RippleX software engineer Mayukha Vadari hinted that Ripple was working on Ethereum Virtual Machine powered sidechains during a recent Ripple Drop episode:
“We’re also working on EVM-based sidechains that will allow people to basically use solidity smart contracts but still within the XRP ledger ecosystem.”
“We’re working on adding support for sidechains to the XRP ledger, and that will allow people to essentially add custom functionalities to the XRP ledger via sidechains. They can write their own sidechains that have whatever special features that they need or want and basically have their own blockchain to play around with. And they don’t need to worry about needing to somehow make a bridge because that’s already built into what we’re doing.”
EVM-powered sidechains could bring Ethereum-powered smart contracts to the XRPL. Everything from DeFi to gaming ecosystems could exist on a federated sidechain featuring the low fees and fast transactions found on the XRPL.
Mayukha Vadari also hinted at a future of interoperability between chains:
“The objective of interoperability is how do we have it all? How can we use our value in all of these different ways without needing to have these siloed ecosystems? Without interoperability, all of these different blockchains will be siloed ecosystems, and so you can’t really move your value around very easily. But with interoperability, you can move that value around. You could store some of it in a brand new experimental DeFi protocol on Ethereum, you can move it to something similar to the XRP Ledger that’s more designed for payments, and then you can not have to worry about your gas fees and send a bunch of payments out.”
In contrast, Vitalik Buterin argued that the future will be “multi-chain” rather than “cross-chain.” Buterin stated that bridges which hop across multiple “zones of sovereignty” are hamstrung by fundamental security limitations:
Mayukha Vadari seemed to think trustless bridges would solve this problem if they were possible:
“I’m really curious as to whether it’s possible to have a truly trustless bridge or a bridge where you’re really only trusting the blockchain itself, and you don’t really have to trust the external nodes.”
Trustless bridging is also the problem that the FBA-powered Flare Network is trying to solve with their Layer Cake protocol:
“LayerCake is a secure and scalable cross-chain protocol that solves some of the biggest problems inherent in bridging. It leverages Flare to safely and trustlessly bridge assets between any two smart contract L1s. LayerCake also enables FAssets to flow to any other smart contract chain.”
If Ripple and Flare can succeed at solving bridging security issues for secure cross chain value movement, it would be a big step towards an interoperable future where value can move seamlessly across networks.