a layer-2 platform focused on developing and deploying scalable dApps. It offers a complete operating system for blockchain applications so developers can build dApps using any traditional software stack.

The Blockchain OS consists of two main features. The first one, Cartesi Machine, is the core technology, a virtual machine that doesn’t require using a specific language and allows for verifiable computing using a Linux operating system. Cartesi Rollup is the second one, a complete solution for scaling blockchains that uses the Cartesi Machine within an Optimistic Rollups framework. Cartesi also offers its unique computational oracle solution called Descartes.

Besides solving the scalability problem and offering lower gas costs and higher throughputs as most current general-purpose rollups layer 2 solutions do, Cartesi’s Optimistic Rollups framework also boosts productivity and application complexity. This allows them to provide a true operating system for blockchain developers, leveraging decades of software development from the mainstream industry. 

Cartesi Rollups is a special operating system aimed to make developers’ life easier by allowing you to create computationally heavy dApps while allowing them the freedom to choose the programming languages, libraries, and tools they are already familiar with. 

By moving most of the complex logic of dApps to portable off-chain components, Cartesi removes the limitations and idiosyncrasies imposed by blockchains on developers. In this way, Cartesi empowers developers to select the best run-time environment to host different parts of their dApps.

The highly technical team of Cartesi believes this freedom will help start a new era for blockchain application development.

Furthermore, with a decentralised OS, no single company controls the features, upgrades, and rules, and everyone has a say in the network. To propose new features, gather community feedback, and document design decisions, the system intends to use a Cartesi Improvement Proposal (CIP), which gives mainstream developers the flexibility to help shape the OS they want.

The Future of Cartesi 

Over these past few years, the Cartesi team has been busy updating Cartesi Machine and Cartesi Rollups, and Noether, the side chain for data availability. This solution will enable blockchain applications to use much higher quantities of data than would be possible with Ethereum or other base layers.

These solutions have been made available to the public since late last year, and several integrators are contributing. 

Allowing mainstream programmability through Linux and other software components means that dApp developers have the expressive power to create simple to relatively complex smart contracts, which opens the doors for extensive adoption of blockchain by regular developers.

With blockchain and crypto going mainstream and new users joining every day, the space must have scalable and easy-to-use solutions. Through the Blockchain OS, Cartesi is doing just that — bridging the gap between mainstream software and blockchain. 

With a base of trust, interoperability, and scalability, Cartesi is preparing to onboard millions of new startups and developers to build the next generation of blockchain apps.

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