Topos Network
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Topos Network

Topos: A consensusless, trust-free, privacy-enhancing interoperability protocol

Photo by Lucas Benjamin on Unsplash

The problem

More than a decade after Satoshi’s major breakthrough in 2008, blockchain’s main limitations and issues — scalability, interoperability, and privacy — remain largely unresolved and are keeping the industry adoption of the technology yet to be a reality.

  • Smart contracts paved the way for web3 (dapps).
  • Divide and conquer strategy (sharding) enabled greater scalability.
  • Novel Sybil control mechanisms such as PoS allowed for eco-friendly blockchains.
  • Cryptographic breakthrough enabled greater user privacy.

Scalability

The scalability problem differs whether we’re considering permissionless or permissioned blockchains.

Interoperability

Interoperability is a complex challenge to tackle. We’ve mentioned the role of APIs as drivers of technological changes in our world: standards like Representational State Transfer (REST) have greatly helped reaching a global consensus on how such APIs should expose their endpoints and how data is to be retrieved, created, updated, and deleted.

  • Networks like Polkadot allow for trustless cross-chain communication by relying on a strong primitive like classic BFT algorithms on the primary layer. This leads to a number of secondary chains that is intrinsically bounded by protocol specifications thus it eventually delays the scalability problem but does not solve it.
  • Other networks such as Cosmos have opted for simpler cross-chain mechanisms at the cost of the trust that secondary networks must have in one another. This greatly deters private organizations from entering such systems to interface with other networks.

Privacy

Beyond the need for trustless interoperability, private entities often need to keep their data private. Looking back again at existing trustless multi-chain systems, the validity of a cross-chain transaction is always pegged to the transparency that these chains need to provide. The central blockchain — the primary layer — validates state transitions of secondary networks by having access to their entire state and history.

The Topos solution

At Toposware, we’ve been working on a solution that makes no compromises on scalability, interoperability, and privacy.

What we release today

Today, we’re proud to release the following:

  • frost: Our modification of the original FROST protocol to support additional Identifiable Cheating Entity property and Static group keys. Originally forked from frost-dalek.
  • cheetah: Our custom STARK-friendly elliptic curve constructed over a sextic extension of a small prime field with high two-adicity.
  • winterfell: A fork of novifinancial, modified for our specific needs.
  • certificate-stark: A custom AIR program for efficient Topos state transition verification.
  • hash: A start of a collection of algebraic hash functions for zero-knowledge proofs, currently offering two instantiations of Rescue-Prime over Cheetah’s small prime field.
  • schnorr-sig: A custom implementation of the Schnorr signature protocol, for efficient verification inside a STARK statement.

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