Blockchain research and development firm, CoBlox’s COMIT protocol, which is geared towards fostering blockchain interoperability, is – according to the team behind it – production ready.
COMIT, which stands for Cryptographically-secure Off-chain Multi-asset Instant Transaction network, is a cross-blockchain interoperability platform. Designed to do for blockchain, what the TCP/IP protocol did for the internet, the COMIT protocol promises to connect blockchains and bring about an ‘interchain’.
Building in safeguards that prevent double spending, and hash functions that route across multiple blockchain’s, CoBlox’s blockchain interoperability protocol is set up to enable blockchain’s to communicate with one another, with minimal friction.
CoinWrath reached out to the team behind COMIT, who were in Singapore this past weekend for an annual hackathon (where they were putting some finishing touches to the protocol) to get some info on their progress. Daniel Karzel was kind enough to answer some of our questions.
CoinWrath (CW): How many blockchains has Comit connected so far?
Daniel Karzel (DK): The current reference implementation of the COMIT protocol includes Bitcoin, Ethereum and ERC20 tokens. This means you can swap between Bitcoin, Ether and ERC20 (bidirectional).
The protocol introduces an abstraction layer around ledgers and assets. This means, adding any Bitcoin-like chain is just a matter of configuration, because the properties of the chains would be the same. This also applies to adding Ethereum Classic.
We are currently working on a proof of concept to introduce scriptless scripts into COMIT. In a first stage this will allow Grin (Mimblewimble) to Bitcoin swaps (bidirectional). In the long run scripless scripts will allow us to integrate a lot of different chains – in a privacy preserving way.
Besides scripless scripts we are also working on Layer 2 integration, specifically on the integration of Lightning into COMIT.
CW: What are the biggest challenges the team has faced while trying to get blockchains to shake hands?
DK: I would say the biggest problem is complexity in general, and understanding different blockchain platforms to their core, so they can be connected without additional security assumptions. One of the things we are most proud of, is making a complex task as simple as possible, without introducing yet another blockchain or token. The COMIT protocol uses what is already there – we build purely on the underlying chains for swapping your assets. In order to achieve that we have to acquire a lot of knowledge about the underlying chains and additionally have to invest a lot of brainpower in designing our protocol carefully. The balance between a faster, specific solution for two specific chain, and a more generic solution that allows the integration of different chains later is very challenging.
CW: What is the goal of the hackathon?
DK: There are three main goals for our hackathon:
Spread the word – embrace our community: The reference implementation of COMIT has reached a level where we confidently say it is mainnet ready. We want to encourage more people to use our completely open protocol to create awesome solutions on top of it. This requires for people to know what we are doing and what COMIT is capable of. This is why the first day of the Hackathon includes a training session around the tools to get started with COMIT.
Validate assumptions: When developing a protocol like COMIT we have to make certain assumptions, because we cannot just validate everything immediately. With reaching a stage where COMIT is product ready, we have to validate more of these assumptions by using the brainpower of our community. Recently we started looking into negotiation protocols on top of the trade execution phase of COMIT. The hackathon is a great opportunity to discuss and challenge what we have built, so we can improve our solution.
Encourage the community to create awesome products: COMIT is production-ready – the first truly decentralized exchange is just one product that might pop out of the hackathon.
CW: Since The Commit Protocol Is Ready To Go, What Impact do you think an Interchain (inerconnected blockchain) will have on the crypto ecosystem?
DK: “Blockchain interoperability” (or “interchain” like you call it) is still quite a young field and it will take time to notice a significant impact, especially when it comes to the end user. The COMIT team’s vision for the long run is to have an open financial system – truly inclusive, censorship-resistant and non-discriminatory. To achieve this two aspects are especially important for us:
1. level of decentralization,
2. level of trustlessness.
There are already solutions out there to achieve transferring ownership of assets on different chains. Centralized exchanges are one example. However, the downside is that users have to fully trust them with their money. History has shown that this trust was misused more than once, may it be due to bugs, hacks, or simple fraudulent behavior.
More and more decentral exchanges are popping up recently trying to solve the problem around trust and centralization. Most of them add security assumptions on top of the existing ledgers. A security assumption can be a token, that acts as an intermediary, a complex smart contract that can possibly be controlled by a third party, or a whole new additional blockchain through which the asset has to be transferred.
Thus, we design COMIT with the constraint to add no additional security assumptions. We rely on the capabilities of the underlying ledgers, so our solution can prosper from the advancements that happen in each blockchain ecosystem. Our mission is to connect all the blockchains – without adding yet another one.
That said, in the next 3-5 years blockchain interoperability will have a big impact on the way we think about money and financial products. Decentralized and trustless applications built on top of COMIT will influence how we exchange assets in the future.
The team behind the COMIT network, will in the next year, be focusing on equipping the protocol to support, near-instant transactions. Their focus will be on bringing this off without detrimenting security, privacy, and reliability. Other areas the COMIT team will be looking into in 2020, will be private trades and building the COMIT community, in an effort to spread the word and encourage adoption of the protocol.
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