Current iteration and the history of Gluon
The current iteration of Gluon was revolutionary and required a lot of wrinkle-brained out-of-box thinking to achieve. The core team of developers managed to overcome the flaws that were inherent in the Plasma model of Layer 2 scaling solutions, and develop a product in Gluon that underpinned the high-speed, low-latency, derivatives DEX, Leverj.io.
The significance of this feat should not be brushed aside. After much initial excitement for Plasma technology in 2017, the flaws – deemed to be too flagrant to pursue further development, meant much of the Ethereum developer community gave up on Plasma in favour of Rollups. Undiscouraged, the Gluon Dev team strode on to produce a remarkable end-product which focused on delivering outcomes, not adhering to group think. So, I know what you’re thinking. Everyone realises Gluon makes the most sense for Layer 2 scaling, adopts it and the Dev team enters early retirement in the Caribbean while pushing minor updates every couple of months right?
Well, unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Despite having a killer product, Gluon V1 failed to gain much traction as much of the mindshare for Layer 2 scaling was thoroughly sponged up by the various flavours of Rollups. It seemed Gluon – which was a blend of Plasma and Roll Ups, had failed to catch the imagination of users and developers had sadly missed the proverbial boat. As the industry tried to solve the Layer 2 scalability challenge and adopted many different solutions, one of the unintended outcomes being even more fragmentation of asset pools. User’s found they suddenly had bags across different base chains, Dapps and Layer 2’s causing a major UX snafu for the end-user.
Alas! All was not lost, as many valuable lessons were garnered from this period of time. Our Dev team spotted a new opportunity for Gluon to thrive in the increasingly splintered DeFi ecosystem. In fact we are so passionate about it we have coined an aspirational name for this – UniversalFinance – a system for unifying all your bags to co-mingle in the Defi Universe…total unity of chains, layer 2s and DeFi.
The challenges that the team at Gluon sought to overcome and solve within the DeFi ecosystem as a whole were as follows:
- Self Custodial: In the spirit of true DeFi, allowing users to control their own keys and never allowing the protocol itself to have access to user funds is at the core of the protocol.
- Decentralization: Allowing the network to function without a single bottleneck of authority while maintaining robust security.
- Interoperability: Allowing all of your ASSETS to participate in DeFi apps, regardless of the base chain they are native to, or in which ecosystem the Dapp is created. Allowing individual DeFi apps to converge in one place without users switching between protocols and chains.
- Non-custodial: Bridges between chains have been predominantly custodial and operated by a single entity – that is far from ideal.
- UX: A low-barrier to entry interface which allows complete beginners and grizzled DeFi veterans alike to interact with the protocol and have access to the entire DeFi ecosystem without cumbersome onboarding.
- Speed: The ability to interact between different blockchains within one interface instantly.
- Liquidity: Sophisticated multi-chain pooling enables liquidity to be provided via various chains/networks thus vastly improving upon previous models by attracting huge volumes.
- Costs: Working within one ecosystem that connects the entire DeFi ecosystem brings down costs incurred by users who have to regularly chain-hop.
- Consolidate Dapps: Industry being hyper fragmented, be it in different Dapps (Uni, Sushi, Balancer, Compound), different chains (BSC, ETH, Solana, Bitcoin), or even within Scaling solutions (Starkware, Polygon, Aribitrum, Loopring).
- Incentives: fragmentation of liquidity pools leads to lower yields.
- Developer skills: Niche issues require specialised skills to solve the myriad of complexities in the emergent field of blockchain tech and finance.
Choice of Methodology
Mapping out the current trajectory of DeFi, there was only one logical solution – unifying DeFi into a collective whole – solving the issues above and taking the ecosystem forward.
Ethereum, the pioneering chain of DeFi, was a victim to its own success, and simply due to the congestion on the network and often excessive transaction fees. Competitors such as Binance Smart Chain and Solana have emerged and captured a significant portion of the TVL as well as human capital. Subsequently new projects have to think carefully about which chain to launch on in order to maximize its profitability and adoption.
While competition is always a good thing, it has led to the siloing of chains. Users experience high levels of difficulty in migrating between chains and pockets of wealth can be left stranded when Gas prices are high. Such flaws lead to missed opportunities and a whole slew of other frustrations experienced by not only the protocols but the users as well.
Unlike pre-existing cross-chains that use bridges to port siloed blockchains to one another, Gluon Reactor uses gateways that are built into the underlying architecture. Bridges stand outside the connected systems and are susceptible to exploits or downed networks and require regular maintenance and up-keep. Building gateways into the existing architecture is not only a more elegant way to enable inter-functionality, the base security inherent in the Ethereum blockchain is untainted. It also supports scale. Gateways are typically built in a 1:1 manner, where as gateways support any coin on a chain transmuting to the another chain.
The future of finance has the potential to be decentralized, fair and equal, but, we’re only part way there. Every project, big or small – is doing its part in working toward the future of finance, but in doing so the ecosystem has become fragmented. To avoid remaining on the fringe of the economy, much is to be done to synergize efforts across the Crypto landscape and embrace a hive mentality. Only in a coherent and cohesive environment will the razor’s edge of development soften enough to enable ease of onboarding for the masses.…
Gluon Reactor seeks to solve these issues experienced in DeFi, by uniting the plethora of DeFi blockchains together thus becoming the rails of DeFi. Akin to higher level systems like oAuth, which has greatly enhanced the user experience of webapps, Gluon Reactor will become the rails for a universal DeFi ecosystem.
This means that not only will traditionally pro-DeFi blockchains like BSC and Ethereum along with their native Dapps be able to seamlessly interact with each other, but other somewhat DeFi-ostracized blockchains such as the Bitcoin blockchain, and its subsequent forks will have secure access to decentralized finance without the need for wrapping. We believe this could totally shift the current trajectory of DeFi, by adopting a more inclusive approach. Would this mean the end of Maxi-Wars? Probably not, but for those who are pragmatic, have assets on multiple chains, Gluon Reactor represents a step change toward bringing unity.
On the development side the team has been collaborating to incorporate pre-existing technologies with more newly-fangled innovations. Sometimes it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel, and certain methodologies have been battle-tested and emerged as industry standards, such as using ETH as a base token and the Ethereum base chain for security. Other more emergent creations which enable Gluon V2 to cut through pain points and bottlenecks apparent in each isolated protocol across the industry have been innovated in accordance with the perceived challenges noted above.
Giving the choice back to end-users
Ultimately, our goal is to bring choice back to the end-user and allow flexibility. No longer do DeFi aficionados need to decide between chains, or be encumbered by high gas fees for trying to capitalize on arbitrage opportunities. The entire DeFi ecosystem can be accessed through one user-friendly application.
Besides removing friction inherent in the current DeFi landscape, an added advantage to Gluon Reactor’s development will be increased mainstream adoption by potential users who were previously turned off by high barriers to entry, in turn, the market grows as a whole, and as the saying goes a rising tide lifts all ships.
Stay tuned for important updates on the road to unifying the DeFi universe.