Nexus is a fascinating next-generation blockchain platform that is one of the most ambitious projects out there and has enormous potential to reshape the way we interact with and think about digital currencies.
The underlying technology of Nexus is comprised of a three dimensional blockchain (3D Chain or 3DC) that utilizes a synergistic combination of three different consensus channels to secure the network. Combined with the planned launch of a low-earth orbit satellite constellation providing the distributed network infrastructure, advanced quantum resistance, and innovative hashing algorithms, there emerges a platform that seems difficult to comprehend but is equally impressive when you look deeper.
The 3D Blockchain and and Its Innovative Security Components
The Nexus blockchain implements a proprietary combination of 3 different consensus channels in its blockchain architecture giving it the moniker of the 3DC blockchain. The chain is designed to adapt to transaction volume and allow the platform to organically scale to meet network computation demands through becoming faster as more nodes are added to the network.
The three dimensional design of the Nexus blockchain provides important improvements upon existing blockchain models, specifically in security and scalability. Scalability has become one of the foremost issues in the cryptocurrency space with a variety of solutions proposed and being developed to tackle network scalability of blockchain platforms. Security issues have arisen from centralization of mining pools in Proof-of-Work models to concerns on potential centralization within Proof-of-Stake consensus models. Nexus’ approach is to build a scalable and efficient blockchain infrastructure through their Lower Level Database (LLD) that helps the platform scale organically from the ground up and secure the network by creating an entirely decentralized mining framework.
The LLD facilitates dynamic data retrieval which enables blockchain partitioning across the entire network of nodes. This reduces the bloating of the blockchain significantly and allows the database to process at a consistent rate. Additionally, the platform enables on-chain scalability by distributing transaction processing across multiple channels. These channels are the three different consensus mechanisms where miners works in collaboration instead of competing to solve blocks, and it has a myriad of benefits on network security and scalability.
Work done by miners in this channel is performed by a search for dense prime clusters of a specific length. This channel is resistant to ASIC mining and can be performed with CPUs, allowing for greater decentralization.
This channel uses a Hashcash style Proof-of-Work that can be run on GPUs. This is the more traditional mining method of Proof-of-Work models but implements a unique hashing algorithm called the 1024-bit Skein and Keccak or SHA-3 quantum resistant hashing algorithm. By employing a quantum resistant hashing algorithm, the Nexus platform mitigates against multiple types of quantum resistance attacks that future quantum computers may be able to accomplish on other blockchain platforms.
Proof of Holdings (POH) Channel
This channel is representative of a Proof-of-Stake model and the incentive mechanism works when participants who stake their coins through their wallet and operate them continuously are subsequently rewarded with newly minted coins.
Importantly, mining rewards are issued through a reservoir system rather than through block rewards for each individual block. The idea is to remove the necessity of mining pools by creating an environment where all 3 mining channels work together to solve blocks with no individual channel able to have more influence than the other. Each channel scales independently of the other and malicious actors would need to control all 3 channels to compromise the network.
Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Infrastructure and Mesh Network
Probably the most eye-catching component of the Nexus platform is its planned launch of low-orbit satellites that act as the distributed network infrastructure nodes in combination with ground nodes in order to form a global mesh network. The idea is for Nexus to operate parallel to the Internet while granting worldwide access to its digital currency platform outside of the influence of governments, third parties, or increasing censorship of the Internet.
Partnering with Vector Space Systems, Nexus has planned launches of nanosatellites (cubesats) that will operate in low-earth orbit as full nodes and provide the distributed infrastructure of the platform that communicates with a series of ground nodes across the world. Nexus will lease satellites from Galactic Sky (branch of Vector Space) this year to test the platform and these satellites will store blockchain signature data and act as full staking nodes. Nexus plans on launching community-owned cubesats in 2019 to create its own satellite constellation and users will eventually be able to add their own satellites to the network pool and profit from their storage capacity.
The orbital network will consist of 2 layers.
- The Relay Layer
- Outer Processing & Storage Layer
The relay layer will communicate with the ground network via radio waves and eventually through S-band, a wifi range for transferring large quantities of data. The outer processing and storage layer will operate with full 3DC functionality.
The ground component of the mesh network will consist of stations to help balance transmission between ground and orbital nodes so that latency issues as a result of satellite access do not become a problem. The designs for both the software and hardware components of this orbital mesh network will become open-source once they are finalized.
Team, Partnerships, and Roadmap
Nexus was founded by Colin Cantrell in September 2014 and was initially called CoinShield before changing to Nexus. Early implementations of the platform only contained the prime channel for consensus but eventually the hashing and holdings channels were added.
Nexus has partnered with Vector Space Systems to launch their cubesats but also to utilize their Galactic Sky software-defined satellite platform. Jim Cantrell, Colin’s father, is actually the co-founder and CEO of Vector. Nexus has also partnered with LISP and Singularity NET.
LISP was created by Dino Farinacci and is a platform that allows the Internet to scale by routing packets based on location rather than identifiers. Nexus is integrating with LISP so that the Nexus blockchain can run over a secure, open overlay that provides increased speed and scalability.
Singularity NET is an innovative platform that allows AI to cooperate and coordinate at scale in an attempt to remove the siloed nature of most artificial intelligence that exists today. The partnership with Nexus offers an opportunity for Nexus to integrate decentralized AI tools into their blockchain infrastructure, creating a highly advanced, secure, and scalable system.
Although Nexus does not provide a time-specific roadmap, they do provide an outline for their planned implementation of the 3D blockchain through a 3 stage system of Tritium, Amine, and Obsidian. You can find the details of the rollout here. Additionally, the Nexus team actively communicates updates and provides resources to their community which you can find on their website and Github page.
Nexus Coin (NXS) & Platform Funding
The Nexus coin has a current circulating supply of 57,162,717 and is available on exchanges including Bittrex, Upbit, and Cryptopia. The creation of new NXS is capped at 3 percent per year and is earned through securing the network by mining or staking.
The Nexus platform consists of 3 reserves. This system controls how much NXS is available to miners at a given time and is mathematically determined by decay equations. The rewards are then calculated based on the reserve value based on a proprietary formula.
Minting is the incentive mechanism through which the holdings channel operates and rewards users for keeping their wallets actively on and staking tokens. Nexus recommends that you stake at least 1,000 NXS on this channel to be worthwhile. Larger rewards are awarded for greater contributions to the network. The Nexus team is actively researching ways to reward nodes with large vested interests in the platform through the use of trust keys and a new security model revolving around time.
The platform is developed and maintained by the Nexus Embassy who is funded through a 1.5% commission on each block produced and from funds acquired through early mining of NXS. The commission will also gradually increase from 1.5 – 2% over the next 10 years.
Nexus has the potential to redefine blockchains by creating a distributed, orbital satellite mesh network that is composed of a novel 3D blockchain infrastructure designed to scale efficiently and securely.
The project may seem too ambitious to many at this stage in the development of blockchain technology, but pushing the boundaries of a technology has consistently demonstrated its dynamic potential. With promising partnerships already in place and a platform designed for the future, the development of Nexus is definitely worth watching closely.