Pantos Q&A Update: Summary of the TAST research progress we made with the third Technical White Paper
We sat down again with Michael Borkowski — the operative research lead of TAST — to talk about the research progress and the findings in the third TAST Technical White Paper.
Hi Michael, in our last Q&A we talked about the first two Technical White Papers. What are the key findings of the recently released third Technical White Paper?
The main contribution in this Technical White Paper is an improvement called deterministic witnesses, which can be used to drastically simplify claim-first transactions.
Can you explain this concept in a really simple way?
Imagine you’re paying for something at a store, in cash. First the cash leaves your wallet (“spend”) and is then put into the register (“claim”). In cross-blockchain transfers, this is not possible, because we cannot verify on the target blockchain that the assets have really been spent (removed from the wallet) on the source blockchain so we cannot let the receiver claim them without avoiding double spending.
With claim-first transactions, we allow the receiver to claim assets before they are spent (claim-first). In order to do so, however, the receiver must publish information which anyone can use to remove the assets from the source wallet. This information, which we call the Proof of Intent (PoI), must contain the transaction details (sender, receiver, amount) and must be signed by both the sender and the receiver.
How do you make sure that the Proof of Intent is actually used by someone to remove the assets?
The protocol relies on witnesses actually using the PoI to remove the assets from the source blockchain. This is similar to how blockchains work on a lower level: They rely on network nodes constantly mining blocks, and confirming transactions. We, therefore, use a reward system to provide an incentive. Anyone (any node) observing a “claim” of assets can finalise this transaction by using the PoI to remove the assets on the source blockchain. The reward issued for this can be compared to the transaction fees of conventional transactions found, for instance, in Bitcoin or Ethereum.
How did the idea of claim-first transactions evolve in the third Technical White Paper?
We have been able to significantly simplify the process of claim-first transactions. Simply put, the core problem lies within the witness rewards. If you reward the witness with the same asset as is being transferred (e.g., Pantos tokens), you run into the issue of how to propagate this witness information to other blockchains, in order to maintain the cross-blockchain usability I mentioned before. This is because again, we cannot reliably communicate the information “Witness X received Y tokens as a reward” from one blockchain to another.
Now, we found a way to ensure the propagation of the witness reward across blockchains without needing this direct communication. We do this by ensuring that the decision of which witness receives the reward is deterministic, and therefore the same “winning” witness is selected on all blockchains. Thus, we call this technique deterministic witnesses.
Some people were asking this on our official Telegram group: What’s the difference between Pantos and other projects like TenX COMIT?
COMIT takes a different approach than Pantos. While COMIT uses payment channels to realise payments utilising different asset types, these assets remain on the same blockchain. All Bitcoin remain on the Bitcoin blockchain, all Ether remain on the Ethereum blockchain, and so on.
At Pantos, we aim to create an asset which is usable across blockchains and is freely movable between these blockchains. So while the overall goal (interoperability) is the same, we take a different approach. The main upside of the Pantos approach is that our PAN blockchain assets reduce the user’s risk: If, for any reason, a particular blockchain suffers from rapid loss of users — for instance, due to the publication of a vulnerability — our cross-blockchain asset remains usable without any impact on all remaining blockchains. This is in contrast to the COMIT approach, where any assets held on a specific blockchain would be lost.
To the best of our knowledge, Metronome is the only project with a comparable goal to Pantos. However, Metronome is still in development and no technical details are published about how cross-blockchain Metronome transfers will be realised.
As the first multi-blockchain token system, Pantos aims to bring blockchain projects closer together, improve communication between developers, researchers and users, and set innovative standards for cross-chain token transfers.
The goal is to serve as a lighthouse project in an increasingly fragmented blockchain space. With multiple blockchains serving all kinds of different purposes, Pantos is seeking to allow these projects to talk to one another in a standardised way. This will speed up innovation by creating a link between blockchains which then can scale together.
To get the latest news on the progress of the Pantos project you can follow our official channels: