Interoperability Working Group
The Interoperability Working Group aims to identify the challenges and solutions to interoperability from both a technical and regulatory perspective.
Objectives for 2021
The WG has selected three objectives around which it will carry out its annual work. The common goal of the objectives is to facilitate interoperability when deploying blockchain technology.
• Identify the challenges facing blockchain interoperability both at a technical and governance level.
• Identify possible solutions to interoperability.
• Establish a link with the different governing bodies on standards.
Outputs for 2021
The Working Group engages in a number of activities aimed at achieving the abovementioned objectives. Among others, the Working Group is focused on producing an SGI paper with the Governance Working Group and Standards Committee, securing invitations to speak at industry events with standards-settings bodies and establishing bilateral engagement with other interoperability organisations.
Why is it essential?
The first generation of blockchains was specifically designed for particular use cases (e.g., digital money). Instead of forking Bitcoin, the second generation of blockchains built a new ecosystem where decentralized applications can interoperate with each other (on-chain interoperability). However, a single blockchain cannot support a mass adoption (scalability constraints) and cannot be adapted for any use case (adaptability constraints). In order to overcome these issues, it is necessary to construct a different ecosystem made by application specific blockchains that communicate among each other (cross-chain interoperability).
For blockchain-based platforms to succeed, they will need to communicate and share data, a property that is usually referred to as interoperability. As recognised by the European Union Blockchain Observatory Forum in their report on Scalability, Interoperability, and Sustainability, while interoperability between blockchains can be achieved in a number of different ways, these can be broken down into two categories.
• The first category involves the use of trusted third-party authorities to validate transactions or information. Two or more blockchains, for example, might agree to trust an off-chain entity to either transfer information between the blockchains (an exchange) or to record the state of the respective blockchains so that each can trust what has transpired on the other (notary services).
• The second category involves sharing information directly between blockchains without the need for a third-party authority.