Tezos Foundation Grantee | First Cohort
*This piece, written by Pocket Network, is the first Guest Post to the Tezos Foundation’s blog.
After several rounds of diligence, on June 10th, 2019, the Tezos Foundation announced the first cohort of its newly launched Ecosystem Grant Program. This program is designed to support and empower projects that work in synergy to bolster the Tezos community and improve the developer experience.
One of the first four projects chosen was Pocket Network, a decentralized API layer for connecting applications to node infrastructure. In this post, we would like to formally introduce Pocket Network to the Tezos community!
Pocket is working towards sustainable decentralization.
The mission of Pocket Network is to connect any app, to any blockchain, on any device by providing a decentralized and trustless API layer for applications to interface with directly.
Pocket believes in the power of decentralized applications and DAOs, and is working to implement an architecture that supports sustainable decentralization over time. We will highlight a few major pieces here that we are working on to achieve this mission.
An all-Inclusive relay network
Current options for developers to connect to infrastructure have resulted in more server-side centralization, which may lead to some of the same problems (censorship, network failures) that the blockchain space was born to solve.
App developers that care deeply about sustainable decentralization for the network of their choice may spend extra time and money setting up and maintaining their own nodes.
This is very much in the spirit of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, but less than optimal for their application development constraints. And in reality, only a small segment of app developers make this choice.
The more time and resources someone takes to spin up resilient nodes, the less time and resources they have to perfect the user experience.
The more common choice for developers of decentralized applications is to connect to a single service provider via an endpoint and then simply to forget about infrastructure.
The problem with over-reliance of single service providers is that most of these providers start to centralize themselves via optimizing for high margins and efficiencies. This leads the majority of node services to depend on cloud servers for hosting.
So, if all the world’s apps run in Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure, is it really decentralized?
This is where Pocket Network comes in to offer an alternative solution; a relay network for coordinating API requests across any node in a network, pseudo-randomly.
Whether it is a service provider running primarily on cloud servers, a data center operating a multitude of bare metal configs, or an individual in their garage running a single rig, they can all connect to Pocket Network and be treated equally.
All that an app developer needs to do is download a Pocket-enabled SDK and signal to the network which blockchain(s) they are going to use, then Pocket will coordinate their requests across nodes in the network. The experience is as simple as other traditional interfaces.
In the event that a node shuts down, the network automatically redirects the request to another valid node in the network. In these ways, Pocket is as efficient as a service provider but as resilient as a decentralized network should be.
Although a relatively new project, Pocket already has a diverse network of nodes for major blockchains like Ethereum and AION. With this grant from the Tezos Foundation, we will do the same and more for Tezos!
The Pocket Network founders have their roots in mobile application development and are keen to support the onboarding and experience of future mobile application developers.
In fact, the name “Pocket” was originally conceived out of the idea to “Put blockchains in the Pocket of everyday users.”
Because these mobile roots are so ingrained in the team, Pocket delivers tools and documentation for both iOS and Android developers to use for connecting to their blockchains of choice.
Which brings us to the Tezos Foundation’s grant, and what to expect from the Pocket team.
Pocket’s Tezos Grant & Ecosystem Support
Pocket will deliver three plugins for the Pocket SDKs so that any developer on a major platforms can seamlessly connect to Tezos.
iOS Plugin — for Swift devs.
Android Plugin — for Android devs.
It’s important to note that, although Pocket is developing these plugins for Pocket-Core SDKs, the team has no intention of competing with other Tezos tooling projects in the ecosystem.
In fact, if you are working on your own SDK or development tools and would like to collaborate with the Pocket, the team will make themselves available to help support an integration. To connect with us directly, email [email protected]
Aside from the custom plugins for major platforms, Pocket will run a Tezos node… of course!
Certain node operators in the Pocket Network today, such as the team at Figment Network, already support Tezos and will configure their nodes ASAP.
Along with every plugin, Pocket will provide baseline documentation, tutorials and walkthrough videos for the Tezos community to use.
Pocket will publish these materials at docs.pokt.network.
Upon the release, which is estimated to be completed within 2 months, the Pocket team will also make themselves available for support to any interested developer, whether a call, text chat, or webinar to walk through the codebase.
The Pocket team is dedicated to helping develop the Tezos developer community and potential Ecosystem Grantees.
If you wish to get a head start on understanding Pocket, or would like help with your own Tezos Foundation grant proposal, do not hesitate to reach out to the team at [email protected]
AMA tomorrow, June 27th.
To continue the conversation regarding Pocket Network and Tezos, the Pocket Team will host an AMA tomorrow, June 27th on the Tezos subreddit, /r/tezos/. Feel free to list any questions you may have for the team that the Tezos community may benefit from.
Looking forward to growing together.