The Launch of the Oasis Testnet

Iqlusion has been helping Oasis get ready for the launch of it’s first public testnet for the last couple months. Getting to public testnets is a major milestone for the project and I’m excited about everything Tendermint powered that reaches the market.

I’m particularly excited about Oasis because it’s the first instance of.a blockchain architecture that I think will represent a fruitful direction in blockchain architecture. In 2014, the blockchain community started exploring doing state machine replication in blockchain architecture rather than just time stamping/data availability system that is Bitcoin. Ethereum has demonstrated the potential of this architecture and Tendermint is a general purpose state machine replication engine that has been widely adopted.

But the SMR paradigm leaves us wanting in some ways. The strong fault tolerance is great for staking, slashing, assigning roles to nodes etc but throughput ultimately limited by IO on nodes. Layer 2 was correctly characterized by Ittai Abraham as SMR system nested within an SMR system. Ethereum has experimented a lot with loosely coupled nested SMRs with plasma, optimistic rollups etc. So far these approaches have struggled to make it to production.

Oasis is the first of several exciting experiments in blockchains with a unified Layer 1 and Layer 2 into the same systems. In Oasis, this Layer 2 is their compute, confidential compute and storage committees. Here the Layer 1 SMR running on Tendermint is responsible for availability of the Layer 2 nodes. This provides a clean separation of control, data and compute that should be deeply satisfying to systems architects everywhere.

There are other projects in the wider Cosmos ecosystem that are exploring similar patterns including Akash Network and Lazy Ledger. Ultimate, I think this architecture will provide application developers a credible way to linearly scale applications with demand which relying on top level state machine for core crypto economics functions.

The only remaining core question is in what niches can we outcompete centralized cloud providers. With the launch of Oasis, we can begin to find out.


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