ElkNet v2 is the first complete version of the ElkNet protocol, built with entirely original code. The ElkNet v2 architecture reflects our guiding mission to create a seamless cross-chain experience for users, developers, and organizations. Since the code is new, ElkNet v2 will still be considered a beta product at launch.
Security and efficiency have been our leading priorities with ElkNet v2. The new design is also highly responsive to the practical lessons gained from 9 months of monitoring ElkNet v1, which processed over 250,000 transfers from 36,000 users.
We’ve built multiple security checks and fail-safes into the ElkNet code, while also implementing common-sense features like transfer limits and circuit breakers, which will minimize the damage in the case of an exploit.
Most importantly, as we explain below, we are also abandoning the commonplace “burn-and-mint” and “lock-and-release” bridge mechanics completely, which we see as inherently flawed from a security standpoint after witnessing multiple bridge exploits based on these functions over the past year.
Security, speed, and cost form the three points on the cross-chain triangle. The original ElkNet was already among the fastest and cheapest ways to move value between networks. With ElkNet v2, users gain an even more powerful cross-chain engine. Each step in the transfer process has been streamlined without sacrificing security, so fewer overall smart contract interactions are needed to process each end-to-end transfer, which means significantly less gas is required to complete transactions.
These changes are especially crucial for managing user fees networks known for higher gas costs, such as Ethereum. Our goal is to preserve ElkNet’s status as the fastest and most economical cross-chain bridging option anywhere.
One of the most exciting new features coming to ElkNet v2 is a generalized message-passing layer, which allows information and data packets to move between all supported blockchains. This feature will soon enable outside developers to leverage the ElkNet to deploy cross-chain smart contracts and innovative web3 applications. It can also be used for many other applications, which we’ll detail in a future article.
We are targeting Q4 2022 for making ElkNet a trustless peer-to-peer network by giving users the ability to run their own ElkNet nodes. This “ElkNet v3” release will mark the transition to a mature, decentralized cross-chain protocol.