the main challenges of interoperability


The heterogeneity of the different blockchains has revealed security, scalability and decentralization gaps that interoperability seeks to address. The idea of ​​a blockchain internet has become a priority.

If the blockchain allows transactions to be linked, how can blockchains be linked? This is the question that the web3 ecosystem has been trying to answer for several years. The creation of a blockchain internet was therefore at the center of discussions at the last Summit of the Blockchain Week in Paris.

The first challenge is to unlock existing blockchains, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum called layer 1. These are autonomous infrastructures, capable of processing and storing transactions. However, all these blockchains have specificities, both in terms of the uses they allow and of the consensus system, a fundamental step in securing the network, or even in the programming language used. The best known method and which for many users remains the safest is consent through proof of work, a hardware validation by which miners will be paid to secure the ecosystem. It is on this concept that Bitcoin and Ethereum are based, which is about to update its consensus system to move towards a proof of stake, and thus favor the validation of the software, which is faster, but which for some is less secure.

And if the Bitcoin network is today a safe haven in the cryptoeconomy, Ethereum and its EVM (Ethereum virtual machine), is the reference blockchain on which many protocols are based, such as Solana, Cardano or Tron. “Today most of the solutions are based on EVM, with Solidity encoding, except that Ethereum is not the most efficient blockchain, nor the cheapest, but it is the most decentralized,” notes Itai Elizur, COO of the agency. MarketAcross marketing. With decentralization at the heart of the blockchain concept, Ethereum quickly fell victim to its own success and more and more transactions resulted in higher and higher fees. The bulk of the challenge lies in the need for interoperability that responds to the blockchain trilemma and its three sine qua non conditions which are security, scalability and decentralization.

To answer this, in 2020 the platform developed a so-called level 2 solution through which the Ethereum blockchain integrated more than twenty second level networks, such as Uniswap, SushiSwap and Loopring. These networks act as Ethereum’s side chains and allow you to build protocols on them. The best known is the solution of the Polygon project and its Matic token, which aims to improve the scalability of the parent blockchain. “The heterogeneity of blockchains is still evident, not only in terms of the costs of switching between platforms, but also in the security of transactions,” notes Ruben Merre, CEO of Ngrave, a portfolio of digital assets. Developers must therefore choose whether to be part of the Ether network or work on an independent solution that allows the blockchain to be connected to other networks.

Layers 0

In this, the Polkadot blockchain and its token, the DOT, created in 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, aims to ensure network stability while allowing simplified development of decentralized software. This is a common basis for all blockchains, it intends to supplant existing bridges, which allow you to move digital assets from one blockchain to another.

The role of layer 0 protocols is also to facilitate the sharing of functionality between blockchains, such as archiving or consent methods. “With levels 0, developers will no longer have to tinker with this or that feature on this or that blockchain, but have the opportunity to set up a mode of communication that will allow interoperability of blockchains, even if they still need bridges to mutual exchange “, observes Ruben Merre.

Safety and interoperability

Improving the scalability and decentralization of a network, ensuring its security, is this calculation that the developers of the cryptographic ecosystem must solve. The latter has yet to remember the latest hack of the sidechain Ronin, based on Ethereum and dedicated to the game Axie Infinity, which last March was reduced by 550 million dollars. In this case it is a wallet that is also a “poorly secure” bridge, according to Ruben Merre, allowing the connection between the assets of a blockchain and a video game developed by EVM technology. . “Ether has 35,000 validators, the Ronin bridge only 9, the problem is there,” he points out.

Crypto wallets therefore appear to be an important point of improvement. “All the recent bridge hacks have been possible because most of them have been developed in-house, it’s a method that lacks perspective and ends up revealing flaws,” continues Itai Elizur.

The idea behind the development of these bridges is first of all to improve scalability, so far at the expense of security or decentralization. “The blockchain trilemma is undoubtedly the only way to foster interoperability, and it is also on this that the adoption of cryptocurrencies on a global scale depends”, concludes Itai Elizur.

If no solution has managed to establish itself, it is precisely because of the blockchain trilemma, and it is on this that the ecosystem actors will have to make progress.

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