This article was first published on @iotex - Medium
Cross-chain Governance — A New Paradigm
At the infrastructure level, today’s hot research topics are centered around fast consensus without compromising Byzantine fault tolerance, sharding without compromising security, and cross-chain communication without giving up efficiency. As of late, cross-chain communication has received the most attention due to the recent launch of Cosmos and Polkadot (getting close!).
Cross-Chain Communication — Such A Simple Principle
Many pundits argue that public blockchains will consolidate to only a handful in the future; however, there are many scenarios in which a new public blockchain is needed.
- Scenario A: the existing blockchains one wants to build on may not offer the properties (e.g., privacy-preserving computation) and customizability (e.g., process and storage of data) that applications require;
- Scenario B: one needs a different governance model that existing blockchains don’t support — building an application on a smart contract platform forces an application to adopt the governance rules of the underlying protocol.
That’s why the future world will be comprised of hundreds (if not thousands) of distinct public blockchains. Figuring out how these blockchains communicate with each other is our next great challenge.
All ideas around cross-chain communication start with Adam Back’s paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains” which illustrates a simple yet surprising fact about how to transfer asset X from blockchain A to blockchain B. It turns out the “transfer” is, in fact, an illusion. Asset X is not “transferred” but temporarily locked on blockchain A, while the same amount of equivalent Asset X is minted on blockchain B. This is called pegging and doing this in both ways is two-way peg (2WP).
All 2WP systems are voting-based, such that a group of “witnesses” vote on when to unlock asset X and where to send it. This begs ...
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