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Have you ever wondered when all the applications we use will be blockchain-based and decentralized? Why hasn’t this day come yet?
In fact, the majority of DApps can be slower and lack the functionality that the public is used to. Most current blockchain-related technologies cannot be scaled to the levels required for large applications such as social networks, web apps, IoT providers, etc.
However, there is one piece of the development stack that programmers often ignore but will inspire the next wave of decentralized applications and potentially accelerate mass adoption.
What is an indexing solution and who is it for?
Consuming relevant and concise data is critical for almost any web application. The same goes for decentralized applications, DeFi and NFT applications that are built on the blockchain and use it as the primary source of information.
They require on-chain indexingwhich is not a system, but rather a database optimization process that reduces the number of disk accesses required while processing queries. Simply put, indexing is a data structure technique used to quickly locate and access data stored in the foundation of a network.
It gives users access to portfolio aggregators, TVL dashboards, portfolio profiling and other features. However, unlike traditional data storage systems, some aspects of blockchain make data retrieval time-consuming and painfully difficult.
Individual projects that want to challenge the history of the blockchain and build usable data points for their apps must pay a high price and require additional computing power.
Why are centralized indexing solutions outdated?
When blockchain applications and the technology were in their infancy, a centralized indexing solution might have sufficed. But as new features were added, it became apparent that centralized indexing solutions limited application capacity and required additional cost and energy.
In addition, the centralized indexing solution failed to meet a simple but critical criteriondecentralization.
Decentralized applications already rely on centralized indexers to get on-chain data, but this deviates from the crypto ideals of trustlessness on a fundamental level.
Programs depend on one system and lack the expected autonomy. In addition, centralization can lead to serious defects and even failure.
A decentralized indexing solution, on the other hand, offers the following benefits.
- Instead of using resource-intensive hardware, this mechanism dramatically reduces operating costs.
- In addition, indexers serve the most recent database first and then search for historical data. This method is more efficient than the peers method, which indexes and serves the entire blockchain database.
- Hosting indexers on a globally distributed network of nodes with a fully decentralized stack eliminates single points of failure. Also, projects and developers do not need a central infrastructure, which is an important change for indexing.
- Once your indexer is running on a platform, no government or centralized authority can stop or block it. Even if one part of the decentralized network goes down, the others will continue to work, just like your indexer.
- Decentralized indexing is the one that projects can easily use themselves to deploy custom indexers. Everyone has quick access to the market without going through a central intermediary or an external party.
Will we see mass adoption sooner if we all use decentralized indexing solutions
Blockchain applications can function without an open-source, decentralized indexing solution.
Besides, even though indexing solutions are a critical part of the DApp functionality, they cannot guarantee the success of a project as it depends on several factors including a strong concept, a well-thought-out roadmap, sound financial management and others.
However, using decentralized open-source indexing solutions allows applications to run more efficiently. If something works well and seems easy to use, it’s more likely that demand will grow, making DApps something many people use every day.
Claudio Pascariello is the co-founder of Aleph.im.
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