Blockchain agnostic infrastructure underpins much of Web3, helping to create a thriving multi-chain ecosystem. Blockchain agnostic infrastructure is the reason why a variety of the same decentralized applications and development tools are available in different on-chain environments; Aave and MetaMask are widely available on many blockchains and Layer 2 networks, for example.
As many in the Chainlink community know, Chainlink’s blockchain-agnostic design is one of the key reasons why it is now the industry-standard Oracle solution on many leading blockchains and Layer 2 networks. A highly pervasive foundation rooted in chain and API agnosticism, Chainlink can also build a cross-chain future for Web3, particularly through the continued development of the Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP).
Given its importance to the current and future state of Web3, understanding what blockchain-agnostic architecture is, why it matters, and how it works can give developers, projects, and users a distinct advantage when navigating the space. Let’s start with what “blockchain agnostic” really means.
What does Blockchain Agnostic Mean?
Blockchain standalone solutions are software and hardware that are compatible with many different blockchain networks, including layer 2 ones. They can seamlessly connect to multiple blockchain networks (transactions, reads, and state changes) based on a single format, framework or messaging interface.
In computing in general, data agnostic design refers to devices and programs that can receive and process data in multiple formats or from multiple sources. To get a better idea of what blockchain agnostic really means, we can look at other types of data agnostic solutions. For example, XML is a programming language and file format that can store, transmit, and reconstruct any arbitrary data. Another example is game engines, which are software frameworks that allow game developers to use a single code base to create a game that can be accessed on multiple platforms, such as PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Comparatively, Apple provides a non-agnostic design example, as the apps are only available in the App Store and require an iPhone or iPad to access.
Why is it important to be Blockchain Agnostic?
Blockchain independent designs offer many benefits for developers, enterprises, Web3 startups, and end users.
Accessing digital asset markets across the Web3 ecosystem
Web3 has grown into a thriving multi-chain ecosystem spread across numerous blockchain networks. While many early digital assets could only be traded as ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum mainnet, many new digital assets have launched or connected to Ethereum Layer 2 networks such as Arbitrum, Optimism, and StarkEx, along with chains. of alternative layer 1 blocks. such as Avalanche, BNB Chain and Solana.
By using a blockchain-agnostic design, projects can access liquidity and markets that are distributed throughout the Web3 ecosystem. For example, stablecoins like USDC have been minted on various chains and now store tens of billions of dollars worth. Similarly, the DeFi Aave protocol has launched markets on a variety of networks including Ethereum, Avalanche, Optimism, Fantom, Polygon, and Arbitrum.
Future-proofing an application
What if end users and liquidity migrate to another network? What happens if the network effects or technology of another ecosystem improves drastically? Flexibility through a blockchain-agnostic solution helps mitigate these risks by future-proofing projects against unexpected ecosystem developments.
This flexibility allows individuals, startups, and enterprises to start building right away, knowing that their blockchain-agnostic infrastructure allows them to reuse their code (or a slightly modified version of it) on another network or on a variety of different chains. if required. This saves valuable engineering time, significantly reduces costs, and allows projects to seamlessly evolve alongside the ever-developing Web3 space.
Leveraging the unique technical advantages of different
Blockchains Each blockchain and Layer 2 network is optimized for different variables, such as transactions per second, consensus mechanisms, time to completion, economic models, scalability, data availability, privacy, and degrees of decentralization. This optimization gives each chain unique technical advantages.
Blockchain-agnostic solutions allow developers to select the network that best suits a specific use case, deploy separate instances of a protocol across multiple chains to allow users to choose which technical features they want to take advantage of, or even combine unique advantages. multiple threads within a single multi-thread application. Ultimately, they allow developers to build apps with more features and performance.
Examples of Blockchain-Agnostic Infrastructure
Blockchain-agnostic designs support a wide range of infrastructure across the Web3 ecosystem, such as protocols, hardware devices, and programming languages.
Examples of standalone blockchain solutions include:
- Chainlink – Oracle networks that have already powered more than 1,470 projects with off-chain computing and more than 4.2 billion on-chain data points across multiple blockchain ecosystems.
- Ledger – A hardware cryptographic wallet that contains private keys to securely store thousands of tokens from a variety of different distributed ledgers.
- USDC – US dollar-pegged stablecoin that is available natively on eight networks and also as a multi-layer 2 wrapped asset, helping it grow to $49 billion in total value locked (TVL) as of September 2022.
- Solidity: A programming language used by a wide range of blockchains with vastly different data and execution models, including Avalanche, BNB Chain, and Ethereum.
- Beefy Finance – DeFi application that allows end users to access performance on sixteen chains from a single user interface. This has helped it attract $281 million worth of deposits as of September 2022.
Chainlink’s Blockchain-Agnostic Design
Chainlink is a blockchain-agnostic Oracle network that can run natively on any blockchain. No dependencies on other blockchains, which means it can support both public blockchains and enterprise blockchains. These advantages have led Chainlink Network to help secure tens of billions of dollars worth of Ethereum, BNB Chain, Polygon, Gnosis Chain, Heco, Avalanche, Fantom, Arbitrum, Harmony, Optimism, Moonriver, Moonbeam, Solana and more chains.
Oracle networks play a key role in the Web3 ecosystem. Because blockchains are isolated deterministic systems, they cannot extract data from or send data to any external system as a built-in functionality. Chainlink overcomes this “oracle problem” by connecting blockchains to off-chain data and computations through decentralized networks of highly secure and trusted node operators. These Oracle networks power a set of trust-minimized services that developers can integrate into on-chain smart contracts to create more advanced and feature-rich smart contracts known as hybrid smart contracts.
Given the diverse range of blockchains and their technical differences, designing a blockchain-independent Oracle network ensures that the off-chain resources it provides and the hybrid smart contracts it powers do not undermine security, speed, or the availability of the underlying. block chain. That is why Chainlink uses a heterogeneous framework to build decentralized Oracle networks.
Chainlink’s heterogeneous network consists of numerous independent Oracle networks running in parallel with no cross dependencies. This means that specialized Chainlink networks can be designed and optimized specifically for the blockchain they serve, allowing them to provide any blockchain or Layer 2 with optimized external data and off-chain computing.
Chainlink’s Oracle Networks’ architecture means they can operate at the native speed and cost of any blockchain or Layer 2 network. Because these networks scale with the Web3 ecosystem, smart contracts on higher-tier blockchains performance and lower cost or Layer 2 networks can access more frequent and lower cost updates from Oracle.
Also, because Chainlink’s oracle networks operating on one blockchain have no dependencies on any other blockchain, they will continue to receive timely updates from oracle even in the event other blockchains experience downtime issues. This helps create more secure smart contracts and a stronger Web3 ecosystem.
Chainlink’s blockchain-agnostic design and broad adoption across the Web3 ecosystem make it the ideal network to support a cross-chain messaging protocol that seamlessly connects disparate blockchain networks. With the infrastructure to power truly secure cross-chain applications and token bridging, the multi-chain ecosystem can become interoperable and build even more advanced applications.
In support of this vision, an open source global standard for cross-chain messaging known as the Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP) is currently being developed. Once connected to CCIP, a blockchain will be able to interact with any other blockchain connected to CCIP through Chainlink’s decentralized Oracle networks.
“Blockchain agnostic” may not be one of the most well-known terms on Web3, but it is certainly one of the most important given the way it enables advanced, secure, and high-performance hybrid smart contracts and enables a cross-chain future.
Ultimately, it is about connecting hyper-specialized and more general blockchain independent solutions that will create the most powerful applications and the most impactful Web3 ecosystem. Chainlink is being built with this in mind, with its blockchain-agnostic heterogeneous design allowing you to deliver Oracle services to any chain at their native speed and cost, as well as connecting them all via CCIP to create an interoperable Web3 ecosystem.