On the 13th September (during Berlin Blockchain Week), Centrifuge hosted a Product Workshop in Berlin. 30 people attended the workshop. It was really insightful with a lot of participation. The workshop covered a full range of topics and created some good ideas from XCM documentation, to Polkadot name service and the overall consensus to create more user facing apps. Ideally from a user perspective, users should be able to use different parachains without noticing or needing to change entry points, wallets, tools. The Cross-Consensus Message Format (XCM) is a first step to enable frictionless transfers of assets across chains in the Polkadot ecosystem.
Parachains in the Polkadot ecosystem are opting to build its cross-chain interoperable solution on Polkadot largely due to its parachain offering. Polkadot parachains are a series of small, application-specific chains connecting to Polkadot’s central governance chain, the relay chain. With Polkadot’s XCM (cross-consensus messaging), a new standard is emerging: one that puts security at the top of the agenda, but without compromising on the importance of making the process seamless and user-friendly. Although there is an incredible degree of flexibility, making this an optimal place for each project to build, there are challenges coming up along the way that we want to solve together.
During the check-in round we collected answers from all participants around the key question. After voting we chose 4 topics with the most votes and went into break out sessions to deep dive.
- Simplifying user experience and abstracting away cross chain aspect
- Better developer experience for XCM + documentation
- Safely transfer assets and data across chains
- Standards and best practices for cross chain interoperability and aligning all participants
- Wallet and key management
- Counterparty risk
- How to use XCM apart from token transfers
- Fungibility for wrapped tokens across chains
- Achieving decentralization in cross chain swaps
- How to merge communities?
Deep dive 1: Simplifying User Experience and abstracting away cross chain aspect
Ideally from a user perspective, a user should be able to use different parachains of the ecosystem without really noticing or needing to change entry points, wallets, tools. Cross chain messaging transfers (XCM) is a first step to enable frictionless transfers of assets across chains.
- Parachain setup as one root cause for many UX issues
- Wallet address chaos across parachains
- lack of stablecoin and liquidity in the Polkadot parachain ecosystem
- lack of tooling
- slow governance process
- Polkadot name service
- Attract more end user apps
- abstract parachain complexity
- connecting chains through apps
- bring parachain devs together
- create one ecosystem overview
Deep dive 2: Developer experience + XCM documentation
More information and explanation about XCM is needed. The teams working with XCM gather all their information from submitted code on Github, Discord channels or Telegram chats with other developers. The idea is to create one document that onboards developers to XCM.
- Documentation/ How to?
- What is the dev experience?
- How to maintain high quality, consistant doc in a dynamic environment?
- Copy and paste code examples which work
- Dynamic form/ AI?
- Who is using it?
- Simple interface/ better abstraction
- not reliable, no enough resources
- young space
- complex but nice architecture
- no pallet standardisation
- Write a book/document “XCM for dummies” which explains the concept with an analogy or with very simple terms what this is all about
- Include “Pitfalls of using XCM - Stuff to look out for” in the document
- Create an SDK to abstract from the logic, to make using XCM 2-3 lines of code
- Create JS functions for the XCM pallets so you can try them out in the browser
- Have an example XCM pallet which covers extended functionality
- Have a DAO/Community/Team maintaining the SDK and docs around XCM via a grant/funding from Parity
- Measure developer experience throughout the journey and run interviews within Parachain dev teams of how fast/easy it was to onboard.
Deep dive 3: Safely transfer assets and data across chains
- It’s one of the biggest challenges the space is currently facing and the best solution has not been found yet. Hops between different chains make it very complex to trace back original tokens.
- Trust issue is not agnostic to Polkadot
- Collateral of participating chains are infeasible because they limit scalability
- CEXs still the preferred solution for bridging
- A safe transfer requires consensus across chains with different consensus mechanisms
- Are XCM token transfers safer than bridging assets?
- How to get to trustless transfers?
- SPREE on Polkadot: enforce authenticity of message, only bridge between parties with 100% audited code by trusted parties
Deep dive 4: Standards and best practices for cross chain interoperability and aligning all participants
This group focused on the standards that are required for interoperability. Basic questions were discussed e.g. why is interoperability needed and what is the benefit? who should decide on the standards?
- Misuse of assettx (reserve/teleport)
- Format vs Standard
- Lack of proper asset representation
- Interblockchain meetups
- More dapps with interoperability in mind
- a platform for standard discussions
Overall we had a good 3h productive working session and planted the seeds to enhance the cross chain composability in the Polkadot ecosystem.