Blockchains are the core of the crypto-sphere and what makes the trust-less, permission-less and decentralised philosophy of the crypto-community come to life. Simply put, without blockchain technology cryptocurrencies would not exist!
What is Blockchain?
The first Blockchain was Bitcoin only 16 years ago. Since then blockchain technology has rapidly evolved and fractured down many avenues such as: data protection, supply chain management, copyright management and many more.
Blockchain technology has allowed for the diversification of digital assets to spread such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Not only do these blockchains verify transactions and assets, they can make the financial world completely transparent and trust-less; no longer forced to trust third-parties, instead trusting in the smart contracts which are the foundation of any blockchain.
As more and more custom blockchain development will occur, surely there is a better way than everyone starting from scratch? That’s where Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) steps in.
What Is Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS)
BaaS is the creation and maintenance of blockchain services, often seen as the foundational level, for builders and other organisations to utilise for their own individual blockchain projects. Blockchain-as-a-Service could be seen as how the web design industry has made website design extremely intuitive through services like Wix, instead of being forced to use HTML.
Companies are able to provide the certificates, hardware and software required to create and manage your network. Ultimately strips a lot of the complexity out of blockchain technology allowing you to focus on what really matters.
For this reason, the BaaS industry is projected to reach a whopping $25bn by 2027, a massive increase from its current $2.3bn market size.
Up until recently Microsoft was one of the biggest players in the industry with Azure; released in 2015, subsequently shutdown. Microsoft shutting down Azure blockchain service may seem like a big hit to the industry, but there are several more big players ready to take their spot.
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Amazon with their Amazon Managed Blockchain service helps with the creation and management of scalable blockchain networks. They utilise Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum which they state allows users to ‘set up and manage scalable networks with just a few clicks’.
Other big players in the BaaS industry are:
- Oracle: The Oracle Blockchain Platform is another BaaS project. Their main focus is allowing the indisputable movement of data through a blockchain
- Huawei: Through the use of the Huawei Cloud, Huawei’s Cloud Blockchain service provides the on-ramp for blockchain developers to rapidly build and develop their ideas
- IBM: One of the largest investors in BaaS, bringing hyperledgers to businesses all around the world & providing custom blockchain development
- R3 – Corda: Marketed as the ‘#1 enterprise-grade blockchain platform’, this BaaS provides excellent DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) enabling seamless and ready-to-use peer-to-peer foundation for others to build on top of
What’s Next For BaaS?
The growth of Blockchain-as-a-Service is directly linked to the advancement or regression of blockchain technology. Similar to SaaS, the more companies which require blockchain technology, the more the market will grow and the more niche services will be covered by different BaaS companies. Ultimately, these two effects will compound on eachother pushing BaaS forward into the future.
BaaS will help revolutionise how we interact with the digital and physical world and the trust and privacy we come to expect. For example, blockchain technology used in businesses often removes unnecessary middle-men that are ingrained in our life; such as PayPal.
Great BaaS services will allow even small-scale businesses to utilise blockchain technology and unshackle themselves from greedy middlemen wanting their share. BaaS will further push liquidity mining forward, decentralising the control of money even further.
Remember: Blockchain means the user trusts the smart-contract, not the centralised authority. Many middle-men add no value in today’s world and mass adoption of blockchain technology will soon expose that.
However there are a few elements which may hinder BaaS going forward which are:
- Those with centralised authority enjoy the power they hold and will not easily relinquish it
- Decentralisation is not good in every scenario!
- Who is responsible for the verification of the smart-contracts, especially as most BaaS services are helping with DLTs (Dealing with sensitive data and financial information)
These are but a few questions which we should be thinking about for the future of BaaS and blockchain technology as a whole.
With the unprecedented rise of the BaaS market, we should expect even more big players to enter the landscape, providing invaluable framework and footing for small-medium blockchain developers looking to take their project off the ground.
Similar to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), BaaS is what may take blockchain development mainstream as it is commercialised and re-packaged to the average consumer with easy interfaces, interaction and understanding.