By Alex Belets
The blockchain industry has an important mission to fulfill. Well, perhaps it has a number of important missions to fulfill, but top of this list is the creation of a totally unified, secure, yet still decentralized global network that can form the foundation of the new Web3-world.
And what is holding this mission back? Largely, it is the inability of blockchains to communicate with each other in a safe way that doesn’t leave data and assets vulnerable to bad actors. In short, blockchain is being held back by a lack of interoperability.
We have seen many solutions emerge in recent years, not least bridges that can link layer 1 chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Meanwhile, multichain ecosystems like Polkadot and Cosmos are working to create more interoperable environments for different blockchains that can connect through them.
Complexity must be simplified, not increased
All of these solutions, though, add complexity where there should be simplification. Indeed, one of blockchain’s biggest inherent problems is its complexity: not least the difficulty involved in running backend operations and creating user-friendly interfaces, and then surviving long enough to become a long-term solution.
In traditional finance, we realized we need a few core systems to work from, from which a global network can be built-out. These systems are simple, effective, and interoperable. In crypto, though, it seems we missed that part, and this means that as the industry expands, it is bumping up against more and more limitations.
In DeFi, the original templates were fairly simple. We had staking and dexes. Easy. But these have changed and evolved, and as they have, the overall number of DeFi products that can exist has become more limited – even GameFi is limited. Everyone is limited because the lack of interoperability in these spaces makes platforms and protocols more complex to use, with more required features, and often more vulnerabilities.
Beyond these limitations, we’ve seen a huge number of projects meet a dead-end because they selected inappropriate technology and the wrong blockchain for their goals. And it’s an unsolvable problem. Ultimately, these projects have to be closed completely because it’s impossible to implement changes or move to a new chain, or they have to recreate it from scratch on another blockchain with added cost and complexity.
Aiming for pure consensus
None of this is to say we should be aiming for a “one chain to rule them all” solution – to borrow a phrase from Vitalik Buterin. Rather, we need a solution that means platforms and providers are nor forced into one technological solution and held there until they sink or swim.
While they are the best solution we have right now, deploying more bridges or adding “chains on chains” is not the answer either. Not only does this introduce security concerns, but adds obstruction and – most importantly for users – higher fees and an even more complex user experience.
Rather, what we need is a solution that allows for fully native integration between blockchains. Indeed, what we should be talking about is “pure consensus” – a situation where blockchains can interact with each other through fully embedded nodes that can receive data, and make decisions, with the majority of nodes deciding what actually happens.
We don’t need trust in a trustless ecosystem
This is how we achieve the ultimate aim of blockchain and cryptocurrency: an entirely decentralized, automated and fully connected network that doesn’t rely on any single, or even a small number of central authorities to maintain it.
Indeed, when people talk of trust in blockchain, how it can be created and maintained, they are missing the point. Blockchain technology was designed to be trustless – a place where no-one needs to be trusted, because no-one is in-charge.
The benefits of this are manifold for the blockchain industry: an entirely interconnected, decentralized global network will open the door to endless innovations and market opportunities. The recent bull market that saw crypto’s market capitalization rise to a valuation of $3 trillion will be just a small hillock compared to the mountain of the next peak.
Perhaps more importantly, gone is the hegemony of Amazon Web Services and Google. Finally, with a fully connected and decentralized blockchain network, Web3 can be realized. As Web1 and 2 profoundly changed the way we live our lives, Web3 will go even further.
In the future, our money, our identities, indeed almost all essential parts of life will be conducted on blockchain in a way that gives greater power and control to their owners. With full blockchain interoperability, this future is not only possible, but inevitable.
Alex Belets is CEO of UniLayer, a layer 1, blockchain interoperability project focused on enabling secure, cross-chain transactions and data transfer. Coming from an enterprise development background, Alex is highly versed in IT banking security systems with over 10 years of experience in front and back-end development, and cybersecurity. He is one of the industry’s leading specialists in cross-chain interoperability and security.– Ed.
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