Applications that Handle Assets

In general, if you send tokens to a chain owned by someone else, you rely on them for asset availability: if they don't handle your messages, you don't have access to your tokens.

Fortunately, Linera provides a solution based on temporary chains: if the number of parties who want to participate is limited and known in advance, we can:

  • make them all chain owners using the linera change-ownership command,
  • allow only one application's operations on the chain,
  • and allow only that operation to close the chain, using linera change-application-permissions.

Such an application should have a designated operation or message that causes it to close the chain: when that operation is executed, it should send back all remaining assets, and call the runtime's close_chain method.

Once the chain is closed, owners can still create blocks rejecting messages. That way, even assets that are in flight can be returned.

The matching-engine example application does this:

    async fn execute_operation(&mut self, operation: Operation) -> Self::Response {
        match operation {
            // ...
            Operation::CloseChain => {
                for order_id in self.state.orders.indices().await? {
                    match self.modify_order(order_id, ModifyAmount::All).await {
                        Ok(transfer) => self.send_to(transfer),
                        // Orders with amount zero may have been cleared in an earlier iteration.
                        Err(MatchingEngineError::OrderNotPresent) => continue,
                        Err(error) => return Err(error),
                    .expect("The application does not have permissions to close the chain.");

This enables doing atomic swaps using the Matching Engine: if you make a bid, you are guaranteed that at any point in time you can get back either the tokens you are offering or the tokens you bought.