Introduction to the Saline Network

Introduction to the Saline Network

The universal intent platform that unites all blockchains.

We are very excited to share a first glimpse of the Saline Network and its capabilities.

In the first of our upcoming series of blog posts, we introduce our proposed new network and explain why we think it is an important evolution in blockchain technology.

The magic behind Saline is its concept of Saline Intent. So let’s begin there: what do we mean by "Intent"?

What is Saline Intent really?

Saline intents are user-supplied rules used by the Saline chain to validate transactions against their wallets.

Imagine each "Intent" in Saline as a wise, powerful genie tasked with guarding your digital treasures. However, unlike the whimsical genies of folklore who operate by only a handful of rules, these genies are rules machines. You, as the master, set the rules—and these are the magic that dictates precisely what the genie can do with your digital assets.

Setting up an Intent is akin to programming your genie with a set of guidelines: "You may allow transactions with my digital gold, but only if the other party is offering digital silver in return, and at a rate I’ve predefined". Your genie listens and obeys, ensuring that anyone who wants to engage with your treasures can only do so within the boundaries you’ve established.

This isn’t just about keeping your assets safe; it’s about making them work for you, exactly how you want them to, without needing to micromanage (or program) every individual interaction. Whether it's trading, lending, settling, authenticating, participating, redistributing, or any other form of blockchain-based transaction or interaction, your Intent genies are on the job, making sure everything goes according to your plan.

Still scratching your head? No worries, let's break it down with a story.

Picture yourself meandering through a bustling bazaar, your mind suddenly fixated on a cup of instant Japanese ramen - yes, the good stuff. But here's the thing: you're in a bustling bazaar, not a convenience store, and have no idea where to find dried noodles and a sachet of MSG.

So you hoist up a sign that reads,
**"Anyone who delivers one cup of Nissin Chikin Ramen can take $2 from my wallet”

You wander off, explore, maybe haggle over a rusty lamp or two. Lo and behold, you return to find just what your heart desired - a steaming cup of ramen, with $2 less in your wallet. No fuss, no muss, and certainly no need to play hide and seek with ramen vendors.

Simple, right?

What are the problems in the current crypto landscape?

Crypto gives us many wonderful things, like decentralised finance (De-Fi), smart-contracts, liquidity pools, tokenization, blockchain, perpetual contracts and much much more. But it's not really easy to use or interact with for most people. Let's delve into these issues further:

  1. Complexity

    • Technical Barriers:Creation and interaction with smart contracts require a significant level of technical expertise, making it challenging for the average user. This complexity limits access to rule-making to a niche group of experienced developers.

    • Bug Prevalence: The technical demands of smart contracts create vulnerabilities. In 2023 alone there were more than 200 hacks (“Stolen Crypto Falls in 2023, but Hacking Remains a Threat”)*, breaches and other exploits, due to smart contract vulnerabilities (which include the inherent difficulties with code and design complexity).

  2. Isolation and Fragmentation:

    • Smart contracts limit your ability to reason about other blockchains. For example: Create a smart contract program on Ethereum that depends on something happening on Solana.

    • The blockchain ecosystem is highly fragmented, with different blockchains and platforms offering specialised services (including within each individual ecosystem). This fragmentation leads to a disjointed experience where users must navigate through multiple platforms for trading, asset custody and utility such as farming, or trust centralised services or aggregators to simplify that process (typically at a cost).

  3. Trust:

    • The whole point of crypto is to remove trust but yet it is still required all over the place from centralised service providers (such as exchanges - and their service providers) to intermediate layers (which have formed most of the infrastructure for cross-chain interactions to date).

How is Saline solving this?

  1. Declarative Language and Intent-Based UI:

    • Forget Smart contracts: Saline introduces a declarative abstraction that replaces traditional smart contracts with user-friendly "Intents". This approach allows any user to specify their transaction rules and conditions in a straightforward manner, bypassing the complexity of smart contract programming.

    • User-Centric Design: The platform emphasises a clean, simple user experience while retaining powerful functionalities. Intents can be fully described and built in a friendly user interface. This makes it accessible to users of all technical backgrounds, likened to the "Excel of crypto" for its ease of use, flexibility and powerful potential for more complex use cases.

  2. Natively Cross-Chain:

    • Seamless Blockchain Integration: Saline is built-in with native multi-chain awareness, allowing it to interact with different blockchain networks without requiring users to understand any of the technological details of each protocol. This inherent cross-chain functionality addresses the issue of ecosystem fragmentation by facilitating smooth interactions and transactions across diverse blockchain landscapes.
  3. Trustless Off-Chain Compute:

    • Gas-Free Computations: By enabling complex computations to run off-chain while still ensuring on-chain verifications. This not only makes transactions more cost-effective but also enhances scalability and efficiency.

Our solution comes in 3 main pillars

  1. Saline Intents

    • A New Abstraction: Saline Intents introduce a novel way for both users and developers to interact with the crypto ecosystem, simplifying the creation and management of transactions.

    • Universal Vocabulary: This feature provides a standardised method for dealing with digital assets, allowing users to specify constraints on signatures, assets, amounts, counterparties, and even incorporate external data and Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) into transactions. This enhances security and flexibility.

    • Enhanced User Experience: By focusing on a better user interface and user experience, Saline Intents make interacting with blockchain technology more intuitive, reducing the learning curve and making it accessible to a wider audience.

    • Removal of Counterparty Risks: The platform's design minimises the risks associated with counterparty interactions by construction, making transactions safer and more reliable.

  2. Saline Wallet

    • Multi-Currency, Omni-Chain Wallets: Saline Wallets are designed to support multiple currencies across various blockchain networks, encapsulating the essence of flexibility and utility in asset management.

    • Governed by Saline Intents: These wallets are controlled by user-defined Intents, which dictate how assets can be managed, traded, or utilised, offering a personalised and secure experience.

    • No-Code UI: The no-code user interface allows users to easily configure Intents without the need for programming knowledge, leveraging a rich set of building blocks and libraries to customise their asset management and transaction rules.

    • Smart Wallet Features: Including around-the-clock Intent matchers, the wallet incorporates intelligent functionalities to automate and optimise user interactions with the blockchain ecosystem.

  1. Saline Network

    • Unified Network for Cross-Chain and Off-Chain Communication: The Saline Network acts as a backbone, supporting seamless communication and interoperability across different blockchain networks and facilitating off-chain computations.

    • Decentralised Intent Verification and Matching: This feature ensures that all transactions and interactions are verified and matched in a decentralised manner, reinforcing the security and integrity of the ecosystem.

    • Native and Flexible Cross-Chain Functionality: By supporting native cross-chain interactions, the network enables complex multi-step atomic transactions, such as swaps, Automated Market Makers (AMMs), lotteries, and exchanges, without the limitations of single-chain ecosystems.

    • Proof of Stake (PoS): The network employs a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism.

Some examples that Saline enables

Making simple spending rules much simpler

This example focuses on Intent. It shows what we can do trivially with Saline Intentional Wallets which would be difficult, complex and error-prone in other systems.

Let’s take the example of a corporate crypto wallet containing ETH . Let’s suppose that I am new to the company, so the boss is not ready to give me free reign over the wallet just yet: he wants to limit my spending to no more than 1.6 ETH at a time and wants to supervise every transaction; in other words, he wants to sign every transaction that I make.

In Intent language, this is something like

Approve outgoing transactions that are signed by me and signed by boss and whose amount is < 1.6 ETH, expire after 1 year

What is crucial to understand, is that this kind of verification lies at the heart of the Verification Engine, i.e. this verification rule is what’s run by every validator node running the chain. This kind of very powerful behaviour is not “an app”, it’s not “a tool”, it’s not “an extended feature”: it’s the core of Saline. Completely native. With the simple flick of a proverbial switch, you get this moderately complex spending rule on a wallet without ever worrying about storing, sharing or sharding keys. Forget MPCs, forget OpSec, forget security nightmares: just like that, I am able to create a transaction spending funds from the corporate wallet, as long as it’s below 1.6 ETH and my boss accepts (signs) it.

Without entering in the details right now (this is just an introductory blog post, right?), you would craft this Intent within the No-Code UI that we will be introducing soon, by dragging and dropping coloured-blocks and issuing one transaction to install this Intent on the corporate wallet. That’s all.

Let’s see how it compares with the traditional approach of writing a Solidity Smart Contract that would do something similar.

Traditional Approach with Solidity

Multi-signature Authentication: Ensuring that both the initiator and their boss approve the transaction.

Transaction Limit: Setting a cap on the transaction value at 1.6 ETH.

Expiry Mechanism: Including logic to track the time since the contract's deployment and invalidate the transaction capability after 1 year.

Implementing these features in Solidity could easily extend beyond 500 lines of code, considering the need for security checks, event logging, error handling, and potentially integrating with other contracts or libraries for multi-signature functionality.

Let’s also remember that Smart Contracts are immutable, so any potential error would be problematic as it would require to re-deploy an entirely new Smart Contract.

Simplified Approach with Saline Intent and UI builder

Nobody wants to be forced to write code, especially for something as simple as

my boss and I both need to sign transactions and they must be under 1.6 ETH ”.

This English one-sentence verification rule should take mere seconds to build and should not be error-prone.
This is why we are working on our Graphical UI Intent Builder to allow anyone (users, developers, our parents which just got into crypto a week ago, anyone etc.). Built around a drag & drop interface, the user simply selects colour- and shape-coded blocks to represent the different parameters and constraints of the system.

The above rule could be expressed with something that looks like this:

As anyone can see, it barely needs any explanation. There’s a section explaining the frequency of your Intent (can I spend once an hour, once a day, three times a month, etc.?).
There’s a section setting up the time validity of these constraints (here it is one year, which means after one year, this Intent will no longer be matched).

And then there are the constraints, with simple, intuitive combinators (like AND , OR , etc.). As we can visually see here, to be valid, a transaction must:

  • have an amount < 1.6 ETH , and

  • be signed by me,and

  • be signed by “boss”.

You look at the picture and you understand it, a kid could craft this Intent. It took 30 seconds to build (less if you’re fast on the mouse!), doesn’t have any error and allows you to craft a non-trivial, shared, spending rule on a common, corporate wallet.

Off-chain Lottery Program

This second example showcases the other great benefit of Saline: the ability to do not only cross- chain, but off-chain.
Without entering into too much detail (in this post), one of the (many) problems with Smart Contracts is that they are expensive. Every computation requires gas fees, which greatly limits what a Smart Contract can do.

We got rid of this limitation by not running programs on-chain. Instead, we allow any program to be run off-chain (on your own laptop, on your VPS, on a cloud-provider, on a super-computer, wherever you want), as long as you can produce a Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) of it, and that ZKP is then posted on the chain; this is what guarantees the run.

So as another simple, almost trivial example, let’s break down the core components of what a program like an off-chain lottery would look like (N users pay to participate, then a random winner is chosen and paid the pot, minus a fee for the organiser).

Off-Chain Programming Flexibility: Well the big one: write it (any program, really) in the language of your choice. We’re not imposing anything. Proficient in Haskell? Do it. Prefer Rust? Be our guest. Hell, give Javascript a go if that’s your thing. As long as you can produce a ZKP for it. The clear advantage is that it flattens the learning curve for developers to participate in the Saline ecosystem!

Efficiency and Scalability: Since we are not limited anymore by the chain speed, or the gas fees. If your Lottery programs grows in popularity and you have millions of users in each draw, it’s not a problem: it’s running off-chain! The same is true if your choosing algorithm is complex and/or requires heavy computations: do it off-chain, it doesn’t cost anything on the chain-side of things.

Trust and Transparency: Well, that one is also a big one. It’s a lottery after all; there’s (lots) of money involved, right? Everybody wants to be really sure the right person is paid. This is where ZKP shine: they are cryptographic proofs which anybody can verify. In other words, no matter how costly and how long the computation for choosing the winner of the lottery draw might be, the proof of that, which will be posted and committed on-chain, will be verifiable by anyone, cheaply. Nobody can cheat, the person earning the money is going to be the right winner, and everybody can verify it themselves.

Expanded Participation Pool: Saline Network's native cross-chain functionality invites (and makes it possible for) users from numerous blockchains to engage in the lottery. We will detail the cross-chain capabilities in more depth in a later blog post, but what this means is that it significantly widens the potential participant base, enhancing the lottery's appeal and accessibility to a diverse audience. You can participate in the lottery by paying in your L1 chain, in your L1 currency. Let’s say the entry ticket is $100, well you can pay $100 USDT on Ethereum, or 0.66 SOL on Solana, or 0.00136465 BTC on Bitcoin, etc.

Just the Beginning: A Peek into the Future

We've only scratched the surface today, but there's so much more on the horizon. Our journey together is just beginning, and we're eager to dive deeper and share more insights with you. Stay tuned as we continue to unfold the many layers of Saline Network in our upcoming updates.

For those hungry for more details right now, we invite you to delve into our Lite paper. It's packed with information that we couldn’t cover in just one post.

Stay Connected and Informed

Don’t miss out on any of our updates—subscribe to our blog and be the first to know about the latest developments, features, and insights from Saline Network. We're building something amazing, and we want you to be a part of this journey from the start.

We’re All Ears: Your Feedback Matters

Your thoughts, questions, and feedback are what drive us forward. Got a burning question? Wondering about a feature? Or just want to share your excitement? We're here for all of it.

This is just a brief overview and we will continue to unrolling this for you each week.

Reach out to us on:

We're more than just a network; we're a community. And every voice, including yours, plays a crucial role in shaping our path forward. Let's make the world of blockchain simpler, more accessible, and infinitely more exciting together.