Crypto investors know that new coins are a dime a dozen. You can find hundreds of coins offering the same services over and over. You will find thousands more that do absolutely nothing. But there is a rarer breed of cryptocurrencies that offers a unique product. These are the top-of-the-line cryptos: Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), Internet Computer (CCC:ICP-USD), Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD). The Waves (CCC:WAVES-USD) crypto is one of these.
Waves is a blockchain ecosystem built with a purpose: to see if existing blockchain technologies can be done differently, and better. It seeks to offer everything there is to offer with blockchain. It has a decentralized exchange, a smart contract language, a non-fungible token (NFT) exchange and more.
More importantly, its products speak to a coming change in the way people use technology. And as Waves CEO Sasha Ivanov tells InvestorPlace, some of his blockchain network’s latest innovations will be at the forefront of this paradigm shift.
Waves Crypto: An Ecosystem Built for Fun
Ivanov created the Waves protocol back in 2016, making it a “legacy chain” of sorts. According to Ivanov, Waves is a generalized chain — it accommodates many different types of decentralized applications (DApps). One of its earliest DApps was that of Waves’ decentralized exchange, or DEX, launched in 2017.
Ivanov lauds the Waves blockchain for being completely different from Ethereum and other competitors. Blockchains built on Ethereum use EVM, or Ethereum Virtual Machine, for testing, security and other features. EVM is a layer between the code of a network and the actual machine executing the code, providing structure to the whole network.
However, Ivanov and his team subverted it completely. “We do everything our own way,” he says. “We don’t have EVM. It has always been like that because that has always been my idea: to do something completely differently.”
The Waves crypto has been able to find its own success by not looking to Ethereum for a base product. Instead, it uses its own smart contract language, Ride, to structure its contracts and DApps. It has its own decentralized exchange, which developers are currently preparing to turn into a one-of-a-kind hybrid exchange.
Waves’ New Products Seek to Fill Gaps in Blockchain Needs
Speaking on the new exchange, Ivanov is excited at the prospect of his blockchain pushing a new envelope. “It has never been done before, so I’m quite timid,” he says. “People will see a traditional order book, like Binance’s, but they will be able to add liquidity and — through their own liquidity pool — launch their own tokens.”
The resulting product intends to be an all-in-one avenue for developers to create and launch their own DeFi products and tokens all within the Waves ecosystem. It’s ambitious, but it speaks to where blockchain tech as a whole is heading within the next few years. It is meant to build on the already impressive feats of the alternative blockchain. In fact, the network’s Neutrino (CCC:USDN-USD) stablecoin has surpassed $1 billion in total value locked on the exchange, an indicator of the DEX’s fast success.
Likewise, upping scalability is less of a hassle to Waves’ development team than it is a puzzle for their own enjoyment. “My goal is not to try to replicate [a] sharding approach or layer-2 approaches, but to try to come up with something completely new. It would be really fun,” he says. Sharding and layer-2 solutions are both existing ways to up the amount of transactions per second on a blockchain network; sharding breaks the chain down into independent “shards,” and layer-2 solutions use side chains to reduce bottlenecking of transactions on a chain.
It’s not something the Waves crypto network needs to pursue just yet with the apt scalability the protocol has now, but as products keep rolling out, it’s something to look forward to. And, what few things it lacks, Ivanov says are coming soon. “We will have a complete DeFi ecosystem by mid-summer,” he says. As of now, he is right on target with this timeline; Waves is rolling out the liquidity pools on its exchange very soon, according to a recent tweet from Ivanov.
An Incoming Shift Toward Broader Blockchain Ecosystems
It is through this lens of curious innovation that we see a shifting interest. Users like expansive products like Waves, because they work to offer every product one would need. Other blockchains are seeing this and working in the same fashion.
Internet Computer is another successful example; the blockchain ecosystem boasts web-speed transactions and a DApp framework similar to Waves. Ethereum is making efforts to expand its web too, while also looking for ways to improve scalability through shifting to a proof-of-stake protocol.
Waves isn’t threatened by these other ecosystems branching out. It’s part of the charm of different blockchains; each is invested in its own community. “We can’t really compete with Binance Smart Chain,” Ivanov says. “They have too much money. But we can definitely occupy our own niche.”
“Many people love Waves because it’s different from Ethereum. And Ethereum’s EVM approach is replicated on Binance’s Smart Chain. It has its drawbacks, and I think people are looking for something new. We have this, we have a lot of traction with [our Waves] apps.”
NFTs Seek to Bridge Blockchain and Real-World Needs
The innovation for the Waves crypto network does not stop with scalability or DApps. In fact, it’s entering the field of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)… and betting this class of digital assets has an incredibly useful future.
“Two years ago, I would’ve been saying that all NFTs are scams,” Ivanov says with a laugh. “But, I am maybe a little more wise now.”
However, Ivanov is skeptical over whether NFTs are truly groundbreaking for art. “I’m not sure it’s going to revolutionize [the art market]. It’s just a natural upgrade, it comes along and people use it.”
Regardless, his Waves crypto ecosystem is implementing its own Duck Hunt NFT game, in which users scavenge for unique duck NFTs that they can breed to become rarer and rarer. Top players can find the game to be very lucrative, with rarer NFTs selling for thousands of dollars. The incentive is already proving successful, locking down hundreds of thousands of dollars in game-related tokens.
This game is just the beginning.
Art can always be replicated, as we have seen in more critical responses to the rise of NFTs. That is why Ivanov sees NFTs moving into a more non-fungible space, focusing on things like insurance contracts, house deeds and other important, real-life documents. Essentially, what is seen as novelty in the present could be a way to digitally organize and certify important documents in the future, revealing their true utility.
DAOs Bring Governance Back to the Blockchain
Likewise, community engagement and governance are likely going to see a surge, according to Ivanov. Since the Ethereum DAO hack, not much has been done with the space, but blockchain developers are beginning to gravitate toward the function once again.
For those unfamiliar, decentralized autonomous organizations allow for functions like trust-building in crypto communities, as well as protocol expansion and strengthening. Essentially DAOs facilitate functions that benefit from group decision-making.
“It would be interesting to try and start a new wave for DAO usage,” says Ivanov. “People can put money together to build totally new applications, but we lack a framework for it. I think a new approach to on-chain governance is going to be quite important soon.”
Waves has already launched its first step into DAOs with Waves Enterprise. The platform contains frameworks for on-chain voting for various functions, like its decentralized treasury and cash management services. It is joined by other increasingly popular DAO networks like MakerDAO (CCC:MKR-USD) and the governance functions of a network like Venus (CCC:XVS-USD).
Practical Blockchains Will Lead to Crucial Crypto Evolutions
The keen sense for progress that Sasha Ivanov possesses gives us insight into where the world of crypto will be in the coming years. What seems like a fun project is turning into robust systems through which one can build websites and smart contracts. Soon enough, if what Ivanov believes holds true, we will see the technology bridge with real-world applications.
And it’s through this bridge that cryptos will shift.
The asset class is currently awash with cryptos that exist just to grow in value. But as blockchains like Waves and Ethereum continue to push practical decentralized utilities, investors are going to look more at the cryptos with better “fundamentals.” It’s just a matter of time, and that’s why you should be keeping the Waves crypto on your radar.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.