With numerous blockchain networks emerging, cross-chain communication has become crucial for enabling interoperability between them. Private and application-specific blockchains are some of the main narratives in the industry, as well as infrastructure and solutions for facilitating communication between different chains. Gathering all ecosystems together is one of the hottest topics on the agenda.
A new integration within the Everscale network is Asterizm, a plug-and-play cross-chain infrastructure for solutions designed to seamlessly connect different blockchains and dApps. One such solution powered by Asterizm is Chainspot, which aims to improve cross-chain UX and streamline users' liquidity flow by allowing them to acquire gas for 11 blockchains with a single transaction, with even more features on board.
We spoke to Artem Avdeev, co-founder of Asterizm and founder of Chainspot, about the growing trend toward multichain applications, the significance of cross-chain infrastructure, privacy and security in dApp communication, and the Asterizm protocol itself: who the team behind the project is, what Asterizm itself is in a nutshell, the protocol’s use cases, and more.
Who is the team behind the Asterizm protocol?
Artem Avdeev, Co-Founder, Product Owner, brings over eight years of experience to the team. He is an alumnus of Techstars London 2023 and has a strong track record in the crypto industry. Artem served as a portfolio manager at Warp Capital, a DeFi hedge fund, and operations manager for the Everscale DeFi Alliance. He also held positions as COO at Indacoin, specializing in crypto and online payments, and was co-founder and PM at Webstoryz, an e-commerce SaaS platform. Artem has successfully launched several IT and crypto startups, including a VPN service, a p2p exchange, and a payment service.
Denis Polulyakhov, Co-Founder, CBDO, CMO, has more than 13 years of experience to contribute to the team. He is also a Techstars London 2023 alumnus and co-founded Chainspot.io. Denis has been an IT entrepreneur since 2010 and possesses extensive knowledge of the blockchain industry. He founded Carbyn Group, a crypto VC studio, and has been a public speaker at over 50 crypto conferences, including prestigious institutions like Harvard and Columbia Universities. With his in-depth understanding of the market, Denis plays a crucial role in the team as chief business development officer (CBDO) and chief marketing officer (CMO).
Alex Gotovets, Co-Founder, CTO, has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the field. Like his fellow co-founders, he is a Techstars London 2023 alumnus. Alex served as CTO of Chainspot.io, overseeing the development of the cross-chain aggregator and router. He has held various technical leadership positions in companies such as PointPay and Indacoin, specializing in crypto and online payments. Alex also played a key role as a tech lead at the e-commerce SaaS platform Webstoryz. Throughout his career, he has successfully managed multiple high-load projects in payments, crypto, e-commerce, and m-commerce.
Dmitriy Meshkov, Chief Scientist, brings 14+ years of experience and holds a Ph.D. in Physics. He is an accomplished author of research papers in areas such as cryptography, distributed systems, and computational complexity theory. Dmitriy has made significant contributions to the Ergo and Waves platforms through his work as a researcher at IOHK. His groundbreaking concepts have also found application in Facebook's Libra project. Additionally, Dmitriy is a co-founder of the Ergo platform and is the founder and CEO of Circlegain.
Collectively, the team currently consists of 12 highly experienced professionals with expertise in a diverse range of areas, including blockchain development, product management, business development, marketing, technology leadership, and scientific research.
What is Asterizm in a nutshell?
Asterizm is a blockchain interoperability solution for enterprises and Web3 protocols that allows them to operate seamlessly across various public and private VM-based networks. In simple terms, it aims to be truly blockchain agnostic.
With Asterizm, Web3 developers and corporate clients can build cross-chain dApps and leverage the perks of different blockchains while saving money on transactions, staying compliant with regulations, and avoiding risks of data leaks.
What are some use cases of Asterizm?
By far the most relevant use cases today are:
- Building a bridge to move tokens of the project: cross-chain DEX, cross-chain lending protocol, and cross-chain yield farming strategies.
- Building NFT bridges: cross-chain NFT marketplace, cross-chain domains.
Tokenization of assets and the creation of a protocol for moving these assets from private to public networks is popular among enterprise players. For example, let’s say there is a bank that issues a digital asset on its own private blockchain in a regulated jurisdiction. To gain access to the DeFi ecosystems of different blockchains, the bank launches a bridge to move assets from its private blockchain to public blockchains (Polygon, Ethereum, BNB chain, and others). In this way, the bank's clients get high returns on DeFi markets while remaining in the legal field. And in this case, Asterizm is a perfect solution for creating such a bridge.
How does Asterizm ensure robust cross-chain communication, security, and privacy of data transferred between chains?
It all boils down to the architecture of our solution:
1. On-chain transaction validation and data integrity checks: Asterizm implements these mechanisms on-chain, which means cross-chain transaction validation and data integrity verification occur on-chain, within the source and destination networks, so there is no off-chain consensus. This approach eliminates the need for a separate network of validators and avoids tokenized economies, streamlining the process and enhancing security.
The validation mechanism itself is based on the hash function of the transferred data on the client contract extended from Asterizm contract abstraction (we, as a provider, do not see the transferred data at any stage) and a unique identifier, which is created on the contract at the moment of cross-chain transaction initialization.
2. Our plug-and-play client-server software: Asterizm's solution includes plug-and-play client-server software that ensures the privacy of the data transmitted between chains. This means sensitive information remains secure and protected during cross-chain transactions at the transport level. The solution can be easily integrated into the security loop of our client’s infrastructure.
Cross-chain communications could require numerous transactions and instances of gas usage. How does Asterizm mitigate any excessive spending on fees?
The fee for a transaction executed on the destination network is covered by our client on the source network, and the cost of such fees is calculated on the client's server using a query to the special API.
Also, to save money on transactions, Asterizm provides the ability to pack a lot of actions into one payload, so you can send and execute multiple transactions on the destination chain with only a single cross-chain transfer from the source chain.
For instance, in the case of the Chainsport Gas Charger product, multiple transactions across different destination chains are consolidated into a single cross-chain transaction.
Who are your main competitors, and what are the advantages of Asterizm’s solution?
I’d say that the main competitors of Asterizm today are LayerZero, Axelar, ZKBridge, and Paloma Chain. But before highlighting the differences, I’d like to give a bit of backstory.
A solution to the problem of seamless communication between different networks has long been overdue, and it boils down to ensuring the most secure data transmission channel from Network 1 to Network 2.
This means ensuring the security of the intermediate off-chain layer (which must be present for the transfer of information).
Based on the above, all existing protocols can be compared based on their approach to securing this channel in the most commercially efficient way. There are thus two types of providers:
1. Providers relying on off-chain consensus (meaning consensus at the intermediate layer) and integrating all the cross-chain transaction validation logic into the layer of servers that transfer data from Network 1 to Network 2.
Cons: legal issues, processing speed, complicated emergency recovery model, cost (all participants of the network need to be paid), problems with data privacy (each participant of the network can see the data).
Also, encryption is only possible from the outside – this limits use cases.
Pros: quick connection to any network supporting multi-sig functionality, often cheaper gas cost (although this advantage is outweighed by a substantial fee for services).
These are, for example, Axelar, Paloma Chain, deBridge, etc.
2. Providers relying on on-chain consensus: transaction validity and integrity checks are performed on smart contracts in Network 1 and Network 2.
Cons: due to the specific functions for checks on smart contracts, it takes longer to connect non-EVM networks and to integrate such solutions. To fully benefit from this approach, it is usually necessary to run a relayer server.
Pros: operation speed, flexibility in integration into existing security loops, possibility to ensure the privacy of transmitted data, cost of transactions (mainly gas costs, but in new networks, it is almost free), easier recovery mechanism, no need to trust DAOs, and the impossibility of a 51% attack. Additionally, a faster response time in critical situations since there is no need to wait for a certain number of signatures, etc.
Examples: LayerZero, Asterizm, ZKBridge.
Asterizm differentiates itself from competitors such as, for example, Axelar and deBridge, by offering a set of advantages. Its fully on-chain transaction validation and data integrity check mechanism (for which we are currently in the process of filing a patent) eliminates the need for a network of validators and tokenized economy. Additionally, our plug-and-play client-server software ensures the privacy of the transmitted data. This approach results in cost-efficient, rapid, and secure cross-chain transactions, making Asterizm a solid solution in the blockchain interoperability market.
What are Asterizm’s current integrations/partners?
At this point, we can’t disclose all of them, but I can name Zunami Protocol, Chainspot, MetaTrace, Plearnyx, UFarm.digital, DeGuard VPN and Megadev.
What are the average numbers, metrics, current status of the roadmap, and plans for Q3-Q4?
Our traction to date:
- graduated from the Techstars London accelerator powered by Polygon (May 2023);
- passed the security audit from HashEx (June 2023);
- integrated 10 EVM and two non-EVM networks (on testnet of TVM-based Everscale and Venom) – more in the pipeline;
- released documentation for developers;
- launched Asterizm on mainnet (end of June 2023);
- seven clients are building their products on top of Asterizm;
- launched the first B2C cross-chain product based on Asterizm called Gas Charger (gas.chainspot.io). It already works and shows the transaction flow;
- 40-70 cross-chain transactions per day are performed through Asterizm;
- Negotiations with three Tier-1 enterprises are underway.
Here is an overview of our roadmap:
- Update the Relayer module of the servers, enabling third-party companies to act as relays,
- Release Asset Bridge templates,
- Release NFT Bridge templates,
- Integrate TON, SUI, ZKSync, and several other active blockchains,
- Subsidize the development of cross-chain projects for fintech applications.
What is the current adoption of blockchain and cross-chain technologies in terms of businesses? And what are your estimates for the next five years?
Numerous enterprises, governments, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are implementing blockchain solutions (on both public blockchains and over 500 private ones). The growing demand for secure and efficient cross-chain transactions, combined with the need for data privacy and compliance with the new data privacy regulations, presents a significant market opportunity for Asterizm.
Neobanks and crypto-fintech companies are moving toward launching their own state-regulated stablecoins based on private chains, so they need a solution for moving capital and interacting with public networks.
Even such giants of the classical financial industry as SWIFT are looking into interoperability protocols for cross-chain transactions.
As for the prospects for the next five years, I think that we will see the first pilot projects among CBDCs, neobanks, and fintech companies implementing projects that facilitate the transfer of value in the form of digital assets or information from one private blockchain to another, as well as from private to public blockchains. Tokenization and utilization of classic financial assets on both public and private blockchains will gain significant traction.
Moreover, the establishment of cross-chain protocols that provide comprehensive solutions for the seamless transfer of data and assets is highly likely. This development is anticipated to revolutionize the way blockchain networks interact with each other and foster greater interoperability in the digital asset space.
Privacy of transferred data and the ability to control key nodes and functions of the infrastructure for cross-chain operations will be at the forefront of considerations when choosing cross-chain solutions. It will be essential to find the optimal balance between decentralization and the security of the company's business processes.
In this regard, Asterizm stands out as a perfect choice. Each of our clients operates its own server, which actively participates in cross-chain operations, transmitting and executing payloads directly. Our Relayer servers operate as a protective layer without accessing the transmitted data in case a client-server gets hacked. This setup ensures that clients retain full control over their data and operations while maintaining a high level of security and privacy during cross-chain transactions.
In the coming years, the blockchain industry will continue to move toward simplifying interactions not only with businesses but also with the end user. Additionally, there will be a fundamental redesign of the user experience – everything will be done in just a few clicks, and AI assistants will likely manage your funds and interact with various applications on your behalf. That may sound a bit cyberpunk, but it’s more than possible.
Asterizm aims to become one of the most trusted providers of seamless blockchain communication technology for both established Web3 market players and classic businesses entering this promising market.