We recently talked with ICONLOOP CTO Edward Ryu about ICONLOOP’s upcoming ICON SDK, a set of tools that will make it easy for projects to build their own BTP-powered, ICON-compatible mainnets.
Now we’re going to take a deeper dive into ICON SDK’s slightly evolved sibling, Parameta, which includes all of ICON SDK’s tools, but with added consulting and technological support, particularly aimed at corporate clients.
You’ll soon get a chance to see Parameta in action when the interchain NFT entertainment platform HAVAH launches by the end of the year.
At the heart of Parameta is loopchain, ICONLOOP’s proprietary blockchain engine, developed in-house without relying on open source solutions.
Loopchain ensures distributed storage, security and decentralization, while providing high-speed finality and high transactions-per-scond based on the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus algorithm.
It’s a hybrid P2P network that leverages the strengths of both gossip and structured networks.
It supports both Python and Java smart contracts, with coming support for Solidity and WASM as well.
In particular, loopchain was designed to support ICON’s innovative Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) interoperability solution. This frees developers from needing to deploy separate validator sets, which could increase overhead costs or weaken security. With BTP interchain technology built into the core itself, you can enable interchain transactions while maintaining the same level of security of the blockchain network itself — a major improvement on existing bridge solution.
Governance and Token Economics
Governance is actually one of the main reasons why projects are turning to their own mainnets. Projects increasingly want their mainnets to reflect governance structures and token economies optimized to their own needs. This is particularly the case as business logic grows more complex, presenting limitations on existing Layer 1 networks.
Luckily, Parameta lets developers create their own governance and token economies with relative ease, based on ICONLOOP’s own experience in designing successful solutions, including ICON’s governance, ICON’s token economy and reward structure, ICON’s voting system and HAVAH’s token economy. Parameta provides not only modules and libraries based on these proven solutions, but also customizing and consulting services to help projects with some of the finer points, saving them the time and potential security problems of trying to fork existing blockchain networks on their own.
Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP), of course, is ICON’s potentially revolutionary interoperability solution, and the thing that sets Parameta (and its base, ICON SDK) apart from other SDK solutions.
BTP allows you to move assets from one blockchain to another without using a trusted third party, or TTP.
Many existing bridging solutions rely on TTP to verify cross-chain transactions, opening the way to potentially disastrous security breakdowns as seen in some recent high-profile hacks.
BTP, on the other hand, relies on lite clients — essentially, mini versions of the transacting blockchains themselves — to remove the need for TTPs, allowing smart contracts to verify cross-chain transactions in a completely trustless manner. This ensures that cross-chain transactions are as secure as the transacting blockchains themselves.
Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
Most mainnets provide DeFi services, at the heart of which is the decentralized exchange, or DEX.
DEXs allow you to exchange tokens without going through a centralized exchange such as Binance or Coinbase.
Parameta provides smart contracts to build your own DEX. And what’s great is that by using a bridge solution like BTP, you can use your DEX to trade tokens listened on other blockchain as well, including — of course — ICON. Or you could use ICON as a hub to connect your DEX to large centralized exchanges.
Private Key Management
Private keys are critical to using blockchain since they are used to verify almost everything you do.
The problem, of course, is that since they are stored locally, you cannot restore them if you lose your device.
Parameta provides a way out of this problem with its secret sharing-powered vault solution.
Secret sharing is a cryptographic technique that splits highly sensitive information into smaller pieces and distributes them across the network.
Parameta’s secret sharing breaks up secret information like private keys into “clues” that are stored on different servers, along with an SDK that puts those “clues” back together again, along with support for servers to store “clues” in a safe manner.
Block Explorer and API
Parameta provides a block explorer to allow users to easily see or query data on transactions, smart contract information, token data and token owners.
It also provides a backend API server for the explorer.
Wallets are important as they provide the point of contact between the blockchain user and service.
Parameta provides an SDK to allow you to create customized wallets that provide users with an optimized UX. In fact, you can create wallets that let people use your service without them even knowing they are using blockchain. This is something ICONLOOP has plenty of experience in, as demonstrated with their wildly successful tracing app for the resort island of Jeju-do.
Developer Support Tools
A blockchain is only as good as the services it provides. Parameta helps developers build DApps by providing a range of developer tools, guides, samples and SDKs, as well as tools to help people run blockchain nodes and manage their networks.
Parameta also provides support for proxy nodes if you can’t run a blockchain node yourself.
Many blockchain use the offchain InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) for storing private data or large-scale data. This is because blockchains cannot store secret data, being open spaces where data is permanently recorded, nor can they store large files without prohibitively high gas fees.
The problem, however, is that IPFS cannot ensure availability. If a node goes down or service is suspended, you cannot access your data.
To resolve the availability problem, Parameta supports Blockchain File System (BFS) and PDS (Personal Data Store) solutions. BFS provides distributed storage for offchain data, which means you can provide offchain data service using your own blockchain nodes, even without building an IPFS node. PDS, meanwhile, provides safe storage for personal data for DApps. This will become increasingly important as medical services, administrative services and other sensitive services adopt blockchain-based solutions.