DISCLAIMER: I don’t represent Reddit and have no special knowledge of the scalability hackathon judging process. I am simply a humble Ethereum developer tending to my dapps.
On June 18th, Reddit announced The Great Reddit Scalability Bake-Off, requesting submissions from blockchain teams building scalability solutions that can support Reddit’s massive user base. Submissions ended on July 31th, but they have yet to announce a winner. Thanks to #DeFi degenerates pushing up Ethereum transaction fees I’ve been evaluating the various layer 1/2 scalability solutions myself as well, and I believe one stands out above the rest.
For my blockchain development purposes, I don’t care about fancy new features, I just want it to run EVM, be fast, be cheap, and be easy to interoperate with. Bonus points for Ethereum community alignment.
The only chain that fits that criteria right now is xDAI. It’s a Proof-of-Stake blockchain secured by the STAKE token with full EVM support. Transactions on xDAI are 100x cheaper and 10x faster than on Ethereum. It has a functioning two-way bridge with a UI that’s securing $100K+ DAI on xDAI and a few million more in other bridges. And best of all, it plays nicely with the Ethereum ecosystem of tools and wallets—including MetaMask!
Also check out the new xDAI OmniBridge, which nearly another $50K of Ethereum #DeFi tokens have used to cross over to xDAI.
xDAI Security Concerns
The most important security concern with xDAI is the security of the Ethereum-xDAI token bridge. Even if the xDAI Proof-of-Stake consensus works, if the token bridge is compromised, then any bridged assets could be stolen. Right now, all admin privileges over the bridge are held by a 3/4 multisig contract. This might have been sufficient for the $100K+ xDAI currently bridged, but more scalable security practices will be required. Fortunately there are proposals currently in review; I will share more about this topic in a future post.
However, deploying a token bridge between xDAI and Ethereum is permissionless, anyone who wishes to do so can do so, and so if Reddit or any other organizations wanted to secure their own token bridge — ideally using a DAO with community participation — they could do so today.
xDAI the Chosen One
With its scalability and unique ease of dev and user migration, I think xDAI deserves to win the Reddit Scalability Bake-Off. Not only that, I think xDAI has the potential to be the dark horse of the Ethereum sidechain competition and beat out many of the VC chains, in what I would only consider a comical upset. With a circulating market cap of only $50M, I think there is still a lot of room for the developer community to participate in the ecosystem value creation, especially compared to some of the more overvalued VC chains.
xDAI Evaluation Summary
- EVM compatible
- Minimal smart contract redeployment effort
- Native MetaMask integration
- 100x cheaper & 10x faster than Ethereum
- Token Bridge UI providing Ethereum interoperability
- Everything just works and right now
- Token Bridge security is a concern, but being worked on
xDAI Leadership—Igor the Hackathon King
It’s worth mentioning that it’s no surprise to see Igor, the xDAI project lead, participating in yet another hackathon. Funny enough, I first met Igor at the Consensus 2016 Building Blocks Hackathon. Spoiler alert, he won. In fact, if you look at his profile it’s just a series of hackathon victories leading up to this moment: The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off.
Somehow I expect Igor to come out on top, once again.
xDAI, STAKE, and You!
I’m putting my money where my mouth is, so I recently bought 20K+ STAKE on behalf of SpankChain, and another 20K on behalf of MetaCartel Ventures so both orgs can stake on xDAI by running validator nodes and help secure the network.
I’m also excited to announce that SpankChain will be relocating the SpankBank to xDAI in the coming weeks. I hear that the MetaCartel community may have announcements of their own coming up, but I’ll just leave you with their motto:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
If you, like me, like to invest in and build on promising blockchain technology with friendly grassroots communities, join me in building the xDAI blockchain ecosystem — the Ethereum sisterchain.
Appendix: xDAI Token Bridge Guide
To see how easy it is to use xDAI with your existing MetaMask, read on!
First go to xDAI-ETH bridge UI. If you have DAI in your wallet, you’ll be able initiate a chain swap to move that DAI from Ethereum to xDAI.
After that, you can add the xDAI network to your MetaMask custom networks.
Once you switch your MetaMask to your new xDAI network, you’ll notice that the positions of xDAI Chain and ETH Mainnet in the dapp switch, and you now see your (newly minted) xDAI balance on the left. If you open your MetaMask, it automatically detects your xDAI balance the same way it would your ETH. Interoperability FTW!
I’m not the first dapp dev to realize the convenience of building on xDAI. The Raid Guild already deployed the Moloch v2 contracts to xDAI via DaoHaus, the 1Hive team deployed a Uniswap fork and Aragon contracts. There are other projects too. In any of these dapps, you can use xDAI in your MetaMask the same way you would use ETH on the Ethereum Mainnet, and everything just works.