On March 25th 2021, NKN founding team did an AMA with Binance English community covering questions from the positioning of NKN project, technology, partnership, commercial potential, community development and many other topics. There are over 25,000 active audiences and the AMA lasted 2 hours (30 minutes overtime) due to the enthusiastic responses. Here are the transcripts.

Speakers Introduction

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Yanbo: Hi everyone, here’s founder and CEO of NKN Yanbo Li speaking, glad to see you all at TG again! I’m a free software enthusiast and open-source advocate, I had years of enterprise experience working for Nokia, Qualcomm focus on networking domain, meanwhile working for Linux Kernel network subsystem as a code contributor just for fun.

Later, as one of the co-founders of the blockchain technology giant OnChain which built the blockchain system from scratch, I started NKN in late 2017. You can definitely click here for an in-depth interview with me covering everything from Apples, Boxing, to Coding.

Bruce: Hi everyone, I am Bruce. Great to be back, always a nice crowd at Binance TG! We were here in October 2019, but not this huge at 200,000 members.XD

A bit about myself: I spent quite a few years building cool technologies and products at Nokia and Google. I love the work by A16Z partner Chris Dixon “Why Decentralization Matters”, and truly believe in the mission of NKN to use cryptonetwork to revolutionize the network communication business. And, I’m based in the San Francisco Bay area. And here is an interview about myself.


Yilun: Hey guys! This is Yilun Zhang speaking. I am the Co-founder and CTO of NKN.

My introduction is quite simple: I got my PhD degree in Physics from the University of California San Diego, with particular expertise in computational neuroscience, trying to understand how the brain works. I’ve been a full stack engineer for years and an enthusiast for cellular automata.

Project Introduction

We founded NKN in early 2018, aiming to enable everyone to share their Internet connection and bandwidth, and build something like Uber for your Internet connection.

If we look at web 3.0 or the future of the Internet, we need three key infrastructure computing, storage, and networking. If you are familiar with filecoin for decentralized storage, then NKN is the equivalent for decentralized networking.

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We have created the world’s largest blockchain network with almost 40,000 full consensus nodes around the world, but millions or even billions will be joined in the coming future, and our code is ready for that. It is already bigger than Bitcoin and Ethereum, both of which report to have around 10,000 nodes each.

And very importantly, almost 99.9% of the nodes are run by communities powered by mining incentives. You can always visit https://nscan.io/ 8 for our real time node map.

And if you are wondering where we get the name for the project, it comes from A New Kind of Science, a book written by NKN advisor Stephen Wolfram. Stephen is also the inventor of Mathematica, CEO of Wolfram Research, and a renowned scientist.

Please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Wolfram 1 if you are not familiar with our advisor and the amazing theories/discoveries he has invented.

AMA Segment One

Question 1.

Why do you believe that NKN is the indispensable networking infrastructure for web 3.0, or the future of the Internet?

Answer 1.

Before ethereum came along to invent Turing complete virtual machines and smart contracts, there had to be a new cryptocurrency made for each different program you wanted to run.

This is what NKN does but for data communication.

NKN can transmit any type of data, be it data for file sharing (BTT does this), IoT data (Helium does this) or music streaming (AUDIO does this). NKN will bring an end to the era of these highly specialised coins that only transfer one type of data, just as Ethereum ended the era of highly specialised coins that ran only one program.

So in the context of web 3.0: if you believe Ethererum is for computing, filecoin is for storage, then NKN is for networking.

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Question 2.

What can a normal person do with NKN?

Answer 2.

NKN is providing the network communication infrastructure for Web 3.0, so basically any application that needs data communication can use NKN to replace their current centralized client server model. There are several existing products of NKN that are closely relevant to everyone’s daily life.

Let’s take the example of nConnect, a distributed service hosted on NKN’s global network that creates an end-to-end secure tunnel for your home servers and devices without exposing any information to the open Internet. 100% security: all data is end-to-end encrypted and never stores in any cloud. We have signed commercial contracts with top 3 NAS vendors: Synology, QNAP, and ASUS and nConnect is available as a subscription service on their app stores.

Here we made a really simple illustration of how nConnect works in NAS use cases:


A more detailed description of nConnect can be found in our official bloghttps://nkn.org/community/blog/nconnect-for-nas-secure-remote-access-to-files-and-apps/ 1or by visiting our official nConnect page: https://nkn.org/products/nconnect/

We have also published nMobile app, an extra secure and trusted chat that is totally decentralized. It is a kind of crypto equivalent of the Signal messaging app. Instead of “don’t be evil”, we have made this App “can’t be evil”.

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NKN has a distributed architecture with over 30,000 independent relay servers in 40+ countries worldwide that makes it nearly impossible for any malicious party to take down.

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You’re welcome to check out our nMobile official page for more information:https://nmobile.nkn.org

And our community developers have built a 100% private file sharing app called Surge 1. Surge is even more private than BitTorrent since the user’s IP address is not exposed.

Question 3.

What does it mean when NKN claims to be the largest blockchain network in terms of full nodes? Why is it relevant or important at all?

Answer 3.

We have always believed that true decentralization is the fundamental value of blockchain networks, just like bitcoin.

Reflecting on the above, NKN network is designed to scale up to any number of nodes thanks to our MOCA consensus algorithm. We are almost 40,000 today, but millions or even billions will be joined in the coming future, and our code is ready for that. It is already bigger than Bitcoin and Ethereum, both of which report to have around 10,000 nodes each.

Here’s a screenshot of our nodes that we captured yesterday:

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Currently, NKN project team is only running less than 0.1% of our total nodes: we are a network truly owned by its community and live on its own. You can always visit https://nscan.io/ 8 for our real time node map.

In addition, there are billions of humans and potentially trillions of smart devices out in the world. And we look forward to the day every human and smart device will be a NKN node.

Also, if you are interested in joining us as one of our nodes, please visit our mining FAQ for a more detailed instruction:NKN Mining FAQ 4

Question 4.

What is the purpose of NKN token?

Answer 4.

NKN token plays a central role in the NKN ecosystem, and it is the life blood of NKN. Here’s a few utilities that NKN token provides:

  1. By running a NKN node, participants can share their network resources and help others relay data and earn mining rewards. This encourages miners to keep their node running 24X7 and with a good Internet connection.
  2. Consumer and enterprise users can use NKN to pay for nConnect secure connection, Content Delivery, game streaming, group chat subscription, and many other services.
  3. In addition, miners who host applications (such as nConnect) for the NKN community can earn additional NKN tokens.
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Question 5

What are the key technologies of NKN?

Answer 5
First and foremost, NKN builds a true peer to peer network that can send and receive data between any two parties without involving a single central server.

It is both end to end and hop by hop encrypted; two communication parties do not need to expose their IP address; it does not require any party to have any public IP address.

While traditionally it can only be done with a centralized server set up, now it requires zero server set up, all we need is to embed nkn SDK on the client side

Secondly, another key technology of NKN is our consensus algorithm, called MOCA, which is based on Cellular Automata. In simple terms, each node only needs to talk to a dozen neighbors instead of the entire blockchain network, thus enabling us to scale up to millions and billions of nodes without any problem.

Last but not least, NKN utilizes a useful proof of work, called Proof of Relay: Every time a node relays a data packet on behalf of the NKN network, it will earn a chance to earn a mining reward. Just think of relay data as computing hash in Bitcoin.

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Segment Two

Q1: Which one of the following persons is a NKN advisor?

  1. Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author
  2. Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica and Wolfram Research, the author of A New Kind of Science
  3. Claude Shannon, inventor of Information Theory
  4. Shoucheng Zhang, quantum physics scientist, Stanford Professor

Q2. Which one of the following is true about the utility of NKN token?

  1. You can earn NKN tokens by hosting applications for the NKN community.
  2. You can earn mining rewards by running a NKN node.
  3. Users can pay directly to miners or service providers with NKN tokens.
  4. All of the above.

Q3: NKN’s consensus algorithm is called MOCA, what does it mean?

  1. Majority of the stakers agrees that a proposed block is valid
  2. Each node makes its decision based on majority vote of neighbors
  3. Majority of the network resources are dedicated to calculate hash
  4. The node who has highest number of neighbors is selected as the validator

Q4: How many full consensus (or validator) nodes are in the NKN network?

  1. 21
  2. 50-500
  3. 500-2000
  4. > 30,000

Q5: What is the difference between NKN and the Helium project?

  1. Works on wireless network
  2. Can be used for IoT and smart devices
  3. Build its own hardware
  4. Can mine by providing data transmission

Segment Three – Round One

Question 1

@Tarchera: What are your plans for global expansion,on building and developing or getting customers and users, or partnerships?

NKN has worked with many world class partners both in traditional industry as well as in blockchain industry.

  1. We have contracts with China Mobile for hosting NKN nodes on their edge cloud servers;
  2. We have contracts with iQiYi (Baidu owned China’s largest video platform, a bit like Chinese YouTube) for decentralized video content delivery;
  3. We have partnered with all three major cloud platforms: Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Digital Ocean for 1-click NKN full node deployment;
  4. We have signed contracts with all top tier NAS vendors.

In blockchain space:

We have worked with Theta, Filecoin, Storj, IoTeX on web 3.0 technical seminars.

We plan to be successful both in terms of large enterprise adoption, as well as a strong ecosystem with leading blockchain projects.

Question 2

@IT’SMEPHILIP: Are you a global project? Can anybody use your services from anywhere?

Of course.

The mission of NKN is to free the bits and connect anyone and any place. more than 40K NKN consensus nodes be deployed by community all over the world, these nodes could provide connecting and data transmite services, people could setup the “real” web3.0 app based on NKN which is a decentralization network platform to make their apps network layer more secure and ever faster.

Question 3

@Tolga: Why do you have so many nodes? Isn’t it hard to manage such a complex system? What is your aim figure to make nodes at the end of the year? 50k, 100k?

We are fundamentally a p2p data communication network. So the more nodes, the higher the network capacity. Imagine it is Vodafone in Europe or AT&T in the US, the more 5G cell towers they have, the better the user experience on their mobile. It applies to NKN as well, since each node is doing the data relay and bandwidth sharing.

Every node is fully independent and equal, and runs the exact same software. So there is no centralized entity “managing” it. It is the magic of NKN software and code that enables such a large number of nodes to work together cohesively.

We saw a correlation between $NKN token price and number of nodes, since miners are profit driven and they only mine if there is profit. At current price, we are around 40,000 nodes. So if $NKN price increases, the node number will increase accordingly. But I have no crystal ball to predict the future. :wink:

Question 4

@CSidor: Could you elaborate about MOCA and it’s advantages over standard PoW?

MOCA is way more scalable than any other consensus algorithm in terms of network size.

It is very intuitive to understand: imagine you want to reach consensus within a large group, instead of everybody trying to scream out to everyone, all you need is sync with your neighbors and know their votes. By doing so, you can naturally change your vote to the majority of your neighbors’ vote. This is how consensus can be reached really fast under this case.

We have shown that with certain network topology, global consensus can be reached within a really short amount of time, with very little communication compared to traditional BFT consensus.

Therefore, with a neglectable amount of resources, MOCA can scale up to billions of nodes, and every one of them are able to reach consensus really fast. This is the key technology that enables us to scale up to the largest blockchain network while using much less resources. And yes, our growth is certainly indefinite. It also enables our node to run on almost all hardware you can find, from a smart router to raspberry pi.

Segment Three – Round Two

Question 1

@UgurUgur: What is the most ambitious goal of your project?

If we look at web 3.0 or the future of the Internet, we need three key infrastructure computing, storage, and networking. If you are familiar with filecoin for decentralized storage, then NKN is the equivalent for decentralized networking.

We have created the world’s largest blockchain network with almost 40,000 full consensus nodes around the world, but millions or even billions will be joined in the coming future, and our code is ready for that. It is already bigger than Bitcoin and Ethereum, both of which report to have around 10,000 nodes each.

The idea of NKN consensus come from Dr Wolfram’s “New kind of science” which based on Cellular Automata, it is a great idea and have lots of potential we can continue developing based on this, like the self evolution of the network etc, there is a link about Dr Wolfram which have more information about that.

Question 2

@SamantaMitchell: Can you list some great features of NKN that makes it ahead of its competitors? And what problems do you see occurring in the blockchain industry nowadays and how does your project aim to solve these problems?


  1. NKN occupies a cornerstone of web 3.0 (e.g. networking by NKN, storage by filecoin) that any application can utilize;
  2. NKN has the unique technical capability to run millions and billions of nodes, and there is no barrier to entry (i.e. everyone can run a NKN node);
  3. NKN acts like Uber: instead of building new cars or building new taxi companies, we make the existing Internet more efficient and secure without having to ask everyone to replace all their existing equipment.

For example, one of our competitors like Helium only focus on wireless, and only on IoT. Orchid only on VPN. We can already support both wireless and wired, and all types of application including live streaming, video on demand, chat and messaging, IoT communication, file sharing, and more

Question 3

@ALKanon:What is the basic of NKN web 3.0 ? Is Dr Wolfram explaining the whole matter in his book?

When we talk about Web 3.0, there’s three key infrastructure: Computing, Storage and Networking. You can understand NKN as the networking part for the future Internet, just as filecoin works as storage and Ethereum does computing.

The idea of NKN consensus comes from Dr Wolfram’s New kind of science which was inspired by Cellular Automata. Great ideas are discussed in this specific work of art and we find it full of potential to develop on! You can find Dr.Wolfram’s interpretation of NKN in this article: https://medium.com/nknetwork/stephen-wolfram-creator-of-nks-tries-to-understand-nkn-b4018d747a3 1

Question 4

@Ichbinrodolf: Is the heavy concentration of NKN nodes in few geographical areas (e.g. 80% in the USA) a problem for an efficient network delivery?


  1. That data might not be totally accurate, since some cloud platforms (e.g. google cloud) tend to list all their global nodes in the US.
  2. NKN nodes aim to provide the fastest data communication service to everyone, so Internet connection quality is very important (speed, latency), thus today the nodes in the US tend to benefit from that due to the Internet physical infrastructure.
  3. There is additional $NKN revenue for miners, from value added services like nConnect. They will start in APAC, and will bring additional revenue for nodes there. So we already saw nodes growing strongly in APAC.
  4. nConnect and other services will gradually ramp up in Europe and the rest of the world, and we expect to see more mining nodes in Europe and the rest of the world.

Question 5

@sadecebilgi What advantages does NKN offer compared to other platforms?

NKN can be used in a lot broader scopes and real-world scenarios compared to other blockchain systems. Most blockchain platforms are focused on on-chain transactions only, which solely applies to very limited cases (typically finance-related).

As comparison, NKN is also focused on off-chain data transmission, which is the key part of almost any modern application, e.g. IM, games, social apps, etc. Therefore NKN can be adopted to almost any real world application that requires networking. This is a much larger market compared to the current crypto market that we’re familiar with.

Last Announcements:

  1. We are almost 40,000 nodes globally, woohoo! You can run a NKN node at a cost of $5 per month or less, and be part of the future Internet.
  2. When dreaming and building web 3.0 or the future of the Internet, we need three key infrastructure computing, storage, and networking. Filecoin for decentralized storage, Ethereum for decentralized computing, NKN is the equivalent for decentralized networking.