JPMorgan Veterans' Kadena Launches Public Blockchain, Integrates Wallet to Cosmos Network

Kadena, a startup spun out of JPMorgan’s blockchain center, has taken a step toward its vision of creating interoperable, scalable public blockchains with a full launch Wednesday.

AccessTimeIconJan 15, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 12:08 p.m. UTC
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Crypto startup Kadena’s public blockchain launched Wednesday, adding interoperable smart contract support between the public chain and its private chain counterparts. 

The Brooklyn-based offshoot of JPMorgan’s blockchain center announced the launch marks another step in its effort to develop scalable, secure proof-of-work alternatives to the current leading cryptocurrencies ethereum and bitcoin. As part of its efforts in interoperability, Kadena is also integrating its wallet Chainweaver with the Cosmos Network, allowing different blockchains to interact.

The integration process is expected to be complete by March. 

Using Kadena, individuals or businesses can begin looking at apps and projects that use “a fully-scalable base layer as a piece of public infrastructure” while maintaining privacy features to address any regulatory or other concerns, founder and president Stuart Popejoy told CoinDesk.

Public chains

Using an in-house smart contract language called Pact, Kadena said the advancement introduces a “hybrid blockchain” model capable of processing 750 transactions per second, though 750 is just Kadena’s conservative estimate. Popejoy, who previously directed JP Morgan's Blockchain Center of Excellence, said his protocol’s braided blockchain design can accommodate even industrial use cases. 

According to Popejoy, the durability of ethereum and bitcoin proves PoW’s value but their failures to reliably process transactions (bitcoin) or grow to the demands of decentralized apps (ethereum) makes them unsuitable for enterprise use cases. 

Public chains are also anathema to certain sensitive contexts such as medical privacy issues, he said. 

“Kadena’s whole goal is to solve the scaling problems of bitcoin and the security problems of ethereum,” Popejoy said.

The hybrid model based on a PoW protocol hopes to take on this issue by essentially allowing users to switch between chains using the Pact programming language.

“You have a scalable private blockchain, you have a scalable public blockchain and you have Pact, and the application layer that allows you to communicate between all three,” Popejoy said.  

Kadena said a number of companies already plan to utilize its hybrid blockchain model in finance and healthcare, including Rymedi, a South Carolina medical technology firm and facilitator of an FDA-approved study of blockchain tracing specialty prescription drugs.

Multiple chains

To further aid its scaling and interoperability goals, Kadena hopes to conclude its Cosmos integration by the end of March.

As part of the move, Kadena will make Pact available on Cosmos as Kadenamint, meaning developers will be able to create smart contracts using Kadena’s token starting Wednesday. 

“Besides storing cryptocurrencies, our multi-blockchain wallet can provide a tool kit and user-friendly programming environment for developers on the Cosmos Network,” said Kadena founder Will Martino, another JPMorgan veteran, once lead engineer for the bank's blockchain prototype, Juno. 

Developers can write smart contracts for both Cosmos and Kadena from the same interface using Chainweaver. The wallet includes features such as Formal Verification and capabilities-based security, according to Martino. 

To fund its operations, Kadena raised $15 million in 2018 from investors including Multicoin Capital and the private investment arm of the owners of Fidelity Investments. The firm aims to raise another $20 million via a token sale. 

Ethan Buchman, technical director of the Interchain Foundation, one of Cosmos’ largest backers, said in a statement that scalability, security and usability are all major issues to address.

"We're working with Kadena to integrate their digital wallet Chainweaver into the larger Cosmos ecosystem to tackle these issues like never before, enabling users to build Pact smart contracts running on the Tendermint consensus engine through Chainweaver's stellar UX," Buchman said.  

UPDATE (Jan. 15, 20:05 UTC): While Kadena was founded by JPMorgan alumni, the company is not technically a spinoff. This article's headline has been amended to clarify this distinction.


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