Introduction to Lisk (LSK) Part 1

The vision for Lisk. Sidechains.


One of the biggest problems in the blockchain industry is getting developers create new blockchains and make modifications to existing software. The issue exists because of all the different codebases written in a variety of programming languages that popular blockchain networks have under their hoods. For example, the Bitcoin Core software uses primarily C++ while Ethereum mostly uses Solidity, a programming language created by the developers of the Ethereum network specifically for the Ethereum network. At the same time, one of the most popular programming languages in the world is JavaScript, that neither Bitcoin nor Ethereum are using.

The founders of Lisk, Max Kordek and Oliver Beddows, decided that this was a huge opportunity and started their decentralized network with a vision of making blockchains more accessible to regular developers.


The vision for Lisk

The biggest problem that modern developers face when distributing their apps is similar to the problems of artists and sellers of merchandise that use centralized platforms. With merchandise, it is likely that sellers are going to be selling their products on Amazon. Not only does Amazon take a cut on each and every sale, but it also considers the customers to be the customers of Amazon and not the seller. In addition to this, Amazon has access to all the data about the sales of the merchants on the platform. When Amazon decides that it wants a share of a market, it starts manufacturing the same products under one of its own brands. For example, here you can see all the products and services for the brand called AmazonBasics Altogether, according to an article from Recode (source:, Amazon has over seventy private-label brands that it uses to sell merchandise on its own platform.

Music artists have to deal with similar problems. If they want for their music to get wide distribution, they have to deal with a small number of giants such as Pandora and Apple Music. The giants are fully in change as to how much money the artists get and when and how the algorithms on the platforms deliver the music to the listeners.

The same happens to the developers of computer software. Developers would typically submit their apps to a platform such as Google Play or Apple App Store. The platforms decide how much revenue they are going to get and what rules the developers need to follow. Lisk has a vision for a more fair platform that developers can use to distribute their apps to the users directly, without sharing a huge percentage of the profits with a centralized platform such as the ones from Google and Apple.

To help developers accomplish that, Lisk has created Lisk App SDK (SDK is an abbreviation for software development kit). Everything in the kit is written in JavaScript, making it easy for developers to figure things about. Using Lisk App SDK, developers can create all kinds of apps, including social networks, games, messengers, financial apps, storage solutions, sharing apps similar to AirBnB and Uber, online stores, and more. All of these apps on the Lisk platform are fully decentralized and do not need any complex consensus algorithms.


Lisk sidechains

All apps that developers on the Lisk network create using Lisk App SDK exist as independent sidechains. Each sidechain is a separate blockchain that developers can customize in any way they want. Because apps are separate blockchains, they are also free of any pollution that may exist on the main chain. To keep a standalone chain free from spam, developers can introduce transaction fees that can either be in regular Lisk LSK tokens or in the tokens proprietary to the sidechains.

In case developers want to use regular Lisk LSK tokens, they will have to deal with one restriction, which is that they can’t simply transfer tokens between different blockchains as if the blockchains were just one blockchain. For this reason, the Lisk ecosystem has a separate kind of transaction that allows developers to transfer Lisk LSK tokens from the main chain to a side chain. Because of this transaction, the tokens do not leave the main LSK blockchain. They simply become a part of the account of the owner of the sidechain on the main Lisk LSK chain.  At the same time, during the transaction the LSK blockchain creates an equal number of tokens on the sidechain and the developers can use these token on the sidechain.

Practically speaking, this means two things. First, if something happens to the sidechain, then all the tokens will still be safe because the main chain keeps them in the account of the sidechain owner. Second, the users of the sidechain need to trust the creator of the sidechain who has the Lisk tokens in his or her account.

In case a developer or a team of developers doesn’t want to use the LISK cryptocurrency, it is also possible to create an entirely new token and run an initial coin offering for the new token, sell the token on exchanges or offer it to angel investors and private investors. This way, users on a sidechain will have full control of their tokens.

If an issue happens on a side chain of a main Lisk blockchain and the side chain community decides that the chain needs a fork similar to the fork of Ethereum Classic or Bitcoin Cash, the community can have a fork on the sidechain and the fork will not have any impact on the main Lisk blockchain. The main blockchain will stay decentralized, immutable and functional.