Key Takeaways

In this article, you'll learn:

  1. Why Application-Specific Rollups are the key technology for mass adoption
  2. Comparison between different solutions.
  3. What has NodeReal contributed to the zkBNB — a new implementation paradigm for the application-specific rollup?
  4. NodeReal future planning: Application Specific Chain As Service.

We have long been awaiting the mass adoption of Web3, as we all believe it will revolutionize the digital world. However, there are still some hurdles we need to solve, such as scalability issues, poor UI/UX, and poor developer experience.

As we introduced in the previous blog, Application-specific chains are designed and implemented to boost the mass adoption of web3 for particular applications. Different applications have their own particular challenges. For example, IoT applications require a massive number of devices to communicate with the chain in a real-time manner, which requires the chain to be able to handle data exchanges in a very fast way. Logistic use cases require a highly controlled way of data access, and only corresponding participants can view the data with a proper access management facility. In a nutshell, generic blockchain technology cannot handle all of these challenges at the same time, and that is the reason why we need Application-specific chains to enable our users and customers to succeed with the most proper solution.

In this article, we are focusing on application-specific rollup solutions. Before we dive in, let`s have a look at the challenges we are facing today.

Challenges of Mass Adoption

Despite the fast development of Layer 1 chains, we still have substantial technical hurdles to overcome so that the underlying platform can scale to support mass adoption to a global level. The key challenges we are facing include but are not limited to:

Low Scalability

The massive growth of activity on Layer1 chains like BSC and Ethereum has resulted in network congestion and slow transaction times. It has also increased the price of gas to the level where transacting became uneconomical for many users, pricing out developers and traders. Even if we have multiple innovations to increase the capacity of layer 1, transaction throughput will be limited and the cost of trading still is prohibitive for mainstream microtransactions.

Poor User Experience

Currently, the user experience of NFT trading and fund management on L1 chains isn’t ready for mainstream adoption. Transactions take minutes or even hours to confirm, and often fail or are front-run, massively impacting user satisfaction, price discovery, and overall liquidity. Further, wallet experiences are often lacking - they are confusing, have poor recovery mechanisms, and do not display the necessary information to help users make informed purchasing decisions.

Slow Developer Experience

Currently, application or marketplace developers spend the majority of their development time building and configuring the blockchain components of their projects. This distracts them from what really matters: creating a fantastic and unique experience for their users built around true asset ownership. They have none of the tools used to develop traditional applications - no simple APIs, no platform-specific SDKs, and no pre-built infrastructure. This creates a massive barrier to entry for new projects and prevents many fantastic user experiences from ever being launched.

Key Technologies for Mass Adoption

At NodeReal, our vision is to enable Web3 builders to build technology and products that make Web3 real.

Mass adoption is our target and we will keep building a scaling and better User Experience(UX) technology foundation in 2023. However, as mentioned above, there are a lot of technical problems to be solved.  If you are a builder, you must have already been familiar with the problems that are critical for average users of the Web2 world. Building on layer 1 chains is slow and expensive. The reasons are straightforward, generic blockchain is not the silver bullet, at least for now, we need to optimize the blockchain technology for particular use cases to boost the user experience.

We believe the Application Specific Side Chain or Application Specific Rollups are the keys to solving this issue.

Our teams in NodeReal are working closely with our partners to provide customization and optimization for our partner's business models.

Application-Specific Side Chain

Different from the generic layer 1 chain, the Application-Specific Side Chain targets simplifying the development for developers and provides the best practices and corresponding templates for business cases. Because of these optimizations and customization, usually, the Application Specific Side Chain will have better throughput and performance, adopt more parallelism and provide lower latency. For example, for Gamefi builders, we may have built-in in-game asset management capabilities, and provide special transactions for airdrop and in-game promotion. At the same time, we may enable in-game exchanges with gasless transactions, etc.

Application-Specific Rollups

Rollups are the other direction in which we want to make mass adoption easier. With Rollups, we can reduce the cost and increase the speed even further without sacrificing the security, because rollups depend on layer 1 security for bundled transaction verification. Rollups are also the current most popular scaling solution for Layer1 chains like Ethereum and BSC before we introduce the sharding. And I have a strong opinion that even in the long term, the Rollups are still the most promising solutions for better scalability.

There are a couple of different Rollups, from the generic Rollup like Optimistic Rollup, zkEVM, zkSync2.0, and to the Application Specific Rollup such as zkBNB, etc.  There are several comparisons of these Rollup technologies, I don't intend to repeat. But I have a strong opinion that different Rollups are necessary for different use cases, and we need to work together with the builders to design and identify the most proper solutions. In this blog, I`d like to talk about the Application Specific Rollup solution because at NodeReal we believe the Application Specific Rollups are more suitable for fast adoption in 2023.

Comparison of different rollups solutions

Rollups are providing layer 2 solutions to make the precious block space more accessible for applications. Rollups range from general-purpose smart contract rollups, like Arbitrum and Optimism, to sovereign “app-specific rollups” that host single applications. Smart contract rollups rely on an L1 for settlement, consensus, and data availability. Like L1s, they face network congestion issues in response to rising demand as contracts deployed thereon compete for L2 blockspace.

  • Customizable architecture and security optimized for an app’s requirements.
  • No competition for computation with other apps - less congestion, more manageable fees, etc.
  • Flexible native token economies - developers select a gas token or choose not to require one for users.
  • No need to bootstrap a validator set.
  • Cross-chain composability with other rollups that share a common settlement layer.
  • Atomic cross-chain composability with other rollups that share a sequencer set (more on sequencers below).

Rollups are not constrained to any one blockchain development framework. Their operational parameters can be customized, and their modular tech stack is configurable.

Currently, the most popular rollups are zkRollups and Optimistic Rollups. And although in the long term the zkEVM is the future of zkRollup, compared with generic rollups, Application Specific Rollups are more suitable for particular use cases, such as asset management and funds transactions. Application Specific Rollups have predefined use cases such as NFT and token transactions, which can be translated to efficient zk circuits. It will be more suitable for Gaming, or high-frequency derivatives (like DyDx or LoopRing).

Teams can launch their own app chain for fast prototyping and customization. Doing so can also help the team to spin up app-specific indexers, oracles, bridges, block explorers, etc. Projects like Axie, Bored Apes, and dYdX have launched or are considering launching their own chains.

Optimistic Rollups provide EVM-compatible solutions on layer 2 right now while the zkEVM is still in the early stage. If developers need to deploy their smart contract on layer 2 to provide a more comprehensive solution to their business, the Optimistic Rollups are a good choice. They can build their dApp on layer 2 just in the exact same way as layer 1, but with a much lower transaction fee and higher performance.

Below is a brief comparison between different Rollup solutions:

NodeReal's Contribution to zkBNB

Zero-Knowledge rollups are the layer2 scaling solutions for layer1 blockchains, like Ethereum and BNB Smart Chain. zkBNB is the Application Specific Rollup for the BNB Smart Chain. On zkBNB, users are able to manage their assets and make transactions with faster speed and even lower fees compared with BNB Smart Chain Mainnet, although the BNB Smart Chain fee is already much lower than Ethereum.

zkBNB writes transactions to the mainnet as call data. The call data is where data that is included in external calls to smart contract functions gets stored. Information in call data is published on the blockchain, allowing anyone to reconstruct the rollup’s state independently.

Below is the technical architecture of zkBNB.

There are two types of transactions that can be handled by zkBNB.

  1. Priority Operations from Monitor
  2. L2 transactions

The committer is responsible for executing transactions and producing consecutive blocks. The witness will re-execute the transactions to generate witness data, which will be used to generate the cryptographic proof(zkSnark Proof) by Prover.

The sender is responsible to post the compressed L2 blocks to L1 and submit proof to BNB Smart Chain to the Verify Contract.

Built-in Features Powered by NodeReal

NodeReal is one of the core contributors of the zkBNB. The following features are contributed by the NodeReal team.

Layer2 Explorer

zkBNB has a built-in explorer - ZKTrace that enables users to view transactions, block details, and other transaction-related info.

NFT Management and Marketplace

zkBNB provides an open-source NFT marketplace for users to browse, buy, sell, or create their own NFT out of the box. The meta-data of NFT on ZkBNB sticks to the BSC standard.

Marketplace framework

Seamless L1 Wallet Management

ZkBNB natively supports ECDSA signatures and follows the EIP712 signing structure, which means most of the Ethereum wallets can seamlessly support ZkBNB. There is no extra effort for BSC users to leverage ZkBNB.

Application-Specific Rollups

As mentioned above, NodeReal is working together with our partners and customers to provide technical solutions and consulting services, which target to make the mass adoption of web3 with the most appropriate technology.

At NodeReal, we adhere to providing the best-in-class services tailored to our enterprise customers.

With application-specific rollups, you will benefit from the following aspects.

  1. With our scalable access layer product, you can access the blockchain within milliseconds.
  2. By understanding deeply your business, we can work together with you to define your customized solution for your business. From the Game, Finance, to logistic process management, to IoT and AI.
  3. You do not need to have a professional DevOps or SRE team to keep the light on, we can provide professional hosting service with the highest security and reliability standards.

NodeReal Plans to Enable Web3 Mass Adoption

NodeReal will implement the Application Specific Chain As a Service to support teams who want to launch their own L2 or side chain on the cloud, like AWS, and GCP.

The Application Specific Chain As Service will enable NodeReal users to build their own app chain, either through a standard template or customization for application use cases. Users will be able to check the blocks and transaction details through chain explorer, and we can also provide the megapode for the high-performance use cases. The megapode will be able to handle the traffic spike with lower latency, which is very suitable for latency-sensitive applications like games, or high-frequency transactions.

The target of Application Specific Chain As Service will provide not only the standard chain but also the highly customizable and modular chains on validators, sequencers, verifiers, app-specific data indexers, bridges, explorers, wallet integration, etc.

NodeReal is working together with one of the most popular game engine teams to build in-game digital assets and token exchange, which is based on the Optimistic Rollup solution. NodeReal core blockchain team has deep expertise in blockchain technology and can provide in-depth integration with the famous game engine. So game studios or game developers can leverage the best blockchain technology by developing games with the game engine SDK with a seamless developing experience. Developers do not need to be blockchain experts to develop their in-game logic.

Our target is to make the Web3 builders focus on the business instead of spending days, even weeks on the chain technology and infrastructure. With our Application Specific Chain As a Service, we will consolidate industry best practices and experiences by providing out-of-box features and customization services on the Application Specific Chains.

Where to start

Alaways free to visit our website for enterprise users for more information.

About NodeReal

NodeReal is a one-stop blockchain infrastructure and service provider that embraces the high-speed blockchain era and empowers developers by “Make your Web3 Real”. We provide scalable, reliable, and efficient blockchain solutions for everyone, aiming to support the adoption, growth, and long-term success of the Web3 ecosystem.

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