For a more technical treatment, please check out our OmiseGO demo app blog post.
OmiseGO Plasma is a scalable, high performance, trustless platform for building public or private decentralized applications (DApps). It's built on top of and adjacent to the Ethereum blockchain. This makes it easy to integrate with a variety of existing blockchain solutions that already support Ethereum, the most popular public blockchain by transaction volume.
Plasma is a side chain, which means that participants move their transactions off of the main Ethereum blockchain and onto the Plasma child chain. By doing so, they can transact faster and at a lower cost than on Ethereum with other child chain participants. When the desired transactions are complete, they exit the Plasma child chain and move back to the main Ethereum blockchain.
Plasma as a concept was put forward by Joseph Poon and Vitalik Buterin in a whitepaper in August 2017. OmiseGO has turned this idea into a live technology platform that businesses can build on today. We've added support for OmiseGO Plasma into MultiBaas because it's a powerful and complementary platform to Ethereum.
OmiseGO Plasma supports transacting fungible items, or assets. Specifically, any smart contract that implements the popular ERC20 token standard can work with Plasma. Fungible means that items are completely interchangeable. For example, paper money is fungible since one $20 bill is worth the same as the next. The same is true of most other financial instruments, including stocks, bonds, and futures. Commodities such as a specific grade and type of iron ore, oranges, and coffee beans are also fungible. Items within a given SKU in a supply chain are fungible as well: bolts, medium size blue t-shirts, sunglasses, and so on.
On the other hand, non-fungible items, anything that can be uniquely identified, are not currently supported by Plasma. A whole automobile is non-fungible since it has a serial number and is unique. Similarly, a house would be non-fungible (although one could own a fungible share of a property).
If it is fungible, then it can be represented logically today on OmiseGO Plasma.
A commonly deployed technology pattern for businesses is a client/server setup where a mobile, web, or desktop application connects to a central server and database. Between businesses, APIs are used to define how data will be transmitted and decoded by sender and receiver. For example, a worker in a warehouse scans an item, which communicates wirelessly to a central server that logs the item as received. The central server sends a message over the Internet to an API at the manufacturer that the item has arrived at the warehouse.
Blockchain extends this model by making it easier for all of the components - mobile app, central server, and manufacturer - to communicate directly. This peer-to-peer model increases throughput, lowers cost, and reduces single points of failure. Smart contracts help ensure that not only the data, but also the business logic, is consistent and in lock-step between all participants in the system. The immutability and tight permissioning provide a clear audit log and chain of custody. The decentralized nature makes it more fault tolerant with fewer moving parts.
The building blocks for a decentralized technology solution include a blockchain platform like OmiseGO Plasma or Ethereum, smart contracts to manage data and business logic, existing enterprise systems, and MultiBaas, which ties together the various components.
If you're interested in exploring more about OmiseGO Plasma, MultiBaas, or blockchain in general, please do get in touch. If you're technically inclined, we encourage you to try out OmiseGO Plasma on MultiBaas by signing up for a free account and creating a deployment on the Ropsten testnet, or via our demo application.