Web3 Development: Choose the Best Blockchain Platform for Your Dapp
Starting and scaling a blockchain project as a web3 developer takes more than just a great project idea. The most fundamental things to consider is the blockchain platform with the right tools and adequate support
Starting and scaling a blockchain project as a web3 developer takes more than just a great idea. It needs a dedicated team, expertise, and even more importantly, a blockchain to lay the foundation for a project's success. Choosing the right platform is therefore key.
Five essential factors to consider before choosing a blockchain platform for Dapp development.
There are too many factors that could make a network a great fit for your Dapp projects and in fact, way too many to explore in a single blog post. We'll therefore focus on five of the most important factors to determine whether a certain network is the right fit for your next project:
- Ethereum Compatibility
- Security and Scalability
- Cross-chain Interoperability
- Real-world Data Oracles
- Community and Grants
With the rising popularity of Dapps, serious costs and scalability issues have been a huge limitation of the Ethereum network: a simple token swap may easily cost you 50$, while interactions with a more complex DeFi app or game can quickly get into the three digits.
However, aside from the Ethereum ecosystem, there are many Ethereum compatible blockchains on the market. Ethereum compatibility can be defined at the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) level and the Ethereum RPC (Remote Procedure Call) level. Any blockchain platform that supports smart contracts implements some sort of virtual machine in its protocol. When a blockchain's virtual machine executes the same smart contract programming language, i.e. Solidity, as the EVM, then we say that this blockchain is "EVM Compatible": any smart contract that has been written for Ethereum (using Solidity or any other language) can also be deployed to an EVM compatible blockchain without any change to the source code of the contract. However, one should also check the actual version of the EVM implemented: the most recent versions always include security improvements and additional language features.
EVM compatibility is not enough to port an Ethereum Dapp without changes: most Dapps include some sort of a "frontend," a blockchain "client," that provides an interface for users to easily interact with the Dapp's underlying smart contracts: this is typically a regular Web app but could also be a mobile or a desktop app. This "off-chain" part of the Dapp needs to get access to the smart contracts by interacting with the blockchain, and this is made possible by the RPC API exposed by the blockchain nodes. When a blockchain is Ethereum compatible also at the RPC API level, the front end of an Ethereum Dapp can interact with that blockchain without any changes to the source code. Tools like MetaMask, Truffle, or Hardhat, for example, can work natively by just pointing them to a Gateway Node, and any Ethereum blockchain software can likewise work natively.
Security and scalability
Worried about security and scalability? Security is of utmost importance in any blockchain network. Before kicking off your Dapp, deep and proper research is essential to assess the security of any platform you are choosing. You should have deep insights into their architecture and identify any security issues in the platform's history. If and when possible, always go for those that have never had a relevant security issue in their history, have been audited by top security firms, and have a team with relevant knowledge and proven experience in cryptography and security.
When looking to launch your project, scalability is another critical factor to avoid slow or rejected transactions and unexpected spikes in transaction fees, making your Dapp slow, expensive or even unusable.
Scalability is therefore essential for the success of your Dapp: innovative consensus mechanisms like Roll-DPoS have proven to be able to manage thousands of transactions per second while maintaining decentralization and even while maintaining decentralization and best-in-class security. You want to give your users fast transactions with low fees and a great user experience.
Do you want a high-performing project? Then building a Dapp that is confined to a single blockchain is no longer an option. Blockchains do not interact with each other by default, which poses a challenge to developers who wish to create a diverse community across multiple blockchains and capture the true benefits of interconnectedness and decentralization.
Cross-chain interoperability allows blockchains to seamlessly exchange information and assets with each other, thus expanding their overall utility. Breaking the siloed nature of blockchains will create an intertwined distributed ecosystem. Financial transactions can be enabled between two completely different chains hassle-free using "cross-chain bridges."
When choosing a cross-bridge, you should always consider a decentralized bridge over a centralized one, as this helps keep the benefits of decentralization intact. Cross-chain technology is essential for your Dapp; it enables your tokens to be "transferred" between different networks, fostering interoperability and providing flexibility for your project to thrive.
Real-world Data Oracles
The types of data available to blockchains have generally been limited to price feeds, and data pulled from historical databases and APIs. Expanding the data available to blockchains is critical to building specific types of Dapps, most notably those that relate to the real world. To make your Dapp work with real-world data is as powerful as it is difficult, as blockchains cannot inherently collect data from any external system in a trusted way (this is called the "Oracle problem") It is worth noting that not all blockchains are integrated with oracle infrastructures, and choosing a platform that has access to one or more real-world data oracles will greatly expand the horizons of your Dapp. Access to real-world data such as GPS location, health, or traffic data will allow a whole new generation of Dapps to be created.
Community and Grants
The importance of having a community of like-minded developers cannot be overstated, as it can determine to a large extent, the speed of execution and the technical capabilities of your project. Joining an active blockchain community provides the foundation for you to interact with a diverse group of developers in more-innovative, less-structured contexts. Building on an Ethereum compatible blockchain also will enable you to count on many other existing communities of Ethereum developers.
In addition to the community, as a developer, you should choose a blockchain platform with substantial grant and mentorship programs. Many platforms have allocated a considerable amount of their Treasury to fund research, develop new projects, and aid community-building efforts.
Building a blockchain project can be risky or sometimes too expensive. Grants will help fund your dream of building a decentralized application. In addition to grants, some platforms offer mentorship guidance throughout the development of your project. Identify these platforms and build on them as this will streamline the development of your project and increase your chances of a successful launch.