Nuklai Testnet Live: Dive Into HyperVMs, Build on a Scalable Blockchain, and Get Rewarded

22 Jun 2024

I remember the day one of my good friends reached out and asked if I had heard about Nuklai. I simply told him, “Not really. That sounds like a topic I would study in my science class.” Fast forward six months, and here I am, building a Layer 1 blockchain network for Nuklai. Who would’ve thought? It is amazing where life takes you in a matter of months.

I will get to the core of this blog about my journey into the world of HyperVMs, but before that, it is essential to know how I even got to this point.

The Challenge of High Throughput

Soon after I heard about Nuklai, I started to research the project to see what all the hype was about. I was really blown away by Nuklai’s vision to empower every user by allowing them to sell their data to other entities, shifting the power from big businesses to the users themselves.

It is a simple yet profound vision because, to achieve it, much had to be done not just at the application level but also at the infrastructure and blockchain protocol levels. When dealing with massive amounts of data daily, the blockchain must handle an immense load that no current platform has achieved yet.

People talk about Transactions Per Second (TPS), but few know what it truly takes to achieve such high TPS at the blockchain level. Yes, there are blockchains out there with high throughput, but often, they are very hacky and not true Layer 1s. Usually, the approach is to scale horizontally by creating Layer 2s, Layer 3s, sidechains, and whatnot.

These solutions feel like patchwork to me because if you introduce an additional layer to your blockchain, increasing the TPS seems more like an afterthought than something built from the ground up. This is where HyperVMs come into play.

HyperVMs, Unlocking High-Performance Blockchains

But, what is a HyperVM? It’s essentially a virtual machine (VM) built using the HyperSDK framework. To understand HyperSDK, we first need to understand Avalanche.

According to their documentation, Avalanche is an open-source platform for building decentralized applications in one interoperable, decentralized, and highly scalable ecosystem. Powered by a uniquely powerful consensus mechanism, Avalanche is the first ecosystem designed to accommodate the scale of global finance, with near-instant transaction finality.

The Avalanche consensus mechanism is ridiculously fast, with less than 2 seconds of finality, meaning your transaction is processed and verified almost instantly.

Avalanche also allows you to create your own Layer 1 blockchain (or subnet), and the best part is you are not confined to an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) powered subnet. Despite its large developer community, the EVM is not lightweight and comes with a lot of baggage. On Avalanche, you can also launch your own subnet by developing your own VM in any language as long as it conforms to Avalanche’s Proto interfaces. This is where HyperSDK comes into play.

Theoretically, you could build your own VM in any language you want, as Avalanche provides that freedom. However, it is also true that it is rather difficult and time-intensive to do from scratch. Even if you use Subnet EVM to get started, it is complex to keep it up-to-date as the core code changes frequently. You need to keep up with maintaining it, which can become resource-intensive. HyperSDK addresses this issue by making it faster, safer, and easier to launch your own optimized blockchain on an Avalanche subnet.

It hides much of the complexity, allowing you to focus on making your project unique rather than worrying about transaction serialization efficiency or increasing transaction throughput. With HyperSDK, you can build your own blockchain runtime with 500-1000 lines of code and still process thousands of transactions per second without needing a large team of engineers.

HelixVM: The 100,000 tx/s Powerhouse?

At Nuklai, we built our own blockchain runtime, called ‘HelixVM,’ using the HyperSDK framework with around 200 lines of code in under a week. We added exciting features such as natively issuing tokens, bridging tokens from one subnet to another using Avalanche Warp Messaging (AWM), and developing a staking engine that lets validators register for staking and users delegate their NAI tokens to a validator of their choice to start claiming rewards.

With some more additions and custom touches, we added everything with around 500 more lines of code in a couple of months. The journey to get here was extraordinary but equally rewarding. The best part about building our runtime using HyperSDK is that we benefit from the optimizations that come to the HyperSDK framework, worked on by some of the best engineers from Ava Labs and the wider open-source HyperSDK community.

For example, with the development of HyperSDK Vryx, which recently produced exceptional results with HyperVMs processing over 5 billion transactions at 100,000 transactions per second, once our HelixVM supports Vryx, it will also process 100,000 transactions per second. This is the true hidden power of using HyperSDK to build your own blockchain runtime Achieving this level of optimization without having to do it ourselves makes it a no-brainer for any team to build their own runtime as well. At Nuklai, we want to build a platform that lets users and businesses monetize their data as easily as building a website, and HyperSDK is the ultimate base layer to achieve that without worrying about how the consensus engine works.

We want to build a unique platform that suits our needs, and HyperSDK makes it possible with just a few hundred lines of code.

Build the Future of Smart Data With Nuklai Testnet

Recently, we released our Nuklai testnet. It only took a few months to get here, and we have many exciting features planned for our HelixVM before the mainnet release, coinciding with HyperSDK’s own roadmap of being production-ready. If you want to get started with our testnet, check out the Nuklai Wallet repository, clone it locally, run it, and start interacting with the testnet.

You can request test NAI tokens, create your own tokens, transfer native NAI and other user-created tokens, explore a basic version of the blockchain explorer, and even post something to Nuklai Feed - a simple social media platform. Additionally, the wallet lets you change the Nuklai RPC URL, allowing you to connect to your own Nuklai subnet running locally on your machine. You can watch the demo, and get started today!

If you prefer running your own Nuklai subnet locally instead of interacting with the official testnet, you can follow the directions outlined in our documentation. This allows you to do more, such as registering validator nodes for staking, delegating to validators, claiming staking rewards, and more.

Welcome to the future where you can move a mountain with your fingers!

Written by Kiran Pachhai, Lead Blockchain Architect at Nuklai