Gavin Wood, a co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Parity Technologies, has announced Substrate, a new tool to create DIY (do-it-yourself) blockchains.
Thanks to its Polkadot interoperability protocol, Substrate is a generic platform for blockchain development and aims to be a simple multi-purpose mechanism allowing people to build and launch their own blockchain.
Interviewed by Coindesk, Wood said: “Substrate is much more general than ethereum. We really wanted to make something pure and general“.
Parity Technologies has already used the Substrate base code to release Shasper, the latest addition to the Ethereum roadmap, which mixes sharding with proof-of-stake.
In theory, Substrate is already usable, but it still needs final tuning in order to be released to the public, especially with regard to documentation for developers. This could happen in about three weeks or so.
A particularly interesting aspect of this new technology is that, unlike Ethereum, changes to the Substrate protocol will not require a system-level update or hard fork. In this regard, Wood pointed out that “Substrate-based chains can upgrade themselves, and this ability to change is useful for fixing hiccups along the way“.
This is made possible thanks to a voting system for code changes involving token holders, which make the power structures within the networks clear and transparent, thus different from the informal governance that underlies most current cryptocurrencies.
Wood also stated that Substrate will be licensed under the Apache 2 usage license, a more permissive and business-friendly license than the current one, the GPL3. Thanks to the new license all major companies will be able to experiment with it.
In addition, the co-founder of Ethereum presented a new design for Polkadot that should allow “infinite scalability” thanks to a tree-type structure of Polkadot chains running on other chains, something “cyclical and self-referential, what mathematicians call composability”. In short, a real hierarchy of chains that allows scaling 100 times each time you go down a level.
The release of Polkadot is scheduled for the third quarter of 2019.