What is Wanchain? A beginner's guide

Conor Maloney

February 22, 2018


The cryptocurrency space has seen rapid development over the last few years. For a new technology, different projects have made huge strides in placing crypto firmly in the public eye. One of the issues with such rapid development is that it’s all a bit scattered at the moment – a great many projects and currencies are incompatible with each other, leading to people using three or four exchanges to transfer funds in some cases, as no exchange currently lists all coins. Far from it.

Something desperately needed is a common link between all currencies. A marketplace where users can access and exchange all the digital assets they want. That’s true adoption, and true progress, and that’s what projects like Wanchain aim to achieve.

What is Wanchain?

Originally an Ethereum network fork founded by Factom co-founder Jack Lu, the Wanchain network is striking out on its own. Wanchain will create a new market of cryptocurrencies via cross-chain transfers on different blockchains. The developers aim to build a series of decentralized exchanges on the Wanchain network, connecting all ERC20 digital assets in one location. The project seeks to solve the problem of exchange-hopping in order to transfer and exchange from one cryptocurrency to another. Linking all currencies in one market is an ambitious goal, but that’s exactly what Wanchain sets out to do.

Beyond decentralized exchanges, Wanchain aims to provide banking services in the coming years. Lending, investment, settlements, and other financial services will be available just as they are from a modern bank today. But this isn’t banking as you know it.

Blockchain banking

Any group or individual will be able to participate by setting up their own “virtual teller window”. Setting up loans, credit payments, and transactions – all decentralized and all done on the blockchain. Actually, on several blockchains. A distributed ledger, Wanchain will record and process cross-chain transactions across the network. In addition to creating new exchanges, Wanchain will also integrate and unify existing exchanges and digital currency platforms in an effort to create a truly interconnected digital assets market.

This is the current state of the market: niche exchanges handling different coins in a centralized but isolated manner. The situation is fine for early adopters and enthusiasts, but the market cap is steadily increasing, even in the face of the recent pullback. It’s highly unlikely that the market will remain at the current value, not with mainstream adoption around the corner.

With the big players getting involved, it seems only a matter of time before the market is a commonly used space. Perhaps like the stock market today, and perhaps even more so – if cryptocurrency becomes viable for day-to-day transactions, who knows how many people around the world will use crypto on a regular basis. When that happens, the Wild West will have to be tamed, and the market will have to be made more accessible through a super-exchange, or a cross-chain network like Wanchain linking it all together.

Built on the Ethereum protocol, all Ethereum dapps will work without any code changes on the Wanchain network.

The Token

Wancoin (WAN) will be used to process fees for Wanchain transactions as well as inter-network cross-chain transactions. Far from being a share/security that simply marks the value of the project overall, the team insist that WAN will be a fundamental cog in the mechanism of the entire network, covering transaction costs and providing bond deposits for Wanchain nodes. In a space where good projects are marred by tokens of uncertain utility, prospective investors can only hope that this is indeed the case. Unlike most of the coins the project is aimed at, WAN is not an ERC20 token, but written with new code (despite forking from Ethereum originally).

The Team

Jack Lu of Factom has a proven track record already, which lends promise to this next project. Factom is currently valued at over $250 million and is number 74 on coinmarketcap at the time of writing. Lu has assembled a team of skilled software engineers and cryptographic experts, many of whom are graduates of the reputable Peking University (“the Harvard of the east”).

Hopefully their education is as good as it sounds – the team will need to be on the top of their game to tackle a project like Wanchain!

 The System Protocol

Data will transfer from other platforms to Wanchain through their cross-chain communications protocol. It consists of three modules.

Registration module: The system registers the value of all assets here, as well as the noting the chain the assets are coming from.

Transaction query module: This module monitors the transaction status from start to finish.

Data transmission module: This initiates the cross-chain request for transferring funds. Node validations go through this module, meaning this is where the system rejects or validates transactions. This is also where the transaction takes place legally speaking.

The protocol uses smart contracts to facilitate the entire cross-chain transaction process.

What’s next?

This isn’t an endorsement of Wanchain specifically – I like the sound of it, but I don’t know if this particular project will succeed. What I do know is that it’s only a matter of time now. Wanchain seeks to bring cohesion to the far-flung corners of the market. It will either succeed or other projects will learn and build from the effort. We’re still in the very early days of cryptocurrency, witnessing gathering of the building blocks that will shape the future.

Blockchain technology and digital assets are the future of currency and the IoT. If Wanchain makes good on the plan to create a cross-chain network facilitating warily accessible crypto banking services for the masses, that will be an enormous step in the right direction. With a talented leader like jack Lu at the helm, who knows – the future might be closer than you think.

You can find more information about Wanchain through their website, via Twitter @wanchain_org, or on their Telegram group.

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