What is ZetaChain?

An overview

ZetaChain is the foundational, public blockchain that enables omnichain smart contracts and messaging between any blockchain. It solves the problems of “cross-chain” and “multi-chain” and aims to open the crypto and global financial ecosystem to anyone.

ZetaChain envisions and supports a truly fluid, multi-chain crypto ecosystem, where users and developers can move between and appreciate the benefits of any blockchain: payments, DeFi, liquidity, games, art, social graphs, performance, security, privacy, and more.

Get a closer look at ZetaChain's background and architecture

Read the Whitepaper

Key Features

Chain Abstraction Framework

ZetaChain is a decentralized and public blockchain network. It is built on Cosmos SDK and Comet BFT consensus. The unique feature of ZetaChain is the Chain Abstraction Framework (CAF), which enables omnichain connectivity of the network to any blockchain. This framework is accessible through the Universal EVM, which is a synchronous environment that can be called from any chain, manage native assets on any chain, and access asynchronous arbitrary messaging to call contracts on other chains. Developing with the CAF offers the ability to build robust state management combined with multi-leg, multi-chain apps' needs, all in the familiar EVM development environment. The resulting user experience is unbounded, where the majority of apps can be used entirely from any single network while the rest of the app logic can be affordably, securely, and performantly abstracted.

Hyper-connected nodes

ZetaChain's nodes have observers that monitor transactions on every connected chain. Through ZetaChain's TSS architecture, the network can sign and verify transactions on every connected chain. By being able to read and write to connected chains in a secure, decentralized manner, these hyper-connected nodes provide a seamless Chain Abstraction Framework for developers to build novel and powerful cross-chain applications.

Omnichain smart contracts

Smart contracts deployed natively on ZetaChain can read/write to connected chains. ZetaChain is the only public blockchain to support smart contracts with this capability, enabling a new paradigm of app development.

Cross-chain message passing

A developer can pass messages (data and value) between chains and layers with simple function calls. Through message passing, a dApp developer can build powerful cross-chain applications by simply implementing a few functions within their existing smart contracts. By composing messaging capabilities with Omnichain Smart Contracts, apps can abstract multi-leg cross-chain transactions in tandem with native asset movements and interactions. For example, a contract on ZetaChain could be called by a user on Bitcoin and also enact external contract calls on Ethereum and BNB Chain, and more legs thereafter — all in just one step for the user.

Managed external assets

ZetaChain's network and dApps built on top of ZetaChain can manage assets and vaults of externally connected chains. This allows assets on any chain to be managed just as a smart contract on a single chain can manage assets on its respective chain. A dApp on ZetaChain can thus orchestrate and bring smart contract logic to any connected chain. This property applies to all chains, including non-smart-contract chains, like Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

Technical Roadmap

Key development milestones

ZetaChain’s mission is to serve as a platform for universal access, simplicity, and utility across any blockchains. ZetaChain’s initial mainnet launch contains all core functionality contemplated within ZetaChain’s proposed features, including its EVM layer, omnichain smart contracts, and cross-chain messaging.

ZetaChain is a Proof-of-Stake blockchain designed for interoperability, supporting the creation of omnichain dApps that can span any chain, including the Bitcoin blockchain, where all transaction, incentives, data security, and cross-chain interaction requires ZETA tokens to function.

This document outlines the initial development directions that the protocol may take in order to improve and add onto the core functionality of the ZetaChain network, based on decentralized community input. All real development and upgrades will be done through governance, and development of the ZetaChain network is fully open-source — anybody can and should feel free to contribute to the development of the network. The community and contributors will drive the progress of the network.

Potential Key Development Roadmap Pillars

Protocol Roadmap

Pillar 1

Chain Integrations

Expand the ecosystem by integrating additional blockchain networks.
Chains to Integrate
Chains such as Solana, Filecoin, Bitcoin ordinals/BRC20, Cosmos ecosystem via Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC), various Layer 2 solutions (L2s), and others as determined by ecosystem needs.
Develop and implement secure and efficient protocols for cross-chain interoperability. Improve framework and architecture for new chain integrations modularly.
Expected Outcome
Increased network robustness and accessibility, attracting a wider user base.
Cryptography (TSS for signature schemes other than ECDSA secp256k1 curve), heterogeneous blockchain model/parameters/interaction methods, potential problems with source of information that may not be efficiently/robustly available from standard full-node, speed and cost of considerations in relation to spam deterrence.

Pillar 2

More dApp, Asset, and Transaction Types

Facilitate the creation and operation of diverse decentralized applications (dApps) and assets/standards.
Key Features
  • Arbitrary omnichain smart contract messaging to/from ZetaChain.
  • ZRC-20 whitelisting automation and expanded onboarding process.
  • ZRC20-like NFT support for omnichain smart contracts.
  • BRC20/Ordinals support in omnichain smart contracts.
  • Standardized interactions with connected chains beyond fungible tokens (ZRC20 model).
Expected Outcome
A more vibrant and versatile ecosystem supporting a wider range of applications and assets that applications can orchestrate.
Secure, simple, and efficient way to compose and interoperate different assets/contracts, standards on different chains.

Pillar 3

Trust Model Improvement & Security

Enhance the trust model and security of the network.
  • Shift from observation of inbound and outbound transactions to a proof-verification-based model.
  • Reduce reliance on the assumption of 2/3 honest observers for external events.
  • Improve observer/tss signer on-chain monitoring and incentives.
  • Gradually increase decentralization and reduce central point of failures/control.
  • Improve performance and reduce cost by utilizing zero-knowledge proof for validating external events/computations.
Expected Outcome
Reduced operational costs, enhanced network security, and increased trustworthiness, and reduce single point of failure points.
Incentives, decentralization, and security.

Pillar 4

Performance and Robustness Improvement

Boost the network's efficiency and throughput.
Key Areas
  • Higher cross-chain Transactions Per Second (TPS).
  • Lower resource consumption and storage requirements for validators.
  • Increase awareness of network operation, error/exception handling and recovery.
  • Performance and chaos engineering tooling to battle-test new protocol upgrades.
Expected Outcome
A faster, more efficient, and reliable blockchain network capable of handling increased transaction volumes.
Understanding the bottleneck, scaling issues, and tradeoffs between performance/storage efficiency vs verifiability of the network.

Pillar 5

Omnichain dApp Developer Tooling, SDK, and Support

Provide superior tools and support to developers.
Tools to Develop
  • JavaScript/TypeScript SDKs, Telegram Bot SDK.
  • Debugging tools.
  • Cross-chain transaction simulation.
  • Explorer/observability: especially better support for complex cross-chain dApps to expose the cross-chain sub-tx in an easy to understand way.
Expected Outcome
Easier development process, leading to an influx of high-quality and more novel dApps.
Understanding of dApp/frontend needs; diverse requirements and preferences from developers.

Pillar 6

Taking Ownership of Key Dependencies

Improve key open-source dependencies.
Key Areas
  • Ethermint: Enhance compatibility with Ethereum tooling, efficiency, and interoperability with EVM and Cosmos modules.
  • TSS-lib & Go-TSS: Improve security, performance, and support for new signature schemes and chains.
Expected Outcome
A more reliable and versatile ecosystem, facilitating smoother operations and integration. A growing community of open source contributors for each projects.
Large code base to develop and maintain, upstreaming strategy and working with other teams that share substantial amount of code.