Different Approaches to Interoperability

In the previous article, we mentioned blockchain interoperability and how it helps people reach a trustless agreement at ease in many aspect of daily situations. In this article, we will further discuss current interoperability approaches to give audience a high-level understanding of what these projects try to achieve before moving on to KardiaChain architectural design.

To start off, let’s go through 2 simple examples of cross-chain interaction

Cross-chain asset exchange:

  • User A on ETH network want to exchange his ETH for NEO.
  • User B on NEO network want to exchange his NEO for ETH.
  • User A sends his ETH to an agreed address and receive the corresponding amount of NEO in his NEO wallet.

Cross-chain data exchange:

  • Dapp A with its users KYC in SMCs on ETH network.
  • Dapp B on NEO network requires KYC identification during its user interaction.
  • User C authorises Dapp B on NEO network to verify his KYC data stored by Dapp A on ETH network.

Cross-chain Assets Exchange

Open Protocol (cross-chain protocol): The most well-known cross-chain protocol for blockchain interoperability is the atomic swap. Atomic swaps are cross-chain, decentralized escrow services where there is no need of intermediary or totally trustless. They exchange assets between blockchains, for example, ETH for BTC between two parties without using an exchange platform or intermediary, the functionality is built into the protocol.

  • Hash Time Lock Smart Contract (HLTC): This simple method is for achieving atomic swaps. Its primary principle is about two users have their funds locked in a smart contract that only releases when the first user reveals the secret key to unlock both. Hashing is trustless since hash locks are cryptographically based and open source. In other words, they can be deployed by anyone.

While this approach is effective for reliable cross-chain asset transfer, it faces two major limitation:

– Participating chains are required to use the same hashing algorithm and support time-locked contracts.

– Native atomic swap cannot transfer data between participating chains.

If one would like to transfer both its data and assets, it should adopt the following approach.

Cross-chain Data and Asset Exchanges

Multi-chain frameworks are set to facilitate open communication and transfer of both asset and data across blockchains, as part of a larger ecosystem. It is also worth noting that though the concept remains, several projects and KardiaChain, as we discuss below, are taking different implementations on this approach.

In general, blockchains can plug into and become part of a standardized ecosystem where each blockchain is a component of the larger ecosystem.

  • Cosmos

Cosmos develops IBC (Inter Blockchain Communication) protocol to allow blockchains to interact with other blockchains. The network of blockchains will communicate through IBC, with the Cosmos Network as the central hub. Blockchains are connected in a hub and spoke model to the Cosmos Hub. In this way, participating chains have to be compliant to the protocol of Zones (Cosmos hub).

  • Polkadot

Similarly, Polkadot has the Relay Chain, which is the central connector, functioning like the Cosmos Hub. It has blockchains connecting to the relay chain, which they call Parachains. Both Cosmos and Polkadot are constructing standard protocols for blockchains to interact with one another.

  • Aion Network

Aion, the closest comparison to KardiaChain, is considered as a “3rd generation” project which essentially aims to build “bridges” between different blockchains, allowing them to exchange data and also communicate with each other. One of its target is to deliver decentralized accountability among blockchain networks. Aion is a Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol based on the Equihash algorithm. Aion’s hub and spoke model is focused on scaling and reliability. It connects public and private blockchains but explicitly requires that all participants integrate its own protocol.

Though multichain framework allows these projects to achieve both data and asset exchanges between participating blockchains, it is clear that their implementations are all invasive: requiring other participating chains to adopt or comply totheir standard protocols.

  • Wanchain

In order to achieve interconnections between chains, Wanchain has a cross-chain communication protocol, which consists of three functional modules: Registration Modules, Cross-chain Transaction Data Transmission Module and Transaction Status Query Module. This Transaction Status Query Module mainly provides the function of querying the confirmation status of transactions, hence it is an implementation of Cross-chain Oracles/ Notary Scheme.

In simple term, blockchains cannot access data outside of their networks and oracles are the data feed. Since oracles are not part of the blockchain consensus mechanism the main challenges with this implementation are that people need to trust these sources of information and notaries node are honest.

  • KardiaChain

KardiaChain is a non-invasive interoperability blockchain infrastructure that can connect with other new or existing blockchains regardless of protocol. The technical core of the project is Dual nodes which simultaneously access both ledgers of KardiaChain and another blockchain of choice. In doing so, it creates an ecosystem in where participating blockchains, both public and private, can bi-directional interact with each other.

In the next article, we will discuss in more details on multi-chain framework implementations, how KardiaChain set it aside from others in term of being non invasive and decentralised.

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