Saga wants to push the limits of blockchain interoperability to better the metaverse
Saga is making the interoperable blockchain middleware of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
And Saga has hit some interesting milestones in its journey. Last week, the company announced that its AlphaNet Andromeda has arrived. This is the first version of the company’s blockchain network and it will first be released to 55 projects in the Saga Innovator Program, which are its blockchain partners.
“We are Web3 natives and so we come from the crypto world,” said Rebecca Liao, CEO of Saga, in an interview with GamesBeat. “And our thesis has always been that blockchain infrastructure, as it currently stands, is not sufficient to really allow applications to scale. And so we wanted to find a way to make that optimal infrastructure a lot more readily available and democratic. And that is to get people onto their own dedicated chains.”
Liao said that Saga’s foundation is with the Cosmos protocol, which calls itself the “internet of blockchains” and allows users to create their own blockchains. But doing that can be painful.
The Cosmos network consists of many independent, parallel blockchains, called “zones,” each powered by classical consensus protocols like Tendermint. The zones serve as hubs for other zones, enabling interoperability. Other blockchains don’t do so well with interoperability. With Cosmos and its hub, you can plug any blockchain into it and pass tokens between the zones, without an intermediary. The intermediaries have been at-risk for hacking in the past.
Cosmos was started in 2014 by developers Ethan Buchman and Jae Kwon, who created the Tendermint consensus algorithm behind the network. The published a white paper in 2016 and launched the ATOM token the same year. The nonprofit group The Interchain Foundation helped launch Cosmos as “the internet of blockchains.” It’s the interoperability that will lead to the metaverse, Liao believes.
Cosmos is secured by the ATOM token. By enabling companies to set up their own blockchains, Cosmos enables better performance for things like transactions. In 2020, Cosmos released IBC, or inter-blockchain communications. That communication protocol enables interoperability between chains. By contrast, bridges are prone to hacking, as Sky Mavis discovered when its Ronin bridge was hacked and it lost more than $600 million in funds from its Axie Infinity blockchain game.
“This is what all Cosmos chains, including us will use to communicate with other chains,” Liao said. “The two chains communicate and the assets are transferred. It’s a way to make sure there is a secure communication channel between the two chains, and it’s not reliant on any third party.”
“We’re allowing developers to automatically get their applications onto a dedicated chain. That’s the infrastructure that we’re building. We are focused on gaming and entertainment at the moment because we believe that those two sectors and Web3 are the ones that are most beholden to user experience expectations. And, and the ones who are most interested in catering to user experience.”
Liao believes that monolithic chains like Ethereum are inefficient when it comes to congestion and throughput. She thinks app chains are more appropriate when it comes to entertainment and games, particular those that use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) where interoperability matters.
“When you build a chain on Cosmos, it is your own chain, but Cosmos focuses on interoperability first,” Liao said. “That’s also true for Saga. You’re part of the Saga community.”
A cohort of whitelisted developers and the general public will be able to access Andromeda over the next few weeks. Andromeda is the first chapter in Saga’s journey to establish its mainnet. It is part of a series of releases building up to the full developer flow for launching applications in single-tenant virtual machines (VMs) onto dedicated chains, or chainlets, on Saga.
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