Blockchain startup dcSpark’s novel sidechain project (named “Milkomeda”), which will allow EVM-compatible smart contracts to be executed from the Cardano mainnet, is expected to have its mainnet launch today.
Furthermore, the Milkomeda project promises in future to deliver interoperability between Cardano and other layer one (“L1)”) blockchains, such as Solana.
This sounds great, right? But who are the people making this claim and how likely are they to be able to deliver on their promises?
To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at dcSpark and the Milkomeda project.
Some Background Information on dcSpark and Its Founders
On 2 August 2021, a young startup called dcSpark explained what were the factors that influenced its decision to build software products on Cardano, which it called one of the “most promising crypto projects in the space.”
So, what does dcSpark do?
Well, according to its development team, the main goals are to:
- “Extend Blockchain Protocol Layers”
- “Implement First-Class Ecosystem Tooling”
- “Develop and Release User-Facing Apps”
dcSpark was co-founded in April 2021 by Nicolas Arqueros, Sebastien Guillemot and Robert Kornacki.
CEO Nicolas Arqueros is the ex-CTO of EMURGO (which does for Cardano the equivalent of what ConsenSys does for Ethereum) and presently “serves as a Board Member at the Cardano Foundation.”
CTO Sebastien Guillemot is the former VP of Engineering & Cardano Product Manager at EMURGO.
CSO Robert Kornacki was formerly Head of Research at EMURGO.
Here is Arqueros explaining in a blog post published on 9 July 2021 what makes dcSpark stand out among its competitors:
“Unlike most of the other companies that develop products, we are able to move between the top two layers (Application Layer and Development & Libraries Layer) while also having a deep understanding of the bottom layer (Protocol Layer).
“This gives us a unique competitive edge when creating products as we don’t require waiting for others to develop libraries or other components we need. Instead we develop them ourselves and help improve the community and ecosystem at large by open sourcing and making them available for all.“
Currently, the company is working on two products for Cardano:
- “Flint”, which is a sort of decentralized application (App) browser for Cardano; and
- “Milkomeda”, which will make it easier to use smart contracts.
On 2 August 2021, the dcSpark CEO published another blog post, this time explaining why his company builds on Cardano.
He started by saying that Cardano provides it users with “a full fledged PoS system at their disposal which overcomes many of the usability pitfalls other PoS chains struggle with.”
Arqueros then said since Cardano’s mainnet went live in 2017, “the network has gained a significant amount of user interest, helping to make Cardano “one of the top crypto projects in terms of marketcap” and “over 2100 stakepools”, which makes it “both one of the most decentralized blockchains in addition to one of the most popular.”
Next, he explained why the Extended UTXO (EUTXO) model used by the Cardano ledger, which is an extension of Bitcoin’s UTXO model, is superior to the conceptually simpler account-based model used by Ethereum and most other smart contract platforms.
And finally, Arqueros mentioned that “what sets Cardano apart is its self-sustainable mechanism for supporting ecosystem growth: a decentralized DAO called Catalyst.”
The Aims of Milkomeda and What It Means for Cardano
The basic idea is that Milkomeda will help L1 blockchains — such as Cardano, Solana, and Polkadot — that do not yet have the same kind of “robust” developer community and the same level of mass adoption as Ethereum by providing them with “both EVM-based sidechains and novel tech that provide seamless UX for both developers and general users.”
Milkomeda aims to solve this problem by “building out sidechains with alternative VMs connected to the L1 mainchains which use their cryptocurrency as their base asset”. For instance, in the case of Cardano, what the means is that it will permit “sidechains to be deployed that connect directly to the mainchain and use wADA (wrapped ADA) as the asset to pay for transaction fees.”
Guillemot says that the dcSpark team will be “developing and deploying a novel piece of tech for the Milkomeda protocol called wrapped smart contracts.”
Here he is explaining the benefits this will bring to Cardano’s users:
“With wrapped smart contracts, the L1 blockchain becomes a robust coordination layer that users stay on while executing smart contracts on the sidechain without having to move over to the sidechain themselves.
“This brings novel UX to the table for end users, wherein for example they will have the power to execute smart contracts on an EVM sidechain straight from Cardano mainnet (likewise in any other L1 deployment) without having to switch wallets or even know what is going on behind the scenes.“
The first L1 blockchain that Milkomeda will try to help is Cardano. M1 is the name of the EVM-based sidechain that will “connect directly to Cardano”; this will be not only Milkomeda’s first ever sidechain, but also the first sidechain to be built for Cardano. M1’s native asset will be wADA. The validators of M1 will be “selected from existing stake pool operators and other trusted entities within the ecosystem.”
Guillemot says that future Milkomeda side chains will “open the doors for interoperability between Cardano, Solana, and other L1 blockchains as well.”
The dcSpark CEO had this to say about the 25 August 2021 announcement:
“We believe this is an inevitable direction wherein L1 blockchains, like Cardano and Solana, have their strong security guarantees act as a backbone and coordination layer for a diverse ecosystem of many smart contract languages and virtual machines.“
As for Charles Hoskinson, he said:
“Interoperability is crucial for mainstream blockchain adoption; at IOHK, we don’t believe there will be ‘one blockchain to rule them all’, and instead value collaboration. When it comes to interoperability and scalability, sidechains are an essential part of our vision for Cardano.
“We’ve pioneered research into Proof of Stake sidechains, and recognise how important they are for interoperability within our industry. Milkomeda is a valuable addition to the Cardano ecosystem, as it will allow developers to benefit from Cardano’s speed, security and lower costs, without needing to switch wallets, or navigate a completely new operating system.“
A Closer Look at Milkomeda and Its Mainnet Launch
Here is some more information about Milkomeda (taken from its website):
“Milkomeda delivers rollup technologies to leading Layer 1 ecosystems by offering the most popular smart contracting language, Solidity, while enhancing inter-blockchain interoperability, user experience, and developer traction all at the Layer 2 level.“
And these are the main benefits that Milkomeda delivers:
- “Implementing the core foundation for non-EVM ecosystems to experience the benefits of both rollups and Solidity.“
- “Broader selection of dApps by allowing devs to port over existing projects from Ethereum.“
- “Enables the latest innovations in ZK tech to be implemented as L3+ solutions on top of Milkomeda.“
There are currently two versions of the Milkomeda C1 sidechain:
“One is the devnet version, which uses test ADA and interacts with the Cardano Testnet. The the other is the mainnet version, which uses real ADA and interacts with the Cardano mainnet.“
As for end users, it should be noted that “the Milkomeda C1 sidechain uses MilkADA as its base asset for paying fees and gas” and to access the sidechain, they will “need a Cardano wallet with some ADA as well as the MetaMask browser extension.”
Earlier today, the Milkomeda team reminded everyone that the mainnet launch would take place around 4:00 p.m. UTC on 28 March 2022.
The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.