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Even though the introduction of blockchain with bitcoin in 2009 has managed to disrupt several existing industries unrelated to cryptocurrency such as logistics and international finance, current implementations of the technology suffer from a myriad of problems. Scalability, upgradability, and accessibility are all problems that current-day cryptocurrencies and decentralized platforms are still struggling to fully comprehend and work around. It is for that reason that new innovations continue to iterate and improve upon the concept of blockchains.
One such evolutionary project is Nebulas, spearheaded by the founder of cryptocurrency NEO, Hitters Xu. Described as “a next-generation public blockchain,” Nebulas aims to bring improvements to smart contracts, blockchain scaling and decentralized applications (DApps). The platform is a blockchain search engine that makes DApp discovery easier and more intuitive for the end user. Nebulas’ rethinking of the blockchain paradigm has even earned the title, ‘Google of Blockchain.’
According to the project’s white paper, the first feature of the platform is Nebulas Rank, which is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the blockchain search engine experience. In essence, it uses an algorithm to measure how valuable a DApp is, similar to what Google does for websites with its PageRank technology.
Using publicly available blockchain data, Nebulas Rank computationally considers the particular DApp’s liquidity, interaction and propagation of assets. By appropriately ranking applications with real world usage potential, Nebulas believes it can boost the growth of the ecosystem. In fact, the total number of DApps available on the platform already exceeds what can be found on the Ethereum blockchain by a fairly large number.
Another important feature is Nebulas Force, which is the platform’s approach to solving the fragmentation problem of blockchain upgrades that Bitcoin most notably suffers from. Instead of relying on a hard fork to make improvements to the underlying technology, Nebulas boasts the capability of self-evolution. Changes to the platform are first carried out on a test-chain for testing and experimentation and are propagated across the mainchain after a consensus process.
DApps built on the Nebulas platform use the platform’s native token NAS to facilitate transfers and blockchain entries, similar to Ethereum. With a continuously growing library of DApps, Nebulas recognized the need for a DApp storefront early on. After releasing the mainnet in March, the team’s attention quickly shifted to developing a mobile wallet and app store solution. Two months later, the official Nebulas mobile wallet NAS Nano received an update that brought a fully integrated DApp store within it.
The main focus of the Nebulas ecosystem remains to be decentralized applications, as is evident by the Developer Incentive Protocol. In a bid to improve the quality of DApps on its platform, Nebulas has committed to rewarding developers with incentives in the form of NAS tokens. The program includes weekly, monthly and referral rewards which will be given out on the basis of the ranking algorithm talked about earlier.
The first installment of the Incentive Program concluded on June 2, with a total of $1.4 million disbursed to app developers in the one month time frame. Of the 2765 Dapps submitted, Nebulas evaluated and awarded 600 applications. The monthly champion of the program for May 2018 was Cell Evolution, a full fledged decentralized strategy and sandbox game. Another prize winner was a NAS Tip Bot, a service that could be used to make micropayments on virtually any social media platform.
Eventually, Nebulas has stated that it will be expanding its incentive program to encourage even more developers to begin creating quality decentralized applications. The recent introduction of an in-app storefront is just the first step to achieve this.