Cross-chain Dapps — The Next Leap in the Multi-chain Era
anyCall, built for cross-chain Dapps
Web3 is rapidly growing into a multi-chain ecosystem. With so many application-specific chains operating together, there is an increasing need for blockchains to communicate with one another, so that users and liquidity are not confined to one ecosystem, instead, are efficiently managed by their free flow across networks.
Projects like Cosmos IBC and Polkadot were born out of this need. Such ecosystem projects allow arbitrary data to flow across networks inside their ecosystem. While this strategy does deliver a more interconnected ecosystem, it does so within finite walls.
We believe that an ideal multi-chain ecosystem will not be limited by such boundaries and should allow the exchange of arbitrary data between any set of networks. Such an ecosystem is inevitable and will change how Dapps are built and used profoundly.
Dapps of the multi-chain era will not only share liquidity across networks but will also share their business logic and operate as a single entity that spans multiple networks. Multichain’s anyCall — an infrastructure for generic cross-chain messaging, will be the backbone of this next phase in the evolution of Dapp design.
To understand the ethos of anyCall, we must look into these phases of Dapp evolution, which are described in four stages.
Stages of Dapp evolution
- Blockchains as Dapps
All blockchains are decentralized applications, which are built to serve a specific purpose. For instance, The Bitcoin network was designed as a peer-to-peer value transfer network, and the Ethereum network was designed to function as a global payments system and a decentralized computer.
2. Single-chain Dapps
Smart contract-capable blockchains like Ethereum enabled building use-case specific Dapps that could perform a set of programmable computations and transfer value between addresses as per the result. However, cross-chain bridges were not advanced at this point, so Dapps existed on their native chains themselves.
3. Multi-platform Dapps
With the advent of cross-chain bridges and the emergence of EVM-compatible chains, Dapps began to achieve a multi-chain presence. Developers deploy a copy of one Dapp on multiple EVM chains, and cross-chain bridges are used to transfer liquidity on these Dapps.
Most Dapps in Web3 are in stage 3 in 2022. Now, before we discuss stage 4, it is important to understand the shortcomings of the third stage which inspired Dapps to evolve further. This is best done with an example –
We are familiar with the liquidity gauge system of Curve Finance; it is used to measure a user’s share of provided liquidity and the amount of CRV inflation they are entitled to. Curve finance is an Ethereum native application, it initially created incentives to create liquidity on Curve on Ethereum with CRV rewards.
Curve later cloned its application on Polygon and Fantom to leverage their low fees environment. Curve then created liquidity pools on these networks to bootstrap trading and allowed users to stake their CRV on these networks to earn inflation rewards.
This is very much reminiscent of the stage 3 setup as described above. Here, separate pools for the same token pairs X-Y exist on three different networks (Ethereum, Polygon, and Fantom) with independent liquidity, supply & demand. This is just an asset-level integration which naturally, will cause disparities in reward distribution. For instance, high activity on Ethereum might generate more rewards for veCRV holders on Ethereum than Polygon or Fantom. This cross-chain integration is purely on a UI and application level.
Curve soon realized that they needed to deal with creating incentives for liquidity creation on new networks, while incorporating them into a unified distribution logic, which proved to be extremely daunting, until the advent of anyCall.
This brings us to stage four –
4. Protocol-level integration
Curve finance partnered with Multichain to deploy anyCall, Multichain’s generic cross-chain messaging technology. Without getting into the details (check detailed explanation here), this integration allowed Curve to send data regarding liquidity and veCRV information from secondary chains (Polygon, Fantom) to Ethereum. Then, the CRV rewards are calculated by accounting for data from all the supported chains, and then, each chain’s fair share is bridged via cross-chain routers.
This is what we mean by protocol-level integration. AnyCall enabled users to leverage the transaction processing environment of high throughput blockchains while integrating every chain’s logic environment. We believe this is how the Dapps of the future will work, by realizing multi-chain operating logic with cross-chain contract calls to the deployed chains to transact messages, information, and commands.
Dapps of the future will be fundamentally different
Cross-chain bridges and routers are limited to the realization of smart contract operational logic at the cross-chain transaction messages level, which is why Dapps need to be cloned to support multiple ecosystems. When the Dapps of the future extend this logic to support the exchange of any arbitrary message, they become capable of cross-chain contract calls, which eliminates the need to clone Dapps and fundamentally changes their operational logic.
A cross-chain Dapp of the future will have the following characteristics –
- The Dapp will be deployed and operate on multiple chains at the same time.
- Cross-chain contract calls will be realized through a generic cross-chain messaging protocol.
- Cross-chain Dapps will share data, messages, and operating logic across multiple chains; any activity on one chain will also affect the state on other chains.
- A state change on one blockchain will be reflected across all networks the Dapp is deployed on.
The Dapps built with current standards, which lack native support for arbitrary cross-chain communication, can lose their relevance with time if they do not adapt to evolving industry standards. AnyCall provides a future-proof infrastructure for such Dapps, which they can integrate with ease and without making any significant changes to their contract code.
The value proposition of anyCall
- For developers
Anycall is the epitome of generic cross-chain messaging functions that provides consistent and hassle-free integration for project developers so that they can focus on design and innovation rather than the business logic of cross-chain transfers. Cross-chain Dapps create a network effect of broader coverage and bigger clientele when they are presented as one unified platform for all the supported networks.
- For users
With anyCall, multiple functions both within and across networks can be done with just one contract call. On a UI/UX level, this equates to lesser steps for Dapp users, which means a cleaner and simpler experience.
AnyCall’s ability to transfer arbitrary data across chains opens doors to a greater range of functions for Dapp users. A unified Web3 space offers a deeper and wider market, for digital assets or others.
Current use cases
Multichain’s anyCall is already live across eleven networks and more will soon follow. Some Dapps with anyCall support are –
- Curve Finance — Curve facilitates the support of multi-chain gauges with the help of anyCall.
- Hundred Finance — Hundred finance deploys anyCall to offer uniform reward distribution to various veHND (vote escrowed HND) holders across multiple chains.
- Fiver for gas — Fiver for gas makes it possible to acquire gas tokens for one chain by paying for it in stablecoins on another chain.
Integrate anyCall to stay ahead of the curve
The need for blockchain networks to communicate with one another and operate as one comprehensive entity is not new. Issues like liquidity fragmentation, complicated user experience, and Dapp cloning have been plaguing Web3 for quite a while. anyCall is the only solution that can battle all these issues across a wide range of networks seamlessly. The Web3 community has been keen on eradicating these issues; if existing Dapps do not adapt, new ones will take their place.