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ioTube: Cross-Chain Bridge to Connect IoTeX with the Blockchain Universe

This is Phase 1 of IoTeX’s #DeFIoT series where we will showcase new innovations to unlock the trillion-dollar IoT data market. To learn more, see our #DeFIoT manifesto.

What does it mean for a blockchain to be decentralized? Most people believe that decentralization means anyone is free to join/utilize a blockchain, while the network itself cannot be controlled by any single entity. Although this is true, it does not quite capture the full picture. Decentralization also implies democratization — “the act of making something accessible to everyone.” For the blockchain industry to reach its full potential, democratization must be applied as core principles in order to build an interoperable, inclusive, and decentralized future.

IoTeX’s long-term vision is not only to enable revolutionary IoT products and services on our own platform, but also to interoperate and share native IoTeX assets (i.e., tokens, data) with other blockchains. In parallel, we must also welcome assets from other blockchains to expand the capabilities of IoTeX. This is why we are excited to introduce ioTube: a cross-chain, multi-asset, and bi-directional bridge to connect IoTeX with the blockchain universe.

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What is ioTube?

ioTube is a decentralized cross-chain bridge that enables the bidirectional exchange of crypto-assets (e.g., fungible/non-fungible tokens, stablecoins) between IoTeX and other blockchain networks. The initial version of ioTube was developed by the IoTeX Foundation in 2019 to facilitate cross-chain swaps of IOTX-E (ERC20) and native IOTX. Over the past year, we have revamped ioTube, optimizing the frontend, backend, and smart contracts as well as expanding ioTube’s scope to support multiple Ethereum & IoTeX assets. In the future, we plan to add support more blockchain networks to increase the reach and impact of ioTube.

From a technological perspective, ioTube is fundamentally different from other traditional bridges and is comprised of two core components:

  • A set of smart contracts pre-deployed on both Ethereum & IoTeX that allows “witnesses” to relay information back and forth in order to facilitate cross-chain transfer of digital assets
  • A golang service that listens for and validates ioTube actions on both Ethereum & IoTeX and relays the finalized information to both blockchains

For more information, please see our open-source repository and documentation on Github and ioTube tutorial on the IoTeX Forum.

How does ioTube work?

Starting now, you can use ioTube to seamlessly convert ERC20 assets on Ethereum to XRC20 assets on IoTeX. Here is how it works:

  • To begin the conversion process, ioTube user “locks” their ERC20 assets via Ethereum contract — for this example, let’s say the ERC20 asset is ETH.
  • The corresponding amount of XRC20-ETH (“ioETH”) is “minted” by an IoTeX contract that constantly scans for updates from the Ethereum contract.
  • To convert ioETH back to ETH, the ioTube user will “burn” their ioETH via IoTeX contract, which will trigger the Ethereum contract to “unlock” the original ETH.

The initial version of ioTube now supports wETH & PAXG and support for many more ERC20 assets on the way. We want to hear from YOU — let us know what ERC20 assets you want on ioTube via the form below:

What is the long-term potential for ioTube?

In addition to the immediate use cases for ioTube to bring new assets, data, and liquidity to the IoTeX Network, ioTube has the potential to greatly expand the capabilities of the IoTeX Network. Below we share two exciting ideas: utilizing IoTeX as a back-end processor for other blockchains and turning IoTeX into the de facto source for trusted IoT data for the entire blockchain industry.

Ethereum is a powerful and widely used blockchain platform, but these days developing on Ethereum or even using Ethereum-based applications is extremely expensive. As of August 2020, transactions can take hours to process and can even require hundreds of dollars of $ETH. As tribalism in the blockchain universe diminishes and aspirations for interoperability grow, new developers will start to run computationally-intensive smart contracts on IoTeX due to its high throughput and low transaction fees. By utilizing ioTube to port over the necessary crypto-assets and data, IoTeX has the potential to become a back-end processor for Ethereum and other blockchains.

In the long-term, the unique assets generated by the IoTeX blockchain, such as IoT device data, can be used to trigger logic in smart contracts on Ethereum and other blockchains. In other words, IoTeX’s blockchain could serve as an oracle for non-IoTeX contracts, or vice-versa.

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What’s Next?

The future of #DeFIoT depends greatly on interoperability between blockchains, which is why ioTube is such a big deal. Data streams generated by large swaths of “Powered by IoTeX” devices, such as Ucam and Pebble Tracker, are incredibly valuable for use cases such as AI-based analytics, prediction markets, and much more. With ioTube, we will open up opportunities for people and businesses to unlock a universe of opportunity.

September is officially #DeFIoT month for IoTeX! Throughout the next couple months, IoTeX will release never-before-seen components to the IoTeX platform, such as an IoT data oracle, decentralized exchange (DEX), and more. To complement these technology releases, we will be running a series of interactive campaigns for developers, traders, and community members to engage closely with DeFIoT.

Stay tune to our official channels for more #DeFIoT announcements!

About IoTeX

Founded as an open source platform in 2017, IoTeX is building the Internet of Trusted Things, an open ecosystem where all “things” — humans, machines, businesses, and DApps — can interact with trust and privacy. Backed by a global team of 30+ top research scientists and engineers, IoTeX combines blockchain, secure hardware, and confidential computing to enable next-gen IoT devices, networks, and economies. IoTeX will empower the future decentralized economy by “connecting the physical world, block by block”.

Learn more: Website | Twitter | Telegram | Medium | Reddit

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