The Road to Dynamic IBC

A funny thing happened on the way to the hackathon. Late last October, as San Francisco Blockchain week was approaching, we were busy preparing some hackathon challenge bounties for Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC), a protocol that’s a collaboration between Cosmos, Agoric, and others.

We were excitedly discussing how IBC enabled rapid innovation where parties could stand up a new zone (an independent blockchain attached to a central blockchain) with a new protocol. I realized that most zones wouldn’t be able to talk to them because they couldn’t understand their new protocols. Their innovations couldn’t connect.

Hence Dynamic IBC (dIBC). dIBC is, in essence, the idea of using a smart contract or VM platform to deploy new contracts that support new protocols, all on an existing chain without having to wait for chain upgrades. The tl;dr is: There shouldn’t need to be a platform upgrade or chain governance vote every time someone wants to roll out a new protocol.

It then became obvious that dIBC is critical to early growth of IBC because it removes obstacles to innovation. There is a point when a solution isn’t merely addressing a problem. The solution is, instead, something that deserves first-class characterization; it’s a feature that is worth naming, and noting, and calling out. Read more