This article was updated at 11:20am EST to include a quote from Ethereum's Business and Partnerships Director, George Hallam and was updated at 11:54am to indicate that Blocknet's decentralized exchange is planning to launch in alpha form, not its full release.

In a surprise announcement and Cointelegraph exclusive, the Blocknet will be adding Ethereum onto its inter-blockchain network. Ethereum will be bringing its powerful decentralized apps and smart contract features to the inter-blockchain network, along with Ethereum's cryptocurrency, Ether, once the genesis block launches. Meanwhile, Ethereum will become Blocknet enabled, allowing all the features and coins currently available on the Blocknet to be used in conjunction with the Ethereum network.

The Blocknet, for those who aren't aware, is a network of different coin's blockchains, allowing each coin to use the Blocknet's other coins and features easily by sending the transaction through the Blocknet's Xbridge technology.

Ethereum, if you have been living under a rock or are new to Crypto, is a “bitcoin 2.0” project that, among other things, is a network designed to facilitate smart contracts and distributed applications. It is considered one of the most promising Bitcoin 2.0 projects.

The most hyped asset the Blocknet will bring to the crypto world is a decentralized exchange. While there have been plenty of attempts and even a few launches, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange still has not been done right. That is evident in the volume of these exchanges, that tend to be near non existent, despite every crypto nerd and their mother stating that we need a decentralized exchange.

The idea is to create an Internet of Blockchains, connecting previously isolated systems and bringing the features together and hopefully creating some crossover of the various economies. To do this, the Blocknet uses it's Xbridge to communicate between each blockchain's nodes.

One of the lesser talked about features of Ethereum, their Virtual Machine integration, is something that the Blocknet team is excited about, the Blocknet team gave this joint statement:

“There's a lot to be excited about here. Ethereum is an absolute powerhouse and their Dapps will be in high demand amongst other nodes on the Blocknet. Secondly, the integration of Ethereum's VM into the XBridge potentially enables an entire new industry standard for cross-chain technology. Lastly they're a pleasure to work with, and we're excited to be shaping the future of decentralised exchange together.”

Ethereum's VMs will bring enhanced flexibility to the Blocknet network.

For its part, Ethereum is more or less just allowing the Blocknet team to do what it does best. There is no official partnership between the two, but Blocknet devs have applied for an Ethereum Devgrant and the two teams are talking, but there is little to no work that needs to be done on Ethereum's side of things. Both teams stress that this isn't a business partnership or even a formal agreement, but is instead the two networks becoming interoperable,

Ethereum's Business and Partnerships Director George Hallam spoke about the development:

"Ethereum is all about inclusion. In our minds, the more people who get the opportunity to learn and interact with our technical stack (be that through our own blockchain or others) the better. Smart contracts are going to revolutionise the way world goes about its business, and the Ethereum certainly offers the best platform to do that."

Currently, the Blocknet supports ten crypto related projects, including Xcurrency, Horizon, Bitnation, BitSwift, Stealthcoin and more.

Ethereum, as mentioned, has yet to launch. However, on May 9, they announced that they were entering the last phase of their testing stage and that they expected it to last fourteen total days. While they reserved the right to change that date, we can expect the “Frontier” release and official launch of Ether soon. Blocknet hopes to have an alpha version of its decentralized exchange live by Ethereum's Frontier launch, potentially allowing Ether to be purchased in a safe, decentralized way day one. The Frontier launch will be command-line only and is still only recommended for experts. It is unknown at this time if Ethereum will connect with Blocknet at their Frontier launch or at their later Homestead and Metropolis launches, although I am told the hope is to have Ethereum connected at the Frontier launch.

We also reached out to the SuperNET team, largely seen as Blocknet's primary competition. We were given this quote from developer "Eth":

"Healthy competition is just that, healthy. We are all immersed into a new technology and learning from our experiences and others', and in some cases able to improve and progress from it, so it is positive.

Now, it would look like Blocknet wants to use Ethereum's brand name for marketing purposes but I am hoping I am wrong, and Dan [Metclaf] is bringing some breaking tech to the scene, that would be awesome because all we would learn from it.

Certainly anybody can "connect" Ethereum to their project, since it is open source, as anybody could integrate SuperNET if he wanted and had the knowledge for, same as I could link two websites in a simple HTML file. The question is, do I bring any innovation with it?"

We will keep an eye on developments for both Blocknet and Ethereum.