Missing In Action — Wormhole
Long time, no write — did I get bored of Solana? Not at all. Yes, I did tell some of you (privately) I would write more development tutorials — specifically; Solana Smart Contracts using Anchor and CUDA bpf stuff. I am sorry, not realistic now… We’ve been doing Wormhole work; we don’t develop it, we just validate, but that still takes quite a bit of time.
If you believe in a multi-chain future, you have to bridge all the chains, hence you have bridging protocols — there are several out there — they allow you to send assets from one chain to another, and back again.
The Backstory: there was an original Wormhole v1 (which we also validated), it was a Solana to Ethereum bridge for specific assets. It got totally redesigned; the people building it also got renamed from Certus One to Jump Trading... Wormhole v2 is more generic, it’s a message passing protocol, developers can potentially build whatever they like on it.
Wormhole v2 (Wormhole hereafter) started with Solana and Ethereum. Next to be added was BSC, an obvious high transaction chain getting overspill due to Ethereum fees; Tokens and NFTs were implemented… Terra got added, their mission to make UST the biggest algo-stablecoin in crypto… A bunch of projects on Solana decided to support wormhole assets, that is the “wrapped assets” resulting from a migration into that network; Mercurial, Saber, Orca, Curve, Francium, Apricot, Loop, Almond… I should probably explain: it is a feature of how bridging protocols work, that the migrated asset is now “wrapped” by the bridging protocol; one nice thing about Wormhole, if an asset is migrated through 2 networks Eth->Solana->BSC it won’t be wrapped twice, Wormhole assets are always fungible no matter how many transits… Next Polygon got added, not gonna lie, from an implementation point of view, kind of weird, two nodes (Bor & Heimdall) but ok… AMMs happened for Wormhole assets, including Pancakeswap and Uniswap, and a bunch of others. FTX added withdraws and deposits for some Wormhole wrapped assets. Next… well, I was gonna totally name the networks in the pipeline to be added, but after looking at the official Wormhole media, they don’t name anyone, so I won’t do that either… obviously, there will be more added, and soon (very soon). If you want to get a feel for current usage and on which networks, check out the explorer and the TVL stats
And now, back to my purpose for writing, which is to explain why I have not written. It’s all moving very fast, and it’s a decent amount of work. Every network added requires a node to be run (in some cases two, 👋 polygon 👋), given the value of the assets locked & that it is a 19-node quorum arrangement, you really want a second backup instance for every node on all those networks… So, there is the provisioning of the hardware, and you need to monitor all of that (we use Prometheus & Grafana for graphical display and SMS for alerting), but much more than that, you need to understand each new network and set up bespoke scripting around it. All this to say, it is taking up all of my time. It isn’t breakthrough leading edge stuff, but it does require constant attention.
What do I think of Wormhole’s potential? Candidly, it’s still totally untapped in my opinion. Few are developing on top of it, you could create lucrative cross-chain protocols, particularly in the area of arbitrage. There are probably a bunch more areas that I lack the imagination for, but surely arbitrage presents itself as an easy win… The obvious one is “fees arbitrage”, transactions are cheap on Solana, so you can do super cheap stuff on Solana with super expensive Ethereum assets. A less obvious one would be “latency arbitrage”, you can do things with Ethereum assets on Solana, faster than you can do them on Ethereum… I’m just thinking out loud, my job is only to run the nodes, on all the networks, for the Wormhole protocol… obviously, we will keep adding chains to the bridge, but I feel like the developers out there, are already right now, not capitalising on the potential with the existing chains — just my opinion.