The Success of .bit Shows the Advantages of Building on Nervos

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The .bit team announced in mid-August that $13 million in Series A investment had been secured for the project from CMB International, HashKey Capital, QingSong Fund, GSR Ventures, GGV Capital, and SNZ.  

.bit is an open-sourced decentralized identity protocol (DID) built on the Nervos CKB blockchain. The protocol has integrated with nearly 100 wallets and dApps. According to seek.did, .bit has reportedly registered more than 218,400 accounts with more than 63,400 different crypto addresses associated with them. 

Source: seek.did

As a young but promising competitor to the most significant player Ethereum Name Service (ENS), .bit advances in many aspects, for example, the protocol now supports Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon and Tron wallets, with plans to add compatibility with Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Polkadot, Solana and more. Moreover, .bit is the first to support sub-accounts, with SubDID functionality. It is also at the forefront of DAO governance, as .bit launched NameDAO, a project focusing on empowering people around the world to build culture-first, identity-based DAOs, and collectively produce public goods projects that deliver social impact while having a regenerative economic model.

In short, .bit has achieved excellent results in the past year, which must be one of the reasons why investment institutions favor it.

Why did the .bit team choose to build on Nervos?

Tim Yang, the founder of .bit, claimed that he was inspired by ENS, a decentralized naming system built on the Ethereum network. 

“When I first learned about ENS in 2018, I believed it to be the early model for a decentralized identity in the future. Users must provide the recipient’s wallet address, which is a randomly generated string of characters that no one can ever genuinely recall, in order to complete an on-chain transaction. With ENS, however, users can enter the easy-to-remember ENS account instead. Additionally, every ENS account is a unique NFT with practical value.”

Tim Yang previously established a team in early 2019 to create something similar to ENS. His team completed development but ultimately they gave up, because they found that no matter how hard they tried, they could only create a product worse than ENS. 

In 2020, Tim Yang learned about Nervos CKB for the first time through a friend’s introduction. He described his realization, “I realized that I could turn my idea into a reality on Nervos, because it is very flexible and it enables cross-chain naturally, where users won’t notice the existence of Nervos blockchain. In contrast, ENS can only be used by Ethereum users.” 

In retrospect, it can be said that the advantages of the Nervos blockchain have laid a foundation for the success of the .bit product. 

So, what are the benefits of the Nervos blockchain? In a blog post entitled Learning CKB DApp Development From DAS, Tim Yang revealed reasons why the .bit team chose to build on Nervos CKB rather than on other blockchains. They can be summed up in two points: 

  1. PoW consensus + Cell model.
  2. Capability for customized cryptographic primitives (highly flexible and extensible architecture, through which any other public blockchain wallet can manage .bit accounts).

In the next section, we will explain these in greater detail.

PoW Consensus + Cell Model

After the Merge, over 66% of Ethereum Beacon Chain validators adhere to the OFAC regulations. The sanctions against Tornado Cash protocol by the OFAC and the arrest of one of its core developers in the Netherlands, have caused many people to reconsider the importance of decentralization and security for blockchains.

We know there have been many discussions and debates on PoW versus PoS. We firmly believe that PoW is the most suitable choice if we want Layer 1 to be as decentralized and secure as possible. The security of a blockchain is proportional to the cost of an attack, and PoW has the trait of making the cost of an attack as transparent as possible. While PoS has many advantages and works well in many scenarios, it is not suitable for Layer 1, as it is not permissionless. 

That’s why Nervos chooses PoW consensus to secure the Layer 1 network.

Nervos CKB inherits the ideas of Bitcoin’s architecture and creates the Cell model from generalizing the UTXO model, retaining the consistency and simplicity of Bitcoin. In Nervos CKB, all state is  stored in Cells, all computation is done off-chain, and nodes handle all the verification work. 

Learn more about Cell model.

Capability for Customized Cryptographic Primitives

The concept of “cryptographic primitives” is exceedingly abstract and hard to grasp. To simplify, we only need to remember that the cryptographic primitives are low-level algorithms, just like underground electrical pipes. These algorithms are used to authorize transactions, someone must possess the private key corresponding to an address to produce the correct output of the algorithm. 

Most public blockchains, including Ethereum, set the default cryptographic primitives (low-level algorithms) at the consensus layer. Different blockchains usually have other default cryptographic primitives. The hash algorithm of Bitcoin is different from that of Ethereum, and the signature algorithm of Ethereum is different from that of Polkadot. If the blockchain does not support a specific type of cryptographic primitive, the blockchain must go through a hard fork in order to add a new cryptographic primitive to the system.

With Nervos CKB’s flexible and extensible design, new cryptographic primitives can be added without the need for a hard fork, which is a powerful capability. For example, developers can deploy the keccak256 hash algorithm of Ethereum in a CKB Cell and implement a cryptographic library that supports the keccak256 hash algorithm on the CKB blockchain. The script on the CKB blockchain can then verify the Ethereum signature format. 

This is why .bit enables users to use Ethereum, BSC, Tron and Polygon wallets (more wallets are on the way) to manage accounts, while ENS only supports Ethereum. 

Portal Wallet, UniPass, and the upcoming JoyID are more examples of how Nervos CKB‘s capability for customized cryptographic primitives can be used to build user-friendly wallet solutions.

More Advantages of Building Applications on Nervos

In addition to the Cell model, PoW consensus, and the capability for customized cryptographic primitives, there are many more advantages of building applications on Nervos Network.

Nervos Network is a multi-layered blockchain platform. Building on a highly secure and decentralized layer 1, a layer 2 network, Godwoken is optimized for high performance and 100% compatible with the EVM, which enables Solidity developers to start building on Nervos immediately without having to learn anything new.

Axon is the upcoming layer 2 network and the EVM-compatible sidechain. With Axon, Web3 builders can easily transform their ideas into reality. Whether it’s GameFi, DeFi, or NFTs, Axon offers a scalable and cost-effective framework to deploy Web3 applications.

We look forward to seeing more successful applications being built on Nervos Network!