The following is a copy of Yang Lin’s talk at the NULS Korea conference, held in Seoul on September 11th.
From modular architecture to cross-chain ecology, what has NULS achieved in the first year?
Hello everyone. I am Yang Lin, the core developer of NULS. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share some of the technical ideas of NULS with you. The topic that I want to talk about today is “chain-building expert: NULS’s solution for cross-chain and value circulation”.
NULS is a global open-source project established in September, 2017. The main-net was officially launched in July, 2018. NULS is listed on more than 20 exchanges and will also be listed on a Korean Exchange later this year. At present, NULS has a number of enterprise partners, including HENA, JYA, and VICS who are jointly sponsoring today’s event. We are building a global operating system. The core team comprises of 54 people, spanned across five different countries, 25 of whom are programmers.
NULS is becoming known as the chain-building expert. Speaking of chain building, let’s first analyze our current situation. In the past year, more than 30 companies and individuals have approached us to ask if we would develop a blockchain for them. We refused almost all of them, because we clearly understand that the growth of demand for the blockchain will usher in explosive growth, and we strive to solve the needs of many, and not the few.
If an enterprise wants to establish a blockchain, currently it needs to form a technical team to develop or redevelop a blockchain underlying system, or outsource the task to a professional blockchain development company. Undoubtedly, it will face difficulties in hiring suitable blockchain talent, and be exposed to high costs, long product cycles, architectural design vulnerabilities. All of this equals a big risk and a massive headache. The solution proposed by the NULS is to provide a base layer structure, allowing the enterprise to focus on developing its own business application layer. The enterprise will have its own technical team, and they do not need to pay close attention to the base-layer structure. Rather they can focus their innovation on the upper layer of the blockchain application.
I believe that with the gradual maturity and subdivision of the blockchain industry, we will enter the vertical division of labor in the blockchain field. What is the vertical division of labor in blockchain? Let’s review how the original software and Internet products were developed. In the ASP era, a programmer undertook all the roles of database design, website back-end development, web front-end development, etc. Later in the vertical division of labor in the Internet, DBA, back-end developer, front-end developer, tester, product manager, UI designer and other positions are generated. Similarly, when entering the era of vertical division of labor in blockchain, it will generate the base-level professional positions in areas such encryption algorithms, consensus algorithms, distributed storage, and P2P networks. Above the base-level blockchain, there will be professional positions in the application layer such as blockchain product manager and DAPP business developer. The modular architecture of NULS will push the blockchain industry into the era of vertical division of labor in advance.
According to many, perhaps the most impressive thing about NULS is our modular architecture. Indeed, modules are the most fundamental part of the entire NULS ecology. Our goal is to create a blockchain module repository that covers 80% of technologies in the blockchain field, making it easy for developers to develop more innovative features. The NULS team is currently building a new NULS architecture that will allow our modules to run independently, with low-coupling among modules interacting with defined standard interfaces. Developers will no longer be limited by the programming language used by the blockchain system itself. Any developer who follows the standards of NULS modules can develop his/her own functional module by using language he/she is most familiar with, and add these modules to the group module repository.
Based on the module repository, NULS will launch our flagship product “Chain Factory” later this year. If the developer knows the parameters of the chain he is developing, such as the consensus mechanism and the total amount of tokens to be issued, four steps is all it will take to build a chain. Even with no knowledge of base-layer blockchain technology, a public chain can be built within minutes (of course, it is possible to develop a consortium chain or a private chain). The first step is to select the modules needed; the second step is to configure the system parameters; the third step is to download the complete operation package of the system; the fourth step is to deploy the system. We will also provide a service to operate the initial node for developers, which will greatly shorten the current development life cycle on public chains by at least six months.
Also, any chain developed by Chain Factory is customizable. You can choose your own encryption algorithm, consensus module, storage method, etc. We are encouraging the technical community and partners to contribute more basic modules and industry-standard business modules to the module repository, thus greatly reducing the waste of resources in the industry. Chains developed by Chain Factory are built on the NULS main chain. All the updates on the main chain are synchronized by the Chain Factory, so that the chain’s asset security and system security risks are greatly reduced for everyone.
When building a blockchain using Chain Factory, each chain can choose a cross-chain module. As long as they are registered in the satellite-chain of NULS, all the chains can execute asset exchange and circulation activities with other chains, via a cross-chain solution, thus forming a powerful ecological relationship with strong asset circulation.
The core of the NULS cross-chain solution lies in the satellite-chain. As the name implies, the satellite is a relay for communication connection signals. The satellite-chain acts a similar role, connecting various chains. Chains built by the NULS Chain Factory can be connected to the satellite-chain using the cross-chain module, and the value flows between chains. At the same time, it will be possible to connect with external chains such as Bitcoin, BCH and Ethereum using cross-chain protocol converters. This will result in a fully functional open ecological system.
From the modular architecture proposed in September 2017 to the idea of cross-chain value circulation ecology that I shared with you today, NULS has always insisted on its original vision. No matter how dissonant the industry has become, NULS always sticks to a path that helps more people use blockchain in the easiest way. The team members have been breaking through the difficulties, and have made progress from a single module to a module repository, and from module repository to Chain Factory. We have always adhered to the openness of the ecology, so we have proposed a solution for the cross-chain value circulation ecology. Although I am a developer, I always think that the blockchain is a world led by value. Your technical solution will reveal what you insist on. I have chosen to work in the blockchain industry since 2016, because I believe the world needs blockchain. Our core team members are also convinced that a world that is highly integrated via blockchain will be a better world. If what we do makes the world understand blockchain a little more, I think all our efforts to work overnight are worthwhile. Thank you very much. Thank you, Isaac, for organizing such a wonderful conference. Thank HENA, JYA, VICS, PRISM and SuperLinks for choosing to build your own blockchain project on NULS. I am proud of being a member of NULS.
Questions & Answers Session
What are the most unique features of the NULS cross-chain solution?
Yang: NULS cross-chain solution includes two levels of contents: one is cross-chain within the NULS ecosystem, the other is cross-chain between the NULS ecosystem and the external environment.
Let’s analyse that. About the first one: once NULS has defined cross-chain protocols, all blockchains in the NULS ecosystem are naturally “connected” through the protocols. A new blockchain created by NULS Chain Factory no longer needs to work on technical details. By simply choosing the cross-chain module, it is able to make connections with other chains. Besides, business interaction protocol is also included in the NULS cross-chain protocols. When developing an application, this design makes it possible to dissect huge apps from the architecture to small business operations and have multiple chains operate on them respectively.
The second level: cross-chain between NULS ecosystem and the external environment. We have been communicating and collaborating with BCH and other projects with cross-chain technology. We hope that by setting up successful cross-chain use cases, the blockchain industry standards in cross-chain can be defined. Possibly, the NULS cross-chain solution in the ecosystem will reversely push the industry to establish a cross-chain standard.
At last, technologically NULS cross-chain solution is in accordance with the standard industry practice to use cryptography to secure the assets safety. Every cross-chain transaction is recorded by the satellite-chain so that the assets are secure even if the object-chain turns out to be mischievous.
Why is NULS so focused on developing Chain Factory?
Yang: We need to go back to NULS’s initial vision, which is to make blockchain simpler. In order to achieve this vision, NULS came up with the concepts of modularization and multi-chain mechanism. Modularization solves the problems of requirements while multi-chain mechanism focuses on the practical. More precisely, modular design enriches the functions and application scenarios of decentralization, allowing people to access mature base-level blockchain technology and utilize it directly instead of developing from scratch. Multi-chain mechanism solves the problem of blockchain’s low degree of commercialization. Using multi-chain to disassemble applications to multiple independently operating chains or even dissect business scenarios in one application to chains which operate independently, blockchain technology is finally able to commercialize. Based on these two core concepts, further requirements emerge. We build a module repository with modules that have different functions, but we still need to make our product easy and convenient for users. Also, there will be interactions among multiple chains, thus creating the demand for cross-chain protocols. In all, NULS needs to develop Chain Factory in its full strength. This is because we stick to our initial vision to make blockchain simpler. We want blockchain to become part of people’s daily life. It has been our goal this whole time and I have faith in it. Every day, we work hard toward that goal.