Technology Update: A Letter from Syntropy CTO
An exclusive insight into the significant technological progress that has been made over the last year.
Sometimes, building Syntropy feels like shooting a movie. What seems so simple and elegant for a viewer often represents a massive amount of work for tens, if not hundreds of people, each bringing their unique perspective and expertise. We are currently deep into the “work” stage. Like in movie production, we created multiple workstreams, each dedicated to building a technological component. Taken alone, each piece might not mean much, but when they’re all combined, the result is impressive.
2021 was a tremendous growth year for us. Everyone brought their expertise and saw positive results. We are now fully committed to a decentralized future, and every step we make now lays a foundation for what is to come. Piece by piece, the puzzle is being completed.
I am thrilled that we are building technology that will significantly facilitate the progress in our space. Soon enough, we will all flock to this new Internet — Web3. I want to take some time to uncover what has been happening behind the scenes and why I am incredibly excited for the year ahead. Let’s start with some stats.
- Syntropy Team: doubled in size.
- Syntropy Nodes: 800 nodes are now running on more than 140 providers.
- Syntropy Connections: over 2.1 million connections have been made.
- Syntropy Agent: has been downloaded more than 3 million times.
- Syntropy Agent Commits: our team committed more than 400 commits.
- Syntropy Stack: we moved from closed beta to a full-fledged SaaS product.
- Syntropy Launches: we launched Syntropy Stack, VPN, and Windows App.
- Syntropy Stack Connections: the Controller can now handle up to 15,000 concurrent connections (full mesh).
- Syntropy Stack Releases: we released 13 new updates, introducing new features and improvements.
- Blockchain: 556 nodes are now running in our AmberChain, with a 7 sec average block time.
- Staking: Nominator & Validator Smart Contracts, locked 200+ million NOIA tokens in 1,500 actively staking wallets, expected to reach 250 million tokens.
We believe in the notion that the scarcest asset is extraordinary people. Early on, we made it a strategic priority to find them, wherever they were. We are proud to have seen not a couple but several dozen remarkable people coming from diverse backgrounds who are bringing their unique wisdom and skills to Syntropy. Thirty people are developers, engineers, and architects that directly contribute to building Syntropy.
Bringing Syntropy Stack to Web3 is of the highest priority. That will enable Web3 developers to build use-cases for creating Internet networks using blockchain and get both Web2 and Web3 traffic to the DARP network. To accelerate the progress, we formed a dedicated R&D department whose sole purpose is to work on the decentralized Syntropy Stack platform architecture that can scale across multiple chains and Web3 product development. A dedicated team is now committing 100% of their time to making this happen.
Global enterprise adoption has always been imperative to Syntropy. We demonstrated our commitment to that through new hires like Jeff Lacouture, who leads our sales team. Tim Murphy who provides his outstanding technical expertise to support enterprise adoption. Advisors like Shawn Hakl, Roman Pacewicz, and Joe Weinman, whose experience speaks on its own.
The strength of the technical community is what separates good projects from the best projects. We started assembling a world-class developer relations team to accelerate developer adoption by ensuring that every developer feels at home in Syntropy. I am proud that Abdelrahman Omran joined us from Google to build this team utilizing his knowledge working there.
We have regularly refreshed our Discord server, dedicating time to help and support our developer community. In addition to that, we standardized our new software releases communication via newsletters, social media channels, and blog posts and started building bridges with developers globally. It’s just the beginning, and there are multiple new community and developer initiatives in the pipeline, and I am thrilled about what is to come.
Integrations are core components to our long-term success — Syntropy needs to be compatible with everything. We launched more than a dozen integrations l year, including Minecraft, CS:GO, Terraria, Elrond, Polkadot, Chainlink, Ethereum, Ethereum 2.0, Bitcoin, GTA Mod FiveM, Team Fortress 2, ARK: Survival Evolved, Filecoin.
I am proud that many originated directly from the Syntropy Builders program. Harnessing the power of a global developer community is integral here. Now that we have a capable developer relations department, the resources are here, and we will be bringing back focus on this area in 2022. I invite you to check out our importance of integrations article to delve deeper into the merits of this approach.
Last year, we launched our testnet blockchain — the Amber chain — which allowed you to participate in the Syntropy ecosystem early on and for us to build and onboard parts of our solution to the chain. We deployed smart contracts on the Ethereum mainnet that allowed you to stake NOIA tokens and generate earnings. One of the contracts is integrated with the Amber chain, allowing you to deploy validator nodes on the Amber chain or nominate your tokens to them.
The contracts have locked up more than 200+ million NOIA tokens, and this year we expect this number to reach 250 million tokens (roughly half of the circulating supply). Almost 1,500 wallets are actively staking NOIA tokens, and 556 nodes are deployed on the Amber chain network, with an average block time of 7 seconds.
These stats indicate that our blockchain is healthy. Still, the important part is that it was a stepping stone to preparing for a decentralized version of the stack to be deployed and tested by developers and clients and helping to finalize our Web3 technology plans for 2022 and beyond. The essence lies in assembling validators as a decentralized set of network participants, which will secure and scale the network’s throughput and reduce the cost of services. Ultimately, every piece of the puzzle we are currently building will lay down on the blockchain. This will open the door for Web3 and let dApp and blockchain developers start building and managing networks in a decentralized way. What’s even more critical — is maintaining full Syntropy Stack functionality for enterprise-grade software and the Web2 world to bring large volumes of bandwidth to our decentralized DARP network.
- Amber Chain: One Step Closer to the Syntropy Blockchain Launch
- ERC20 Validator Smart Contract & Staking Dashboard
- Validator Staking Registration
Last year, we launched multiple community programs to facilitate our developer adoption.
- Syntropy Writers: Through the Write with Syntropy program, we are building ties with the best technology writers around the globe, working together to provide meaningful content for developers. We foster long-term collaboration and help this talent grow their personal brands as writers, content creators, and thought-leaders.
- Syntropy Testers: We call on Network & DevOps Engineers to test the Syntropy technology stack through the Syntropy Test program. Not only have we already received plenty of feedback, but we created strong relationships with developers working in companies ranging from small startups to S&P 500 enterprises, which I believe will strongly contribute to our growth this year.
- Syntropy Builders: We enable developer contributors to develop integrations and much more through the Syntropy Builders program. Our commitment to this is clear, as we have allocated an initial compensation pool of $1 million for all contributors that complete projects, and this year we plan to tap into this pool even more.
Syntropy Stack is the key to everything at Syntropy. Last year, we spent more hours than we can count to make it even more user-friendly, stable, and powerful. The fact that we managed to go from beta to a completely open platform in a matter of months is a testament to the fantastic work that our engineering team is doing. This work continues at a rapid pace. Last year alone, our team released 13 updates to production, each one packed with features or bug fixes. Just look at this list of features that were released last year.
- We implemented a Single, Flat Network approach, where all connections can be managed at once.
- We implemented Timezone selection to cover the needs of our global clients.
- We completely reworked the authentication flows and added one-click registration/login flows with Social logins.
- We improved the security of a platform by revealing Agent tokens and their scopes and adding 2FA on login.
- We added Virtual endpoints to cover the multi-device use cases.
- We completely reworked the Network Graph functionality by utilizing a highly powerful ReGraph library of Cambridge Intelligence.
- We added multiple ways to display the same network — with Graph, Table, Map, or Code section options.
- We implemented Advanced network filters that allow combining multiple filters into a coherent query.
- We implemented the Analytics section to deliver latency, bandwidth, and packet loss information for every connection. This has been made in preparation for the upcoming SDN feature, as it will give insights into each alternative route.
- We have significantly improved Connection Status representation to provide users with timely and non-derived information.
- We have been actively testing the rollout of the SDN feature.
Syntropy Stack Release Notes:
- Release Notes: 09.21 — SDN Groundwork, Advanced Analytics, and Other Improvements
- Release Notes 10.14 — Advanced Filters and Stability Improvements
- Release Notes 11.05 — Syntropy Agent Golang Refactor
- Release Notes: 11.18 — Usability Updates, Reworked Agent Service, and Other Improvements
- Release Notes 12.06 — Stability Improvements and open-source Syntropy Agent
In 2021, we started dissecting our Syntropy Stack Controller into smaller bits by moving to a more resilient microservice architecture. We now utilize more than ten microservices that are primarily written in Go. We will continue this architectural change and build out these highly available and responsive services, which should put us on a good path towards completely decentralized Syntropy services as well as maintain enterprise-grade Web2 application capabilities. Since we have already scaled to microservices, we will be able to start decentralizing them one by one and effectively scaling them using blockchain platforms. The architecture also allows us to offer Web2 production-ready network management and reuse supporting micro-services in decentralised environments.
Syntropy Agent is an integral technical component to network and connection management. I am proud it has become way better in every sense during the last year — all thanks to over 400 commits made by our developers. They have completely rewritten it on Golang, replacing a previous Python implementation. This move unlocked so much more development freedom and significantly increased the performance. We redesigned the route selecting mechanism, which rewarded us with increased reliability and resiliency and released agent code under an MIT open source license. Finally, let me end this paragraph with this bit of information: our agent was pulled from the Docker hub more than 1 million times!
Our R&D team worked relentlessly on a fully decentralized and scalable version of DARP, which employs a wide array of protocols to make it scalable while using the same central idea of finding the fastest path in the network. While this is an immense task for our engineers on a larger scale, I am proud that they were able to launch an initial DARP implementation as early as spring. It currently supports 500 widely geographically dispersed nodes, all communicating and providing a relatively clear picture of global network performance. Now, we maintain two implementations: one is running on our network to carry out various tests in a controlled environment, and the other one is a fully open Community DARP version that is available for anyone to join.
There are exciting updates coming after a long period of research for fully distributed DARP development this year to make the goals and development of the protocol more open and integrate into Syntropy Stack as well as Web3 native solutions and scale the network to large numbers.
When you use commercial VPN solutions, you trust them with your privacy. The exact encryption method is not always clear, not to mention VPN providers might log, sell, and exploit your data. However, we should not expect that all internet users will have the skills to set up their private VPNs.
We launched a Syntropy VPN to tackle this problem — the easiest way we know to deploy your private VPN. Using Syntropy Stack, you deploy the infrastructure and fully own your data. The best part is that the learning curve has decreased dramatically, facilitating access to private VPNs to more internet users than ever before.
Syntropy Windows Application
Last but not least, we launched the Syntropy Windows Application, which essentially acts as a Syntropy Agent but on Windows OS. This allows the connecting of any Windows machine to networks deployed on Syntropy or private Syntropy VPNs.
The foundation has been laid, and we’ve begun building the next set of tools and features to support developer and enterprise adoption. SDN routing is one such area. It utilizes our intelligent network relays to reroute connection traffic through different relays if the default public internet route has congestion or high latency issues. We have proved the value of this technology to multiple enterprises, in some cases avoiding outages lasting for as long as 30 minutes or just optimizing latency and packet loss in others.
To support the needs of our larger customers, we will be introducing shared workspaces, which will allow multiple users with different permission levels to share access and manage a single network.
Terraform will replace our current NaC implementation, which will open more opportunities for developers to include Syntropy Stack into their workflows by integrating it with the tools that they are currently using.
Our priorities are clear. It is imperative to create a decentralized technology stack accessible to all developers building a decentralized internet to support the needs of a changing internet landscape. This is our mission, and I am confident that all bits and pieces will join this one complete solution running on Amber Chain this year. We will differentiate Syntropy from all networking solutions on the market and give us a clear competitive advantage in this new landscape.
A personal message to the community
As one of our close partners recently said to the community, “Quiet is often the best sign of progress.” We put all the energy at the beginning of the year to lay out the plans and path for Syntropy to grow. All the hard work the team has set over the last year has fallen into place. The direction is clear to create a Web3 centric product ready to bring enterprise-grade Web2 applications into the world of Web3 on a decentralized internet layer governed by the Syntropy community. The technology is ready to serve as a connectivity layer to connect physical or virtual infrastructure in the Web3 world of blockchains and smart contracts through solutions deployed on ecosystems like Substrate or EVM. The team has worked extensively on roadmaps and finalizing architecture plans for major technology rollout pieces for this year, which will make Syntropy an essential part of the Web 3 ecosystem. We invite the community to reinforce our efforts to do so.
This is all in addition to the regular Stack development updates and supporting the onboarding of new and existing clients and constantly growing our production infrastructure to mirror optimizations seen on the DARP network to be accessible through Stack. It’s all getting too exciting!
Connecting the dots
It has been my personal feeling that Stack will become a gateway to the Web3 future. Having experienced development challenges as well as the size of dApp economy I have full confidence in our strategy of producing software that can be adopted broadly by developers and enterprises to make connections and direct internet traffic in a decentralised bandwidth economy. At the end of the day, a blockchain’s value comes from economic or impact value generated or brought from a centralised ecosystem. Upon launching our Web3 solution on blockchain Syntropy will enable programmable internet services enabled by the $NOIA token. $NOIA will open the doors to a Web3 native way of managing networks through blockchain and Syntropy will continue building new use-cases for an optimised and decentralised internet layer. I think that this is a perfect recipe. We have never been more sure in our minds, hearts and computer drives that this technology will have a profound impact on the future of Web3. Persistence is a virtue.
Long live Web3,
Jonas Simanavicius, CTO at Syntropy