Building on eCash
— Joey, lead dev, Cashtab
In crypto, the incentives to talk about working (without working at all) are perhaps higher than any other field of human achievement. Tweets can and do move billions of dollars. Crypto attracts the most ambitious scam artists.
“Building” is one of the great filters in cryptocurrency. In crypto, it’s also uniquely accessible. You can start right away, and make meaningful contributions in days to months (depending on your experience).
This isn’t true for almost every other profession, especially those that touch and handle money. Most are gated in some way, requiring tests, certifications, connections, and approvals.
Crypto builders have impact beyond the scope of crypto. The most recent bull run owes much of its fire to the legions of Ethereum app devs who made DeFi possible. This in turn sparked huge VC competition among the “ETH killers” over the appearance of their own dev community powerhouse (in crypto, the arms race is not just for dev mindshare, but also the appearance of winning dev mindshare).
A lot with a little
There are many good reasons to start creating software. Leverage is one of the best. A single app written by a single dev can reach billions of customers overnight.
Execution is not so simple. The exact app that will become an overnight success is not built in a day. There is a process.
Build something else.
So, reducing the cycle time of the “build something” step is critical. In engineering, this is called rapid prototyping.
eCash has some of the most impressive rapid prototyping on the market. It has the potential for the best. Today, interested developers can build powerful apps that send and receive money instantly. It can take less than a few hours to get an MVP online and available to users.
Building on eCash today
The same dev stack that powers Cashtab is also open source and available for anyone to use (or improve). You can find the packages on npm:
- chronik-client - access to an indexer to get information about balances, addresses, eTokens, and transaction history
You can see how Cashtab uses these tools to create and send transactions, parse messages, and more by checking out (or forking) the code.
We’re working to improve documentation and examples. This is why I don’t argue that eCash has the best rapid prototyping in crypto. Not yet.
Despite this, there is a benefit to starting now. Developers have an incredible amount of influence, leverage, and resources available early on.
Anyone can receive personalized answers to development questions. Check out the official development Telegram channel.
eCash is receptive both to constructive support and game-changing features.
eCash’s tools are, in one sense, “new.” There is much room for improvement and for all kinds of new features.
eCash's tools are also quite old. They evolved from Bitcoin dev tools. Bitcoin dev tools have more real world use than any other crypto tools. Their development iterates against real world use. They are time-tested with real money balances.
So, the eCash dev stack may not look like much on the surface. But a closer look reveals powerful and battle-hardened tools capable of surprising speed.
The future of building on eCash
“Potentially the best at rapid prototyping” is all well and good. Execution is what counts.
We'll build and document the dependencies necessary for developers to get started. These tools don’t need to arise in-house. eCash’s native indexer, Chronik, was developed externally and funded by the GNC.
But offering the best rapid prototyping tools in crypto is not enough. Such tools are worthless if nobody is using them. So, incentivizing, funding, and promoting an app ecosystem is also a crucial step.
How to get started right now
A number of devs have made contributions over the past two years. The Gorbeious wallet from tectosage offers a decentralized, peer to peer eToken exchange. It was bootstrapped and developed in a couple of months. Dev samrock5000 has worked with cashscript to prototype escrow smart contracts on eCash.
Some good first steps for interested devs:
- Check out the contribution guidelines in the Bitcoin ABC monorepo
- Pull down Cashtab. Run it locally.
- Add cashtab-components to your webpage to accept eCash payments.
- Build a website that connects to the Cashtab browser extension.
- Have an idea? Build a simple MVP and apply to the GNC for funding
Going forward, we will also release our own example apps and tutorials to make onboarding as easy as possible.