Entering 2019, we published an article focusing on the topic of infrastructural shortcomings that currently deter access to blockchains for software applications. There is a pressing need for solutions, and some exciting progress being made by different projects in the ecosystem today.
At the milestone release of Pocket Core MVP, which is the precursor implementation for all future Pocket Network releases, we revisit the discussion around blockchain infrastructure solutions. Particularly, the roles that node incentivization, physical hardware, and sound protocol play in building reliable blockchain infrastructure that operates in a decentralized manner, to scale.
Providing streamlined access to blockchain data for applications, without reverting to centralized authority, means experimentation and optimization of node infrastructure through sound protocol and balanced incentives. Whether it’s competitors in an industry looking for a verifiable reference to truthful data, or a fully decentralized smart contract platform designed to minimize the need for third-party arbitration: Partnerships and protocol are critical components for launching and sustaining decentralized blockchain infrastructure.
Pocket Core MVP serves as the foundation for the iterative releases of Pocket test network, and main network, respectively. By building partnerships through collaboration and incentivization, Pocket intends to uphold an infrastructural ecosystem that sustains itself in a decentralized manner.
Join us in piecing it all together- as we check in with some of the intriguing projects that comprise the larger, emerging entity of decentralized blockchain infrastructure, heading into Spring 2019.
Infura — Gateway to Ethereum: A changing of the guard
For Ethereum- Infura has undoubtedly shouldered the lion’s share of node infrastructure, as a champion of the decentralized web, or “Web3” as you may refer. At this point, it appears undeniable that heavy reliance on central entities is unsustainable for Ethereum
Infura is keen on this point, after all, decentralization is in their nature.
Here is a recent acknowledgment from Infura- addressing prioritization of decentralized node infrastructure, in a late February blog post.
It’s refreshing to report that key players, the likes of Infura, are supporting efforts to decentralize infrastructure solutions. The Ethereum Community Conference took place during the first week of March 2019 in Paris. Several projects are receiving support from the Ethereum community, a few of which we will touch base on here.
Alternative Node Infrastructure (Ethereum)
Ethereum’s conceptualization of a “Decentralized web” is fresh and formative in and of itself. At this point, reliable implementation at scale still requires significant levels of trust: meaning users must hold infrastructure accountable for data storage and access to a large extent. Here’s a glance at some of the progress towards achieving trustless network status, occurring on the infrastructural front today.
In February, vipnode 2.0 reached beta testing: vipnode-2–0-released. Founder Andrey Petrov has explained vipnode 2.0 and how built-in incentive mechanisms allow users to pay small fees for Ethereum full node access or get paid for running an Ethereum full node.
Infura co-founder E.G Galano made mention of his support for Andrey’s vipnode project, at this point in his talk at the Ethereum Community Conference. Galano continued to remark on the need for reputation-based node incentivization with the potential aid of the “Whisper” protocol, which is documented here on GitHub.
DAppNode is a massive proponent of peer to peer, decentralized networking and leads by example. In fact, just recently, DAppNode made an announcement that their users can: set up Vipnode, to join the pool. Then receive (Rinkeby, during test period) ETH when a client connects to their DAppNode. In this blog post Vipnode x DAppNode.
Another unique flavor of prospects added to the mix through DAppNode’s open source code- is a physical hardware offering. The hardware product is pre-configured to give developers a highly user-friendly experience when connecting to Web3!
DAppNode is bringing a ton of value to the ecosystem, more then we can include in this brief post. Check out https://dappnode.github.io/DAppNodeDocs/introduction/ to learn more.
Another unique flavor of prospects added to the mix is the physical hardware offering, called the AVADO box. This product is pre-configured to give developers a highly user-friendly experience when connecting to Web3! This allows DApps to ship faster, with every resource included directly on the node itself. Think of it as a Web3 appliance for DApp builds.
Ava.do currently offers 3 packages supporting Ethereum and IPFS, with the higher end also supporting a Bitcoin nodes. The currently come with DAppNode preinstalled and look to be developing their own solutions.
You can find their specifications on their website. and they accept DAI!
QuikNode is one of the fastest ways to run your own Ethereum node. For accelerated transactions, you can choose to set up with MyEtherWallet or MetaMask, the main “ease of access” wallet user interfaces Ethereum has to date.
QuikNode shared some information about an interesting protocol for querying the decentralized web, in a March blog post: “Intro to The Graph: Indexed Data for dApps.” You can learn more about it at thegraph.com.
The Graph thegraph.com
One of the major catalysts for the astronomical growth and adoption of the web as we know today, was protocol, namely HTTP. On the Ethereum network, decentralized applications make round trip queries to get data from the Solidity code in smart contracts, and it can be a sluggish process without sound protocol, something that the Web3 ecosystem hasn’t harnessed yet.
The Graph is an open source project aiming to remedy this by establishing a decentralized protocol that will organize those trips to that data, through an indexing protocol. The goal is to increase speed/efficiency and make access to the decentralized web, similar to the quality of the current worldwide web that users are accustomed to.
For a preeminent dApp platform such as Ethereum, activism in the community to decentralize node infrastructure is fantastic, but it doesn’t stop there. The idea of a multi-chain future: where user interfaces are capable of performing tasks across blockchain platforms on a daily basis, is thought-provoking and valuable for all types of future software products. Here are some projects that offer infrastructure solutions for multiple blockchains today.
Blockdaemon supports applications with node services to several networks such as Ethereum, AION, Stellar, GoChain, and more. There is a strong element of trust due to the reliance on third-party cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Digital Ocean. Nonetheless, node services are load balanced between these central services, which makes Blockdaemon an interesting, hybrid infrastructure solution.
Blockdaemon recently announced that they will be making an appearance at the ReBuild Conference, an event being hosted by the AION network in Toronto, Ontario this April!
Nodesmith continues to strive forward in 2019, after coming to fruition through the AION Bounty program, and establishing a great reputation within the AION community. Nodesmith has served over 10 million API requests on 99.81% uptime, per status.nodesmith.io.
Nodesmith has recently come out with a beta release for the Ethereum network! The project is committed to open source philosophy and shares its tools on GitHub. Nodesmith will also be attending AION’s ReBuild Conference, this April in Toronto! Here is their announcement.
Decentralized, Multichain Node Infrastructure
Figuring out efficient ways for incentivizing participation to ensure cooperation and guarantee security against attack vectors, is the name of the game for decentralized blockchain infrastructure.
Pocket Network brings node operators and application developers together to provide relays for rewards through these mechanisms:
- Go-lang implementation that operates as the Pocket Core client.
- Multiple gateways for applications to connect their applications up with the necessary nodes for different blockchains through plugin systems.
- SDKs that easily connect to Ethereum and AION available for developers.
- Blockchain agnosticism, through customizable plugins that remain network compatible- which means onboarding developers are never limited in their choices.
We are proud to say this month that the Pocket Core client is released as “Minimum Viable Pocket” in a trusted environment for coordination, and will iterate into a trustless test network. This is a major step towards Pocket’s commitment to building decentralized blockchain infrastructure. Expect more explanations breaking down Pocket Core MVP’s trusted design and the optimization process towards trustless blockchain node infrastructure.
Originally published at https://www.pokt.network on April 22, 2019.