LikeCoin 3.0 Green Paper: Part One – Returning to Ethereum

Some old friends mentioned that while they understood all the words in the previous article ’LikeCoin 3.0 Green Paper: Part Zero – Introduction’, when added together, they didn’t quite get it. I’ve heard this feedback many times, and I usually take it to heart, aiming to keep things simple and ensure all readers understand. But when it comes to the Green Paper series, I apologize for choosing to use several technical concepts and terms directly. If you find it hard to follow, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll elaborate further, providing more information.

The core change proposed in LikeCoin 3.0 upgrade is to move LikeCoin’s blockchain layer to Ethereum’s L2. In other words, LikeCoin initially started as an ERC-20 token on Ethereum L1, then transitioned to a public chain based on the Cosmos SDK. And now, the suggestion is to move back to Ethereum and become an ERC-20 token on L2.

Moving twice isn’t just for the sake of it, so please hold the eye rolls for now and let me explain slowly.

The Right and Wrong of Two Migrations

Shortly after the launch of LikeCoin 1.0, around late 2018, Ethereum started experiencing congestion, with gas fees skyrocketing. Ordinary transactions cost around ten dollars, while complex ones could reach hundreds. DeFi platforms, handling large transactions, were heavily impacted by the high fees, and LikeCoin, primarily used for micro-tipping, became practically unusable—no user would pay 10 USD in fees to tip 1 USDone dollar. In response, rather than passively waiting for Ethereum 2.0, our team spent over a year developing our own blockchain, the LikeCoin chain, as the underlying infrastructure for LikeCoin applications. The chain allowed validators to charge minimal fees and provided three main functions:

  1. Facilitate LIKE token transactions
  2. Register content with ISCN (international standard content number) and metadata;
  3. Minting and trading NFTs for articles and books.

However, with Ethereum upgrading to PoS in 2022 and the recent Dencun upgrade, transactions on Ethereum L2 are not only smooth but also come with negligible fees. Even complex transactions like minting NFTs cost less than 1USD. Besides being cost-effective and efficient, L2 also gains the security of the Ethereum mainnet through rollups, ensuring data integrity. Consequently, all three primary functions mentioned earlier can now be executed cheaply on L2’s EVM. With the original reason for building a new chain no longer valid, migrating back to Ethereum to save on infrastructure development and maintenance costs is a rational decision.

Admittedly, accepting this wasn’t easy for the former version of myself. But when I remembered that LikeCoin chain was created to solve problems, not to cling to relevance or exploit benefits, it became clear that transitioning to a safer and cheaper solution was cause for celebration. In hindsight, I’d rather deploy early, foreseeing the diminishing importance of LikeCoin chain, than stubbornly persist until it becomes a “mosquito chain”, wasting Earth’s resources.

So, was it a mistake to invest heavily in developing LikeCoin chain initially? If I made a mistake, I’m willing to admit it and apologize. However, things aren’t always black and white. Instead of shouldering all the blame, it’s better to explain the process clearly and let the community judge for themselves.

Hindsight might suggest that it would have been wiser to wait for Ethereum to mature rather than invest resources in development. (Or maybe even spend a few years mining for profit instead!?) But alas, I don’t possess a crystal ball. I can only make decisions based on limited information, and at the time, not investing resources in developing our own chain would have resulted not only in stagnation in terms of technical progress for the next 3 to 4 years but also hindered our efforts in user education. Speaking of which, looking back at the “ICO boom” of 2017 and 2018, many projects abandoned their plans after raising funds because the underlying technology wasn’t mature enough to realize their whitepapers. And even for those projects that shelved their plans for other reasons, disappearing with their funds was often the norm.

Furthermore, whether it’s coins or chains, updates involving data structure modifications and hard forks, etc. are quite common. Except for the legendary Bitcoin, many chains have undergone major updates for reasons similar to LikeCoin’s. As technology advances and demands evolve, there’s no once-and-for-all solution. Designers and programmers can only adapt to the current reality and develop accordingly. Ethereum is no exception, being one of the most frequently updated public chains. Continuous development is a testament to vitality. If users don’t notice any changes, it’s not because the underlying infrastructure hasn’t changed but rather because these changes have minimal impact on the user experience.

This leads to the third point: what truly affects the user experience isn’t the underlying data structure or which chain is used, but rather the “human-chain interface”, such as wallet addresses and the accompanying wallet software. Just like with online banking, as long as the login method and account number remain the same, regardless of how many times the bank’s internal database is updated or how significant the changes are, it’s just the concern of the technical team— “service may temporarily pause during maintenance”. In this regard, LikeCoin chain could have done better if I had not underestimated the importance of maintaining consistency in wallet software and addresses.

Interface is the essence of user experience

Many users are aware that LikeCoin chain is developed based on Cosmos SDK. Recently, with the release of LikeCoin chain ChungKing++, one of the updates includes upgrading Cosmos SDK to version 0.46.16. However, only users who have been following LikeCoin from the beginning know that LikeCoin chain was originally designed as an Ethereum sidechain (at a time when the L2 rollup mechanism was not yet implemented), similar to Polygon, where addresses remained in the 0x format but formed their own chain.

Based on this concept, after about six months of development, the first version of the LikeCoin testnet was launched on April 18, 2019, when I remember there was a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan where I was located, fortunately without casualties. This version, codenamed KaiTak, used Cosmos’s core Tendermint as the consensus engine but did not utilize Cosmos SDK. Wallet addresses remained in the 0x format, allowing users to continue using EVM wallets like Metamask by simply setting corresponding RPC parameters.

Around the same time, the Cosmos Hub was officially launched at the end of March of the same year, and the accompanying Cosmos SDK gradually matured. After evaluating, the team decided to adopt it to avoid reinventing the wheel and accelerate development. Following this change in direction, the LikeCoin testnet based on Cosmos SDK was launched on September 12, 2019, under the codename Taipei. Two months later, on November 15, 2019, LikeCoin 2.0, codenamed SheungWan, was officially launched and put into operation, making it one of the earliest public chains in the entire Cosmos ecosystem.

The Cosmos SDK enabled rapid development of the LikeCoin chain and allowed the community to participate in the entire IBC ecosystem and interact with other public chains. However, the cost was the replacement of LikeCoin 2.0 wallet addresses with formats starting with cosmos1/like1, which were not backward compatible. Users needed to exchange old LIKE for new LIKE, similar to the expiration of old banknotes requiring exchange for the new version. Additionally, wallet software transitioned from being primarily based on Metamask to being primarily based on Keplr. To cater to the Metamask and EVM community, recent large-scale public chains based on Cosmos SDK, such as dYdX and Dymension, have modified to dual addresses, providing both formats. From a technical perspective, LikeCoin chain could undergo a similar process, but this would involve significant development and user education efforts, and it may not be well-received by all parties.

Sharing the above background is not about shifting responsibility but rather to help the community understand the entire context and serve as a historical record for future reference. The Cosmos SDK has helped developers quickly build public chains, while Ethereum’s persistent efforts through PoS, L2, and other means to scale are all excellent technologies that have made significant contributions to the industry. Both have provided the underlying development for LikeCoin at different times, and regardless of LikeCoin’s ultimate direction, I am sincerely grateful to both communities.

The positive significance of migration

Migrating LikeCoin back to Ethereum extends beyond saving on underlying development and maintenance costs and gaining a user base at least twenty times larger than Cosmos. The more proactive aspect lies in entering the entire EVM ecosystem, immediately gaining access to various compatible tools and seamlessly interacting with other DApps. For example, users can utilize Uniswap to exchange LIKE with USDT, USDC, and various ERC-20 tokens, or engage in trading Writing NFT and NFT books on Opensea. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg; over the past decade, the Ethereum ecosystem has flourished significantly. Whether it’s wallets, DeFi, community interactions, democratic governance, NFTs, and more, there is a wealth of applications accumulated, allowing developers and users to freely Amix and match various new features like building blocks. We’ll delve further into how this ecosystem benefits LikeCoin in a later discussion.

Recently, I joked with industry peers about spending more time over the past seven years guiding users to install wallet software, generate addresses and acquire their first cryptocurrencies than promoting LikeCoin. Although said in jest, it rings true. Ethereum’s infrastructure is mature enough to accommodate large-scale adoption, so migrating LikeCoin back to its roots is not a passive move; it’s freeing up valuable resources to focus on application layer development and operations. This shift allows authors to publish on-chain and readers to read on-chain, making it a part of everyday life.

P.S. I just realized it’s been a while since I’ve written quite a technical piece. Although this one isn’t overly technical, we could dive a bit deeper if you’d like?


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