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Agoric

Build Fast, Earn Fast
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Blockchain
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Cosmos
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BLD
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Agoric Team
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What is Agoric?
A Proof-of-Stake chain utilizing Hardened JavaScript smart contracts to rapidly build and deploy DeFi.
Information
Type
Toolbox
Blockchain
Cosmos
Currency
BLD
Platform
Windows, macOS
Publisher
Agoric Team
Version
BETA
FAQ
Our current plan is to release mainnet in the summer of 2021. The timing for token sale has not been determined.
Agoric believes that bringing the world economy online requires making it easy for the world’s programmers to develop smart contracts. A key to this is enabling a safe and secure development environment which Agoric is able to achieve through our object-capability-based Javascript execution environment, building on the team’s decades of prior research and successful implementations carrying billions of dollars.

We have released a proof-of-concept of our object capability-style JavaScript execution environment, The Agoric “SwingSet” Vat Library.
In programming, we often want to restrict access and only give certain users or programs the authority to perform certain tasks. Object capabilities (ocaps) and access control lists (ACLs) are two ways of handling access control.

Identity-based access control such as ACLs make sense at the boundary of humans to computers, such as when a new employee is hired and given a certain set of permissions which will rarely change. However, in order to bring the world economy online through smart contracts, we need the ability to rapidly derive, compose, and transfer rights among a mix of computer agents and humans. ACLs have difficulty handling this level of complexity.
JavaScript may seem like an odd choice for programming secure smart contracts. JavaScript is a complex, dynamic language providing great flexibility and expressivity, but occasionally at the cost of errors, vulnerabilities, and hard to understand code.

Despite these flaws, JavaScript is used by millions of developers, making it the most widely used programming language in the world. But popularity isn’t the only reason to use JavaScript. JavaScript actually has a number of features that make it ideal for smart contracts, and the Agoric team (in particular, Mark Miller) has been working through the JavaScript standards committee (TC-39) to improve it further.

Due to an accident of history, JavaScript is a language with a clear separation between internal computation and access to the external world, such as users, timers, networks, and files. This separation is an almost perfect analogy to the hardware distinction between “user-mode” and “system-mode” instructions. Because of this separation, we can intercept access to the external world [1], confining a purely computational subset of JavaScript.

Because of JavaScript’s unique separation of computation and external effects [2], most host independent JavaScript programs that engage in generally recognized best practices (such as using strict mode) run perfectly well with no other alterations in our secure subset of JavaScript, called SES. SES builds on a number of changes that the Agoric team has championed through the JavaScript standardization process, including strict mode, proxies, weak maps, tagged template literals, and promises, which were derived very directly from the promises in Mark Miller’s E language, and were designed both to support distributed computation as well as manage local asynchrony.

Because of JavaScript’s widespread use, the language has been highly tested. Unlike a new Domain Specific Language (DSL) for smart contracts that may have only been used by a few people, the pitfalls and peculiarities of JavaScript are well-known and can be avoided, rather than discovered too late.
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