Do not use the mindset of Smart Contract to think about the next generation of blockchain applications

6 min readDec 13, 2020


BTC has brought a decentralized digital currency based on the blockchain, and Ethereum is a smart contract platform, giving birth to a primary application with a “real blockchain soul” like Uniswap. So what’s the next generation of the blockchain application?

To answer this question, we are trying to find some traces from the development history of computer applications to predict the development of blockchain applications and trying to explain why we are optimistic about Polkadot technology.

Bitcoin Era: Application of Digital Currency

In 1946, the United States manufactured the first general-purpose computer ENIAC, which opened the modern computer era. However, the types of calculations the bulky ENIAC computer can perform is very limited, and its application is limited to the calculations.

BTC was officially born in 2009, creating the blockchain industry, and its historical significance is equivalent to ENIAC in the computer world. However, similar to ENIAC, BTC can only perform very limited operations such as transfers, and its applications are basically limited to cryptocurrency transfer (such as wallets, exchanges, lending, etc.).

Single Chain era: Ethereum smart contract application

On April 3, 1973, the first truly mobile phone Motorola Dyda TAC 8000X appeared on the streets of New York. After that, although the size of mobile phones continued to shrink, from the big brother to the slide, flip, and color screen phones, there was no essential breakthrough. Some simple applications have also begun to appear on these phones, such as the familiar game “Tetris”. However, due to the limitations of the underlying hardware, system, and network, these applications are relatively simple, and they are all stand-alone applications that cannot be connected to other mobile phones, so the Imaginary space is very limited.

In 2015, the Ethereum mainnet went alive, opening the era of smart contracts in the blockchain. Developers can develop some smart contract applications on Ethereum, such as the decentralized AMM transaction application Uniswap right now. But at this time, we are still in an awkward era. Similar to the dilemma of stand-alone mobile phone applications, applications also have large limitations: the customizability and performance of Ethereum smart contracts are poor, and resources are tight/expensive. As a single chain, the applications on Ethereum cannot interact friendly with Bitcoin and other blockchains.

The applications on the single-chain are just like PHS in the stand-alone era, with limited resources and fixed underlying ideas. No matter how innovative the application is, it still has a lot of limitations. Although stablecoin applications like DAI and DEX applications like Uniswap have appeared on Ethereum, these are only the beginning of blockchain applications, just like the history of computer applications, Tetris is just the beginning of computer applications.

Multi-chain era: more complex and real innovative applications born on the Polkadot

In 2007, the iPhone turned out to be the first real smartphone in history. The IOS system 2marked a brand-new way of interaction and interconnection. Its appearance led to the explosion of mobile applications, such as Facebook, WeChat, Alipay, Tiktok … Applications from all walks of life have born one after another, and it even came into new industries and new business models!

In 2020, the Polkadot mainnet launched, marking the beginning of the multi-chain era. After the implementation of parachain, multiple parachains are assembled under the domination of the relay chain to form Polkadot network. Under the XCMP protocol, parachains can interact smoothly, just like smartphones can interact with each other. With the breakthrough of Polkadot technology (better TPS, more friendly chain interaction). Just as when the smartphone was firstborn, a large number of innovative products and innovative models were sprouting.

Nowadays, many developers/teams developing blockchain applications, and all can’t escape the limitations of the underlying framework of Ethereum. Just like being limited by the Motorola era, you can only stay in the innovation of dual card dual standby, sliding cover, etc. Blockchain applications are exactly the same now, staying in simple DeFi fields such as lending and DEX, but we must know that these applications are actually still in the previous generation of the single-chain era. We can’t use the thinking of the single-chain era to imagine the rich applications of the multi-chain era, just as we cannot use the logic of Tetris in the single-machine era to imagine the diverse applications of the Internet era.

Summary: Distributed multi-chain applications are about to explode

The single-chain structure has extremely low performance and expensive resources, making it impossible to grow complex applications. Polkadot’s multi-chain model can not only solve the shortcomings of the single-chain model but also create an order of magnitude greater possibility for future Web3.0 applications. Multi-chain can make parachain coordination, so distributed Web3.0 applications can come. The applications of each chain, like the various applications that are now grown out of our mobile phones or PCs, are blooming all over the place.

Polkadot’s multi-chain structure is equivalent to the basic protocol of the local area network and the Internet in the computer, and the Substrate blockchain framework is also very similar to Linux. In the traditional Internet, only with Linux can there be Android, and only Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung mobile phones, etc., in the same way, in the blockchain, with Substrate, there will be excellent blockchain innovation products. As Dr. Gavin Wood said, “Unlike running applications through smart contracts (relatively small pieces of code running on the Ethereum blockchain), Polkadot allows each application developer to create their own blockchain, We will see many different innovative products that are impossible to exist in the smart contract environment.”

So why are we optimistic about Polkadot? We believe that Polkadot is a basic framework protocol in Web3.0. Polkadot is the best blockchain framework for building a full set of commercial infrastructure. Substrate is a tool for developing Web3.0 applications/products!

Based on this, PolkaWorld and Shuqin Technology, 8btc, Nano MG Innovation Space, imToken, SimpleChain, Hypersphere, IOSG, Acala Network, Digital Renaissance Foundation, Patract Labs, Polkadot Ecological Research Institute, hellobtc, Dorahacks, OneBlock + Co-sponsored the “Substrate Entrepreneur Camp” to help Substrate developers better create innovative products in the Polkadot ecosystem and witness the birth of Web3.0 distributed multi-chain applications!

Learn more and register for Substrate Entrepreneur Camp now!