Not only is DOGE a very good boy, its coin is about to be very smart, too — as in, smart contract-ready.
Flare is a startup launching its canary network in the coming days, and it’s going to bring smart contract functionality to DOGE. It will also bring it to XRP, Stellar (XLM) and Litecoin (LTC), with more to come. To watch for exact timing, interested users should watch the Flare Network Twitter and website.
“[DOGE] really is the people’s coin,” Hugo Philion, a co-founder of the Flare Network, told The Defiant. “It has a huge community. Flare is Ethereum for all the layer1s that were left behind.”
The deal is sweetest for XRP holders. Anyone who held XRP on Dec. 12, 2020, will be airdropped SGB, the coin of this new blockchain, Songbird.
XRP holders are getting 30% of the total initial supply of 100B tokens. Another 22% will be distributed via liquidity mining over the next seven to eight years to those who move assets from compatible chains onto Songbird.
The four blockchains Flare will connect have a collective market cap of over $150B; if they somehow merged it would instantly become the No. 3 blockchain. Adding smart contract capabilities to chains that are already worth billions of dollars could be quite impactful for all of them. After all, decentralized finance (DeFi) completely turned Ethereum’s fortunes around following the initial coin offering bust that knocked 90% of the value off ETH.
So, a network purpose-built to wire into blockchains incapable of smart contracts on their own might unlock a lot of potential in all that capital. And capital is important to the Flare team.
The team wanted to start with big communities with coins that needed more functionality, Philion said. Flare will make it easy to port those tokens in and let them access smart contract functions. More than that, though, Philion said that one day Flare could even conduct transactions across multiple chains that are all interrelated and organized on Flare.
He described Flare as having the potential to be “like a general” that can control actions on other connected networks.
Flare has been in the works since 2017. It raised $11.3M in backing from funds that included: Kenetic Capital, Digital Currency Group and CoinFund. That round also included various crypto luminaries, such as Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Civic’s Vinny Lingham and Terra’s Do Kwon, among others.
Blockchain interoperability is a hot topic right now, and Flare is a late entry following projects like Polkadot and Cosmos, but it is taking a unique approach by going straight for the older, bigger blockchains that need it.
Like Polkadot with Kusama, Flare is launching with a live blockchain that will always be understood as a testing ground for the main network, which will come later (depending on how many problems Songbird uncovers). Assets on Songbird will be real and tradeable, also like on Kusama.
“It’s kind of a beta blockchain,” Philion said. “It’s also kind of like a training ground for all of our community.”
The important thing that Flare will be testing out here is its F-asset protocol, which he described as a trustless wrapping program. It should make it easy to take some DOGE and move it to Songbird and back. But since this is a beta blockchain, Philion very much encourages users to start slowly and don’t risk too much.
Scales the Most
That software will be able to go further than simply moving assets back and forth, but that’s where it’s starting and that’s what it will reward users for doing.
Flare proper will launch “when the core Flare protocols have proven substantially robust on Songbird,” Philion said via email.
Flare’s consensus algorithm is a statement to the rest of the cryptocurrency industry.
“If you believe in blockchain and you would like 100% of the world’s business to be on a blockchain you want an algorithm that scales the most,” Philion said.
But what Philion cares about most is capital, as in money entrepreneurs can use to make new and powerful projects. Capital is what funds rockets going into space, trains crossing continents, and quantum computers finding God.
All the top blockchain interoperability solutions out there run on proof-of-stake, which means an enormous amount of capital is tied up in securing those networks for transactions. That concerns Philion and his collaborators.
“I can’t give you a number of how much capital you would need, but there is a very distinct relationship between the amount of value represented on-chain and the amount of capital required to stake,” Philion said.
Powers the Economy
Tying up that much capital, he contends, is not in the public interest. “Capital is the finite resource that powers the economy,” Philion said. “The more capital you have that’s unusable, the less you can ultimately do.”
That’s why Flare is using a modified Federated Byzantine Agreement, like that which was pioneered by Stellar. It’s modified because Flare is built on a fork of Avalanche, which is a probabilistic blockchain. That enabled Flare to create an architecture that isn’t prone to the centralization that can be found in Stellar’s original version, according to Philion.
Federated Byzantine agreement is largely based on nodes making statements about who they trust. Inevitably, certain nodes get trusted by almost everyone, which makes them too powerful.
Flare brings in several technologies and makes it much more complicated, but in the end Philion believes they have stripped out that human element. By doing that, he believes, Flare can be as trustless as Bitcoin, as fast as Cosmos, and as smart as Ethereum, all without tying up piles of resources that could be funding cancer research.
And that’s why he hopes Flare wins the battle to be the super-connector of blockchains. If one of the proof-of-stake chains does it, he’s worried the price might be too high. “There isn’t a good understanding of: Where does proof-of-stake break down?” he said.