Understanding Nebulas NOVA (Part 2)
What is Nebulas Blockchain Runtime Environment ？(NBRE)
Nebulas NOVA is the starting point of Nebulas becoming the Autonomous Metanet. As an important technical feature of Nebulas NOVA, the idea of NBRE was first proposed in Nebulas White Paper, which mentions that NBRE is an essential component of Nebulas Force.
In simple terms, NBRE provides a technical foundation for the automatic upgrade of Nebulas Rank (NR) and Developer Incentive Protocol (DIP). The implementation of NBRE is based on the JIT (Just In Time) compiler of LLVM, which makes it possible to manage, execute and submit LLVM Intermediate Representation (IR) to Nebulas blockchain. In Nebulas NOVA, the algorithms and parameters of NR and DIP are stored on blockchain in the form of LLVM IR. NBRE will execute the algorithms of NR and DIP according to the external usage (such as the call of API), and export the corresponding execution results. Due to the fact that NBRE can manage the LLVM IR on blockchain, on-chain NR and DIP can upgrade automatically.
NBRE provides the necessary tool for the autonomization of Nebulas. Nebulas is a new public chain project built by the community, and currently, it is still at a stage of rapid growth. Therefore, Nebulas needs constant upgrades in order to meet the various requirements of the community. Under such drastic changes, how to ensure the stability of Nebulas mainnet is a major challenge to achieve the Autonomous Metanet. NBRE can achieve the autonomization of Nebulas by allowing submissions of new LLVM IR to Nebulas mainnet, instead of imposing mandatory mainnet upgrades. This ensures a smooth transition of building the Autonomous Metanet, so mainnet upgrades are no longer a development hurdle.
Furthermore, the implementation of NBRE brings new possibilities to the blockchain world. Blockchain has become a trust machine, because it is decentralized and immutable. However, these characteristics have also caused division in the community, and different demands from the community pose immense pressure on the mainnet upgrade, which has slowed down blockchain innovation. The unique feature of NBRE allows mainnet upgrades to become a norm, and encourages innovation- no matter how big or small, without causing stress to the mainnet upgrade. Therefore, NBRE not only has the ability for smooth mainnet upgrades, but also promotes blockchain innovation in near future.
Eventually, Nebulas will provide auto-upgrade function to other core algorithms and protocols, to achieve autonomization on a larger scale. Currently in Nebulas NOVA, only NR and DIP can auto-upgrade through NBRE. In the future, other core algorithms and protocols could submit new LLVM IR to Nebulas blockchain and auto-upgrade through NBRE.