Multi-chain and cross-chain are the future

Vitalik recently stated that the future will be multi-chain and is pessimistic about cross-chain applications, citing “fundamental limitations in the security of bridges spanning multiple ‘sovereign regions'”.

In our opinion, Buterin asks good questions, but gives bad judgment. We cannot deny the necessity of bridges linking different “sovereign regions” just because there may be security problems in “sovereign regions”, let alone that because the current “sovereign regions” cannot completely solve their own security problems, we cannot assume that future “sovereign regions” “It still cannot solve the security problem, which in turn negates the future of cross-chain.

1. Cross-chain is necessary for current and future blockchain systems

Vitalik pointed out that “there are indeed some independent communities with different values, and it is better for them to hold their own opinions than all to compete for influence on the same thing”, so the existence and development of multi-chain is inevitable. This is not only a prediction of the future, the current development of the blockchain system has shown a trend of multi-chain concurrency, and different chains show certain differences in terms of technical choices, economic models, and even community organizations. sex. However, from the perspective of economic system development and philosophy, if a community wants to further develop and grow, it is impossible to entertain itself within its own system based on the principle of closure. The communication, exchange and interaction between communities with different values ​​will become External resource channels for the further development of different blockchain communities or “sovereign regions”, thus cross-chain bridges have become an indispensable tool in the development of blockchains.

2. Possible security issues in the “sovereign area” should be resolved within the “sovereign area”

The basic principles for the construction and operation of computer and network systems are layering and modularity. Problems arising in the “sovereign area” need to be resolved within the “sovereign area”. When the “sovereign zone” cannot solve its own problems, this problem will of course spread on a larger scale, but this is not a problem of cross-chain systems, and this also exists within the public chain ecology or “sovereign zone”.

The blockchain system built in a completely decentralized state has evolved from a simple chain to a complex ecosystem with hundreds of applications. Whether it is a chain or an application on the chain, the security of each system and application includes philosophical assumptions, technical guarantees, and economic game deductions. Therefore, the security of blockchain systems and applications is dynamically balanced and varies depending on the states and scenarios in which different systems and applications are located. If the underlying chain has security issues, the upper-level applications will also be polluted by security issues. According to this logic, the upper-layer application should not be built on the underlying chain, nor should data and assets interact with the underlying chain.

3. Possible security issues in “sovereign areas” can also be resolved outside the “sovereign areas”

Vitalik pointed out that Ethereum is 51% attacked as an example, “If Ethereum is 51% attacked and recovers, Arbitrum and Optimism will recover, so even if Ethereum is 51% attacked, the ‘cross- Rollup’ applications are also guaranteed to be consistent.” The question is, if Ethereum is recoverable from a 51% attack, why can’t a cross-chain bridge recover from this? According to the basic requirement that the data on the blockchain cannot be tampered with, the solution to recovering the blockchain system after a 51% attack is currently only a hard fork. The impact of a bottomless hard fork on the underlying chain or the applications on the chain cannot be underestimated. According to the above logic, even if there is a problem in one of the systems bridged by the cross-chain bridge, this problem can be solved by building a larger “ecosystem” in the bridging link and the ecosystem of the other bridge chain. This is actually the construction of a larger ecosystem, a method that has to be taken to solve the problem of proliferation on a larger scale.

As a self-contained system, the Bitcoin system not only requires users to sign the transaction, but also requires both parties to confirm the past and present and the ins and outs of each asset during the transaction. If it is really necessary, the cross-chain bridge can also check the source of cross-chain data and assets in the process of system design and bridging. But this will undoubtedly waste transaction processing time and consume more system resources.

Furthermore, Vitalik points out, “No one would 51% attack Ethereum just to steal 100 Solana-WETH (or, for that matter, 51% attack Solana just to steal 100 Ethereum-WSOL). But if the bridge has 10 million ETH or SOL, then the incentive to attack becomes higher, and large mining pools are likely to coordinate well to attack.” This is extremely true, and no one is going to do a 51% attack on Ethereum. Just to steal 100 Solana-WETH, but someone will attack Ethereum for 1,000,000 or more ETH. From this perspective, the security threats faced by Ethereum and other public chain ecosystems or “sovereign regions” are not necessarily less than cross-chain bridges. It cannot be asserted that the cross-chain bridge faces greater security risks just because there are many assets locked in the cross-chain bridge.

The future blockchain world will inevitably be a multi-chain world, and each chain will also have its own ecology. But outward growth is not only an inevitable requirement of every application on the chain, but also every application customer. Simply growing inwards, building a closed ecology due to security and other issues will only bring about further shrinking of its own ecology and further reduction of the intensity of competition. In the long run, it is not conducive to the development of each chain ecology, nor is it conducive to the development of the blockchain or even the future metaverse.

Author: Gao Chengshi, Ph.D. in cryptography, blockchain expert, executive member of the Blockchain Professional Committee of China Computer Federation. 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/multi-chain-and-cross-chain-are-the-future/
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