A Toronto-based blockchain company is taking the first steps towards the future of a decentralized internet.
Nuco has officially mined the genesis block of their Aion network, the first ever public blockchain interoperability network. Aion will allow independently operated blockchains to connect with one another, enabling instant transfer of data and values from anywhere around the globe. As the network expands, bridges will be layered on top of Aion to allow for communication to swap proofs of transactions between blockchains.
“This is the culmination of a lot of engineering effort over the past year,” explains Matthew Spoke, CEO and founder of Nuco. “Moving forward, people can start to run real apps, real transactions and real smart contracts on top of the Aion blockchain. Once we unlock that bridge functionality, app developers can move value and data between networks relatively seamlessly.”
Aion is live right now, but the first bridge will be connected in the coming months. That first bridge will connect Aion to the ethereum network. As the next few months unfold, apps will start to be layered over the network. The next step is to migrate the Aion token supply from the ethereum network to the new Aion network, including all trading activity.
The new blockchain network has been in beta for the past three months or so and Spoke and his team had a very specific focus on the benchmarks they wanted to hit before bringing it into the public eye.
“The two bottlenecks you see in public networks today is it’s expensive to run transactions, and their relatively slow and bottlenecked, as the traffic can cause delays of hours or days for transactions,” says Spoke. “The biggest metric beyond stability and security was to demonstrate that our performance is greater than the alternative.”
Through tests so far, Aion has been pushing to four times the performance of the ethereum network, and the network has revamped its virtual machine infrastructure to run apps at 50 per cent of traditional costs. These are all first release milestones, as the second and third milestones will come later this year and focus on streamlining the same aspects.
Aion is perhaps the first element towards creating what’s known as a decentralized internet, meaning an internet that is not controlled by the biggest companies in the world, including the Googles, Amazons and ISPs. Aion helps stitch several blockchain networks together and communicate with one another to create one massive network, meaning from a consumer perspective it all looks and feels as one. However, there will be lots of subnetworks hanging around under the hood making sure all the right information is spread around and secured.
“When I look at the long-term evolution of what blockchains will do to industry, think of the biggest and most protected industries we rely on, like banking, telecom, insurance and more,” says Spoke. “They all protect their turf based on their billions of dollars in infrastructure, making it cost-prohibitive for someone to come in and compete with them.”
“All of a sudden, if you build an open and free infrastructure where I can build a competitive solution to a bank, micro businesses will incrementally chip away at the moats protecting those large industries.”
Spoke and his team first came together to create Deloitte’s blockchain practice in 2014 and have since gone on to work in the space over the past four years. Aion will expand with new bridges once the connection to ethereum’s network is made and the bridges will theoretically be generic enough to plug into any network, whether it be Hyperledger from IBM and the Linux Foundation or R3’s Corda banking blockchain. “The goal is: as we see adoption, we’ll focus on integration,” says Spoke.
Nuco is actually moving away from their current business model as well and looking to become a non-profit over the next little while. They gathered a large amount of funding through a 2017 Aion token sale but now with the Aion protocol—which is not a product, but more of open-source public domain technology—their intent is to move towards global adoption without that layer of revenue models to clog it up.
The team will shift towards research and development of the Aion protocol as well as the adoption of it. The two focuses for what will be called the Aion Foundation will be in engineering and ecosystem management. The thing that sets Aion apart is the token economic layer, as a lot of operational funding will come from the value of the Aion coin growing as opposed to charitable donations.