Modularity is transforming the crypto landscape

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed right here belong solely to the creator and don’t signify the views and opinions of crypto.information’ editorial.

The primary sensible contract blockchain, Ethereum, was monolithic by design, which means it manages its personal execution, settlement, consensus, and information availability. Through the years, new decentralized purposes developed, resulting in elevated demand for blockspace. When the demand for blockspace is greater than its provide, the constrained availability restricts the vary of potential purposes, inflicting a big obstacle to utility and widespread adoption.

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This limitation is known as the scalability trilemma or, in a nutshell, the concept that no public blockchain can concurrently obtain most decentralization or safety to realize optimum scalability. To beat the restrictions of the scalability trilemma, modularity has emerged as a means of outsourcing core elements optimized to unravel vital features.

Modularity is transforming the crypto landscape | Opinion - 1

The courtesy of the Inco’s group

The modular blockchain thesis facilities on position specialization. It proposes decentralizing conventional blockchain features—like execution or information availability—throughout specialised networks. By segmenting these features from a singular L1 into distinct layers, blockchains may be tailor-made for optimum efficiency in particular areas, considerably boosting customization, effectivity, and, the place mandatory, decentralization, safety, and scalability.

Given the various vary of use circumstances, these features may be totally different. A modular community could possibly be specialised to push oracle value feeds, present zero-knowledge proving companies, make accessible information, or allow a extra scalable execution layer on high of one other underlying blockchain.

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The necessity for modularity within the crypto business

Ethereum exemplifies the gradual transformation right into a modular world. The chain was first launched with a monolithic design, following within the footsteps of Bitcoin. Arbitrum, a layer-2, represents the success story of rollups in separating the intensive computation wanted for scalability off-chain whereas settling again on-chain. Many extra tasks have adopted this design because of the useful resource effectiveness and less expensive design of processing transactions utilizing rollups.

It doesn’t cease there. Networks that assist builders see and unlock the worth of modularity have been on the rise. Celestia is a good instance of fixing an apparent downside: the numerous price of storing information availability (DA) again to Ethereum. Whereas rollups enable for larger throughput, the price of transacting remains to be comparatively excessive as a result of it in the end will depend on the storage price of the settlement layer. An answer to this downside is to supply another DA layer.

The conclusion {that a} single monolithic design can not meet at present’s blockchain calls for with no trade-off is why the house is transferring in the direction of modularity. Ethereum is essentially the most safe blockchain with sensible contracts however has continued to face varied shortcomings with processing transactions and fuel charges.

Modularity is transforming the crypto landscape | Opinion - 2

The courtesy of the Inco’s group

Along with fixing blockchain’s architectural challenges, it’s changing into clear that further companies are mandatory for enabling new use circumstances and pushing for web3 adoption. Examples of such add-on companies embrace oracle companies, decentralized RPC, ZK prover networks, AI, to call a couple of. Nevertheless, blockchains can not assist these companies natively because of the further overhead, {hardware} necessities, or technical incompatibilities. Given the composable nature of the modular structure, blockchains don’t must assist every part themselves anymore—every part may be plug-and-play like legos.

Modularity is transforming the crypto landscape | Opinion - 3

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The courtesy of the Inco’s group

For example, one unsolved downside that this house will carry on tackling is round confidentiality. Many of the extensively adopted blockchains at present are clear and can’t add on-chain confidentiality with out requiring resource-intensive {hardware} for his or her validators when using cryptography methodologies akin to zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP) or absolutely homomorphic encryption (FHE).

Past the prevailing 4 blockchain layers (execution, settlement, information availability, and consensus), a confidentiality layer on high of current dApps is a vital lacking piece that can allow web new use circumstances that aren’t possible on high of clear blockchains. Inco is an instance of a modular protocol that acts because the fifth layer—confidential computing—by introducing absolutely homomorphic encryption (FHE) to Ethereum and different blockchains with out altering the bottom protocol.

At present, modular protocols are gaining traction, and with the widespread adoption of decentralization, they’ll possible develop into the usual for constructing in web3. This customary will undoubtedly disrupt the vertically built-in strategy of monolithic chains and faucet into particular Lego blocks that may be matched to create distinct modular stacks. This implies tasks will use the modules they want for his or her particular wants as a substitute of making an attempt to do every part.

It will unlock infinite scalability as a result of a community may rely on Ethereum for safety, Transfer because the execution setting, Celestia for information availability, and Inco for confidential computing. The last word purpose is for disparate ecosystem modules to coexist and develop collectively.

The panorama of blockchain expertise is poised for vital enlargement with the arrival of modular architectures in 2024 and past. These novel blockchains delegate a minimum of one of many quintessential features—settlement, consensus, confidentiality, information availability (DA), or execution—to a different distinct blockchain framework.

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Remi Gai

Remi Gai is the founder and CEO of Inco. He’s a web3 founder fellow at South Park Commons, with a background in engineering (Google, Microsoft), entrepreneurship (founding member of Parallel Finance, a collection of defi protocols on Polkadot that reached over 500M in TVL backed by Polychain, Sequoia, Founders Fund, Coinbase Ventures), product administration (web3 UX lead at co-founded blockchain studio), and enterprise capital (8 Decimal Capital). Now, he builds Inco, aiming to interrupt down the ultimate barrier to mass adoption of web3.

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