Proof-of-restaking and extended consensus — Interview with Units Network

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Units Networ

The crypto industry has evolved dramatically, driven by innovations in decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology. Amid this transformation, Waves founder Sasha Ivanov has introduced Units Network. Designed as a foundational layer, Units Network connects ecosystem chains in a fully interoperable and trustless manner, featuring the restaking of any assets and secured by real-world assets (RWA).

In this interview, Ivanov discusses the strategies and innovations behind Units Network, its role within the Waves ecosystem and the broader implications for blockchain technology. He also reflects on past challenges, including the depegging of Neutrino USD and the impact of the FTX collapse, offering valuable insights into the future of decentralized finance.

Cointelegraph: What do you have in store for the next bull cycle?

Sasha Ivanov: We’re launching a new project, Units Network, based on the Waves ecosystem. The goal is to significantly grow the ecosystem and bring in new community members. This project enables the launch of your own layer-1 (L1) blockchain based on Waves (WAVES) staking. The network is fully compatible with Ethereum and aims to simplify launching your own blockchain network.

Also, networks within the ecosystem interact through the Waves network, which becomes more than just an L1 blockchain but a layer 0 (L0) foundational level of the ecosystem. We believe that the ease of launching blockchain networks and their effective connection to existing networks are key to the mass adoption of blockchain technology.

CT: How did you handle the challenges related to Waves, what were the results, and what lessons did you learn from this situation?

SI: The past two years have been very challenging for all of us, and Waves has faced many unpleasant issues as well, but of course, they pale in comparison to what’s happening in the world.

On a positive note, we can highlight the following: The detachment of USDN and similar stablecoin issues have shown that a model based solely on market mechanisms to maintain the stability of such assets is not stable enough and is vulnerable to attacks (these mechanisms may work in 99% of situations, but an unforeseen 1% can undermine the entire model).

Furthermore, through the example of Waves, we have demonstrated that decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) models can function in crisis situations. After the situation with USDN and liquidity stuck in the loan protocol on Waves and Waves Exchange gateways, the possibility of centralized financing for developing core ecosystem products disappeared. The Waves ecosystem has become fully decentralized, with all funding being conducted through the Waves DAO, allowing Waves to continue its development.

CT: How did the conflict with Alameda Research affect Waves? What are your thoughts on the collapse of the FTX exchange?

SI: “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” My attitude toward the crypto market and my vision of what I aim to achieve within it has changed significantly. The collapse of FTX was a big surprise for me and opened my eyes to the risks within the Western financial system, which I had been inclined to underestimate.

CT: How do you assess Ethereum’s current development and scalability approach?

SI: Units Network aims to do what Ethereum will likely do in the coming years — connect layer-2 (L2) networks and the base Ethereum layer into one ecosystem based on Ether (ETH) staking. In this case, L2 networks essentially become “shards” of Ethereum, and sharding will receive new life within the future Ethereum ecosystem.

I believe this is the end game for the current development of crypto technologies — an ecosystem based on the economic mechanisms of a powerful L1 network with L2 networks using these mechanisms for decentralization and consensus internally. In this scenario, the L1 network essentially becomes L0, the base level providing consensus and linking all networks into one ecosystem.

CT: Could you give us an overview of the Units Network and its role within the blockchain ecosystem?

SI: Units aims to grow the Waves ecosystem by providing the ability to launch Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) networks quickly and efficiently. This bypasses the need to deploy individual validators and allows networks to connect with others both within and beyond the ecosystem. Hundreds of interconnected EVM networks are anticipated within the ecosystem, with the first Unit0 network being pivotal. Its Unit0 token governs the Units DAO within the ecosystem.

We are launching the Units testnet campaign, which lets users get acquainted with the product and earn rewards for testnet activities. This will be followed by a staking campaign, where users can earn Units tokens for providing liquidity. The launch of Units is anticipated in June-July of this year.

CT: Could you walk us through some of the specific tools and solutions offered by Units Network?

SI: Units Network’s goal is to enable a very straightforward process for launching your own blockchains. A blockchain originator makes a DAO governance proposal, offering certain rewards to network validators. If the proposal is approved, their blockchain is launched within a few days. You do not need to maintain your own nodes. The new blockchain is supported by the existing validator community and is seamlessly and fully interoperably connected to all other chains within the ecosystem. On top of that, external bridges provide connectivity to other ecosystems.

CT: How does the Hybrid RWA stablecoin system work, and what are its benefits compared to traditional stablecoins?

SI: The RWA narrative is very important for the future applications of blockchain technology since it promises the transfer of a substantial part of the world’s financial infrastructure to blockchain tech and can provide an almost unlimited flow of new projects for years to come. On the other hand, the RWA narrative requires lowering the entry barriers for projects, especially when launching their blockchains.

Units will facilitate the launch of several RWA projects in the ecosystem, aiming to showcase the network’s advantages in terms of launch simplicity and external ecosystem connectivity. One of the projects that will be launched is a hybrid RWA stablecoin that combines crypto collateral with less liquid RWA collateral in such a way that the RWA part provides for stablecoin annual percentage yield (APY), and the crypto part secures the stablecoin peg.

CT: From a user perspective, what are the tangible advantages of utilizing Units Network over traditional blockchain platforms?

SI: We are focusing on the simplicity of launching your own chain, embedded into the existing ecosystem with useful features such as trustees’ internal bridges, external bridges with native staking of any assets and an ecosystem DAO that can help bootstrap your own chain. The goal is to create a Swiss army knife-type solution for launching and maintaining your own blockspace for all types of projects that require it and make it really accessible.

CT: Looking ahead, what are the future plans of Units Network?

SI: Currently, we’re starting testnet and liquidity campaigns that are meant to showcase Unit network features. Mainnet launch of the first ecosystem blockchain, Unit0, is planned for this summer. The next significant milestone for Units is launching the ecosystem DAO based on the Unit0 token. It will help bootstrap further ecosystem chains and DApps launching on the Unit0 chain. In parallel, zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs will be integrated into the ecosystem, allowing for different approaches to L0-L1 interoperability. 

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