November 28, 2023

Nigerian Engineers Build ‘First-Of-Its-Kind’ Network For Blockchains To Communicate Securely

Blockchain research and development lab Polytope Labs aims to transform Africans from consumers to creators in the blockchain space. 

Founded by Nigerian engineers Seun Lanlege and David Salami, Polytope Labs’ first product is Hyperbridge, a cross-chain protocol designed to facilitate secure communication between blockchains.

Africa’s Crypto Adoption and Consumption

African countries have some of the highest rates of grassroots crypto adoption among everyday people. However, the continent has mostly been a consumer rather than a builder of blockchain technology. 

Lanlege drew on his experience of helping to build the Ethereum and Polkadot networks to establish Polytope Labs with David Salami. 

“Polytope Labs is an opportunity for Nigerians to build lasting technological infrastructure,”  Lanlegee told Techpoint Africa in a recent interview.

“If we’re going to be using this technology, we should also be building it.”

Introducing Hyperbridge

Hyperbridge, Polytope Labs’ first product, is a cross-chain protocol that acts as a bridge to enable secure communication between different blockchains. 

Traditional blockchains operate in isolation, with no communication between them. For instance, due to security design choices, the Ethereum network doesn’t communicate with the Bitcoin network.

But this poses a challenge when you need to send information across these networks. Hyperbridge (short for hyper-scalable bridge) aims to solve this problem.

“What we’ve built is a blockchain that does the cryptography verification on behalf of other blockchains,” Lanlege told Techpoint Africa.

“It is connected to all the chains and does all the verification that needs to happen so that secure messages can be passed between each chain.”

In other words, it performs the checks needed to ensure one blockchain understands the information from the other and that important data doesn’t get lost or interfered with along the way.

David Salami. Credit: Polytope Labs (Twitter)

While other cross-chain solutions like Polkadot and Cosmos exist, Lanlege says Hyperbridge’s design architecture is the first in the world.

Instead of doing all the work on the blockchain itself (which is complex and expensive), Hyperbridge takes its work outside the blockchain (off-chain).

The results of the work are then presented on-chain with cryptographic evidence that everything has gone according to plan.

Polkadot acts as the backbone, providing the necessary security, consensus, and scalability features that enable Hyperbridge to create a seamless and secure bridge between diverse blockchains.

Funding and Future Plans

Polytope Labs has already secured over $130,000 in grants from Web3 Foundation and Polkadot. 

The team is working on refining Hyperbridge for its mainnet release. 

Lanlege believes Hyperbridge is just the beginning of Polytope Labs’ contributions to the blockchain space.

Featured image credit: Techpoint Africa

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)