We’ve talked about what chain abstraction is and what chain abstraction is not, now it’s important to understand Agoric’s place in this movement. 

To recap: chain abstraction is the idea that users should not have to interact directly with blockchains. As a design philosophy, it improves the user experience by enabling seamless interaction with assets and services across different blockchains, allowing a given user to access the benefits of the $2T+ multi-chain ecosystem without necessarily needing to understand all of the underlying complexity.

But combining cross-chain actions into a seamless user experience is hard. It requires asynchronous control of multiple simultaneous activities in a mostly-synchronous world. Hence, chain abstraction requires a substantial degree of orchestration. 

Orchestration is the programming power to create unified user experiences in the world of async messaging across your favorite blockchains. The Agoric platform, designed with an asynchronous, multi-block execution environment, is a natural home for developing cross-chain applications. And through the upcoming Orchestration API, Agoric provides essential tools for anyone in the chain abstraction arena trying things. 

Orchestration Improves Cross-Chain Functionality

Users want interactions to be straightforward and seamless, similar to the simplicity of ordering a meal through a delivery app. This expectation extends to complex operations like swapping assets across different blockchain networks, which traditionally involve multiple manual steps and deep technical knowledge. Agoric addresses this through its orchestration capabilities. Orchestration is a well-established concept in web2: being able to easily orchestrate cloud-based APIs and microservices helped the modern web scale to where it is today with apps like DoorDash, Uber, Reddit, Zoom, and many more. Agoric enables the same level of composability for web3 applications to operate seamlessly across different environments. 

Where chain abstraction says users shouldn’t have to worry about manually switching between blockchain networks, an Agoric smart contract acting as an orchestrator can handle all of the asset and message passing behind the scenes. By automating these complex processes, Agoric's orchestration capabilities allow users to engage in blockchain interactions that are as easy and intuitive as ordering dinner. 

Simplifying the Multi-Chain Developer Experience

Agoric’s Orchestration API significantly simplifies the developer experience by abstracting the complexities involved in cross-chain communication and smart contract execution. By handling the intricate details of how assets move between chains and how contracts interact across the blockchain landscape, Agoric allows developers to concentrate on crafting the business logic and innovative features of their applications, rather than getting bogged down by the underlying technical challenges. By leveraging JavaScript, Agoric takes advantage of the language’s inherent flexibility and event-driven nature, which make it ideal for creating a highly composable and responsive framework for blockchain development. Developers can easily build and customize their applications using modular components and services, much like they would in a conventional web development setting. 

Enhancing the Multi-Chain User Experience

The ultimate goal of chain abstraction, and specifically Agoric's approach, is to enhance the user experience. By providing developers with the APIs to build simplified user experiences, Agoric's Orchestration API offers developers a pathway to build applications  that are not only seamless and efficient, but also more intuitive, mirroring the fluidity users expect from modern digital applications.

Cross-chain operations are friction points in the user experience. Every network introduced into a transaction flow comes with another wallet address, another signature, and in many cases an entirely new application for the user to open (and know about!). Agoric’s orchestration capabilities let developers package actions like unbonding tokens on one chain, waiting for that process to complete, sending those assets to a DeFi platform on another chain, and depositing them in a pool, all together into a few lines of code that can be executed with a single user signature. 

Promoting Standardization and Interoperability

The Agoric platform fosters a standardized approach to blockchain development and interoperability, similar to how JavaScript frameworks enhanced web development. By providing a framework that other developers can adopt, Agoric helps ensure that different blockchain projects can communicate and operate together without needing to reinvent the wheel for each new application. This standardization is crucial for building on existing network effects and aligns with the broader goals of the blockchain community to create a cohesive, interoperable ecosystem.

Interoperability refers to the ability of different blockchain networks to understand, trust, and operate with each other’s data and operations without friction. Interoperability is crucial for creating a more integrated web3 ecosystem, where assets and data can move seamlessly across different chains, enhancing the functionality and reach of decentralized applications.

Agoric leverages the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, a standard framework for interchain communication. IBC allows secure exchanges of data and tokens between different blockchain networks. By integrating IBC, Agoric applications can interact with any other IBC-compatible blockchain, with orchestration facilitating more complex cross-chain operations. 

Agoric also integrates with transport layers like Axelar’s General Message Passing (GMP) protocol. Axelar's GMP allows for the execution of cross-chain smart contracts and other operations by translating commands and requests between different blockchain languages and protocols. This integration enables Agoric's platform to communicate with a wide range of blockchains that might not be natively compatible with IBC. This feature significantly enhances the scope of Agoric’s interoperability, enabling it to function across a broader array of blockchain architectures.

Multi-Chain Blockchain Development with Chain Abstraction and Orchestration 

Agoric's orchestration capabilities are a practical application of chain abstraction, allowing for sophisticated cross-chain functionalities that address both the developers' need for simplicity and the end-users' demand for a fluid digital experience. The upcoming Orchestration API is part of Agoric's commitment to this vision, offering a suite of tools that stand to streamline developing interoperable blockchain applications. 

By effectively simplifying the complexities of cross-chain communication and smart contract execution, Agoric enables developers to focus on the core functionalities and innovation of their applications, minimizing the technical overhead that often burdens blockchain development. And by utilizing JavaScript, Agoric leverages a familiar and flexible programming environment, enabling developers to create adaptable and robust applications with ease. 

Stay on the cutting edge of web3 development. Subscribe to the Agoric Developer Newsletter for more on chain abstraction, orchestration, and multi-chain design. 

Join us to learn more about orchestration in person around the world, or online at a Welcome to Agoric session!

Want to be the first to try the Orchestration API? Complete the Getting Started tutorial and let us know about your experience on Discord.  Our DevRels are happy to help!