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Cortex App Launching New Web3 Content Network

Cortex is launching a new platform for Web3 content that’s scalable, user-owned and low cost. Here’s what it will do and the basic on how it will work.

After over a year of building, the Cortex App team is launching a new Web3 content network, the Cortex Network, to bring much of the current functionality users know in Web2, like social posts, into a user-owned Web3. The Cortex Network seeks to be the foundation for a new breed of content publishers and Web3 social apps. The platform will enable new levels of user ownership, control and privacy for content. Users will also have new ways to collaborate and define payment models around NFTs and other tokens in combination with content. The Cortex Network is anticipated to go live this summer.

Several technical challenges have hampered the progress of bringing content onto Web3, including: price, complexity, scalability, and even simply locating content consistently in a decentralized environment. As a basic example, using a single address for updating content and content hashes on-chain is prohibitively expensive, making for a less than optimal user experience and privacy is a challenge due as updates are tied to a specific address. Additionally, there’s a lack of ways for users to easily organize tokens and content together for payment.

Cortex Network will allow efficient, scalable and cost-effective ways to publish, organize and find content in a decentralized Web3 environment. Decentralized blogging and social publishing will be simple, cost-effective and more private. The system will work for documents, projects and repos, music, videos, web pages, art and more.

The team will be releasing more technical documentation and code in the coming weeks and months, but below is a primer on the basics. We’ll also have regular tech talk events on our Twitter spaces and our Discord so be sure to join and participate!

How it works:

The Cortex Network is founded upon an architecture where commits contribute to a local state of content which then becomes part of a globally verifiable localized consensus. In essence, each commit contributes to a globally verifiable state for content with a complete history of the content at a particular web/crypto address. In the Cortex system, URLs and crypto addresses are nearly synonymous as part of a human-readable namespace for keys that act as lookups to content.

There are two major roles in the system: users and publishers. Publishers are similar to miners on a Proof of Stake blockchain as they validate transactions based on how much they stake. Individual users perform commits to their content and data, then on-chain updates or “publishing” will be done by publishers who collect and validate the commits. Publishers can then bundle commits for publishing a new state on-chain with a single transaction. Publishers will stake $CRTX tokens to publish, and the amount staked will determine how frequently the publisher can publish a new state on-chain. Each publisher’s set of updates constitutes a feed linked to the publisher’s Cortex domain, for example, “publisher.crtx”. Each publisher will have a Cortex domain. Users can use their .hmn domain, which we released for free in February and can be claimed at https://hmn.domains, or other Web3 NFT domains as part of the identity of their content library. Along with the .hmn domain, users can claim their corresponding hmn.eth subdomain, which is linked to he owner of the .hmn domain.

There are 3 major technical pieces that enable the Cortex Network: HDIndex, HDName and HDData.

HDIndex:

Publishers can put nearly unlimited commits into a single on-chain update using HDIndex: a novel cryptographic trie (a modified sparse Merkle trie) that defines the local state and allows for fast content lookups. This local state on-chain then contributes to the combined state of the system in an eventually consistent model. The core innovations in HDIndex allow for highly-efficient content state lookups as well as content versioning for complete change histories in a Git-like way. Ultimately this leads to a low-cost, high-performance state management system for content. The content published can be both encrypted or unencrypted, public or private. Cortex is launching the content network, $CRTX token and .crtx domain on the Polygon network, although the system itself is largely chain agnostic.

Anyone with a .crtx domain and stakes $CRTX tokens can be a publisher. Users will own and control their content but can also be directly compensated for their content as a user’s content, such as a note, will have an associated key and owner. The Cortex Network, the App, and the human-readable namespace can be used independently or together as proposed here.

We will be revising the Cortex App white paper to include HDIndex and the Cortex Network.

NFT Domains, such as .hmn through Butterfly Protocol

Butterfly Protocol NFT Domains are full NFTs, so they can also hold art or other assets in addition to the domain name itself. The top-level domains (TLDs) are intended to be purpose-built, so just as .crtx domains act as publisher domains, .hmn (“dot human”) domains are intended for domains that relate to people. Future TLDs can be purpose-built for new needs, potentially for product inventories, supply chains or other things in the physical world such as buildings. Subdomains are also full NFTs in this system, meaning if you had jones.hmn, you could mint alice.jones.hmn for your daughter, Alice, to be her home on Web3.

In the Cortex Network ecosystem, these domains act as user accounts for individuals and for publishers. For users, they act as an identity and a web location to publish content both publicly and privately–not just single pages. The Cortex App also allows for key derivation based on human-readable names for each page, similar to current Web2 URLs. The publishers will use .crtx domains to create feeds of content by publishing on chain. The team will be releasing new features for these domains as well as new top-level domains in the coming weeks and months. The .hmn and .crtx domains “live” on Polygon but resolve cross-chain on Ethereum and Polygon with more chains to come.

Cortex App, HDName and HDData

The Cortex App can be thought of as a Web3 wallet, browser and notebook in one. This allows users to create pages to publish to Web3, own them, organize them, search and navigate to them. Only the holder of the keys controls the content published.

The Cortex App uses markdown to create pages that live in an environment enabled through HDName and HDData.

HDName creates human-readable names and directories for wallet keys based on an HD wallet with some unique name-driven key derivation so content can be referenced by names rather than a random public key. This is similar to current URLs. HDName solves much of the complexity in naming and accessing things in a decentralized, hash-based environment. Current solutions often point public keys at different content, while Cortex actually embeds the naming and the keying into the same structures, so everything really is what you say it is and we can link across chains as well.

HDData uses the keys in HDName as a lookup to content in IPFS or another data system using IPFS hashing conventions, allowing signing of updates to this content. HDIndex then enables the on-chain finding, ordering and updating through the publishers.

Conclusion

Altogether, this is a complete stack to enable a fast, reliable, and scalable decentralized content environment for Web3. Cortex is working with content partners and accepting new publisher and content creator partners for early access and testing.

The team is excited to bring this to the world and will be releasing the code, network and platform in the coming weeks and months (as well as some nice surprises!) Stay tuned on Twitter and Discord communities for updates.

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Cortex allows anyone to build their digital kingdom, a personal metaverse. The ultimate tool for publishing and collaborating on Web3.

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