Polkadot web2/web3 API middleware development

Proponent: 16HqymHVxdLtK8jtbur7DusQrfLAVEJZfsQijfxVwhQHiTgU

Date: 17.03.2023

Requested DOT: 76,620.00

Requested USD: 463,627.62

EMA7: 6.051

Short description: Development of an open-source web API system to ‘bridge’ enterprise IT and the Polkadot blockchain ecosystem.

1. Executive Summary

The goal of this proposal is to develop an open-source technology which provides a 2-way API gateway between web2/3/in-house applications and the Polkadot ecosystem including all its parachains, thereby enabling easy integration of Polkadot and all its parachains with traditional Enterprise applications and new web3 solutions.

We envision this technology enabling the creation of many SaaS offerings, providing the gateways services with varying SLAs, industry domains, and geographic regions. By way of these gateways traditional enterprise software products and services would be provided a bi-directional communication channel with the Polkadot relay chain and all its parachains. The Gateway API will enable enterprise organisations to onboard their users and enable them to interact with any Polkadot parachain transparently, without having to directly own and manage the chain’s native tokens, or any crypto at all, or even understand complex blockchain technical concepts.

2. Context of the proposal

Aventus Network (AvN) is an enterprise-focused, scalable, sustainable and interoperable blockchain which is built on Substrate. It currently operates as a layer 2 on Ethereum, additionally, AvN is a parachain of Polkadot ParaID 2056. To date, Aventus’ enterprise-grade modular architecture has supported use cases including NFTs, video games, loyalty schemes, event ticketing, supply chain provenance and cargo management. The AvN has processed over 32m transactions in production with 2.5m active wallets to date which can be seen on the block explorer: Aventus Explorer.

Aventus' mission is to bring blockchain into Enterprise by making building on Polkadot, Ethereum and beyond accessible for companies in any ecosystem.
Aventus has developed an enterprise blockchain middleware solution - Aventus Gateway - which provides a way for web2/web3 application developers to incorporate state-of-the-art blockchain services into their architecture without needing to directly manage wallets, run and manage nodes, pay or own crypto, or even understand blockchain technology at a deep level. Instead, they rely on the familiar concept of always-on JSON-RPC API, accessed via HTTPS endpoints using common techniques and tools.

This is currently delivered as:

  • Public SaaS which consists of a cloud infrastructure which operates a publicly-accessible end-point.
  • Software solution to build a SaaS offering (with a set of public or private end-points) for those who require guaranteed levels of service.

Users can leverage a companion npm library that facilitates the creation of requests, authorisation and endpoint discovery, but can also implement their own logic towards constructing the requests.

At present, we have customers who demonstrated both approaches' viability. The Gateway charges fees for each transaction request, but state queries are free. These fees cover both the network operation and the expense of the relayer service’s infrastructure.

3. Problem Statement

The proposal aims to solve the problem of connecting the traditional enterprise software domain and the entire Polkadot blockchain ecosystem by extending and enhancing Aventus Gateway’s API to support Polkadot relay chain and all its parachains.

4. Proposal Objective/solution/s to point 2

The goal of the proposal is to develop an open-source solution, and a SaaS offering, to provide a two-way API gateway between internet web2/3 or in-house applications and the Polkadot ecosystem. Currently traditional software providers face multiple challenges integrating blockchain into their solution architecture, namely:

  • Lack of technical domain knowledge in blockchain, and specifically Polkadot and its parachains. Diversity in the ecosystem makes this challenge even more significant.
  • Comparatively immature blockchain enterprise software stack, absence of developed middleware solutions and cloud services which are 'a given' in the traditional layered enterprise architecture.
  • Traditional businesses' compliance, legal and accounting incompatibility with crypto, especially with staking or custody of crypto-funds.

Aventus Polkadot Gateway solution would address these challenges by offering a scalable and highly available platform, which can be run by individuals and organisations for private consumption or as a public service, thus enabling the emergence of a decentralised industry of API infrastructure providers which will underpin the growth in hybrid web2/web3 applications.

a. Split-fees logic

This technology would, for example, enable enterprise organisations to onboard their users and enable them to interact with any Polkadot parachain transparently, without having to directly own and manage the chain's native tokens, or any crypto at all.

b. Architecture

Our goal is to extend Gateway proxying logic so that we can target not only endpoints (pallets and methods) present on the AvN but also any public endpoint present on other chains in the Polkadot ecosystem.

c. Stakeholder benefits

By creating a middleware solution for interoperability and integration of blockchains with web2/3 and enterprise systems this proposal benefits the Polkadot community as a whole: all parachains and the entire Polkadot ecosystem. This will immediately enable new and existing parachains to offer out of the box integration gateways into their networks. Potentially it will also trigger the emergence of a decentralised industry of API service providers reducing barriers to entry and accelerating seamless fusion of traditional IT and Polkadot. This would drive adoption of the Polkadot blockchain ecosystem, bring new users, transaction workloads and enable the emergence of new business models.

View the full proposal here - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MuP6pNuqdAD4mRJOD0CjiYhXCJZHowjd5dRO94B9woc/edit?usp=sharing

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