Announcing ZombieChain: An EOS-Like DPoS Sidechain for Ethereum DApps


Ever since we launched Loom Network two months ago, people have been comparing us to EOS.

And there’s definitely a lot of overlap. The Loom SDK has native support for DPoS — which means the same types of high-throughput apps a developer might want to use EOS for could also be run on Loom.

Today we’re taking that a step further — by announcing our plans to launch an “EOS mainnet”-style chain built on the Loom SDK.

ZombieChain: A Shared DPoS Sidechain For Ethereum DApps

Our original vision for Loom Network was that every DApp will run on its own sidechain, such that each DApp is able to customize its DAppChain for the performance / decentralization tradeoff that suits its needs.

And this model still makes a ton of sense for high-volume applications, like a decentralized Reddit or Hearthstone.

But after talking to early beta users of the Loom SDK, we realized not every developer is ready to bootstrap their own DAppChain from day one and host their own validators. A lot of our beta developers simply want a sidechain they can deploy their Ethereum DApps to that’s faster and more performant than today’s Ethereum mainnet.

So we decided to launch a shared DPoS sidechain that anyone can deploy DApps to for a fixed monthly fee.

Say hello to ZombieChain!

Built on the Loom SDK

Our goal with the Loom SDK is to make it dead-simple for developers to build any number of customizable blockchains, without needing to code the underlying blockchain consensus logic.

The Loom SDK handles all the underlying blockchain logic, so developers can just focus on coding their applications

With DelegateCall, we showed that the Loom SDK is powerful enough for a developer to build something like Steemit.

Now with ZombieChain, we’re showing that the Loom SDK is so flexible that it’s even possible to build something like EOS on top of Loom Network.

Fixed monthly hosting fees

Rather than having users pay gas per-transaction, developers will be able to run their DApps on ZombieChain for a fixed monthly fee.

We think this is an important quality of a blockchain that plans to host DApps which require a seamless user experience.

If users of a game are charged a microtransaction for every action they take, they are likely to become paralyzed by indecision. Even if the cost of the microtransactions is sufficiently cheap, the need for users to constantly make cost/value decisions at every step destroys the immersive in-game experience.

So ZombieChain’s model more closely parallels traditional web hosting, where developers pay a flat monthly fee based on the resources consumed by their application, upgrading their web server and paying more as their app grows in popularity over time.

Of course, in this case payments will be made by deducting from a balance of LOOM tokens in a smart contract—which means the cost of running the DApp could be supported in a number of other ways, such as through donations or in-DApp purchases from users that automatically refill the smart contract.

LOOM tokens as fuel for ZombieChain DApps

As with all other developer services on Loom Network, LOOM tokens will fuel ZombieChain.

In order to deploy a DApp to ZombieChain, developers will need to stake at least 10 LOOM tokens.

Each month, a certain number of LOOM tokens will be deducted based on transaction volume for their DApp, and paid to the ZombieChain validators in return for validating the transactions on the network.

Note that this is unlike running your own DAppChain, which has no monthly cost — node runners on a custom DAppChain simply need to have enough LOOM tokens in their possession to continue running the chain, and the tokens never get spent.

You can think of ZombieChain as paying a monthly fee for a shared web host, while running your own DAppChain is more like running your own web server on a computer you own.

The base pricing tier at the time of launch will be a low 1 LOOM token per month ($1.99 / mo), in order to increase adoption and get as many developers on board as possible.

As we work with our early users and approach network capacity, we’ll introduce higher pricing tiers based on transaction volume.

This way new DApps can be run on a shared DAppChain incredibly cheaply, and as they grow in volume, it will eventually become more economical for them to fork off onto their own DAppChain.

What Features Will ZombieChain Offer?

Sub-second block times

In order to run interactive applications like Reddit or Hearthstone on the blockchain, it’s important from a UX perspective to have extremely fast block times. No one wants to wait 15+ seconds to see their comment appear, or for their opponent to end his turn!

Since ZombieChain runs on DPoS, we’re seeing sub-second block times on average (interactive demo coming soon) — making it an ideal place to host DApps that require a fluid UX and high interactivity.

Native Solidity support

ZombieChain smart contracts are written in Solidity, which means Ethereum developers can simply port their existing DApps over and have them work out of the box — no need to learn a new smart contract programming language.

Plasma Cash support coming

We previously announced that we’re adding plasma cash to the Loom SDK in June. We’re still on track for release next month, and after it’s ready we plan to add support to ZombieChain as well.

This means DApps and games deployed to ZombieChain will be able to let users securely transfer their ERC721 tokens from mainnet (and in a later version, their ERC20 tokens and ETH as well), enabling some really cool things that aren’t currently possible on Ethereum mainnet alone.

Validator election & staking via DPoS

For the initial launch, we’ll be running the validators ourselves, but after we’ve been stably running in production for some time, we plan to allow other parties who hold a sufficient number of LOOM tokens to run validators to increase the decentralization of the network.

Why “ZombieChain”?

A month ago we initiated the CryptoZombies Hard Fork, beginning the process of migrating our #1 Ethereum code school from a Web 2.0 architecture to its own Loom DAppChain.

We also wanted to give CryptoZombies users an easy place to deploy their first DApps — and after talking it through, it only made sense to offer a shared DAppChain to do so.

Then we realized, if we’re going to let CryptoZombies users deploy their own Solidity smart contracts to this shared chain, we might as well allow Loom Network users to deploy any Solidity application they want, for a fee.

Hence ZombieChain was born.

Note: For CryptoZombies students, it will be free to deploy their first application.

So is ZombieChain “Loom Mainnet”?

No — and we don’t want to create any confusion.

Yes, ZombieChain will be similar to a DPoS mainnet like EOS — but ZombieChain is just ONE blockchain of many we’re building using the Loom SDK.

In fact, we have some really exciting ideas we’ve been talking about among the team for other specialized shared sidechains we can run on Loom. Think a games chain, or a social network chain, shared by DApps that all require similar functionality.

We can envision a mesh of large-scale shared Loom chains as major arteries that developers can build their DApps on top of, with Ethereum as the “high court”.

All these Loom chains will be using Ethereum as the “high court” with Plasma Cash for security. A single DApp could use multiple different Loom chains simultaneously to handle different specialized portions of the DApp (identity, marketplace, etc.), running the most expensive and custom pieces of logic on their own dedicated DAppChains.

You could even have “sidechains of sidechains”, like a shared games chain using ERC721 assets from Ethereum, where individual matches take place off chain.

A sidechain within a sidechain… within a sidechain…? 😳

Can you see why we’re so excited about what we’re building with the Loom SDK?

As always, our ideas are ever-evolving, and we’re constantly learning more and more through working with real developers on our beta SDK.

This is one of the reasons we think it’s an advantage that we don’t have a whitepaper. We don’t feel obligated to stay pigeonholed into one particular idea or solution — we will continue to adapt and pivot our model and the services we offer as we continue to discover what this market needs, and provide as much value as possible to users of Loom Network.

From day one, with our earliest services like EthFiddle and CryptoZombies, our goal has always been to enable developers to build the next generation applications on the blockchain.

And we think ZombieChain will be a big step for us further in that direction.

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

Want more info? Start here.

Fan of blockchain gaming? Check out Zombie Battleground, the world’s first PC & mobile card game that runs fully on its own blockchain.

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