Stefan Thomas, the developer who served as Ripple’s CTO until last month, has announced the launch of Coil, a startup that will develop a new model of smart contracts. Making the announcement on his Medium page yesterday, Thomas described the motivation behind founding Coil as the need to build a new business model for the web. The startup will depend on Codius, a new model of smart contracts that he worked on during his time at Ripple. Smart contracts developed on Codius will run on independent hosts and thus be able to interact with any service. This will solve the interoperability challenge that has long hindered smart contracts, keeping them from enjoying mainstream adoption.
The Spotify To Ethereum’s Napster
Thomas began working on smart contracts in 2012 when he joined a young San Francisco startup, Ripple, that would grow to become the third-largest digital currency. Together with fellow Ripple engineer Evan Schwartz, he developed the elementary version of smart contracts into Codius.
Codius is not limited to a single blockchain, but rather runs on independent hosts. This makes smart contracts on the platform superior to Ethereum’s, as they can be integrated into any API, interact with any blockchain, and scale indefinitely.
As it would have been for any other platform seeking to foster interoperability, arriving at a universal digital token capable of settling payments was a herculean task. Codius did so through the development of a universal platform that allows the use of any digital or fiat currency. Interledger is an open protocol that facilitates the transfer of value across independent payment networks.
Many developers of smart contracts who came across the Codius whitepaper have been reaching out to Thomas and the Codius team over the past few years, he said. Ethereum’s lack of scalability, high transaction fees, very complex programming model, and high latency have driven developers to search for alternative platforms, and Thomas believes that Codius is the ultimate platform.
Codius promises to be cheaper to run than Ethereum despite its additional functionalities. This is made possible by the community of hosts who compete with each other on price. Uploaders also get to control the level of decentralization, with the platform purporting to offer an unprecedented level of decentralization.
So how will Codius be used?
Its applications will be diverse, ranging from gaming to enterprise and anything in between. Josh Williams, an investor whose focus is on the gaming industry with investments in Zynga and Unity, stated:
Powerful, scalable decentralized computing and smart contracts interfacing with distributed ledgers are essential for every industry hoping to utilize blockchains, and the need is particularly acute for highly interactive, real-time, mass market experiences like games. Teams in games and elsewhere are building on Ethereum and running into the cost and scalability issues we’re all familiar with. Codius has great potential in addressing these concerns, and we are eager to work with it.
Coil will be a work in progress, with Thomas promising that he will continuously be involved in its development. He also invited developers to come up with other great projects which are inspired by the platform’s flexibility. With blockchains set to rebuild the internet, he promises that the launch of Coil will be one crucial piece of the development of “the web we want.”
And with Codius, we are taking the first step towards providing infrastructure with built-in monetization.