Lisk city: the Lisk ecosystem explained

By on November 25th, 2017 in Lisk news

During the Lisk meetup in Berlin last week, Thomas from Lisk HQ talked about “Lisk city”. With this metaphor, Thomas explained, in a very approachable way, how the Lisk ecosystem will be designed. Lisk is aiming to offer an ecosystem for blockchain applications and projects, comparable to the Apple, Google or Microsoft ecosystem. Yes, they have huge plans! In this blog I will elaborate on this subject and also talk about some questions we still have.

But first..

If we take a look at other blockchain projects, we can see these are often being built with their own blockchain or, for instance, on top of the main blockchain from Bitcoin or Ethereum. All of these projects are living their individual lives. You need a very special skill set to start building your own blockchain project. It’s hard to understand, build, maintain and implement new features. The usability and user experience nowadays basically suck.

Also, with so many ICO’s on the main blockchain from for instance Bitcoin or Ethereum, the blockchain will get bloated very quickly. We see this happening with the Bitcoin blockchain where transactions take a lot of time and the fees are ridiculously high. Conclusion: blockchain is hard to understand, the usability/UX suck and therefore it’s hard to build your own blockchain project. Last but not least, scaling is a huge issue.

So let’s build a city

To tackle all the above problems, Lisk is building an ecosystem: Lisk city. In this city, you can see a blockchain application as a house, the main blockchain as the main road and sidechains as side roads or driveways. Putting everything into practice and pushing everything forward are the JavaScript developers, the building contractors. This could be a team or an individual. But to build, you need a blueprint. This is the Lisk Core. You can see the Lisk Core as the first house being built in the city. The Lisk team built this first house (the Lisk platform), because they have the knowledge, the team and the funding. This first house has been there for a while (since May 2016, the start of Lisk) and it’s being perfected everyday. It’s being maintained, there are no major issues and it’s being secured by 101 utility people (the delegates). The blueprint of this house is going to be handed out to everybody to replicate the Lisk blockchain in a much easier and faster way.

The keys to our house

Now let’s take the blueprint and build our own house. A replicate of the Lisk house in the Lisk city but with a different foundation. It’s unique because it’s on a sidechain, we don’t want an exact copy of our neighbors house of course. We can see our driveway as a sidechain on the Lisk network. Now let’s develop our own ideas and build further on this, just like we do with normal houses. We make the house our own: we rebuild some parts, we paint the walls, lay a floor and buy furniture.

Having butterfingers

So, let’s say we have some money left after the home improvement and we want a swimmingpool in our house. Well, most of us can’t do this stuff ourselves. Sure, we can paint the house, but that’s basically it. We need a clever friend or a contractor. The contractors (JavaScript developers) can use Lisky (the construction team) to do all this work. In the Lisk ecosystem, the swimming pool can be all sort of things like an app, sidechain or transaction pools.

The people from the construction team, however, are unable to build everything with their bare hands. They need tools: a screwdriver, a saw, a hammer etc. This tool set is Lisk JS. So again, the tool set is created for us and we don’t have to worry about creating our own tools. Why reinvent the wheel, right? In this case, Lisk JS should offer anything you need from a client: cryptography, transactions, API’s and constants. Lisky can execute certain commands, which are using some parts of Lisk JS, but in a more convenient way.

Managing the proces

Last but not least, there is the management. To manage this whole process, you can use the Lisk desktop and web app which will be released on the 20th of February, 2018, along with the rebranding.

So to sum it up: we have the blueprint (Lisk Core), a construction team (Lisky) with a tool set (Lisk JS) being managed by the Lisk Desktop or Web app. These tools together will form the highly anticipated Lisk SDK. Our awesome friend or the contractor (JavaScript developers) can use this SDK to build our house in the Lisk city. So instead of what was expected by a lot of people, the Lisk SDK is not going to be just one tool: it’s a modular tool set.

Welcome, new neighbors!

Like in every city, houses are being built and new people are moving in. We welcome our neighbors and our community is growing. Together, we make the city to what it is and we need each other to keep growing. So slowly but surely, the ecosystem is evolving. The unique aspect of Lisk is that when the Lisk house is getting bigger, the neighbors are also getting bigger. Lisk is actively developing core features to maintain their house and therefore our house.

Creating demand for the Lisk token

A new resident just moved to Lisk city! There’s a new sidechain project called ‘BAR’ and we want to communicate with this new project. How do we do this? It’s pretty simple actually. Every sidechain has it’s own token. So let’s say our house (project) is called ‘Beercoin’ and our driveway (sidechain) token is called BEER. We take our car, drive to the main road (the Lisk main chain) and pay toll: we swap our BEER token for the LSK token and continue our journey. We drive (a transaction in the blockchain) all the way to the BAR  and make the exchange again: we swap the LSK token for the BAR token. This process is called interoperability on the Lisk network. This process is taken care of by the decentralized exchange which Lisk HQ is developing and implementing in their ecosystem in 2018.

The city is evolving

The community is growing and communicating. Different projects are building different sort of features and applications along with Lisk HQ and they’re working together and learning from each other, which leads to exponential growth. Now, the appearances of the houses are changing: applications are being built in the Lisk ecosystem. All different kind of projects are being built. For instance: the town hall is becoming a decentralized privacy application where you can register your identity and there’s a a storage building for decentralized cloud storage. But because all projects are built on their own sidechains, the main blockchain is not being bloated. Also, if there are issues in a specific building, other buildings are not being infected. So if there’s a major bug in a sidechain, the main chain and other sidechains are not being affected.

Some final thoughts

While this all sounds super cool, we still have some questions about this process. Does every sidechain project need its own token or can it utilize the LSK token too? Does a sidechain token always need to be swapped with the LSK token on the Lisk dexchange first, or can it be easily swapped with, for instance, BTC or ETH too?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Want more info? Check out the full meetup video and read the corresponding slides.