Apr 2024

Redefining Blockchain: Monolithic vs. Modular Perspectives at Buidlhouse Event

During a panel at the Buidlhouse by Supermoon at ETHDenver, from Horizen Labs, Covalent, and Hype gathered to talk about the evolving differences between monolithic and modular blockchain systems. This covered an important future goal of Horizen Labs, a blockchain project known for its focus on privacy and scalability, at the forefront of the modular transition.

Rolf Versluis, Co-founder of Horizen, explained the core distinctions between monolithic and modular blockchains, stating, "Monolithic blockchains are self-contained, like Bitcoin or early Ethereum, but we've seen a shift towards modular systems to address scalability, security, and decentralization effectively." Horizen's trajectory from launching Horizen EON to embracing a modular framework exemplifies this industry-wide evolution.

Leilani Ledingham of Covalent, which plays a critical role in the blockchain ecosystem as an indexer and API provider, outlined the significance of data accessibility in modular environments. "In the wave of modular blockchains, indexing becomes crucial to unlock the true potential of these systems, enabling developers to seamlessly access and utilize the data," she explained.

Danny Pasos, Head of Developer Relations at Hype, shared insights into the developer community's reception of these blockchain architectures. "Developers are increasingly gravitating towards modular blockchains due to their scalability and interoperability, which significantly enhances the development process and application performance," Pasos remarked.

The panel concurred that the future would likely not necessitate choosing between monolithic and modular systems but rather leveraging the strengths of both. Pasos envisioned a symbiotic relationship where "monolithic blockchains are the starting point for MVPs, while modular systems offer scalability and efficiency for growing applications."

Ledingham foresaw a seamless integration of various blockchain layers, leading to a user-centric model where the underlying complexity is abstracted. "Chain abstraction signifies a future where users interact with applications without needing to understand or even be aware of the blockchain layers powering them," she stated.

Rolf Versluis projected that application needs would drive blockchain selection, highlighting the diminishing importance of the underlying blockchain as applications and DApps evolve. "As applications become more sophisticated, the focus will shift towards optimizing the user experience, regardless of the blockchain infrastructure," Versluis predicted.

The panel at the Buidlhouse by Supermoon at ETHDenver offered insights into a future where monolithic and modular blockchains not only coexist but also complement each other, catering to the evolving needs of the Web3 community and fostering a diverse, innovative digital landscaped.