Why we need Widespread Blockchain Interoperability

As more and more blockchains become established, it’s clear that there isn’t going to be “one blockchain to rule them all” to paraphrase Lord of the Rings. Yes, there are blockchains such as the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks which are the most established, and for good reason - they each provided significant innovations that helped bring the technology to where it is now. In the case of Bitcoin this was being the first truly decentralized currency, and Ethereum being a decentralized computer.

The Innovators

In the past 5 years there has been an explosion of new blockchain projects and technologies launching. Some of these are building on the foundations built by the pioneer networks, such as the Ethereum scaling solutions (for example Optimism and Stakware), and others looking to displace them (Polkadot and Cardano), providing new capabilities or improvements that teams believe are barriers with the established status quo.

The Landscape Now

This brings us to where we are now in 2021 with hundreds, if not thousands of competing blockchain protocols, all with their own capabilities and propositions to bring greater efficiencies and innovation to the digital world. 

This growth brings with it significant challenges, we allude to the fact above in that blockchain is not a zero sum game, hence infrastructure needs to be built to provide ways to transfer assets from one blockchain to another, and this is an area that Web3 Labs is pleased to announce they are now contributing to.

ICON

One of the projects that we started speaking with last year was ICON. ICON is a blockchain technology and network framework designed to allow independent blockchains to interact with each other. Rather than being a challenger to Ethereum, they are working to lay the foundations to link as many different blockchains together as possible via their Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP). They are South Korea’s leading blockchain project working closely with the government and numerous financial institutions there.

This widespread network interoperability is a key innovation that needs to be built in the public blockchain domain. Much like TCP/IP established a common protocol for communication between computers over the Internet, common standards need to emerge for blockchain interoperability. Unfortunately, we’re not at the point yet where one such standard exists, hence we need teams to propose and implement solutions such as ICON has.

The Blockchain Transmission Protocol Working Group

Web3 Labs has joined ICON’s BTP Working Group to support the project in their ambitious goals of becoming a foundational layer in the blockchain interoperability landscape.

You can read more about the goals of the BTP Working Group in the following post from the ICON Foundation.

Looking to the Future

By contributing to the BTP Working Group we are helping to lay the foundations for wider blockchain interoperability, which has been an elusive goal these past few years, but I would argue now in 2021, that blockchain is a mature and well enough understood technology that it's the right time to be addressing it. It’s going to take time and a high degree of collaboration between large numbers of blockchain protocols and networks, but the end result will be broader accessibility of the whole blockchain ecosystem for individuals and companies alike.

If you’d like to learn more about how Web3 Labs works with leading blockchain protocols to develop their ecosystems, you can schedule a time to talk with us here.