On the first day of the citywide crypto event held in EthDenver, Steven Fluin, Axelar’s head of developer relations, said that “dApp developers have a responsibility to integrate” to bring about a more connected web3. We put the responsibility of building on the developers.
Speaking at the InterOp Summit, Fluin started by inviting the audience to participate in a poll asking who was on either Cosmos, Bitcoin or Ethereum. After the ocean in both Cosmos and Ethereum hands, Bitcoiners are fewer in number, but still ever-present. Fluin then proclaimed, “InterOp is the only place we can talk to each other during EthDenver Build Week.”
Humor or not, this message was consistent with Axelar’s goal of creating an interchain world where blockchains interact securely, without dangerous bridging mechanisms or substandard UX. . However, his Fluin talk titled “Think Interchain” revealed a series of key issues that need to be considered related to the difficulty of managing a multi-chain world.
Fluin retold an anecdote familiar to most cryptocurrency users about attempts to bridge tokens to another blockchain. While working on a personal project, Fluin wanted to deploy smart contracts on the Polygon blockchain. First, he bought MATIC on Coinbase, only to find that it was his MATIC on the Ethereum blockchain, not Polygon.
Then I needed to bridge MATIC to Polygon using a native bridge, but realized I needed ETH to pay for the gas associated with the bridge. Finally, Fluin made a bold statement about the current developer perception of the interchain world, calling the idea “fundamentally flawed.”
“The way developers are made to think about these chains is fundamentally flawed.[…] This is a growing problem. “
Interchain is the “future” from the Axelar team’s point of view, but there is work that brings benefits such as better, more accessible dApps and “meaningful abstractions”.
The growth and decentralization of the web3 chain
Fluin has established that “the number of chains is growing,” with over 455 mainnet EVM chains listed on Chainlist. However, the reality of the decentralized world means that there is no single truth regarding the total number of public blockchains available to developers.
“Decentralized needs drive decentralized innovation.”
Every user has different needs regarding privacy, cost, and security. However, Fluin pointed out that the needs of users and developers are not always aligned. For example, a smart contract proxy her upgrade feature exists to allow developers to update and “fix” smart contracts as needed. However, the end user must trust the developer not to upgrade the contract to execute logic detrimental to their experience.
Given that web3’s core philosophy is to “verify, not trust”, asking users to trust that developers will not maliciously upgrade their smart contracts is a decentralization of the industry. appears to fall short of its goals.
lack of standards
Fluin then recanted the birth of the Internet, where standards like SMTP and HTTP helped build the unified global network we call today’s World Wide Web. But web3 has no such standard. Because each blockchain acts like its own “internet” of connected smart contracts and wallets, with its own language, standards, features, and logic.
Here, Fluin has put the onus on developers to “integrate” in terms of connecting web3’s decentralized world. To scale, Axelar representatives argued that “being interchain should be a fundamental architectural choice, not an afterthought.” Evaluating gas, tokenomics, security, performance, reliability, and choice of chain should tie directly to the need to connect with other blockchains.
The adoption of cross-chain standards will result in a “meaningful abstraction” and “a world where none of the chains matter”, with full availability of tokens across chains, true interactivity for dApps, and universal web3 identities. Fluin believes it will.
Furthermore, as an example implementation, he argued that it would be better for users to have a semi-centralized marketplace like OpenSea, where NFTs are accessible on all chains.
In a call to action, Fluin declared that “we need to come together” to explain web3 to the web2 world, build software on-chain, create inter-chain standards, and deliver Focus on “Yes and” Mentality.