NKN, or New Kind of Network, is an open-source protocol for public blockchain-based peer-to-peer Networks to share network bandwidth and Internet connectivity. The project was launched in January 2018 and lists Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha, and Whitfield Diffie, inventor of public-key cryptography as advisors. NKN Mainnet was launched in July 2019 and has up to 25,000 full consensus nodes (more than Bitcoin or Ethereum).
Notable use cases for NKN include:Content Delivery system (contract with Chinese video giant iQIYI) Edge computing (contract with China Mobile) D-chat (secure messaging app) nShell (secure remote terminal access).
NKN’s consensus algorithm is based on Cellular Automata, A New Kind of Science and Ising Model, where a simple local majority rule can lead to system-level convergence in a small number of iterations. The design goal is to scale to arbitrary numbers of equal consensus nodes.
NKN uses a global addressing scheme based on public keys, in order to enable direct peer to peer communication without centralized servers. The routing of packets is based on Chord Distributed Hash Table (DHT), which maps each NKN address to a random and verifiable position on the Chord DHT ring.