Why Decentralized Communities Matter

CKB Weekly #4

Hello, welcome to issue #4 of the CKB Weekly, a newsletter about the Nervos Common Knowledge Base blockchain and related technology. This week features an article by Ryan Chen, who was a community manager at Nervos foundation and played an important role in building the Nervos community prior to launch.


  • Capsule (a Rust based smart contract development framework) as the name implies, looks small on the outside, but the inside contains a lot of solutions to "cure" everyone's problems in smart contract development.

  • Lumos (a JavaScript/TypeScript based dapp development framework) - Lumos is a spell in Harry Potter that makes the top of the wand shine, and as more development documentation and examples are released, developers can quickly complete product development and iteration through the lumos framework, which will soon light up the entire CKB ecosystem.

  • DCKB, which is a derivative of CKB deposited in Nervos Dao, is now available on tesnet.

If you are curious about why a design in CKB is what it is now, please post your questions in this repository.


AMA with Terry on Cryptomurmur

Nervos Intro with Blockchain Academy Chile (in spanish) by Lalo Garza

Nervos Network (CKB) - Huge project for 2020/21. CKB to 100 x ? by Cryptostrang 

Feature: Why Decentralized Communities Matter by Ryan Chen

Blockchain is inherently open source. When considering it, is there any part of this industry sector that is not open source?

Open source brings particular characteristics: open, public and borderless, blockchains themselves are also open, public and borderless. The openness of these systems will promote exponential growth of the entire industry: anyone can build new applications based on open protocols at any time, any place, with a laptop or even a mobile phone.

The new applications that emerge from these open source systems were rarely considered when these systems were first constructed. New technology empowers builders and allows them to combine new features to solve problems of previously unsatisfactory solutions and even discover new needs.

When Bitcoin was born, the Lightning Network and its web of payment channels (or Lapps building on it) were completely unknown to Satoshi and other early pioneers. Ethereum was similar, concepts that will be important to the platform's continued success such as Plasma designs, state channels or DeFi were also unknown.

It could not have been predicted that MakerDAO would lock 2% of the ETH supply. Even MakerDAO could not have predicted the various financial derivative applications such as Compound, dy/dx, Uniswap, etc. based on MakerDAO.


A community is not a group in a chat application, nor is it a forum, a twitter account, or an offline meetup. A community is a complex collective. Groups, forums and events are just "channels", just "tools." A community is a group of people who need to meet:

  • The need to seek common ground (a sense of belonging)

  • The need for innovation (presence)

  • The need for collaboration (trust)

We can examine the term "community e-commerce", or building a community around a company's product. Though these are communities, an open source community has greater complexity. A community established by a centralized company is a single community, sellers with good products will come, and people with bad products will leave. However, an open source community is completely different. The biggest difference can be found in the concept of "emergence"- when a bunch of things come together, at a higher level, an entire new whole, with its own phenomena appears. In the future, emergence is better than authority.

In communities driven by emergence, people communicate online and offline. Mixtures of different ideas and approaches inspire participants, and at every step, collaboration drives further creation. This is however hard to come by in a "community" driven by a centralized authority. In a centrally-driven "community", although participants have the right to make suggestions, no participant is empowered to do what they believe is needed to advance the product.

This is exactly what the community around decentralized products is empowered to do: the protocol of the blockchain is naturally open source. It is open, public, and borderless.

So how do you build such a community?

There are two ways to motivate people: money, and social status/respect/honor. Regarding the first option, as money is quantifiable, someone will seek rent and generate arbitrage opportunities.

Given a token provides strong financial incentives for a blockchain, the simplest way to drive the community is to distribute the blockchain's native token. For example, airdrops are the most common method to attract a group of people to join through one channel forming a so-called "community". However, such a community does not provide community members a sense of belonging, presence, or trust.

When the price of a currency rises, someone will ask two questions, and when the price of a currency falls, someone will talk. The market was over, everyone was gone, and no one paid attention afterwards. A round of bulls and bears, such things are common.

This is why Nervos never established a large-scale airdrop of tokens in the early days of the community. On the contrary, as a relatively leading group of people in this industry, we continuously pass our thoughts and insights to the entire community in various ways, and learn and grow with the community. From the tour of eight cities last year, There are 16 Dev meetups in Hangzhou every Wednesday, and the renamed Crypto Wednesday that continues this year.

We do our best, as well as other various resources, to invite industry experts from all over the world to join us in our activities to broaden the sophistication and capabilities of everyone in the community. In the process, our community has grown slowly, but has been growing steadily, and many of these strong links are not available through money, however these relationships are more important than anything.

At the same time, we gradually discover the value of everyone in the community, understand each person's needs, and help find and match values, providing the opportunity for new things to emerge. In just one month after the economic model was published online, some small partners in the community have proposed ideas of products around mining in the future, which is a new business model.

Maybe around this community, what we do is very complicated and seems to have no rules. But behind it, I think one thing we absolutely insist on is altruism. From a thermodynamic point of view, the entire community is a system that is continuously increasing entropy, and we are like Maxwell's demon, constantly using our own energy to reduce the entropy of the community and reduce the chaos of the system.

When Nervos was built, we tried to build the underlying protocol, Nervos CKB, to be as flexible and simple as possible to support upper layer protocols. We sought to design a long-running economic model, charge different types of users in a reasonable way through transfer payments, incentives, and hope that the underlying protocol can operate for a long time.

We never thought about what would happen in our community in the future, but all our designs are fully prepared for the emergence expected from open source communities.

Technical Updates


  • CKB

    • We have delayed the release of v0.32.0 to this Friday (May 22) because of bugs:

      • Fix collaboration issues between two protocol by driftluo (ckb#2075)

      • Fix orphan block pool deadlock by quake (ckb#2074)

    • We will also reset the testnet Aggron on 22nd, see details in wiki.

      • Make minor change to pow algorithm for testnet by yangby-cryptape (ckb#2028)

    • We are also working on:

      • Improving RPC error messages and documentation.

      • Implementing Chain Freezer to separate code and hot data in the database.

      • Improving chain sync.

  • Dev Tools

    • Capsule: a Rust based smart contract development framework.

    • Lumos: a JavaScript/TypeScript based dapp development framework.

  • Muta [layer2 framework on CKB]

    • N/A

  • Neuron

    • Bundled with CKB node v0.31.1.

    • Update UX components, including Settings, DAO page, and Experimental divider.

    • Add operating system info in the Debug info.

  • CKB Explorer

    • Build a new main page theme with a large HUD.

    • Introduce several new data charts.

  • ckb-rich-node for dApp

    • CKB network node count analysis.

    • New project Keypering (a Keyper agency) to handle the dApp interaction with CKB.

    • sUDT supports development and testing on Neuron.

    • sUDT and ACP code audit for mainnet deployment.

    • Neuron backend refactoring.