Meta-transaction Relayer: An Overview


What is your most painful experience when starting your crypto journey?

Being rugged and scammed? Messing up when trying to distinguish between a passphrase and a private key?

How about the pain of staying up until 3 AM to ape in a potential alpha but then witnessing your transaction fail because of “Not enough gas”?


These are just some of thousands of trouble for crypto newbies. And from here, a solution called “relayer” has been born.


In blockchain, relayer can be:

(i) A place where individual orders are aggregated to an orderbook for users to store and find matched orders off-chain; only final transaction is submitted on-chain. An example of this is 0x.

(ii) A third party executing transactions on behalf of users and paying platform-native token in exchange for a small fee of service (denominated in other currency).

(iii) A third party being in charge of “connecting” different blockchain platforms. These relayers are used in cross-chain projects such as LayerZero or RelayChain.

In this article, we will only discuss the second meaning of a relayer.

Under the hood, such relayer is working based on the so-called meta-transaction, or gasless transaction.

Below is how Gas Station Network (GSN), a system of meta-transaction relayers on Ethereum, operate.

Basically, meta-transactions are transactions in which there is data about an actual transaction inside to be executed which will be created and signed by an individual, and then sent to the relayer. There will be a smart contract (paymaster) responsible for gas payment in exchange for a service fee. A smart contract called forwarder verifies the sender’s signature and forwards the request to a recipient contract. Recipient contract here is the final “destination” where the sender wants to interact with his DApps.


To avoid being criticized the decentralization philosophy of blockchain, relayers and paymasters will work independently and competitively on the network of RelayHub.

On Solana, the way meta-transactions work is quite different as users can directly specify who the gas payers are. This assignee will have to sign the transaction for it to be approved, thereby reducing the verification and confirmation process of the forwarder as in the GSN system.

Take an example from Octane (in alpha stage), the process occurs as follows:


(i) First, user A will add to their transaction (txn) two instructions: one is to transfer the fee to the relayer, the other is to specify the amount to be transferred to user B (in this case, we need to assume that user A’s wallet has enough funds to pay relayer fees and transfer money to user B, but since there is no SOL available in the wallet, user A needs to go through relayer to send money to user B)

(ii) User A also needs to set the payer as the relayer, instead of him/herself

(iii) User A signs txn

(iv) User A sends this txn to relayer’s API server

(v) Relayer will confirm if it received the fee

(vi) If yes, relayer will sign and send the transaction back to user A

(vii) User A will add the relayer’s signature into the transaction and submit it to the Solana network

Pros and cons of meta-transactions

The main benefit of meta-transactions is the minimalization of user experience when beginning their crypto journey. Users do not need to own any tokens prior to interacting with dApp and web3. The use of meta-transactions may not require non-custodial wallet but developers would need a key storage system or password that removes technical obstacles of such decentralized wallet. Moreover, having a third-party for transaction settlement can help reduce some burdens on the blockchain network as mutiple transactions from a DApp can be processed off-chain and finalized to only one transaction to submit on-chain.

However, meta-transaction relayers still face two big drawbacks:

  • Not all smart contracts support meta-transactions
  • Although these protocols can use a network of relayers to decentralize the process of validating transactions, this cannot totally guarantee that the network will be secure and that there will be no corruption among relayer servers

Why relayer is important in crypto?

Besides GSN, some other DeFi protocols do apply meta-transactions to make their UX smoother. Zero Swap, a liquidity aggregator from AMMs on 0x, or Colony, an infrastructure project for DAOs have utilized meta-transactions. Gelato Network, a decentralized network of bots for automatic execution of smart contracts, has implemented meta-transaction in their infrastructure. Gelato connects developers who need to automate their smart contracts with the infrastructure operators who are responsible for running bots to receive corresponding service fees. To complete user request, Gelato needs to pay gas fee to interact with the blockchain, and meta-transaction relayer will be used here to fulfill such tasks.


However, building an in-house system of meta-transaction relayers for meta-transaction will consume a lot of resources in terms of time and effort for crypto projects. Therefore, there are meta-transactions solutions built to optimize this process, of which the most prominent names are GSN (mentioned above) and Biconomy.

Biconomy supports both DeFi and NFT meta-transactions. One of their three main products – Gasless Transactions – allow projects to sponsor their users for gas fees – either it is DeFi or NFT transaction. In August 2021, the fashion brand D&G and UNXD, an NFT platform for luxury products have collaborated with Biconomy to launch the Glass Box NFT project, including NFTs which give users access to their metaverse as well as real-life benefits from D&G.


In the beginning of this year, 100Thieves, a lifestyle brand, has also worked with Biconomy for a free NFT airdrop to their community.


Although relayers still have a few disadvantages that need to be overcome, its role in making the experience on DApps less “bumpy” is undeniably important, especially in the context of crypto projects that are having a hard time expanding their customer base due to high technical knowledge required by these users.

Building a relayer can be compared to building an automatic toll collection. Although it is expensive and labor-intensive at first, the benefits of traffic infrastructure and network connection will be smoother and more efficient in the future.

Blockchain Investment Landscape: An Overview

This article serves the purpose of expressing our arguments on a data-based view of the fundraising market over time to present an outlook for the potential growth of different categories within the cryptocurrency market in the upcoming years.
The last quarter of 2022 has set a new record for the amount of capital raised in the crypto industry, recorded at $10B, thereby showing a great expectation of venture capital funds for this dynamic market.

The fact that billions of dollars are poured into blockchain startups is still leaving many doubts among investors as to whether this is a “crypto bubble” and whether cryptocurrency assets are being traded at an unreasonable and unsustainable price? 

We’ll compare the fundraising market in bull/bear market cycles to answer this question. Here, we will distinguish funding rounds according to 2 main stages: Pre-mature and Mature.

  • Pre-seed round
  • Seed round
  • Strategic round
Mature round
  • Series round

Market Cycle

Market cycles refers to a trend or pattern that occurs during different market periods or trading environments. Market cycles are made up of two aspects, the highest and the lowest price, and the current cryptocurrency market is affected by Bitcoin price.

In each market cycle, we often see trends forming in a particular sector/category due to outgrowth innovation, leading to some asset classes becoming dominant because their business conditions are suitable for growing conditions.

Here we will discuss five main groups of capital market categories, including Infrastructure, CeFi, DeFi, Web3, NFT, according to data obtained from Dove Metrics.

Capital Flow

Building the Infrastructure

2017 was the stage of blockchain application incubation and CeFi then was the safe choice for venture capital funds when it received the most investment and five out of eight projects came from the expansion and growth phase (series rounds). Since CeFi projects have an operation model more similar to those of traditional businesses, VCs can partially rest assured that their investment in these series rounds can potentially make some returns.

New decentralized applications (dApps) began to form during this period since the opening of the first smart contract platform, Ethereum. Thus, this is the period when VCs prioritise spraying capital for infrastructure projects as the foundational platforms are still in their infancy; moreover, this will be the first and best place to attract liquidity when dApps are built on top of them and bring viable adoption to blockchain technology. 

The other reason to bet on platform projects was largely due to the congestion on Ethereum when the CryptoKitties application was born. Investment funds at the time realized the promise of decentralized applications, and at the same time, they know that more smart contract platforms are needed to overcome the bottlenecks on Ethereum. This has fueled the massive growth of platform tokens in 2017.

Building the economy

As many smart contract platforms were built to solve the current scalability problem of Ethereum, notably Cardano, Solana, Polkadot, etc., the next destination will be the building of the economy for users. Although CeFi is still the category that received the most investments during 2018 – 2020, Infrastructure and DeFi are the two categories with the most projects receiving investment, especially projects from pre-mature rounds.

Since mid-2019, DeFi has been raised as an alternative solution for traditional banks, allowing users to transact, save and earn profits based on banking-like but non-banking financial services. Many of DeFi solutions are novel and can offer higher returns than the centralized financial market.

The DeFi wave rose shortly after June 2020 which was catalyzed by the launch of the liquidity farming program $COMP, the governance token of Compound in May 2020. The event also kicks off the DeFi Summer, when other DeFi projects distribute their tokens through liquidity mining and create more and more profit opportunities for their investors.

Afterwards, the number of DeFi projects have been continuously rising, therefore capturing attention from VCs. By the end of 2020, DeFi took the lead in the number of projects being invested. At this time, VCs showed great confidence in this new category and thus, raising the bet for this category in hope of enormous returns.

Building ownership application

With DeFi providing a decentralized exchange solution for users, NFT emerged as a solution for content creators in areas such as music, pictures, or other artistic content. NFT is a unique asset class applied to digital assets as an intellectual property license.

By 2021, NFT was getting a lot of attention from investment funds as NFT collections like CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club have attracted mainstream media and these projects reach the level of billion-dollar valuation.

As of May 2021, only 72 projects in the NFTs segment have successfully secured their fundraising with a total funding value of $777M compared to 180 DeFi projects at a total value of $645M. However, this number has changed significantly by the end of the year since the amount of money raised for NFT-related projects only in pre-mature rounds has risen to the 2nd place – with 151 more projects being funded.

What can we see from past data?

Capital flows from venture capital funds exemplify the appropriate development of the market, beginning with the formation of the underlying platform (Infrastructure), followed by the creation of an economic system (DeFi), and then applications for content ownership (NFT). 

Infrastructure → Economic system (DeFi) → Content Ownership (NFT)

In each stage of the market, new categories are created and will be the trend to lead the market in terms of capital flow as well as the number of new projects being born. Categories that are incubated and developed after each market cycle tend to grow more stably, and as a result, their ROI for VCs will be more saturated. 

What’s coming next?

The success of the Infrastructure category has caused a gradual shift of many VCs from the segment of CeFi to Infrastructure, reflected in the total amount of capital that this category has raised in expansion rounds. The number of Infrastructure projects going into operation and revenue expansion increases, opening up a more stable, long-term profits for VCs when pouring capital into such viable models.

Besides, the smart contract platform system has entered the stage of stable development and is able to scale to a large number of users; the next possibility will be in layer applications. Prominent in the second half of 2022 came from Web3 applications, more specifically GameFi like Axie Infinity which created a massive wave of attracting many users to enter the market.

This has driven the Web3 category to receive more attention from VCs in the past two quarters, accounting for 31.5% of the total invested projects. This has driven the Web3 category to receive more attention from VCs in the past two quarters, accounting for 31.5% of the total invested projects. Web3 is currently leading in the number of projects, and the amount of money raised for pre-mature rounds. Primarily, GameFi/Metaverse accounted for 49.8% of the total number of projects funded in the Web3 category (source: DoveMetrics).

With more and more people using NFTs, these digital assets are heralding a new era of the digital world – the Metaverse era. GameFi/Metaverse can be a gateway with a more accessible approach for the masses who are not into or understand blockchain products. Web3 application layer is a combination of DeFi and NFT, an upgrade of User-Generated Content platforms like Facebook, Youtube, etc. Users can now own the content they created on Web3 and can be traded based on their demands without being controlled by any other third parties.

Besides, Web3 promises to bring many benefits for enterprises, including reducing operation processes and lowering expenses when accessing user data. Traditional gaming studios have proven this when moving their businesses up on Web3.

Final thoughts

Infrastructure → Economic system (DeFi) → Content Ownership (NFT) → Web3

In conclustion, the metaverse is formed by a collection of countless user data, and every user would only want to protect their privacy, i.e. not allowing it to be centralized or owned by third-party businesses or individuals. Therefore, web3 is considered as an open gate for the realization of the metaverse through a decentralized system.

During this bearish phase of the market, as the father of Web2 – Tim O’Reilly believes that Web3 would really emerge after the burst of the crypto bubble, with the backing from VCs, quality projects in the web3 niche, especially the infrastructure platforms serving the metaverse like GameFi and will have great potential to skyrocket in the future. In addition, many other Web3 projects are working on the music industry and social networks, etc., all have similar potential that we should look forward to.

Privacy Blockchain At A Glance



Examples used in this blog are simplified to help make technical concepts more understandable to our audiences. Therefore, please embrace them with an open mind.



Five o’clock in the morning.

Annoyingly loud police siren in front of the house.

“You’re arrested”.

Jack woke up and could not understand what was happening. Everything was like a real-life nightmare.

He was drawn out and treated as a criminal.

Totally helpless. He was innocent, but then how come his age, his date of birth, and even his bank account number all coincided with those of the criminal, just like somebody else has lived his life.

A stolen life.

The privacy of Jack has been severely violated, and now he is facing imprisonment for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, surprisingly, just days before the verdict is brought in, the jury has received an anonymous letter saying that Jack was not the true criminal and that the writer knows where the true criminal is but cannot reveal the name directly in this letter. If the jury and the letter’s writer arrange a private meeting, it will be difficult to make sure that they do not collude to accuse another innocent person of committing this crime.

Then how can the anonymous writer secretly reveal the true identity of the criminal to the jury in a more transparent manner?

Transparency can be ensured by blockchain, and privacy can be satisfied through some more specific mechanisms.

In this blog, we will introduce our readers to the mechanisms currently being used by some blockchain platforms to ensure the privacy of users in their networks.

Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs)

Basically, in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), the data will be isolated from other parts of the processor, thereby protecting them from attacks from outside actors. Regarding blockchain, this means that validators cannot reach the data computation under the hood when they are being used. Secret Network and Oasis Network are the platform blockchains that use this technology, specifically the SGX (Software Guard Extensions) processor of Intel, dedicated to providing a TEE for sensitive data.


Therefore, if the anonymous writer contacted the jury to reveal information about the real culprit through such blockchain platforms, he would not need to worry much about either the authenticity of the content in the letter to the jury or the information leakage as it is protected within the TEEs and the public can rest assured that neither party – the writer or the jury – are colluding to blame anyone else for doing the crimes.

However, there are still issues with TEEs. The SGX processor assumes that only the central processing unit (CPU) is trusted, so storing confidential information here and isolating them would be a safe solution. Taking advantage of this assumption, hackers will not directly attack the computer’s security system but instead take a bypass, attacking other channels of the system. This process can also be known as a side-channel attack.1

Another problem when applying TEEs in the blockchain is rollback attack. The main cause of this problem is that the state of a blockchain can always be rewinded, and the “privacy” provided by TEEs only exacerbates the issue,2 allowing them to leak confidential data to other people.


Mixnet is a mechanism used by the NYM Network. In the mixnet, the route of transactions will be “erased”, making it impossible for outsiders to find out detailed information of these transactions.

The mixnet is like an upgraded version of Onion Routing, a method of ensuring anonymity when communicating within a computer system. In this method, a message will be divided into many small packets, and these small packets will be encrypted through many layers in the process of being delivered to the destination. Mixnet goes a step further with this approach by re-ordering the encrypted packets, making it even harder to decrypt the original message.


After arriving at the destination, layers of encryption will be peeled off and arranged to the original for the sake of decrypting the original message.


For the anonymous writer, he would write a letter revealing the identity of the true criminal to the jury, then tear them down, mix them up and pack those pieces with three layers of envelopes and three special glues. Each time they pass through a mail station, only one layer of envelope will be peeled off. When all of these pieces reach the jury’s mailbox, the last envelope will be completely removed, and there will be a small hint for the jury to rearrange them in their right order so that they can read the original message.

Another transparency mechanism of this type is also used by Tornado Cash. Tornado Cash improves transaction privacy by breaking the on-chain link between the source and destination addresses. It uses a smart contract that accepts deposits of ETH and other tokens from one address and allows them to withdraw funds from another. When the transaction is completed, the transaction route from the sender to the receiver will be broken. However, privacy in this mechanism cannot be guaranteed absolutely.3

Ring Signatures

This is a method used by Monero, one of the pioneering privacy blockchain platforms in the space.

Back to Jack’s story, there will be an additional detail which says that the anonymous sender is actually a member of the Triads, whose leader is the real culprit in the crime which Jack is facing. The anonymous sender is feeling guilty and he wants to tell the truth but does not want to reveal his identity. On behalf of the Triads gang, he collected the public keys of its members and combined them with his private key to sign the letter sent to the jury. Thus, the jury can be confident that this letter was written by a member of the Triad, but no one, including other members of the gang, could know the identity of the sender of this letter. 


The example above is a simplified demonstration of how ring signatures operate.

In the Monero network, privacy is also ensured through the use of stealth addresses. Stealth addresses are used both by the sender and recipient and can be used for only one time.

Zero-knowledge proof (ZKP)

This is a unique technology that helps an individual prove that he or she knows a certain truth without having to say it directly.

A fairly popular development branch of ZKP today is ZK-SNARKs. Examples of projects using zk-SNARKs include ZCash and Mina.

zk-SNARK refers to a structure in which a prover can prove the possession of some information via a secret key without disclosing that information and without any interaction between the prover and the verifier.

With the “non-interactive” structure, the cryptographic proof is only transferred once from the prover to the verifier but many times compared to the traditional method of ZKP.

In the case of the anonymous writer, when sending another letter to the jury to reveal the real identity of the criminal, he would only need to attach a cryptographic on the blockchain to prove to the public that what he knows about the criminal is completely true, and that he did not secretly communicate with the jury to blame other innocent people.

Currently, the most efficient way to create a zero-knowledge proof that has a “non-interactive” structure and is short enough to be published on the blockchain is for a structure to have an initial setup phase with a chain of references being shared between the system and the validators, known as the system’s public reference number.

Until recently, another variant of SNARKs emerged to mitigate the existing drawbacks in this technology: zk-STARKs. This solution has been developed by StarkWare, one of the famous layer 2 solutions for Ethereum.

STARK allows developers to move the computation and storage off-chain. These proofs are then put back on the chain so that any interested party can validate the calculation. Moving the bulk of the computation off-chain using STARKs allows the existing blockchain infrastructure to scale more quickly and efficiently. However, the size of the cryptographic proof of the zk-STARKs is larger than that of the zk-SNARKs, which on the one hand makes it less vulnerable to quantum computer algorithms but at the same time make it heavier for the memory space than zk-SNARKs.


  1. Side-channel attack: an attack where hackers aim at loopholes indirectly relating to the security layer but the hardware or other parts of the system.
  2. Rollback attack: In this kind of attack, hackers will make the system abandon high-quality operation mode that was updated but returning to the older version of lower quality and susceptible to more loopholes.
  3. If one address just deposited 10,000 ETH into Tornado Cash and then another wallet withdraws 10,000 ETH shortly after (while other addresses usually only deposit 100 – 1,000 ETH into Tornado Cash’s liquidity pool), it is very likely that these two sending and receiving wallet addresses both belong to the same entity.

The Blockchain World Discovery


21st century. 2008.

A cataclysm called the “Global Financial crisis” swept through the globe, leaving a massive shock for the entire financial markets, especially the banking and real estate industry. The crisis then eroded people’s trust in a centralized and bureaucratic financial system with plenty of vulnerabilities.

From this erosion of trust, there came the invention of the blockchain, marking the beginning of a new era in the technological revolution.




In this world, each blockchain platform is seen as an independent country where the gas fees are their living costs and their consensus mechanism is regarded as a type of political philosophy.

This blog post does not intend to wireframe your point of view into any specific countries or political organizations in the real world. We hope the audience can take an open view with these disclaimers in mind and enjoy the comparisons provided here. Thank you.


The Paleozoic Era: Bitcoin

Blockchain was first termed in 1991 by the two scientists Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta in the article “How to timestamp a document digitally”.

It was until 2008 that blockchain was popularized when one of its first major applications, Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, was introduced to the world by a person named Satoshi Nakamoto. The purpose of Bitcoin is to solve the double-spending problem without the need for a trusted authority or any centralized entities.

Bitcoin has always dominated in terms of the very first cryptocurrency built on blockchain thanks to its decentralised consensus. The recent expansion of Bitcoin and blockchain has led legislators and investors in the traditional financial world to see them as a threat to the country’s staunch anti-money laundering system. But at the same time, they also consider this a potential ground for new investment opportunities and break out of the old-fashioned investment channels whose profits are already saturated.

While Bitcoin is the most powerful country in the blockchain world, it is still not an ideal location for creating economic activities for society. One of Bitcoin’s most important legacies is its political philosophy – Proof-of-Work. Other countries, such as RSK, DefiChain or Stacks, have contributed to bringing new vitality to Bitcoin by allowing its users to participate in activities in their own country while still securing them through a direct connection to Bitcoin.


EVM Union: Where Civilization Begins

Although Bitcoin has a big influence on the blockchain world, Ethereum takes the lead in terms of prosperity. Ethereum, founded by Vitalik Buterin in 2013, created a new political philosophy called Proof-of-Stake with its administrative apparatus, called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Many countries that came out later used this administrative apparatus, thereby forming the EVM Union. 

The purpose of EVM is to serve as a runtime environment for smart contracts built on Ethereum which is a new way to build decentralized applications.

Another reality that plays out on Ethereum is that although the country leads in prosperity, it also leads in terms of the living costs. The fees that users need to pay when building and living on Ethereum range from $5 to $100 depending on different activities (not to mention peak hours), much higher than in other countries. The high standard of living comes from so many activities happening there where resources and land only exist as a limited amount.

As a result, the products on Ethereum (i.e., the blockspace) experienced a severe imbalance between supply and demand. To solve this problem, many other blockchains have been built around Ethereum to reduce the crowded activities on the land. These countries are categorized based on the infrastructure they use to offload activities on Ethereum, including each of the following subgroups:

  • Optimistic Rollup: This is where transactions are bundled together (to save space and costs) and are validated by default. The system will have a reward mechanism for those who can prove that these frauds are genuine. Nations of this group are Arbitrum, Optimism, Boba Network, and Metis.
  • ZK Rollup: This scalability solution works almost similarly to Optimistic Rollup, but cryptographic proofs are used to prevent frauds more proactively. Starkware, zkSync, and Immutable X belong to this group.
  • State channels: First transaction is settled on the chain, opening up a new channel so that in-between transactions are settled off-chain and secured by a multi-sig system; then, when the interaction between two parties ends, the last transaction will be settled on the chain. Connext, Perun, Raiden, and State Channels are members of this group.
  • Sidechain: These countries have their own political philosophy, running in parallel and connected to Ethereum through a bridge. Countries under this category are Polygon, Palm, Ronin, and Gnosis Chain.
  • Plasma: Countries in this group may have their own political philosophy but derive security from Ethereum through fraud proofs. They are different from sidechain in the sense that everytime they finish sanctioning a resolution, they will submit this sanction to the Ethereum mainnet. OMG Network belongs to this group.
  • Validium: Validium countries like StarkEx or zkPorter secure transactions that take place in their countries through cryptographic proof with the computation data being stored off-chain.

BNB Chain

Despite being built on forks of Tendermint and Cosmos SDK, BNB Chain belongs to the EVM Union. This explains why the BNB Chain is placed inside the EVM Union and next to the Cosmos continent.

Being backed by the largest crypto exchange in the world, Binance, it is no surprise that this nation stands in the top 2 of TVL with multiple high-quality projects. Besides, it is a country of GameFi projects. This place has all it needs for a GameFi project to take off:

  • A vibrant community
  • A secure and liquid NFT marketplace
  • Cheap cost and fast transaction for users
  • Huge support from the Binance team itself

BNB Chain follows the Proof-of-Authority and Delegated Proof-of-Stake (Delegated Proof-of-Stake) philosophy to help its operations run smoothly while maintaining a reasonable living cost.


Another Chad in the EVM Union is Avalanche. Only launched in 2020, this country has quickly risen to be the third-largest in the Union. The superb design in its political philosophy plays a vital role in bringing Avalanche to this position when it has attracted plenty of human and financial capital resources. Avalanche also aims to be a sovereign country with multiple subnets being built around it. The first two countries in this sovereignty are Defi Kingdoms, a well-known game title originating from Harmony but still in this EVM Union. The other is Swimmer Network, born from the most played game on Avalanche Crabada. 

Avalanche does have its own Executive Branch – Avalanche Virtual Machine. X-Chain, the chain which is in charge of asset creation and exchange, is an instance of AVM.


Starting with an idea of modular architecture, Fantom is a country that makes it easy for immigrants to live, integrate and adapt to the lifestyle here. It has attracted a lot of migrants and enriched its land, and is now ranked fourth in the EVM Union.

Nevertheless, Fantom encountered a crisis earlier in 2022 stemming from the demise of Solidex, a project that was running on Fantom at the time, and the departure of Andre Cronje, the person behind the formation of Fantom. Most recently, a lending institution in this nation, Deus Finance, was attacked by hackers, leading to the degradation of life quality and severe brain drain as users migrated to new and safer lands.


Polkadot: The rise of multi-chain

Ethereum and Vitalik Buterin’s Smart Contracts have revolutionized the blockchain world, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to keep Gavin Wood, once a co-founder of Ethereum, staying and contributing to Ethereum. In 2016, Gavin Wood left for a new adventure to conquer new lands that can pursue the “decentralization” mandate of blockchain. 

That is how Polkadot was formed.

Unlike Ethereum, where all vitality and activities take place on a single platform, Polkadot allows the birth of many satellite countries to exist in parallel as an extension country, thereby reducing the workload pressure that Polkadot has to handle. Relay-chain is at the heart of Polkadot. All activities are coordinated through a relay-chain with many para-chains, which are satellite countries, surrounding this centre to exchange and receive security from the force of validators gathered here. Currently, a total of 14 countries exist on this Polkadot continent. Each country pursues a different goal to achieve the final objective of diversifying the continent’s ecosystem: Efinity focuses on infrastructure for NFTs; Astar, Phala Network, Clover or Moonbeam focuses on infrastructure for Smart Contracts; Nodle focuses on blockchain infrastructure for IoT (Internet of Things) technology; Statemint serves the deployment of digital assets on the Polkadot network; while HydraDX, Interlay, Cetrifuge, Composable Finance, Parallel, Equilibrium and Acala focus on DeFi.

Kusama is a strip of a continent connected to Polkadot. Therefore, this continent is built for users to have a creative environment and test their ideas before officially deploying on Polkadot. Although often being seen as a “simulation” environment of Polkadot, Kusama still has its own habitat for people to participate in the construction and a separate economic system that everyone must follow while living here. Currently, 29 countries exist in this territory.


Cosmos: A universe of blockchains coming to reality?

Regarding a scalability solution for Ethereum, Polkadot or Avalanche is not the first country to introduce the concept of multi-blockchain on a territory; Cosmos has previously thought of it.

Jae Kwon first explored this continent, with the Tendermint BFT algorithm being the first seed. And from there, a Cosmos SDK development framework was formed, allowing programmers to build separate blockchains called Zones. Zones are directly connected to the Hub, the central blockchain of Cosmos, operating as a Proof-of-Stake institution. These blockchains will communicate with each other using the Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol; however, it should be noted that only blockchains with deterministic finality can use this protocol.

Some well-known countries on the Cosmos continent include Terra, Cronos, Osmosis, Evmos, or THORChain.

It is worth noting that Terra was once one of the most prosperous countries on the Cosmos continent. Terra’s native currency $LUNA has been rising continuously despite the current gloom of the blockchain world. Nonetheless, this empire collapsed within a short period, mainly due to a loophole within its framework that allows for printing the $UST stablecoin from $LUNA, leading to a death spiral when $UST was no longer pegged at $1. The Terra founding team and the community recently passed a vote to revive this country with a new domestic currency $LUNA, convert the old currency into $LUNC (Terra Classic), and $UST will forever disappear in this new sovereignty.

Other countries

Besides these vast swathes of land, some islands are separate and not part of any Union or Commonwealth, such as Tron and Solana.


Solana is building its own empire with the current objective of being a new promising land for games and NFTs. Their strengths lie in the non-bureaucratic system, the ability to finalize transactions within milliseconds, thanks to Proof-of-History mechanism, which allows the validators to record the sequences of transactions on the network. Nevertheless, such quickness and ease-of-use in its system is a double-edged sword: there are computational bots that are designed to keep spamming the network, therefore creating unnecessary congestion or even causing a network outage, which negatively affects other citizens. In the newest proposal, the Solana team is planning to implement stake-weighting in validating transactions to mitigate this issue. 

It should be noted that Solana does establish an endeavour to partner with other unions through other blockchains such as Velas, or through a smart contract such as the NEVM of Neon Labs.


Tron was founded in 2017 but appeared to be left behind compared to other nations. In June 2018, Tron declared its Independence Day and was independent from its Genesis Block. In October 2018, it established its own political philosophy, the TRON virtual machine, with a complete toolset for developers. However, because of the fixed fee of 1 USDT when transferring USDT via TRON, this country is still alive, with about 35 billion $USDT circulating in this country, even higher than the wealthiest country – Ethereum. 


The most popular language: Rust

Solidity, the primary language of Ethereum, is considered the most popular language among blockchain programmers. Many blockchain platforms built later on have also used Solidity to integrate EVM and join the EVM Union to attract human resources and financial capital from this country more efficiently. However, the new concept of multi-blockchain proposed by Polkadot or Cosmos and the rise of blockchain platforms like Solana have also fueled the popularity of Rust and Golang, the two main languages spoken on those continents. Rust is now the most commonly used programming language in the blockchain world.

What’s next?

After 14 years of establishment, the blockchain world has been divided into several continents and countries with independent political philosophies or development paths. The concepts of Smart Contracts and Proof-of-Stake have unlocked up a new period of promoting economic activities and thus being applied by most countries in the blockchain world.

Besides, multi-chain activities are essential for a globalized future, promoting immigration and trade among users. But at the same time, individual blockchain nations must ensure the facets of security for their people. EVM, Polkadot and Cosmos are all potential continents towards globalization. In addition, many new initiatives will be launched to further enrich these ecosystems, thereby strengthening the overall development of the blockchain world.