The Novusphere is an emerging cryptocurrency-based platform built using a Delegated-Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. It leverages the power of IPFS to distribute files via a technology called Advanced File Index (AFIX) and aims to create a low-barrier economy for file distribution.
AFIX is an indexing mechanism that embeds metadata into the Atmos blockchain, which includes the title, a description and the location of a file. This metadata is permanently accessible as long as you are running a full node, making content uncensorable. This is achieved by creating an IPFS hash of the metadata (as a .JSON file) and indexing it into the blockchain. The information is stored via transaction. These transactions are actions and do not necessarily need a transfer of value.
IPFS is an open source technology that bridges peer-2-peer internet with the current HTTP layer. Files uploaded on an IPFS server are permanent due to their unique identifier but become persistent once the files are shared over the network and are kept in use through pinning. Essentially, IPFS technology makes it possible to distribute high volumes of data with high efficiency, using p2p distribution. A quick summary of IPFS can be found here.
Atmos adopted the Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus model for quality control efficiency. DPoS allows delegated block producers and voters to sustain the network for content distribution. The delegates are in charge of validating transactions and relaying blocks, requiring them to run an IPFS server. Those IPFS nodes can be verified by the voters to assess the quality of the content hosted. Voters can also monitor the uptime to ensure participation in block propagation. Delegates that get “voted out” no longer receive rewards and voters are incented to participate by receiving a part of the rewards.
Running a full node is crucial in this DPoS model. Gateways provide access to files by displaying them on an easily navigable webpage, but these access points can be subject to censorship and moderation. The full nodes provides direct access to the metadata, making it permanently accessible from the blockchain interface. The most popular usecases for the platform are video hosting and social messaging.
Public gateways will typically have to be compliant with copyright laws and not promote pirated content, but the interface is open source and the information about the files are permanently stored on the blockchain. Aside from censorship resistance, the Novusphere provides a decentralized indexing tool that can be utilized by 3rd party services. Collecting permanently accessible data with minimal costs is especially valuable in the AI field. Vega AI is currently utilizing AFIX to enhance the capabilities of their trading applications.
Individuals are encouraged to build interfaces to the system. A DAO funding platform is highly anticipated by the community to stimulate the growth of applications and gateways. The content distribution aspect is scheduled to be finished by the end of June, and will be available on the testnet soon. The current focus of the project is to ensure the stability and integrity of the blockchain. Users are welcome to assist in the testing phase before the mainnet release.
Disclaimer: The author has participated in the Novusphere crowdfunding event and holds a financial position in the Atmos cryptocurrency. This article is meant as an overview of the project from the author’s perspective and should not be construed as investment advice.