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Ankr Network

The Ankr Network is a decentralized network of designed to provide flexible and cost-efficient connections to . It’s built for developers and aims to make the global cloud infrastructure more accessible. [1][13]

Background

The Ankr Network was founded by Chandler Song[15] and Ryan Fang[16] in 2017 shortly after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley after being early participants in the Blockchain at Berkeley program. Chandler was working as an engineer at Amazon Web Services at the time where he met Stanley Wu[17], the third co-founder. Together, they took on a mission to build the most decentralized and scalable Web3 infrastructure possible. [1]

After releasing the Ankr in 2019, the dev team behind the ANKR project launched a staking protocol, dubbed Stkr. Stkr allows users to stake (ETH) in return for aETH, which represents the future gains on the deposited staking balance. That is how network participants are rewarded for staking through the Stkr protocol. Users can likewise deploy development nodes and build dApps on the network, or deploy staking nodes and enjoy the perks of becoming stakers on the ANKR Web3 platform. [7]

Overview

Ankr is a comprehensive development hub offering a complete suite of tools for organizations to construct (dApps) and integrate them with high-performance connections to over 45 blockchains. Notable clients, including Microsoft, Tencent Cloud, , , , and Messari, rely on Ankr's global node infrastructure for fast and reliable connections to major Web3 networks. With a substantial annual service of 2 trillion blockchain requests, Ankr facilitates a significant portion of Web3 traffic, contributing to the advancement of a more decentralized, open, and user-driven internet. [13]

Ankr has been used and is trusted by businesses like , Microsoft, , , Messari, , Wormhole, , , Tencent, , , , etc. [5]

Technology

Ankr operates as a globally distributed company to advance the next-generation decentralized internet. To achieve this, Ankr utilizes (DLT) to harness computing power, which is then utilized to aggregate data resources. [14]

These resources are subsequently deployed to developers and stakers through cost-effective data centers. This approach facilitates the easy creation and deployment of and the of balances by developers and stakers. Ankr's staking mechanism is facilitated by the Stkr protocol, introduced in 2020, allowing for the staking of Ethereum (ETH) in exchange for aETH.[7]

The ANKR token serves as the native token of the network, providing various utilities such as payments, access to deployed applications, staking, and participation in governance through voting. Ankr's overarching aim is to broaden its support for additional blockchain protocols as part of its efforts in developing a more private and secure decentralized internet under the Web3 framework. [14]

ANKR offers three primary avenues for user participation: running nodes and staking, developing and deploying applications, and accessing enterprise solutions. [14]

Users can easily deploy nodes, earning passive income while supporting network operations for developers and enterprises seeking cost-effective Web3 access. Ankr provides developer APIs for deploying blockchain applications efficiently, serving as a cloud computing network tailored for enterprises and developers. Through the Stkr protocol, ANKR facilitates ETH 2.0 staking, enabling stakers to profit from their balances. [5]

The network comprises mining, data center, and computing nodes, distributing computational power efficiently to support development and staking protocols. Ankr's contributions strengthen the DeFi sector and the advancement of the decentralized web. [14]

How Ankr is Secured

Ankr ensures security through computational power, distributing blocks across the network to support the deployment of developer APIs, enterprise solutions, and staking protocols. nodes are pivotal in maintaining security, randomly selected from a node pool. This selection process prioritizes nodes based on their service level and positive contributions rather than the amount staked, ensuring fairness for all stakers, regardless of balance size. [14]

ANKR Token

ANKR is the and of Ankr. It is an and token that can be used in both the and ecosystems. [10]

ANKR can be used for , voting on governance proposals, and as a payment method for accessing services on the ANKR network, such as dApp and protocol deployment. It also serves as a reward for stakers and network participants. [10]

Ankr has a limited supply of 10 billion ANKR tokens, which means that no new coins should be minted once the total supply is exhausted unless changes are proposed and voted on by network participants. [10]

Neura

Released by Ankr on March 26, 2024, Neura is a blockchain that integrates AI, cloud computing, and Web3 technologies, creating a transformative era for digital innovation across all three industries. [19][20]

Neura was engineered to solve some pressing challenges AI developers face when bringing new projects to market. Neura is set to offer foundational infrastructure for AI startups, offering access to decentralized GPU resources, crypto-based crowdfunding, and on-chain AI operations. Neura provides a fusion of cloud computing, AI, and Web3 technologies to transform the way AI companies can deploy, train models, and operate on the blockchain. [20]

“Neura offers a superior operating system for the neural networks of AI models, supercharging them with trusted data, scalable access to GPU resources, smart contract automation, and new economic models more capable of handling by-the-second demands of future AI apps and payments. The convergence of Web3 and AI will be one of the most important events for both industries, and we are very excited to be leading the way" - Chandler Song, Ankr’s Co-Founder and CEO commented[19]

wiki

ANKR Token on Neura’s Ecosystem

The ANKR token plays a vital role in Neura's ecosystem, serving as a universal currency for accessing GPU resources, participating in IMOs, and acquiring AI services. It incentivizes GPU providers and compensates AI developers, nurturing an ecosystem of innovation and growth. [19]

Neura's launch underscores the ANKR token's indispensable role, highlighting its utility, demand, and contribution to broader growth and innovation strategies. By emphasizing ANKR's integral role and Neura's innovative economic models, Ankr aims to demonstrate the token's substantial value proposition to holders and ecosystem participants. [19]

Partnerships

Ankr x Optimism

In June 2022, Ankr became a remote procedure call provider for Optimism — an open-source layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum. The partnership allows (DApp) developers from all parts of the world access to Optimism’s public and premium RPCs.
“We love what Optimism is building for the future of Ethereum. Ankr is happy to do our part to provide a fast and reliable RPC service for their users,” - said Greg Gopman, chief marketing officer of Ankr. [28]

Ankr x SSV Network

In September 2022, Ankr strategically partnered with the SSV (Secret Shared Validator) team to integrate decentralized node operation technology into SSV's liquid staking product. Upon launch, there were two liquid staking solutions at Ankr. The classic Ethereum liquid staking product and the SSV trustless liquid staking solution. [27]

Ankr x Microsoft

In February 2023, Microsoft partnered with Ankr to provide a novel node hosting service on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The partnership also saw an integration of technology from both companies, pairing Ankr’s blockchain infrastructure with Microsoft’s cloud solutions. Per Ankr, the enterprise node deployment service offered low-latency connections for Web3 projects so developers could instead spend time scaling their applications. [26]

Chandler Song, co-founder and CEO of Ankr, commented on the development:

“The partnership, while an incredible milestone for Ankr, is also a key indicator of how far the decentralized web has come in integrating with the crucial players in every layer of web systems. The end result will be an era of extremely prolific building for blockchain-based applications from new Web3 projects as well as large enterprises entering the space.”[26]

In June 2023, Ankr announced the launch of its enterprise blockchain creator tool on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace — “AppChains”. AppChains solution enables companies to launch a dedicated and customizable blockchain to power various Web3 strategies. Developers can deploy the Polygon Supernet on its first iteration, with more choices thereafter. According to Ankr, AppChains had been available for a year prior with use in launching application-specific blockchains to power their decentralized applications. However, Ankr’s developers witnessed strong demand from institutional clients for using AppChains in areas such as banking, central bank digital currencies, and gaming. [30]

“Making the AppChain solution available on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace provides an easy path for businesses to find a vetted solution and go to market with use cases like the above. AppChains ensure fast and affordable transactions, seamless user experiences, regulatory compliance, and end-to-end engineering.”

Ankr x Tencent Cloud

On February 23, 2023, Ankr announced a partnership in the cloud provider industry with Tencent Cloud. Both parties signed an agreement to jointly develop a full suite of blockchain API services, provided by a globally distributed and decentralized network of Remote Procedure Call (RPC) nodes. The services cater to thousands of applications, games, virtual worlds, and companies needing connections to blockchain data while allowing any enterprise to launch a dedicated blockchain node cluster harnessing the Tencent Cloud in conjunction with Ankr’s globally distributed bare-metal servers. [29]

“Partnering with Tencent Cloud is a big step forward in upgrading web3 infrastructure to handle adoption from some of the world’s largest organizations entering the space. Together we shall provide a gateway to blockchain data that is easier to access and more performant.” – Chandler Song, Co-Founder & CEO, Ankr[29]

Team Members

  • Chandler Song - CEO[15]
  • Ryan Fang - COO[16]
  • Stanley Wu - CTO[17]
  • Marco Robustelli - Marketing Advisor[18]
  • Yuriy Momotenko - Backend Blockchain Engineer
  • Fabio Wehb Ferrari - PR & Events Lea

Exploit

In December 2022, Ankr was hit by a multi-million dollar exploit on the aBNB token as confirmed on Twitter. The attack resulted in an immediate halt in trading the compromised token. [21]

"Our aBNB token has been exploited, and we are currently working with exchanges to immediately halt trading." - the team tweeted[22]

The attacker was purportedly able to mint 20 trillion Ankr Reward Bearing Staked BNB (aBNBc), a reward-bearing token for BNB staked on the protocol. According to a Twitter post from on-chain analysis firm Lookonchain, the exploiter used services such as Uniswap, Tornado Cash, and various bridges to swap and obfuscate the funds to gain around $5 million worth of USD Coin.[21]

A few weeks later, it was confirmed by the Ankr team that a former Ankr team member was behind the exploit. The ex-employee had conducted a “supply chain attack” by putting malicious code into a package of future updates to the team’s internal software. Once this software was updated, the malicious code created a security vulnerability that allowed the attacker to steal the team’s deployer key from the company’s server. Ankr alerted local authorities in an attempt to have the attacker brought to justice. [23]

The Ankr team said that it did not use a multisig account for ownership in the past but would do so from then on, stating:

“The exploit was possible partly because there was a single point of failure in our developer key. We will now implement multi-sig authentication for updates that will require signoff from all key custodians during time-restricted intervals, making a future attack of this type extremely difficult if not impossible. These features will improve security for the new ankrBNB contract and all Ankr tokens.”[23]

A group called “Victims of Ankr Exploit” claimed that its members lost over 13,000 BNB liquid staking coins (over $4 million worth at the time of writing) as a result of the exploit and were not adequately reimbursed by the Ankr company. According to a Jan. 19, 2023 statement from the group received by, affected members alleged that they had only received half of the amount they lost. The group has called on Binance's former CEO to put pressure on Ankr to get the rest of the funds released. [24]

However, Ankr developed a reimbursement plan for the most impacted users. They fixed damage to Helio (aBNBc borrowing platform) by re-stabilizing HAY Price and continued purchasing HAY if the token remained unpegged until all funds were spent. They also airdropped BNB to all affected DeFi. In addition, Ankr reached an agreement to reimburse Wombat stkBNB LPs and planned to provide 100% coverage of the BNB Wombat LPs. [25]

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Ankr Network

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Edited On

April 3, 2024

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