We will need integrated development environments (IDEs) and continuous integration and testing procedures to move applications and their attendant code from development to QA and ultimately reliable production implementations. Additionally, because blockchains cannot access data outside their network on their own, third-party services (known as oracles, agents, or data feeds) will also need to be integrated.
These oracles or agents typically access and verify real-world occurrences and submit this information to a blockchain to be used by smart contracts. They provide external data when needed and push it onto the blockchain. Such conditions could be anything, such as the flight delay information we saw in the insurance example. The blockchain will have to operate efficiently, scale well, handle the know-your-client (KYC) process, create the aforementioned oracles or APIs that produce and consume off-chain services to verify events and data and handle/convert real-world money to and from cryptocurrencies, and integrate well with different chains. This is all in progress, and we will explore some of these IDEs and development processes in detail as we proceed.
A lot has changed since blockchain first emerged as the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a distributed ledger of transactions and asset ownership that is maintained by a network of computers over the Internet. More proof of its ability to reduce costs and speed up post-trade processes has emerged in the past year. We will explore this in detail.