The POA Product Suite: Moving The Ethereum Protocol Forward

In a world of single-product projects, POA Network sometimes gets lumped in with the rest of the crowd. While the POA Core network was our first live product, we’ve since expanded to offer a suite of products designed for the Ethereum ecosystem. With over 70 Github contributors and 90+ repos, POA strives to develop products that push the Ethereum protocol forward. From innovative sidechains, to open-source explorers used by some of the biggest players in blockchain, to interoperability protocols solving scalability issues, POA continues to innovate in the blockchain space.

POA Core network, our flagship product, went live in December 2017. Boasting 5 second blocks, fixed gas prices, and insanely cheap transactions, it provided a solution to Ethereum’s scaling problems. While the Ethereum mainnet came to a stand still with CryptoKitties, transactions could be processed seamlessly through the POA Network.

With the launch of new EVM-based networks like POA, technical and bureaucratic challenges bubbled up from the community. Development tools like blockchain explorers and wallets with smart contract interaction were hostile to new sidechains, and did not see the value in developing their products for alternative chains like POA. So, we took matters into our own hands, and with the help from community members sympathetic to the cause, began developing our own toolset. The POA Product Suite is the result of this ongoing effort.

BlockScout: The Open Source Ethereum Explorer

Creating a full-featured block explorer was our first big priority. Blockchain developers and users needed a fast and functional way to inspect and verify transactions. Etherscan was the standard bearer, but the closed-source code was not configurable or transparent. Once development started, the community quickly realized the value of a robust open-source explorer, and a $250,000 USD grant from the Ethereum foundation helped make BlockScout a reality.

Fast forward 8 months later, and BlockScout by POA was released into production. Finally, a full-featured, free, and open-source explorer was available for any EVM based network. Since the launch, BlockScout has received accolades from the community, is the default explorer for Ethereum Classic and other large chains and continues to evolve with lots of community support. As it stands, the latest release of BlockScout has the following networks hosted on it:

BlockScout continues to be highly regarded by the Ethereum development community, with it being starred 578 times on Github and still remains one of our most developed projects.

TokenBridge: The First Production Interoperability Protocol

When the POA Core Network went live, the POA native coin was launched as the native currency. Because the native coin is not an ERC20 token, it was difficult to access liquidity in the Ethereum ecosystem, especially in centralised exchanges. To circumvent this issue, we came up with a novel concept. The POA20 Bridge, powered by our TokenBridge protocol, is a two-way interoperability bridge that allows users to lock their POA native coins, and mint POA20 (an ERC20 representation of the POA native coin) coins on Ethereum mainnet. This provided an avenue for listing POA in decentralized and centralized exchanges. On the day of the POA20 Bridge launch, POA20 was listed on Bancor, IDEX, and Ethfinex.

Since the launch of the POA20 Bridge, there has been 74.78 Million POA20 Tokens bridged back and forth, 13.92 Million POA20 locked in the contract, accounting for 4% of the circulating supply and over 2000 transactions conducted safely between the two networks.

The POA20 Bridge was our first implementation of the TokenBridge protocol, but certainly not the last. Projects with utility tokens on the Ethereum mainnet saw that they could use the TokenBridge protocol to move their tokens to other EVM based networks to take advantage of faster transaction times. The POA20 Bridge was the first of its kind, paving the way for additional cross-chain bridges such as the ERC20 to ERC20 TokenBridge.

A growing list of influential projects have adopted our TokenBridge interoperability solution over the past year. Ocean Protocol, Artis Network, Energy Web Foundation, Lukso, Arianee , Ambrosus, Sentinel Chain, CLN, Virtue Poker, and Swarm City all leverage the TokenBridge protocol to achieve their project’s unique vision.

POA Core Chain

As time progressed, we found that the POA Core network was perfect for high transaction applications looking to leverage the blockchain while maintaining cost efficiency. Applications like blockchain games.

DopeRaider, a game deployed on POA, set the record for the highest number of transactions of any blockchain game. Additional games have seen success on POA, including Everdragons and the currently number 1 app, Geon, a mobile app that leverages POA Network and has over 50K current users.

With the POA Network toolset, game developers have access to a full-featured explorer, a scalable fast blockchain, and an interoperability protocol that allows for easy asset transfer. It is a complete deployment-ready production platform. With this in mind, we started the POA Games Fund, a $50,000 grant initiative to incentivize developers to deploy on POA. The plan for this fund is to start a snowball effect, attracting more users to play games on POA which will in turn incentivize more developers to develop on POA.

xDai Stable Chain: The First Stable Chain

Nine months after the launch of POA Core network, we found our collection of open-source development tools could be combined to create new and unique chain implementations. One of these ideas was to use the TokenBridge technology to create a new bridge that locks an ERC20 stable coin, Dai, and mints a native stable coin on another chain. With this innovation, the xDai Stable Chain was born.

xDai shared many properties with POA Core: Fixed gas prices, 5 second blocks and lightning fast transaction speeds. However, because xDai is stable coin, prices of any transaction in the network is fixed to a USD value. xDai launched as the first USD-stable chain and was integrated instantly into BlockScout explorer.

Ethereum developers now have access to a stable chain that they can develop their applications on. While POA Core’s main use-case was gaming, xDai’s use-case quickly became apparent as peer-to-peer payment.

Austin Griffth’s Burner Wallet, a peer-to-peer payment wallet deployed on top of xDai, became a smash hit. The insanely cheap transactions on xDai were highlighted when the total transaction cost for $38,432.56 worth of meals on ETHDenver was $.0.20! Soon after, xDai was used as a deployment platform for many of Consensys’s projects including Helena Network and TruSet Data.

Moving the Ethereum protocol forward

It is easy for the Ethereum ecosystem to put POA Network in the box of a proof-of-authority based network, but POA offers so much more than that. POA is a fully fledged ecosystem of open-source development tools designed to move the Ethereum protocol forward.

BlockScout is growing bigger everyday, boasting a new design and a new hosted plan with version 2.0.0. The TokenBridge is pushing the interoperability envelope with new specs, the latest being a proposal for a bridge between Binance Chain and Ethereum, as well as a bridge between Facebook’s Libra and Ethereum. POA Core is still in heavy usage thanks to the applications and games running on the network. And xDai is on its way towards a new protocol upgrade and version 2.0.

The products that POA creates all work together to create a coherent platform and ecosystem for developers of Ethereum based applications. xDai has become a sensation within the Ethereum ecosystem and it will kickstart all the other tools and infrastructure that POA builds in the future.

With an upgrade consisting of POSDAO implementation, xDai will become a truly decentralized stable chain that will be the embodiment of programmable money. The next article we will dive even deeper into xDai, its history and its future. Stay tuned!