Today’s article is from Aragon’s official blog, which tells us why Aragon wants to build a chain of his own, and based on this decision, how they make the final choice between the two development frameworks of Cosmos and Polkadot. Of course, there are a lot of voices in the Aragon community itself. This decision is not entirely controlled by the development team, but from this article, I think we can see a lot of references to the public chain.
Public chains require developers to develop applications, and it’s best to generate one or two star applications. But what will star apps do on their own? How will the upgrade of the underlying public chain affect the upper application? What do developers think? How to win them better? These are all questions that can be considered from this article.
As far as Aragon’s own chain is concerned, I think this confirms the previous view that we are still in a very early stage of technological development, so the so-called star apps will choose to take root in the lower technology stack, not because they really want to compete with the lower protocol and share the market, but because the upper layer is too weak, the short-term upper layer is too weak. The story of the application can not be realized without the support of users, so it’s better to tell a longer and bigger story in turn, and also have some more time.
This phenomenon shows that the whole industry has finally returned to a more solid technology accumulation period after going through the public chain Napohype, which means there are still many opportunities; second, it shows that in this circle, most entrepreneurs’anticipated timetable is far ahead of action – in other words, we still have a long way to go. It’s hard not to get discouraged when the Cryptokitties team announces that they want to develop a game chain of their own. The time window for the creators of explosive applications to eventually build their own infrastructure in the sea is really far from mature.
Last thought: I always felt that there was no need for application chains, because most applications need functional intelligence contracts to meet, and there is no need for a dedicated chain for applications. But in the early days, there may be more and more demand for application chains – the upper and lower layers don’t make money anyway, so why not fill up the entire technology stack first, and perhaps capture value later on?
—— Orange Book
The following is the text:
Why did you choose to build an Aragon’s own chain?
So far, ETF has been crucial to Aragon’s success. Without ETF, the community would not be what it is today. Aragon was warmly welcomed in the Taifang community, enabling us to raise funds to continue building Aragon and Aragonon networks. We will never forget the starting point of our departure and will always be grateful to the ETF community.
We also give back to the Taifang community. We build and maintain infrastructures such as radspec and aragonOS, which are the common wealth of the entire community. We launched the Aragon Nest grant program, which funded important teams such as Prysmatic Labs, the only “fragmentation” team at the time, and Frame, the best desktop signature service in the Ethernet workshop.
However, it is our responsibility to bring maximum value to the Aragon community and to expand Aragon’s concept worldwide. Although ETF is the best and only platform to build Aragon, we now see alternatives that are more suitable for our needs and goals.
The real problem is that we can’t predict future costs, although the cost of trading in Ethernet shops has increased. When we communicate with business customers, “How much does it cost to use Aragon” is a question they are very concerned about, but we can’t provide a good answer to it. At present, ETF is almost fully loaded. As long as a dApp can successfully attract users to achieve rapid growth, the price of Gas fees may rise by two to three times overnight. The cost of using Aragon in Taifang is too high.
No matter how people understand ETF, ETF is first and foremost a developer platform. Moreover, ETF is still in a fairly early stage, and needs to be upgraded and changed significantly (ETF 2.0 will change dramatically), which may and does damage a lot of things. As we all know, Istanbul’s hard bifurcation will break nearly 5,000 Aragon smart contracts. Although this situation has been alleviated and Ethereum will provide a migration path, I am convinced that this is not our fault, but the hidden danger of bad protocol design.
We are not the only users of Taifang. Even if the upgrade of Taifang destroys our work, we also understand the importance of upgrade. But this confirms our belief that relying entirely on ETF will bring considerable platform risks, and we should hedge by offering different versions of Arragon in multiple chains. It is important to have a chain that is completely controlled by the Aragon community, because only such a chain can be at the core of maximizing our interests.
My personal prediction is that Etaifang 2.0 will not have the same feature parity as the current Etaifang main network until 2021 or 2022 (as I learned from a dialogue with some Etaifang 2.0 developers). As a project, we must find products that are suitable for the market by 2022. When we reach PMF, we need an extensible platform to quickly add as many users as possible to the Aragon network.
Aragon did not leave the etheric square. By the end of this year, very important projects such as Aragon Court and Aragonon Network V1 will still be deployed on the main Ethernet network. I don’t want Aragon to give up its support. We may make the necessary changes to enable Aragon to run on Eth 2.0.
But we have to control our platform from the bottom up. Having the entire technology stack will help us achieve tremendous capabilities, enabling us to capture value anywhere in the technology stack (which is still to be seen in Web3) to achieve project sustainability. I believe that our research and plans are reliable, and we can now enter the stage of implementation.
Scheme Based on Polkadot
In January, I mentioned in my AraCon speech that research on Aragon Chain is under way. We need to ensure that Aragon has better scalability to serve a larger number of more types of users.
At that time, we thought it was meaningful to develop an application chain. We realized the core features of Aragon at the bottom of the chain, and then added a universal virtual machine to achieve scalability. Considering this direction, using Substrate to build Aragon chain and relying on Polkadot network to achieve security seems to be the most promising direction.
After we talked to the staff on Polkadot, we were still hesitant to use Web Assembly or EVM as the virtual machine for the Aragon Chain Intelligence Contract. They suggested that we use Wasm (I think Wasm is a better choice than EVM in any indicator), but we were told that building EVM modules for Substrate “will be done by a skilled engineer in two weeks”.
In the first half of the year, we had to shelve our research on Aragon Chain because we needed to use all Aragon One’s R&D resources to develop Aragon Court and start the Aragon Network. This summer, since most of the research work on Aragon Network has been completed and only the implementation work needs to be completed, we began to study Aragon Chain again.
But over the past six months, a lot has happened in Aragon development. A lot of work has been done in two major application Suites (Aragon Fundraising and Open Enterprise), and more than 15 very useful Aragon applications are under development and are almost ready to be released online. These applications have increased the effectiveness of Aragon, and their development speed is totally beyond my expectations.
So when we go back to Aragon Chain’s research, it’s clear that we have to think about it from another perspective: starting with a chain with a universal VM, the VM must be compatible with everything that was developed at that time, and then we’ll focus on the optimization and upgrading of the chain to improve Aragon’s performance.
With this in mind, EVM-compatible chains have become the only viable solution. After receiving the non-affirmative answer on EVM support in Substrate (incompatible with our target release time) and finding that Ethermint (EVM module with Cosmos SDK) will be completed by the end of the year, we began to reconsider whether Substrate is the best technology for developing the Aragon chain.
Scheme Based on Cosmos SDK and Ethermint
As early as August, we began to realize that ChainSafe was developing EVM modules for Ethermint and Cosmos SDK. The Ethermint project seems to have stagnated for a long time, and now they have signed up with them to prepare for production. After meeting ChainSafe, we learned that they had almost finished, and that the target was the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2019.
After a meeting with the Cosmos team, Aragon One worked with ChainSafe to assess what the best technology for developing Aragon Chain was. We arranged some studies around the feasibility and compared how to develop chains to meet Aragon’s needs, mainly Polkadot and Cosmos.
Since we started our research, we think it is consistent with our previous internal research results. The Cosmos SDK with EVM module developed by ChainSafe for Ethermint is the best way to build Aragon Chain.
The study was released yesterday as part of ChainSafe AGP and can be read here. I encourage you to read the complete documentation, not only to understand the differences between the two platforms, but also to understand how to develop some of Aragon Chain’s functions.
Given the work already done on Cosmos SDK and Ethermint, starting Aragon Chain will require much less work than any other solution. Through chains with EVM support, aragonOS and existing Aragon applications can be deployed to Aragon Chain without any work. Tendermint equity proof algorithm is currently the most rigorous PoS consensus test PoS algorithm available, and it has gained more than $1 billion in value.
On-line, Arragon Chain, which only supports EVM, will have a much larger throughput (between 2 and 10 times) than the main Ethernet network, and may also be the only available POS EVM chain (unless someone else develops new chains faster).
Aragon Chain will deliver at least one year in advance of the promise of PoS ETF before ETF 2.0 is implemented.
Most importantly, the modularization of the Cosmos SDK will enable us to continue to improve Aragon Chain, rather than just become an ordinary EVM chain. Even intelligent contracts and protocols on non-Aragon can use Aragon Chain, and we can optimize the performance of Aragon requirements at the native level of the chain to make it the best platform for running Aragon organizations.
As far as ecosystem maturity is concerned, the use of Cosmos Hub based on Cosmos SDK is identical to that of Aragon Chain, and it has been running successfully for more than six months without major problems, with a market value of more than $500 million. When IBC is launched (target 2020), the Aragon chain may eventually become a zone in the Cosmos Hub (a chain in the Cosmos network) and cross the chain with other chains or even with Taifang (through peg zone), rather than building a direct bridge with the Taifang main network (this is the plan we will take at the beginning).
ARA: Mortgage token of Aragon Chain
One of the most interesting aspects of Polkadot is its shared security. Parallel chains need not worry about the security of their own chains (as far as consensus is concerned), each chain is as secure as the relay chain and all other parallel chains.
Polkadot parallel chains need to compete in a limited number of slots and lock DOT, thus effectively paying the cost of maintaining security through inflation.
The Aragon chain will need to provide its own security. So we need a new token, as the verifier of Aragon chain, to prove the mortgage’s rights and interests to protect the security of the chain and to reach a consensus on the status of the block chain.
For the time being, we call tokens ARA tokens, whose allocation mechanism should be very similar to that of Aragon Court’s ANJ. ARA tokens are minted or burned by depositing or removing ANT in the Aragon Fundraising joint curve.
The verifier of the Aragon chain will earn transaction fees from the activities on the chain. Considering that most of the activities on Aragon Chain may be Aragon activities, through ARA, ANT holders will have a way to directly benefit from the use of Aragon open source software. Using the Aragon chain will make the validator more expensive, which will make ARA more valuable and motivate people to lock in more ANTs to issue more ARAs.
Although not yet fully determined, ARA validation procedures and delegates can also earn ARA as a reward for providing network security and protecting the network.
One DAO, multiple chains
Aragon Chain should be an advanced platform for most Aragon organizations, but it is possible that some Aragon organizations prefer to use Aragon on the main Ethernet network, so the security and interoperability with other Ethernet protocols are the most important.
In terms of security, considering that this is a PoS chain, the security of Aragon chain will depend on its market value. More and more use of Aragon chain should lead to higher market value of chain, so it can be expected that as time goes on, it will become more secure, and more and more organizations begin to use Aragon chain instead of Ethereum. Until the security on the chain is high enough, organizations with large assets may choose to run better on the main ethernet. Long-tailed projects in organizations with less assets (between $10,000 and $100,000) should be able to run safely on the Aragon chain.
In terms of interoperability, one of the functions included in the initial version is a bridge to the main Ethernet network. This bridge can transfer token from one chain to another. With this bridge, more applications should be promoted, such as using Dai to pay for Gas on Aragon Chain, or using Uniswap to trade tokens issued by organizations on Aragon Chain.
In addition to value transfer, bridges should be able to deliver any type of message between two chains. Any type of messaging releases more exciting possibilities, such as having DAO run all its heavy governance processes on Aragon Chain (which can be very expensive in the Ethernet shop), and having an agent in the Ethernet perform the corresponding operations, which will only perform when and only when messages are sent on Aragon Chain. This will allow organizations operating on Aragon Chain at a small cost to have interoperability with any protocol in Taifang.
Implementation of Aragon Chain
In collaboration with ChainSafe, Aragon One made a proposal to develop Aragon Chain as soon as possible. ChainSafe is now finishing Ethermint’s work, which will be completed in the next few weeks. Because they are the people who develop Ethermint, they are the best team in the world to use Aragon Chain. During Devcon, we planned the next step of Aragon Chain’s work and concluded that the development of Aragon Chain and the bridge to the main Ethernet network could be carried out in parallel or started immediately without waiting for Ethermint to complete.
Building a strong validator community is critical to Aragon Chain’s success. This is an unknown area for the Aragon community and we should start working now. I guess someone or a team in the community will reinforce and lead the creation of this validator community.
Infrastructure, since Ethermint implements most of the Ethermint’s JSON RPC methods, adapting to existing Ethermint infrastructure (wallet, block browser, exchange integration) to Aragon Chain should not be too difficult. We have the advantage of the Frame team as part of the Aragon community. Other infrastructures will need to be adjusted, and I hope the community will step up its infrastructure preparation before it is released.
As mentioned earlier, no matter whether the Aragon application runs on the Ethernet or on the Aragon Chain, the application will not be affected. However, to work with Aragon Chain, you may need to make some changes to the Aragon client. As the owner of the Aragon client, Aragon One will undertake the client’s support for Aragon Chain.
The next step in making Aragon Chain a reality is for the community to approve AGP-106 in the upcoming Aragon Network Vote. I’ve been pushing for this, so I may be biased and biased, but personally I think the AGP-106 and ChainSafe teams will provide guarantees to develop and launch Aragon Chain. ChainSafe’s schedule is so exciting that I would rather not share it now, but Aragon Chain may be online earlier than most people think.
It’s exciting to see an ambitious idea sprouting a few months ago, going from an idea to early research, then serious research, and now development and implementation. The future will be great!