The Connected Future
In the future, blockchains will be seamlessly inter-operable, unlocking the flow of information and assets from their respective silos and replacing the need for trusted intermediaries to move assets from one chain to another. In order to get there the blockchain ecosystem needs better developer tools to allow easy, safe and well-documented deployment of cross-chain functionality.
The Interchain Foundation has recently awarded a grant to THORChain and Swish Labs who are working together to build the next-generation bridge with a focus on continuous peg zone development.
Cosmos and Interchain
Cosmos is a base-level project built on the impressive Tendermint consensus protocol to create a powerful ecosystem of connected blockchains, which is supported by All in Bits (a Cosmos development team) and the Interchain Foundation. The Cosmos mainnet was recently launched with a dedicated community of developers and validators.
As part of the connected vision, Cosmos consists of cross-chain bridges, referred to as “peg zones”. These peg zones allow external assets to be pegged between the Cosmos chain and an external non-Cosmos blockchain, which facilitates robust and secure two-way value flow.
All in Bits has previously released an early prototype called Peggy to bridge Ethereum (testnet) and a Cosmos blockchain. There is also ongoing community work around a secure Bitcoin peg, thanks to the Nomic team.
Funded by a grant from the Interchain Foundation, the teams will aim to ship performant and usable developer tooling to deploy safe and robust cross-chain bridges between Cosmos blockchains and Ethereum in the coming months.
This tooling is comprised of the application logic built from Cosmos SDK, and Ethereum smart contracts necessary to support this. It will be made open-source and available for the whole community to adapt and use.
The first version of the tooling will be made available on Ethereum testnet over the next few months. The focus for this first iteration of the software will be on a robust and useable bridge connecting Ethereum to Cosmos. Subsequent bridges will add robust security characteristics.
Watch out for updates to learn more about the design of the bridge and progress of this joint project. The github link is here.
The THORChain team is heavily aligned with the Cosmos vision of a connected future, and is specifically focused on bringing a next-generation decentralised exchange to life based on the Cosmos protocol. Thanks to Cosmos’ existing protocols and distributed systems engineering the THORChain decentralized exchange (DEX) will be secure, performant and robust. The DEX will also be debuting novel liquidity incentivisation strategies ensuring that it won’t suffer from the problem of low liquidity that has plagued earlier DEXes. You can read more about that here.
A cornerstone feature of THORChain’s DEX protocol is that it facilitates safe asset transfer to other chains through bridges, where the bridge is designed with appropriate incentive mechanisms that ensure it is transparent and game-theoretically secure. With opt-in principles and economic incentivisation, the bridges can also be made theoretically free from censorship, allowing the community to determine the assets to be supported. This is covered in depth in a recently published research paper.
Swish Labs is a research and development powerhouse with a global, distributed team and a strong focus on emergent blockchain technologies. Swish Labs is an early partner and backer of the THORChain project and worked hard to launch the first THORChain testnet in October 2018.
Swish is committed to supporting the Cosmos ecosystem and THORChain together to realize the connected future and ship the tools required to get there.
Keep in Touch
The Cosmos project is built and funded by several organizations that focus on research, development and governance of the Cosmos blockchain and dApp ecosystem. The Interchain Foundation runs a grant program to fund projects that grow the ecosystem in line with the Foundation’s mandate.
THORChain is working on research to complement this project around economically secure cross-chain bridges. You can track their work here.
Swish Labs is busy shipping world-class code and products for a large number of teams and projects. You can get in touch here.