A Blockchain Story—Introducing Emotiq
Every world-changing technology has its own story. An obscure beginning unravels into a thunderous first act, a cautious middle, and then a victorious end. The blockchain is no different. In fact, if we were to write it out scene-by-scene, it’d go something like this:
Scene 1. Rumblings in the kingdom. A steely-eyed savior arrives to challenge the Lords of the castle.
Scene 2. A valiant battle is fought. The savior is given a name: the blockchain. But the Lords fight back. The savior retreats, for though lionhearted, their strength is not yet enough.
Scene 3. The savior journeys into the mountains. It rains. It snows. Through a long, hard winter they train—preparing, discovering, learning—for the war is not over, and without strife, there cannot be victory.
Scene 4. TBD.
While the blockchain toiled in obscurity during its early years, tentatively watched and nurtured by early enthusiasts and tech pioneers—who turned Satoshi’s vision into a reality—it’s since come of age, as much the future as AI and self-driving cars.
But the fight is far from won.
To supplant institutions, as well as the functions and services they provide, the blockchain needs to be better, stronger, and more capable. It needs to scale to thousands of transactions per second, be more secure and private than existing solutions, and be usable by everyone.
It’s under these conditions that we present Emotiq—as a scalable, private, natural blockchain. Emotiq is inspired by stories—and specifically, by Zork.
Emotiq and Zork
Zork is one of the earliest interactive fiction computer games. Written using Inform 6, Zork is a dungeon adventure experienced and played entirely through text. Players input via commands to interact with objects—such as a ‘sword’, ‘bow’, ‘chest’ or ‘troll’—journey to destinations, and smite enemies, wending their way through pages of narration, detailed scenarios, and verbose puzzles.
Let’s call this Lego-box storytelling. Zork tells a powerful story in a controlled environment, with preset conditions, variables, and outcomes. A new object cannot be introduced if it does not already exist in the program, and the possible outcomes in any given scenario are finite. A player may not choose to turn left—and survive—if survival is only possible by turning right, as ordained by the fiction’s creators.
Zork was (and is, should you have a love for retro gaming) fun. It wasn’t easy, but it was easy to use—and, with Inform, easy to program.
Emotiq and Inform
If Zork is the inspiration for Emotiq, Inform is its modus operandi. It is the model upon which Ring—Emotiq’s plain English smart contract language—is based. Inform is a programming language and design tool for interactive fiction, usable by anyone.
With Inform 7, anybody may create their own interactive stories with minimal programming knowledge. It features a library of specifiable objects and functions—verbs and nouns—and tutorials to show how they may interact with one another. For example, in the source line “The Wood is a Room”, The Wood becomes a destination within the story—the staging point for the user’s journey.
Emotiq and Ring
Ring is a natural language—i.e., plain English—smart contract language. Ring allows non-programmers to access the blockchain’s capabilities, namely smart contracts, and make use of them in the real world. We can describe it as a terminal (or any object through which a user may easily interact with a computer system).
Ring is, like Zork and Inform, interactive. As Inform hides its complex programming from fiction creators, so too does Ring add an accessible, natural layer that sits on top of and articulates a hidden programming language—Lisp, in our case—to allow anybody to create functional smart contracts.
Ring addresses what had been the blockchain’s greatest challenge—accessibility. Even as Emotiq strives to be more scalable and private than existing solutions, there’s little point creating a powerful blockchain sealed behind closed doors. Ring is the key. It allows us—us as people, not us as programmers—to unlock the blockchain’s undisputed potential, to create smart contracts as we would legal contracts, usable within any number of scenarios (exchanges, transactions, etc.)
But to return to our earlier analogy, Emotiq is the strength our savior discovers up on that mountain—thereafter regarded as a sacred place—before his valiant return. It is puzzle piece before the resolution, the power to smite the Lords of the castle, to conquer the challenge of turning an awesome concept into an awesome tool.
That’s the outline for the next scene, at least, in which Emotiq plays a starring role.