Since 2021 began and we announced CKByte’s ($CKB) listing on Binance, the Nervos community has been anxiously awaiting a glimpse into Nervos’ plans for the rest of the year. That’s why on March 2nd we made the 2021 roadmap our focus for our fifth Town Hall.
Jan Xie, Chief Architect at Nervos, kicked off the Town Hall by explaining the methodology behind the roadmap, and why, as he says, “Nervos doesn’t have stages or milestones with fancy names” as some blockchains do.
“I believe a multi-year plan would give more incorrect or useless information than useful information. It would mislead our community to think R&D is a predetermined journey while actually it’s an unknown adventure full of surprises.”
Jan then went on to explain the importance of education for the Nervos ecosystem, as its design is built for a variety of use cases and Universal Applications. Now with the release of several developer tools and applications coming to the blockchain soon, it’s an exciting time for Nervos and those who have been following our project for the past few years.
The 2021 Roadmap in 6 Parts
In 2021, we expect growth on many fronts — more tools, more applications, and more users as well. This year the development will be more decentralized and the growth before driven by the community than by the core team.
Because the roadmap is extensive, Jan and Kevin separated the presentation into 6 different parts or areas of focus — the first being Core Protocol.
Nervos is constantly evolving based on our community’s feedback. To address many of the suggested changes and new features, we’ll need a hard fork, which essentially means all nodes will be asked to agree to changes and upgrade to new versions.
We plan to prepare the code and perform the first hard fork in 2021. The proposed changes will be listed on our Github.
The first major upgrade will include:
- RISC-V B-extension
- Macro-op fusion
- Soft-fork preparation
- Other fixes and improvements
The coordinator of a hard fork is never easy, but we’ll keep the community updated to ensure a smooth transition.
We’ll also make changes to CKB Light Client for a better user experience and to work with more devices, including:
- Simple Header Synchronization
- Compact Block Filter
Layer 2 and Force Bridge
Along with a hard fork, we’ll also welcome Layer 2 scaling solutions:
- Godwoken and Polyjuice
Godwoken is a Layer 2 rollup framework on CKB. It provides scaling capabilities as well as an account-based program model. Combined with Godwoken, Polyjuice provides an Ethereum-compatible layer on CKB, leveraging the account model and scalability provided by Godwoken. It also integrates EVM 1 and EVM engine for running Ethereum smart contracts and aims for 100% EVM compatibility.
Together, Godwoken and Polyjuice have been deployed in Nervos’ testnet environment. In 2021, we will work to get them both audited and deployed on the mainnet. In addition, more enhancements will be added to Godwoken to simplify development, improve throughput, and cross-chain development.
Axon is a chain-based layer 2 protocol. We introduced Axon in our positioning paper, and it has been through several rounds of designs. Now, after working on this project over the past few years, we believe we have come up with a design that can address our partners’ painpoints and needs. Offering better scalability and a better security model than a rollup, the goal is to release the protocol in 2021.
3. Payment Channel Network
In 2020, we began research on payment channels. We built a prototype to test our ideas and it resulted in a payment channel network on CKB that’s even more powerful than that available on Bitcoin and Ethereum. User-Defined Token (UDT) compatible, the payment channel network will have maximum liquidity and enable a variety of new use cases. We hope to build a small but efficient payment channel network on Nervos in 2021.
4. Force Bridge
One of the three elements of the Universal Passport, Force Bridge is a universal cross-chain framework for facilitating transfers between blockchains. The first bridge built on top of this framework is a bridge between CKB and Ethereum. In 2021, we’ll audit and deploy Force Bridge on the mainnet and plan to do the following:
- Build new bridges with Bitcoin and other chains, which will bring more assets and users.
- Complete the SPV head of verification smart contract on CKB.
- Make the CKB/ETH bridge more decentralized.
Standards and Tooling
Last year, we introduced SUDT (Simple User Defined Token), the token standard of Nervos. In 2021, we’re plan to propose two new standards:
- Extensible UDT (xUDT) will make room for other capabilities a UDT might need, like regulation, compliance, and governance. XUDT could be compared to Google Chrome browser as it supports extensions.
- Regulation Compliance Extension (RCE) will be the first extension for xUDT, which is useful applications with specific compliance requirements, such as stablecoins and STO tokens.
We are also working on a token standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that will meet the needs for applications that provide event tickets, commodity coupons, social network badges, and more.
SDKs and other tools will be provided for these standards to reduce the integration barriers.
Because CKB is different from other smart contract blockchains, Nervos is also providing new extensive tooling, including:
- Tippy, a complete dApp development suite on CKB.
- aML, a unique program language designed for writing CKB smart contracts.
- More Cryptographic Primitives, which are unique to CKB.
Another new tool is Gliaswap, an open-source AMM-style DEX template for Nervos. Production-ready, Gliaswap is easy to deploy and can be used as the base for more complicated DEXs. It offers the same interoperability as the Gliaswap DEX demo announced last year but provides better liquidity. As a template product on Nervos, we hope Gliaswap not only shows users how to build a DEX on Nervos but inspires our community to build Universal Applications in our ecosystem.
Gliaswap is expected to be ready in March 2021.
Developer Education and Onboarding
After wrapping up the R&D section of the roadmap, Kevin took the mic to go over Nervos’ plans regarding growing the Nervos community.
“This year, we’re seeing the maturity of the dev tools on Nervos and we’re seeing a lot more teams contributing and coming to the ecosystem.”
Kevin emphasized the importance of having better developer-facing materials, including demo apps and more tutorials. The resources would focus on three main areas:
- CKB Programming
- Layer 2 with Godwoken and Polyjuice
- Force Bridge
Nervos is also launching courses to give developers a step-by-step process when onboarding key concepts, labs, and projects. There will also be more workshops, events and hackathons both online and in-person in 2021.
Between infrastructure and applications, there’s an important layer — solutions. As a mult-layered framework, it’s important that all components can work together for specific purposes.
- Brings the ecosystem of EVM to Nervos Layer 2
- Includes tooling, standards, ecosystem, and integration with Nervos tools
Universal DeFi Apps
- These apps are inherently multi-chain with minimal UX friction
- Includes bridge, wallet, and application integration; DeFi primitives; and cross-chain continuation
Consumer Onboarding and Access
- Includes NFT standards, tooling, and SDKs aiming to bring real-world applications into the crypto world
The Nervos ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace, but we plan to drive even more growth by working with the community on projects, including:
The TrailBlazers Program
We’re looking for those pioneering lands for the growth of the global Nervos ecosystem. If you’re interested in becoming a TrailBlazer, visit https://www.nervos.org/trailblazer/.
Expanded Grants Program
During the past year, Nervos has focused on infrastructure grants, but in 2021 we’re expanding our focus to integration, applications, marketing, and community. If you’d like to apply for a Nervos Grant, visit https://www.nervos.org/developer/grants/.
Developer Incentives and Project Incubation
We want to provide support for early adopter projects through education, funding, technical support, and go-to-market support.
Community Projects Under Development
A glimpse at projects working on the Nervos blockchain:
- Stable Coins
- Lending Protocols
- NFT Marketplaces
As many of our plans come to fruition, we’ll keep you updated. Be sure to follow Nervos on Twitter (@NervosNetwork) and join the conversation on Discord and Telegram to stay updated.
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