eth-provider: Decentralized Ethereum access for Urbit

March 4, 2022

• ID:


App Dev


A common criticism of the Ethereum ecosystem is the reliance on centralized services such as Infura. Currently all Urbit ships communicate to Ethereum through the Tlon Infura endpoint at eth-mainnet.urbit.org, serving approximately 600k requests per day. This is a practical choice, but Urbit provides the building blocks for a more decentralized solution.

Bounty Description

The end goal of this bounty is to build a Gall agent called the eth-provider that allows a ship to configure their ethereum connection. The default behavior of the eth-provider is to use the current tlon Infura endpoint, but it can also be configured to use a different URL. More interestingly, it should also have the capability to be configured as a provider or a client.

A provider allows other ships, explicitly allowed through a whitelist, to connect their ethereum calls to the provider. A client is the opposite, connecting to another ship to receive ethereum responses. These modes allow us to leverage the Urbit identity system to provide for more fine-grained and robust access control than on the old Internet.

A star is a natural fit to run a provider, so in addition to the whitelist there should be a configuration option to allow the kids of the ship to connect.

The user of the eth-provider should not need to care how it is configured, the pokes should return the same data whether the eth-provider is configured to local, provider or client mode.

Building the eth-provider is simplified by the extensive Ethereum JSON RPC capabilities in /lib/ethereum and /lib/ethio. Integrating the eth-provider with the existing urbit codebase may require implementing a thread like /lib/ethio that calls the eth-provider.




Project Requirements

  • Ships can poke the eth-provider with ethereum rpc calls and receive ethereum rpc responses.
  • Ships can configure the eth-provider as local, provider or client.
    • If configured as local, you can configure a custom ethereum url or use the default tlon Infura endpoint.
    • If configured as a provider, you can whitelist other ships that can connect to the provider as clients. There should also be an option to allow all kids of the ship to connect.
    • If configured as a client, the eth-provider will forward the ethereum rpc calls to the provider.
  • The user of the eth-provider should not need to care how it is configured, the pokes and responses should be identical for any configuration
  • The final milestone of this bounty is to integrate the urbit codebase to use the eth-provider. These include /app/eth-watcher and /app/eth-sender.

Architecture Diagram


Eth-provider Gall agent

Payment: 2 Stars A completed eth-provider Gall agent that satifsfies the project requirements above.

Urbit codebase integration

Payment: 1 Star All Ethereum RPC calls in the urbit codebase have been migrated to use eth-provider instead of the direct Infura connection. This milestone is completed when a PR against the urbit repository has been merged.