A Dark Horse To Upseat Ethereum

Ardor has positioned itself to be a more scalable, faster, and secure Ethereum


BYOB: Build Your Own Blockchain. That’s the technology behind Nxt, and that’s the pitch behind Ardor, a dark horse to upseat Ethereum.

Many in the crypto community might have heard of Nxt. It’s been around since 2013, although it hasn’t generated a ton of buzz. For those unaware, Nxt is an open source blockchain platform dubbed by many “the WordPress of Blockchain”. Creating a blockchain from scratch is like building a website: difficult. WordPress software handles all the back-end of creating a website. Users can easily publish posts and add things to their site without any coding knowledge. Nxt aspires to be the same thing with blockchain. For various reasons, Nxt hasn’t lit the world on fire, but Ardor, an improved spinoff, has real potential.


Quick history lesson: Nxt had an ICO in 2013. The ICO was poorly organized, appeared to many to be a scam, and raised just 21 Bitcoin. That’s 21 BTC in 2013 prices: about $6000. Small potatoes compared to the hundred million plus ICOs popping off these days. Nxt’s development team also went through considerably turnover and upheaval. Nonetheless, they’ve grown and survived to this day. Both Nxt and Ardor are under the umbrella of a company called Jelurida.


The keys to Ardor are the “child chains.” The existing Nxt blockchain technology will handle some aspects of running a blockchain, and the child chains will handle chain-specific aspects. The parent chain is responsible for proof-of-stake processes. Child chains will handle things like voting, asset exchange, and so on.

Ardor was created with some of blockchain’s most persistent problems in mind. One is blockchain “bloat;” every transaction submitted to a blockchain stays forever in the blockchain. These transactions must be re-validated by every new node which joins the blockchain. That’s a long process and a bit problem for crypto projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin’s blockchain is currently 153 GB and growing and Ethereum’s is currently 121 GB. Comparatively, Ardor will only store key transactions on the parent chain. Most transactions will be on the child chains. These transactions can also be “pruned,” and new nodes on the network will only need to validate the parent chain transaction. The Ardor team estimates this can reduce the number of transactions stored on the blockchain at a ratio of up to 1:100.

Another issue is that when creating a blockchain based token, users need to transact in the new token, but also pay a transaction fee in a more established token. Ardor’s child chains will deal exclusively in the token of the child chain.

A last problem in the crypto world is exchanges; they’re hackable and represent a single point of failure. With more money pouring into crypto than ever before, hackers will undoubtedly keep trying to steal from exchanges. Ardor allows intendent business entities to issue a “pegged” child chain. These guarantee that Token X is pegged at a hypothetical ratio; say 1 token for $1. Here’s the kicker. Users who trust the 3rd party can trade blockchain assets against the child assets. This way, they don’t have to exchange their tokens into Ardor tokens before flipping them.


There are points in favor of both Ethereum and Ardor. Ethereum has the hot hand in the market and they’ve done a great job at marketing. Today, coins based around Ethereum’s smart contracts are a dime a dozen.

However, Ardor has a smart contact’esq feature built in as well. Ardor uses templates which allow users to create “smart transactions”. These are essentially smart contracts but they have been properly audited by core developers helping ensure safe code. As we mentioned earlier, you can think of Ardor as the WordPress of blockchains. Ardor smart transaction templates are sort of like WordPress plugins. They provide the average user with a set of easy to use contracts for the most common uses. For example issuing your Own ICO on Ardor can take 5 minutes and creating your own currency can take 2 minutes. No coding required.

Ardor offers an easy to use interface that doesn’t require coding knowledge. This lowers the barrier to entry and allows the average user the opportunity to create their own cryptocurrency, digital asset or smart transaction. Ethereum on the other hand, offers a higher level of customization, but you have to know how to code using Solidarity to be able to use it. A coding language not many people understand.

Ardor has pitched itself as more scalable, faster, and secure. Ethereum’s contracts have no time cap, something many smart contract spinoff cryptos have capitalized on. Had the DAO hack occurred on Ardor, only one chain would have been compromised, and not the entire currency. In fact the DAO probably wouldn’t have happened on Ardor, because all “smart transactions” are verified by the core team.

Every single Ethereum contract is stored forever on the same chain. Ethereum’s chain is growing fast. Child chains in Ardor aren’t involved in securing the network, so they don’t need to store the whole history of transactions. Transactions on the child chains will be bundled and hashed, and only the hash goes on the parent chain. The hashes provide a record if ever needed, but without new nodes having to process crushing amounts of data. Ardor has also toyed with the idea down the line of splitting child chains into their own subnetworks.


To address bloating, Ethereum has discussed “sharding” as a possible way to alleviate bloat. Currently, all nodes on the Ethereum network store and process every transaction on the network. Sharding is the concept of having a small group of nodes validate every transaction instead. But this is still in the developmental stage for now.

Ethereum is obviously the biggest name in the Baas space (Blockchain as a Service). Lisk, Ark, HyperLedger and Stratis are just a few competitors.

You can easily download Nxt and play around with it. Ardor is currently running on a testnet which you can download as well. Both are easy to examine, which is a welcome trend when ICOs are demanding millions with little more than a whitepaper and a story. The first child chain of Ardor is already going through an ICO: Ignis. The Ardor team has already announced funds from the ICO will go towards promotion and support of the Nxt and Ardor blockchains.


ICO Promotion is an underrated aspect of a cryptocurrency. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” But he clearly never launched an ICO. With new coins popping up literally every day and ICO records being broken, a coin needs a good marketing team, in addition to a good idea. Nxt has done a poor job marketing itself in the past.

However, Ardor has generated some buzz, and the team has the benefit of several years of blockchain experience. Most ICO teams are staffed with bright programmers who have precisely zero blockchain experience. The team behind Ardor have been at this for much longer than most people in this space.


To recap, NXT and Ardor offer a competitor to Ethereum with an easier to use interface. Users can create their own digital assets and launch their own ICO’s. They can also create their own digital currencies in minutes. Nxt and Ardor also come with a built-in online marketplace, built in messaging and many more features. It’s less customizable than Ethereum, but better built in terms of security and scalability. It’s backed by an experienced team. But Ethereum is still the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and we’ll have to see if Ardor succeeds where Nxt failed in marketing itself.

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