It is clear that organisations can only operate effectively with easy access to products and services. Likewise, no organisation can continue to grow if late payments and poor procurement processes remain in place. This is where blockchain technology can play a crucial role, in both the modernisation and improvement of the logistics and operations which are vital to the performance of supply chain systems.
With the highly anticipated release of the Nexus Tritium Mainnet scheduled for the end of January 2019, application developers will be able to interact with the functionalities of the Nexus blockchain through an easy to use, feature-rich API set. APIs will create user-friendliness for developers who will be able to build in a wide range of languages, and interoperability for existing private systems to interact with the Nexus blockchain. Nexus has designed its software stack based on the Open System Interconnection (OSI) network reference model, with the fifth layer as the API layer.
What is an API?
An API is an Application Programming Interface. While a user interacts with a system through a user interface, an API allows developers to interact through a programmatic interface. The way this works is that the API provides a list or set of simple commands that execute a series of operations, which would otherwise require specialist programming knowledge. This allows a developer to request or submit data to a system providing functionality to a higher-level application. For example, Facebook’s Graph API allows access to “Login with Facebook” and other features of their system.
The distributed validation method provided by a public blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) (on-chain) is very secure in comparison to that of a private blockchain (side-chain) or centralized database (off-chain), because it is validated by many nodes forming a global consensus. However, private blockchains which are serviced by their own nodes provide other benefits that are much easier to develop and scale. One such benefit is to record proofs of private, sensitive, or proprietary data that are generally stored in a private database. This provides the private database the ability to edit or delete this data, in order to comply with regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while maintaining the positive qualities of immutable proofs from the private blockchain. An optimum balance between a Public Ledger, Private Ledgers, and Private Databases, will provide the performance and efficiency necessary for global adoption.
Nexus is developing the systems to enable private networks to utilize the public ledger, creating what is essentially a hybrid system, through an array of both private and public ‘template’ use case APIs. Public APIs will be provided by Nexus as open source technology, while Private APIs will be developed with businesses as their proprietary technology.
Nexus welcomes any interested parties to participate in our working groups to help shape the standardization process for the Nexus Software Stack, as we continue to develop the standardization body for DLT, similar to how the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) shapes the internet.
In addition to accessing the Public APIs, developers will be able to build their own Private APIs, providing the privacy of a permissioned system required to keep proprietary information and logic concealed, while harnessing the security of a public blockchain. This is possible through the use of state recording checkpoints between the private and public networks to ensure that agreements in the private network are also recorded in the public network, shown by the diagram below.
Given that only the aggregated state of the private ledger is recorded, sensitive or private data is not stored on the public ledger. Therefore, private APIs can secure proprietary contract logic, such as private supply chains, notaries, consumer verification services, etc., providing private services that the public layers are unable to. Since a private API functions as its own private network that synchronizes to the public network, one can expect the level of reliability and security of DLT. A private network can be operated under a software services license, or by the commissioner of a said API service. The final result, is a robust service that provides interoperability with existing private systems.
Nexus Private API Service for Enterprise range from hosting solutions to full private API buildout. Private APIs can be custom-built either by Nexus on behalf of a private client, or by any third party with or without consultation. Private testnets can also be provided during development to avoid loading the public and final private ledger with redundant data.
It is often claimed that the ratio of demand to supply for blockchain developers is 20:1, which has led to the high costs associated with blockchain development and low business adoption. Since most programmers are already comfortable interacting with an API, building on the Nexus API can be as simple as developing a web-app. Through improvements in accessibility, Nexus is set to significantly reduce the barriers to entry for blockchain technology.