This week, Axoni, a New York tech firm specializing in distributed ledger infrastructure for capital markets and Clearmatics, a London based distributed systems company successfully demonstrated a derivative contract modeled using Axoni’s domain-specific language, AxLang, and the subsequent cross-chain settlement of the resulting two cash payments using the interoperability protocol, Ion, across currency chains built by Clearmatics designed to provide settlement finality. Prototyping the settlement of payments across different permissioned, Ethereum-compatible ledgers is a significant advancement in the long-term applicability and usability of blockchain technology.
The enterprise blockchain space has multiple types of distributed ledger solutions built by various technology providers. Interoperability will be an important step to maximize the potential of the technology over the current patchwork of legacy infrastructures. This demonstration by Axoni and Clearmatics of a cross-chain settlement of payments resulting from a derivative transaction shows that interoperability between blockchains can be achieved, and that true end-to-end value creation is possible, from the trade agreement to settlement.
In the demonstration, an option exercise was modeled in a smart contract coded in AxLang, a new Scala-based programming language developed by Axoni which supports functional programming and enables formal verification of smart contracts for Ethereum-compatible networks. Widely publicized incidents involving faulty smart contracts have emphasized the necessity of secure application development. AxLang’s design and its support of formal verification were driven by the need of its clients, the world’s largest financial institutions, for whom Axoni is implementing the broadest reaching and most ambitious permissioned ledger production projects in the world, including the post-trade settlement for $11 trillion notional of credit derivatives.
Ion is an Open Source Interoperability protocol created by Clearmatics that performs atomic swaps across multiple, turing-complete blockchains. Ion facilitates cross-chain settlement and supports multiple use cases including delivery vs payment. Counterparties escrow funds on unrelated chains and achieve settlement finality once specific state changes have occurred and supporting cryptographic proofs has been provided. Ion is Plasma like in design, aims to support decentralized economic models and provides the cash leg for trades executed across an ecosystem of Blockchains.