Artela: Enhance DApp Functionality through Aspect Programming

May 30, 2023


Purple Flower
Purple Flower

Blockchain researchers have long grappled with the challenges of scalability, exploring various architectural approaches in their quest for improved performance. However, in order to achieve widespread adoption of dApps, scalability improvement alone is not sufficient. Functionality, in response to the demands of customization for different use cases, has been identified as a significant new challenge that needs to be addressed. In light of this, the idea of introducing a new “layer” has been proposed:

L2 is for scaling, L3 is for customized functionality, for example privacy. In this vision there is no attempt to provide “scalability squared”; rather, there is one layer of the stack that helps applications scale, and then separate layers for customized functionality needs of different use cases. — Vitalik Buterin

Per Vitalik’s vision for Ethereum, there is clearly an important role to be played by “layers” of some kind that serve non-scaling needs. His post highlights the need for the blockchain network to support “customized functionality”. The answer to the need may be a new layer in Ethereum’s case. At Artela, we propose adding the “native-extension” to the base layer as a more elegant and effective solution.

Functionality, within the blockchain context, refers to the capability to support various applications. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), serving as the execution engine to power smart contracts, is the prevailing model for building dApps to achieve functionality. Initially offered by Ethereum, the EVM has now been adopted by numerous smart contract chains, commonly known as EVM-compatible chains or EVM-equivalent chains. However, the current EVM has proved limited in supporting extensive dApp functionality. The key challenge lies in pushing the boundaries of functionality within EVM chains. There are two directions for the enhancement in practice:

  1. Replace EVM with a superior virtual machine.

  2. Enhance EVM with a complementary “extension”.

The first approach circumvents the limitations of EVM, but requires abandoning the EVM-based smart contracts. MoveVM and FuelVM are examples of such implementations. While superior VMs may be necessary in the future, it would take considerable time for them to reach the same level of maturity and popularity as the EVM.

The second approach involves introducing a new stack to enhance the EVM with an “extension”. The goal is to push the boundaries of the EVM’s capabilities beyond its original specification, while still maintaining EVM-equivalence. This approach enhances dApp functionalities on top of the existing EVM infrastructure.

The exploration of EVM enhancement paves the way for exciting possibilities and ongoing innovation in dApp functionality, with significant emerging innovations. At Artela, we bring the idea of EVM enhancement to the next level, pushing the boundaries of what is possible beyond the EVM.

Aspect Programming: Enhance DApp Functionality with Native-Extensions

In Artela, we have defined a new programmable module to work as the native extension of the base layer as Aspect. The name Aspect comes from “Aspect-oriented programming” — a programming paradigm that aims to increase modularity by allowing the separation of cross-cutting concerns. It is a technique for building common, reusable routines that can be applied applicationwide. Simply put, Aspect empowers developers to inject supplementary logic to process related transactions and blocks in the entire lifecycle of transactions beyond the smart contract.

By leveraging Aspect Programming, developers are able to build native-extensions to incorporate customized functionality to dApps on top of any blockchain base layers, in conjunction with the existing EVM smart contracts to enhance the functionality of dApps.

Aspect can benefit dApp developers in the following manners:

With Aspect, developers don‘t really need to rebuild an app-chain from scratch to achieve customization for their dApps. They can freely and easily develop Aspect to seamlessly incorporate additional native functionalities, making the process as simple and secure as deploying smart contracts.

Meanwhile, Aspect can be deployed throughout the entire life cycle of transactions, with more context of transactions accessible than the smart contract. Also, the WASM virtual machine will serve as the execution environment for built-in Aspects. The combination of these two features enables developers to explore new possibilities for on-chain functionalities. Some previously unimaginable scenarios would become within reach, like on-chain runtime protection for smart contracts, on-chain automation (eg. Just in Time MEV for dApps) with an unprecedented level of customization, effective rollup proof verification, lightweight implementation of “EIP”, and much more. Developers can harness the power of their preferred programming languages within Aspect’s secure and flexible framework, unlocking their unlimited creative potential and driving continuous value creation for the ecosystem.

Moreover, Aspect would also enable modular/microservices dApp building patterns for developers. DApps would no longer be a collection of tightly-knit codebases intertwined in complexity. Developers can obtain promising improvements in flexibility, resilience, scalability, extensibility, and maintenance simply by assembling the Lego of Aspects.

Artela Network: The Boundless Network for DApp Functionality

Artela Network is an extensible blockchain network enabling developers to build feature-rich dApps. As the first layer 1 network equipped with Aspects, Artela Network aims to maximize the value of Aspect and enable developers to build feature-rich dApps.

Artela aspires to be a truly boundless blockchain network:

  • Boundless Extensibility — EVM-equivalence but not limited to EVM, enabling the native-extension of the dApp functionality.

  • Boundless Composability — Fully customizable and compatible with heterogeneous modular stacks, while maintaining native interoperability within the network.

  • Boundless Scalability — By leveraging elastic block space design, Artela Network can accommodate a great number of large-scale dApps that demand independent block spaces. This eliminates the need to abandon shared security in exchange for scalability performance.

Artela is not just a layer 1, but a universal framework that can be implemented to enhance the functionalities for all layers.

Through Aspect Programming, Artela enables, inspires, and empowers developers to build native-extensions for any dApps on any chains, unlocking the full potential of web3 innovations with rich dApps.

We’re incredibly excited about this vision. If you are too, keep up-to-date with the developments of Artela by following us on Twitter, visiting our website, or dropping a note to talk more!