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The Codius Smart Contract Network: A Potential Alternative for the Ethereum Blockchain?

Jun 06, 2018

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Codius, an open-source smart contract platform developed by Ripple in 2014 but abandoned in 2015, may change how websites monetize content. Monetizing web content currently requires websites to rely on advertisements, paywalls, and the collection of user data. Codius, meanwhile, uses an “Interledger” open-source protocol designed to direct payments across different ledgers which will enable users’ browsers to make payments to the websites they visit.

Codius is being re-launched by Ripple's former CTO Stefan Thomas. Thomas is utilizing Codius as the basis for his new company, Coil. The utility of the Codius platform is vast. One of the use cases for the Codius system is a "revenue disbursement contract". This type of smart contract would, for example, transfer revenue from people who watch a movie and distribute it to the movie’s creators. News outlets may also find Codius useful, as it would facilitate the management of reader’s subscriptions and authorizations.

While many companies have built their projects on the Ethereum blockchain, these groups are finding that transaction costs are mounting, the coding structure is rigid, and scalability is restricted on the Ethereum blockchain. Codius will capitalize on the limitations of the Ethereum blockchain by allowing users to create smart contracts in numerous programming languages. These smart contracts then form a network of “oracles”, which can broadcast the transaction data to external sources with more efficiency and less cost than operating directly on Ethereum’s blockchain. Versatility is one of Codius’ most appealing traits, as it is able to handle not only multiple cryptocurrencies, but fiat currencies as well.

Why was a project with so much potential scrapped? Well, there are a few reasons. Smart contracts provide a potential gateway for less-than-scrupulous actors to gain access to digital ledgers. Integrating smart contracts into a blockchain was also very difficult, because it required rapid communication between multiple ledgers, which simply wasn’t available during that time. There were further concerns about the actual value and use cases for smart contracts.

Technological developments since 2014 have changed the environment for smart contracts, increasing their use cases and utility. Codius now offers a service that many groups may find appealing. The flexibility of the Codius platform, according to Thomas, will be one of the more significant draws for developers as Coduis allows programmers to operate under less restrictive rules than they would have to when working on a blockchain. Security is another feature offered by Codius, as its network of “HyperContainers”, which uses Docker containers to isolate a contract's code and minimizes the potential for breaches. Lower transaction costs and faster transaction processing than the Ethereum blockchain are also factors that make Codius an attractive smart contract platform.

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