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Striving for Composability

February 6, 2024

With the blockchain industry seriously lacking connectivity, interoperability, and flexibility, developers are looking at ways to make it more adaptable to inevitable changes and robust long-term. The concept of composability has emerged as a transformative force in the ever-evolving landscape of blockchain technology. Taking its origin from software development, the term refers to the ability to seamlessly combine and integrate various protocols, applications, smart contracts, APIs (application programming interfaces), and other elements to create new products and solutions within a crypto ecosystem. 

As a result, composability catalyzes scalability and security, driving innovation and efficiency in decentralized systems and unlocking new possibilities for interoperability and collaboration. So, how exactly does composability enhance the scalability and security of blockchain networks? Let's explore.

The Power of Composability

The potential for composability in DeFi is evident thanks to the open-source nature of many DeFi protocols, which allows one to examine created solutions and implement them elsewhere. This way, developers can reuse various apps or technologies without reinventing existing solutions or worrying about intellectual property issues. It leads to the creation of more sophisticated and robust applications, as developers can leverage the strengths of different components to make more efficient and effective systems. Consequently, composability helps to break down barriers between different blockchain systems, promoting a more streamlined and collaborative approach to blockchain development and enabling flawless integrations. 

Three Main Types

Experts typically distinguish three kinds of composability: morphological, syntactic, and atomic. The first type implies the ability of different components, codes, assets, and functions of decentralized applications (dApps) and platforms to conform to the same standards, making them compatible and, thereby, interoperable. Such composability can be nearly unattainable at a large scale since it requires all industry participants to agree on utilizing these standards. Inside chains, such agreements are already widespread throughout the blockchain space. For instance, participants of the Ethereum ecosystem obey ERC standards for tokens and smart contracts, allowing all Ethereum-based projects to interact flawlessly with each other. However, such standards should become universal beyond one chain or another for this composability to achieve its full potential.

The second type of scalability, syntactic, is the ability of larger components, such as dApps, to combine efficiently and form new systems. Such scalability helps developers save time by reusing code from existing dApps while creating new ones. For instance, one decentralized exchange has already developed a swap mechanism. If a group of developers makes a new product, they can easily incorporate this swap mechanism instead of building it from scratch. This way, they can merge several mechanisms, creating a unique product.

The last type of composability is the atomic one. When we talk about atomicity in the crypto space, we refer to the capability to unite several actions into a single transaction that can be executed only when all of those actions are feasible and valid. Atomic composability maintains the uniting-in-one principle but on a bigger scale, working with different dApps and protocols. One example of atomic composability is DeFi protocols offering flash loans, which allow for borrowing and returning assets in one transaction. 

Composability & Scalability

While composability undoubtedly makes building new products and services easier and quicker, it also allows for better scalability. By leveraging existing components, developers can create more complex applications in a shorter amount of time, reducing the overall development cycle. Simultaneously, it also helps lower the costs associated with building and testing new applications, thus enabling projects to adapt to new workloads more painlessly by allowing components to be reused in new contexts.

Another way to look at composability and how it benefits scalability is through promoting simplicity. By enabling developers to build on existing components, composability reduces the overall complexity of the systems, making it easier to maintain and upgrade over time. 

Composability & Security

Composability has several benefits for security. Firstly, it enables focused security audits on specific modules, allowing for a more targeted approach to identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities. Instead of auditing the entire monolithic structure, security professionals can concentrate their efforts on individual modules, making detecting and addressing potential threats easier. It also reduces the risk of overlooking critical security issues that could be hidden in a larger and more complex system.

Secondly, modular architectures make managing and updating the network's security infrastructure more straightforward. With composable architectures, security professionals can quickly add or remove modules as necessary without disrupting the entire system. Such an approach simplifies keeping the network up-to-date with the latest security patches and upgrades, further enhancing its overall security.

Lastly, composability brings about economic incentives for developers, encouraging them to design their protocols in a way that allows them to integrate in a secure manner. The ability to integrate securely with other components, projects, etc., is a crucial factor in achieving widespread adoption. When interoperability between different elements is ensured without compromising security, it encourages greater participation in the network, leading to increased adoption and growth. Ultimately, secure integration creates an environment of trust, which is essential for the success of any project.

Final Thoughts

Composability emerges as a linchpin in the quest for scalable and secure blockchain ecosystems. By promoting interoperability, modular scalability, and safe integration, composability has the power to transform decentralized systems into dynamic, collaborative environments that can evolve and adapt to meet the demands of an ever-changing DeFi landscape. As the blockchain space continues to mature, the emphasis on composability will likely remain a driving force, unlocking new frontiers of innovation, efficiency, and security.

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