Introducing BIFROST Network
As BIFROST Network is launching the incentivized testnet — the last stage before the full-scale mainnet launch — we want to tell you more about the network and its features.
BIFROST Network overview
BIFROST Network is a layer-one blockchain based on a Substrate development framework that enables cross-chain communication. It is a generalized, externally-verified message passing network that aims to connect otherwise separated networks. BFC is the native token that is used for fees in the network and on-chain governance.
BIFROST Network has a unique design that distinguishes it from other interoperability solutions and layer-one blockchains. The network is built upon the idea of utilizing the best available solutions such as Substrate’s NPoS and EVM, and enhancing them by the custom-built pieces of architecture to ensure a secure and robust user experience when it comes to cross-chain communication.
BIFROST Network features
Let’s examine the high-level architecture of the BIFROST Network and some of its features.
Two-tier node architecture
Nodes of the BIFROST Network are similar to typical Substrate-based nodes, but the interoperability nature of the network also requires some additional features. Thus, the BIFROST Network consists of two-tier nodes — basic nodes and full nodes. Both types of nodes have minimum self-bonding requirements and can also accept external stakes from Nominators.
Basic node of the first tier plays the role of block producing and acts as an archive node. Basic nodes are typical Substrate-based nodes that are getting paid for securing the network.
Full node of the second tier has the features of the basic node and additionally plays the role of a relayer that passes messages across chains, as well as provides oracle data. Full nodes have to watch multiple blockchains connected with BIFROST Network to detect cross-chain action events. In addition to standard rewards, full nodes also earn additional rewards for facilitating cross-chain transactions.
The main focus of the BIFROST Network is interchain communication that is enabled by the “Remote Blockchain Call” (RBC) protocol. BIFROST Network acts as an external verifier for actions happening on the chains it supports, and relays them over from the source chain to the destination chain. The network is aimed at maximizing decentralization and security in cross-chain message passing while maintaining reasonable transaction costs. To do so, two unique elements are implemented into its architecture — Relayers and Socket Contracts.
The role of relayers is played by the validators of the network running full nodes, so Relayers are operating on the protocol level. As the name suggests, their job is to relay messages from one supported chain to another by validating and signing interchain communication-related messages with their private keys. In return, BIFROST Network must accept valid relayers’ messages by verifying their signatures.
Socket contracts are deployed to all supported chains and play the role of the consensus coordinator among relayers, as the final decision on the validity of the transaction is made in the socket contract based on the signatures of relayers.
Together, relayers and socket contracts perform a sanity check for every cross-chain message at every stage to ensure the security of the network.
EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) is the runtime environment that enables the execution of the code written in Solidity. It’s used by developers to create dApps and deploy and execute smart contracts. While built on the foundation of the Substrate development framework, BIFROST Network is an EVM-compatible blockchain.
EVM compatibility provides a number of advantages, such as:
- Solidity-based contracts. The vast majority of dApps are written in Solidity, so having EVM compatibility unlocks access to the most complete and battle-tested code in Web-3. Contracts can be migrated from any other EVM chain with minimum changes if any.
- Developers onboarding. As most of the web-3 developers are already comfortable with Solidity, it makes it easier to bootstrap the development activity on the network. BIFROST Network offers a unique opportunity for developers to go cross-chain without having to learn a new technology stack.
BIFROST Network employs an on-chain governance system that is based on Polkadot’s structure, with its unique features. At the heart of the BIFROST Network’s governance protocol, BFC holders reflect changes to the network through a stake-weighted voting system through their stake in the community-proposed referenda.
BIFROST Network’s governance structure has three governing bodies: the Referendum Chamber, the Council, and the Technical Committee. The Council’s job is to overlook the network, propose sound referenda and use the veto power of its members to stop malicious referenda. The main duties of the Technical Committee are fast-tracking emergency proposals as well as canceling uncontroversially dangerous ones.
Proposals can be submitted by anyone regardless of the owned BFC and will move to referenda if supported by token holders. The complete proposal workflow is shown in the diagram below.
One of the main features of governance –voulantary locking — mirrors that of Polkadot. It breaks the weight of the vote into two parameters — lock balance and conviction. Token holders can increase their conviction multiplier by locking tokens for longer periods. This mechanism ensures that token holders with smaller stakes can have a voice in the network governance.
Features covered in this article are only a high-level overview of the network. We will be releasing documentation, dev resources, governance forum, and Foundation programs in the near future. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and join our Discord community to not miss out.
In the meantime, we still accept applications for the BIFROST Network incentivized testnet. To participate please fill out the form.