By Surojit Chatterjee, Chief Product Officer
At Coinbase, we believe a thriving and open ecosystem is necessary for the promise of crypto to be realized, ultimately leading to our vision of more economic freedom for the world. As early as 2016, the Coinbase Secret Master Plan stated our commitment to the open source communities around crypto protocols. And last year, we outlined our strategy of connecting and growing the cryptoeconomy.
Today we’re launching Rosetta, an open-source specification and set of tools that makes integrating with blockchains simpler, faster, and more reliable. This is a step toward our commitment to support an open ecosystem.
Coinbase initially developed Rosetta as the middleware used to integrate blockchains into its platform securely and painlessly, and today we’re sharing it with the world in the hopes it can ease development and integration time for both developers and crypto platforms alike.
The number of blockchains has grown dramatically in recent years, and with it has come a proliferation of different node and wallet APIs that can be challenging to navigate. The goal of Rosetta is to standardize how to interact with blockchains, making it easy for anyone to build on top of a blockchain for a variety of different use cases.
For developers of new blockchain projects, the Rosetta interface makes it easier to ensure compatibility with exchanges that use Rosetta, and can dramatically speed up the time it takes exchanges to integrate with new blockchains and protect customer funds by ensuring specific security conditions are met.
For the broader community of crypto developers, Rosetta makes it easier to build cross-blockchain applications such as block explorers, wallets and dapps. Instead of writing custom parsing for every supported blockchain, applications can use a blockchain project’s Rosetta implementation to read on-chain data and construct transactions in a standard format; minimizing code and simplifying maintenance.
As open source software, Rosetta is easy for anyone to contribute to, and some blockchain teams have already started providing feedback and support. These teams include Filecoin, Celo, Near, Oasis, Coda, Ontology, Kadena, Handshake, Blockstack, and Sia.
A guide to Rosetta, including full documentation, can be found here. The website also includes common development issues that incorporate lessons learned from our years of conversations with blockchain developers and customers. We hope these lessons will be uniquely valuable for new blockchains that want to attract developers, get listed on major exchanges, and build great user experiences.
Over time, our goal is to support a thriving ecosystem of Rosetta interfaces for many more blockchains including Bitcoin & Ethereum, along with even more tools and community resources. Check out our open source guidelines or get started here. If you’d like to learn more, join our Discourse.