Cross-chain applications today lack shared private state. Blockchain users can’t keep their data private and use it too, especially across chain. At Webb, we exist to solve this challenge. We see a world where users can have data on any chain and prove its existence — in zero-knowledge — on any other chain in order to interact with any compatible application possible. In this world, users can keep their assets, identities, and data hidden from the actions they take on-chain.
In order to realize such a vision, we need a bridge and a way to store data privately with the means of proving properties of the data on the bridge in zero-knowledge. This is the foundation of Webb’s Tangle Network.
The Tangle Network
The Tangle Network is a Substrate-based blockchain that runs two major protocols developed by Webb:
- The first is a threshold-ECDSA distributed key generation (DKG) and signing protocol underneath a quorum-based proposal voting system. This governance system facilitates threshold signature generation for arbitrary proposal data as a set of pallets that interact, operate, and maintain the DKG protocol’s lifecycle and improvement.
- The second executes our zero-knowledge bridges or what we call the Anchor System in Substrate. We use the term 'Anchor' to describe individual endpoints on a bridge. The Anchor System in Substrate contains pallets for modifying on-chain merkle trees, pallets that leverage these trees for applications, and pallets that maintain bridges between anchors that live on other neighboring blockchains. The bridge governance system leverages ECDSA signatures to modify on-chain state of an anchor’s neighboring state.
Together, these two protocols allow us to build bridged applications across not only Substrate chains but also EVM chains, CosmWasm chains, and Ink! compatible chains. We are continuing to build out the private bridge protocol for each of these environments and will leverage the threshold-ECDSA protocol to connect instances of anchors in these different environments.
The Tangle Network can be extended in a variety of ways for different applications. We’ve put a lot of effort into making it a platform for private application development and we detail some of the applications we are planning to build out below— some are already in active development.
Additionally, a threshold-ECDSA integrated chain enables other use cases beyond what is captured by our Anchor System. For example, with threshold-ECDSA we can sign arbitrary Bitcoin transactions, Ethereum transactions, and more! We could integrate a Bitcoin bridge into the system with a proper custody rotation. We could sign messages for other smart contracts across chains for governance purposes. We’re excited about the wide range of use cases this tech can provide and we’d love to hear from you as far as what you find most interesting!
Example: Interoperable shielded pools
The natural first application for this infrastructure include private bridges for assets or interoperable shielded pools. With the Tangle Network, we now have a decentralized and updatable system for maintaining the state of a set of bridge anchors. Therefore, we can design the data to be inserted into these anchors around that of an asset system. Data inserted into anchors will contain UTXOs and users will be able to spend these UTXOs privately across the chains the given bridge exists over.
Example: Interoperable membership groups
The next application we plan to extend this infrastructure towards is the interoperable membership group. Imagine communities that extend across chains and leverage privacy. A natural version of this might look like an interoperable Semaphore system, where anyone in the Semaphore membership group can relay a vote or a response to a poll from any chain privately and even without needing a wallet on that chain.
The Software Suite
The Tangle Network launch marks the first alpha release of the Webb Protocol that we’ve been building for over 1.5 years. Many areas are still a work in progress. Below you can find links to each respective part.
The Tangle Network Collator Node
The DKG Pallet System
The Anchor System
The Webb Relayer
There are a variety of ways to participate as we get closer to the launch. We detail these below:
- Relayers - For operators who want to provide relaying services for our private transaction systems and/or participate as governance relayers. Private transaction relayers can earn fees depending on the volume of transactions through the shielded pools. Governance relayers can help secure the network by watching the bridges and relaying state updates.
- Validators - you can run a consensus-participating node today on the early testnets Webb is developing. Jump in our Discord or review the docs to get started.
- DKG Authorities - For operators who want to run authority nodes that both act as DKG signing authorities. There will be inflationary rewards provided to these nodes.
- Developers and designers - We are actively hiring core developers. Reach out to [email protected] if you want to help push forward this network!
We’ll detail our recommendations for this in a coming post.
Details on the Chain Specification
Here, we detail some relevant parts of the chain specification for interested parties. For a deeper dive into the runtime and its chosen parameters, we refer you to the implementation file
Get Involved with Webb
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