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Building Serverless Applications — Practical Understandings in Building Web 3 Protocol Stack

EthSign· 7 min read

In the long run, the crypto world will be divided into two worlds — fully centralized and fully decentralized. The former will actively embrace supervision and act as a bridge between the crypto world and the traditional world; while the latter will maintain its destructive power and continue to expand its territory in the crypto world. Those who can find the right position in these two camps will become the winners, and the losers will waste time swaying from side to side.

EthSign 3.0 Tech Stack

Decentralization is a process, or a direction. The building of community and ecosystem of a project is a gradual process. In the initial stage of project building, the project is governed by a core development team that comes up with incentive rules in order for the project to be more decentralized. On the other hand, technical architecture should be as decentralized as possible from the beginning. This will help developers to realize the technical limitations of decentralization such as low throughput and difficulty in resisting sybil attacks before too late.

EthSign 3.0 Tech Stack

Decentralization of the architecture does not mean that all applications need to build their own node network and start with P2P communication. In order to avoid useless work and reinventing things already invented, we should build a suitable Web3 protocol stack, make full use of mature infrastructure projects as functional modules, and build new functions we need (this is also the origin of our dev team’s name Buildblock).

EthSign 3.0 is an electronic signature platform. Users can sign specific documents with their own private key (wallet) or private keys generated via social media accounts such as email, mobile phone number, Twitter, etc., and record the digital signatures and related operations. They are stored on the chain together, and the signed documents will be encrypted and stored on decentralized storage networks. Based on the above functions, we divide the function modules used into three layers.

The end user interacts with the decentralized identity stored in the user’s hands. We divide this layer into two parts: private key management and identity management. The former is mainly software and hardware wallets and identity mapping protocols, which help users manage private keys and sign with private keys. Torus and Magic Formatic are identity mapping protocols specifically used for Web2 user access, which can produce public-private key pairs for users through their existing Email, Google, Facebook, Twitter and other accounts.

The identity management protocol introduces a layer of identity-to-address mapping, and users can change addresses without changing their identity. ENS, which we have integrated in EthSign 3.0, is currently the most mainstream domain naming system. It can resolve a domain name to different addresses on different chains, Email or even an image Avatar. In the near future, more and more organizations and individuals will participate in this system and use domain names as public identity signs.

On-chain and off-chain interactions, that is, the mutual access between on-chain and off-chain. This layer is very important for the user experience of deposit certification applications. The user experience of a fully decentralized application is a tremendous downgrade compared to Web 2 counterparts, for example, instant Venmo transfer vs. Bitcoin transfer with a block interval of ten minutes. This layer includes on chain to off chain and off chain to on chain data transmission. Chainlink and The Graph respectively meet the main requirements of most applications in two directions. In EthSign, data query from on-chain to off-chain is very common. After the user logs in to the dApp, under normal circumstances, the web needs to quickly scan through the entire blockchain. However, this process is not as convenient as we are used to. If you communicate directly with the node rpc, this process takes at least a few minutes and the probability of data flow interruption and error is high. We have established a close cooperation with The Graph. By establishing Subgraphs on different chains, we can complete the above process in a few seconds. Another scenario for moving on-chain information to off-chain is notification push. For example, Alice designates Bob as a signatory on chain, but Bob has no knowledge in the real world. So the need for an information push service to send relevant events through SMS or email in time Push to related parties becomes obvious. EPNS, a portfolio company of Edge and Node (The Graph’s venture) is another solution. The newly launched Chainlink 2.0 further expanded the specific use cases of Oracle, key components of the Keeper Network will be launched soon. EthSign’s new feature Smart Agreement is currently using Chainlink Keeper on the Kovan testnet to monitor specific events and automatically trigger contract execution.

Decentralized network is the cornerstone of Web3 applications. Unlike DeFi projects, most Web 3 projects will use smart contract and storage blockchains at the same time. A large amount of Metadata needs to be stored in the storage network, and then the index is stored back into the smart contract. In term of smart contract platforms, the multi-chain Ethereum system has basically taken shape, and the EVM-compatible blockchains are also working hard to be compatible with Metamask, The Graph, Chainlink and other supporting facilities; Different chains naturally form different shards in the multi-chain Ethereum ecosystem, EthSign deploys its smart contracts on all EVM-compatible blockchains without distinction to increase more user coverage. The EVM ecosystem contains the largest number of smart contract templates, function libraries, and various ecological projects. The composability gives us full imagination: Superfluid’s streaming payment or Ampleforth’s Rebase, innovations that can only occur on chain will be connected to the real world via EthSign! In terms of storage networks, IPFS occupies a dominant position in Crypto Art, Metaverse and other scenarios with a large amount of Metadata storage requirements. The related infrastructure is the most, but there is still a lack of a good incentive layer to ensure stable storage of files. Filecoin has a large number of nodes, but it only provides storage for a period of time, and cannot meet the needs for “permanent storage” on chain. The permanent storage feature provided by Arweave has gradually received the favor of many projects, but how to decentralize and interoperate between the smart contract blockchain and the storage blockchain still requires more organization, and this field is developing rapidly. EthSign is using IPFS and Arweave at the same time. Arweave’s node plug-in will allow a file to be stored on two networks at the same time, on one hand to facilitate retrieval on IPFS, on the other hand to provide persistence through Arweave. All protocols and off-chain data on EthSign will be stored in these two networks by default, and we will also access Filecoin and Skynet to provide users with more choices.

Arweave + IPFS bridge

Web3 applications are coming

EthSign 3.0 is built on the above-mentioned flexible and practical technology stack. EthSign 3.0 is completely serverless, therefore, the operation and maintenance cost of the project will not increase as the number of users increases. On the other hand, since business logic and data are not stored on the server, developers need to adapt to this new framework of web 3 dapp development. On Ethereum, new smart contracts cannot cover old contracts, developers practically deploy the new version in parallel with the old version. When a user uses a new version to retrieve an agreement that has been interacted with in the past, applications must ensure that the front end of the new version will also index the data stored in the previous contract. EthSign 3.0 uses an upgradeable smart contract, allowing developers to simply upgrade the contract logic while retaining user data. This feature is essential to any officially released product — user data must not be lost if it is not the last resort. As such, Web 3 application development is a topic that has not yet been fully discussed. As the infrastructure matures, the market’s attention will soon be cast into this field.

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