Blockchain Architects: Avoid the Fatal Mistake of Choosing One

Why Your Blockchain-based Tech Solution Should be Blockchain Agnostic

About a month or two ago, the game Etheremon clogged up the Ethereum network, brought transactions to a halt, and caused fees to climb astronomically. In December, Cryptokitties had the same effect as this game took over 10% of Ethereum network traffic, and as a result, also drove transactions fees up quickly.  


Systems that only rely on the public Ethereum network have been constrained by the availability of Ethereum over the long haul. But it doesn’t just apply to Ethereum, the Bitcoin blockchain has recently become increasingly congested, as well. The cost of transactions now exceeds $.60, and it can take up to 40 hours to confirm a transaction. The same transactions a year ago cost about $.05, and it would be confirmed in roughly 10 minutes. Due to high network traffic, we see now that Bitcoin too, is no longer a viable system for high-scale blockchain-based solutions.

Why did this happen?  

And why is it guaranteed to happen again with other public blockchains? Every blockchain transaction requires every server (node) in the network to process it. This feature makes the blockchain inherently resistant to hacking; however, unlike traditional databases which can update records in parallel, each new record inserted onto the blockchain has to be added serially, due to the blockchain’s chain nature.  As the number of transactions increase, the performance slows and prices for validating them rise.


It is unwise to assume that any particular public blockchain infrastructure is suitable over the years. If you build your technology solely around one blockchain, then be prepared for performance delays, increased transaction costs, or worse, a complete halt to executing critical transactions, which could ruin your business. An obsolete blockchain will deem any of its dedicated systems obsolete. Architects would be wise to keep their options open.


Go Agnostic

While the Ethereum and Bitcoin communities works to find solutions to their congestion , there is no guarantee they will find one anytime soon (Vitalik Buterin predicts it could be as much as 5 years) or even win the blockchain wars.

Those of us designing new blockchain-based technologies are better off taking a faster, safer, and more holistic approach, and that is going agnostic.  


ShoCard will never be affected by network traffic bottlenecks, because we designed its architecture to avoid the congestion disaster by making it blockchain agnostic, meaning our platform can use multiple blockchains at the same time and adopt new ones in the future. Since records written to the blockchain are immutable, any existing writes are permanently viable and any future writes can be directed at a different blockchain, including private blockchains for private applications.


Lead the Pack

Looking at the ShoCard Identity Management (IM) platform diagram, you can see we have introduced an adaptor layer we call the Blockchain API Adaptor.


ShoCard Architecture
ShoCard Architecture

The ShoCard Blockchain Adaptor abstracts the interface to the blockchain that maintains the proof of work so that the ShoCard Service layer can remain efficient. The Blockchain Adaptor layer allows the rest of the ShoCard system to remain blockchain agnostic. This is an important architectural decision that will pay dividends in the future.

Furthermore, our blockchain caches keep a local copy of the blockchain for faster “read” access so that verifications can be managed independently of what happens with a public blockchain. While a public blockchain in the distributed network can be used for verification, the distributed nature of the blockchain and immutability of the records make any local copy as viable as any other network copy.  This sidechain/private blockchain design distinguishes ShoCard’s IM platform from other identity platforms.

My advice to any architect beginning a new blockchain-based system: Avoid the fatal mistake of choosing one blockchain to build upon. Save yourself the anxiety of riding the highs and lows of one single blockchain. Escape the fate of all your work becoming obsolete.

Go blockchain agnostic.
For more information on ShoCard and ShoBadge,

Khot is an industry veteran with 26 years of experience building highly scalable, business critical systems that process large volumes of data. Most recently he was CTO & Co-Founder of Youplus. Prior to that, he was the Chief Architect for Dynamic Retargeting (formerly Buysight), an AOL company. Prior to Buysight, he spent several years working on the Yahoo! display advertising platform, where he was responsible for various parts of the display ad serving platform and helped build a system that scaled up to 20 billion transactions per day. In 1999 he was the first engineer at a small startup that built one of the first web-based content management platforms from the ground-up.

Why ShoCard is the Premier Blockchain-Based Mobile Identity Platform

Running Ahead of the Pack

The mobile digital identity market is getting crowded, and we feel it’s time we share how ShoCard is different from the others, why we claim to be the premier blockchain-based mobile identity platform, and how our products run ahead of the pack.

We began building ShoCard products as far back as 2015 (which is ancient in the blockchain technology world), and they are in existence and production today. We take great pride in the quality of our products’ design, which we base on real customer input. ShoCard provides a complete stack with a design for embedded systems and fully-functioning SDKs, which clients integrate into their systems (e.g., Apps and Servers).

So, how is our platform different from other mobile digital identity providers/platforms?




ShoCard Is Blockchain Agnostic

This is critically important. Systems that only rely on the public Ethereum network are limited to the availability of Ethereum over the long haul. Due to high network traffic, Bitcoin is no longer a viable system for high-scale identity management solutions. As network traffic increases on Ethereum, it too could see a similar fate over the next couple of years. ShoCard, with its blockchain agnostic approach, will never be affected by this.


Scale, Scale, Scale

Public blockchains are inherently not scalable. But we designed the architecture of ShoCard to be highly-scalable. ShoCard has created a solution that uses the public blockchains, but with scale. Our system can write five million user records on a publicly verifiable blockchain in 30 minutes. Other existing solutions cannot compete with this performance.

At Yahoo! circa 2004, Gaurav Khot, as Chief Architect, and I built one of the largest networks that served over 20 billion transactions. As a result of the knowledge we gained at Yahoo!, we have designed the ShoCard platform from the ground up in preparation for massive growth.





Real Customers Use ShoCard Products Today

ShoCard customer implementations range from POCs and pilots to production. Some of our customers have permitted us to announce our partnerships, while others have asked us for NDAs. Our clients include some of the largest credit card network operators, banks, and financial institutions.


Our Product Is Patented

We received patent #9722790 on August 1, 2017 with priority date of May 5, 2015. A Google search on ShoCard patents will show our additional patents filed. We have 18 provisional patents, many of which are continuations on our first patent.


ShoCard was the first company to file the digital identity patent with the priority date of May 2015.


Our patents are open, meaning we have continuations filed against every patent which allows us to file enhancements in the form of continuations on those patents while maintaining the May 2015 priority date. Others copying a similar implementation are using our patented solution which imposes compensation for ShoCard.


Prominent VCs and Investors

Some of the most prominent VCs and investors in Silicon Valley have invested in ShoCard, which was established in February 2015 and raised $1.5M in seed funding that same year. In 2017, we raised another $4M.  With top investors, a solid, patented architecture, and real customers, some might say ShoCard has broken from the pack of mobile digital identity providers, but we’d argue that the we’ve always been ahead of the pack with our top-notch team of visionaries taking the leap back in 2015. And we’re not stopping. We will continue to enhance the platform and remain several “horse lengths” ahead any of competition.



The emerging blockchain-enabled IM paradigm will profoundly change the way we interact and trade with one another and is guaranteed to fundamentally transform industries for the better.  Citizens will come to expect identity ownership and privacy, and companies that adopt this new IM paradigm will see customer loyalty shift in their direction.  

ShoCard and its premier blockchain-based IM ecosystem are positioned to lead us there.


For more information on ShoCard and ShoBadge,

Armin Ebrahimi is Founder and CEO of ShoCard, a digital identity verification system that protects consumer privacy through patented use of mobile devices and the blockchain. An industry veteran, he brings more than 30 years of experience in scalable platforms, online services, mobile-development and digital advertising to the ShoCard team.

Before founding ShoCard, Armin was the CEO of Dynamic Retargeting, an AOL company. Prior to filling this role, he was Senior Vice President of Platform Engineering at Yahoo, with responsibility for Yahoo’s registration and anti-fraud platform services. He also built Yahoo’s original Display Advertising platform that served more than 20 billion transactions a day. Armin founded and was CEO of TRIicon Solutions, acquired by Tandem Computers.