Bridging the Gap: How Astar Network Enhances the Polkadot Ecosystemby@ishanpandey
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Bridging the Gap: How Astar Network Enhances the Polkadot Ecosystem

by Ishan PandeyApril 3rd, 2023
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Greg Luneau is the Senior Integration Developer of Astar Network, a smart contract hub for Polkadot. Astar has a unique incentive mechanism for developers called dApp Staking. It leverages ASTR token inflation to maintain the ecosystem's growth.

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Astar Network's Plan for Seamless Interoperability in the Blockchain Space

Welcome to "Behind the Startup," a series where we delve into the journey and vision of the pioneers revolutionizing the tech landscape. In this edition, we had the opportunity to speak with Greg Luneau, the Senior Integration Developer of Astar Network. With a rich background in cryptography and blockchain, Greg sheds light on Astar Network's inception, its role as a smart contract hub for Polkadot, and the unique features that set it apart from other blockchain projects. Join us as we explore the inner workings of Astar Network and discuss its ambitious plans for the future.

Fueling Astar Network's Growth and Developer Incentives

Ishan Pandey: Hi Greg, welcome to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming the Senior Integration Developer of Astar Network?

Greg Luneau: It all started with the integration of public and private key cryptography into the e-commerce platform of the Smithsonian Institute. This led me to register a US patent for transferring credit card numbers over the Internet. Jump 20 years and I'm working with blockchains first with Steem/Hive, then with EOS and finally with Polkadot. I had the opportunity to work with Acala and connect most chains at the time with HRMP channels for the goal of composability through XCM. And now, with Astar, I have the opportunity to realize that vision of integrating the very best that every para chain has to offer.

Ishan Pandey: How did the Astar Network team come up with the idea of developing a "smart contract hub" for Polkadot, and what motivated you to pursue this project?

Greg Luneau: For a nascent ecosystem like polkadot, developer tooling is essential. We saw that Wasm was the future and developed tools like Swanky & Sumi. Polkadot, as a relay chain only does security, it needs an L1 for smart contract execution and that's us. Think of solidity as the language for the EVM, and now ink! is the language for building smart contracts on Wasm. We're bridging the gap between the EVM and Wasm, figuratively and literally, with the XVM project.

Ishan Pandey: Can you explain how Astar Network functions as a parachain for Polkadot and how it enhances the capabilities of the Polkadot ecosystem?

Greg Luneau: We're a smart contract platform. Both EVM virtual machine and Wasm are supported; we're the glue between the Polkadot ecosystem and continuously work on the proof of concepts to connect with other para chains through XCM and execution transactions remotely.

Ishan Pandey: The native token of Astar Network is "ASTAR." Could you elaborate on its utility and the role it plays within the ecosystem?

Greg Luneau: ASTR tokens are required to pay for network resources and use decentralized applications on Astar Network. More importantly, Astar has a unique and innovative incentive mechanism for developers called dApp Staking, which leverages ASTR token inflation to maintain the ecosystem's growth while rewarding builders and participants simultaneously. We have a program called Astar SpaceLabs to support developers building on Astar Network. Our community leaders and members of the Astar team lead it.

Ishan Pandey: With the growing concerns surrounding data privacy, how does Astar Network ensure user data remains secure while maintaining the efficiency of its blockchain?

Greg Luneau: Being connected as a parachain means we inherit all the security of Polkadot for block production. Astar is working hard to develop and promote the light clients for developers and users. IP harvesting, for example, is a privacy issue that RPC could be doing by choice or edict. Developers could, through smart contracts and XCM, connect to other para chains that offer roll-ups or off-chain workers and utilize those privacy-enhancing features for their dApps.

Ishan Pandey: How does Astar Network plan interoperability, which is a problem often faced by other blockchain projects?

Greg Luneau: Traditionally, blockchains were isolated from one another due to technical limitations. However, with the progress made in bridge technology and layer 0 interoperability protocols, it is now possible to transfer tokens between blockchains, which has led to a greater variety within the ecosystem.

Additionally, we have our Cross Virtual Machine (XVM). It is a new feature that our team is working on because we believe EVM is a great tool, but we also want to create something new with Wasm smart contracts. We’ll introduce how we will expand ‘Web3’ to the larger digital landscape at our upcoming event: Wasm Launch Day.

Ishan Pandey: What partnerships and collaborations has Astar Network established to help expand its ecosystem and adoption across various industries?

Greg Luneau: We continue to integrate with many advanced projects that can help us create a multi-chain ecosystem–cross-chain communication, new applications, and gaming. Recently we’ve had three important collaborations that will incubate the next wave of blockchain adoption: our web3 Hackathon sponsored by Toyota, Web3 Incubation Program with Sony Network Communications, and ink!ubation program with Polkadot. This means our developers have access with ample funding and close connections with different industries.

Ishan Pandey: Can you share some insights into the future roadmap of Astar Network, and what new features or developments users can expect in the coming years?

Greg Luneau: Introducing new tools to Astar mainet is on the short-term roadmap. This includes fully functional XVM, more cross-chain integrations, and making it possible for any developer to build a decentralized application. Astar is the first parachain that allows developers to build ink! smart contracts. Over the coming years, we will improve opportunities for blockchain developers with new on-chain features and add an ecosystem of dApps that anyone can use. You can follow our progress on Astar homepage Starmap.

Ishan Pandey: Recently, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has sent shockwaves through the financial industry. What is your perspective on this event, and how do you think it will impact the blockchain and cryptocurrency space moving forward?

Greg Luneau: It is essential that we decentralize everything in the blockchain space. As Gavin Wood mentions, otherwise, we will face greater regulatory scrutiny to say it lightly. We need to strive to remove all single points of failure, avoid all centralized traps and follow the footsteps of our cyberpunk forefathers to bring freedom to all.

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Vested Interest DisclosureThe author is an independent contributor publishing via our brand-as-author program. Be it through direct compensation, media partnerships, or networking, the author has a vested interest in the company/ies mentioned in this story. HackerNoon has reviewed the report for quality, but the claims herein belong to the author. #DYOR