Founded in 2020, Router Protocol first launched its V1 mainnet in January 2022 making available its cross-chain protocol that is capable of connecting both existing and emerging layer 1 and layer 2 blockchains and is capable of transmitting both tokens and data across these blockchains in a multi-directional way. The Router Protocol team started building its cross-chain interoperability layer in 2020.
Router Protocol has been quick to make available its services to both users and developers alike while continuing development of the protocol and expanding on its existing capabilities.
The original version of Router Protocol was run on a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) bridge model with three validators. However, Router Protocol has now launched their V2 whitepaper and a dev-net for the Router Chain – a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain built with Tendermint — as its decentralized bridge and a layer-1 chain where interoperable DApps can be deployed.
Fun fact: Dfyn Exchange is the in-house DEX of Router Protocol.
Services catered to both users and developers
The Voyager dApp is Router Protocols offering within the cross-chain swap space and allows users to make swaps between the nine connected blockchains. Launched in June 2022, Voyager showcases Router’s cross-chain offering with an uncomplicated way to conduct cross-chain swaps or transfers.
Voyager is currently running on the Router V1 platform, however, it will be upgraded in future to the newer Router V2. This update provides services that are beneficial to both users and developers.
- OmmiChain Framework for Developers
Router Protocol’s OmniChain framework is designed to give developers the ability to create cross-chain applications with custom bridging logic. It even enables them to set up an extra security layer on top of the Router Chain’s existing infrastructure security. By allowing developers to code just one smart contract on the Router chain, the OmniChain framework is designed to help reduce repetition and save time.
- CrossTalk SDK
Router’s CrossTalk library provides a developer-friendly framework that provides developers with the necessary tools to allow movement of data between different chains within their dApps.
CrossTalk is designed to be easily incorporated into existing applications, allowing for communication between contracts on different chains with minimal disruption to the product.
Router Protocol is still in its early days of developing its long term vision within the cross-chain space. Upcoming on its roadmap is the release of the Router Chain, but what is it? The team at Router Protocol was kind enough to share more insight into this new release.
Understanding Router Chain
At its core, Router Chain can be considered a layer-1 blockchain. The team at Router Protocol is building Router Chain as a decentralized trust-based system using tendermint and running a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) model instead of a trustless system because it allowed for the creation of middleware contracts and increasing the number of applications that can utilize Router Chain.
Built with the Cosmos SDK, Router Chain includes all of the features of Cosmos, such as fast block times, strong security measures, and CosmWasm – a secure smart contract platform. By using the CosmWasm toolkit, developers can either build their blockchain applications directly on or quickly move their existing applications to the Router chain without much difficulty.
With the Router Chain utilizing a PoS model for its chain, it now requires a two-thirds plus one consensus to validate the network and transactions. Besides verifying changes in status on the Router Chain, validators operating on Router Chain can also observe changes in the state on other connected blockchains. This adds to the security of transactions going through Router Chain.
In the event any validator that has excessive downtime or conducts any kind of malicious behavior, they will have some of their staked $ROUTE taken away as a penalty (slashed). This is a typical security structure within PoS constructs and users can choose to delegate their tokens to the party they trust the most to operate a validator honestly.
- Router Chain Features
Beyond validating transactions, the Router Chain provides some additional features which provide added utility for protocols built on Router Chain. We will go through the features below in a little more detail but it’ll be well worth the read.
a. Transaction Batching
This feature allows smart contracts to be developed to leverage on transaction batching on either Router Chain or at the destination chain. This can be particularly useful for dApps as grouping transactions together provides greater cost efficiency for their users and increases the usage appeal.
Currently transaction batching works on Router Chain as well as either to one or several different chains.
b. Batch Atomicity & Expiry
To ensure transaction batching works smoothly, Router Chain utilizes both transaction atomicity and timestamp expiry to ensure things work smoothly.
Batch Transaction atomicity ensures that if any part of a batched transaction fails, the whole transaction will be reverted. Whereas timestamp expiry is designed to make sure that any outgoing batched transaction that is not responded to by the designated time will either be discarded or reversed depending on its current state.
These features can be beneficial to guarantee that batched transactions run as flawlessly as can be expected and inside predetermined limits.
- Review of Router Chain
The introduction of Router Chain definitely increases the services and capability Router Protocol offers to its partners. The features introduced are skewed to give developers more flexibility in building and determining how their dApp can and should work to best benefit users.
Router Chain provides a more sophisticated form of bridging, referred to as stateful bridging. This is a move up from stateless bridges, allowing developers to store and process data on the Router Chain. Interconnected dApps will be able to maximize and better leverage the advantages of all blockchains due to this.
Token Participation & Utility
With the move from its existing model to now include Router Chain has its benefits, but it also presents some challenges. It is assumed that part of the $ROUTE token utility would be to allow users to stake their tokens with validators and earn from rewards or fees generated by the network.
In order to get people to participate in the network and keep it secure, the $ROUTE token will be used to payout to users that delegate their tokens and validators that secure the network.
How will the reward for users that stake their tokens and the validators that verify transactions on Router Chain be derived? This will be collected through fees from transaction fees on Router Chain and payments for utilizing the CrossTalk service which are made with the $ROUTE token.
The potential of returns in this situation relies on the success of Router Protocol and its increasing use of CrossTalk and any other additional services introduced in future. Users that stake and validators of the protocol benefit from its success and growth through the rewards received. On top of sharing in the successes of the protocol, $ROUTE token holders can also participate in the governance of the protocol and steer it to greater heights.
The $ROUTE token is an ERC20 token with a maximum supply of 20 million. The largest token holder currently is Polygon’s ERC20 bridge which is an interesting point in itself.
Etherscan : https://etherscan.io/token/0x16eccfdbb4ee1a85a33f3a9b21175cd7ae753db4
Crunchbase : https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/router-protocol
Router Protocol website : https://www.routerprotocol.com/
Router Protocol docs : https://docs.routerprotocol.com/whitepaper/abstract
Developer docs : https://dev.routerprotocol.com/
Router Protocol V2 : https://v2.routerprotocol.com/
Explorer : https://explorer.routerprotocol.com/swap
Dune Analytics : https://dune.com/ptn1611/router-protocol
Github : https://github.com/router-protocol
Defillama : https://defillama.com/protocol/router-protocol