April seems to have been a big month so far for Digital Asset! Only a week after their announcement regarding their open sourcing of the platform, they have now published a press release stating that they will be also be integrating DAML with VMWare’s Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform, and in a blog post, they also hinted that they may also integrate with other platforms.
The VMWare blockchain platform that DAML will be integrated with was conceived by a VMWare research team in 2017 (as project Concorde), and it has now been rolled out in a beta phase as a stable solution. VMWare customers that want to create enterprise applications using blockchain architecture and network topologies can use this service to set up a node and deploy smart contracts relevant to their business needs (up until now using the Ethereum blockchain).
The VMWare blockchain as a service vision is similar to Digital Asset’s platform in respect that they both focus on private networks and do not use a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism. In fact the research team at VMWare have created their own consensus protocol called Synchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance (SBFT) the details of which can be found in a detailed white paper. The VMWare version is based on byzantine fault tolerance (BFT), but scalable to support hundreds of virtual machines, in a way that traditional BFT cannot. The platform also boasts a high throughput of data transactions (not based on quorum communications), and simple reconfiguration and membership administration. It differs from the DA platform in the sense that it is a hosted service, which is designed for, and can only be run in, VMWare infrastructure.
Although the technical details of the integration have not yet been released, we understand that the DAML runtime engine will be completely integrated into the VMWare blockchain platform. This means that when a user opts to create a DAML application on the platform, they will be using this instead of the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). Although this seems like a small detail, it is actually quite important, since it differentiates the DAML integration with VMWare from the integration of other cross-platform programming languages such as Solidity.
Although Solidity has traditionally been linked to the EVM, it has also been ported to platforms such as Cardano where it works on top of their IELE virtual machines. This affects Solidity’s interaction points with the virtual machine and some contracts may need to be re-written. As Digital Asset (DA) have wisely chosen to fully integrate the DAML runtime engine into the VMWare blockchain platform (and hopefully any subsequent integrations), interoperability between working on VMWare’s blockchain platform and DA’s own platform should not require significant changes to the DAML code.
The very real possibility of more platform integration has surely now arrived!
Look out for Part 2 of my blog tomorrow, to discover more about the potential of efficient, multi-platform development in blockchain.