Nebulas

Detailed review of the project

Summary

For current blockchain technologies, there are three challenges:
measure of value, self-evolving capability, and healthy ecosystem
development. Nebulas aims to address those challenges. This white
paper explains the technical design ideologies and principles of the
Nebulas framework.

The framework includes:
Nebulas Rank (NR), which measures value by considering liquidity and
propagation of the address. Nebulas Ranking tries to establish a
trustful, computable and deterministic measurement approach. With
the value ranking system, we will see more and more outstanding
applications surfacing on the Nebulas platform.

Nebulas Force (NF), which supports upgrading core protocols and
smart contracts on the chains. It provides self-evolving capabilities to
Nebulas system and its applications. With Nebulas Force, developers
can build rich applications in fast iterations, and the applications can
dynamically adapt to community or market changes.

Developer Incentive Protocol (DIP), designed to build the blockchain
ecosystem in a better way. The Nebulas token incentives will help top
developers to create more values in Nebulas.

Proof of Devotion (PoD) Consensus Algorithm. To build a healthy
ecosystem, Nebulas proposes three key points for consensus
algorithm: speediness, irreversibility and fairness. By adopting the
advantages of PoS and PoI, and leveraging NR, PoD will take the lead
in consensus algorithms.

Search engine for decentralized applications. Nebulas constructs a
search engine for decentralized applications based on Nebulas value
ranking. Using this engine, users can easily find desired decentralized
applications from the massive market.

Partnerships

Egretia. Nebulas, and Egretia, a pioneer in the blockchain gaming
space, have agreed to a strategic partnership with a special focus on
blockchain games. The two projects will collaborate to enhance each
other’s technology and community, with the broad aim of strengthening and facilitating decentralized app (dApp) development, and accelerating mass adoption for blockchain technology.

GIFTO. The decentralized search framework provided by Nebulas will
optimize GIFTO’s in-DApp search.Nebulas Rank, a core algorithm of
the Nebulas can allow millions of blockchain virtual gifts on the GIFTO
network to be categorized and easily searched based on
characteristics like: scarcity, value, popularity, etc.

DeepCloud AI, a project that combines Artificial Intelligence and
blockchain technology, teamed up with Nebulas blockchain to
increase Nebulas Rank function and DIP to decentralize cloud
computing services.

Spiking, the world’s first AI-based cryptocurrency exchange platform
and blockchain validator, signed a MoU (memorandum of
understanding) with Nebulas blockchain to enhance the crypto trading
ecosystem and use Nebulas’ DIP to attract devs.

Certic. Nebulas and CertiK, a formal verification framework to ensure
smart contract and blockchain security, announced a partnership. This
partnership will see CertiK provide technology to help ensure DApps
and smart contracts on the Nebulas blockchain are secure, reliable and
resistant to hacking. Nebulas developers will also receive real-time,
interactive verification feedback when building DApps and smart
contracts, helping to free up time and effort previously spent on
debugging and auditing code.

Cheetah mobile. Nebulas and Cheetah Mobile will cooperate closely
on developing digital mobile wallet products, and aim to nurture a
mobile blockchain ecosystem by co-exploring user growth, project
incubation, decentralized application (dapp) development
opportunities, and more. The partnership will see Cheetah Mobile
integrate Nebulas assets and technology into its blockchain tools and
provide an additional mobile distribution channel for Nebulas’
cryptocurrency assets and dapps. Cheetah Mobile’s Dapp Browser, a
mobile-based blockchain app explorer will feature the best dapps created on Nebulas and its digital asset wallet, and also add support NAS mainnet tokens.

Bitsclub.io. Hitters Xu, founder and CEO of Nebulas (who also happens
to be the founder of AntShares, now known as NEO). Xu is considered
a pioneer in the blockchain industry, founding BitsClub (the very first
Blockchain/Bitcoin community in China) in 2013.

500 Startups. Nebulas’s advisor Yeung is an avid tech investor, a
partner at 500 Startups.

FBG Capital is one of the earliest digital asset management firms
founded by Hitters Xu.

Dolphin. Nebulas and MoboTap have entered a strategic partnership
whereby Dolphin Browser will incorporate both the Nebulas
blockchain and search framework. Taking a step toward blockchain,
the adoption of Nebulas and its decentralised search framework will
assist Dolphin Browser with the building of Decentralized Applications
(DApps). Integrating the Nebulas framework will also reduce
difficulties commonly associated with DApp development as well as
targeting and marketing DApps to end users. Through modules such
as Nebulas Rank (NR), a core ranking algorithm built into the Nebulas
framework, users of Dolphin Browser will be able to more efficiently
search, while developers will be better equipped to target DApps to
users.

Loopring. Hitters Xu (Nebulas founder, NEO co-founder), Daniel Wang
(Loopring founder), and Andy Tian (Gifto founder) created GBA in
response to the surprising dearth of talent in an industry that has a
rising demand for developers. It’s the trio’s hope that the Alliance will
pool employees from Google to address this talent gap and accelerate
blockchain’s adoption and development.

Hashworld. “Hashworld has decided to join @atlaspio ecosystem.
Together we aim to build a more effective and interactive marketing channel using blockchain technology to reduce information
asymmetry!”

Use cases

Since the generation of Bitcoin’s genesis block in 2009, the community
has come to a consensus as to the objective of most of the existing
public blockchains: create an infrastructure for building a DApp
ecosystem which is developer-friendly and features a complete
incentive mechanism. However, due to various historical restrictions, to
date there is still not such a systematic and efficient mechanism.

So, from the beginning, Nebulas is striving to build an open and
transparent positive feedback ecosystem for the developers
community. Compared with current Internet industry, any platform that
can attract the most diversified developers is the most valuable. For
example, the Apple App Store has opened entirely new prospects for
mobile applications by establishing an application ecosystem that
creates tremendous social value and business returns. Unfortunately,
even in this case, there still exist many flaws on its dividend model for
contributors who develop applications for the platform. For example,
developers on the platform cannot share in the growing valuation
bonus of the App Store platform (due to the increasing number of
applications). Can Nebulas establish a more inclusive developer
incentive mechanism guaranteed by blockchain technology? In such a
world, every DApp developer would have the chance to share the
ecosystem benefits based on their contribution to the blockchain
world.

In the Nebulas blockchain, it is made possible through the DIP
protocol. Outstanding developers in the community will be able to
receive NAS from DIP offering. Those developers who make
contributions to the community ecosystem growth will be rewarded,
which will create a positive feedback mechanism offering to
community developers.

Through NR, PoD and DIP, the Nebulas blockchain could put an end to
the current venture capital incubation model that is comparatively
centralized, inefficient, opaque, and unfriendly, by creating a way to
motivate the creativity and vitality of developers. Let’s imagine, for
example, that every App development team creating apps for the
Apple App Store could get considerable incentives from Apple based
on their contributions to App Store. In this paradigm, the app
ecosystem would likely enter a new era with quality and quantity
explosion. Nebulas’ vision is to institutionalize a decentralized
ecosystem for developer application incubation through DIP
incentives. The decentralized and incentivized world created by the
Nebulas blockchain will result in the emergence of a significant
number of new blockchain DApps.

The blockchain world is developing at an ever-accelerating speed.
Every day we see more and more DApp developers join the
blockchain community and connect more and more information on
blockchains. How to present information to users simply and efficiently
will become more and more important.

Nebulas hopes to further extend NR’s functionality, i.e., by making
information indexes for blockchains. Combining NR with a “keywords”
mechanism, Nebulas can sort and manage information in a relevant
way. In doing so, users of blockchains will be able to access more
relevant and high-value data (including information, assets, smart
contracts, DApps, etc.). Compared to the Google search engine in the
Internet world, with continuously explosive and tremendous
information growth of blockchains, an information index and search
engine for blockchains becomes an indispensable and necessary
requirement. It will be an essential tool and the starting point for many
users to explore the world of blockchains. With the power of
information index and searching, as well as combining the Internet’s
mature business model, Nebulas hopes to open up unprecedented
business potential.

Ecosystem

First ICO to be launched on Nebulas is Atlas Protocol (Advertising)
DApps: There are over 6800 DApps with a variety of features, recently,
the game Cell Evolution raised $ 750,000. Nebulas is very active in
encouraging the creators of new DApps, conducts weekly surveys of
popularity and awards winners in NAS. The number of DApps users is
difficult to assess because of the lack of tools for collecting statistics.

Technology

Proof of devotion Consensus Process
Similar to the PoI (Proof of Importance) consensus algorithm that
selects highly important accounts, the PoD selects the accounts with
high influence in the ecology. The difference lies in that the PoD
empowers the selected accounts to have the bookkeeping right with
equal probability to participate in new block generation in order to
prevent tilted probability that may bring about monopoly.

When selecting accounts with high influence, Nebulas uses NR, the
universal measure of value generated from Nebulas. In the algorithm
design of NR, liquidity and propagation of accounts are highlighted.
Nebulas believes that the accounts featured with these properties
have a high influence with regard to the ecology construction. Thus, in
the PoD, the accounts ranked Top N in the NR will be selected, and
after these accounts voluntarily pay a certain number of NASs as the
deposit, they will be qualified as the validator of new blocks to
participate in bookkeeping.

After the validator set is provided, the PoD algorithm uses the pseudo-
random number to determine which one in the set is the new block

proposer, which need to pack recent transactions to generate the new
block. The validator set is changeable. The eligible account can choose
to join or quit the set.

Besides, the eligible accounts may vary with the periodical change of
NR. Therefore, Nebulas designed the dynamic validator set change
mechanism in the PoD to implement the change of the validator set.
After a new block is proposed, all the people in the validator set of the current dynasty will participate in a round of BFT-Style (Byzantine-Fault-
Tolerant Style) voting to determine the legitimacy of this block. In the beginning of voting, each validator who participates in this block
consensus will be charged 2x (x is the incentive bonus proportion) as
the deposit and then the two-stage voting process will be kicked off.

  • In the first stage, it is required that all validators vote Prepare tickets
    for the new block. After voting the Prepare ticket, the validator will be
    rewarded 1.5x bonus. If the validators holding over two-thirds of the
    total deposits in both current and previous dynasties vote Prepare
    tickets for the new block, this block will enter into the second stage of
    voting. It should be noted that the proposer of the new block votes the
    Prepare ticket for the new block by default.
  • In the second stage, it is required that all validators vote Commit
    tickets for the new block. After voting the Commit ticket, the validator will be rewarded 1.5x bonus again. If the validators holding over two-
    thirds of the total deposits in both current and previous dynasties vote

Commit tickets for the new block, this block will reach the finality state.
In order to speed up the development of the entire ecology, if the
difference between the timestamp of Prepare ticket and Commit ticket
in Block b and the timestamp of Block b exceeds T, then these tickets
will be considered expired and will be ignored directly.

Nebulas rank (NR)

Nebulas Rank (NR) is our core ranking algorithm and is the measure of
value in the world of blockchains. It is pen sourced. The algorithm is
based on liquidity, propagation of users’ assets, and the interactivity
between users. NR is used to rank addresses, smart contracts,
distributed applications (DApps) and other entities on the blockchain.

• Liquidity, i.e. transaction frequency and scale, is the first dimension
that NR measures.
• Propagation
Powerful viral propagation indicates scope and depth of asset liquidity,
which can promote the blockchain world’s asset quality and asset
scale. Thus, viral transmission, i.e. scope and depth of asset liquidity, is
the second dimension that NR measures.
• Better interoperability will become more and more important.
Therefore, NR’s third measure dimension is interoperability.

Proof-of-devotion (PoD)

Based on Nebulas’ NR system, PoD (Proof-of-Devotion) consensus
algorithm will be adopted. PoD gives an “influential” user on the
Nebulas blockchain an opportunity to become a bookkeeper and
receive Nebulas block rewards and transaction fee as revenue, which
will encourage them to contribute to the stability and security of the
Nebulas blockchain on a continuous basis.

PoD algorithm’s core concept:
- users with NR values higher than a specified threshold may take part
in the bookkeeper selection procedure by paying a security deposit;
- through virtual mining, each bookkeeper candidate competes to
earn bookkeeping rights;
users with bookkeeping right are responsible for block generation,
and in return receive block reward and transaction fee as revenue; and
- if any user behaves in an inappropriate fashion, the user’s security
deposit will be confiscated and reassigned to other bookkeeper
candidates.

Developer incentive protocol (DIP)

For the Nebulas blockchain, the concept of DIP (Developer Incentive
Protocol) is proposed for developers of smart contracts and DApps.
DIP’s core concepts: in pre-specified block intervals, for those developers whose smart contracts and DApps deploy online in the most recent interval with an NR value higher than a specified threshold, DIP will reward them
corresponding developer incentives, and these incentives shall be
recorded on blocks by bookkeepers, and with DIP’s positive incentive
mechanism, more and more developers will get incentives to create
valuable smart contracts and DApps, which will, in turn, help to build a
positive feedback ecosystem for the developers community.

Nebulas force (NF)

A series of basic protocols such as NR, PoD, DIP will become a part of
the Nebulous blockchain data. With the growth of data on the Nebulas
blockchain these basic protocols will upgrade. Developers call this
fundamental capability of the Nebulas blockchain “Nebulas
Force” (NF). NF provides the Nebulas blockchain and its distributed
applications built on top of it, the capability to self evolve.

With NF developers are able to make changes, incorporate new
technologies, and fix bugs without needing to hard fork.

As the Nebulas community grows, NF and update ability for protocols
will be opened to the community. According to the NR weight of users
and by using the community voting mechanism, the community will be
able to determine the evolution and direction of the Nebulas
blockchain and its update objectives. With the help of NF’s core
technology and its openness, Nebulas will have ever growing and
infinitely evolving potential.

Additionally, Nebulas is also developing a forward-looking mechanism
of Nebulas Cluster Polymorphous Evolution. On the premise that data
and assets on the main blockchain are safe, through an inborn
Nebulas Excitation Protocol, one or several side chains will be created
to verify core technical innovation solutions, such as new consensus
algorithm, lightning network, etc. At the same time, through the
Nebulas Wormhole, data and assets can be exchanged across side chains as well as between side chains and the main blockchain, as well
as interoperability among DApps.

In this process, users on the main Nebulas blockchain can invest on
side chains to test newly offered NAS using side chain technology. They can also keep their assets on the Nebulas blockchain while benefiting from evolutionary advancements as the main Nebulas blockchain update smoothly. For example, as optimized performance increases earnings for users, Nebulas can upgrade its core architecture safely, in an economical way, thus giving Nebulas unprecedented vitality and scalability.

For those side chain technical innovations that haven’t been accepted
by the Nebulas blockchain, it is possible to let those side chain
innovations continue to develop. Using the Nebulas Wormhole, side
chain activity can still take advantage of exchanges of data and assets
across side chains, as well as DApp Interoperability. Imagine, for
example if blockchain systems like Bitcoin, Litecoin, ETH and ETC had
the native ability built in for data and asset exchanges, Nebulas would
immediately face many more dimensions of technical possibilities.

Marketing strategy

The team often visits major industry events, various hackathons and
organizes meetups. The main regions are Asia and the USA.
Ambassadors work extremely badly, all 4 sections of the site (Writing,
video, translation, photography) which are dedicated to promoting
and attracting new users are empty, there are only 1 video and 1
document. Much more Nebulas attention is paid to the development
of Dapps. Their incentive program runs for many weeks, each time the
number of participants increases, the prize fund grows. There is an
active bounty program to eliminate bugs.

Information field

*The data is collected in the 17th of July 2018
Facebook — 2086 followers
Reddit — 5100 followers
Twitter — 23900 followers
Youtube — 1178 followers
Instagram — 445 followers
Medium — 1300 followers
Telegram — 12747 followers
Telegram group — 2086 followers

Github metrics
Token holders and the number of transactions dynamics (from etherscan.io):

Main exchange listings: Binance, Huobi and BCEX

Team members

Hitters Xu — Founder
Founder and CEO of Nebulas, Hitters Xu is also known for founding
AntShares (NEO) in 2014, and for his role as director of Ant Financial’s
(Alibaba’s financial arm) blockchain platform. In addition, he worked as
part of Google’s search and anti-fraud team, and he founded BitsClub, one of China’s first blockchain communities. So it’s safe to say that Xu
knows a thing or two about both cryptocurrency and search engines.
Now, dedicating his time and expertise to Nebulas, Hitters Xu wants
the blockchain to become accessible to everyone as the popularity of
cryptocurrencies increases by the day.

Robin Zhong — Co-Founder
Nebulas co-founder, former architect of Ant Financial’s blockchain
platform, and former Senior Development Director of Dolphin
Browser, Robin Zhong is also the Leader of Game Division. Having
graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology,
Robin has used his expertise to found China’s first blockchain support
platform, Tongxinclub, and now seeks to promote Nebulas to the
forefront of cryptocurrency and the blockchain.

Aero Wang — Co-Founder
Nebulas and Antshares (NEO) co-founder, Aero Wang is the initiator of
the Open IP and IP Community as well as being a serial entrepreneur
in blockchain industry. He is a graduate from Southeast University and
has worked alongside Hitters Xu for a number of years in blockchain
development.

Xuepeng Fan — Research Director
Former Senior Software Engineer of Whova. Ph.D. in Computer
Science from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. His
research interests are in blockchain system, distributed systems and
parallel programming. He has also been an visiting scholar of
University of California, San Diego, and an intern of Microsoft Research
Asia and Megvii.

Shu Shang Core — Developer Lead.
Former TOTFREE CTO,former Developer of Dolphin Browser, former
Developer of Alibaba, Got a Master Degree in Science and Technology
from Tsinghua University.

Advisors

Edith Yeung
Selected by Inc’s Magazine as one of the Silicon Valley investors you
must know, Edith Yeung is a partner at 500 Startups. She has invested
in over 40 mobile, VR, AR, AI and machine learning startups including
Hooked, DayDayCook, Fleksy (acquired by Pinterest), Human
(acquired by Mapbox), AISense, Penrose, Cryworks, SIlk Labs, Piper,
Apptopia, Mobile Action, Andy OS, Quickly, Powercore, Pack, Ingrain,
Switch, Bento, DayDayCook, Palantir, etc. Advisor to Dolphin Browser
(Acquired by CYOU), and founding partner at RightVentures.

Chris McCann
Chris started and leads the community program at Greylock Partners
(investors in Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, Linkedin, Coinbase, etc), and
was the co-founder of StartupDigest (acquired by TechStars &
partnered with the Kauffman Foundation). He was also one of the early
mentors & advisors for the Thiel Fellowship, StartX at Stanford
University, and helped start the entrepreneurship programs at Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo.

Evan Cheng
Evan Cheng bootstrapped the LLVM effort and led its development
during his 10 year career at Apple. He was the co-recipient of the ACM
Software System Award in 2012 for his contribution to computer
science. He is currently an engineering director at Facebook,
responsible for developments in programming languages and
runtimes.

Roadmap

The company has released its mainnet Eagle Nebula 2.0 and is
improving mainnet functionalities. It has also released its Yellow Paper
on Nebulas Rank.

Future goals include fully functional and improved Nebulas Rank,
Nebulas Force and PoD implementation as well as scalability for large
transaction volumes.

Conclusion

Team: very strong team with extensive experience and serious advisors
Information field: Mediocre activity in medium sized community
Idea: Groundbreaking idea (cross-chain research engine) with a lot of
future use cases
Scaling ecosystem and marketing: A lot of DApps, frequent meetups,
enough capital to sponsor big incentive program and make
partnerships
Development stage: Mainnet
Whitepaper: Professionally written, understandable
Roadmap: the bottleneck of the company, no details, divided by
quarters

Let’s talk about the most important thing, at the moment there is no
point in buying NAS. The main feature of the project is a crosschain
search engine, it is not ready and is very poorly covered by the
company’s news. Finding useful or potentially popular DApps is
problematic, because almost all of them are in Chinese. Yes, there are
more than 8000 of them, but what are these DApps? Most are created
for the bounty of approximately 200 NAS. It is only possible to
evaluate the winners of the incentive program. As an infrastructure
project, the Nebulas has great prospects for development, here new
and already existing partnerships play a role, and the mainnet is
launched. The level of professionalism of the team also gives hope for
the further development of the project, but these are only
expectations, no one saw any fruits of those collaborations. And now
the market is moving from the “perspective theory” phase to the
“demanded practice”, and we do not observe a segment of the market
in which Nebulas is really top tier.