Supporting the Development of Block Explorers and Smart Contract Languages for the Tezos Ecosystem

May 2, 2019

To increase accessibility and spur more open source innovation in the Tezos ecosystem, the Tezos Foundation is pleased to announce a new area of focus for the near future: supporting the development of additional open source block explorers and smart contract programming languages. These tools are critical public infrastructure for those building on and using […]

To increase accessibility and spur more open source innovation in the Tezos ecosystem, the Tezos Foundation is pleased to announce a new area of focus for the near future: supporting the development of additional open source block explorers and smart contract programming languages.

These tools are critical public infrastructure for those building on and using Tezos and we think they’re important to provide additional stability and product diversity for the community.

Block Explorers

In the months to come, we will fund the long-term development and maintenance of several open source block explorers, giving developers, wallet providers, and others access to a greater set of options to analyze and gather information about the Tezos blockchain.

We will encourage everyone developing these block explorers to collaborate on common standards to ensure the community has the most useful and accessible tools. This collaboration will include: API standards so bakers and other relying parties can query a block explorer and receive consistently formatted data; open source code and quality packaging to allow third parties to run their own public instances of block explorers; and operations and monitoring systems to ensure block explorers reliably provide accurate information.

The development of additional block explorers is already underway. Tezos.ID, a project from Tezos Southeast Asia, has been in operation since June 2017 and is expanding in functionality. Arronax, a project from Cryptonomic, is an analysis-focused block explorer that uses the Conseil API. We are currently in talks with OCamlPro, the developer of TzScan, to provide maintenance funding past its end-of-Q2 grant expiration. These projects, as well as new ones we will fund in the coming months, will establish a robust network of block explorers for the Tezos community to utilize.

Smart Contract Languages

Similarly, supporting the creation of new smart contract languages, which enables more developers to seamlessly build on Tezos, continues to be a primary focus of the Foundation. Our objective is to have wide language coverage, which will allow a larger audience of developers to more easily build on Tezos.

Some of this has already started. In addition to several open source high-level language projects, like SmartPy and fi, that have already received funding from the Foundation, Nomadic Labs will continue to work on Michelson, a domain-specific language for writing smart contracts on Tezos, as well as an additional low-level language, Albert, which will serve as a compilation target for other high-level languages. The development team behind LIGO, a simple language designed for relatively large smart contracts, recently announced that the LIGO compiler is equipped to integrate additional syntaxes for LIGO. Currently supported syntaxes are Pascaligo (Pascal-like syntax) and Cameligo (OCaml-like syntax).

Criteria for projects focused on building block explorers and languages to receive funding from the Foundation will be announced in the coming weeks. A full list of those selected as grant recipients for these projects (for both first time and repeat grants) will be announced. Stay tuned for more information.