The Blocknet Protocol : This Is What A Decentralized Infura Looks Like

The Importance Of Remaining Decentralized

Infura quickly became an integral part of the Ethereum ecosystem due to the fact that previous to its existence, a great deal of time, money and resources were required to download and operate a full Ethereum node via a client such as Parity. A full Ethereum archive node in 2019 required well over 2.5 TB of space (over 3TB at present) and as a result, operating an Ethereum node became prohibitive on a number of fronts. Infura was the remedy to these issues. Run by Consensys, Infura allowed developers the freedom to run a node without needing to worry about its maintenance and upkeep. Infura proved to be very reliable and its popularity soared. Because of this reliability, a large amount of traffic was filtered through its nodes, re-centralizing a large part of the Ethereum network which was not ideal. During the height of the CryptoKitties craze in 2017 this problem was compounded further when the majority of traffic was funneled to Infura via Metamask causing more problems and clogging up the network. More recently the amount of nodes mantained by individuals has fallen by 25% in the last 9 months as an increasing number of node operators gave up maintaining their own nodes and instead began relying on Infura. If this trend continues then Infura will go from operating a small percentage of Ethereum nodes to a much greater percentage, creating an ever more centralized system in the process which in turn increases the potential for collusion. What was supposed to be a decentralized system could then be in danger of becoming the very thing it set out to avoid as the network influence will eventually become unbalanced. Another danger for the Ethereum ecosystem is that Infura relies on Amazon Cloud Servers. This represents a potential central point of failure. Should something happen to those servers or Amazon decide they no longer want to deal with Infura, the whole Ethereum ecosystem could fall apart as others have observed with Ethereum dApps being rendered useless. These problems could be mitigated if something like a decentralized Infura existed. The good news is that such a system does indeed already exist in the form of the Blocknet Protocol.

The Blocknet Protocol: A Decentralized Infura

Decentralized applications should be censorship resistant, trustless and without a central point of failure — all principles that the Blocknet Protocol was founded on. The Blocknet Protocol consists of 2 components:

  1. XBridge provides the ability to perform true trustless and decentralized exchanges between any digital asset that is supported by the Blocknet Protocol via APIs (view list). When paired with XRouter, any application can perform exchanges between any compatible blockchains using a decentralized SPV implementation. Unlike every other “decentralized” exchange protocol, XBridge doesn’t use derivatives (proxy tokens or colored coins). The entire process is done in a trustless manner decentralizing the four components of an exchange.

The Incentives Of Running A Blocknet Service Node

The Blocknet Protocol allows for the monetisation of inter-chain and multi-chain services and for interactions between any smart contract platform and any other blockchain, even those that do not have smart contract capabilities. (e.g non Ethereum chains.) XRouter was designed from the ground up to provide interoperability with ANY and ALL blockchains, including all DTL’s (such as IOTA and Hashgraph.) and private chains (such as Hyperledger or R3.) There is no limit on the data XRouter can consume and verify. It is not limited to blockchain data only. XRouter can also verify external data sources such as those used in Oraclize. (In this example, a non-blockchain weather data call can be utilized.) The Blocknet Protocol is supported by a network of Service Nodes, which are similar to Masternodes but with an increased level of participation. Service Nodes host full nodes of the supported blockchains, host microservices, verify UTXOs, route communication between blockchains, and perform anti-spam and anti-DOS measures for the network. BLOCK is the utility token of the Blocknet blockchain and is used to pay fees for the network’s services, such as those provided by XBridge and XRouter. Through these fees, BLOCK is used as compensation to participating Service Nodes to incentivize support. In addition to receiving fees for supporting the network, operators of Services Nodes also receive 100% of fees generated from use of the network’s services (XBridge, XRouter, XCloud). Blocknet Service Node owners therefore have a great incentive to maintain their nodes. This is a marked difference to operating a normal Ethereum node where there is a lack of an economic model to encourage operators to continue to run Ethereum nodes. (Rewarding full Ethereum nodes isn’t part of the base layer). This may be a contributing factor to the decline in the number of Ethereum nodes. There are currently approximately 450 Blocknet Service Nodes spread across the planet providing a stable decentralized network with access to over 100 blockchains. Because of this, the network is not susceptible to centralized failure or censorship and the potential for node collusion is very small when compared with a centralized collection of servers where it would be easier to game the system. Moreover, running a Blocknet node means that node operators will be providing the framework for a brand new API ecosystem where 100% of provider fees go to Service Nodes.

Developers, DeFi, DApps And Use Cases

The Blocknet Protocol enables the separation of the underlying framework of the services the protocol provides from that of the development layer, freeing up developers to focus on what they are good at without the need to worry about laborious maintenance of the infrastructure they are building on. This separation of dApp development from infrastructure is essential to the growth of a decentralized ecosystem.

Developers Wanted For The Beginning Of A New Ecosystem

Blocknet enables the creation of a multitude of cross-chain dApps and multichain architectures only limited by developers imaginations. If you want to build for XRouter, set up a Service Node or have any questions, please join our Discord or Telegram. You can download the latest Blocknet wallet, Blocknet Comet with XRouter here. (The forthcoming XRouter proxy — currently in closed beta — will allow developers access to the XRouter network without requiring the Blocknet wallet to be installed). By building on the Blocknet Protocol and joining the “Internet of Blockchains,” developers will help to evolve a decentralized crypto-ecosystem. In addition, the Blocknet Protocol allows over 100 digital assets to be traded on Block DX, a 100% trustless and decentralized exchange dApp built on the protocol where native assets are traded, funds are in your control throughout the entire trade process, the ability to list an asset is open and free, there are no accounts, and no KYC is required. CloudChains Inc. is currently implementing a fully decentralized lite (thin) multi-wallet utilizing Blocknet’s XRouter protocol. To learn more about Blocknet, check out our website, API, documentation, and Discord. You can also check out the full 2020 roadmap here.

Blocknet is a 2nd layer blockchain interoperability protocol that enables communication, interaction & exchange between different blockchains.

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