Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFT and new trends

After 5 Years of R&D, Pantos Launches Its Multichain Token

Interoperability is a tough word to say after a couple of shandies. It’s an even harder concept to implement in a blockchain ecosystem that’s written in a dozen different programming languages and whose core architecture is fundamentally incompatible.

One is reminded of the Tower of Babel when considering the blockchain landscape today. The origin myth, which describes why the world speaks so many different languages, bears obvious analogies to the state of crypto in 2023. In the multichain era, we have more choices than ever. And yet, due to language difficulties and incompatible VMs, we’ve never been more isolated.

Following five years of intensive research and development, Pantos has emerged as the latest multichain project claiming to have solved the interoperability problem. Its team, comprising experienced blockchain researchers and the business boffins behind Bitpanda, are confident their solution represents a quantum leap for interoperability. So what exactly is Pantos and is it a game-changer or just another multichain protocol? To answer that question, we need to consider how we got here.

Houston, We Have a Bridge Problem

The need for blockchain interoperability can be traced back to the earliest days of DeFi, when Ethereum was the main playground for the poly-token era that was exploding. The spate of new tokens, protocols, and users caused the Ethereum main chain to buckle under the strain. During the 2017 ICO craze, network fees rocketed, prompting gas wars to get into the hottest token sales.

Ironically, many of the projects launching tokens during this period were for new smart contract networks dubbed as Ethereum competitors. EOS and Tezos were among the blockchains to emerge from this period, and while they proved incapable of laying a glove on Ethereum, let alone wielding a knock-out blow, they kickstarted the multichain era.

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Fast forward a few years and by 2020 the cryptosphere was awash with EVM-compatible chains and liquidity was fleeing to where it was needed most – which was typically where the incentives were highest. It was the summer of DeFi, the term “degen” was worn as a badge of pride, and yield farming was in full swing.

The Cambrian explosion in scalable EVM networks was great for throughput and fee reduction, but the balkanization of a sector that had existed almost exclusively on Ethereum brought its own problems. Tokens now existed on different chains simultaneously, giving rise to price discrepancies. Good news for arbers, but it left ordinary traders prone to losing out through unwittingly swapping assets in illiquid pools.

But there was another, even greater problem caused by the emergence of multichain: moving assets between ecosystems was fraught with risk. It was as if blockchain builders had created a series of cities but forgotten to add the roads. Belatedly, they began to create the bridges that would unite these siloed ecosystems.

Today, the multichain ecosystem is better served than ever, with bridges for everything and everywhere. Not only fungible tokens, but NFTs and messages can be transmitted between chains using technology such as XCM. This has opened up an array of new use cases and allowed events on one chain to trigger a smart contract on another. For instance, a user can LP tokens on Ethereum and receive their reward tokens on Polygon.

The dramatic expansion of blockchain bridges and interoperability solutions has come at a high cost. More than $2 billion was lost in bridge exploits last year. They remain the weak link in DeFi and the target of sophisticated attackers. Bridges are critical infrastructure and, as it stands, their security is in critical condition. There’s a clear need for interoperability solutions that can capitalize on the many upsides to multichain without impairing its value proposition through the introduction of attack vectors.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

So where does Pantos fit into all this? It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. Pantos is a project that began life in the lab, undergoing a raft of revisions before so much as a line of code was committed. The Pantos team wasn’t just trying to push out another multichain protocol: it was equally interested in advancing academic research in the field of interoperability.

It’s hard to shake the sensation that many of the blockchain bridges currently connecting the cryptosphere were rushed to market to fill a gap. As a result, it should come as no surprise that several of these wound up being exploited – sometimes more than once. The Pantos team believes its slow and steady approach will be vindicated.

Pantos started out as an open-source research project by Bitpanda in collaboration with TU Wien (Austria) and later with TU Hamburg (Germany). The resultant protocol is based on ground-breaking research in the fields of oracles, relays, smart contracts and blockchain efficiency. During the course of development, researchers published almost a dozen technical whitepapers addressing different challenges and approaches to achieving true blockchain interoperability.

And now it’s here, in beta at least. A multi-blockchain system built to the highest security standards that promises a reliable and efficient solution for moving assets between chains.

Taking Pantos for a Test Drive

Pantos comprises a cross-chain system for wrapping, unwrapping, and transferring tokens. Currently in testnet, it supports seven blockchains: Ethereum, BNB Chain, Polygon, Avalanche, Fantom, Cronos, and Celo.

The UI is clean and intuitive with an aesthetic that rivals the top Web2 applications. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into designing an interface that is free of clutter and easy for novice Web3 users to grasp. From the Pantos dashboard, users can manage their assets, wrap and unwrap tokens, add them to MetaMask in one click, and move assets to the seven chains currently supported.

Visually, Pantos looks and works like a dream. The real test will be when it deploys on mainnet and is used to move size. If it can demonstrate that it can transfer assets faster, safer, and more efficiently, all those years spent toiling in the lab will have paid off.