It’s been a while since our previous update from September 2020 where the road to Confidential DeFi was primarily announced. BEAM has made a lot of progress since taking 2021 and we’re proud to finally share with you what’s next for Beam.
Lots of fancy-schmancy pics will follow — sit back and soothe your eyes.
Beam — Q2 2021
The brand new Beam Wallet, nodes and APIs released for all platforms ahead of our third Hard Fork that was triggered at 1280000 blockchain height. No consensus change occurred, but rather infrastructural upgrades to enable Smart Contracts (a.k.a. Shaders) in Beam Wallets and Nodes. You read it right, we’ve created a nice full-stack framework to build confidential decentralized apps and financial instruments. WASM (and anything that compiles to it) was selected for the contracts’ native code, it will be executed by the Beam Virtual Machine (BVM) running in… (you’ve guessed it!) both Beam Wallets and Nodes!
Besides the Hard Fork support, the wallet is turning into a massive suite of tools, therefore to be called Wallet Suite. Let me walk you through some of the innovations.
Send and Receive Screens
We know, it takes time to make it right and by the second “it” we mean “way too many addresses” which got lots of our users confused in 5.x versions but no more! In 6.0 the screens are significantly simplified and only one address is presented at a time.
The “regular” address internally carries both online and offline addresses and the wallet is smart enough to try them both in the aforementioned order. Not only that, but the wallet will automatically pick the best UTXO to increase the un-linkability and overall blockchain privacy level.
The long-awaited Confidential Assets now show up in the wallet so that you can send and receive any asset, that can be issued by locking 3000 BEAM.
Every created asset can be seen on the Beam blockchain explorer.
Beam — Q3 2021
Simplified Send and Receive screens inspired us to re-vamp (read: significantly simplify) the address book. As addresses are only relevant in the context of the concrete wallet, it makes much more sense to put any amount of addresses under the same contact. The default address for each transaction type (e.g. Regular Privacy and Max Privacy) will be shown for every address and so, the entire address history in detail.
Geeky yet important detail: for every contact, its “counterpart” address generated by your wallet will be kept behind the scenes automatically so that your transactions will always appear under the consistent naming scheme in every peer wallet.
The common expectation in the DeFi space is to operate a wallet that doesn’t require (well, almost) any installation and here we go: the wallet as a chrome extension will join the mobile and desktop wallets! Beam Web wallet will act in a very similar way to the Metamask wallet for Ethereum. This will allow Beam to integrate with existing products in the DeFi space, bringing easy interoperability to the ecosystem.
Swap with Confidential Assets
Confidential Assets are first-class citizens of the Beam DeFi ecosystem. Therefore any Beam Confidential Asset can be swapped for LTC, BTC, QTUM, DASH, DOGE, ETH, DAI, and USDT.
What about swapping Confidential Assets with BEAM? Easy, it looks like an atomic swap (same UX) but under the hood, it will be a single “regular” transaction (as there is no difference between the currencies represented in various UTXO on the Beam private blockchain). The process is super fast and the cost is much lower compared to cross-chain atomic swaps.
That’s it for the Beam blockchain level. Let’s dive into the DeFi zone!
BeamX — Q3 2021
There is a reason we call our wallet a suite: a decentralized app (DAPP) store will show in the Beam Desktop wallet right after the Hard Fork, extending its functionality in many ways that will be up to BeamX DAO to decide.
The first app will be waiting for you to try. Remember the web faucet to get BEAM to play with? No need to open the browser anymore! The coins will be delivered from the Shader straight to your wallet.
DAO Core: the Governance App
Transitioning to BeamX DAO starts with the dedicated app in the Beam Wallet. The UX is being designed as we speak, the following functionality is expected:
- Stake BEAM to get BEAMX
- Participate in incentivized voting and see the results
- Monitor BeamX distribution
BeamX — Q4 2021
DAPP Store Becomes Decentralized
Not only the apps but their distribution will become dynamic and fully decentralized. Meaning:
- Anyone will be able to list a DAPP in a fully censorship-resistant way (e.g. no one will be able to remove a DAPP from the store).
- Still, to contribute to the overall trust, a verified badge will be added to specific DAPPs. An exact set of criteria and probably the apps themselves will be approved by the BeamX DAO.
- There will be no need to upgrade the wallet to install/update any of the DAPPs (similar to the way we do not take any action in the browser to see the most updated version of any website).
The bigger the mission, the longer it takes. We believe that bridges to private blockchains require true decentralization. While various federated bridges are being developed rapidly, the team focuses on the truly decentralized Ethereum bridges and it takes a bit longer, so pull back and relax, until the sacred moment when you’ll be able to confidentially transact and trade wrapped ERC20 tokens on the Beam blockchain.
Our bridges will allow moving assets from Ethereum and later Polkadot, BSC, and practically any other network that supports smart contracts, to Beam and back! Tokens locked on the source chain are emitted as Confidential Assets on the Beam blockchain and then burned when the assets are moved back to the original chain. The bridge's architecture uses the ability of smart contracts to verify the correctness of a chain of blocks on each chain, thus synchronizing the states between the chains and proving the correctness of bridge operation.
Information regarding the state updates is provided in the form of transactions by an independent trustless broker using optimistic rollups. The broker pays transaction fees on each chain and in return collects bridge fees paid by the users willing to transfer their assets from one chain to another. To guarantee the honesty of the transactions, the broker locks a deposit that can be collected by the provider of the correct state proof in case of a dispute.
DeFi DAPPs need secure and accurate price data to execute financial smart contract protocols such as maintaining collateralization of stable coins (attention: teaser!) and loans, minting and trading synthetic commodities, settling perpetual futures contracts, and more. The integration with Chainlink’s oracle network securely and reliably delivers external asset prices and market data to the Beam ecosystem.
Confidential stable coin
No DeFi ecosystem is complete without a decentralized stable coin that is used as a medium of exchange and a store of value. While the coin name is being selected, the other differentiators are well-conceptualized:
- As any asset on Beam blockchain, the coin will be fungible and confidential
- The value of the coin will be pegged to USD
- It will be up to the DAO to decide, yet one of the ideas is to create a collateral mechanism for the coin in a way similar to DAI with a significant exception: only decentralized coins will be accepted as collateral (e.g. no USDT or USDC, or any other centralized token)
In the future, the DAO may consider implementing more stable coins pegged to other currencies or their combination.
DAPPS Boost — Q3 2021
We are working on processes and resources to speed up everyone who wants to create a DAPP on the BeamX platform:
- Great user and developer documentation is in the process
- A Telegram group to answer every developers-related question
- Tools to debug smart contracts on Beam blockchain (a.k.a. Shaders)
- Dedicated DAPP team that will not only create various apps polishing the documentation and debugging tools mentioned above but will also actively help to support the DAPPs developers’ community
DAPPS Boost — Q4 2021
Establish partnerships for financial instruments such as AMM & lending
The first DAPPs will probably start small, but as the ecosystem will grow and mature with the coming of bridges and oracles, big steps forward will be enabled. The partnerships won’t be limited to having Beam in the frontend, but rather leveraging Beam privacy features so that other projects can use Beam at their backend.
Imagine Uniswap (you’ve read right) powered by Beam that allows trading privately under the hood as a sneak peek example. Also, imagine trading a real-world asset on Mirror in a confidential way relying on the Beam blockchain under the hood. The same applies to aggregators and lending platforms, the talks with some are already underway.
BeamX Grants (a.k.a. Development Fund)
To further incentivize newcomers to the DAPP development ecosystem, grants for BeamX DAPP developers will be readily distributed according to the DAO voting results.
Confidential NFT tokens and NFT-based games are something we are actively brainstorming and exploring for Beam.
Beam roadmap comes with its inherently dynamic nature: it’s paved with a multitude of surprises, therefore the delivery timeline is continuously reorganized. One thing is clear though: the tech team always works at its best effort.
Smart Contracts, DAPPs, Stablecoin, Bridges, Oracles, AMM-based DEX, NFT — all with the kickass user experience from the comfort of your wallet will take part in the dance le grandeur in due time.
Come discover Beam and join our community!
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Co-authored with Angus Sullivan.