How to Build a Blockchain

  • By Tony Morinello in Learning
  • 29 Apr 2022
  • 8 min read

Blockchain technology has become quite popular in recent years. It is now much more common to see decentralized applications being used in the real world compared to just a few years ago. Today there are more coins and tokens out there than anyone can keep track of. Despite the popularity and number of projects, there are still many uncertainties and misconceptions that exist in the crypto world. For instance, many people have the desire to create a token, however they struggle to find a true usage for it.

 

Table of Contents

  • How to Create a Blockchain Network
  • Define Your Use Case(s) for Building a Blockchain
  • What is a Use Case?
  • Why Write Use Cases?
  • Research Similar Blockchains & Blockchain Projects
  • Select Your Platform For Blockchain Creation
  • How to Create a Token?
  • How to Create a Cryptocurrency?
  • What are Sidechains?
  • How Scalability Issues Are Mitigated
  • The Benefit of Customizability
  • Utilizing other Sidechains for Increased Accessibility
  • Create a Fork of an Existing Blockchain
  • How to Create a Blockchain from Scratch?
  • Finding Help to Create Your Blockchain
  • Fund Your Blockchain Project

How to Create a Blockchain Network

When deciding to create a blockchain, there are many considerations that need to be made before you actually get to the building process. Below you can find a list of just some of those considerations you should research prior to getting your project off the ground. Keep in mind that while they are numbered, they may not be in the order in which you should work on them. That will depend on your project and your situation.

Define Your Usecase(s) for Building a Blockchain

Have a great idea for building a blockchain application? Great! Before you go any further, it is best to take some time to identify all of your potential use cases. Doing so will help you tremendously throughout the next few steps, as these will be the building blocks to describe what problems your project is trying to solve, and how it intends to solve them.

What is a Use Case?

A use case is a specific situation in which a product or service could potentially be used. Essentially they are steps used for someone to reach a goal. There are many different formats you could use when creating your use cases. Some are written out, some are pictures, some include a bit of both. The format you use is not crucial, what really matters is that you get all of your thoughts down for how your blockchain application will work.

Why Write Use Cases?

There are many advantages to writing use cases before creating a blockchain. First, they can help explain how your blockchain works. Potential issues could be identified before you start development. They could lead to some other collective ideas that weren’t realized before. They will probably also help when you are determining which technologies to use for your crypto project. Finally, they can help you visualize the user experience, which will ultimately help with accessibility. Being able to clearly write these ideas down and share with others is very useful in planning your blockchain application.

Research Similar Blockchains & Blockchain Projects

No matter how innovative an idea you have, chances are you are not the first to come up with it. Before diving into building a blockchain, it is important to see what else is already out there. Are there any products that meet your use cases, blockchain or otherwise? Are those projects actively being used? Is development still ongoing? What do those projects do well? How can they be improved? These are all questions you should be asking to help you better your own ideas for developing a blockchain.

Select Your Platform For Blockchain Creation

Based on your research and use cases, it is now time to figure out which platform to build your blockchain on. There are many factors that go into this selection. Will it be easy to build your project on? Does it have a strong reputation? Has it been thoroughly tested to be reliable? Is active development going on? Does it have a strong community and development team that you can turn to for questions, advice, and motivation? Maybe most importantly, does it fit the needs of your use cases?

 

With so many platforms out there, it can be very overwhelming to choose from. Go slow and really dive deep into what each has to offer. Thoroughly read the Lisk SDK documentation, which enables developers to build scalable Blockchain applications in JavaScript. Dive into all of the resources offered by Ethereum. Take time to visit a few of their communities. In short, don’t rush here and really grasp the benefits and disadvantages each platform has to offer you.

How to Create a Token?

Have you determined that you need smart contracts, and therefore wish to create your token? Ethereum is currently the go to chain for this, with the most projects being built on it by far. That said, there are other platforms, such as Solana, Cardano, Avalanche, Cosmos, and others that you should look into as well to see which would be the best fit.

How to Create a Cryptocurrency?

While creating a token may be adequate for some projects, it is not the solution for every one. If you require more features, you may have to look into creating your own chain. Before you rush off to create your own from scratch, look into a few other options that may be simpler and fit your overall needs better.

What are Sidechains?

Need more customization than a smart contract can handle? Want to create the next killer blockchain app? Consider developing your own sidechain. Look into the Lisk, Polygon, Loom, or Ardor platforms to meet your needs. There are many advantages to developing on a sidechains, including scalability, customizability, and the ability to utilize other sidechains on the same network.

How Scalability Issues Are Mitigated

As blockchains are used more and more, so are the number of transactions being made. There comes a point where the demand for these transactions being made exceeds the threshold the blockchain can actually produce. Have you ever had to pay a huge ETH fee to move one of your stablecoins to another wallet? That is a common example of a scalability issue we face today. With sidechains, each chain handles their own transactions. This is different from other solutions, such as Ethereum, where tokens rely on the main chain to generate transactions. Having a separate chain allows transactions to run much more smoothly.

The Benefit of Customizability

Creating your own sidechain means you can make your project much more customizable. This gives you the freedom to do virtually anything you want. This is not the case if you were to create an ERC token, which has much more limited options.

Utilizing other Sidechains for Increased Accessibility

Your sidechain will be one of many other sidechains that are part of the same ecosystem. As a result, you will be able to utilize the other sidechains on your network when you see fit. How this works and what you can actually do will vary depending on the mainchain you are on and the existing sidechains attached to it.

 

Lisk’s solution for interoperability offers a very powerful way to utilize all of the different independent sidechains under one ecosystem. Let’s say there is an exchange chain, an NFT minting chain, and an auction chain connected to the Lisk network. An example, without too many technical details, on how a user might interact with could go like this:

  1. A user utilizes the exchange chain to swap LSK for custom tokens that are required for the NFT minting chain.
  2. On the NFT minting chain, the user uses the custom tokens to create an NFT.
  3. The user then sets up an auction on the auction chain for users to bid on the newly minted NFT.
  4. Once the auction concludes, ownership of the NFT is sent to the winning bidder, while the original owner is sent the tokens from the winning bid.

Create a Fork of an Existing Blockchain

If sidechains won’t suit your needs, you could consider forking an existing blockchain. By doing this, you are essentially taking the code from one blockchain and using it for your own. Many popular blockchains started out as a fork of another. Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin forked from Bitcoin, Ethereum Classic forked from Ethereum, Stellar started off as a fork of Ripple before relaunching their own codebase, etc. Keep in mind that if you go this route, you will be responsible for keeping the network up to date with things such as bug fixes, improvements, and new features.

How to Create a Blockchain from Scratch?

Additionally, you could always create your own blockchain from the ground up. Keep in mind though that this will be the most expensive, time exhaustive option, as you are literally starting with nothing. Sometimes this is necessary, however the majority of the time, it is not. If you still feel like this is the way to go, do some extra research before spending extensive time and resources building your own.

Finding Help to Create Your Blockchain

Building a Blockchain will take a lot of effort, so it is best to seek out some help. Even the most well-rounded individuals are not great at everything. Plus, it is also a good idea to seek outside feedback and advice to make your project better and keep development going at a steady pace. One great advantage of developing a blockchain is the wide range of community help offered by the crypto world.

 

For instance, let’s say you were building a blockchain in JavaScript, and you chose the Lisk platform to build on. You would have many different options to choose from. You could join the Lisk Community at Lisk.chat for direct questions related to the Lisk Blockchain itself. Also, as JavaScript is the most commonly-used programming language in the world, there are many JavaScript and Node.js forums you could post on for help, as well as getting more people interested and involved in your project.

Fund Your Blockchain Project

Chances are you will need funds in order to get your project up off the ground and then maintain it. Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees. Therefore, you will need to figure out a way to secure a source of income. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have been quite popular in the past. However, as time has gone on, regulations have gotten much more strict, and aren’t available in many jurisdictions now. Venture Capital and angel investors is another route you can explore, although those also have potential drawbacks. If your idea is popular enough, crowdfunding could be an option to look into as well.

 

Besides these more traditional and well known methods, there are many other opportunities to secure funds for your project, you just have to know where to look. For instance, Lisk has a Grant Program to help expand its ecosystem. The 1st iteration of the program offered grants of up to 60,000 CHF, paid in LSK tokens, with the 2nd iteration coming soon. Grants are paid out in stages as you take your use-case and develop it into your own blockchain, using the Lisk SDK. Several projects have taken advantage of this program and are currently building their blockchain applications, including enevti, Kalipo, doEdu, Colecti, and idntty.

Summary

As you can see, there are many things to consider before you write the first line of code for your blockchain project. Taking some time initially to sort through your project's needs will help alleviate many headaches that would eventually come out down the road with poor planning. This is true with all software projects, blockchain or otherwise.

Tony Morinello

Content Manager

Tony earned a Master's Degree in Software Engineering from Regis University, and both a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education from California University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Lightcurve as a Content Manager, he was a long-time community member, joining back in 2017.