Perun, a blockchain-agnostic state channels framework, moves to Hyperledger Labs

We are excited to announce that Perun, a joint DLT Layer 2 scaling project between the Robert Bosch GmbH’s “Economy of Things” project and the Perun team of Technical University of Darmstadt (TUDa), joins Hyperledger as a Labs project. The project’s goal is to make blockchains ready for mass adoption and alleviate current technical challenges such as high fees, latency and low transaction throughput. 

The Perun Hyperledger Labs project implements cryptographic protocols invented and formally analyzed by cryptography researchers at TUDa and the University of Warsaw. Designed as a scaling solution, the Perun protocol can be used on top of any blockchain system to accelerate decentralized applications and lower transaction fees. The payment and state-channel technology of Perun protocol is especially useful for high-frequency and small transactions. By providing a cheap, fast, and secure transaction system, the Perun protocol is a major step forward in the mass adoption of blockchain applications. 

Overview over the Perun Protocol

The Perun protocol allows users to shift transaction and smart contract execution away from the blockchain into so-called payment and state-channels. These channels are created by locking coins on the blockchain and can be updated directly between the users and without any on-chain interaction. This makes state-channel-based transactions much faster and cheaper than on-chain transactions. The underlying blockchain guarantees that all off-chain transactions will be enforced on-chain eventually. In comparison to other channel technologies like the Lightning Network, the Perun construction offers the following unique features:

Perun’s state-channel virtualization: To connect users that do not have a joint open state-channel, existing state-channels can be composed to form so-called virtual channels. These virtual channels are created and closed off-chain over the state-channel network intermediaries. Once opened, the virtual channel is updated directly off-chain between the two connected end users.

Blockchain-agnostic: Its modular design enables the flexible integration of Perun’s state-channel technology into any Blockchain or traditional ledger system. 

Interoperability: The blockchain agonistic design and state-channel virtualization enable transaction and smart contract execution even across different blockchains (cross-chain functionality).

High security: The Perun protocol specifications have been mathematically proven using the latest methods of security research (see perun publications).

The Perun protocol can be used for a wide range of applications in different areas such as finance/FinTech, mobility, energy, e-commerce, telecommunication and any other use case where direct microtransactions are needed.

The Hyperledger Labs Project

As a first step, we are developing a secure and efficient standalone payment application within the Perun Hyperledger Labs project. The labs project currently consists of the following main parts that together form the Perun Framework:

  1. perun-eth-contracts: Provides the Ethereum smart contracts required for implementing the Perun protocol.
  2. go-perun: An SDK that implements core components of the Perun protocol (state-channel proposal protocol, the state machine that supports persistence and a watcher) and an Ethereum blockchain connector. It is designed to be blockchain agnostic and we plan to add support for other blockchain backends.
  3. perun-node: A multiuser node that uses the go-perun SDK to run the Perun protocol and provides an interface for users to manage their keys/identities; off-chain networking; open, transact and settle state-channels.

The Perun framework is built with flexibility in mind and can be integrated into many different environments since most components, like networking, logging or data persistence, are interchangeable and use state of the art software architecture practices that ensure flexibility and crypto agility.

Since joining Hyperledger Labs, we’ve been very active developing the software and we have released the first couple of versions. At the current stage the following functionality is given: 

  • Two party direct payment channels on ethereum
  • Fully generalized state channel functionality
  • Command line interface

Features on the roadmap — also depending on community response:

  • Virtual channels 
  • SSI integration with Hyperledger Aries
  • Additional blockchain backends
  • Cross-chain channels

We are thrilled to be part of the Hyperledger community and are looking forward to your feedback and contributions. We are hoping to jointly build exciting projects on top of Perun to unleash its true potential and build towards a decentralized future. Check out the Perun Lab repositories to see the code and start contributing. Feel free to contact us through the Hyperledger channel #perun if you have any questions.