The æternity blockchain protocol was built on Erlang – an open-source programming language. The æternity crypto foundation will in future work alongside WhatsApp, Ericsson and others to further drive Erlang’s development.

Liechtenstein-based æternity crypto foundation today announced it joined the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation as one of its founding members. Emin Mahrt, Board Member of the æternity crypto foundation, says, “It’s important for us to support Erlang and so we have joined this effort as a founding member to help propel the long term development of open-source technology.”

The æternity crypto foundation is the body governing the open-source æternity blockchain protocol, which was built on Erlang, a general-purpose programming language. Just like the æternity crypto foundation supports efforts for the æternity ecosystem, the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation’s goal is to drive the further development of the Erlang programming language.

“The æternity blockchain uses Erlang for its reference implementation. So, naturally, we want to support efforts to ensure Erlang remains well-equipped to handle the growing demands of the future,” says Mahrt.  

Teaming up with Whatsapp, Cisco, Ericsson

Besides æternity, the Erlang Programming language is used by companies such as Whatsapp, Cisco, and Ericsson. It is also being used for various applications, for example the Lumen project. Being part of the Erlang Foundation means æternity will in future work alongside well-established tech companies to develop Erlang.

“Joining the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation is an important milestone in growing and strengthening the æternity ecosystem,” said Mahrt. “We are keen on exploring more fields of research and are looking forward to joining forces with other Erlang professionals to collaborate on efforts in areas that are very interesting for the æternity open-source technology.”

Erlang enables flexibility for blockchain frameworks

Wikipedia explains Erlang’s main functionalities like this: “The Erlang runtime system is designed for systems with these traits:

  • Distributed
  • Fault-tolerant
  • Soft real-time
  • Highly available, non-stop applications
  • Hot-swapping, where code can be changed without stopping a system.”

How familiar does that sound when thinking about blockchain applications? Erlang is mostly used by companies to process large amounts of information in real-time, which is also what blockchains are supposed to do.

With these characteristics, Erlang is especially useful for platforms like æternity that are designed to build DApps and smart contracts. The programming language comes with many built-in features that are useful for a blockchain system, like hot-upgrade, concurrency and high-availability.

Erlang allows for a high degree of flexibility. Using Erlang enables blockchain frameworks to be open to extension, meaning users can add more applications or implement more complicated features.

For example, a blockchain platform needs to be able to run both the framework code and the customer’s code in a mixed manner. That requires secure isolation to work appropriately. A smart contract defined by the user might use the same variable names as framework-defined contracts. Other implementations might replace part of a blockchain system with their own implementation or add new features. Erlang enables this kind of flexibility.

Other blockchain companies will in the future also use Erlang to build platforms and applications. Thus, æternity joining forces with the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation, teaming up with other tech players to speed up research and development efforts, is not only a positive for æternity but the blockchain industry in general. 

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