Ark is a cryptocurrency that connects the blockchain of every single cryptocurrency in existence.
Quoting Ark’s website:
We aim to create an entire ecosystem of linked chains and a virtual spider web of endless use cases that make ARK highly flexible, adaptable, and scalable. ARK is a secure platform designed for mass adoption and will deliver the services that consumers want and developers need.
Ark aims to bridge the gap between all the different blockchains out there. Right now, each cryptocurrency runs on its own individual technology, making them incompatible with each other.
You can think of each coin as its own island in a vast sea. If you’re on Bitcoin Island but want to get to Ethereum Island, the only way is to swim the distance yourself — which is difficult, tedious, and slow. But with Ark, you can just hop on a boat and it will take you there quickly and effortlessly! They do this through a technology they developed called the SmartBridge system.
Their user-friendly platform is set to increase user adoption of blockchain technology as a whole.
What is a SmartBridge?
SmartBridge is the technology created by Ark that allows blockchains to connect and communicate with one another. Ark’s SmartBridge communicates between the blockchains using a special data section called vendor fields and special encoded listener nodes that comb through data to find tasks it can perform. Once a blockchain connects to Ark’s system either via a code snippet or encoded listener, they are set up and connected to the Ark SmartBridge system.
In plain English: Once a tiny bit of code is inserted into the core code of a blockchain, that’s it. The blockchain is now connected to SmartBridge, thus allowing it to connect and communicate with all the other blockchains that also use the SmartBridge system — and the possibilities are endless. The power is in our hands to execute any instruction to any blockchain connected to the system.
For example, if you wanted to issue an ETH smart contract but only hold ARK, you simply go into your ARK wallet and send the instructions through SmartBridge—and boom, it’s done.
This is a technology that’s worth getting excited about because every cryptocurrency that utilizes it becomes more powerful, more functional, and more accessible to a wider audience.
For more information about the SmartBridge technology, check out Ark’s blog post about it here.
More Ark Features
ARK is NOT just a cryptocurrency — it is an ecosystem meant for cryptocurrency mass adoption.
– Ark’s whitepaper
Aside from the SmartBridge technology, Ark boasts many other features.
The actual ARK token itself runs on a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus system developed by Bitshares. They decided on this system because it was designed to eliminate all the problems associated with Proof of Work (PoW), such as the centralization of computing power and the huge and growing waste of real world energy. Bitcoin miners worldwide consume enough electricity at any given time to power about 2.26 million American homes! DPoS uses way less electricity, is far faster, and is less centralized. Check out this fun guide that explains DPoS like you’re 5.
ARK claims to be one of the fastest crypto networks in existence, with speedy 8-second block times, making transactions nearly instantaneous. Ark is also highly scalable, which means that as Ark gains popularity and more transactions take place per second, the infrastructure will still be able to maintain its impressive processing speed.
You can see the impressive list of all the projects the Ark crew is currently working on here.
The Ark Team
The Ark crew is truly global in every sense of the word — it was founded by 27 individuals from a plethora of different countries. Among these founders are some of the key developers behind Lisk — the popular cryptocurrency and independent blockchain network that has acquired significant success — and Crypti, a predecessor of Lisk.
Francois-Xavier Thoorens, a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer for Ark, was the core developer for Lisk until August 2016. The fact that he left such a well-funded and successful company to come aboard Ark can only mean he sees a huge potential for Ark to become a big deal in the future.
At the time of writing, Ark has 15 core team members from 11 different countries.
Thriving Ark Community
Ark has quite the loyal following.
Their Slack channel has lots of activity constantly going on — in fact, the Ark team hosts weekly AMAs there, where they answer any questions the community has.
Challenges and Criticisms – Is Ark Too Ambitious?
The big criticism that Ark gets from the public is that it is trying to do too many things at once. Some people are skeptical that they won’t be able to successfully implement everything they promise. Ark is trying to do pretty much everything under the sun that a blockchain can possibly do (again, see their roadmap for a complete outline).
To that, Managing Director and Co-Founder Mike Doty responded in their Slack chat:
They probably tried to do too much when they created TCP/IP and the World Wide Web as well. We already had Compuserve, Prodigy, and America Online, so something like the web which tried to do everything was way too ambitious.
The Ark team certainly can’t implement all their projects themselves. But this was never the goal — Ark is meant to foster a collaborative approach with a different partners in order to achieve all of their bold goals. Only time will tell if Ark can implement all of the features they say they will create, but with the amount of funding they are pouring into development, a lot of people are optimistic that they will be able to deliver.
How to Purchase and Store ARK
You can get ARK either from a current holder of ARK tokens or obtain it on an exchange.
Currently, ARK is listed on the following exchanges:
The main exchange with the most daily volume is Bittrex. First you will have to obtain bitcoin (BTC) and send it to Bittrex, and then you can trade your BTC for ARK.
If you’d rather use Ether (ETH) or Tether (USDT) to get your ARK, use another exchange such as Cryptopia or Coss.
Once you’ve got some ARK of your own, store it on the official desktop wallet, which you can download here.
The developers behind Ark already created the highly successful Lisk platform, so it’s clear they have an idea of what they are doing.
Their DPoS system should keep their platform lightning-fast and sustainable, even as they grow exponentially. And their thriving and loyal community is proof that a lot of people have put their faith (and money) into this company.
If Ark can follow through on all of their ambitious goals — and they seem to be doing this quite well at the moment — it could end up being the one-stop-shop blockchain that everyone uses.