Wrapping up a busy third quarter this year, it’s time for us to give another progress update on the ARK Development Roadmap. In this post, we take you through the biggest milestones achieved over the past few months as well as deep diving into our current projects. Most importantly though, we share our vision for the future of the ARK Ecosystem; including all the exciting developments that you can look forward to in the (very) near future.
Currently deep into the development of ARK Core v3, we’re working hard towards delivering our most flexible platform yet. Hitting key milestones on our development roadmap such as Core v2.6 means we’re well on the way to achieving more modularity, increasing ease-of-use, and providing the best tools for developers to create a blockchain, to build applications, or to leverage blockchain technology for their own projects. Before we dive into what’s coming up, first let’s give a quick recap on the key projects completed over the past few months…
- **Whitepaper v2**. A detailed resource exploring the ARK technology stack, our core values, blockchain concepts, network uses, outreach programs and more.
- **ARK Deployer GUI (Alpha)**. This allows anyone who needs to launch their own ARK bridgechain to do so with an effortless graphical user interface and battle-tested guides and procedures.
- **Website v2**. As an improved destination for everything ARK, the new ARK website brings everything we’re doing into one encyclopedic resource.
- **ARK Core v2.6 completed development and released on Devnet**. ARK Core v2.6 is arguably the largest leap forward for ARK Core to date; packed with new features such as Multisiginatures, Multipayments, Hash Time-Locked Contracts, IPFS, Bridgechain Registrations, and more. Live on Devnet, we are now in public testing before Mainnet deployment.
Help us test, or suggest improvements to receive ARK bounty rewards.
For a full breakdown of all 2019 achievements, take a look at the community resource ARKTimeline.com.
What’s Next: Expected Completion Q4 2019
ARK Core v2.6 — Testing, Deployment & Product Upgrades
With Core v2.6 now live on Devnet, we’ve implemented a number of exciting new features including Multisignatures, Multipayments, IPFS, HTLC’s, Bridgechain registrations and more.
Currently, in public testing, we’re encouraging the community to review this feature-packed release by running special bounty campaigns. Developers can earn ARK for testing, reporting issues or suggesting improvements. You can also follow along with our Bounty Leaderboard.
At the same time, we’re working on the final tweaks for our core products such as the ARK Desktop and Mobile Wallets, Explorer, and the ARK Deployer to make them 100% compatible with Core v2.6. This will happen in parallel to the public testing of Core v2.6 on Devnet.
ARK Deployer — Improved Deployment
We’re enhancing the ARK Deployer to bring us ever closer to the vision of Point. Click. Blockchain. The new and improved “version” of Deployer streamlines the process of deploying your bridgechain after the new GUI is used to build and customize it.
Using complex integrations with VPS providers, users will be able to deploy the entire functioning chain of genesis and seed nodes with one click. Developers new to blockchain technology have been able to use the current GUI alpha and guides to successfully deploy chains, but this new version will bring an ease of use to the process that will make it quicker and easier than ever before.
ARK Desktop Wallet — Plugin Manager
Also on the roadmap for a Q4 release is the ARK Desktop Wallet Plugin Manager. It’s a full-featured system designed to manage auto-discovery of plugins, automatic update checks, and the installation/uninstallation of plugins. Users will be able to discover official plugins as well as accessing community-developed plugins from within the Plugin Manager. These plugins allow users to extend their ARK experience, similar to apps on a smartphone or browser extensions. The plugin manager will upgrade the current folder-based system and eliminate manual intervention.
Coming Soon: Expected Completion Q1 2020
ARK Marketplace — Public Beta
The eagerly-awaited ARK Marketplace will act as a central hub for the entire ARK Ecosystem. It’s a destination for delegates, developers, bridgechains and community members to come together to discover and access everything the broader ecosystem has to offer.
Utilizing the new transaction types woven into Core v2.6, bridgechains and businesses will be able to register on-chain to claim their very own profile within the ARK marketplace. From there they can promote their products, share services, and introduce their project to a whole new audience. Developers can find and apply for bounties, as well as listing their plugins or development services for discovery/purchase within the Marketplace. Meanwhile, delegates can create a profile for visibility and use it to interface with those bridgechains who may be seeking delegates to help run their networks.
Ultimately the marketplace will offer a unique experience for all types of users, bringing the ARK ecosystem closer together for the benefit of everyone.
Planned as a Public Beta Launch in Q1 2020 we’ll continue to grow and evolve the portal before a full launch in Q2 2020.
ARK Core v3.0 — Development
With ARK Core v2.6 currently in final testing on Devnet, we have laid a solid foundation for Bridgechains to build a new generation of decentralized applications. With the framework for custom transaction logic now in place, we turn our attention towards ARK Core v3.0. With Core v3, our primary focus is on quality of life improvements that create a better developer experience, opening up the internal architecture, and providing top tier documentation that makes it easier to onboard and integrate new developers into the Ecosystem.
Throughout the development of Core v2, we have received valuable feedback from our community, our partners, and those building on top of the ARK Platform. With Core v3, we will implement a series of updates that will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for developers and provide a better experience across the board for anyone building with ARK Core.
Here are a few examples of improvements being made in Core v3:
- Core v2 introduced the concept of native plugins for ARK Core. In this implementation, the options were greatly limited by our internal architecture which leads to some frustration among developers. Core 3.0 will re-design this architecture to allow more access and control to all internals. This means that there are almost no boundaries to what you can do in regards to custom implementations. The only boundaries are your imagination.
- Core v3 will be introducing common services that provide useful functionality like queues or task scheduling, a rewrite of how plugins are bootstrapped and interact with Core, and a complete overhaul of the internal architecture that is based on Inversion of Control. This will make things that were previously impossible, such as adding new API endpoints, extending the P2P layer, or swapping out consensus and voting systems possible with just a few lines of code.
- Core v3 will also introduce a GUI based node manager. This implementation will make it easier for delegates, developers, and Bridgechains to deploy, manage, and update their ARK nodes and relays which will, in turn, simplify the overall management of any network built on ARK Core v3.0.
- Accompanying all of these major changes will be completely overhauled documentation. This documentation will be dedicated to ARK Core and will provide in-depth explanations about the internals, code examples, tutorials, and how-to guides written by and for developers. This will greatly increase the speed and ease in which we can onboard new developers and will allow a long-term advantage in our ability to grow the ecosystem around Core and engage with a broader audience.
If these changes caught your attention, stay tuned for a full blog series covering all of the upcoming changes in 3.0. We believe that 3.0 will set a new standard in the industry and provide the most robust toolset for blockchain developers to date.
ARK Mobile Wallet v2
Early in 2020, we’ll be undertaking a full redesign of the ARK Mobile Wallet. The new version will be more intuitive for the user, including a new design and improved flow to provide a better user experience. It will also feature support for hardware devices such as the Ledger Nano X. With all these improvements, we’re confident the ARK Mobile Wallet will continue to be one of the best and most secure cryptocurrency wallets available.
ARK Core Consensus Upgrade — Design & Specification
ARK currently uses a customized version of Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) featuring a pool of 51 active delegates and 8-second block times. While we are happy with how ARK’s Core Consensus model has performed to date and evolved over time, we believe it can get even better.
Several months ago the ARK.io Team had extensive conversations with the community and ARK Public Network Delegates in regards to ways in which we could create a better, more secure, and more efficient consensus model. The general opinion was that by introducing a Tendermint style pre-voting mechanism, we could improve both the security of the network, as well as the network's ability to achieve finality. These upgrades would also serve to drastically improve the security of our upcoming Atomic Swap Market and HTLC transaction types.
After the release of ARK Core v3.0, the ARK.io Core Development Team will direct its focus towards the design and specification of these upgrades for public review and to outline the way forward for their development and implementation.
Later Next Year: Expected Completion Q2 2020
ARK for an Enterprise Audience
Over the past few months, members of the ARK.io team have been hard at work in the background exploring and planning the creation of a new enterprise solutions service. We’ve brought on William Rice as an Enterprise Strategy Advisor who is working alongside the B2B Marketing Team in building the foundation of this endeavor from the ground up. With the initial stages in full swing, we’re preparing to launch in Q2 2020. More details on this will be released over the coming months, but it’s an exciting time for ARK, as we make great progress towards enabling enterprises to adopt and utilize ARK’s blockchain technology to transform the way they do business — powering operational efficiencies, reducing costs and opening up new revenue streams for their business.
ARK Swap Market (DEX) Design & Specification
In Q2 2020 we’ll be beginning the initial planning and specification phases for the development of the ARK Swap Market. With the introduction of the HTLC transaction type and the upcoming consensus upgrade, we will turn our focus towards true interoperability within the Ecosystem by turning the ARK Public Network into a hub for trustless swaps between bridgechains. This will take ARK SmartBridge Technology to the next level and bring convenience in interoperability to ARK Public Network users. The ARK Swap Market will also connect bridgechain users to the overall ARK Ecosystem quickly and easily.
Bringing it all together
The above roadmap is ambitious, but we are well on our way towards completion. By looking at all of the upcoming roadmap items from a wider angle, we can start to see how the true vision for the ARK Ecosystem will come to fruition.
First, users will be able to launch a fully customized Core 3.0 bridgechain in minutes using the ARK Deployer, complete with genesis and peer nodes easily deployed with the new updates. This will give the new bridgechain sovereignty by not simply existing as a token on someone else’s blockchain, but by being a completely stand-alone blockchain in its own right.
Next, the new chain will be able to register on the ARK Public Network using custom transaction types introduced in Core v2.6. This will allow for greater discovery within the ecosystem and a robust system for interaction between the bridgechain, the community, and potential delegates.
After 3.0 and the introduction of several additional new transaction types, the bridgechain development team and community will then be able to launch and register plugins for the ARK Desktop Wallet and list them in the ARK Marketplace. This process will allow users an easy method to discover new networks and interact with their use cases directly through the ARK Desktop Wallet.
Finally, once the ARK Swap Market is completed, the newly registered bridgechain will become automatically discoverable and interoperable, opening the new bridgechain network and their users to the entire ARK Ecosystem. This new ability to swap in and out of bridgechain tokens by default will lend itself to new possibilities for the ecosystem and allow developers an increased opportunity to collaborate and grow their networks together.
What’s on the Horizon
Looking even further ahead, we’ve also posted several updates to the “Exploratory” section of our roadmap as we continue to evaluate the viability and priority of our long term ideas. For now, we’re currently exploring:
- Core Consensus Upgrade Development & Deployment. After the design and specification stage in Q1 2020, we’ll be implementing the newly specified consensus improvements. Coupling this with the Core v3 modular consensus logic that allows the creation of generic consensus models, Core will become even more powerful and allow bridgechains to easily implement their preferred consensus model using a template.
- Universal Explorer Project. Creating one central block explorer, the Universal Explorer Project would allow users to view and navigate the block data from any registered bridgechain from any ARK Explorer deployment. By deploying and running an instance of the ARK Explorer and an ARK 3.0 Relay, developers will be able to both display and integrate data and analytics from any network within the Ecosystem. We’ll be turning our attention to this project after Core v3.0 is completed.
- First-Party Applications & Frameworks — Design & Specification. Once we have completed the current major roadmap items, we will turn our attention towards building robust frameworks that will quickly and easily allow developers to jump into a given industry with a standardized baseline bridgechain framework. This will drastically reduce the time-to-market for new projects being built using the ARK Blockchain Platform. We will then look to specific industry-focused use-cases for 1st Party application development to expand the capabilities of the Ecosystem.
A Bright Future
So what does all this mean for ARK, and more importantly what does it mean for developers, our community, and users of the ARK platform? Well quite simply, we’re hard at work putting all the components in place to ensure that ARK becomes the blockchain platform of choice for developers. We’ve spent the past few years building the best tools and resources for developers; enabling them to easily leverage blockchain technology for their own projects — and we’re not done yet!
With Core 3.0 on the horizon, using the ARK platform as a foundation for your own application or project will be easier than ever before. With more modularity, frameworks, and tools, we’ll be enabling developers to create, build and customize everything from bridgechains to plugins in a much more efficient way — minimizing effort but maximizing output.
Plus, with ARK Marketplace due for release early next year we’re creating a destination for the entire ecosystem to come together; increasing collaboration, enabling developers to find new audiences for their projects, driving innovation and encouraging the continued growth of the ARK ecosystem. Look out for more updates about this exciting endeavor over the next few months.