Blockchain Middleware

Metis
10 min readAug 8, 2021

Thanks to Protocol Labs researcher Alfonso de la Rocha for guest-writing this article. Check out his Medium channel at https://adlrocha.medium.com/

Blockchain technology and decentralized finance (DeFi) have been all over the media in the past year. DeFi is completely changing the way we do finance, and there are more and more companies, big and small, exploring what DeFi can do for them.

Still, one of the big challenges that new DeFi or blockchain companies face is the lack of engineering capacity with the wide range of expertise required to tackle a broad range of projects.

Developing a decentralized application involves a number of steps: writing the smart contract that handles the decentralized logic of the application; deploying all the infrastructure required by end users to interact with the blockchain and the smart contract; building fancy UI to make the interaction with your application easy and appealing for users; and optionally, building tooling to allow others to build upon all your hard work. In short, a long list of things to worry about and that requires several different engineering backgrounds. This means that if you come up with a great idea for a decentralized application, you’d typically need to raise a ton of money to hire the wide range of developers required to build it?

Fortunately, this type of problem is becoming less common, thanks to a new innovation in the blockchain space: blockchain middleware.

Introducing blockchain middleware

If you come from the IT world, you probably know all about middleware software. For those who are new to the concept, we find variations of the following definition: “Middleware is software that provides common services and capabilities to applications outside of what’s offered by the operating system. Data management, application services, messaging, authentication, and API management are all commonly handled by middleware. Middleware helps developers build applications more efficiently. It acts like the connective tissue between applications, data, and users.”

If we think of blockchain as the operating system of DeFi and the decentralized web, then the definition of blockchain middleware is quite straightforward: it’s all that software that binds

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