PlasmaChain, GameChain, SocialChain: The Loom Network Universe Expounded

James Martin Duffy
Aug 24, 2018 · 6 min read


Before we dive in, let’s start with a little background…

Last week, we released the Alpha version of Zombie Battleground, the world’s first truly scalable blockchain game.

When we say “truly scalable”, what we mean is that unlike the blockchain games we’ve seen up until now, Zombie Battleground looks and feels exactly like any normal mobile or PC game.

No MetaMask popups, no gas fees. End users don’t need to own any cryptocurrency, have an Ethereum account, or even know what a blockchain is in order to start playing.

And yet the game itself runs 100% on the blockchain. There is no centralized game server anywhere.

The card ownership, the pack opening, and the matches themselves — all game and server logic runs entirely on Loom Network sidechains and Ethereum mainnet.

To the end user, Zombie Battleground looks and feels like any other mobile game. The fact that the whole game takes place 100% on the blockchain is totally transparent to the end user.

Extreme Engineering: Blockchain Edition

This is no small feat of blockchain engineering. There’s a reason why we haven’t seen a full-scale blockchain game like Zombie Battleground before now — it required an immense amount of work from our 70+ member team to lay the foundations that made this possible.

Not to mention, copious amounts of coffee and late nights 😉

It’s been a while since we’ve written an article about our tech stack, so I wanted to put out an update to share what we’ve been working on, and paint a better picture of what the Loom Network ecosystem currently looks like… because A LOT has changed since our last update.

In fact, we’ll have a number of articles coming out over the next few weeks shedding light on all the things we’ve been working on.

But today, let’s start with the biggest updates first…

Loom Network Is Now Running 3 Sidechains in Production

We’ve stated before that our vision is a network of sidechains, with Ethereum as the backbone.

We’re well on our way to making this vision a reality, with 3 sidechains now in production.

1. PlasmaChain: A Plasma Cash-backed Hub for Transacting Between Sidechains and Ethereum Mainnet

A few months back, we announced ZombieChain: “An EOS-like DPoS sidechain for Ethereum DApps.”

Since we made that announcement, ZombieChain has evolved considerably.

What happened is, we started building the marketplace for Zombie Battleground on top of ZombieChain — and as our feature list grew, we realized this chain had potential to become something much larger than originally intended.

So we decided to upgrade this chain to have it play an even more important role in the future of our vision: It’s going to become a central hub for token transactions, linked to Ethereum by Plasma Cash.

Think of it like a bridge to Ethereum mainnet with a built-in Decentralized Exchange (DEX), that other sidechains can use for faster and cheaper transactions without ever touching mainnet.

Such an important role demands an important name. Thus, we’ve decided to rebrand ZombieChain to “PlasmaChain.”

PlasmaChain: The Sidechain Formerly Known as ZombieChain.

Here are some of the features that will be built into PlasmaChain:

  • Plasma Cash link to mainnet for native ETH, ERC20, and NFT (ERC721) support
  • Built-in DEX / marketplace functionality
  • Native payments in ETH and LOOM
  • Plans to integrate BTC payments in the future
  • Plans to enable Plasma Cash links to “Layer 3” chains, with PlasmaChain as the parent chain. (Think “sidechains of sidechains”, in which PlasmaChain is the clearinghouse that enables trading of tokens between multiple sidechains without hitting mainnet.)

Here’s the thing: The Zombie Battleground Marketplace is ALREADY RUNNING on PlasmaChain as you read this.

We will also be deploying multiple testnets in the near future, which we will open to third parties to deploy their DApps.

These testnets may later evolve to become their own specialized production chains. But in the meantime, they’ll help us test third-party DApps and experiment with new features to eventually incorporate into the production PlasmaChain.

As the central hub that acts as a bridge between multiple sidechains and Ethereum, PlasmaChain will be one of the most important pieces in our vision moving forward.

PlasmaChain: A Plasma Cash-backed Layer 2 hub that other sidechains can transact on more quickly and cheaply than Ethereum mainnet.

2. GameChain: A Highly-Performant Sidechain Optimized for Interactive Mobile Games

GameChain is the chain that we’re currently using to run the alpha version of Zombie Battleground.

This chain is actually a sidechain to PlasmaChain (check the diagram above, if your head is about to explode), and doesn’t connect directly to Ethereum mainnet.

This is because doing so allows users to earn new cards through playing, and trade them on the marketplace instantly, without needing to pay gas fees.

Users can choose to transfer their cards off PlasmaChain onto Ethereum mainnet whenever they want to, but having the PlasmaChain layer in between allows us to provide a much better (and free) user experience — which is an ESSENTIAL step if we want to onboard millions of new users into the crypto universe.

So what happens on GameChain itself?

While the cards themselves are stored on PlasmaChain, GameChain is where everything else in the game takes place.

Matchmaking, tournaments, ladders and player rankings, the individual moves in the matches themselves, and everything else that would traditionally happen on a backend web server happens on GameChain.

In the future, we will open up this chain to third-party game developers to deploy their games on, making it a dedicated sidechain for high performance mobile and PC games.

3. SocialChain: A Sidechain Optimized for Social Applications

SocialChain is the chain we’re currently using to run DelegateCall. It was the very first sidechain we built, and is also our longest-running sidechain — in production since March 2018.

On DelegateCall, users can earn ERC20 tokens for their contributions (instead of useless karma points), which they can then withdraw to Ethereum mainnet. We detailed its infrastructure in this post.

In the future, we plan to open up SocialChain to other social network DApps that share similar feature requirements. (ERC20-based karma, sybil resistance, reputation-based transaction limiting, and so on).

Having dedicated chains tailored to particular kinds of applications allows us to optimize each chain for those types of DApps — whereas on Ethereum mainnet, you might have someone sending a Tweet competing in gas fees with someone sending a million dollars.

The Loom Network Universe Is Slowly Taking Shape — And Expanding

It started with the big bang: the Loom SDK, which is the foundation on which all of our sidechains are built.

Then came DelegateCall, the first planet to form — which is now growing to develop its own ecosystem as SocialChain.

Next come PlasmaChain and GameChain. It’s taken time for these to fully take shape — this is cutting edge tech, after all — but our marketplace will be in production on PlasmaChain next month, and Zombie Battleground will be running full PvP ladder matches on GameChain by the end of this year.

What will be next? 🤔

The Blockchain Invaders Are Coming — And Games Will Be the Trojan Horse

We’ve had a lot of focus on games recently… And some of you have been wondering, WTF Loom? Why do you keep emailing me about your game?

I hear you. So next week I’m going to reveal some of the details of our top secret strategy — which will better explain WHY we think games play such a crucial role in our vision. (And why we’ve been quiet on the tech front, but loud on the games front over the past few months).

Lots of juicy details coming soon. So if you’re not already, hop on our mailing list to be the first to know when the article drops.

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