Introducing Hydra — API access to any Blockchain
Hydra enables developers to easily access accurate and reliable Blockchain information across potentially any blockchain with a simple drop-in URL.
Powered by the Blocknet Protocol, Hydra provides users with an all-in-one solution for all supported chains including Ethereum. Hydra can be used to monetize any service with crypto payments without having to re-code or change anything about those existing applications. It also allows for Ethereum dApps to connect to a “Decentralized Infura” and, just like Infura, it comes with a payment gateway and support for enterprise clients.
What is Hydra?
Built on top of the Blocknet Protocol, Hydra solves all the issues surrounding reliance on centralized providers for the Ethereum ecosystem such as Infura. The Blocknet Protocol consists of 2 components, XRouter and XBridge. XRouter is an inter-blockchain SPV client backend, enabling the verification of blockchain records without requiring users to download the full blockchain. XBridge provides the ability to perform true trustless and decentralized exchanges between any digital asset that is supported by the Blocknet Protocol via APIs. Essentially, Hydra is a natural extension of XRouter, geared towards the Ethereum network. Hydra is supported by a network of Blocknet Service Nodes, which are similar to Masternodes but with an increased level of participation. Hydra users can send a request with a payment to Service Nodes in return for a project ID and API key. This allows developers to make requests to the Blocknet network based on how much they paid. Hydra is designed to be decentralized, allowing anyone to potentially deploy and run a Hydra endpoint URL service. This provides Blocknet users broader access to financial applications, without the need for trusted intermediaries and all while remaining decentralized. It also allows developers to access Blockchain data without any of the drawbacks of hosting their own nodes.
Running a Blocknet Service Node to support the Hydra Infrastructure
Blocknet Service Nodes host full nodes of the supported blockchains, host microservices, verify UTXOs, route communication between blockchains, and perform anti-spam and anti-DOS measures for the network. Support for Enterprise clients is provided by Enterprise XRouter (EXR) nodes. EXR nodes utilize an XRouter proxy that acts as a reverse proxy for all XRouter services and oracles. Users can poll their chosen amount of EXR nodes to achieve consensus. EXR nodes allow for millions of requests per second to be processed and are highly scalable, thus operating one could be a profitable activity for those that wish to provide the infrastructure that runs Hydra. This is because developers will now have direct access to all the decentralized applications, exchanges, wallets and DeFi protocols operating on the Ethereum blockchain. You can read more about running an EXR node here and view the architecture of Hydra below.
Hydra and Ethereum Developers
Of particular interest to Ethereum developers is the fact that Hydra supports archival ETH nodes which lowers the barrier to entry for all developers because running an archival node is an extremely costly exercise requiring terabytes of storage space and fast drives. Hydra removes that worry so developers can focus on what they want to build without needing to worry and devote time to maintaining full Ethereum archival nodes. Hydra also allows developers to directly query Blocknet service nodes for their DeFi apps to gather SPV proofs for oracle data. Because the SPV proofs are constructed at the local level, chain congestion can be avoided.
Some companies are already utilizing Hydra such as CloudChains Inc and Oracle Miner. Both already offer metered API access to Ethereum data as well as offering many other services.
Payment for Hydra services will be achieved in the first instance via ETH and later by aBLOCK, a “wrapped” version of the BLOCK token. Hydra users will be able to send a request with a payment in ETH or aBLOCK in return for a project ID and API key. This is particularly convenient for Hydra clients that utilize Ethereum as aBLOCK satisfies both the desire to charge Hydra fees in the BLOCK token (wrapped as aBLOCK), as well as the desire to accept fees in an ERC20 token. This brings Blocknet’s utility to the Ethereum network. In addition to receiving fees for supporting the network, operators of Services Nodes also receive 100% of fees generated from use of the network’s services. Running an EXR node means that node operators will be providing the framework for Hydra as well as a brand new API ecosystem where 100% of provider fees go to Service Nodes. Stay tuned for aBlock updates, news on direct payment channels for Hydra and also plugins that will enable Hydra to act as a decentralized indexer.
How do I get started as a service provider?
The easiest way to get started is by using the Hydra docker compose file on Github.
How do I get started as a developer?
What kind of hardware is recommended as a service provider?
All blockchains require different levels of hardware but for GETH support the minimum recommended is 8vCPU, 16GB RAM, SSD Hard Disk for an archival node.
Where can I get BLOCK and aBLOCK?
BLOCK and aBLOCK can be traded and swapped on both Uniswap and Anyswap. More information can be found here.