ishan
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September 14th, 2022

Prerequisite reading -

Overview

Extensibility

Cost

September 7th, 2022

Prerequisite reading -

Interacting with blockchains costs money. This is one of the most common barriers to entry for potential users. Typically, to mint an NFT, a user needs:

July 11th, 2022

Prerequisite reading - Overview

Smart contracts are immutable. This makes upgrading dApps difficult. When dealing with NFTs and other tokens, it’s key that data is preserved.

For example, imagine if Highlight forced creators to issue new NFTs and bridge old token ownership over every time the protocol either upgraded, or creators wanted to issue NFTs with new mechanisms. It’s critical that the sanctity of the community contract that is first deployed is protected.

Therefore, our smart contracts were constructed so almost everything about a community is extensible and configurable. As a starting point, our communities are upgradeable via a proxy/implementation pattern. But this design choice only serves system-wide upgrades, and leaves communities reliant on Highlight. Creators should be empowered independently. It is a function not protected by a well-defined and auditable smart contract interface, whereas encoded extensibility is. For example, one can easily corrupt contract data with a botched upgrade. Further, creators should be able to opt out of upgradeability via proxy, by switching to a locked beacon, which they are.

July 11th, 2022

In the Introduction to Highlight Smart Contracts, we introduced the four major problems we have solved with our smart contract architecture - cost, extensibility, provenance, and interoperability. We’re going to cover each of these in separate posts, starting with Extensibility.

However, before we explore each of these on the ground floor, let’s survey the entire Highlight protocol from a bird’s eye view. The protocol first went public on Polygon mainnet in November 2021, and has evolved into the system seen below.

While this diagram is not exhaustive (for example, some contracts are clones so an implementation / proxy pair is missing), it displays all the fundamental concepts
While this diagram is not exhaustive (for example, some contracts are clones so an implementation / proxy pair is missing), it displays all the fundamental concepts

Each colour represents a different collective of actions or data-storage functions occurring in the protocol.

At Highlight, our purpose is to empower creative people and their fan communities to thrive together. We believe that by creating membership communities on the blockchain that are accessible to people new to web3, we enable creators to connect directly with their closest fans, better align incentives on all sides, and unlock new revenue streams that empower creativity.

Problems We Solve

To do this, we built a smart contract architecture that solves the following problems:

  • Cost
    • Smart contract deployment, upgrades, minting, and transferring must be priced low enough that it makes economic sense for mainstream Creators and Fans.
  • Extensibility
    • Smart contracts must be upgradeable over time while maintaining the same contract address on the blockchain.
  • Provenance
    • Creators must own their contracts yet allow Highlight to manage the technical complexities of these contracts on the Creators’ behalf.
  • Interoperability
    • Smart contracts must be interoperable with the rest of the web3 ecosystem, in particular, existing NFT marketplaces.