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What Problems Astar Network May Solve

October 23, 2022

Astar Network is a multi-chain smart contract platform. At the time of writing, Astar Network supports Polkadot, Cosmos and Ethereum, and allow developers to build on multi virtual machines like EVM and WebAssembly. It introduces Layer 2 (vertical) solutions for better scalability.

There is a video from Token 2049 where the founder of Astar Network talked about what they are trying to solve.

Sota at Token 2049 - The future of Smart Contracts

Interoperability at the Protocol Layer

The first problem is the complexity and unmaintainability of connecting smart contracts at the application layer. Copying and paste kills flexibility.

The concept of multichain is just to copy and pase Solidity contracts on another EVM chain

Building a multi-chain at the protocol layer is the core competence of Astar Network, as far as I understand. XCM, Cross-Consensus Message Format, came out as a solution to this problem.

XCM is just a generic message format, designed to be a language for communication between two systems. They try to solve at the lower layer, instead of bringing too much complexities into the application layer. That totally makes sense to me, who has been software engineers for almost a decade and had designed a lot of protocols and struggled with abstraction.

astar network token 2049 presentation xcmp

Limitations of EVM

The second problem is that EVM as a lot of limitations by design, like lack of supports of EVM by some majour L1s.

EVM has a lot of limitations and some major L1s don't support EVM

That's why Astar Network supports WASM, that can run on any environment with WASI-compatible runtime, including most of modern browsers.

Swanky Suite is developed by Astar Network, that aims to be a "all-in-one" tool for WASM smart contract developers. You'll use swanky-cli (built in TypeScript) and swanky-node (built in Rust).

As of writing this blog, paritytech/wasmi is used as an WASM-interpreter according to the docs for better correctness.

Lacking of Incentive Design for Developers

The third problem is that there is no incentives for developers to build dApps, meaning thesedays developers have to pay a lot to deploy dApps instead of getting paid.

We need sustainable and sophisticated on-chain developer incentives

This is the reason why Astar Network embraces the concept of #Build2Earn, and they are trying to build the platform that developers get appropriate rewards, instead of paying to deploy dApps.

This is achieved by dApp staking.

At its core, dApp staking is similar to staking on validators, but in this new paradigm, dApp stakers — also known as nominators–can nominate their Astar/Shiden tokens on dApps they want to support. ... Ultimately, the most precious human resource in the Web3 ecosystem is developers. ... source

Currently 23 dApps are available to be staked (but staking is only available via Substrate wallet, as of writing this blog post).

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