As blockchains begin to gain in popularity, a need is developing to enable them to communicate with one another. That would require a networking infrastructure to facilitate that communication, and that’s precisely what Nuco, a Toronto-based startup is trying to do with the release of the Aion blockchain network today.
Nuco CEO Matthew Spoke says that while each network is ultimately responsible for building its own level of trust within its blockchain, once you start to move outside the realm of your private blockchain as banks, governments, healthcare providers and anyone else working with this kind of data is inevitably going to do, you need a system to make that happen. Nuco built Aion to provide that mechanism.
He says that at its core, Aion becomes the plumbing to move data around. “[Aion provides the] middleware for blockchains to communicate with each other, and the ability to pass messages between them,” he says.
Spoke, who along with his co-founders, were originally part of the blockchain team at Deloitte, formed the company last year to begin building enterprise blockchain infrastructure, but they began to realize that while many large organizations were building private blockchains, there was a growing need for a public mechanism. As the blockchain concept begins to scale and becomes an integral part of the economic system, it requires a generic way of moving information.
There are a couple of major hurdles to get people to build and use a system like this. First of all, they have to convince organizations to move information between blockchains in a public way. Second, it requires a single way to move that information, a kind of networking protocol. Once they agree to the former, the latter becomes an inevitable requirement.
Companies can find a way to monetize their participation on the network by charging Aion tokens, a type of digital currency, to move certain kinds of data across inter-chain bridges. This ability could lure more companies to move to the network, Spoke explained.
That said, he sees Aion as a market necessity, not something they are looking to commercialize in a direct way. At some point blockchain will hit mainstream adoption and it will require mature infrastructure for his company and others to succeed. Spoke says his company is making this contribution to help the market grow.
While Nuco isn’t the only company working on this problem, Spoke is convinced that a process like this is required, and that like any technology, the market will decide which approach wins and becomes the standard.