Wormhole Guardians — Moonlet
In this series, we’re going to tell you more about our trusted Guardians, the validators who keep the Wormhole network up and running. This time, we are looking into Moonlet.
But first off: How does Wormhole work?
Wormhole is a decentralized, generic message-passing protocol for blockchains that enables blockchain interoperability. Today, Wormhole is connected to 13 individual blockchains that are all “first class citizens”, meaning they all have equal priority in the network. Wormhole isn’t built on Solana, Ethereum, Avalanche, or any other connected chain. It is its own separate network, a neutral party that sits in the middle of its connected chains.
Think of Wormhole as a “decentralized notary” that simply attests to the finalized state of connected networks. That attestation is done by the Guardians.
The Guardians secure the base messaging layer which is permissionless and a number of applications have been built and deployed on this layer. Check out the code yourself — https://github.com/certusone/wormhole.
Why does Wormhole need Guardians and what do they do?
Wormhole’s 19 Guardians serve as validators that attest to messages they observe on the connected chains. They do so by running a full node for each chain to monitor the Wormhole Core contracts. A message can be generated by any application that has integrated with Wormhole on the source chain. When a supermajority (2/3) of the Guardians sign a message, it produces a VAA (Validator Action Approval) which is a combination of the message itself plus the Guardian signatures. The message is then sent to the destination chain with this promise of the message’s legitimacy. VAAs are then consumed by applications on the destination to facilitate their intended action (wrap a token, count a vote, update a price, etc).
The trust assumptions required to generate the VAA must be strong enough to ensure that the Wormhole Network can operate safely and efficiently.
Not only do Guardians validate Wormhole’s connected chains, but they also operate the Wormhole governance process.
They vote on:
- which networks will be supported
- what development features will be shipped into production
- major strategic decisions that steer Wormhole’s direction
By now you might be wondering “Who are these mysterious actors? How can one trust them?”
Who are those Guardians and why can they be trusted?
Guardians are a key construct in Wormhole’s trust modeling. Because of the role they play in validating the authenticity of messages, the network trusts them to behave in an honest manner. But how can we assume they will?
Simply put: they have much more to lose than to gain.
How so? Wormhole’s Guardian set is comprised of some of the largest and longest operating staking validators in all of Web3. Each Guardian, prior to their involvement with Wormhole, has built businesses with deep financial alignment to the networks for which they validate, as well as the overall health of crypto. So the underlying assumption is that, should a Guardian misbehave or collude, not only would Wormhole be impacted, but all of the validator’s supported chains would be harmed by the reputational blow. The loss in confidence from a malicious action taken by a Guardian would ultimately harm the Guardian’s reputation and result in financial repercussions in the networks where they operate.
Because Guardians play such a critical role in the Wormhole network, the importance of the quality of the independent operators cannot be overstated.
So let’s have a look at the individual Guardians — in this post, we are looking into Moonlet.
Who is Moonlet?
Moonlet is a key node operator covering over 30 blockchain networks, with over $50M in AUM (Assets Under Management) and 18k delegations to their nodes. In the past 5 years, Moonlet has been involved in many initiatives building non-custodial staking services (on both desktop and mobile environments), joining incentivized testnet competitions, supporting the launch of several mainnets, and achieving excellence in aggregating technologies on top of blockchain networks. Moonlet is run by a team of ten, based in the EU and US, with backgrounds in software development, product management, devops, and design, with over 15 years of expertise in building complex software solutions.
History of Moonlet
Moonlet started in 2017 as a community of blockchain enthusiasts who tried to understand how Web3 would challenge the status quo of the finance and technology industries. In 2018, they received their first grant and started to build a Chrome extension for a non-custodial wallet solution. A year later, the Chrome extension morphed into a non-custodial digital asset wallet on both iOS and Android. In 2020, Moonlet branched into acting as a PoS Node Operator to provide nodes that support blockchains and ensure networks operate safely and efficiently. In 2021, the Moonlet team started building the TIEXO NFT Marketplace and launched their own NFT collections. In 2022, TIEXO added functions to become a Web3 NFT Aggregator: in intuitive dashboards, users find all statistics and data to all Solana NFT listings.
Branching out into NFTs: TIEXO
Currently, Moonlet is actively building TIEXO, a Web3 NFT Marketplace Aggregator. In order to empower users to make informed decisions, TIEXO brings together information and data from 11 marketplaces, about 6,000 collections, close to 10 million NFTs, and over 1 million individual listings. For conducting payments and to bridge NFTs, TIEXO utilizes Wormhole’s Portal bridge.
In Moonlet’s words
We joined Wormhole in December 2020, therefore in its early days. The reason why we embrace the idea of becoming a guardian is because we believe in the future of blockchain networks as interoperable rather than being siloed and this is what Wormhole solves. It unifies the whole ecosystem into one powerful environment where both fungible and non-fungible tokens can be easily transferred, traded and owned on any network despite where those were initially created. And this solves many usability issues and it unfolds true adoption. That’s why we are so excited to be part of it!
Lastly, some stats
In the last 12 months, Wormhole, together with Guardians like Moonlet, has successfully validated over 1.3 million messages across more than a dozen supported chains. We’re looking forward to continuously upping those numbers and building the xChain world together with our trusted partners.
Interested in learning more about Moonlet? Check out their socials:
Join the ever-growing Wormhole community
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our next edition of Wormhole Guardians!
Questions? Thoughts? Feedback? Want to keep up to date with the latest xChain news? Join the Wormhole community today: