Network Participants

September 21, 2022

What's the t3rn ecosystem made of? A deep dive

As we progress towards Mainnet, and the t3rn ecosystem grows, we’d love to share with you all the roles involved in making t3rn, t3rn. We already discussed what is t3rn and who’s t3rn, so now it’s time to talk about our ecosystem and the roles within it. After all, it’s through the ecosystem that we will ensure the protocol reaches its potential to seamlessly integrate and support integrations between any blockchains.

These are the key network participants that we’ll go through in this article:

  • Developers: Build2Earn
  • Smart Contract Users
  • Executing Cross-Chain Smart Contracts
  • Collators
  • Rangers
  • Attesters
  • t3rn Staking
  • t3rn Ecosystem Recap

Each blockchain has a unique community focused on shaping its architecture and overall development. Given that each chain might have different focus areas,and varying business models, the way they are set up requires their own unique architecture. Within the innovative set out by t3rn, which is built on Polkadot, we count on several types of network participants.

Developers: Build2earn

What measures the success of a blockchain project? While popular metrics include TVL (total value locked), market capitalization, total transaction numbers and community size, we believe that developer activity is a crucial, if not the most crucial metric.

t3rn is built by developers, for developers; t3rn team members see engineering teams as a critical element in the success of the entire project as they are tasked to build and deploy composable cross-chain smart contracts on t3rn’s on-chain registry.

Under t3rn’s Build2Earn model, contributing developers can receive remuneration based on gas fees each time their smart contract is executed, they will get a fixed share, the vast majority, of the gas fee.

Using the t3rn SDK, smart contract developers can write smart contracts in the most widely used programming languages, such as Solidity, ink! or anything compiled to WASM.

Since t3rn’s virtual machine, 3VM, supports all of these programming languages, developers are able to deploy existing smart contracts from, for example, Ethereum to t3rn without changing the code. This feature makes it really easy for developers to port existing smart contracts to t3rn without any effort.

Thus, engineers can easily turn single-chain smart contracts into cross-chain ones, whether making an existing smart contract cross-chain or building one from scratch.

Smart contract users

Users will have a single point access to cross-chain smart contracts, giving them the possibility to compose ‘side effects’ and benefit from the same characteristics they are already familiar with on single ledger blockchains such as the ability to reverse the whole transaction if one of the atomic cross-chain transactions fails.

A ‘side effect’ is the execution of an atomic step in a cross-chain transaction, for example, swapping ETH to DAI on Uniswap.

Users can create, sign, and submit transactions to be executed directly to the Circuit, t3rn’s parachain on the Polkadot Network. Ultimately, users determine transaction priority by setting an offer with an execution reward based on a desired fulfillment speed. 

Users also need to pay for gas in TRN fees, which are a combination of the entire gas fees of the composed transactions from different target chains.

Executing cross-chain smart contracts

Executors register all escrow accounts and answer to cross-chain executions between different chains. Before executing a side effect, the Executor first locks funds into an escrow smart contract, and submits the inclusion proof. 

Funds are released to the requester once the t3rn Circuit proves the inclusion of the transaction with the help of light clients and waits for the finalization on the target chain. 

Executors can answer to single or multiple side effects. They are responsible for calculating the off-chain risk/reward ratio based on user-set fees. As they monitor for dishonest behavior, Executors also stand to receive 10% of any legitimate violated sum they report. 


The role of a Collator is to maintain a full node for both the relay chain and t3rn’s parachain. Collators hold all required information to produce new block candidates and send details to relay chain validators for verification. Collators earn rewards for maintaining a node. 

t3rn Rangers

Rangers ‘listen’ to blockchains connected to t3rn and submit the latest block header to the t3rn Circuit. The Circuit can then prove if a transaction should be included or finalized with the header.

This architecture enables even more security infor the t3rn ecosystem.

t3rn Attesters

Attesters occupy a unique space within the t3rn protocol. They are an off-chain bonded entity that locks tokens to sign new transactions. Attesters verify that the target chain has successfully received a transaction and are responsible for sending it back to t3rn’s Circuit. 

First or second generation bridges create separate networks relying on trusted parties to attest a transaction has taken place on-chain to trigger transactions on a second chain. The problem? Parties in this type of system are not bonded, which boosts the risk of malicious behavior, fraud, and illicit collusion. 

As a result, many previous-generation bridges only have a small number of trusted parties, as signature verification can require immense financial resources. For example, the Ronin bridge has just nine validator nodes to recognize any deposit or withdrawal. The risks of an attack are heightened as only 5/9 validator signatures are needed. 

t3rn Attesters are bonded and run the risk of seeing their bond slashed if they submit incorrect signatures. Two-thirds of all Attesters sign to testify to signature correctness, with signatures also checked on the t3rn Circuit. 

t3rn Staking

Users can lock their TRN tokens in a liquidity pool for a period of time to help secure a chain and receive rewards in exchange – i.e. staking. The t3rn protocol harnesses staked tokens for network security.

t3rn users will be able to participate in securing the network by staking TRN tokens. Users can stake on Executors, Attesters, and Collators to secure the network.

t3rn ecosystem recap

The t3rn ecosystem is building a complex, yet safer network, one that builds upon Polkadot’s inherent security to create a unique architecture set up, aimed at enabling fail-safe transactions across any chains.
Below is an overview of all the different network participants and steps in the process of validating a cross-chain transaction.

1. User submits side effects

2. Executor sees the transaction and decides to accept it
3. Executor makes a requested transaction and locks funds in an escrow smart contract on the target chain
4. Executor submits the inclusion proof to the t3rn Circuit to be verified

5. Attester finalizes the transaction
While those steps are taking place, Rangers continuously submit the latest headers to the t3rn Circuit

6. Executor releases the escrow smart contract funds with a signed message from the Attester

7. The escrow smart contract on the target chain releases the funds to the user.

In conclusion

This unique 3rd generation architecture is highly innovative, and that is what gives t3rn the amazing ability to turn any blockchain into a cross-chain hub. We firmly believe that the future is multichain, and we’re working towards making it happen.

By the way, if you also believe in a cross-chain future, come build it with us

About t3rn

Transactions across multiple blockchains should be as easy and secure as those on a single chain. Welcome to t3rn.

t3rn is the 3rd Generation cross-chain protocol that brings fail-safe, interoperable execution and smart contract composability to the Polkadot ecosystem and beyond.

We support multiple languages and consensus mechanisms: EVM, Solidity, Ink!, and anything WASM-compiled.

t3rn enables fail-safe smart contract interoperability, no matter how many different blockchains are involved, with the simplicity of our SDK. t3rn also ensures that funds are not at risk from execution failures, as transactions are reversible.

Smart contracts on our Contract Registry can be used by anyone, and developers receive rewards anytime their code is executed. t3rn’s Build2Earn model empowers open-source development, offers a natural evolution to blockchain technology, and presents a unique approach to foster collaboration and benefit all participants.

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