Layer 3: The Beginning of the End for Blockchain?

Modular architecture may mean performance gains, but its current disjointed form could stunt long-term usability. To flourish blockchain will have to standardize inter-chain comms.

Blockchain is in its dial-up phase, where accessing the tech is a frustrating, stuttering process.

Modular architecture, while pitched as scalability’s panacea, potentially compounds the issue by further siloing users within chains.

Overcoming these gaps through a blanket, unified communications layer could achieve DeFi’s mission and set it on a path to being deeply cemented into everyday society.

Early Gains

Initial progress has been made in consolidating how degens interact cross-chain that has slowly begun to simplify DeFi’s front-end.

MetaMask is a prime example - over the last two years it has increasingly combined third-party products, including a bridge aggregator, to support cross-chain activity.

What was once a simple wallet browser is now a staple service window for DeFi, offering access to trading and bridging for almost any asset.

Modularity Mayhem

Looking at MetaMask through the lens of modularity illustrates a central issue with the space’s current sporadic L1 and L2 growth.

Solutions built on specific VMs are typically locked into those ecosystems and stunt efforts toward interoperability at the earliest stages of development.

This is why MetaMask, while working efficiently for the most part, can only currently take degens to the edges of EVM-native chains.

Standardized Communication

With the L1 race increasingly feeling like an infinite game, where no single solution truly ever dominates, the need for a universal protocol communications wrapper is clear.

Solutions like Cosmos’ Inter-Blockchain Communications Protocol (IBC) are some of the first meaningful steps towards seamless transactions between heterogeneous chains, with the only question being whether they can keep up with the dizzying pace of blockchain development.

What would have been the framework for standardized inter-chain communications two years ago is hugely different from today’s, and we can assume that trend will continue.

Behind the Scenes

Blockchain will need to virtually disappear from the consciousness of a typical user to succeed, in a similar manner to how connecting to the internet now feels like second nature.

The only way that this will be achieved is by taming the vast outward growth of new chains and protocols to refine usability at scale.

The solution that triumphs in standardizing cross-blockchain communication could finally unlock the breadth of DeFi’s capability for the average person, and potentially herald Satoshi’s vision for a global decentralized future.