High-Level Overview

Blockchain trilemma

The Blockchain Trilemma refers to the conundrum that decentralized networks can only provide two of three benefits simultaneously concerning decentralization, security, and scalability. The blockchain design paradigm is shifting from a traditional monolithic design to modular architecture to break the blockchain trilemma.

Scaling solutions

The L1 Cardano blockchain suffers from performance and throughput issues because of the inherent difficulties in scaling a decentralized consensus protocol. The most practical way to address these issues is to develop general-purpose L2 solutions on top of Cardano. Rollups are general-purpose L2 solutions. There are two types of rollups, optimistic- and zk-rollups. Optimistic rollups assume all transactions to be valid by default, then they roll up transactions into batches & submit them to L1. The transaction can be challenged if fraud is suspected. In the event of a challenge, the optimistic rollup executes a fraud-proof. Like an optimistic rollup, a zk-rollup accumulates a set of transactions off-chain and periodically updates an on-chain rollup contract state to reflect the transactions that have occurred. Unlike an optimistic rollup, zk-rollups do not add a transaction to the rollup until the transaction has been checked and found to be valid. A sidechain, another type of scaling solution, is a blockchain that communicates with the L1 blockchain or “mainchain” via some type of cross-chain data transfer protocol.

Orbis protocol

Orbis is the first zk-rollup L2 solution for Cardano built to support decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and a thriving blockchain ecosystem. Transactions occur off-chain on the Orbis layer 2 and are bundled together into a single zk (zero-knowledge) proof which is submitted on-chain to the Cardano layer 1 and verified. This proof is a zk-SNARK. This proof provides mathematical and unfalsifiable proof that the transactions have happened on Orbis. Similar to Cardano, Orbis is built on an extended UTxO model. Orbis will be developed in a series of iterations, advancing Orbis from a centralized protocol running on a single machine to a distributed protocol with centralized governance, and finally to a decentralized protocol with decentralized governance.