Wanchain 4.0 is now live on the Wanchain mainnet! This release marks the accomplishment of one of the major goals of the Wanchain project as stated in the whitepaper released by the Wanchain Foundation— the integration with private blockchains.
The 4.0 release features the T-Bridge framework (with the “T” standing for “Trust”), a generalized framework for data and asset transfer between heterogeneous public and private blockchains.
The availability of this generalized framework will allow developers to connect their private chain-based applications to the world of public blockchains.
The T-Bridge framework will also bring additional functionality (see below) to the cross-chain connections that are currently live on Wanchain, and will greatly speed up the integration of new cross-chain integrations.
Wanchain’s Journey Building Cross-chain Technologies
A major mission of Wanchain is to tackle the interchain interoperability challenges imposed by the rapid growth of private and public blockchains, particularly heterogeneous blockchains (blockchains that do not share similar technical architectures). July 2018, Wanchain 2.0 achieved its first cross-chain interoperability milestone by connecting Ethereum with Wanchain and enabling the transfer of assets between the two most significant public blockchains. In Dec 2018, Wanchain 3.0 achieved cross-chain interoperability between Bitcoin and Wanchain by allowing the two chains to transfer assets. Wanchain also brought cross-chain support for Ethereums’s ERC20 tokens, allowing for them to be transferred to and from Wanchain.
Throughout 2019 Wanchain continued to expand its public to public blockchain bridges to bring support to more ERC20 tokens, EOS, and EOS based tokens.
Wanchain 4.0 is focused on supporting cross-chain interoperability between private and public blockchains. Connecting private blockchains with public blockchains is typically more challenging for a number of reasons:
- Public blockchains are permissionless while private blockchains are permissioned. The consensus mechanisms of public blockchains are typically different from those used for private blockchains.
- Private blockchains have strict requirements for privacy and security. The bridges that connect a private blockchain with a public blockchain will need to have different security zones.
- Private blockchains are normally built and maintained by enterprises and consortiums. They are highly customizable, with each major private blockchain having multiple different flavors and configurations. While there are a generally recognized handful of major public blockchains, the number of private blockchains and their technical configurations are effectively unlimited.
In order to tackle the challenges posed by the problem of private to public cross-chain interoperability, Wanchain 4.0 introduces the T-Bridge framework, a generalized framework and reference architecture with modular components and common protocols. This framework is compatible with Wanchain’s original Storeman cross-chain mechanism currently used for public to public blockchain connections.
Wanchain 4.0 leverages the T-Bridge framework to link components in source chains, target chains, and routing chains together and defines common components and protocols for cross-chain transactions. The framework allows actors such as end-users, CLIs, or API tools to access service providers to initiate cross-chain transactions. The cross-chain transactions are processed by the business service as well as the cross-chain smart contract and then transported to the protocol mediator (PM) for cross-chain operation. The processing and transport of cross-chain transactions are based on three models: the trust model ensures the integrity of the assets and data; interaction model to define blockchain specific smart contracts actions; and routing model to define cross-chain events, messages, and data transport. With the T-Bridge framework, a partner can write their own business and cross-chain smart contract and easily build decentralized cross-chain applications.
Significance of Wanchain 4.0’s T-Bridge Framework
1) Connecting private blockchains allows for complex business scenarios
The framework allows for private blockchains to connect to other private or public blockchains using a router chain. This allows for a variety of complex business scenarios:
Scenario 1: The issuance of frequent flyer miles on Airline Company A’s private chain which is then connected through a router chain (Wanchain for example) to an e-commerce platform’s private loyalty points chain. Through this connection, frequent flyer miles can be exchanged for customer loyalty points which can be used for purchase on the e-commerce platform.
Scenario 2: A private chain used by an insurance company to register the validity of insurance claims. Using the T-Bridge framework, the insurance company may connect its own permissioned chain to a public router chain (i.e. Wanchain). Once a claim has been verified as valid and the corresponding transaction has been published on the insurance company’s private chain, automatic payment can be triggered on the public chain through the cross-chain connection.
Scenario 3: A local government uses a private blockchain to record property ownership records. A local lending business uses a private blockchain to issue loans to individuals based on the property they are able to offer as collateral. Through a router chain that implements the T-Bridge framework (Wanchain), these two private blockchains can seamlessly connect, which allows for the construction of a loan product to offer users instant credit based on their property ownership.
2) Connecting private chains allows for the establishment of global asset exchange
The ability to connect with private chains is particularly important as private/permissioned chains are where the majority of legitimate tokenized assets will live in the future. Permissioned chains are necessary for assets that must comply with the laws and regulations of multiple jurisdictions and are subject to the control of a variety of regulatory bodies. By connecting together different private chains, Wanchain 4.0 paves the way for the establishment of global, compliant, blockchain-based asset exchange for traditional assets such as stocks, bonds, securities, and many more.
3) Increasing utilization of locked WAN in Wanchain’s Storeman node architecture
Although the role of Protocol Mediator and Router Chain may be implemented in a variety of different ways, using Wanchain as the Router Chain and Wanchain’s Storeman node architecture as the PM will be the best option for most users since it gives applications and services accessible to all the other private and public chains connected to the Wanchain hub. This will entail an expansion of Wanchain’s current Storeman node network. With each new private or public chain to be connected, a new Storeman group will be established, and more WAN will be locked up as a security deposit for each new Storeman group.
4) Rapid expansion of the Wanchain Cross-chain network
Since the T-Bridge framework standardizes many elements of the cross-chain connection process, it will increase the speed at which blockchains can be connected with the Wanchain blockchain. To date, three blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and EOS), have been connected with Wanchain. With the launch of the framework on Wanchain 4.0, the rate at which new chains are connected to Wanchain is expected to speed up significantly.
5) Cross-chain contracts
Since the T-Bridge framework allows for generalized cross-chain transactions for BOTH assets and data, it opens up the possibility for cross-chain smart contracts. This means that a smart contract on Ethereum could, for example, listen for an event which happens on the Bitcoin blockchain through the router chain (Wanchain), and then respond to that event with a transaction. This allows for the construction of truly dynamic and complex cross-chain contracts.
Request for partnership
With the release of the generalized framework for cross-chain transactions, it is feasible for enterprises and consortia to connect their private blockchains to Wanchain or other public blockchains. We look forward to working with partners to extend this technology to bridge blockchains that are otherwise isolated.