How does LayerZero use Chainlink and “ultra-light nodes” to achieve low-cost and high-security cross-chain?


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The “ultra-light node” cross-chain model launched by the blockchain interoperability startup LayerZero strikes a new balance between decentralization and cost.

Written by: Pan Zhixiong

Different from other cross-chain solutions, LayerZero has built a new “ultra-light node” model, hoping to provide a safe and reliable infrastructure for cross-chain technology.

Prior to this, most cross-chain solutions can be divided into two categories. The first type of cross-chain scheme is managed by some well-reputed institutions that require multi-signature custody of cross-chain assets, and an intermediate blockchain network is usually constructed to handle some consensus or logic in the cross-chain; and the other type It is a “light node” mode. The light node client of the opposite chain is deployed between two target chains, and the transaction of the opposite chain can be verified by verifying the block header.

For example, Poly Network builds an intermediate blockchain network to connect other blockchains to implement cross-chain, where the assets under custody are borne by several large nodes; and the Rainbow Bridge launched by NEAR is a cross-chain of the “light node” model. The solution is to deploy the NEAR light node on Ethereum and deploy the Ethereum light node on NEAR to verify the transaction between both parties.

However, LayerZero believes that the first solution is not decentralized enough, and the cost of the second solution is too high (especially building light nodes of other chains on Ethereum, the verification cost is higher), so their solution is located between the two Yes, it can take into account both decentralization/security and transaction costs on the chain. They call it “Ultra Light Node”.

LayerZero will deploy an exit (that is, a series of smart contracts that can handle logic) on the two chains to interact with the other chain. They call it an “endpoint”. This endpoint will run an “ultra-light node”. “. Then an Oracle and a relay will be introduced between the two chains, and the communication between the ultralight nodes of the two chains depends on the oracle and the relay.

According to the LinkedIn information of the three co-founders of LayerZero, Ryan Zarick, Bryan Pellegrino, and Caleb Banister, they are currently focusing on the AI ​​field when establishing the project, and they all graduated from the University of New Hampshire.

LayerZero has just completed $6.3 million in Series A financing, led by Multicoin Capital and Binance Labs. The agreement is currently under audit and is expected to be launched in the early fourth quarter of this year.

Disambiguation: Layer 0 originally had another meaning

Layer 0 has long been said in the industry, but before this it was more to express the protocol of the network transport layer. Because if the blockchain network is regarded as Layer 1, the protocol that provides network communication in the blockchain network should be under Layer 1, so it is called Layer 0.

For example, teams such as bloXroute, NYM, and Marlin have optimized the underlying transmission methods of the Internet in terms of privacy and network transmission efficiency. This is the Layer 0 that more people understand.

Although the Oracle and Relayer components in the LayerZero protocol also transfer messages between blockchains, it is slightly different from the Layer 0 that more people thought before, and it focuses more on the “communication” of information between blockchains.

How does LayerZero use Chainlink and "ultra-light nodes" to achieve low-cost and high-security cross-chain?

Three core components

According to the LayerZero white paper, there are three components at the core of the protocol: Endpoint, Oracle and Relay.

How does LayerZero use Chainlink and "ultra-light nodes" to achieve low-cost and high-security cross-chain?

Endpoint is a facility that directly interacts with users or applications, or it can be thought of as a series of smart contracts. In the LayerZero protocol, each chain needs to deploy a LayerZero Endpoint. The Endpoint will be divided into four modules, communicator, validator, network and library.

The oracle is an external component to LayerZero, that is, a third-party service, independent of the LayerZero protocol. The main value provided by the oracle is to send the Block Head to another chain, so that the validity of the transaction can also be verified on the other chain. Although the oracle can be provided by any third party, currently LayerZero will use Chainlink in practice.

The LayerZero team believes that it is not an easy task to defeat Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network. Even if Chainlink’s oracle network is destroyed in extreme cases, repeaters are required to cooperate. And even if the repeater is colluded, the user running his own repeater will still be unaffected.

A repeater is an off-chain service. Its function is similar to an oracle, but it does not obtain the block header, but obtains the “proof” of the specified transaction. LayerZero believes that in order to ensure that transactions can be effectively delivered, the oracle and the repeater must be independent of each other.

LayerZero itself does not require the specific implementation of the repeater. In theory, users can also build their own repeater service. This design can ensure that the repeater cannot collude with the oracle. In the early practice, LayerZero will provide repeater services.

Use case: multi-chain deployment application

With the rise of multi-chain networks, the demand for application multi-chain deployment is also growing rapidly. For example, when SushiSwap is deployed in more than ten networks, how to share a state globally is actually more difficult. If you use the previous solution, you need to deploy a bridge between each two chains, but if you use the LayerZero protocol, you only need to pass each The Endpoints of a chain can share the global state.

This may reduce the developer’s workload. The LayerZero team also cited several other cases in addition to SushiSwap, but they all describe applications related to DeFi, including transaction agreements, lending agreements, and so on.

In addition, LayerZero has not mentioned the topic related to tokens, but for a cross-chain facility for decentralized networks, it should also be an indispensable part, and it may be made public before the main network goes live in the fourth quarter of this year. more information.

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