Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

Nowadays, independent blockchains emerge in endlessly, and each blockchain has its own advantages and geographic market. This trend has promoted the growth of the multi-chain ecosystem. In such a multi-chain world, users need to be able to seamlessly use the unique functions and assets on each blockchain in an application, which will greatly promote the development of cross-chain smart contracts. When the decentralized oracle service appeared and connected off-chain data and secure off-chain computing resources, it also promoted the vigorous development of DeFi, NFT, and the on-chain game economy.

However, as we all know, due to the bottleneck of the existing cross-chain infrastructure, it is very difficult to develop cross-chain applications. First, the solutions of pass-to-pass bridge and messaging protocol are highly differentiated, and most of them only serve applications between certain two chains. In addition, many pass-to-pass bridges are relatively centralized, with weak security, and lack of transparent or reliable node operators, thus pushing up the cost and processing time of end users. These limitations and vulnerabilities have resulted in the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in user funds and hindered cross-chain innovation.

In response to the increasing demand for cross-chain solutions in the blockchain ecosystem, we are pleased to announce the release of the cross-chain interoperability agreement (hereinafter referred to as CCIP). CCIP is a new open source standard for cross-chain communication. The purpose is to establish a universal connection between hundreds of public and private chain networks, so that the originally isolated token can circulate among all the chain ecosystems and realize cross-chain applications.

Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

CCIP provides smart contract developers with a common infrastructure with computing capabilities that can transmit data and smart contract instructions across various blockchain networks. CCIP will become the underlying protocol for various cross-chain services, including Chainlink’s programmable token bridge. Users can safely and efficiently transfer tokens to any blockchain network with scalability.

This cross-chain interoperability agreement condenses our team’s years of research and development in the field of secure cross-chain technology, and this work can be traced back to the original Chainlink 1.0 white paper. CCIP is jointly developed by Chainlink Labs Chief Scientist Ari Juels, Chainlink Labs Engineering Technology VP Ben Chan (Note: Ben is also the architect of the most mainstream cross-chain WBTC on Ethereum) and many of the world’s top researchers in the Chainlink Labs team. 

This article will explain why Chainlink develops a universal cross-chain communication protocol for the blockchain industry, how CCIP is integrated into a multi-layer technology stack, and how CCIP unlocks various new services and promotes the development of cross-chain hybrid smart contracts.

Why does Chainlink develop a common cross-chain infrastructure?

It is not an easy task to develop safe and efficient cross-chain technology and realize the transfer of tokens and general message transfer across all blockchain networks. However, the infrastructure previously released by Chainlink has always been running very stable, and the ecosystem is constantly developing and growing. Coupled with certain breakthroughs and innovations in cross-chain technology, Chainlink has become the best candidate for the development of open source standards for cross-chain communication.

Decentralized network with mature node operators

The cross-chain bridge is essentially a committee of nodes. All nodes together certify the information on one chain and pass it to the other chain through a threshold encryption signature. The number of independent nodes in the Chainlink network is the largest in the industry. The nodes have the ability to resist sybil attacks, which are reliable and verifiable. These nodes are run by the world’s top DevOps teams and infrastructure providers. Chainlink’s node network continues to expand. Currently, a number of oracle services have been released, guaranteeing the value of more than 30 billion U.S. dollars for the smart contract ecosystem, and will be upgraded to the Chainlink Off-chain Reporting Protocol (OCR) to further expand the scale.

Chainlink OCR 1.0 is a safe and efficient off-chain data aggregation and calculation protocol. It has been running smoothly on a large scale for a period of time without any accidents. Chainlink OCR successfully reduced the gas price reported by the oracle by 90%. OCR 2.0 will continue to make efforts on this basis to achieve more efficient and complex off-chain calculations to establish advanced cross-chain capabilities. CCIP will use OCR 2.0 in its protocol stack to expand the number of committee nodes that sign reports to several hundred, so as to improve the security of locked funds and maintain high cost-effectiveness for users. CCIP not only has the world’s largest number of secure node pools, but also upgraded off-chain computing capabilities, so it will reach a very high level of tamper resistance and performance.

Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

Chainlink OCR 2.0 aggregates the response data of nodes off-chain and submits the oracle report to the chain in a transaction

Anti-fraud network

Security and fraud prevention are the most critical elements when cross-chain services guarantee high-value contracts. Therefore, CCIP will introduce an unprecedented risk management system in the blockchain industry, called the “anti-fraud network”. The anti-fraud network is composed of a number of decentralized oracle networks, whose sole purpose is to monitor whether CCIP services have malicious behaviors that may lead to the loss of funds. It is worth mentioning that the node committee in this anti-fraud network is completely unrelated to the node committee they are responsible for monitoring in CCIP. Therefore, anti-fraud monitoring and cross-chain services are completely independent.

As a verification layer, the anti-fraud network will regularly submit heartbeat checks when the system is operating normally. If the anti-fraud network stops sending heartbeat messages, or the node notices any malicious behavior, it will automatically trigger the emergency shutdown mechanism to stop a certain cross-chain service. Shutting down cross-chain services can effectively protect user funds from potential black swan events. The anti-fraud network will initially consist of high-quality Chainlink nodes, which have nothing to do with the CCIP services they protect; later, dApps with high value guaranteed through CCIP services can also be added to the network to provide users with more effective anti-fraud protect.

The anti-fraud network adopts a decentralized risk management and anti-fraud monitoring model, which is also a common model for high-value smart contracts. The anti-fraud network has established a mechanism of checks and balances to separate responsibilities and minimize any group of nodes’ control over the operation of CCIP services, thus completely subverting the risk management model of the cross-chain infrastructure. It is worth mentioning that this network can also add new modules such as AI in the future to enhance monitoring technology and achieve expansion and upgrades.

Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

The anti-fraud network monitors CCIP services to identify and resolve any potential problems

Provide strong ecological support across blockchains

Cross-chain systems are most valuable when they can produce large-scale network effects. The creation of a network effect means that user funds will be more secure, token liquidity will be higher, user experience will be easier, developers can get better documents and tools, and there will be opportunities no matter which blockchain the token asset is native to. Get more income. Chainlink currently has access to more than one hundred blockchains, and many blockchain and layer-2 solutions have integrated Chainlink on the main network, so it is a very ideal and neutral cross-chain communication infrastructure.

Chainlink is not only the oracle solution with the largest number of access to top blockchains, but also drives a large number of dApps to run on these blockchains. Chainlink has integrated top-notch lending, insurance and other DeFi protocols, and has accelerated on-chain applications through open source development and Chainlink community incentive programs. Many blockchain partners and applications have expressed their desire to use Chainlink oracles to carry out cross-chain activities. Therefore, the first task is to provide the entire smart contract industry with a very safe, reliable, and superior-performance universal cross-chain solution.

Definition of cross-chain technology stack

The Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) is part of the open source technology stack, and the open source technology stack will provide users with innovative on-chain services, including Chainlink programmable token bridge, various other bridging solutions, and across all blocks Chain Network is a tool for developing cross-chain applications. Each layer of the technology stack is critical to the development of the multi-chain ecosystem.

Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

The Cross-chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) is part of the open source technology stack, which supports cross-chain data and asset transfer.

User interface

The top layer of the technology stack is the user interface. Users can access the Chainlink programmable token bridge or other bridging solutions, and transmit tokens across different blockchain environments. It is worth mentioning that both new and old ecosystems can deploy their own interfaces without permission. This includes released wallets, aggregators, applications, trading platforms, and a series of services that provide users with a multi-chain ecological entrance. The interface layer is jointly promoted and developed by the community, allowing solutions developed based on the CCIP protocol to have unique advantages in terms of accessibility, censorship resistance, and innovation.

Programmable Token Bridge

The programmable token bridge is a reference bridge solution based on CCIP. Developers can develop cross-chain solutions to transfer tokens seamlessly and securely between any blockchains. This is a unified bridging system. The pass-through bridge between each blockchain is secured by a unique node committee to achieve distributed security and use routing contracts to maintain universal interoperability. The programmable token bridge will support the existing token standards, which means that the assets already in circulation can be used in different smart contract ecosystems immediately. In addition to high-quality node operators and decentralized architecture, other additional security guarantees, such as time-based traffic restrictions, will be set up to avoid downside risks in the black swan event to the greatest extent. The parameters can be changed on a larger scale. DON is responsible for management.

The programmable token bridge has a computing function. Users and smart contracts can not only send tokens, but also send commands to the token bridge, and run custom logic to determine how to interact with other blockchains. Users do not need to know how to use other blockchains, but only need to send instructions to the pass to explain how to interact with other blockchains. The token bridge will automatically transfer the token across the chain and deploy the token to the smart contract on the target blockchain in an atomic transaction. Therefore, users can stay on the original blockchain and at the same time enjoy the functions of other blockchain smart contract ecosystems. The programmable token bridge activates new hybrid smart contract application scenarios, including cross-chain revenue aggregators and mortgage loans. It should be pointed out here that the programmable token bridge is only one of the reference implementations developed by Chainlink Labs, and any independent development team can easily develop third-party bridge applications and make full use of the advantages of CCIP in terms of security and functionality.

Cross-chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP)

CCIP is an open source standard, and data packets can be sent and received in both directions between smart contracts on any blockchain. The protocol is universal in nature and can send any type of data sent by the smart contract to other blockchains. Universal cross-chain interoperability will provide developers with a simple framework, and they can directly develop cross-chain applications without spending time studying complex underlying protocols.

All CCIP-based applications, including programmable token bridges, other cross-chain bridges, and cross-chain dApps, can use the security mechanism of the anti-fraud network to automatically monitor and deal with malicious behaviors. We are still studying defense-in-depth strategies and hope to deploy them in the future. The defense-in-depth strategy includes a trusted execution environment, a hardware security module for key management, and staking-based encryption and economic security.

Network infrastructure

Chainlink’s cross-chain technology stack will be supported by a decentralized network, which is composed of independent node operators with a very high reputation. Chainlink nodes will run OCR 2.0 clients, reach a consensus on cross-chain transactions off-chain, and ensure safety and cost-effectiveness. OCR 2.0 eliminates all single points of failure and can expand the network to hundreds of independent nodes without significantly increasing the gas cost on the chain. Importantly, the report will contain the signature of each responding oracle node, which can hold each node accountable, and the record can also provide the necessary input for trust minimization technology.

Celsius adopts cross-chain interoperability protocol to guarantee cross-chain revenue

As the smart contract ecosystem develops more and more toward a multi-chain ecosystem, the centralized finance (CeFi) platform also urgently needs to adopt cross-chain technology to realize DeFi benefits for users on multiple blockchains. As CeFi and various other interfaces pay more and more attention to DeFi protocols such as Aave, this has also promoted the continuous development of the entire multi-chain ecosystem. Celcius is the market-leading CeFi platform, with digital assets valued at more than 16 billion U.S. dollars and more than 800,000 users. The platform currently plans to use the Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) to generate revenue, allowing any blockchain network to access assets securely locked on the platform.

Chainlink releases cross-chain interoperability protocol (CCIP) to realize decentralized cross-chain messaging and token transfer

CCIP simplifies the technical process of cross-chain transfer of certificates, provides stronger security guarantees for user funds, and maximizes DeFi revenue opportunities for users. Therefore, Celcius will prepare in advance for DeFi’s continuous development of multi-chain ecology in the future, while still providing users with a worry-free user experience.

Cross-chain applications seamlessly access all blockchains

The launch of CCIP is to quickly promote the innovation of application developers on the blockchain. Developers will be able to create new cross-chain applications, use tokens on all blockchains at the same time, and take advantage of the unique advantages of each blockchain or application/asset.

This will activate a series of new cross-chain application scenarios. For example, a cross-chain protocol can use the scalable computing power on one blockchain, the diversity of tokens on the second blockchain, and the third blockchain. The storage capacity and the settlement security on the fourth blockchain finally create a powerful hybrid smart contract application. There will be unlimited possibilities in the future, and we are very happy to bring initial landings to the blockchain industry in the near future.


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