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The Subspace Network lets developers run Web3 apps at Internet scale. It provides a simple interface for quickly deploying multi-chain decentralized apps that auto-scale with demand. Subspace is powered by a new eco-friendly, 4th generation blockchain that enables massively scalable on-chain storage and compute without compromising security or decentralization. It seamlessly integrates with existing blockchains, layer two protocols, and decentralized applications, allowing it to serve as a foundational infrastructure layer for the entire Web3 ecosystem. Subspace will empower builders to unlock the next wave of crypto adoption by supporting NFTs, GameFi, and the Metaverse at Internet scale.
The Subspace Network is powered by a new layer one blockchain, which is based on several years of R&D originally funded by a grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). The Subspace Blockchain was created to solve several fundamental problems in the cryptocurrency space around environmental sustainability, increased centralization, and lack of scalability. These goals were achieved thanks to a new twist on an old idea, Proof-of-Capacity (PoC) consensus.
Proof-of-Capacity (PoC) is the leading alternative to Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) based consensus. In a PoC blockchain, compute-intensive mining is replaced with storage-intensive farming. The key benefit is that farming is energy-efficient (and environmentally sustainable) while having security properties more similar to PoW than PoS. Farming also has the potential to be ASIC-resistant, allowing ordinary users to participate in consensus with commodity hardware, although this depends heavily on the implementation of the underlying proof-of-capacity.
In recent years, several new PoC blockchains have been created or proposed, most notably Filecoin, Chia, and Spacemesh. Unfortunately, all of these designs fail to resolve a tricky mechanism design challenge, which we refer to as the farmer’s dilemma. This dilemma suggests that all existing PoC blockchain designs are not actually incentive-compatible and are instead prone to centralization under pooled farming.
The farmer’s dilemma states that in any PoC blockchain, a consensus node (farmer) must choose between either maintaining the blockchain state and history or maximizing the amount of space they pledge towards consensus. Rational farmers will always choose the latter, at best becoming a light client, while at worst joining a trusted farming pool. In other words, unlike PoW and PoS networks, there are direct financial penalties for running a full or archival node, meaning that PoC networks are actually much more prone to centralization. For more details, read section I of our consensus paper or take a look at the tech section of our website.
Subspace is powered by proof-of-archival-storage (PoAS) consensus or proofs of storing the archival history of the blockchain itself. PoAS resolves several of the incentive challenges that lead to centralization in proof-of-space blockchains like Chia or Filecoin. In Subspace, farmers (not miners) store as many unique segments of the blockchain history as their disk space allows. Since this consensus is based on storage, it is eco-friendly and accessible to anyone with available hard disk space. This means that Subspace is able to fully realize the free, fair, and eco-friendly nature of disk-based consensus while resisting the centralizing tendencies that have plagued PoW and PoS networks. For more details, read section II of our consensus paper or the tech section of our website.
PoAS consensus also allows Subspace to provide permanent decentralized storage for protocol and application developers at a previously unimaginable scale. This is possible because farmers store the blockchain history collectively, allowing them to operate as a single distributed archival node. Data may be permanently stored on the network by simply embedding it within a Subspace storage transaction and later retrieving it from the farmer network. As more farmers join, network capacity grows, and storage costs go down. For more details, read section III or our consensus paper of the tech section of our website.
Unlike other PoC blockchains, Subspace provides a global execution layer for smart contracts, similar to Ethereum. Unlike Ethereum, the execution is decoupled or separated from consensus. This is mainly done to fully resolve the farmer’s dilemma, although it also allows for pipelining and vertical scaling. This is achieved by creating a new class of nodes, known as executors, who maintain the blockchain state and apply the state transitions for each new block. It has not yet been decided which smart contract language Subspace will support, though we are aiming to make it configurable for different shards on the network.
The blockchain trilemma is a term coined by Vitalik Buterin to describe the challenge of creating a scalable, decentralized, and secure blockchain — stating that only two out of these three features may realistically be achieved. Subspace provides a solution to this problem by combining its own novel combination of consensus, storage, and compute with a host of cutting-edge academic proposals from the Tse Lab at Stanford University. Dr. David Tse is an official advisor to the protocol and works directly with the team to apply several vertical and horizontal scalability proposals that he helped create. For more details, take a look at the tech section of our website.
The Subspace Network is currently being built by Subspace Labs, a technology startup based in the United States, with a team spread all across the world. Subspace Labs was founded in 2018 by Jeremiah Wagstaff and Nazar Mokrynskyi, an unlikely duo of protocol hackers who met on Github. They shared a dream to create a scalable base layer for Web3, where users could control their data, and the Internet could work without relying on centralized servers or data centers controlled by tech monopolies. They ultimately set out to build a platform that would make it easy for anyone to build decentralized applications at scale.
Subspace currently exists as Aries, a public test network that anyone may join. At this time, there are no incentives for farming and we regularly introduce breaking changes. Please be on the lookout for announcements regarding an incentivized test network and community farming. We also plan to release a public roadmap soon. To learn more about running a farmer on the Aries Test Network , please visit our Github or join our Discord.
Yes, Subspace Credits (SSC) are the native token of the Subspace Network and already exist on the Aries Test Network. SSC are minted by farmers who produce new blocks. While the token economics are still in development, they will roughly follow the Bitcoin model with a capped supply and an annual halving event. SSC will be used to pay storage and compute (gas) fees on the Subspace Network, which will vary with the number of farmers and executors on the network. Generally speaking, the more storage and compute resources on the network, the lower the cost. SSC will need to be staked in order to run an executor node, but not to run a farmer.
Not at this time. However, we are planning to conduct a community token sale prior to mainnet launch. The sale will likely be restricted to early members of our community and those who run a farmer on our incentivized test network. Prior to a community sale we will release a token paper with further details.
We had originally intended for Subspace to be a parachain on Polkadot, but it turned out this was not possible, due to the unique characteristics of our PoAS consensus engine. We are still considering obtaining a parachain slot for both Polkadot and Kusama in order to have a dedicated bridge into both networks, but no decision has been made at this time. Regardless, we are fully committed to supporting the Dotsama ecosystem and new features will always be Polkadot-first, as witnessed by the Subspace Relayer.
Currently Subspace is compatible with the default Substrate wallet in Polkadot-JS apps and the Polkadot-JS extension, which may be used to transfer tokens earned on our test network.
Our protocol is permissionless and censorship resistant by design, so we don't get to decide who stores what data. This is the same for all decentralized blockchains. Farmers themselves have the right to choose what data they want to to store and can ignore certain content if they so choose.
We will be launching as a parachain on Polkadot. We plan to back up other blockchains on Subspace since we have a massive storage capacity, but our consensus and client are completely independent.
We currently have a private testnet. Soon we will be opening this up to the public. We hope to launch an incentivized testnet by the end of this year and go live with mainnent sometime next year.