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BNB Chain Spotlight: Axelar

2022.11.24  •  6 min read
Blog post image.

Meet Axelar: a new kind of dApp development that puts users first and lets developers build on the platform best suited to their use case.

Learn about Axelar in our latest Project Spotlight! We've put their team to the test with several challenging questions, and they've responded with tons of detail and insight for our readers. Read ahead to discover more.

1. Please describe Axelar for those unfamiliar with it. What's your vision and mission?

Axelar delivers secure cross-chain communication. That means dApp users can interact with any asset, any application, on any chain, with one click. You can think of it as Stripe for Web3.

2. When was the idea behind Axelar born, and what led to it?

Axelar was founded in 2020, emerging from its co-founder's vision that decentralized systems are more secure and capable of solving harder problems than their centralized counterparts. Since then, it has been Axelar's mission to empower developers to choose the environments that best suit their use cases, while at the same time freely composing permissionless functionality from across all of the decentralized web.

Developers integrating Axelar will create the decentralized applications that are adopted and used at the full scale of the global internet.

3. Tell us about your team's background.

Axelar was co-founded by Sergey Gorbunov and Georgios Vlachos, who had been on the founding team at Algorand. Georgios designed the Algorand consensus protocol and Sergey led the effort to standardize BLS signatures. Georgios and Sergey have recruited a team of industry-leading engineers and cryptographers.

4. What are the main advantages of Axelar for users, compared to a similar project from a mainstream financial market?

Axelar's infrastructure makes it possible for decentralized applications to deliver the accessibility and ease-of-use that is more commonly associated with centralized services. For example, a DEX that integrates Axelar can rival a centralized exchange, onboarding users via decentralized onramps that accept any digital asset.

Users can interact with these dApps without making trust assumptions that often prove unfounded. We are the only interoperability architecture to provide this functionality over fully permissionless and secure infrastructure.

5. What is the security strategy of your project?


Axelar's security approach begins with delegated proof-of-stake, the battle-tested consensus mechanism used by most of the Layer-1 blockchains Axelar connects. Like these leading blockchains, our validator set is dynamic and permissionless, secured by a community of token holders staking the AXL token. Currently, the active set of validators is capped at 50. Validators regularly participate in mandatory key rotations, for added security against persistent attacks.

Axelar has innovated in proof-of-stake security, deploying quadratic voting, a governance mechanism which ensures that, as validators accumulate delegations, they do not also accumulate voting power. Axelar's code base is audited frequently by top-tier auditors. (The audit results are visible here.) A $2.25 million bug bounty program has been ongoing since March, 2022.

Beyond these measures, safeguards such as rate limits are in place to limit losses in the event of an error. For a full picture of Axelar's security approach, read CEO Sergey Gorbunov's blog, "Security at Axelar Core."

6. Let's say I want to start using Axelar. Where do I start? Where can I find some how-to guides?


• For end-users, satellite.money is a good place to experiment with moving assets cross-chain. We have a tutorial video for Satellite users, part of a series of tutorial videos for developers and users.

• For developers, docs.axelar.dev is where you can find a full set of instructions for using all of Axelar's features. Core team members and technical moderators are available to answer questions in our Discord #developers channel. (Claim the 'developer' role to access it.)

• For those interested in validating or running Axelar nodes, the docs also provide complete instructions and the Discord testnet channels are open for any questions that arise. (Claim the 'Validator' or 'Node operator' role to access it.)

• For those interested in staking the AXL token, this post on the Axelar blog offers an introduction to the token's utility and links to guides for staking.

7. Why did you decide to migrate/build on the BNB Chain?


In short, Axelar wins when builders compose freely, reaching across Web3 for liquidity, functionality and users to create applications and networks that rival the centralized web for utility and ease of use. BNB is attracting the developers capable of building these apps. Many of them are building today in the BNB Chain ecosystem. We're excited to work with them to expand horizons for their teams and for their users.

8. What do you hope to see next from the BNB Chain community?


We're excited to see BNB Chain community members building dApps that rival their centralized counterparts for functionality and ease of use. In particular, we are excited to see teams building Web3 super dApps that compose functionality across multiple chains. Axelar has partnered with leading VCs and runs a grant program to support the creation of interoperable Web3 applications.

9. Where do you see DeFi and BNB Chain in five years?


DeFi has generated tremendous enthusiasm with new use cases for crypto and novel market structure. However, complex and fragmented user onramps meant that centralized services reaped much of the adoption growth of 2020 and 2021. Crucially, it was easy for CeFi to provide chain-agnostic user experiences.

Today, we already see dApps that have integrated Axelar to provide similar experiences, onboarding users, integrating assets and sourcing liquidity from any chain, with one click. In the next five years, there will be DeFi apps built on BNB Chain that challenge centralized finance by attracting the most creative developers and solving problems that traditional finance cannot solve.

10. Where do you position your brand in the DeFi/NFT/GameFi / Metaverse space?


Interoperability has been an inspiring ideal to many in blockchain gaming, since the early days of Web3. Builders envisioned breaking down walled gardens and allowing users to bring their virtual goods cross-platform. The rise of a multichain Web3 has broadened this vision: the chain best suited for storing NFTs may not be the best chain to trade them; and neither of those chains may be the best place to host game logic.

Axelar provides General Message Passing, allowing developers to securely call any function, anywhere in Web3. This means NFTs and blockchain games are now truly interoperable, and this vision can be realized.

11. Please share with us your impression of BNB Chain.


BNB Chain has inspired an enthusiastic community of builders, particularly in the gaming and metaverse categories. At the same time, BNB Chain has supported the development of DeFi applications -- not surprising given Binance DNA and Binance founder CZ's stated vision of progressive decentralization for the most liquid trading venue in cryptocurrency. We're looking forward to putting tools into the hands of those builders that will allow them to compose freely across any chain. This is going to be the key to creating products that rival centralized services for adoption and ease of use.

13. What can you share about your tokenomic model?

The AXL token supports decentralized security of cross-chain communication on the Axelar network, using delegated Proof-of-Stake. Validators in the dynamic set:

  • Vote to verify events and approve actions.
  • Run the Axelar network protocols
  • Receive inflationary block rewards and network fees paid in AXL as compensation.

End users do not need to hold the AXL token; they pay gas in the source-chain token and Axelar gas services handle conversion into AXL and destination-chain tokens for required gas fees.

As a permissionless blockchain connecting blockchains, the Axelar network can run logic to support features other cross-chain providers cannot duplicate, such as one-time deposit addresses that can accept any token.

For more on the AXL token's utility, read our blog post: "The AXL Token & the Cross-Chain Future." AXL token economics are spelled out in a blog post from the Axelar Foundation; staking and other tutorials for token holders can be found on this Notion page.

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