In brief

  • Dapper Labs is working with Libra to exchange resources and make their programming languages interoperable.
  • Dapper Labs CTO Dieter Shirley said he’s unsure if their digital assets and collectibles will be adopted by Libra.
  • While Dapper Labs is focused on unique assets in gaming and entertainment, Flow could help bridge Bitcoin, Ethereum and Libra someday, according to Shirley.

Dapper Labs, the team behind CryptoKitties and the Flow Blockchain, today announced that it is working with Libra on an “open source collaboration” to bridge and build their blockchains with each other’s programming languages.

To help developers easily build and test smart contracts on its Flow Blockchain, Dapper Labs had launched a new platform called “Flow Playground” last month, alongside a new programming language similar to Swift and Rust called Cadence. 

Now, Libra will incorporate Cadence into their own language, Move Virtual Machine (MoveVM), to benefit from its “developer-friendly design” and to make both blockchains interoperable.

Dapper Labs CTO Dieter Shirley told Decrypt that “the ideal goal here is that we get to a point where the Cadence language is very easy to use, to understand, and a readable language that compiles down to the MoveVM.” 

Shirley said that since MoveVM is designed to work on multiple blockchains, including the high speed blockchain Solana, Flow will also integrate it to its own. “In this world, you could imagine using Cadence to write smart contracts for anyone of those three blockchains,” and more if others adopt MoveVM, he added. 

Since the launch of Flow Playground and Cadence, Shirley said “all indications from people using ‘The Playground’ are that it is a much more natural, efficient, and secure way to write smart contracts, and to create interoperability or composability between smart contracts.” The company said so far they have 566 projects created on Playground with over 1,000 developers on their Discord channel. 

Despite the close working relationship moving forward with Libra, Shirley pointed out that the two projects have different goals: Libra is essentially a payment processor, while Flow is working on developing unique digital assets, such as crypto collectables. Libra and Flow may never actually build assets or smart contracts together, he said.

In fact, Shirley noted that Libra has publicly stated that its platform will not use smart contracts at launch (the network will keep the transaction clearing process closed to select partners). It might be a long time after Libra’s launch, “if ever,” that it allows “general purpose smart contracts that create new asset types” on its platform, said Shirley.

As for any plans to make Flow interoperable with other blockchains, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, Shirley said not to expect anything “out of the box.” Dapper Labs is not currently working on bridging them all together, he said. On the other hand, Flow is a general purpose blockchain, said Shirley, and “there is no reason any of these proposals to bridge smart contract platforms, or bridge Bitcoin to smart contract platforms, could not apply to Flow.”

Moving forward, Dapper Labs is focused on creating unique digital assets in gaming and entertainment that are interoperable across different blockchains, including Flow. 

“We believe that gaming and entertainment is the lens in which the consumer will begin to care and understand the value of what blockchains can do,” Shirley said. “We started Dapper Labs with an eye on building consumer applications on other blockchains.” 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Dieter Shirley as Dapper Labs' CEO and not CTO. We regret the error.