Axelar and Immutable teamed up to create Web3 interoperability through a canonical bridge to Ethereum.
Sydney, Australia-based Immutable said the integration announcement marks a significant leap forward in the realm of Web3 gaming interoperability, providing a seamless bridge for user interactions across over 50 blockchains.
With this integration into the Axelar network, games built on Immutable zkEVM gain the capability to extend across an ever-expanding network of 56 connected blockchains. This integration ensures built-in programmability, security, and scalability at the cross-chain network layer.
This partnership will help game studios to onboard Web3 players and introduce new channels for increased liquidity, ushering in more scalability and reach.
In the initial phase of this collaboration, Axelar will orchestrate direct access between Ethereum and Immutable’s cutting-edge zkEVM chain, a Polygon-based ZK-rollup blockchain seamlessly embedded within Immutable’s Web3 gaming platform. This innovative chain boasts Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, ensuring low-cost transactions, scalability, and Ethereum-level security for gaming applications.
Axelar network (axelar.network) is an open-source and permissionless blockchain network. Axelar Foundation is a nonprofit chartered in the Cayman Islands with a mission to advance adoption and utility of Axelar network.
How it works
“At the very high level, Axelar is about making Web3 usable,” said Georgios Vlachos, director and cofounder of Axelar Foundation, in an interview with GamesBeat. “If you look at the Web3 user experience today, a real person who has never used a wallet is just impossible to onboard. If you want to use an application, first you have to find a wallet specific to the application you’re using. You probably don’t even understand what the blockchain is. Then you want to use another application to load the different wallets. You have to find a way to either create funds or buy funds on a centralized exchange and move over this after four or five different steps to just onboard yourself. And when it comes to using applications, it just impossible because a lot of them live on different chains.”
There is a lot of technical learning to be to switch between applications.
“With Axelar, we want to make Web3 as simple to use as Web2 today. Users should only have to think about assets and applications, right? Let’s say you want to play a game that lives on the Immutable blockchain. As a user, you have some USDC (a stablecoin cryptocurrency) on Solana,” Vlachos said. “Then you need to use that to buy an in-game item on Immutable so that you can play your game. Today, this is impossible to do. It’s like four or five different steps. The end game is one where the user will have an interface to pay with USDC to buy items in the game and on the backend the wallets track where the USDC lives — maybe it’s on Solana — and it does all of those operations on behalf of the user.”
Instead of doing four or five different operations, it will turn out to be a single click, and the users won’t have to know the difference. It’s about abstracting away all of the complexities, bridging different chains, and making Web3 as easy to use as possible.
A developer can integrate the tech to give users access as needed. A user can go to a front-end for a game, deposit money or open a position, and then all of the cross-chain interactions will happen on the backend, Vlachos said.
The transactions across the most popular chains could take about 20 seconds to complete. Normally, on Ethereum, it can take 10 minutes to 20 minutes to complete, he said. But Axelar’s Relayers give the user funds as needed in a kind of security handoff where the user assumes no risk.
Key advantages of the Axelar network integration
Games will benefit from better user onboarding. Games gain direct access to Ethereum Layer 1 users, streamlining the onboarding process for an enhanced gaming experience.
Through Immutable Passport and Immutable Checkout, players can effortlessly move assets to and from Ethereum Layer 1, simplifying deposits and withdrawals.
Games now have the capability to scale seamlessly across multiple blockchains, expanding their user base.
Michael Powell, head of product marketing at Immutable, said in a statement, “Web3 games deploying on Immutable zkEVM, coupled with Immutable Checkout, can now connect to player wallets across the largest network of blockchains. Players will be able to seamlessly interact in-game with digital assets stored on any connected blockchain through Immutable Passport.”
Additionally, the native utility token of the Immutable ecosystem, IMX, will be securely bridged to the new Immutable zkEVM environment. IMX is a critical component utilized for transaction fees and incentivizing users and developers to actively contribute to the growth of the Immutable ecosystem.
Sergey Gorbunov, CEO of Interop Labs, the initial developer of Axelar network, said in a statement, “The integration of Immutable serves as an expansion pack for the Axelar ecosystem, complementing a platform that already supports interoperability for Web3 game platform leaders like Decentraland and XPLA. This represents a significant step towards achieving interoperability in game development and metaverse environments, a concept discussed since the advent of Web3.”
Jean-Yves Martineau, CTO at SimWin Sports, said in a statement, “With Axelar interoperability integrated into Immutable Checkout, games on Immutable zkEVM are able to onboard transaction-ready players from the entire Ethereum ecosystem. The fragmentation of user funds has traditionally been a user acquisition hurdle for the Web3 gaming industry, but Immutable and Axelar are breaking down those barriers and ultimately fueling fan engagement for SimWin Sports’ AI driven sports simulations. Furthermore, the ability for players to withdraw assets back to Ethereum L1 only reinforces the fact that players truly own their in-game items.”
Axelar will be agnostic when it comes to applications. In gaming, it is working with Immutable, and it has a partnership with Decentraland, where you can buy an NFT on a decentralized platform with a single click. It’s also working with XPLA, which is part of a gaming conglomerate in South Korea.
“It’s a seamless user experience,” Vlachos said. “Every game living on Immutable will be using this technology to seamlessly onboard users.”
The zkEVM solution makes integration easy because Axelar works with other virtual machines. Axelar generates revenue like other Layer 1 solutions based on transactions on the network. Users pay a gas fee on the network and that affects the supply of the token. You need the token to pay gas fees on the network.
Interop Labs created a lot of the initial code, and there are other teams in the community helping as well, with each one building pieces of the solution. Vlachos is part of the Axelar Foundation.
Overall, Axelar is strong on security as it has 75 validators on its network verifying transactions. That decentralization is important as many hacker attacks against blockchain networks have succeeded due to over-centralization. If it succeeds, Axelar hopes to capture a decent chunk of blockchain transactions.
In other cases of hacker attacks, the hackers attacked vulnerable bridges used by a small, preset group of validators to sign (verify) transactions. Axelar network prevents this kind of attack by employing the largest validator set in cross-chain (75). Like Ethereum and other proof-of-stake networks, the Axelar network validator set is dynamic: Anyone can accumulate stake and become a validator on the network.
The work took about three months to get done.
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