Mesh Network: The Case for a True Interoperability of TVM Blockchains

Mesh Network: The Case for a True Interoperability of TVM Blockchains

Mesh Network: The Case for a True Interoperability of TVM Blockchains

As blockchain ecosystems become more complex, they start extending beyond a single network, adopting a more multifaceted structure. The most common example is the Ethereum ecosystem, with the basic layer for other chains and Layer 2 (L2) solutions handling transactions for demanding end-user applications, thus bypassing the technical limitations of the basic network.

Communication between separate networks boosts economic activity and elevates the user experience. This is why blockchain interoperability is a big meta in the crypto industry. To put it simply, interoperability is the technical ability of blockchains to freely communicate and transfer different data, including cryptocurrencies and other assets, between one another.

From this article, you will learn about existing interoperability solutions and how Everscale is planning to join the race for the best interoperability technology with the ambitious project called Mesh Network.

Existing Solutions for Cross-chain Interoperability

Most technologies and projects addressing interoperability in the blockchain can be arranged into a short list according to utilized techniques:

  1. Cross-chain bridges. These DeFi applications allow users to transfer crypto assets between two blockchains by locking a crypto asset on one chain and issuing it in the other chain using smart contracts.
  2. Sidechains and Layer 2 (L2) solutions. These are either autonomous blockchains or protocols that connect to a main blockchain (L1 network) to offload the processing of transactions due to the limited throughput in a “parent” network.
  3. Oracles. This software supplies a blockchain with information and data from other networks and external sources, introducing a new business logic, e.g., triggering action on one blockchain based on data from another. 

All these solutions cover certain use cases for end-users, hence well-known. However, bridging two networks is a daunting task. For cross-chain applications to simplify the support of various blockchains, these networks should be able to exchange data with each other. 

This requires networks to share some common traits, such as a virtual machine or a framework. That is why it is relatively easy to set up a crypto bridge for transactions between networks that are compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine, for example. Another crucial prerequisite is the technical capability to establish communication, which we will talk about in the next part.

Protocol-level Blockchain Interoperability

A distinctive class of interoperability solutions are cross-chain communication protocols. Usually, they allow for exchanging of messages between two or more blockchain networks using generic formats or methods.

A handful of renowned blockchains work on cross-chain communication. For instance, Polkadot employs the Cross-Consensus Message Format (XCM). Originally named Cross-Chain Message Passing, its current name emphasizes the role in implementing a certain message format, rather than serving as a protocol for exchanging data and transactions.

Within the Cosmos ecosystem, different networks using Cosmos SDK are able to authenticate and share various data using the so-called channels established with the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol.

What is Mesh Network in Everscale

Everscale developers went even further to propose a visionary project called Mesh Network. The term “Mesh” was adopted from wireless technologies, where Mesh is the type of a WiFi network with all connected nodes forming a single point of internet access for devices, dynamically charting the most optimal routes that binds each of them to a closest node. 

Let’s break down what Mesh Network is in the context of our blockchain. Everscale is a multi-chain network, consisting of the masterchain responsible for the overall state, network consensus, and workchains, a limitless number of autonomous chains that carry user accounts, other smart contracts and decentralized applications. Since workchains use the communication protocol for data transport between one another, it was gradually adopted into the Mesh Network.

Mesh Network is an Everscale-based protocol for prescribing how two blockchains powered by Threaded Virtual Machine (TVM) can communicate with each other for exchanging messages.

Currently, there are two primary types of messages in Everscale: external and internal. The first type of message is created by a user or an application that sends it to the blockchain. Internal message appears when one smart contract calls another one. 

Adding Mesh Network to Everscale will add a new type of message where a sender will be from one network, and a recipient from another.

Regardless of the final configuration, Mesh Network’s developers strive for achieving certain characteristics for this cross-chain communication protocol:

  1. Fast finality: an inter-chain message should be confirmed in about 10 seconds, from its inclusion into blockchain A and until the reception in blockchain B.
  2. Security and stability. It means that one network participating in the communication should not be affected by any issues in another one.
  3. Usability, both for end-users and application developers. They should not care about how the cross-chain operations work in detail.

Per the authors of the proposal, aside from coding the protocol, another challenge to solve would be the integration of Mesh Network into Everscale’s architecture. There is also, of course, a matter of economic viability: cross-chain transactions through Mesh Network have to be fast, secure, and compliant with the network-wide rules.

Mesh Network is not a replacement for traditional interoperability solutions, including cross-chain bridges and oracles that we mentioned above. Instead, it is intended to facilitate the interoperability of TVM blockchains, embedding the cross-chain communication that will enable convenient operations for users in both networks.

How Mesh Network Connects Blockchains and Countries

Everscale is not just another blockchain network. Its design is distinctive from others and includes a set of technologies not used anywhere else, effectively making Everscale a 5th generation blockchain. In fact, Everscale's tech stack is so potent that our protocol can carry a system for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), one of the most demanding blockchain use cases promising to fully digitize fiat money. It makes other types of national-scale assets, e.g. carbon credits or stablecoins, as well feasible.

As Broxus’ founder and CEO Sergey Shashev emphasized, apart from rolling out a scalable system, there was one more requirement their developers faced while executing pilot projects for numerous states: the underlying infrastructure must be sovereign, i.e. only a given nation’s authority must have full control over its digital network.

So, a government-backed blockchain is by default private. But setting up an Everscale’s hardfork for every country would be impossible, simply because there are not enough engineers for maintaining them. In addition, another issue arises: how to enable cross-border payments between private CBDC networks? This is exactly what Mesh Network addresses. 

Let’s take, for example, Kenya. Assume it configures its own blockchain where a national currency, kenyan shilling, is used in all internal operations: payments, transfers, services and network fees. Then, it integrates Mesh Network. Therefore, if a Kenyan bank will need to exchange shillings into another currency, and there will be not enough liquidity inside the country, the transaction will easily pass through other “external” networks, for instance Tanzanian or Everscale, linked to the Kenyan one through Mesh Network.

Due to fast finality, a user in Kenya will not experience any delays in transactions he initializes in a decentralized application supporting various blockchains, and at the same time he will pay for a transfer in his local currency.

A more close-in use case for Mesh Network is connecting public TVM networks. In March 2024, we saw the launch of another TVM-compatible blockchain, Venom. Having a common tech ground creates an opportunity for cross-chain communication, which both Everscale and Venom would benefit from.

One way or another, Mesh Network leverages scalability of Everscale protocol but at the same time ensures the security of every sovereign economic agent, resolving the issue of communication between multiple independent blockchains.

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