back14 Sep 20225 min read
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A Brighter Future with Neon Labs | Interview

“Grow with the best two chains”. More exciting words have never been said. Pyth has set its sights on a multi-chain vision since day one: a world where every price feed is unlocked for every chain and every application, no matter where you are.

In this vein, we are excited to sit down with the Neon Labs team and discuss their Ethereum virtual machine on Solana.

Neon enables dApp developers to use Ethereum tooling to scale and get access to Solana. Transactions on Neon are executed by Solana as native transactions, meaning in parallel, while restricting access to shared data from the Solana state. This is what allows for fast throughput and low gas prices

Pyth network provides blockchains with real-time on-chain market data, allowing for accurate and real-time asset pricing on the Neon EVM. Join us on our deep dive with the Neon team to better understand the sheer power they’re unlocking for a better way to DeFi.

Let’s start things off easy. What is Neon Labs?

Neon EVM is an EVM-compatibility solution for the Solana blockchain. The tool allows Ethereum-like transactions to be processed on Solana, allowing Ethereum dApp developers to leverage their knowledge of Solidity, developer tooling, and existing codebases to scale with Solana, allowing dApps take advantage of the best features from both blockchains!

The neon core concept was thought up together by Anatoly Yakovenko, Andrey Falaleyev, and Marina Guryeva. In late 2020 or early 2021, the Neon whitepaper was released, and development has since been in progress.

Can you go into more detail on “Ethereum Virtual Machine” with “the scalability and liquidity of Solana”? How does this work behind the scenes?

Neon EVM will open up the ecosystem of Ethereum dApps to Solana’s capabilities without any code or configuration changes: the applications can be copied over directly to Solana via Neon EVM. The user experience is also completely preserved. Everything including the wallets used are the same as a native Ethereum environment. The major difference is that users and dApps will enjoy much faster and cheaper transactions, allowing for massive scaling potential.

As for creating new dApps on Solana, Ethereum developers won’t need to learn Rust and they can stick with Solidity. Neon EVM offers a complete environment for applications to be built from the ground up with Solidity!

Architecturally, there are a few components to note: Neon EVM smart contract (smart contract on Solana), Neon Proxy, Neon Operator.

Ethereum-like transactions going through Neon EVM, called Neon Transactions, are used as inputs for the targeted Neon Clients. (A Neon Client is a Solidity dApp deployed through Neon EVM). The Neon Transactions are facilitated with the help of the Neon Web3 Proxy and Neon Operators. These two components aren’t mandatory but they make the experience seamless for the user. They don’t need to worry about the underlying Solana transaction(s) behind the Neon transactions.

Any tokens transferred to Neon EVM through a bridge from Ethereum are stored on Solana as SPL tokens. Tokens issued/minted by Neon Clients on Neon EVM are first wrapped into SPL tokens via an ERC-20 bridge and then stored on the Solana blockchain. All arbitrary information produced during a transaction is stored on Solana as well. With the use of blockchain bridges, assets produced by Neon Clients can be transferred between the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. Neon EVM users will be able to take full advantage of Solana’s transactional advantages and have the freedom to store their assets wherever they want.

Many people often pit the Solana and Ethereum blockchains against each other, as if they are rivals. Do you agree with this view? How do you see builders utilizing Neon EVM?

We believe that Web 3 is heading towards a cross chain future. We see builders using Neon EVM to scale mature Ethereum dApps to handle larger user bases and transaction volumes. Currently, we see that upticks in adoption results in slower transactions and higher fees due to increased volume. These symptoms of rapid adoption are the characteristics that drive adoption down. With Neon EVM, this can be avoided as Solana’s network can be leveraged. Once users are onboarded to the dApps via Neon EVM, the assets they have can be brought back to the broader Ethereum ecosystem.

You’re on the Alpha stage of your roadmap. What does that entail, and what should we look forward to next?

The objective of the Alpha stage of Neon EVM is to demonstrate platform stability to the community. A key component of this phase is to identify any unknown issues and scenarios that may cause transactions to fail. The Alpha will be driven by the deployment of dApps on Neon EVM. The usage of and interaction with these dApps will give us a better understanding of how the EVM performs in practice.

Following a successful Neon EVM Alpha phase and transition to Mainnet Beta, our integration roadmap is focused on delivering key Web3 building blocks like The Graph and others. On the product roadmap side, Neon is entirely focused on integrating tightly with Solana programs, meaning the ability to read/write between contracts deployed on Neon EVM and Solana natively to enable composability and a merging of two ecosystems. These additional stages will further mature the Neon EVM platform by enabling access to a broader spectrum of use cases, liquidity, and users.

Neon EVM brings Pyth data, efficient app querying from The Graph, a new faucet, and more. What other firepower do you bring to Ethereum builders?

As for initial ecosystem infrastructure, developers and users will also be able to transfer SPL and ERC-20 tokens between Solana and Neon EVM using NeonPass and swap supported ERC-20 tokens (USDT, USDC, wETH, wSOL, NEON) using MoraSwap (Neon’s first AMM). Additionally, all transaction details will be available on NeonScan and the Aleph Indexing Dashboard. Wallets such as MetaMask will also be supported.

Developers will also have access to the QueryAccount library and Tracing API.

QueryAccount is a low-level Solidity library that provides developers with standardized functions to retrieve on-chain information, such as price feeds, for use on their Neon EVM dApps.

Tracing API gives developers a full externality trace on any transaction executed on the chain. They’ll be able to rerun historic transactions, run new transactions on historic states, and analyze the state of the blockchain after the execution of each instruction. The goal of the Tracing API is to help developers better test, debug, and understand their smart contracts on the Neon EVM.

What’s up next for the Neon Labs community?

Neon Labs has attended a variety of events throughout the summer and hopes to continue the trend into the fall.

We’ve met some great community members recently at the Seoul Hacker House, ETHSeoul, Korea Blockchain Week, EthCC, Barcelona Hacker House, Belgrade Hacker House, and others.

As long as there is a demand for more workshops and Neon Hackathons, we’ll keep hosting!

Any final words to the reader?

Keep up with the latest Neon developments by connecting with the team on Twitter, GitHub, YouTube, and Discord. If you have feedback regarding the newsletter, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you’re interested in shaping the future of blockchains and the web3.0 ecosystem, we’re hiring. Check out our full job board on our Careers page.

We can’t wait to hear what you think! Stay updated in our Discord and Telegram, follow us on Twitter, and be the first to hear what’s new in the Pyth ecosystem through our newsletter. Take fate into your own hands.

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