In September 2018, LightYear acquired Chain to form a combined company called Interstellar. The company is working on a new blockchain architecture with a focus on privacy, security, and safety named Slingshot.
Chain is now Interstellar! 🎉 We've joined forces with Lightyear to make building on the Stellar network even easier.
Read the announcement to learn more: https://t.co/FWZXVSS7Ww
— Interstellar (@go_interstellar) September 10, 2018
The Slingshot project encapsulates the following sub-protocols and components:
Zero-knowledge Virtual Machines (ZkVM)
The authors of TxVM, a virtual machine for blockchain transactions have come up with ZkVM.
— Oleg Andreev (@oleganza) May 9, 2019
It is a blockchain transaction format with cloaked assets and zero-knowledge smart contracts. Its goal is to make transactions customizable, confidential, highly efficient, and simple. It allows custom contracts via programmable constraints over encrypted data and assets. Slingshot also has an API called Token for issuing assets using ZkVM.
ZkVM ensures confidentiality by fully encrypting quantities and types of assets. It also makes it certain that the asset flow is hidden at the transaction level allowing individuals and organizations to safely perform their transactions directly on the shared ledger. Its data model is compact, taking up only a few kilobytes. You can verify transactions parallelly in 1-2 ms per CPU core and bootstrap nodes instantly from a network-verified snapshot.
Spacesuit, Rust implementation of the Cloak protocol
Slingshot’s Spacesuit is the implementation of the Cloak protocol in Rust. Cloak is a protocol for confidential assets based on the Bulletproofs zero-knowledge circuit proof system. With cloaked transactions, you can exchange values that have different asset types.
Musig, a signature scheme for signing messages
Slingshot’s Musig is the Rust implementation of Simple Schnorr Multi-Signatures. It is a signature scheme for signing single or multiple messages. You can sign a single message with one public key. This public key can be created from a private key of a single party or by aggregating multiple public keys. Multiple messages can be signed with multiple public keys.
Keytree, a key blinding scheme for deriving hierarchies of public keys
Keytree is a ‘key blinding scheme’ with which you can derive hierarchies of public keys for Ristretto-based signatures. It can derive a set of public keys with only one key without using any private keys. This enables a system to generate unique receiving addresses without knowing any details about the private key. For instance, an online merchant can generate invoices with unique keys by keeping only public keys on the server, without compromising the security of the private keys.
Slidechain, a demonstration of a minimal Stellar sidechain
Slingshot includes Slidechain that allows you to peg funds from the Stellar testnet. You can then import them to a sidechain and move them back to Stellar if needed. A sidechain is generally used for operations that aren’t possible or permitted on the originating network. The sidechain in Slidechain is based on TxVM for allowing safe, general-purpose smart contracts and token issuance. The pegged funds will remain immobilized on the originating network while the imported funds exist on the sidechain.
On a Reddit thread, a user explained, “Looks more like an entire network upgrade to me. An overhaul that offers privacy, more scalability, and sidechains. It would be odd to offer a sidechain that operates as a better version of stellar.”
Another user added, “Ever since Chain was acquired, there has been little information about what Interstellar is building for Stellar. Chain offered a blockchain service called Sequence. Sequence allowed you to easily setup a ledger/blockchain and integrate it with your application/business.
I believe this repo details an enhanced version of Chain with Stellar integration. Businesses can create their own private network while having full access to the Stellar network to transact with other chain networks. This would function as a second layer solution on top of Stellar. Other networks such as OMG and Cosmos function similarly to this iirc.”
To know more about Slingshot, check out its GitHub repository.