A behind-the-scenes look into how Ankr’s upgrades to the BNB Chain ecosystem are empowering the next stage of Web3 development.
Ankr is a unique organization in Web3 — we’re an underlying infrastructure provider that makes using dApps, wallets, and crypto games possible by connecting them to the blockchains they need to communicate with. If you think of all the projects and dApps of Web3 as city blocks, Ankr is like the underlying utility service or grid that powers it all.
However, connecting projects and users to blockchains isn’t all we do. Ankr is dedicated to improving the user experience of Web3 from top to bottom to pave the way for Web3 adoption on a massive scale. Because of this, we provide an enormous level of engineering support for the public goods that make Web3 and ecosystems like the BNB Chain possible.
This article is meant to inform and empower developers around the world so they can get to work building with the open-source tools the Ankr team has spent so much time and effort engineering.
“Ankr is a key infrastructure provider for the BNB Chain ecosystem — their contributions and expertise were critical in implementing upgrades to the BNB Chain with the Erigon client, rewriting archive node infrastructure, and creating a framework for BNB Application Sidechains. This allows the BNB Chain ecosystem to remain competitive and offer both users and builders the latest benefits.”
– Samy Karim, BNB Chain Ecosystem Coordinator
Ankr’s Erigon Upgrade Overhauled Storage & Syncing
Due to Ankr’s heavy involvement with running RPCs and validators in support of the Binance ecosystem, we noticed in September 2021 that the BNB Smart Chain was struggling with server capacities. The Ankr engineering team wanted to solve these issues as they affected our node operations and slowed the entire ecosystem.
The first logical step in doing this was to improve the client by overhauling its syncing and storage mechanisms. The engineering team found that by implementing the Erigon client that was originally created for Ethereum, they could drastically reduce storage capacity and sync time requirements. This was a project that took extremely advanced engineering knowledge and resources — things that Ankr is lucky to have in abundance.
Ankr successfully implemented a version of Erigon for the BNB Chain based on https://github.com/ledgerwatch/erigon to solve the existing problems in the BSC and made the new version open-source and available to all. This solution is now used by the entire ecosystem, from Chainstack to Covalent.
- Sync process now 100x faster
- Storage requirements reduced by 75% (previously 20TB, now 5TB)
- RPC request performance increased by 10x
Ankr’s Contributions to BAS Supercharge Scalability & dApp Development
Ankr’s Hand In Creating BAS
After implementing Erigon, Ankr then made a proposal to Binance to help scale the protocol completely. BSC is a fork of Ethereum but has low gas fees and fast block generation periods which lead to much higher transactions per block. This puts a great deal of stress on the chain and its ability to scale. Ankr proposed a multi-chain scaling solution that was mature enough to handle advanced use cases like GameFi, unlike Layer-2 solutions.
Ankr modified the consensus layer of the BSC to enable staking for new sidechains’ native tokens while preserving its full EVM capabilities. This means that BNB Application Sidechains would allow projects to launch their own chains effectively as Layer-1s with their own native ERC-20 or BEP-20 tokens and complete customization over the chain. The BNB Application Sidechain (BAS) framework will allow developers to build extremely scalable dApps and games running on the BNB Chain. This new sidechain framework effectively takes the single road of the BNB Chain and turns it into a superhighway with a multitude of lanes.
Additionally, dApps and games running on BAS will have extremely low or even zero transaction fees. This is incredible news to improve user experience. BAS allows considerably more participating projects and crypto games to run simultaneously within the Binance ecosystem and BAS allows developers to create and operate their own dedicated blockchains without needing to compete with traffic coming from all the other apps running on the BNB Chain.
Ankr contributions were key in creating the framework for BAS and launching its first testnet in March 2022. This announcement was a critical moment in the BNB Chain’s 2022 roadmap and ensured BAS would become one of the most popular subnet ecosystems to build on.
Ankr’s Tools For Those Who Want to Build on BAS
Ankr provides the perfect onramp to the “superhighway” that is BAS. Everything that Web3 startups, established dApps, and Web2 organizations coming to Web3 need to get set up on their own BAS chain can be found in Ankr’s App Chain solutions:
- Validator binary + config file (.toml)
Get validator nodes up and running for your App Chain easily with all of the necessary information to launch validators in accordance with your chosen parent chain.
2. Load-balanced RPC endpoints
Ankr provides load-balanced RPC endpoints that empower App Chain developers to have as many full nodes as they would like in the regions closest to their users.
3. White-labeled block explorer
Transparently display transaction and address data for your users without building anything on your own by integrating your chain with Ankr’s block explorer.
4. Faucet for testnet tokens
Use Ankr’s codebase to create customizable testnet faucet solutions to provide your app or game with the resources needed for testing before going live on the mainnet.
5. Direct staking support through a UI
Grow your application and increase your staking TVL with access to Ankr Staking, an integration that lets your token holders stake to validators with an easy-to-use interface.
6. Ankr’s “Exchange Readiness Scoreboard” program
Get your token ready for listing on major exchanges with Ankr to guide you through the technical due diligence process and assist with introductory calls.
- Immense scalability for BNB Chain dApps unlocked without affecting BSC
- Extremely positive UX with low or zero gas fees and blazing-fast transactions
- 6 building blocks to give dApp builders the tools needed to build on BAS
Open Source Code on Github:
Ankr’s BAS Docs
Ankr Helped Create the First Game to Lead the Way on BAS
Ankr’s help was instrumental in creating the first game to launch on a BNB Application Sidechain, Meta Apes. In addition to our assistance in building BAS (as mentioned above), Ankr provided our gaming software development kit (SDK) that allowed the Meta Apes game studio to take an already-popular game, Age of Apes, and give it full Web3, blockchain, and crypto capabilities. Meta Apes runs on its own BNB Application Sidechain within the BNB Chain ecosystem. With full Web3 capabilities and enhanced scalability, Meta Apes will lead the charge for the next generation of blockchain games.
Open Source Code for Web3 Gaming SDKs:
Ankr’s BNB Liquid Staking Connects & Amplifies BNB DeFi
Ankr took it upon ourselves to further support the BNB Chain ecosystem with BNB Liquid Staking that brings DeFi composability on top of staked BNB. This means that BNB holders can have an array of options when it comes to choosing how to earn in DeFi with their assets — with the ability to combine strategies like staking, farming, lending, contributing to vaults, and more simultaneously.
Additionally, Ankr’s BNB Liquid Staking creates many more ways for the BNB ecosystem and our DeFi partner platforms to integrate Ankr’s liquid staking solution, and increase TVL and DeFi rewards across the board.
Finally, Ankr’s staking solutions allow for integrations for ecosystems beyond the BNB Chain and allow connections with Ethereum, Polygon, and many more chains on the way with Ankr Bridge. BNB Liquid Staking creates an enhanced method of staking on the BNB Chain with several combined benefits.
Key benefits for users:
- Instant liquidity for staked assets
- Boosted yields
- More flexibility
Key benefits for BNB DeFi:
- Increased DeFi composability
- Easier staking integrations
- More attractive products for users
Ankr’s BNB Liquid Staking Solutions:
Continuing to Improve the BNB Ecosystem
All BNB Chain projects and users benefit hugely from Ankr’s upgrades to the network. As we evolve the BNB Chain to become even faster and more efficient, it will be able to handle enormous amounts of traffic and transactions. That means more adoption from all corners of crypto as new projects look to build on the highly evolved BNB Chain and new users take advantage of a network that is faster, more flexible, and more interconnected than ever before.
Ankr is building the future of decentralized infrastructure and multi-chain solutions, servicing over 50 proof-of-stake chains with an industry-leading global node delivery system and developer toolkit. Ankr serves over 1T transactions a year across Web3 and is the main infrastructure provider for the BNB Chain, Fantom, and Polygon as of 2022.