Nuls is a blockchain project that’s creating a highly customizable and modular blockchain infrastructure that supports smart contracts, multi-chain functionality, and cross-chain consensus. It wants to break the technical barriers of blockchain adoption, reduce development costs, and promote commercial applications of blockchain technology.
NULS is an open-source project based in Singapore. Its goal is to promote a community-driven development platform that offers tools that simplify app development and incentivizes the development of innovative projects.
After conducting market research and analysis, the Nuls team found two problems:
1. Existing blockchains are limited in performance and cross-chain communication – Businesses can’t fully commit to using blockchains because of their limited performance and lack of cross-chain functionality.
2. Experienced blockchain developers are a rarity – Blockchain developers charge a premium for their services because the demand for their skills significantly exceeds the available supply of developers. This is an issue that can’t be solved in the short term and requires time as more developers learn and understand the technology.
Nuls doesn’t just want to solve real-world problems, it wants to make the work of developers easier by providing customizable modules that don’t limit the possibilities of what can potentially be built using blockchain technology. It has the following advantages:
Ease of use – Nuls offers a simple programming environment that caters to less experienced developers while facilitating extensibility for experienced developers.
Adaptability – Nuls can be adapted to handle several application scenarios. Developers can use the application layer to write smart contracts that performs all kinds of tasks.
High performance – Nuls understands the performance limitations of current blockchains and is committed to providing a solution. By using parallel expansion technology through its multi-chain system, it can theoretically process millions of transactions per second.
Balancing transparency and privacy – Even though Nuls is open source, it securely maintains the privacy of data in its sub-chains by using data isolation and cross-chain auditing. It strikes a balance between transparency and confidentiality that will appeal to commercial businesses.
How Nuls Works
Nuls’ design is made up of a micro-kernel and functional modules. The micro-kernel provides the underlying mechanisms for the network, while the functional modules provide the compartmentalized features of the blockchain.
The micro-kernel incorporates the modularity of the Linux kernel to keep Nuls flexible and dynamic. Since every component is a module, technical upgrades can easily be initiated to add improvements to the Nuls blockchain. The micro-kernel consists of a module manager, a service bus, and an event bus. It manages the modules for smart contracts, accounts, storage, consensus, and processing.
Nuls will provide a set of modular components for creating sub-chains that can be customized to suit a developer’s needs. The modules are pluggable and can be added or removed during operation. Developers can choose the rules for storage, smart contracts, account systems, arbitration, consensus, anonymity, and other permissions to their sub chains.
Nuls features a built-in virtual machine for writing smart contracts. Smart contracts are used by high-level applications, interpreted by the interpreter, stored by the storage module, and computed by the Nuls virtual machine (NULSVM) module.
The virtual machine supports various high-level programming languages to cater to developers who want to create programs in their desired language. Developers can compile their code using the Nuls’ interpreter to enable the virtual machine to understand and read their programs.
Proof-of-Credit (PoC) Consensus
The Nuls main chain will use a proof-of-credit (PoC) consensus protocol. It’s the first of its kind designed in-house by the Nuls team. Like in a proof-of-stake system, PoC requires users who run nodes on the network to stake a to-be-determined amount of tokens if they want to earn a share of the consensus reward. The staking amount will be voted on by the community. When a user stops running a node, their staked tokens are unlocked and returned to their wallet.
The protocol will use a credit rating system to determine a user’s trustworthiness and integrity on the network. Credit ratings range from -1 to 1 and are automatically calculated using the following credit evaluation formula:
Credit Cardinality = Coefficient of Capacity + Coefficient of Duty
Coefficient of Capacity is calculated from the number of blocks a user has generated since becoming a node, and Coefficient of Duty is calculated based on the accuracy of blocks generated and the number of violation cases.
Nuls will use an alert system to issue warnings and punish bad actors on the network. For example, a user who generates a block when their internet is disconnected, computer crashes, or experiences any network failure, will receive a “yellow card alert” as a warning. Their coins will be frozen for a set period (e.g. 72 hours) and their credit ratio will be downgraded.
Hostile nodes that attempt to fork the system, initiate double-spend attacks, or deliberately attack the system will receive a “red card alert.” Their coins will be frozen for a longer period of time and their credit ratio will be significantly downgraded. They will no longer meet the minimum requirements to participate in the network.
Nuls will verify blocks through cross-chain consensus. The network can circulate through both the main chain and its sub-chains. All sub-chains report to the main chain, which audits and verifies the block headers.
Partial nodes on the main chain and sub-chain make up the cross-chain consensus domain. The nodes work together to verify cross-chain transactions and share the results with other nodes in their respective chains. Nodes that perform cross-chain consensus need to load modules that are operable across both chains, such as the cross-chain protocol processor module and the cross-chain network module.
Nuls has a native token called NULS that will support applications on the platform, pay for application costs, perform the exchange of sub chain assets, reward staking nodes, pay transaction fees, and support the development of the Nuls ecosystem.
All Nuls sub-chains will be required to pay a to-be-determined amount of NULS to function. The tokens will be used to verify the sub-chain as a part of the network. The community will vote on the amount required. It will be adjusted over time to reflect the market price so it remains reasonable.
Sub-chains can also support their own tokens, which will be considered smart assets. If a sub-chain chooses to issue smart assets, then an amount of NULS will have to be paid. The user who creates the sub-chain will set the initial ratio of smart assets and NULS tokens. A smart asset pool and NULS capital pool will be generated and the ratio will be fixed for conversion based on current market values.
If the value of the smart assets increases, then the amount of NULS in the capital pool will need to be increased to support this appreciation in value. This way, the value of NULS will increase as more quality sub-chain projects are added to the network.
NULS Volume, Pricing and Market Cap
The available supply of NULS is not fixed. 5 million new tokens will be created through the proof-of-credit (PoC) consensus every year to reward miners and secure the network. The issuance of the initial circulating supply (40 million tokens) is divided into four parts:
– 40% will be airdropped to owners of the ERC20 placeholder token.
– 20% will go towards the continued development of the platform. Once the mainnet is launched, these tokens will be unlocked at a rate of 5% per month over the course of 20 months.
– 20% will be allocated for building the community. Only 4% of the tokens will be used per year.
– 20% will be used for business partnerships and to support quality third-party projects. No more than 4% will be used per year.
NULS was first listed in November 2017 at $0.10 USD. Like many altcoins, its price went up in January 2018 to reach $8.14 USD with a $325 million USD valuation. The value of NULS went down in the months that followed, but it’s still worth more than the post-ICO price.
Buying, Storing and Selling NULS
NULS can be acquired from Binance, OKEx, Bit-Z, ChaoEX, QBTC, and Kucoin.
Since NULS is no longer an ERC20 token, users must use the official wallet developed by the NULS team for storage. The wallet client is available on Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
Liquidity of NULS
NULS has okay market liquidity. Its goal of building an ecosystem that bridges the gap between businesses and blockchains is not exactly new, but it is ambitious. The mainnet has been launched and the ERC20 tokens are being swapped for native tokens. Its developers have so far managed to keep up with the project’s road map, which is a good sign.