What's the Deal with Lisk?

Founder of fast rising new cryptocurrency discusses its rapid rise

Blockchain App, Lisk has taken off... Getty Images

There are many who liken the speed and intensity of innovation occurring in the blockchain and cryptocurrency world to that of the early days of the internet. Although the technologies are different, we encounter similar stories of young people developing million-dollar businesses from their own homemade efforts. We even find comparisons between icons from the internet era such as Steve Jobs to a brilliant young innovator of the blockchain and cryptocurrency world named Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum.

Those of us who follow the cryptocurrency world often marvel at the changes that occur in the blink of an eye regarding new companies and changes in market capitalizations of the various cryptos. In the past few months, we’ve seen another young innovator hit the cryptocurrency and blockchain scene. However, the approach and innovation that he’s taking to make an impact on the industry are making it clear that he’s not only intending to make his presence known but his plans may change the landscape around blockchain and cryptos even more than those before him.

Successful Crowdsourced Funding

Max Kordek, is the 24-year-old founder of Lisk, which is a company that has stampeded its way onto the cryptocurrency scene by achieving a $40 million plus market capitalization in only a few months.  It was crowdsourced through a four-week process that upon completion at the end of March 2016 raised more than 14,000 bitcoins.

Until The DAO was funded through a  $150 million crowdsource, Lisk was the second largest cryptocurrency crowdsource, beaten only by Ethereum’s crowdsourced efforts. 

From the website, Lisk is defined by Kordek as, “a crypto-currency and decentralized application platform. As a crypto-currency, much like Bitcoin and other alternatives, it provides a decentralized payment system and digital money network. The network itself operates using a highly efficient Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus model, that is secured by 101 democratically elected delegates. The Lisk decentralized application platform, it's most powerful component, allows the deployment, distribution and monetization of decentralized applications and custom blockchains (sidechains) onto the Lisk blockchain.”

Building dApps

For those such as myself who need this in simpler language, Lisk is a platform that allows for the building of blockchain based decentralized applications (dApps). The platform allows for developers to create applications through the use of sidechains off of the Lisk main blockchain, with the intent to keep the apps running faster and more efficiently. The Lisk platform will function as almost an iTunes-like platform for developers to get their applications built on the Lisk platform with accessibility directly to the public.

Kordek desired to create a platform that was simple to develop on and use so he utilized Javascript as his coding language. “New technologies have to be as accessible as possible. The blockchain is highly complicated. So we began with javascript which is one of the most widely used languages,” Kordek said.

Information for developers on downloading and developing with Lisk is available on the developer section of the website. The Lisk website includes a number of Lisk Apps that are under development including Prototype, which is a "decentralized shop on Lisk". Kordek and his team had originally created a white paper outlining the platform but are making some modifications and the edited version is forthcoming.

 

Lisk has added some top shelf advisors including Charles Hoskinson, who was a founder of Ethereum, and venture capitalist, Steven Nerayoff.  Kordek recognized these individuals and their contribution to another successful cryptocurrency, Ethereum, when he said, "Charles and Steven were two of the most prominent individuals responsible for the phenomenal success of Ethereum"

In addition to having Ethereum "alum", Hoskinson and Nerayoff on his team, Kordek recognizes that there had been a tendency to compare Ethereum to Lisk because of the similar success and ages of the crypto's creators, Buterin of Ethereum and Kordek.  Kordek acknowledges the talent of Ethereum’s leader but recognizes that the two are dissimilar and have different goals.  “Vitalik is a genius and he clearly knows what he’s doing. Ethereum is great, it’s working,” Kordek says.

On a personal side, I wish that they would switch to proof of stake, and that is planned.  So they’re going in the right direction, in my opinion.”

"Hub of Cryptocurrencies"

One of the interesting visions that Kordek has for Lisk is to make it the “hub of cryptocurrencies”, as he put it. “In our system, we have, for example, delegates which are running the Lisk client, and it might be required for a blockchain application that all sidechain delegates also run Ethereum because the blockchain application also computes smart contracts. So we want to be the hub of cryptocurrencies where delegates are running Ethereum, Bitcoin, or other technologies, and our Lisk blockchain applications can offer services that combine several decentralized technologies.” Kordek says.

Getting developers on board is key for the success of Lisk, Kordek acknowledges, and in addition to the choice of Javascript as a development language, Kordek feels that promoting Lisk as a blockchain application or blockchain services framework will also.  “​We’re still in the early days, as we just launched 21 weeks ago”, Kordek reminds me.

He recognizes that Blockchain technology is gaining interest from companies across all industries, particularly the current interest from financial services firms, but he feels that Lisk can provide many consumer-oriented applications for the Blockchain.  “I don’t want to be fixed on the financial industry because I think Blockchain technology and decentralization can have a much bigger impact and potential in the consumer space.  This is where the big money is, and where we feel we can really make an impact,” Kordek says.  “I think that in the consumer space, there are more opportunities to make and help startups that can earn a living by providing services and I would love to see a lot of cool consumer applications.”

An "iTunes for Blockchain Apps"

Lisk has been viewed as providing an “iTunes for Blockchain applications” and Kordek does feel that that’s part of his vision. “Yes, we want to be some kind of Blockchain application store or directory and some kind of hub that gets all decentralized technologies under one roof with as many applications as needed.”

Recently, Kordek has worked with Microsoft to integrate his Lisk platform into the Microsoft Azure product.  This was a huge validation of not only Lisk from Microsoft but the entire concept of Blockchain apps as well.  From the System Update page from the Microsoft Asure website, the company points out the reasons for integrating Lisk into the platform, "Powered by its own crypto-currency Lisk, the platform allows developers worldwide to easily deploy their own custom blockchains, and program decentralized applications on top of them, using the highly accessible programming language JavaScript.  They will provide guides and ARM templates to use Lisk for the Internet of Things, custom blockchain deployment and development of decentralized applications. We want to make this experience as easy as possible for JavaScript developers, using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform."

Value of Lisk has Risen

The potential for Lisk is reflected in the rise of value in their crowdsourced “currency” which has increased significantly in value since the launch.  Kordek does recognize that investors and others pay a lot of attention to cryptocurrency valuation, but he is more focused, “not on the price tag of the cryptocurrency, but the inherent value itself of the platform by its ability to gain more applications, more developers and a bigger community.”

Kordek is a believer in his technology, “I want to see this awesome technology being used in everyday life.  I want to see, in a few years, people using some smartphone application that is using Lisk.  This would be awesome. At this point, I don’t care about the price (of Lisk), I just want to see this technology and this platform succeed and be used by everyone.”

Given the success of Lisk to this point and Kordek’s enthusiasm, drive and vision for the technology, there’s little reason to doubt that Lisk will soon take its place as another success story in the cryptocurrency and Blockchain world.