Developer Q & A with Francesco “Franz” Santanche: FT4, ChoccySwap, and more!

Developer Q & A with Francesco “Franz” Santanche: FT4, ChoccySwap, and more!

We recently caught up with the dapp builder and Chromia contributor to learn more about his programming background, the FT4 token standard, and the upcoming Chromia DEX he co-founded called ChoccySwap (CCY). Read on for all the details!


Q: What is your development background?

A: I've always been into programming. I started coding at the age of 13 when my school offered an experimental program teaching coding, which sparked my interest. The first things I learned were not that fancy; it was just Visual Basic. However, after mastering that, I began exploring other programming languages such as Java, C#, Python, and C++. I also dabbled in different website building stacks including JS/HTML/CSS, React, and Svelte. In university, I studied C++ and Python. After that, I worked for a while building trading bots in Python.

Contributions to Chromia

Q: When did you start working with Chromia and Rell?

A: I started developing ChoccySwap after discovering Chromia and becoming interested in the concept of relational blockchain. I decided to give Rell a try, and it felt like a breeze. It has been easy to code with, and I was able to program some basic swap functions in a matter of days despite having no previous experience with the language.

When I learned more about the long term goals of Chromia, I saw the opportunity to make a DEX that could offer no gas fees, low latency, and the ability to swap tokens on Chromia, from Ethereum and all the other EVM chains. It sounds “too good to be true”, but I believe Chromia makes it very possible to deliver a product that can achieve this.

Q: You are also a contributor to the Chromia codebase. What are you working on right now?

A: Right now I’m working on the FT protocol, which manages tokens, accounts and authentication. I'm part of a team developing the FT4 token standard (an update from FT3), which is going to add many new and interesting features.

Q: Can you discuss some of the new features being introduced and explain how they will add more flexibility for dapps?

A: The thing I find the most interesting are the new features we are adding to ‘authentication descriptors’.

Let's imagine that your blockchain account is like a safe that holds several kinds of assets. While you hold a ‘master key’ that grants you access to anything inside the safe at any time, authentication descriptors allow you to give other users and dapps ‘limited keys’ that grant access to specific assets under specific conditions. There are many applications for this, for example:

  • Sending and receiving in-game currencies and items without manually approving every transaction
  • Sharing login credentials and assets for a specific game with a friend, so you can both play at separate times (without granting them access to anything else)

There are likely thousands of applications, as the system is very customizable. It’s going to open many possibilities for developers and users.

Q: What is one advantage to building on Chromia?

A: Chromia has a very deep level of customization and useful features for improving UX, so you can personalize many aspects of your dapp. For example, you can choose how (or if) your dapp collects fees.

It is also far less restrictive than EVM chains when working with smart contracts. For example, on an EVM you can’t actually “upgrade” contracts, so to improve them you have to use an entirely new one. It’s also harder to make contracts interact with each other the way you want them to, and there are tight constraints on code size. Chromia removes these size constraints and makes it far easier for contracts to interact with each other. That's really nice for developers!

Q: What is one challenge of building on Chromia?

A: The main challenge is that it's the cutting edge of technology, and everything is very new. A lot of functionalities are getting added as we get closer to the mainnet release, and often features get deployed faster than they can be documented. This can make it hard to navigate sometimes, but it's the price you pay to have the latest and greatest 😉

About ChoccySwap (CCY)

Q: Which came first: working on CCY or working on Chromia?

A: CCY came first. While building the dapp, I asked some questions about Rell on the developer Telegram channel (note: Developer chat is now being directed to the Chromia Lounge) . As I learned more about Rell and also about node setup, I started helping out other people on the channel. The Chromia team noticed my contributions, and reached out to me. And here we are!

Q: What is CCY? What was the initial vision for the project and what is the long term vision?

A: CCY’s primary goal is to become the first decentralized exchange on Chromia. As I said before, we envisioned an exchange with the capability to swap any token with no gas fees (though you will still pay a 0.3% trading fee to liquidity providers!). Several DEX projects across crypto are trying to achieve the goal of ‘no gas fees’, but I believe it will happen for the first time on Chromia because of the network design and customizable fee structures.

As a secondary goal, we are also looking to add launchpad functionality. We’ve completed some preliminary work on this, but there are features that need to be released on Chromia before this idea can really come together.

Q: You launched your placeholder token on Avalanche, as opposed to more common choices like Ethereum or BSC. Was there any particular reason for this choice?

A: At the time, Ethereum had really high gas fees, so it wasn't sensible to use it. We looked at BSC, but we had some concerns about centralization of nodes and at the time there were many ‘rugs’ happening there. We wanted to avoid giving that impression, so we decided to look for an alternative. We chose Avax because we felt its design promoted decentralization and it offered low gas fees.

Q: Will bridging a token from Avalanche to Chromia be any different than Ethereum or BSC to Chromia

A: Nope! The bridge that Chromia is building will work for any EVM chain, including Avalanche.

Q: CCY has deployed a container on the Mark 2 Testnet. What features are you testing currently?

A: We are running some internal tests, including an on-chain order book implementation. However, we won’t be running any official testing rounds until more features are enabled (i.e. FT4, H-Bridge).

Q: What are some of the features that will be tested later?

A: When FT4 is out, we’ll have a testing round for basic swaps and limit orders. When H-Bridge and EIF are implemented, we will be able to run and test ChoccySwap as a fully working DEX.

Wrapping it Up

Q: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!

A: No problem! Time to get back to work! 🔧

NOTE: Articles discussing Chromia ecosystem projects are presented for informational purposes and are not intended as official endorsements.

About Chromia

Modern society runs on data, and every online service you’re using is built upon underlying databases - ranging from your online bank to music streaming and gaming. Chromia is a relational blockchain - a combination of a relational database and a blockchain - making it easy to develop user-friendly decentralized apps for almost any industry, including DeFi, NFTs, gaming, and more.

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