Strengths and Weaknesses
- Hybrid compute: adds capabilities and increased utilization for smart contracts
- Inexpensive and fast transactions: compared with the L1 on which Boba Network operates
- Widespread: Boba Network as a L2 is deployed on multiple blockchain platforms (e.g., Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, and Avalanche)
- Shared security: Boba Network shares security with the layer-1 platform on which it operates. Any vulnerability on the L1 reflects back to Boba Network.
- Weak marketing: I don't know many users in the crypto world who are aware of this L2 solution
Boba Network, formerly known as OMGX, is a solution for scaling blockchains. The main goal of the network is to increase throughput, reduce transaction fees, and improve the conditions for smart contracts on blockchains. Boba Network is a multi-chain solution that can work as a layer-2 (L2) for different blockchains. It also includes off-chain computing, which handles complex tasks using Hybrid Compute technology.
Boba Network uses models called "rollups," including optimistic rollups, which group many transactions together and send them in batches to the main blockchain for finalization. Optimistic rollups assume that transactions are valid unless they are challenged, upon which they can then be checked and verified using fraud detection calculations.
The company, Enya, which deals with blockchain and AI infrastructure, and the OMG foundation (formerly known as OmesiGO and OMG Network) developed Boba Network.
Upgrade to premium
Functioning of the Chain
Boba Network uses optimistic rollups that have been modified from the original. These changes include:
- Providing fast additional cross-chain messaging, such as message-relayer
- Using different gas pricing logic
- Providing a swap-based system for rapid layer-2 (L2) -> layer-1 (L1) exits (without the 7-day delay)
- Providing a community fraud detector that allows transactions to be independently verified by anyone
- Interacting with L2 $ETH using the normal $ETH, rather than wrapped $wETH
- Being set up as a DAO
- Native NFT bridging
- Automatically relaying classic 7-day exit messages to the layer-1 (L1) for you, rather than this being a separate step
Boba Network has implemented a Hybrid Compute, which adds features that were previously missing. It allows smart contracts to easily communicate and collaborate with Web 2.0. Hybrid Compute connects the sequencers of the Boba Network with an API interface of an external source.
This architecture is more user-friendly for users. The Hybrid Compute technology allows smart contracts to call any external Web 2.0 API and perform complex algorithms within a single transaction using real-world data.
Boba Network also implements a different gas pricing logic, which updates every 30 seconds. It updates based on fees on the layer-1, and the maximum difference between prices is limited to 5 %. For example, if the current gas price is 10 GWEI, the next gas price will be between 9.5 and 10.5 GWEI.
The sequencer node is a special node for the Boba Network that can order transactions in short intervals of time (minutes). This opens the door to very fast confirmation times with strong guarantees of finality. Currently, there is only one sequencer in the Boba Network that is responsible for managing the network. In the future, a governing mechanism will be put in place to determine which sequencer will participate in the network at any given time.
The BOBA NFT bridge is made up of two bridge contracts. Contract L1 NFT Bridge is deployed on the layer-1 (Ethereum), and contract L2 NFT Bridge is deployed on the layer-2 (Boba Network). It supports the back-and-forth transfers of native NFTs on the L1 and L2.
These two contracts have not been audited, so do please exercise caution when using them. Transferring NFTs to Boba Network takes a few minutes, and sending them back from Boba Network to the Ethereum blockchain takes 7 days!
Not all NFTs can be transferred - developers must use specialized NFT contracts to enable this feature.
If funds are transferred to the L2 (fast bridge to layer-2), assets are deposited into the L1 pool, which sends a message of acceptance to the L2 pool and sends assets to the user's wallet on the layer-2 (the same process applies for transferring back to the layer-1).
In addition to regular users, pools offer additional features to other parties. Liquidity providers (stakers) can deposit and withdraw funds from pools and earn rewards proportionate to their share in the pool. These can also be occasionally withdrawn through a designated function.
Pools are managed by an administrator or BobaDAO, which can set fees that users must pay for using the fast bridges. These fees are a source of rewards for liquidity providers.
The main difference between Optimism and Boba Network is the shorter transfer time of your assets between the Ethereum blockchain and the layer-2, which takes only a few minutes, compared with 7 days. This is great as it means you have your assets immediately available. Another thing I see as an advantage is the use of the original ETH coin instead of wrapped ETH coin. If you want more information about Optimistic Rollup, please read our Optimism analysis.
- the OMG Foundation was established and the OmiseGO project was launched
- the company Enya was founded
- the name was changed to OMG Network
- the OMG Foundation began working with Enya
- in May, the OMGX testnet was launched, later renamed to Boba Network
- in September, the mainnet of Boba Network as a L2 on the Ethereum blockchain was launched
- in April, a proposal for the use of the BOBA coin for paying transactions was approved
- in June, Boba Network was launched as a L2 on the Fantom blockchain
- in September, Boba Network was launched as a L2 on the Avalanche blockchain
- in October, Boba Network was launched as a L2 on the Moonbeam blockchain
- in November, Boba Network was launched as a L2 on the BNB Smart Chain
Boba Network is run by Enya, a company founded by a graduate and employee of Stanford University. Their main area of interest is decentralized privacy protection and they are one of the largest providers of multi-party secure computing services.
- Violet Abtahi - Chief operating officer
- Early Growth - CFO services
- Steven Howell - Head of people ops
- Feras Al Sadek - Head of the MENA region and global marketing
- Ino Murko - Engineering lead
Alan Chiu: As CEO of Enya, Alan Chiu has over 20 years’ experience building and investing in enterprise startups. Before founding Enya, he was a partner at XSeed Capital. He also led product management at Bycast and was one of the first software engineers at Creo.
Alan also serves on the board of alumni at Stanford Graduate School of Business and on the board of Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs. He holds a BASc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
$BOBA is the governance coin for the Boba Network.
- Paying fees
Boba Network is governed using the Boba DAO, where users can submit proposals and vote on them. Anyone who wants to participate in the future of the Boba Network must own BOBA coins, which they can stake for a certain period. In return, they receive $xBoba with which they can vote or delegate their votes to other users.
The first 50 addresses own a significant proportion 27% (as of 27th January 2023) of the total supply of BOBA coins. However, the total number of addresses on the Boba Network is 9 100, so the governance should not be greatly affected by a few addresses compared with the majority.
Revenue & Tokenomics
Boba Network raised 45 million USD in April 2022 in a Series A round.
There are approximately 316 million BOBA coins in circulation, and this will gradually increase over the next 3 years to reach a maximum supply of 500 million. A portion of the fees generated on the Boba Network will eventually be allocated to buying BOBA coins from the Boba Treasury.
- Treasury - 210 million $BOBA
- OMG holders - 140 million $BOBA
- Current and future team members - 100 million $BOBA
- Strategic investors - 50 million $BOBA
All BOBA coins were minted at once and will be unlocked over time. Starting on 20th September, 2022, the amount of 29,979,550 BOBA coins will be unlocked quarterly, the last of which will be unlocked on 20th June, 2025.
The total number of BOBA coins in circulation is 316,579,255 (as of 27th January 2023).
The maximum number will be 500 million.
The Uniqueness of the Chain
- Hybrid Compute: this a system that allows activity between smart contracts or dApps and off-blockchain applications using API (Application Programming Interface). Hybrid Compute is not a blockchain oracle, the main difference being data acquisition.
- Blockchain Oracles acquire data outside of the chain and use it in the chain
- Hybrid Compute serves as a connection between smart contracts and applications outside of the blockchain
- Multi-chain support: due to Boba Network's wide adoption as a layer-2, many dApps designed for layer-1s can easily be moved to L2 and take advantage of its benefits
- Dual-fee coin: Boba Network allows users to pay fees on the L2 either with its own BOBA coin, or the native coin of the L1 chain
- NFT bridging: minting NFTs on Boba Network is cheaper than on L1. As a result, users can mint their NFTs on the L2, then bridge them to L1.
- Security L1: Boba Network shares security with the layer-1. Because transactions are finalized on L1, therefore Boba Network is just as secure as its L1
- Low gas fees: thanks to Hybrid Compute and Sequencer, Boba Network can significantly reduce its fees compared with L1
Compared with other L2 optimistic rollups platforms, users can transfer their assets between blockchains faster (usually in a few minutes). Fast inputs are supported by liquidity pools that are community-managed, thus shortening the output time to a few minutes, compared with the typical 7 days.
How the Network is Secured
The task of recording new blocks that will be sent for finalization to L1 is currently (28 January 2023) handled by a single sequence node managed by Boba Network.
Fraud detection on Boba Network:
Boba Network uses Docker scripts and Python source code to run a verifier, DTL (Data Transport Layer), and fraud detector service.
- to run your own Boba, geth layer-2 on your computer. In this case, the geth L2 will run in Verifier mode and will synchronize from the layer-1, using the transaction data from L1 contracts to calculate the correct state roots and compare them with data sent from L2.
- a separate fraud detector service can be used for potential fraud detection. In short, the process consists of requesting a state root from Boba Network and from your verifier. If these state roots match, the operator is honest. If they do not match, it may be due to fraud, or it may also mean errors in indexing, timestamping, or chain configuration
- the main idea is that if two (or more) validators inject the same transactions, they should write the same blocks with the same state roots. If they do not, there is a problem somewhere. In effect, the security of rollups has little to do with mathematics or cryptography - security arises from the fact that the operator publicly stores transactions and corresponding state roots. The many independent nodes then check this data for possible inconsistencies
Boba Network has undergone an audit by Certik.
Bug bounty program:
Boba Network is collaborating with Immunefi to create a rewards program for finding and reporting security bugs in the network code.
- Rewards: rewards for reporting bugs will be determined based on the severity of the issue and will be distributed through the Immunefi vulnerability system. Rewards range from 1,000 USD to 1,000,000 USD, depending on the impact and complexity of the issue. Payments are denominated in US dollars by the Boba Foundation, but paid out in the stablecoin $USDC.
- KYC: Boba Network requires KYC to be performed on all those who wish to participate in the bug hunting program. Information gathering is handled by the Boba Foundation.
- Submit a bug: to report a bug, use the Immunefi web
Geth (go-ethereum) is a Go implementation of Ethereum - a gateway into the decentralized web. Geth has been a core part of Ethereum since the very beginning. Geth was one of the original Ethereum implementations making it the most battle-hardened and tested client.
Boba Network monitors all transactions that are sent for finalization with the help of one sequencer. They are monitored by other nodes that check them again, but that may not be enough, therefore, be careful of manipulation with transactions on this blockchain..
Boba Network Replica Node:
The replica node is responsible for generating analyses for the block explorer and other specialized functions.
- Operating a Boba Network replica node does not allow for mining of ETH, OMG or BOBA coins. Mining is not possible on the L2.
- If you are looking for the best data for reading rpc (lowest latency), we strongly recommend not to operate your own node, but using the Lighting Replica RPC. This is an autoscaling rpc endpoint that communicates directly with the core of the Boba Network 2nd layer.
- Boba Network 2nd layer is currently a system with one sequencer, and the only way to write transactions is through the Mainnet RPC. Own node cannot be used to write transactions.
- If your application does not need automatic scaling and low latency and can tolerate synchronization delay, you can operate your own replica node of Boba Network. This replica will try to follow the core of the L2 through the data provided by Infura, so it will lag behind the Lighting Replica RPC.
To run your own replica node, you can find instructions here.
- Contributes to the security of the blockchain
- Rewards for monitoring
Instead of running your own node, you can delegate your coins to liquidity pools.
You can find them here.
You can delegate on both L2 and L1, which allows for quick deposits and withdrawals between layers.
- Rewards for staking
- Does not require you to run your own node
- Contributes to the speed of bridging between L1 and L2
You can also stake your BOBA coins elsewhere. Here you will find a list of platforms that allow BOBA coin staking.
This article is about the future upgrades to Boba Network. You can find the full article on their Medium.
On Boba Network, 20 DeFi applications are currently operating.
The largest DeFi projects on Boba Network:
- SushiSwap - DEX
- OolongSwap - DEX
- Gin Finance - DEX
As of 28 January 2023, Boba Network has a total of 4.4 million USD TVL in DeFi.
The Discord community is quite large but not very active. Occasionally, developers will respond to questions, but there are no major discussions taking place. An example of this occurred shortly after I joined the Discord, when one user posted in all threads with a link to a Telegram group offering people a way to make money. I'm not sure if it was a paid advertisement or spam. I would say it was spam, but nobody was quick to remove the posts, and they remained there for quite some time. I haven't encountered anything like this on any other Discord groups.
Twitter has a very large community of followers. Compared with Discord, it is bustling and information is regularly posted about new developments and upcoming partnerships.
YouTube is more like a forgotten little brother. There are 4 videos (as of 28 January 2023), which give us a glimpse of some communication and explanations of Boba Network. It probably hasn't brought them much success, so there has been no continuation.
Boba Network has many investors from a range of companies. The main credit for this goes to the founder, Alan Chiu, who has a wealth of experience with investing in startups.
Where to Buy
BOBA coin can only be bought on a few centralized exchanges (CEXs) that participate in the crypto space.
When buying on decentralized exchange (DEXs), it's best to use those on the Boba Network:
When purchasing on CEXs, always check if they support BOBA coin. BOBA is the 336th largest cryptocurrency and therefore not all CEXs support it.
Boba Network is the most widespread layer-2 (L2) in the crypto space. It started on the Ethereum blockchain, where it made the most sense as that time it was Proof of Work blockchain and L2 chains where needed. However Boba operates on other Proof of Stake blockchains where there is no need to have L2 chain.
The use of DeFi on Boba Network itself offers limited possibilities. As L2 for the Ethereum blockchain, Boba is the least used layer-2, which does not surprise me when it comes to the size of supported dApps. Despite the fact that Boba offeres various advantages in terms of fast asset transfers compare to the Optimism blockchain with the 7-day waiting period.
Their proposal to link Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 is interesting, but it still has a long way to go before it is fully usable. What worries me, similar to the Optimism blockchain, is the role of the sequencer that Boba Network runs. This means that sending information to L1 in blocks for confirmation is not decentralized at all.
Boba Network has a lot of investors who may see what the crypto world hasn’t. We'll see after further development where Boba Network goes. Its main advantage was that the Ethereum blockchain was expensive and slow, but that isn’t so much the case anymore.