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What is Multi-Chain Support, and why does it matter for Blockchain Developers?

By Thomas Winkler

Blockchain technology has come a long way since the inception of Bitcoin. With the emergence of various chains such as Ethereum, Polygon, and Avalanche, the blockchain ecosystem has witnessed rapid growth and innovation. In this dynamic but fragmented landscape, multi-chain support has become a crucial aspect of blockchain development. In this article, we will delve into the concept of multi-chain support, its significance for developers, how it should be supported in platforms and tools, and how it can be applied.

Scenario 1

Chain-agnostic development - develop once, deploy multiple times

In this scenario, a developer would develop a dApp and the related Smart Contracts in a chain-agnostic way. Doing so keeps the dApp compatible with numerous Blockchains and leaves the Blockchain to be chosen at deployment time. Because this provides for future flexibility and reuse, it is generally good practice. It may be vital in the early stages of a dApp project when the choice of Blockchain to deploy commercially has yet to be finalized.

Tip: When picking a Blockchain development tool or platform, developers should look for this essential capability.

Scenario 2:

One dApp using multiple chains

In this scenario, a single dApp interacts with Smart Contracts on multiple Blockchains simultaneously yet independently. An example would be using one Blockchain for primary transactions and a second one for a specialized purpose, like validating decentralized identities.

Tip: If this is an essential consideration for a dApp, developers should ensure that the development tools or Web3 platform they pick support this capability.

Scenario 3:

Cross-chain transactions

In the third scenario, the operations being performed across multiple chains are coupled in such a way that they need to be performed as one transaction.

One example is an “atomic swap”, where assets between two parties on two Blockchains are exchanged without the need for an intermediary.

Numerous technologies are available for achieving these use cases, which include cross-chain bridges, interoperability protocols, and wrapped tokens. Some of these methods come with tradeoffs and should be used with extra caution.

Tip: Developers targeting use cases like this should choose a Web3 platform with this advanced capability and pay special attention to the security aspects of the technical implementations for this.

Scenario 4:

Content Portability

This scenario, which may be a variation of the previous one, deals with the portability of content, such as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). The owner of an NFT may have a requirement to use it on different Blockchains. For example, the owner may have purchased a physical item from a fashion brand object that is accompanied by a digital twin NFT. The NFT may grant an exclusive membership with token-gated access to several experiences. If these experiences run on top of different Blockchains, the user will want to move the NFT seamlessly to benefit from them. Another example would be an in-game item or an avatar that works across multiple games running on various chains. Likewise, moving the asset across chains without the risk of a “double spend” must be supported. 

Tip: Developers targeting use cases like this should choose a Web3 platform with this advanced capability.

Scenario 5:

Cross-chain migration

With the swift pace of development in the Web3 and Blockchain space, it is conceivable that a dApp that was originally developed on top of one Blockchain would later benefit from moving to a different chain. The reason may be that an emerging chain performs vastly better, such as a Layer-2 chain offering a lower cost of transactions. 

Now, to migrate content and users, non-trivial complications arise. For example, will there be a “hard fork”? Will the entire data history be migrated, or only a snapshot? Will the dApp interact with both chains at the same time?

Tip: While this is a complex and less frequent case, developers selecting a Web3 platform should investigate how this can be supported on the respective platform and tools.

Try it hands-on

Try it on zbyte!

Now that you know the importance of Multi-Chain and several use cases, we invite you to try it on our Web3 platform, zbyte. Not only does zbyte have Multi-Chain support, but it also has unique and industry-leading tokenomics to support advanced use cases like content portability very elegantly. Sign up here to take the next step!

Start your Web3 journey today with zbyte.

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