Solana-based Projects Team Up to Make Cross-Chain Messaging Standard

Notifi Network, Bonfida and Only1 are leading a 19-member effort known as the "Open Chat Alliance."

AccessTimeIconAug 23, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:43 p.m. UTC

A group of Solana blockchain-based protocols are pushing to streamline crypto communications through open-sourced standards that proponents hope will break down the data silos between projects and chains.

The so-called “Open Chat Alliance” debuted Tuesday with buy-in from 19 Solana projects, most notably messaging platform Notifi Network, Solana Name Service (SNS) provider Bonfida and non-fungible token (NFT)-powered social media platform Only1. Their plan is to create a transparent and interoperable standard for handling crypto-based messages that can proliferate across the industry.

The alliance seeks to address what Notifi CEO Paul Kim calls crypto’s “wallet gardens” problem. He told CoinDesk that when users join a protocol or project’s community, they can’t freely communicate with others. Being bound to one platform with one identity creates siloed communication, he said.

This “[goes] against the entire concept of Web3” being open source, accessible and interoperable, said Kim.

It's not the first time crypto projects have tried to break down these walls. Data service Chainlink has its own cross-chain system; the entire Cosmos ecosystem is built around the idea of “inter-blockchain communications.”

The alliance says it will form a communications standard that projects on different chains can utilize despite the tech differences between blockchains. In theory, an interoperable standard would make it easy for a Solana user to send a message to someone on Ethereum, for example.

Even in Solana there's hardly unity around messaging systems. Dialect, a competitor with its own messaging standards, has publicly with many protocols in the space, underscoring the uphill battle that any single self-described "standard" faces in achieving mass adoption.

Leon Lee, founder and CEO of Only1, told CoinDesk that an example of the alliance’s framework includes GameFi and NFT dapp users freely communicating with each other, without the boundaries of separate protocols, wallets or chains.

“You're using your wallet as your kind of passport. And that passport has data on what you have and don't have in your assets,” said Kim, the Notifi CEO.

However, the technology surrounding cross-chain messaging hasn’t been safe from hackers.

The $600 million Poly Network hack last August sparked concerns around protocol interoperability because a message sent between chains triggered the attack. These “bridges” are often targeted, as seen in April’s $625 million Ronin hack and the $200 million Nomad exploit earlier this month.

According to Kim, this is why Open Chat Alliance’s framework is solely for messaging.

“There's multiple different features as a user you can subscribe to and, depending on which feature you use, different security protocols,” said Kim. “But at the end of the day, we're not really interacting just yet with any of the transactions beyond just communication.”

The three projects behind the alliance have already partnered with 19 projects in the Solana ecosystem, thus far, primarily NFT and DeFi-related projects. More projects are in the pipeline, according to Kim.

Realy, a Solana-based metaverse, is enthusiastic about incorporating the framework for Web3 users to communicate outside of their network.

George Yang, CEO of Realy, told CoinDesk that an interoperable messaging framework will afford greater communication between projects, because “Web3 is an open and connected network.”

In addition, social data platform CyberConnect hopes to incorporate the messaging framework.

“CyberConnect users will not only be able to view their friend’s profile but also to send a message,” said Shiyu Zhang, CEO of CyberConnect.


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Cam Thompson

Cam Thompson was a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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