• Infrastructure for today’s Web3 developers and applications are often overly centralized, leading to common failures, experts say
  • Ankr plans to move some of its operations into a DAO over time

Web3 infrastructure provider Ankr is getting disrupted. What the team describes as a “platform-to-protocol shift” aims to put community-managed nodes at the center of its strategy.

That’s a stark contrast to the model being pursued by rivals like Infura, Alchemy and Blockdaemon, according to Josh Neuroth, Ankr’s product manager. Institutions that want to engage in node trading — to earn participation rewards for their participation in blockchain security and transaction validation — don’t necessarily care much about the principles of decentralization.

But the idea of ​​turning users into owners is an integral part of the Web3 ethos and a key part of Neuroth’s answer to the question “What does mass adoption look like?”

“The analogy I like to use is that it’s its own digital economy, and Layer 1s are like the town square in the middle of the town,” Neuroth told Blockworks.

“Projects and protocols like Ankr build all the infrastructure – we build the electricity, the pipes, the water, even the roads that tie all of these things together and enable economic growth.”

The infrastructure for Web3 developers and applications remains a relatively centralized point of failure today. Just like when Amazon Web Services experiences an outage that affects your Netflix and Spotify experience, when infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider Infura decreasesthis can have a significant impact on the performance of the blockchain or the ability to use the popular wallet software Metamask.

“Web2 infrastructure companies have become the most powerful in the world because, at scale, they are unstoppable,” Neuroth said. “Without this move, we end up in the same space as Web2.”

“It’s an ever-evolving move toward decentralization,” added Greg Gopman, Ankr’s director of marketing and business development. “Ankr will not provide the only nodes; there will be a decentralized group of node providers, including other infrastructure companies in the space, providing nodes in this network.

Gopman said Alchemy is looking to be acquired by Microsoft. The Ankr team’s plan is to move parts of the operation into a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) over time.

Ankr provides staking node infrastructure for several blockchains, including the Ethereum Beacon Chain, which is expected to merge with the Ethereum mainnet this summer. It was the first to offer a staked liquid ether version, but at $168 million in total value locked (TVL), it’s a fifth away from market leader Lido’s $10 billion, according to DeFi Llama.

More recently, Ankr helped Binance upgrade its BNB chain, which includes a subnet-like concept called BAS – for BNB Application Sidechains – as part of Binance’s efforts to decentralize the BNB chain, according to Neuroth.

“This is seen as a new phase of scaling in space,” he said. “We realized that across space, the path to scaling is going to be these subnets.”

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  • Macauley Peterson

    Macauley has been an editor and content creator in the professional chess world for 14 years. He graduated from Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany (Master in Law and Business 2020), where he researched stablecoins, decentralized finance and central bank digital currencies. He also has a master’s degree in film studies and his film credits include associate producer of the 2016 feature-length documentary, “Magnus” about world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. He is based in Germany. Contact Macauley by email at [email protected]

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