Cartesi: the first OS on blockchain
Cartesi calls itself the first OS Blockchain.
OS stands for Operating System and is a well-known acronym primarily for being used in the names of Apple’s operating systems, such as iOS and MacOS.
Cartesi is based on the open source Linux operating system and blockchain. In this way it allows developers to create decentralized logic with Linux and standard programming environments, while preserving the decentralization and security of blockchain.
The goal is to move beyond the Solidity programming language for smart contracts on Ethereum, and to be able to code smart contracts with other software tools, libraries, and services that developers are already accustomed to working with, and without scalability limitations.
The CTSI token
Cartesi also has its own ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain called CTSI.
It debuted on the crypto markets in April 2020, just after the financial market crash in March of that year caused by the onset of the pandemic.
Until December 2020 its price had rarely exceeded $0.05, but with the start of the last big bull run it soared.
During 2021 it touched two big peaks, the first in May at over $1.7, and the second in November at just under $1.5.
In other words, in the first five months of 2021 it posted a resounding +3,300%, although then starting in December it began a steep descent.
Over the course of 2022 it first fell below $0.3 in early May, then after the implosion of the Terra/Luna ecosystem and the bankruptcy of Celsius it fell as low as $0.14.
With the collapse of FTX it also fell below $0.1, although in the following weeks it rose again to almost $0.12.
The current price is thus 93% below last year’s highs, but it is still more than double the price before the 2021 bull run.
Cartesi’s Operating System
The operating system of Cartesi promises to be scalable, sophisticated, developer-friendly, secure, multichain, and privacy-guaranteed.
It wants to be an alternative to Ethereum, and especially Solidity, for developers who want to create smart contracts without having to learn to program in different languages than they already use.
The smart contracts created with this operating system are based on Cartesian rollups that allow the development of decentralized applications that are much more sophisticated than traditional ones, and impossible on layer 1.
In particular, Cartesi Rollups Alpha 0.7.0, or the latest version of the Cartesi rollup, was recently released.
The new version also includes a new simple Auction dApp, which is an example that can help developers understand the possibilities for which Cartesi technology can be used.
Cartesi rollups are a modular execution layer that elevates simple smart contracts to decentralized Linux runtimes. In addition, each dApp has its own high-performance rollup chain, and it is possible to create a whole new class of dApps that cannot currently run on EVM chains.
Recently the founder of Cartesi, Erick de Moura, commented on what would need to be done after the Merge to make Ethereum even more scalable.
Indeed, despite the move to Proof-of-Stake, there is still much to be done to maximize Ethereum’s potential while keeping fees low. This path to higher scalability goes right through rollups and layer 2 solutions.
De Moura pointed out that the scalability problem has two main aspects, namely data and computation. On blockchain these resources are very limited, and therefore expensive, so mainstream adoption requires higher orders of magnitude for both data and computation.
One solution to this will be the introduction of sharding in the future, but in the meantime it is the rollup projects that are working to improve the computational capabilities of smart contracts by enabling the processing of a greater volume of transactions.
According to de Moura, most transactions in the future will actually take place precisely on the rollup layers running on top of layer 1, so as to enable speed and low cost, but with the strong security guarantee of Ethereum.
To be precise, rollups allow all transaction data to be compressed by performing off-chain calculations from a separate network, so that data usage on the blockchain is greatly reduced by virtually eliminating all computational load as well.
However, in order to prevent rollups from also becoming more expensive over time if they are used by many people, the solution proposed by de Moura and Cartesi is not to force different applications to share the same rollup chain. In fact, as more and more applications share the same rollup virtual machine they create slowdowns or real congestion, whereas using application-specific rollups avoids the problem altogether.
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