On Multichain and Interoperability with Maciej Baj and Jacobi Kowalewski by@saragpinto
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On Multichain and Interoperability with Maciej Baj and Jacobi Kowalewski

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In this Slogging AMA, we welcome Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski from T3rn, an open hosting platform for smart contracts that enables trustless, multi-chain execution and composable collaboration. During this AMA, we discussed interoperability, parachain, multichain, and their future.
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This Slogging thread by Sara Pinto, Jacob Kowalewski, Denis, Kelley Dane, Maciej Baj, Valentine Enedah, Jack Boreham, Limarc Ambalina and SuperSaiyanProgramming occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.

Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 4:01 PM

Hey everyone, in this AMA, we have the pleasure to welcome Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski from the T3rn team. https://www.t3rn.io/ is an open hosting platform for smart contracts, that enables trustless, multi-chain execution and composable collaboration.

Their goal is to allow trust-free collaboration between blockchains and create an ecosystem in which anyone can utilize and deploy an interoperable smart contract.

Feel free to ask Maciej and Jacob anything about:

  • Interoperability
  • Multichain
  • Security
  • Parachain
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Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 4:04 PM

Hey Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski! It's a pleasure to have you here with us! Can you tell us a bit about T3rn? How did it become what it is today?

:handshake: 4
Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 4:08 PM

Hey Jacob Kowalewski here, Maciej and I met while working at the blockchain application platform Lisk back in 2017. Lisk was developing sidechains in Javascript and this gave us a great platform to think about what a multichain future would look like, albeit expecting the problem to be solved within a year or two. As this wasn't the case when we left Lisk in 2020, we decided to tackle the problem ourselves, essentially mapping single ledger execution to the multichain realm 🙂

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Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 4:18 PM

That's exciting for you! I'm a newbie in some tech subjects, so I have to ask, what is exactly multichain and how does it make a difference?

Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 4:19 PM

What did you envision for the it's future?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 4:29 PM

Currently, blockchains operate in silos, meaning transferring assets or messages in between chains is impossible or cumbersome at the very least. This severely limits how useful blockchain technology is and, in my mind, hinders mass adoption of the technology. Current solutions have been shown to be insecure in bridging blockchains together. t3rn was created to solve this exact problem

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Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 4:31 PM

I envisage a future where people use blockchain technology on a daily basis, jumping in between chains seamlessly and are borderline unaware that they are doing so

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Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 4:31 PM

Much like how we engage with the internet on our smartphones today, without really knowing what is happening under the hood

DenisNov 14, 2022, 4:37 PM

Hey guys! How is it going? I want to join the Collator testnet. Can you please tell me if it's not too late to do it now, and how long it will keep going?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 4:57 PM

Hi Denis sure feel free to join our collators group on discord https://discord.gg/gtQXs2eue3

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Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 5:00 PM

Jacob Kowalewski, it makes a lot of sense. One way to know something is prospering is to use it without even knowing exactly what's behind it. What were the main challenges T3rn has been dealing with while achieving this goal?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 5:50 PM

Thanks, Sara, development of the t3rn protocol in Substrate framework is certainly not an easy undergoing, and test coverage, engineering the Continous Delivery pipeline, and QA of the releases take time - certainly quite a challenge to get done properly but we're getting there

Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 5:03 PM

Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski, Denis has mentioned Collators testnet. Can you talk about it? Is it a community for your users?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 5:53 PM

The Testnet network is where we onboard network infrastructure providers like Collators (collate blocks and transactions to Polkadot's Relay chain) or Executors (provide the network's liquidity). this increases the decentralization and stability of the product.
As of now, we aren't on Polkadot mainnet yet - all network infrastructure has so far been tested on Rococo - Polkadot's testnet network

Valentine EnedahNov 14, 2022, 5:17 PM

Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj, so glad to meet you.
I would love to ask a question with regard to the blockchain industry.
What is an ideal way to store your crypto since most exchanges (CEFi) are currently at risk of hacks?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 5:35 PM

Hi Valentine, to be on the safe side use crypto wallets and withdraw from exchanges

Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 6:22 PM

Maciej Baj, a skilled team must be necessary to get it done. How was the process of creating the T3rn team?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 6:41 PM

Not an easy task for sure, it took us more than a year to collect a team of 17 members who are the right fit

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Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 6:23 PM

Also, since you explained multichain, can you also explain parachain? How is it different?

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 6:37 PM

Parachain is an individual blockchain being part of a Relay Chain - it's strictly a Polkadot concept of multichain security - where multiple chains share the same security consensus

Valentine EnedahNov 14, 2022, 6:39 PM

Awesome!
Could you recommend reliable wallets?
As you have thrown amazing insights on multichain, do you think the future will be Multichain? As the cryptocurrency sector grows.

Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 6:41 PM

As far as wallets, I personally am a big fan of Trezor, Valentine Enedah

Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 6:42 PM

Trezor One > Model T if we're going into details

Valentine EnedahNov 14, 2022, 6:48 PM

Jacob Kowalewski, amazing!
I also noticed they are hardware wallets. If I may ask, why hardware wallets?

Valentine EnedahNov 14, 2022, 6:51 PM

Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj, can you also throw more light on "Reversibility for users"? How does that really work? cause I had a situation where I lost some crypto due to a failed transaction on a crypto exchange.

Maciej BajNov 14, 2022, 9:02 PM

Reversible transactions with t3rn are only within a transaction settlement time - we expect all of the steps of the transactions to be finalized by that point on all of the chains. If that’s not the case users get their funds back - therefore the effect of reversing.

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Jack BorehamNov 14, 2022, 7:56 PM

Hi Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj, how does your platform work with the metaverse?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 9:58 PM

That really depends on what you understand “the metaverse” to be; as far we’re concerned it’s still a young idea with a long, exciting, and undefined road ahead of it. If you are referring to NFTs in particular, we are working on developing a solution that allows for seamless multichain NFTs transfers. That said, we are focused on initially providing more defi-centric executions prior to NFT transfers

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Jacob KowalewskiNov 14, 2022, 9:59 PM

They are by far the most secure, commercially available, option for safely storing your crypto

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Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 11:41 PM

Thanks for explaining! So, with T3rn working with parachain, it means more security regarding the transactions and other vulnerabilities, if I'm not mistaken. You also mention interoperability. Does it mean there's even more flexibility? Is there any restriction? Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj

Maciej BajNov 15, 2022, 8:46 AM

We rely on XBI (http://github.com/t3rn/xbi)- our standard of messaging over XCM - Polkadot's protocol for cross-Parachain communication to facilitate interoperability between different Polkadot Parachains. We also rely on the set of Light Clients to prove the inclusions on remote to Polkadot Blockchains.

Sara PintoNov 14, 2022, 11:42 PM

Also, I did a little research, and discovered T3rn has received a second grant from Web3 Foundation, which must be very exciting! Can you tell us more about your relationship with W3F? How was the process to receive 2 grants?

Maciej BajNov 15, 2022, 8:49 AM

Web3 Foundation has been very helpful for us to elaborate and establish initial ideas behind t3rn - the first grant. The second grant started our work on XBI (http://github.com/t3rn/xbi)- standard on top of XCM. We follow the guidelines of Web3 Foundation grant proposals which are very transparent and can certainly recommend it for the blockchain builders

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Limarc AmbalinaNov 15, 2022, 6:37 AM

Hi Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski, thanks for joining us here! I'm curious about your name t3rn what does it mean and why did you stylize it with a 3 instead of an e?

Maciej BajNov 15, 2022, 8:43 AM

3 in the name links to web3 but also "free"dom to move your transactions between different blockchains. at least for me, hope 3 has even more positive associations with others ; )

Limarc AmbalinaNov 15, 2022, 6:44 AM

Also what advantages/perks does one get from becoming a collator?

Maciej BajNov 15, 2022, 8:40 AM

Limarc, after the network goes live on Polkadot, collators earn the rewards on transaction fees. We set the healthy split for the ecosystem where for most of the transactions 80% of rewards go to collators and 20% to protocol treasury. One exception are transactions from calling smart contracts registered on t3rn where 80% of fees go to the contract authors, 10% to collators, 10% to treasury.

Sara PintoNov 15, 2022, 12:58 PM

Maciej Baj, thanks for explaining. I understand that interoperability can be challenging, but you make it sound achievable and secure. How can interoperability be improved?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:00 PM

Sara Pinto, multichain execution still needs to be made far more secure. Due to its complexity and nature, is still one of the most common attack vectors for hackers (Wormhole, Ronin, and Nomad being just a handful of prominent examples). The biggest challenge is, firstly, making multichain executions secure but also changing then the perception of interoperability as an insecure practice

Sara PintoNov 15, 2022, 12:58 PM

Incredible how this foundation allowed you to explore more possibilities. What do you see for the future of T3rn? Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:03 PM

Sara Pinto, I see the multichain space evolving much like the alt L1 space in that there are some market-leading options available (examples in the alt L1 space being Ethereum, Polkadot, Solana, Cosmos, etc) and the onus being on users/potential integrators to determine which solution serves their needs best. I believe with the unique offering we’re developing at t3rn, we are strongly positioning ourselves for a future of being one of these premier multichain options

Jack BorehamNov 15, 2022, 1:01 PM

Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj, what are your key takeaways from the FTX meltdown?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:04 PM

Jack Boreham, “not your keys not your coins” 🙃

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:09 PM

But on a more serious note Jack Boreham, it’s shown how far we still have to go as an industry, not only in developing solutions like t3rn to make the technology genuinely usable but also in ridding the space of bad actors

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:09 PM

To be honest, it’s somewhat disheartening, having been in the space for so long it honestly began feeling like we’d moved past such shameless greed and unfathomable frauds. And yet the SBF and the FTX collapse only go to show how far we still have yet to go…

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Valentine EnedahNov 15, 2022, 2:06 PM

Jacob Kowalewski, this is a random question, but do you think due to the current FTX meltdown, do you think people might essentially want to still invest in Crypto?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:13 PM

Valentine Enedah I think this long held hope of “institutional investors” coming in (and I mean large, conservative investors of high quality capital) has been set back dramatically. FTX was always the “safe bet” for such investors, so if you think pension funds are going to touch crypto after things like https://www.ai-cio.com/news/ontario-teachers-pension-could-lose-95-million-on-ftx-investment/, I’d argue you’re going to be deeply disappointed

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Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 2:15 PM

However, in terms of retail investors, I’d argue this space is incredibly resilient, and will inevitably bounce back, stronger than ever

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Jack BorehamNov 15, 2022, 3:56 PM

Jacob Kowalewski, interesting. I couldn't agree more. What do you think are some of the steps the industry should take to clean up the mess

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 7:19 PM

Jack Boreham, proof of reserves for all exchanges would be a good start, but I don’t necessarily know whether that would have entirely negated the FTX fallout

Kelley DaneNov 15, 2022, 6:36 PM

How does t3rn stand out from other smart contracts platforms that use multichain? Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj

Jacob KowalewskiNov 15, 2022, 7:37 PM

Kelley Dane, we don’t ‘use’ multi-chain per se, but rather enable it :) essentially what we are able to do is host smart contracts and allow them to execute across different consensus systems. As Maciej Baj mentioned priorly, we also facilitate reversibility, meaning that smart contracts are able to chain executions across different blockchains, knowing that if something goes wrong at any point in e.g. a four step execution, everything reverts back to its original state.

Kelley DaneNov 15, 2022, 9:49 PM

Thanks, Jacob Kowalewski. On your site, I found that "developers are fairly remunerated for their contributions". Can you explain what this means? Is it related to the type of smart contracts that occur?

Maciej BajNov 16, 2022, 12:34 PM

Hi Kelley, developers can register their smart contracts with t3rn: 80% of the gas fees user pay to execute them is transferred to original contract authors. This is in contract to the most common design where e.g. for Ethereum all of the gas fees go to validators (previously miners)

SuperSaiyanProgrammingNov 16, 2022, 8:24 AM
@Jack Boreham “not your keys not your coins” 🙃


Jacob Kowalewski, that's 100% correct :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:

Hopefully, the community learns how true that is and can better distinguish between a truly decentralized exchange and those that just appear to be

Sara PintoNov 16, 2022, 11:50 AM

How's the process to start with T3rn? Jacob Kowalewski and Maciej Baj

Maciej BajNov 16, 2022, 12:38 PM

We are bootstrapping the network infrastructure providers - currently, onboarding collators, preparing for the onboarding of executors, and then attesters in the later stages. I'll re-share the link to the discord channel dedicated to the infrastructure onboarding https://discord.gg/gtQXs2eue3 (

Sara PintoNov 16, 2022, 11:54 AM
We also relay on the set of Light Clients to prove the inclusions on remote to Polkadot Blockchains.

You also mentioned Light Clients to prove inclusion. Can you explain it further? What are Light Clients and how can they help with said inclusions?

Maciej BajNov 16, 2022, 12:41 PM

Light clients are nodes that only download a small portion of the data in a blockchain, and use indirect means to verify that a given chain is valid

Sara PintoNov 16, 2022, 4:04 PM

I'm afraid we ran out of time! Maciej Baj and Jacob Kowalewski, it was amazing having you here with us during the 48 hours. Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share with our community?

Jacob KowalewskiNov 16, 2022, 4:41 PM

Thank you for having us, it was an absolute pleasure being here :)

Jacob KowalewskiNov 16, 2022, 4:45 PM

I hope we highlighted that despite all of the borderline apocalyptic drama that is engulfing the crypto industry, there are some honest diligent builders, like us, remaining

:handshake: 2
Jacob KowalewskiNov 16, 2022, 4:45 PM

We’ll get through these issues as an industry and we shall do all we can to ensure the technology delivers on it’s undoubted potential

Jacob KowalewskiNov 16, 2022, 4:45 PM

Cheers!

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