ARK tries to connect interoperability between blockchains and fair treatment of users with the known basic values of cryptocurrencies. Special features of the system are its own apps, which serve as connecting pieces between blockchains and thus form an entire ecosystem; as well as the possibility of simple cloning of the entire blockchain for further development by other providers.
Goals of ARK
ARK was founded in 2016 and aims to combine existing and future blockchains into a whole ecology of systems. The self-designation of ARK is therefore also ARK Ecosystem. This concept is realized by a proprietary development called Smart Bridge. The Smart Bridges are either inserted into the blockchain to which the link is made, similar to the Smart Contracts of Ethereum or are implemented by independent programs, the Encoded Listeners. The desired result is the already mentioned blockchain ecosystem, in which all features of the respective systems can be used.
A special feature in the development of ARK is to enable third parties to clone the blockchain. In contrast to the hard forks of other blockchains (i.e. the creation of a new system on the basis of an existing one and the parallel continuation of both blockchains in the further course), which required good expertise and immense programming effort, ARK’s blockchain can be cloned at the push of a button and further developed elsewhere. This is even expressly desired by the developers of ARK. Such descendants of ARK can of course also be integrated into the ARK ecosystem.
How ARK works
The administration of the ARK Blockchain deserves special attention. Here, in contrast to the well-known Proof of Work, a different principle is used. The Delegated Proof of Stake should at the same time ensure the performance of the network and ensure justice among maintainers and users. A simple Proof of Stake is a procedure in which maintainers are selected according to their stake in the respective cryptocurrency in order to decide on the continuation of the blockchain. Obviously, the formation of monopolies or oligopolies, which are generally undesirable with cryptocurrencies, is threatening.
Delegated Proof of Stake modifies this process by allowing shareholders of the currency to vote for other users, with the weight of their vote correlating with their share. It is also possible to distribute one’s share among a number of other users, dividing the voting weight per recipient accordingly. The “selected” users then control the continuation of the blockchain. Basically, Delegated Proof of Stake works like a representative democracy. In the case of ARK, this means that a list of so-called delegates is drawn up for which all other users can “vote”. These candidates advertise themselves, so to speak, with “election promises”, mostly in the form of guaranteed repayments in ARK. The 51 delegates with the most votes form then the control committee of the Blockchain. Other delegates further down the list take care of smaller tasks around the administration of the network.
An essential advantage of the Delegated Proof of Stake is certainly the performance of the ARK network. ARK has a block time of 8 seconds. A disadvantage, on the other hand, is the cut in anonymity, which the democratic approach of ARK brings with it. The identities (but not the clear names) of the users standing for election are visible for all other participants and especially the delegates are exposed accordingly.