In the 9th “Hashing it Out” episode, Jordan, one of our Senior Software Developers, chats with Matt, our Ecosystem Development Manager, and Travis Richardson, DevRel Engineer, about the accomplishments of Nervos Network during 2022.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
CKB Growth and Usage
Unique Addresses Used
Despite the bear market, the unique addresses used on the Nervos CKB blockchain have risen to nearly 1.5 million, although this impressive number can’t represent the total number of users (as most of them have more than one address), it certainly displays an exciting amount of growth.
Over 68.2% of the secondary issuance, amounting to more than 2.8 billion CKB, has been burnt since launch. Based on how CKB is used, the fixed 1.344 billion CKB annual secondary issuance is divided among miners, Nervos DAO depositors, and a treasury fund (which is currently being burned). Click here to learn more.
The Nervos DAO has more than 8 billion CKB locked up, with a total of 45,400 depositor addresses. It shows that there are a lot of users out there who are planning to hold for the long term.
Live cell count hit a new ATH of 1.25 million. A Cell is a generalized UTXO and the most basic structure needed to represent a single piece of data on the blockchain. The need for live cells grows as more dApps are built on top of CKB, and the number of on-chain activities and users rises.
The first and most significant halving of Nervos CKB will occur in late 2023, when the primary issuance of CKB will fall to 2.1 billion per year and the inflation rate will drop dramatically.
More details will soon be available on the halving countdown website (created by Jordan): http://nervoshalving.com
Major Protocol Upgrade
Nervos CKB successfully completed the first Layer 1 Major Protocol Upgrade (aka Mirana hard fork). It was a non-contentious fork, meaning that there was no disagreement or split.
The Major Protocol Upgrade brought many new improvements to the Layer 1 protocol of Nervos Network. One of them was the Extensible Block Header. The main promise of this feature is to enable solutions like Flyclient in the future. Now CKB light client, which allows users to trustlessly interact with CKB without downloading the entire chain, has been deployed to the Pudge testnet. Click here to learn more.
Also introduced with the Major Protocol Upgrade is the CKB-VM v1 virtual machine. This new version of CKB-VM includes new RISC-V instruction support, which improves the performance of smart contract execution and adds several new features for developers to utilize when developing smart contracts. Click here to learn more.
The team is now working on Force Bridge 2. This is a very different version from Force Bridge 1 (which used a multi-signature wallet for funds custody). Force Bridge 2 is a header relay bridge with clear-cut security advantages, and it is completely decentralized with no trusted 3rd parties.
Axon, a configurable high-performance sidechain framework with built-in interoperability, became “mainnet ready” and several early projects are now working with it. The word “mainnet ready” here doesn’t mean there will be an Axon mainnet, because it is a framework that’s intended for developers to launch their own chains.
The first release of Axon will have limited features, and tools and documentation are still being worked on. Follow @AxonWeb3 for more updates.
The biggest news of Layer 2 network Godwoken in 2022 was the upgrade to v1, which made it 100% EVM-compatible.
Moreover, it spun off into an independent organization and aims to be the first modular gaming full-stack blockchain. Click here to learn more.
Hackathons and Conferences
We have held many hackathons and conferences in 2022, including participating in Gitcoin GR13, Web3 World Championship, L2 Rollathon, BlockJam2022 conference, GameJam hackathon, Blockchain x Gaming conference, etc.
The Nervos community has been growing steadily despite the weak market. Nervos has 115.8k followers on Twitter (111% growth), over 12k users on Discord (84% growth), over 17k users in the Telegram chat room (71% growth), and 5k followers on LinkedIn (48% growth).
In addition, we held community events in cities all over the world in 2022. We held side events around major conferences in New York, Singapore, Paris, Dubai, Austin, Denver, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Seoul, Busan, Bengaluru, San Francisco, Miami, Lisbon, Cologne, Cancun, and so on.
Standards, Tools, and Frameworks
CKB has a slew of new performance updates and more progress on Open Transactions, with an MVP expected in 2023. Open Transactions are Nervos’ solution to some of the challenges of working with UTXOs and will be a big step to unlocking the potential of CKB.
Taproot is the most important Bitcoin upgrade since Segwit. It improves Bitcoin’s privacy, scalability, and scriptability.
The Nervos core devs migrated Taproot to CKB using a lock script. Taproot on CKB demonstrates how an intriguing new ability could emerge by combining Bitcoin ideas with the Cell model, as well as how easily such a mashup could be accomplished. Click here to learn more.
xUDT is an extension to sUDT that incorporates numerous improvements based on community feedback when working with sUDT. Developers could use xUDT to create an extension script that checks whether a token issuance is below a certain threshold, enforces a time-lock on token transfers, or even compactly stores user balances in a Sparse Merge Tree.
The latest xUDT script has been deployed on the testnet.
Omnilock, a new lock script designed for interoperability, is a successor to PW-lock. It’s a lock script that can be extended to support various transaction verification modes used in popular blockchains, and it has been deployed on the Mirana mainnet. Click here to learn more.
Nexus is a UTXO-friendly browser extension wallet, designed to provide seamless support for NervosDAO, xUDT, Omnilock, light client, and other protocols. The development of Nexus began in 2022, and it’s still in its early stages.
Lua is the third programming language that the core team provides support for. It is a lightweight, dynamic language that is widely used in game development and other areas that require programmable extensions.
JoyID is a passwordless Web3 wallet that is designed to lower the threshold for mass adoption. Users are able to use biometrics such as Touch ID and Face ID to create wallets and sign transactions, without having to use mnemonic phrases. It also supports social recovery.
New ASIC Mining Rigs
Bitmain, one of the largest mining hardware manufacturers, released the Antminer K7 with a hash rate of 63.5TH/s in 2022. Goldshell Miner, another leading manufacturer, also released a new mining rig named Goldshell CK Box 2 with a hash rate of 2.1TH/s.
New mining rigs are important because it shows these manufacturers continue to put corporate investment in the future of the Nervos ecosystem. It’s not an inexpensive task as it requires brand new chips, new hardware, and new designs, with no guarantee of revenue.
Research Papers Published in 2022
- NC-Max: Breaking the Security-Performance Tradeoff in Nakamoto Consensus
- Polynomial IOPs for Linear Algebra Relations
- Analysing and Improving Shard Allocation Protocols for Sharded Blockchains
The UTXO Alliance is an initiative created to kickstart collaboration with individuals and organizations working to make the UTXO model more scalable, secure, and interoperable.
We had a number of town hall meetings in 2022, and have also been divided up into many working groups. We’re starting to see technical discussions, as well as marketing efforts and ecosystem development.
Jordan is going to join a Twitter Spaces with fellow UTXO and PoW chain Alephium later this month.
CKB Community Fund DAO
The CKB Community Fund DAO is live now. It is a funding DAO initiated by .bit, Cryptape, Nervina Labs, UniPass, Magickbase, and Cluster3 in the Nervos community and facilitated by the Nervos Foundation, with the goal of supporting community members in building and exploring the CKB ecosystem.
Can you cover where things are with documentation? Are there any plans that you have around creating new documentation and tutorials?
Documentation is definitely going to be a big priority here. This is an area that we believe we’ve been lacking in and part of that is our tooling. Some tools are in their third version now and have iterated very quickly. It’s challenging since things change so rapidly and the documentation frequently becomes outdated.
However, documentation is being addressed in 2023. Not only do we have new tools being developed, but there’s a renewed focus on making sure that the documentation is up to date. Within Cryptape, a new team has been formed and they are focusing exclusively on this.
There is a ChatGPT. Have you ever thought about using it to write Rust code?
No. ChatGPT is a remarkable advancement, but it currently has limitations and is not close to replacing the need for human programmers. There are tools available that can recognize patterns and assist with coding, but they do not write the code themselves. We believe that while AI-generated code may improve in the future, it is not at that level yet and human programmers are still responsible for writing the majority of the code.
Any plans for a deeper collaboration with other UTXO chains like Cardano and Ergo?
Yes. The purpose of UTXO Alliance is to find ways to collaborate and work together. The main form of collaboration discussed is usually something related to bridges. UTXO chains have the ability to do cross-chain atomic swaps, and thanks to cryptographic flexibility, Nervos can facilitate swaps between any UTXO chain and Nervos.
Would you recommend using xUDT rather than sUDT?
Well, xUDT script is still in testnet, so I (Jordan) wouldn’t recommend it today but probably in the near future when it’s in mainnet.
If I was starting a PoW project, could I merge mining with Nervos CKB?
Merge mining is a technique in which miners can mine multiple blockchain protocols at the same time, using the same computational power. It’s gaining renewed interest in the crypto space, as it can be used to provide security for chains.
The block header extension field of CKB allows for the inclusion of additional metadata for merge mining without impacting consensus on the network. However, for it to be successful, merge mining would require support from major mining pools.