How To Determine The Cost of Blockchain Implementation?

Similar to mobile app development, the cost to build a blockchain app varies depending on the app features, efforts and goals. Considering various factors, examples and specific numbers, we have analyzed the cost of blockchain implementation.

You might have many ways to get a blockchain app built where each will have a different cost and has its benefits and limitations.

Following are some of the ways to get an app built:

  • Building a blockchain app with an in-house team
  • Hiring freelancer to build a blockchain app
  • Hiring an agency for blockchain app development

Before you go ahead with the cost of blockchain implementation, you should first understand why you need a blockchain solution.

Why Blockchain App Development?

  • Security
    As blockchain leverages the advanced cryptography, it’s security is the most significant benefit. It is designed in a way that it allows for the highest level of encryption and security.Blockchain is a distributed network that is created using a series of interconnected block. Each block contains timestamp and transaction data for the previous block.

     

    Also, the data is encoded in a cryptographic hash which makes it impossible for hackers to alter a single block. Since all the blocks contain a cryptographic hash for the previous block, hackers would have to alter all blocks, which is practically not possible.

    Therefore, blockchain apps are considered more secure as compared to traditional apps.

  • Decentralized
    Since blockchain does not allow any single person or governing authority to look after the ecosystem, the blockchain apps have a decentralized network. Instead, a group of participating nodes manages the network to make it decentralized.With the blockchain, you can have direct control over the assets you own with a private key. Blockchain apps are, therefore, providing power and rights to people on their assets.
  • Quicker Settlement
    Settlement in traditional business operations is quite slow. Sometimes, it can take days to weeks to process any transaction. Also, it can be corrupted easily.Blockchain offers a quicker settlement by allowing to trace back all the transactions made within the network. Since information saved in the blockchain cannot be altered or removed, it can allow faster settlement and solve disputes by checking the history of records.

Here’s how to determine the cost of blockchain implementation

The following table represents an estimated cost of blockchain implementation for a minimum viable product when using development resources of varying skill levels.

Skill LevelIn-HouseFreelancerAgency
Beginner$300,000$30,000 to $50,000$80,000 to $150,000
Experts$500,000$50,000 to $90,000$100,000 to $300,000 ( Try Cost Calculator )

 

Blockchain cost estimator: Cost Calculator for a custom blockchain development

Here is the list of Blockchain Development Agencies that you can work with.

Milestone Wise Cost DistributionIn-House
Consulting10%
Designing15%
Development50%
Quality Assurance25%
Deployment and 3rd party CostPrivate Blockchain: ~$1500/month
Public Blockchain: $0.01 / transaction-based for public blockchain + ~$750 for 3rd party
Maintenance Cost~15% to 25% of the overall project cost.

The cost of a blockchain app depends on the following factors:

  1. The complexity of a Blockchain Project
  2. What kind of Blockchain App do you need? 
  3. 3rd Party Tools Subscription Cost
  4. People involved in building an app
  5. Process for building an app
  6. Project Management Methodology
  7. Continuous Integration
  8. Maintenance 

Let’s first examine the complexity of a blockchain project.

The complexity of the Blockchain App

There is a need to consider many factors when defining the complexity of a blockchain application. First of all, it is essential to understand the purpose of an app. Get an idea of what problems users are facing, why should you invest in blockchain, what is the blockchain development process and how an app can offer better services.

Low complexity blockchain apps

Following apps could be of low complexity:

  • Basic Smart Contract Development App
  • Payment applications built around current cryptocurrencies

Medium complexity blockchain apps

Following apps could be of medium complexity:

  • Semi-decentralized apps
  • dApps built on the blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric/Sawtooth, EOS and more

High complexity blockchain apps

Following apps could be of high complexity:

  • Building a blockchain platform from scratch
  • Building a complete decentralized network

Apart from the complexity of the application, the cost of a blockchain app also depends on personnel, hardware and software tools, development methods and operating expenses. Let’s understand all these factors in a more detailed way.

What kind of Blockchain app do you need?

Every kind of business requires a digital solution to bring efficiency and growth to their business operations. You either need an app to add value to your brand and generate high revenue or you need to solve a business problem.

A blockchain application for businesses can bring trust, transparency and traceability while reducing costs involved due to additional intermediaries. You may require blockchain app for different business domains including education, lifestyle, healthcare, utilities, travel, gaming and more.

You may need a SaaS application to offer subscription services to businesses. Examples of successful blockchain apps include an app for supply chain, retail, health records, real estate and financial services.

3rd Party Tools Subscription Cost

    • Amazon Web Services: Computing, Delivery, and Storage ($100 to $1000, depending on the number of users)
    • Bug Tracking Tools like Instabug and Bugsee: Gathering and reporting live bugs ($10 to $100 per month)
    • Monitoring Services like Uptime Robot and Statuspage.io: Sending notifications for downtime ($10 to $50)
    • Notification Services like Twilio, Kumulos, Amazon SNS:
      Enabling notifications within the app ($10 to $50)
    • Analytics with Flurry or Mixpanel: Analytics of data, funnel, insights and reporting ($0 to $150)

Since blockchain is still in its infancy stage, there is a scarcity of experienced blockchain developers in the market. An average salary of a blockchain developer is $150,000 per annum. Working with a blockchain developer could be expensive for the businesses as compared to hiring a blockchain development company.

Cost of Blockchain Implementation: People

How many resources do you require to build an app? The cost of hiring a team for app development is a significant contribution to the estimated cost.

Salaries of software developers are the primary expense; however, there are other important factors including benefits, vacations, incentive compensation, payroll taxes and holidays.

Do not forget to consider recruiting expenses which may include management time and advertising to find the resources for the blockchain project. As blockchain is still new for many people, it can be difficult to recruit the blockchain experts in the market. Companies also have to invest a lot in training resources continuously.

Training expenses may include getting the subscription of online learning courses or attending big blockchain related events.

Different stages of software lifecycle may include different resources like designers, developers, QA analysts, business analysts, technical architects, project manager, deployment experts and management sponsors.

Before creating a scope of work or deciding the cost of development, it is essential to decide the involvement of different resources in different stages of product development.

Cost of Blockchain Implementation: Process

Cost of blockchain implementation is spent on multiple activities or phases of the project including:

  • Design: System Blueprint, user interface/experience design including wireframes, high-fidelity designs with a prototype and low-fidelity designs with app flow.
  • Development: Coding and Testing
  • Deployment: Deployment on Cloud Platforms, Delivery and DevOps
  • Migration: Moving the existing solution to the Blockchain platform
  • Maintenance: Maintaining new updates and testing that app runs smoothly on every OS release
  • Upgrade: New features, Changes in Smart Contracts
  • Third Party Tools: Hosting, Storage, Notification System, Collaboration

Beyond the cost of blockchain developers and designers, the blockchain development process also carries costs as every step involves different tools and technologies.

Blockchain platforms also contribute to the cost of blockchain app development. A developer has to pay a certain fee to deploy a contract on the blockchain.

For example, deploying a contract on Ethereum involves a minimum fee of 32000 gas + 200 gas/byte of the source code. Also, users need to pay to run smart contracts.

Project Management

We use an agile methodology to conduct frequent meetings or daily scrums to track the current sprint, testing, timeline, bugs and deliverables. Tools like Confluence, Trello, and Jira can be used to facilitate the agile technique.

The cost of such software tools also contributes to the cost of blockchain implementation. For instance, we use Jira project management tool to deliver action items to clients and track the progress of our internal team.

Continuous Integration

It is crucial to maintain a pipeline of quality code. Every developer must write code and check it in a common code repository to ensure that the code works smoothly with everyone else’s code.

The right way to check this is to use an automated process. Managing source code using tools like Bitbucket and Github contributes to the blockchain app development cost.

Maintenance

Since blockchain technology is still new to the market and new platforms are coming to the market every day, the apps should be switched to different platforms depending on its scalability, flexibility and confidentiality.

Also, new OS updates are released by Apple, Google and various blockchain platforms every year. Maintenance of a blockchain app could cost between 30-35% of the overall project cost and it could vary depending on the complexity of the application.

In-House vs Freelancer vs Agency: Whom should you prefer?

The size of your investment depends on whether you pay costs by finding in-house development blockchain development directly or hiring a company that provides blockchain development services.

In-house Development

Hiring an in-house team can be expensive but offers you full control over blockchain app development. If software development is your primary business, you should pursue this path.

Otherwise, it’s better to work with a third party provider.

Freelancers

Though hiring freelancers could be the least expensive way to go for blockchain development, it is riskiest. You can hire a freelancer if your project is small but the risk factor increases as the project scope grow.

Agency

Any agency specialized in the blockchain app development can be a viable option. Agencies serve as a full-time development service provider and are experienced in the best app development practices like DevOps and Agile.

As compared to an in-house development team, cost of blockchain app development offered by agencies is lower and you can pay for what the agency delivers.

Since the blockchain technology is emerging at a rapid pace, customers are migrating their existing solutions to a blockchain solution. Building a blockchain app can be very expensive if you develop it with an internal team. Hiring a company or agency who is specialized in blockchain app development and can offer you the right cost with lower risk.

Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the author of Blockchain Technology and Business book. He is the co-founder of LeewayHertz and is a consultant to fortune 500 companies including Siemens, 3M, Hershey’s and others. He has a Masters Degree in Computer Science. Akash’s experience of building over 100+ apps allows him to rapidly architect and design solutions. His ability to explain complex technologies in simple and practical ways has resulted in him becoming a popular speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences.
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