Cross-chain Storeman Node Development Update

The road to full decentralization for Wanchain’s cross chain system

Noah Maizels
Oct 28 · 5 min read

Wanchain’s cross-chain storeman node system is revolutionary as a functioning model for the cross-chain transfer of value. To date, it has allowed for the cross-chain exchange of value of BTC from the Bitcoin blockchain as well as ETH and over a half dozen ERC20 tokens from the Ethereum blockchain. Work on adding EOS and EOS blockchain based assets is underway as well. However, the system in its current form has not yet reached the model described in the Wanchain whitepaper. Currently, the storeman node system is not open to the public — only permissioned nodes are allowed to participate in the cross-chain storeman system. Wanchain’s research team is currently working hard to convert the storeman node system to an improved and fully decentralized model. However, the road to a 100% decentralized model is not an easy one. The team faces significant challenges which must first be overcome before the storeman node system can be safely decentralized and open to the public.

The following is a simplified summary of the research team’s recent work on plans for improving the storeman node system:

The Challenges

Challenge 1: What are the requirements for those who want to run storeman nodes?

The requirements for running a storeman node must be carefully considered. If the requirements are too low, it will be easy for anyone to create multiple storeman nodes and affect the network negatively. If the requirements are too high, then it will limit participation in the network, and there will not be enough participants to run the network safely. Currently the Wanchain research team has determined that as a minimum requirement, public storeman nodes should at least meet the same staking requirements as delegation receiving validator nodes (which require 50,000 WAN initial stake). Additionally, there will be a higher required amount of stake for storeman nodes, although which specific amount is ideal is still being analyzed by the research team.

Challenge 2: How to motivate node operators to run storeman nodes?

Running a node requires staked WAN and the ability to set up and run a node on a bare metal or cloud based server. In other words, it requires a fair amount of investment and work from the node operator. It is therefore necessary to offer an appropriate incentive to motivate potential storeman node operators to join the system. Starting from the initial roll out of the system, transaction fees for processing cross chain transactions will not be enough to motivate storeman node operators, so the incentives must come from somewhere else at the beginning. The research team has therefore decided to use a certain portion of the WAN funds reserved from the initial token distribution event as an extra incentive for kicking off the storeman node system. The specifics details of the incentives system (total amount of incentives and the incentives structure) have yet to be determined and are still undergoing analysis by the research team.

Challenge 3: How to design a system which is flexible enough for multiple chains & assets going forward?

One of the challenges of opening up the storeman system is how to design it in a way which allows for flexibility when determining the minimum threshold number of storeman nodes required for a cross chain link (see this previous article for an explanation of thresholds). Since cross chain links with different chains and different assets may have different security assumptions and requirements, it is necessary to have a flexible system which allows for different minimum thresholds of storeman node participants. However, the current storeman system lacks this flexibility due to technical limitations of the ECDSA algorithm it is based on. The team has therefore decided to upgrade the system by switching from ECDSA to Schnorr signatures. Using this new algorithm will make the system more efficient and flexible. Currently the research team is hard at work on the technical details of the implementation. (Stay tuned to Wanchain’s social media for an upcoming deep dive article exploring the benefits of using Schnorr signatures over ECDSA).

Challenge 4: How to set the required amount of storeman node stake?

Should it be a fixed amount of stake or a dynamic one? If the required stake is a fixed amount, if it is too low, then if there is some security failure in cross chain transactions, there may be no way for the stake to cover the value lost. If it is too high, it may discourage participation. If it is not fixed, and instead according to the actual token price, how should it be calculated? What type of oracle system should be used?

Challenge 5: What should be the different requirements for different cross chain links?

Is the stake of the Storeman Groups of different chains calculated separately or the same? If a node participates in the ETH-WAN cross-chain or participates in the BTC-WAN cross-chain, should it have the same requirements for stake?

Challenge 6: For delegators, how is the cross chain portion of the rewards calculated?

Since more stake in the system increases the security of the entire system, we also want the system to encourage delegation. How should the delegation rewards be determined?

Challenge 7: Security risks

What security risks do PoS nodes have when it comes to working with the Storeman nodes? What kind of attacks may occur, how can they be targeted and avoided?

Going Forward

The above challenges are a summary of the issues currently being tackled by the Wanchain research team in their efforts to fully decentralize and open to the public the cross-chain storeman node system. While there is still much work to be done, the research team is rapidly making progress. Expect to hear more soon about the next developments for the storeman system!

About Wanchain

Wanchain is the infrastructure connecting the decentralized financial world. Wanchain’s live cross-blockchain solution is EVM-based, includes optional private transactions, and provides a decentralized, permissionless, and secure approach for interoperability. Wanchain has employees globally with teams in Beijing (China), Austin (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Madrid (Spain).

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Noah Maizels

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Our mission is to provide an open and trusted platform to power transfer of digital assets across siloed blockchains. We believe this will enable us to connect and empower communities globally.

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