Keeping up with Centauri: a summary of shipments

Composable Foundation
6 min readFeb 15, 2023

One of the fundamental obstacles any cutting-edge technology must overcome to become adopted in the mainstream is abstraction. Since its inception, blockchain technology has advanced well beyond what its early adopters would have ever thought possible. And yet we still lack easy-to-use, decentralized cross-chain infrastructure today. CeDeFi projects attempted to offer a stop-gap solution to this dilemma, as cross-chain/cross-ecosystem UX was still in its infancy during the last bull run. However, their greed resulted in the opposite effect with retail investors leaving DeFi in droves after a whirlwind of exploits and negligence on the part of these projects.

IBC everywhere

So how can we achieve the same level of abstraction, while allowing people to OWN their assets every step of the way? Abstraction of the complexities associated with cross-ecosystem communication is our answer, and the best solution for this is IBC. This is why we chose IBC as the backbone of our cross-ecosystem efforts and the primary communication protocol for Centauri as we strive to extend the IBC protocol to as many chains as possible.

In order to make IBC chain-agnostic we have been building a toolkit from the ground up. Centauri utilizes custom light clients, IBC-rs to interpret IBC messages on any Rust-based chain, custom relayer infrastructure, and various protocol upgrades in NEAR/Cosmos to enable cross-ecosystem communication. It has taken us a year to get to this point but the stage is now set for IBC beyond the Cosmos. There have been many developments around Centauri in the past few months so below we will provide a summary of our Centauri-based articles and links to key resources for you to stay up to date ahead of the official launch of our first trustless bridges.

Centauri’s testnet

The first fruit of these efforts became apparent with our recent announcement of Centauri’s testnet. Having received interest from 25 teams and counting we have decided to move forward with 4 teams from the Cosmos ecosystem during our initial testnet-to-testnet efforts. Currently, the list of teams helping us test Centauri’s Picasso <> Cosmos implementation includes:

  • Osmosis — the flagship AMM of the Cosmos ecosystem
  • Stride — a liquid staking protocol based within the Cosmos ecosystem
  • Babylon — a Cosmos project which seeks to leverage the security of Bitcoin to enhance the security of Cosmos zones and other chains
  • Duality — an emerging Cosmos DEX that unleashes liquidity providers’ full potential

Our partners at Stride have shown a particular interest in bringing stATOM to the DotSama ecosystem and see the potential for this collaboration to pave the way for Stride to issue staking derivatives for DotSama-based assets.

IBC to NEAR via Centauri

In addition to our work within the Cosmos ecosystem, our bridging team has also made significant contributions in bringing IBC to NEAR as well. Through various NEAR Enhancement Proposals, we are making progress towards our ultimate goal of implementing a GRANDPA light client on NEAR which will allow for cross-ecosystem communication between Picasso <> NEAR and eventually the Cosmos as well. Our NEPs aim to improve NEAR’s infrastructure in areas such as signature verification, missing validity proofs, validation processes, and more.

DeFi Bridging Explored: Trusted vs Trustless

In this article we discuss the tradeoffs that trusted bridges make in comparison to trustless bridges and why we envision IBC as the best option for a cross-ecosystem communication standard.

Key takeaways:

  • With multiple L1 ecosystems spinning up over the past few years services are no longer offered exclusively on Ethereum.
  • With no cross-ecosystem communication standard, these ecosystems and their user bases have become fragmented.
  • In an attempt to resolve this issue and capitalize on the lucrative opportunities associated with connecting these fragmented ecosystems, trusted bridges arose as a solution.
  • Trusted bridges introduce a third party between the 2 ecosystems responsible for handling the transfer of user assets.
  • Naturally, issues arise regarding the security and reliability of such bridges because you are no longer relying entirely on distributed ledger technology, you have introduced a third party who may or may not have your best interests in mind.
  • Alternatively, trustless bridges rely on the underlying consensus mechanisms of the 2 ecosystems they are connecting. The issue being that in order to communicate there needs to be a way for each ecosystem to verify the state and finality of the other.
  • This is where Centauri, our IBC-enabled bridging solution comes into play. By utilizing IBC as our preferred communication method, we are working to add the necessary infrastructure and light client implementations to allow ANY ecosystem to track the finality of others and communicate via IBC.

DeFi Bridging Explored: Centauri — IBC Beyond the Cosmos

In the second article of our bridging series we discuss the infrastructure required to bring IBC to new ecosystems. Along with a description of each piece of infrastructure, we also provide an overview of each ecosystem currently under development.

Key takeaways:

  • We chose to extend the reach of IBC because it is a general-purpose message-passing protocol. Meaning that it can do much more than simply transfer assets between chains or ecosystems.
  • The trustless nature of IBC also fits our vision of providing non-custodial solutions as it is as secure and reliable as the blockchains it connects.
  • The only downside of IBC is that it has yet to be implemented outside of the Cosmos ecosystem, Centauri solves this however.
  • With Centauri we are building a generalized toolkit containing all of the components needed for a chain to communicate via IBC.
  • Each ecosystem requires its own specific tweaks but generally speaking all of the pieces can be seen in the Polkadot <> Kusama implementation below:
  • Similar implementations are underway for the Cosmos and NEAR ecosystems, with more to come in the future.

DeFi Bridging Explored: The Future of Centauri — IBC Everywhere

Finally, in our latest article we discuss how the pieces we outline in our second article can be repurposed for future implementations. We then discuss our long-term vision for IBC and interchain DeFi in general, a future in which trustless bridging becomes a commodity through the seamless experience it will provide users.

Key takeaways:

  • It is our belief that trustless bridging will become so seamlessly integrated across ecosystems that users will be able to interact with cross-ecosystem applications without even realizing it.
  • Solutions such as Centauri, IBC, interchain accounts, and the XCVM will allow developers to abstract the complexities of cross-ecosystem interaction away from the end user.
  • Such applications will become “super apps” which cater to various needs, across various blockchains, from a single frontend interface.
  • As we mentioned earlier, we are already working on such bridges between Polkadot, Kusama, Cosmos, and NEAR with bridges to ETH, L2s and Aptos currently in the early stages of development.
  • If you want to help us realize our vision of IBC everywhere, advocate for your favorite L1 and rollup teams to start building IBC-compatible light clients and we can enable the cross-ecosystem future together!

Our work on trustless bridging is far from complete. As of yet, Web3 has not been able to achieve the simplicity users are familiar with from Web2 applications, however when trustless bridging becomes a commodity they will be able to use any money, on any chain, anywhere.

For more information about Composable and how it is architecting the unified DeFi landscape of the future, check out these useful Links:

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