Aion Seeks To Connect Individual Blockchains Into Networkbr>
Blockchains currently operate in silos, each specific to its own tasks. A company called Nuco is out to change that by introducing Aion, billed as the first network to connect blockchains.
Founded by Matthew Spoke, who started Deloitte’s blockchain group in 2013 and is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the Toronto company has such advisors as ethereum all-stars Vitalik Buterin and Alex Tapscott.
Aion is envisioned as akin to cloud computing, connecting compatible blockchains that are operated independently. The process is seen as helping supply chain management, healthcare communications, and government functions.
“The hundreds of blockchains existing today will soon become thousands, then millions,” said Spoke. “Future adoption of this technology relies on a network of blockchains, both enterprise and public, and we’re on our way to achieving this mission. Today’s blockchains don’t talk to each other at all. With Aion, blockchains will be able to federate, inter-operate, and scale in a model similar to the internet itself.”
Spoke answered a few Block Tribune questions about the Aion network.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How will this work? Walk me through the process of how a company with a blockchain will share to the world.
MATTHEW SPOKE: Between existing public blockchains, and the emerging enterprise blockchains, these systems are designed as shared infrastructures among willing participants who have some process in common. Companies who are opting to build blockchain solutions tend to be doing so with other relevant parties in a particular industry or use case process flow. The challenge arising is that these blockchains have been developed in isolation from one another; reminiscent of PC’s in the 1980s, before the development of TCP/IP.
Aion is a core protocol to connect various blockchains, whether homogeneous or not. When connecting to the Aion protocol by establishing bridges, blockchains will be able to communicate and transact data and value among each other.
As the requirements of blockchains grow, a network designed for scale will be of utmost importance. Individual companies and developers will be able to design and implement Aion Bridges between different blockchains, new blockchains will be created and connected, and a market will evolve to validate these bridges in addition to the Aion-1 connecting blockchain.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: If I sign up with a company with my health records, I have an expectation that they will stay with that company. How will that expectation play with your software?
MATTHEW SPOKE: A blockchain protocol does not enforce business specific rules. Rather, the developer of the health record system will design a solution based on the requirements of the industry and jurisdiction. This could include complete restrictions over data portability, and/or or a process to enable opt-in / opt-out behavior by a user. These business rules are defined in the creation of the specific application, and therefore not enforced by any underlying protocol.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are some of the practical extrapolations that you envision coming out of the interconnected blockchain?
MATTHEW SPOKE: An early identified use case for blockchain technology was in payments, remittances, and transactions. The financial sector became early adopters of the technology, driven by efficiency improvements in their core business offering. Still nascent, various implementations arose of blockchain products as industry consortiums, as well as individually developed prototypes. This resulted in closed or proprietary systems with no ability to interoperate or communicate together effectively. Communicating or transacting outside of the native blockchain was not feasible on-chain. The vision of AION-1 will enable these institutions to both further develop their own permissioned blockchain networks, as well as connect and interact with others. As an example, Canadian and American banks both have their own blockchain networks used to settle overnight rate with their central bank. AION-1 would enable these networks to interoperate on similar use cases, connecting all the participants together directly for currency transfers, international accounts settlement, and transaction settlements – keeping all transaction on-chain.
Another practical use case is in healthcare. A customer transaction at a clinic could trigger an interchain transaction from the provider’s chain to an insurance chain to a payments chain, relaying confirmations from all of the participating blockchains.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: If most of the larger companies join with you, what happens to the smaller companies that do not?
MATTHEW SPOKE: Developing standards is equal part technical maturity and industry adoption. Although we envision many varying blockchain standards thriving within different niche verticals, it’s likely that only one mechanism of blockchain interoperability will emerge as a standard. Over time, this likely results in companies migrating their systems to the broadest adopted system to take advantage of the cost benefits of network effects.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Are there any companies doing something similar to this without the blockchain?
MATTHEW SPOKE: There is no practical way of overcoming this technical challenge without a blockchain. In order to maintain the nature of decentralized technology, a system to connect blockchains needed itself to be decentralized.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How are you dealing with the variety of laws that govern privacy and data collection in the US and around the world?
MATTHEW SPOKE: Considering Aion is a communication and interoperability protocol, any specific requirements such as these would be implemented within different blockchains. In fact, this reinforces our hypothesis that many blockchains will continue to get built to meet these types of requirements. Operating within the Aion protocol does not require an application to share data that is intended to remain private or restricted.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Will you ever institute a version of the “Right to be Forgotten” law?
MATTHEW SPOKE: Again, any individual blockchain within Aion, or any application built on this protocol, could implement this type of requirement if needed. There is nothing restrictive about Aion that would make this unfeasible. If predefined in the rules of a new blockchain, or in the logic of a new application, data can be “forgotten”.