NEAR Protocol
Published in
7 min readJul 7


True to the adage, ‘bear markets are for building’, Octopus Network has been evolving with an eye on expansion since its official launch in 2021. The recent unveiling of its ‘Octopus 2.0’ strategy underlines Octopus Network’s push to realize its foundational mission — to be a leading force in developing the Open Web.

Octopus 2.0 promises to break barriers between blockchains. But before diving into Octopus 2.0, let’s first explore the Octopus Network’s original design to fully appreciate the potential that Octopus 2.0 can offer NEAR Protocol and the Web3 ecosystem.

What is Octopus Network?

Octopus Network is a strategic, multichain infrastructure project built atop NEAR Protocol. It offers Rust developers a cost-effective opportunity to quickly launch Substrate application-specific blockchains (appchains) via Barnacle — a minimal working appchain node template Octopus developed from the Substrate node template. Barnacle’s EVM template extends this opportunity to Solidity developers interested in deploying their dApps as appchains.

The Octopus Relay is a set of smart contracts built on NEAR, providing interoperability with the NEAR mainchain and its massive DeFi Ecosystem. NEAR protocol is a developer-friendly, sharded, proof-of-stake, layer-one blockchain that is simple, secure, and scalable. NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System (BOS), a comprehensive set of Web2-friendly developer tools, is designed for any developer interested in open-source and decentralization. Both NEAR Protocol and Octopus Network have always been driven by their shared desire to hasten Web3 expansion and adoption by making everything more accessible to both developers and users.

Appchains launched in the Octopus Network are provided with shared security, critical utilities, community support, and interoperability with NEAR and beyond. Validators and delegators stake $OCT (the native token of Octopus Network) to provide security and earn rewards in an appchain project’s native token, creating a scalable security leasing market with diverse opportunities for $OCT stakers.

Octopus Network’s Substrate IBC Pallet

A little-known fact about the Octopus Network Development Team is that they have also been actively developing an IBC Substrate pallet since 2020 following an original grant from the Interchain Foundation. Simply speaking, IBC is an interoperability protocol developed by Cosmos that is designed to allow diverse blockchain networks with their own set of rules to share data with each other. Octopus Network’s IBC Substrate Pallet is the catalyst for eventually bridging Polkadot with Cosmos chains for a secure exchange of fungible assets and metadata between ecosystems.

Octopus 2.0 expands on its basic design. It adds Cosmos SDK-based appchains, which will enjoy the option of NEAR Restaking along with other NEAR projects, and it’s leveraging its IBC Substrate pioneering experience to provide a brand new IBC concept it has coined “Adaptive IBC.” Adaptive IBC will initiate with a NEAR IBC Port linking the entire NEAR ecosystem to Cosmos. But Adaptive IBC also promises to do much more.

Let’s dive deeper into the ambitious features of Octopus 2.0’s Cosmos-based appchains, NEAR Restaking, and Adaptive IBC.

What is Octopus 2.0?

Octopus 2.0 can generally be divided into three additional offerings for its developers and community — But the benefits are comprehensive.

Cosmos-based appchains

Octopus 2.0 is an expansion of its original design — with a twist. First, it diversifies the Octopus appchain offering to include Cosmos SDK builds for appchain developers. These Go-based appchains will have a bonus shared security option — NEAR Restaking. In Octopus 2.0, all Cosmos appchains can be secured by both $OCT and $NEAR.

NEAR Restaking

The Octopus Development Team has found merit in repurposing the Eigenlayer restaking scheme to aggregate shared security on NEAR. NEAR Restaking allows NEAR stakers to extend the power of their stakes to additional projects built on NEAR by opting into Octopus Network’s Restaking Base smart contract.

Adaptive IBC

Octopus 2.0 aims to own its role as a primary NEAR infrastructure project by building an IBC NEAR Port to Cosmos and beyond, connecting NEAR Protocol to other heterogenous blockchains. Octopus 2.0 calls this exciting new IBC architecture “Adaptive IBC.”

NEAR Restaking Across the NEAR Ecosystem

By opting into Octopus 2.0’s Restaking Base contract, NEAR stakers can use their stakes to concurrently validate additional modules built on NEAR, such as Octopus 2.0 Cosmos-based appchains, Ethereum Virtual Machines, private shard infrastructures, Web3 startup networks, decentralized storage networks, and more. — Same asset, multiple staking opportunities.NEAR stakers are always in control of their Layer1 rewards but can now reap even more rewards with their staked $NEAR.

Octopus 2.0’s NEAR Restaking extends shared security across the NEAR ecosystem by allowing NEAR validators to opt into additional staking opportunities.

NEAR Restaking offers benefits to NEAR stakers, Octopus 2.0 appchains, and the broader NEAR Ecosystem:

  • NEAR stakeholders automatically receive enhanced capital efficiency and diversification benefits as the same assets can now yield multiple staking incentives.
  • Octopus 2.0 appchains enjoy increased participation in one of the most flexible, affordable, and accessible sources of security available solely by covering the edge cost of NEAR stakers with staking rewards.
  • NEAR Restaking multiplies value streams across the NEAR Ecosystem while positively impacting NEAR’s supply-demand economics as staking becomes more attractive to NEAR holders.
  • NEAR Restaking is permissionless and open to all NEAR projects choosing to opt in.

In addition to the increased opportunities offered NEAR stakers, innovators on NEAR are incentivized to build on a Layer1 that offers assistance with bootstrapping nodes via decentralized, shared security — stimulating development on the NEAR mother chain.

Adaptive IBC — Flexible Multichain Interoperability

IBC is the most comprehensive open blockchain interoperability protocol stack. As mentioned above, for the past few years, Octopus Network has been actively developing Substrate IBC to create the first IBC cross-chain bridge to a heterogeneous chain. Octopus 2.0 has its sights on the rest of the blockchain ecosystem.


Octopus 2.0 inaugurates the NEAR IBC Port, designed to connect NEAR Protocol to Cosmos. To achieve this goal, Octopus has introduced new architecture to accommodate various intermediate technologies within IBC, including external validation, making it even more adaptable to heterogeneous chains. Octopus Network calls this architecture Adaptive IBC.

The NEAR IBC Port will connect the NEAR protocol to the Cosmos interchain comprising 50+ blockchains.

The new Octopus 2.0 Relay will accept $NEAR Restaking as collateral assets to provide security for Octopus 2.0 appchains, and its Octopus bridge protocol will be migrated to IBC. Thus, Octopus 2.0’s interoperability will be purely IBC, providing opportunities to connect with other blockchains such as Cosmos chains, EVM-based blockchains, or Polkadot parachains.

Adaptive IBC is Future Proof

According to Founder Louis Liu, Adaptive IBC is not only adaptable across different types of blockchain networks but also to technological progress. For example, once a ready-to-use version of a NEAR light client in the Go programming language is available, it could take over the function of the proxy client on the Cosmos side. Or a ZK verifier might replace the proxy client on the NEAR side once ZK consensus proof is refined enough. The most impressive feature is that these client upgrades are simply governance matters and are transparent to upper-layer applications. Thus, Adaptive IBC is an architecture ready for future technologies.

Octopus Network Overview Recap

The Octopus Network is incredibly ambitious and clearly dedicated to incorporating valuable open source technologies in its undying push to expand Web3 interconnectivity and utility. It’s important to note, however, that the introduction of Octopus 2.0 is an addition, not a replacement, for Octopus 1.0. So, there is a lot going on here. For clarity, here is a simplified overview of the primary differences between Octopus 1.0 and Octopus 2.0.

Beyond enhancing participation across the NEAR Ecosystem with NEAR Restaking, Octopus 2.0’s Cosmos SDK-based appchains and NEAR IBC Port promise to introduce NEAR to Cosmos. However, it’s Octopus 2.0’s Adaptive IBC that promises to finally break barriers between blockchains. With their ongoing proactive strategies in enhancing interoperability, Octopus Network is positioning itself to become a pivotal force in shaping the future of the blockchain internet.

Original source provided by Octopus Network.


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NEAR is on a mission to onboard a billion users to the limitless possibilities of Web3 with the Blockchain Operating System (BOS). Leveraging its high-performance, carbon-neutral protocol, which is swift, secure, and scalable, NEAR offers a common layer for browsing and discovering the open web.

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