Understanding Nervos’ 2022 Roadmap: With Chief Architect Jan Xie

NervosReleases & Updates

Last week we held a successful AMA with our Chief Architect, Jan Xie. He answered general questions about Nervos and its architecture, our goal of user simplicity, the future of interoperability, and much more. 

We would like to share some of the updates from January on the 2022 roadmap, as well as some of his thoughts on Nervos and the blockchain ecosystem in general. This article should help you get a much better understanding of what is going on in the Nervos Network engine room at the moment. 

Some quick Updates from Jan!

  • 100% compatibility between Godwoken and Metamask is on its way. Estimate is testnet launch in March and mainnet launch in Q2.
  • Progress is being made on Force Bridge to Bitcoin. The asset bridge is easy, but it is the work on enabling Bitcoin users to operate Nervos dApps like we enable Ethereum users that is hard. 
  • We are working on zkevm (A virtual machine that runs on the zk Rollup network) and hopefully will see that in the next year or two. 

Nervos as Layer 0 / Security Layer to the Blockchain Ecosystem?

The Nervos Network is a platform that identified and addressed issues currently dogging the blockchain ecosystem, right from its genesis. Proposing ‘State Rent’ to beat the State Bloat on Ethereum, as well as other innovations makes Nervos well primed to to be a base layer in a blockchain ecosystem that could be multi layered.

“CKB can definitely be used as a security anchor or “layer 0” of other blockchains,” explains Jan. “You may notice that Godwoken and Axon are both L2 frameworks that can be used to build application specific chains on Nervos. 

“Besides the shared security provided by CKB, building on Godwoken/Axon can also enjoy the benefits of Nervos interoperability 2.0 and access to a larger user base..”

“By the way, I don’t like the term ‘layer 0’. There were two definitions of layer 0 in crypto: First, a p2p network/protocol that can be used by many blockchain networks. And two, a shared security layer under all other blockchains.” 

“The first definition is a misconception because a p2p network is not a layer parallel with layer 1/2; the second definition implies a single ‘layer 0’ blockchain worldview which I disagree with. 

There will be multiple layered networks each has its own layer 1 but no one can rule them all.”

Flexibility Leads to Simplicity

One of the goals of Nervos right from the beginning was to create a blockchain platform that can provide a seamless internet-like expereince. This means that it is simple to use, flexible and powerful. Current blockchain platforms and ecosystems are still very complex and niched, requiring a lot of prior knowledge to get the most utility out of their ecosystem.

Nervos wants blockchain to be as easy as sending an email and this all starts with flexibility.

Nervos will make its ecosystem as simple to use as possible by building a layered network and making layer 1 as flexible as possible,” added Jan. “Security, decentralization and UX are conflicting design goals and the best way to get all of them is divide-and-conquer or achieve them on different layers.” 

“With layer 2, middleware and user interface, complicated technical details can be hidden from users. UX can always be optimized or improved at the upper layer. You don’t know how SMTP works but you can use Gmail. You don’t know how the TCP handshake is completed but you can watch Netflix.”

“The Internet is as complicated but upper layer protocols and applications hide those details. The difference between the Internet and blockchain is we have the goal to preserve security and decentralization as much as possible while building apps on top.”

“The extra goal requires a flexible layer 1, otherwise the upper layer applications would have to rely on centralized intermediaries to realize a smooth user interface. That’s why projects like Unipass, an email based web3 identity system, can only be built on CKB without any centralized intermediary.”

CKB Light to Bring More Applications

The roadmap spelled out the path towards the much anticipated CKB light client. The first protocol update this year will lay out the groundwork for a fly client protocol and CKB light client. 

The CKB light client is a long-awaited feature of CKB with the potential to bring the user experience to a whole new level, without sacrificing decentralization. It also means new possibilities for dApps on Nervos. 

“I would be excited to see the use of CKB light client in mobile, browser and embedded environment,” said Jan. “With CKB light client on mobile we can build easy-to-use payment dApps to facilitate p2p payment, based on permissionless off-chain payment networks.” 

“The payment dApp can integrate with Unipass to support transfer between decentralized email-based identity, or DAS for user-friendly names and sub accounts. Any UDT, NFT or stablecoin can be transferred easily in a trustless and friendly way.” 

“With CKB light client in web browser developers would be able to build trustless web or extension wallet, with no dependency on any centralized API service. Or we can build a browser extension to support visiting websites with DAS names thereby decentralizing the Internet’s domain name system completely.”  

Nervos as an Institutional Platform?

The growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption has seen a lot of interest from institutional entities, but they require rather specific process checks, such as permissioned protocols, AML/KYC and others that are common in the traditional finance world. 

It’s conceivable that new institutional focused layers could be built on Nervos as its foundation is rooted in providing a broad and flexible platform and solutions could easily incorporate some of the required features from institutions automatically into the layer. 

Jan shares his thoughts on potentially tailoring aspects for institutional use cases in the discussion and says “I like the idea of having solutions optimized for institutional use,” says Jan. “Godwoken, Axon and SMT dapp are all general frameworks with very open licenses, any team should feel free to package them into business solutions that could be geared toward institutions. 

A Big Year for Nervos

2022 marks the fifth year of the Nervos Network. This is a nice milestone to tick off, but it also coincides with a year that we see as being fundamental to our growth and establishment in the blockchain and Web3.0 space.

From the roll out of our technology, to the growth across our ecosystem and the traction we are gaining in the space, we feel well primed to deliver on the 2022 roadmap and to make a big impact in this ever changing arena.