Social trading giant eToro has introduced a new programming language, Lira, which makes it easier for users to engage in derivatives trading.
Chief blockchain scientist at eToro, Omri Ross, noted that Lira aims to reduce the risks associated with executing financial contracts while enabling the development of new derivatives products from Ethereum-based assets.
A demo trading platform, created by eToro’s research and development arm eToroX Labs, was also introduced ahead of the Ethereal Summit Tel Aviv 2019 (held on September 15). The demo allows both retail and institutional investors to trade derivatives.
eToro’s platform uses Lira to perform tests on a wide range of contracts. The language allows developers to set different time limits on trades, swap cryptocurrencies in a trustless manner, and write complex contract settlement conditions.
eToro has open-sourced its new programming language in order to encourage more developers to use it for issuing “anything from simple futures contracts to complex exotic contracts” (e.g. collateralized loan obligations).
eToroX Lab is reportedly planning to deploy the language for various other decentralized finance (DeFi) projects running on different blockchain networks.
Commenting on the launch and potential applications of Lira, Ross remarked:
“We are excited to see how the market and the community will adopt this new programming language in decentralized applications, on cryptocurrency exchanges and in institutional finance.”
Lira is different from mainstream languages as it is used for “domain-specific” purposes such as only describing and carrying out a limited set of instructions. Its functions include allowing counterparties to write, verify, and collect on the terms and conditions of a self-executing contract.
Ross noted that the typical length for writing a financial contract in Lira is around 6-10 lines of code, which greatly simplifies the development process while minimizing the chances for error.
“Essentially, financial contracts are trivial computations, typically involving a lot of money, making them a highly suitable use-case for domain-specific programming languages. It can only describe a very limited set of instructions but does so with the highest level of competence and integrity attainable.”
Broad languages like Ethereum’s native scripting language Solidity has a larger set of use cases, however it can also introduce more risk or vulnerabilities in applications.