Deku Chain is the First Tezos Sidechain Now on Jakartanet

Deku Chain is the First Tezos Sidechain Now on Jakartanet

On July 5, Marigold announced the Deku sidechain, an L2 solution for Tezos, and deployed an alphanet version on Jakartanet. The team posted a short description of Deku on their website and talked about it on a two-hour #BlockchainEvolved stream.

This post summarizes a stream with Marigold developers Eduardo Rafael, Daniel Hines, and Jason Ridgway-Taylor. At the end of the article, we have added timecodes on topics and links to documentation. Let’s learn about the principles of Deku, scenarios for using L2 solutions, and their role in the further development of Tezos.

Why Tezos Needs a Sidechain

The characteristics of a blockchain are a trade-off between security, decentralization, and throughput, the latter being usually measured in Transactions Per Second, or TPS. Indeed, with higher hardware requirements comes higher performance, but fewer validators can then afford to run a node, leading to a more centralized network.

Tezos’ TPS has constantly been improving over the last two years, especially with Ithaca’s introduction of Tenderbake. However, many applications still require orders of magnitude more than what current L1s provide. TORUs and SCORUs won’t make Tezos much faster, as input speed with rollups is tied to the Tezos blockchain.

Sidechains are blockchains bridged to a mainchain, enabling users to move their assets in both directions. A sidechain might have different performance characteristics than the mainchain, such as trading decentralization for TPS. With sidechains, users can decide exactly what level of decentralization they want for their transactions, getting far higher TPS and paying lower fees for transactions that don’t require the maximal security provided by the L1. Sidechains also offer a way to experiment with different blockchain architectures while using the L1 as a safety net for users.

What is Deku

The word “Deku” refers to the manga My Hero Academia.

Deku is a full blockchain with nodes that produce and validate blocks independently of Tezos. Still, as a sidechain, it also embeds a light client for its consensus in a Tezos smart contract. Periodically, it updates this contract with the state of its consensus. This forms a bridge, allowing users to move assets between the two chains while providing an extra layer of security to Deku’s consensus.

Deku uses a Proof of Authority approach instead of Proof of Stake, meaning that node owners have to accept new validators in the network manually. On the current alphanet, only Marigold maintains nodes. However, other Tezos core teams will eventually be invited to participate as validators.

The Deku vault contract on Tezos stores the following data:

  • root_hash — a hash of Deku state, periodically updated by the validators;
  • current_validators — the validators’ identities;
  • vault — tickets deposited by the users.

The benchmarks conducted by Marigold on the alphanet currently show 5,000 TPS. However, the team announces being confident in reaching 20,000 TPS very soon and targets 50,000 TPS by the end of the year.

What Are Deku-P and Deku-C

Deku comes in two flavours: Deku-C, short for Deku Canonical, is the current implementation of Deku running on the alphanet. It features support for WASM smart contracts and interoperates with Tezos tickets. Deku-P, or Deku Parametric, is a framework for creating private blockchains. The former is a particular case of the latter.

Unlike other solutions for creating private blockchains, while using Deku-P, one only needs to develop a state machine to process transactions. Deku-P provides primitives such as consensus on transactions and full Tezos interop via tickets, allowing developers to focus on the specifics of their blockchain application.

What You Can Do with Deku in Сurrent State

There are three entry points in the current Deku contract: update hash — for validators only; deposit and withdrawal of tickets — for all users.

The deposit works like a regular bridge: the user sends tickets to the Deku storage contract and specifies which address on the Deku blockchain will receive them. Deku nodes watch the vault’s storage on Tezos, which means they simultaneously act as a quorum for the bridge. The Vault-contract freezes tickets at the deposit, and the user receives their representation at their address in Deku.

Ticket withdrawal is more complex because the user must provide the contract on L1 proof that the ticket was burned on Deku.

Users can also deploy contract programs for the WASM virtual machine to Deku, which they can call using transactions. The Deku repository on GitHub has several templates for such programs.

The developers have only implemented WASM because it’s easier than porting Michelson. In addition, external developers can deploy their Deku network with WASM or other virtual machines, allowing sidechains that go beyond the current blockchain primitives and execute any code. Technically, Michelson could also be implemented so Tezos teams can scale their products on L2.

Why Deku uses tickets

Tickets are supposed to become the standard for interoperability between L1 and L2. Although they are not widely used at the moment, Marigold has another project to improve the user experience: a graphical interface for wrapping Tezos tokens into tickets and transferring them to Deku and other L2s. Deku may thus contribute to promoting tickets to app developers and Tezos users and help set standards for them. As a last resort,

“We need to lock all participants of the conference in Paris in a room and not let anyone out until they start working on tickets.”


Deku repository on GitHub.

Brief documentation of Deku on GitHub.

Stream on Twitter. Stream timestamps:

  • 13:00 — about Deku;
  • 32:00 — Deku-P and Deku-C;
  • 42:00 — current Deku capabilities;
  • 46:00 — about WASM in Deku;
  • 53:00 — Deku throughput;
  • 1:14:00 — using tickets on Deku and Tezos;
  • 1:33:00 — about the development of rollups and sidechains;
  • 1:37:00 — about blockchain development and developers.

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