Infura, an ethereum and IPFS node service provider, announced today they processed more than 7 million ethereum transactions last year, worth some $8 billion at today’s prices.
“We witnessed an explosion of ICOs and the creation of popular dapps, like CryptoKitties, that pushed transaction traffic on Mainnet through the stratosphere,” Infura says before adding:
“It is common knowledge that Ethereum handles more transaction traffic than all other blockchains combined, and we’re excited to be relaying a decent chunk of these transactions to the network.”
Infura is a node infrastructure provider for ethereum dapps, with a number of them using it, including MetaMask and CryptoKitties.
They have seemingly grown considerably last year, suggesting dapps are finding increasing usage from ethereans and other cryptonians.
Unlike bitcoin, which tries to be just digital gold, or Bitcoin Cash, which tries to increase its currency like usage from traditional merchants, Ethereum aims to build web 3.0.
That translates to, in effect, natively blockchenized websites. Towards that aim, they have been building the infrastructure over the past year, with Infura providing the nodes, MetaMask providing an easy connection to the blockchain for both sites and users, while Uport provides identity services when needed and Oraclize provides data feeds.
Those building blocks now in place can allow a new project to easily get up and running while maintaining focus on their core services, rather than having to handle the entire infrastructure on their own.
They still have the option to do it all in-house, with some in particular perhaps desiring more control over their nodes, but on the user side, dapps usually offer the option to connect to whatever node you like.
So end customers can opt-in for convenience or lower trust requirements, options that are usually inapplicable with more traditional methods.
The applications of this new infrastructure will probably be explored in the coming decade, with some very low hanging fruits already in implementation, such as decentralized exchanges or tokenized kitties.
But one use could be a blockchenized shop, integrating eth payments directly, or a blockchenized news site (we might get to it eventually).
Other more complex uses are insurance, such as Ethersic which automatically compensates you through an eth based dapp if your flight is delayed or canceled.
The uniqueness of some of these dapps is that they are impossible without ethereum’s capabilities. The main reason for that is due to its smart contracts, which have a very unique feature, within the blockchain space and outside of it.
While with traditional payment methods, and even for bitcoin, you need someone to push a payment, to confirm it, by entering a pin or a private key, smart contract dapps require no such input.
That’s because the smart contract itself is the private key, or, more correctly, the smart contract does not need a private key because the network knows how much eth it has and knows based on the rules of the smart contract whether it is authorized to spend it or not.
That means automatic payments are possible without any human intervention. Something which will probably have wide applications in the future, especially where machines are concerned, but even today it has some easy applications, such as one click checkouts.
Ethereum in particular, therefore, is now nearing a stage where the equivalent of early MS Paint or simple word processors can start gaining more features and be better integrated with other services.
Scalability does, however, remain a bottleneck for now, but there is a clear roadmap to solve it, with eth devs hard at work on that priority, so it might soon start becoming less and less of a problem.
At which stage, the blockchain’s real equivalent of the internet might take off, so beginning a new era of the digital revolution.