Theta Metachain Will be Live by End of 2022

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Designed to scale to meet the needs of Web3 businesses

The Theta Network team announced via a Twitter post on Saturday, April 9, that its mainnet 4.0, called Theta Metachain will go live in the final quarter of 2022. The Theta Metachain is an interconnected blockchain, described as a “chain of chains.” This allows permissionless horizontal scaling of the Theta blockchain to achieve potentially unlimited transactional throughput and super fast block finalization.


Theta has consistently been an early pioneer in new blockchain innovations. This started by deploying its Layer-2 Resource-Oriented Off-chain Micropayment Pool in 2018. Followed by for example launching the Proof-of-Stake Theta mainnet in 2019, and more recently the achievement of full EVM compatibility in 2021. 

One size DOES NOT fit all 

Theta understands that a one-size-fits-all format won’t cut it for large entertainment platforms that demand their own custom blockchain environment. The Theta Metachain hopes to provide a scalable, flexible, and customizable environment for dapps to meet the challenges faced by companies looking to adopt web3. 

The ambition for Theta and Metachain is to build an interconnected network of blockchains to allow permissionless horizontal scaling of the Theta blockchain network. To achieve potentially unlimited transactional throughput, and 1 to 2 seconds, or even subsecond block finalization time. You could say that Theta’s Metachain will compete with the likes of Polkadot and Cosmos, building an umbrella ecosystem.

Theta Metachain

Metachain under the hood 

The Theta Metachain consists of one main chain and an unlimited number of subchains. The main chain refers to the existing Theta mainnet. Theta will offer an easy-to-use SDK that developers can quickly use to launch a subchain and plug it into the main chain. 

Each subchain can execute transactions independently, which provides a path to scale the processing capacity of the Metachain. Creating a subchain is permissionless, meaning that anyone can register and launch a subchain. No approval from Theta Labs is required. The diagram below shows Metachain in its raw form, with cross-chain asset transfer supported between the main chain and subchains and external blockchains such as BNB Chain, Ethereum, and the Avalanche C-Chain.

Theta Metachain

Those familiar with rollup scaling technology might notice that the diagram of the Theta Metachain above resembles a rollup-based Ethereum scalability solution, where the main chain plays the role of the Ethereum Layer-1 chain, and a subchain corresponds to an individual roll-up network. They designed Metachain in such a way that it has the potential to evolve into a zk-rollup-like architecture in the future.

Theta Metachain

Although the initial release of Metachain may not come with the SNARK–proof, and data availability enhancement, Theta considers the zk-rollup extension as a possible future direction for the Metachain, as zero-knowledge proof technology becomes more mature.

EVM compatible with controllable gas fees 

Uniformity lies at the heart of Metachain, with the main chain and subchains all being EVM compatible. Because of that, all dapp builders and teams enjoy a unified programming interface. In addition, two tokens power each subchain, a gas token, and a governance token. 

On each of the subchains people will use TFUEL as the gas token, while the gas fee structure will become customizable for each subchain. This means gas costs on the subchain could be substantially lower (or higher) than on the main chain. 

Each subchain will also have a governance token that can implement an inflationary model to for example incentivize validators to secure the subchains. The subchain governance token doesn’t exist as a  native token on the subchain, but rather as a TNT20 token on the Theta mainnet. This will help with the improvement of the overall security. 

The introduction of subchains and the Theta main chain concept does not change the existing tokenomics of the Theta blockchain in any way. Subchains increase the utility and demand for both THETA and TFUEL. Developers will need THETA tokens as collateral for any subchain. Furthermore, subchains ultimately rely on the main chain to maintain their security and integrity, making THETA staked on the main chain more critical than ever. In addition, users will need TFUEL as a gas token for all on-chain transactions, whether on the main chain or a subchain. Any issuance of TNT20 governance tokens for subchains is used only on that particular subchain and does not overlap in usage with THETA or TFUEL.

More importantly, this framework does not specify the exact design of the subchain consensus mechanism. Theta believes that such flexibility allows different consensus protocols customized for specific use cases. For example, one subchain could adopt a permissionless proof-of-stake-based consensus algorithm while another subchain runs a permissioned proof-of-authority consensus protocol tailored more toward corporate environments.

Theta is not the only chain promising such features, and each one has to make some trade-offs which are summarized below. While Metachain is still theoretical, others have delivered their MVPs. Those interested should check out the Theta Metachain whitepaper for a more detailed overview of Metachain under the hood.

Theta Metachain

Metachain in summary

As applications and businesses transition to Web3, they will require customizable, high-performance blockchains to enable new business models and tools for value creation. Metachain intends to meet the needs of video platforms, ticketing companies, metaverse worlds, and other enterprises as they evolve to decentralized models that put value and data ownership back in the hands of users. By enabling potentially unlimited transactional throughput and subsecond block finalization, Theta will be ready to meet the needs of applications with millions of users and transactions per day. 

The real kicker comes from Theta’s approach to an unlimited number of subchains. These provide each platform or Web3 business with a highly customizable subchain that comes with a public blockchain’s transparency, security, and credibility. Media and entertainment companies can implement their dedicated subchains with all the Web3 tools they require for video, computing, and storage via Theta Video API, EdgeStore, and NFT-based DRM. 

The vision for Theta MetaChain, beginning in December 2022, is to enable emerging Web3 businesses in media, entertainment, and the metaverse to scale to 10x today’s platforms. While these claims are bold, Theta’s previously mentioned track record in Web3 means investors and speculators are waiting to see if Theta can deliver their ambitious plans on time. 

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The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds positions in various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and RADAR.

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