2022 In Review & 2023 Roadmap

2022 was a big year for Pastel Network. In 2021, we made a massive shift to focus on opening our infrastructure such as Sense and Cascade to the entire Web3 ecosystem. By the end of 2021, we were poised to increase exposure and bring our vision of an ecosystem supported by Pastel’s suite of products to fruition. Despite market conditions, we kept our foot on the pedal to develop and refine Pastel’s mission critical infrastructure technology and seek out new partnerships and collaborations. We worked tirelessly to deliver new solutions to the market.

Below, we recap some of our largest achievements of 2022 including the Cezanne Mainnet Release and launch of SmartMint.

Cezanne Mainnet Release — Our Biggest Upgrade Yet

After having been under development for over 8 months, we released Cezanne in August as our largest release to date. Cezanne marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Pastel Network. The release brings countless improvements to both end-user & NFT functionality — such as registration, minting, transferring, and trading — alongside unrestricted access to advanced protocols like Sense and Cascade via interoperable Open-APIs, seamless composability, improved token economics, and the most powerful protocol standard for the Web3 ecosystem.

This upgrade includes:

  • Improvements to NFT Minting and Collections
  • Support for NFT TransfersTrades, and Auctions
  • Interchain account identification via PastelIDs
  • Cross-chain network access via Web3 APIs
  • Dramatic upgrades to Sense (our near-duplicate NFT detection protocol)
  • Enhancements to Cascade (our distributed NFT storage protocol)
  • User-friendly utility services via PastelUp
  • Improvements to network optimization and security
  • And more!

SmartMint by Pastel — A No-Code NFT Minting Platform.

SmartMint is a no-code NFT minting platform where creators can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also provides creators with additional peace of mind as it leverage Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade). SmartMint enables creators to mint NFTs on Ethereum, Solana, Pastel, and more.

SmartMint by Pastel enables creators to do what they love without the hassle and complexities of minting and deploying NFTs across various platforms and blockchains. Easily create smart contracts and NFTs in seconds via our no-code tool powered by Pastel’s advanced technologies for guaranteed NFT security, storage, and counterfeit protection.

Below is a detailed list of all our accomplishments from 2022.

2022 Overview of Pastel Network

  • Partnership with Nervos: to provide permanent storage to and protect their NFT ecosystem against NFT copymint, fraud & scams
  • Launch of the SuperNode Founder Program: this program was created to reward early network users/participants for their contributions and activity in Pastel’s ecosystem as well as encourage long term decentralization.
  • Ambassador Program: this was launched to strengthen the Pastel Community and ensure its growth and long term social media success.
  • PSL Listed on KuCoin: KuCoin began the trading of Pastel’s native utility token, PSL, on the KuCoin Exchange and commenced a PSL Staking Program
  • Cezanne Testnet Release: Cezanne brings countless improvements to both user & NFT functionality such as registration, minting, transferring, and trading.
  • Collaboration with Polygon Studios: to bring Sense and Cascade to the Polygon NFT ecosystem
  • Milestone Launch of SmartMint: a no-code NFT minting platform where creators can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also enables creators to mint NFTs on multiple networks while leveraging Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade).
  • Partnership with Ava Labs: to bring Sense and Cascade to the Avalanche NFT ecosystem
  • Partnership with Parity Technologies: to bring Sense and Cascade to the Polkadot NFT ecosystem
  • SmartMint Banff Upgrade: refined functionality of SmartMint’s core workflows, added a number of features to enhance user experience and minting capabilities, and extended SmartMint compatibility to support minting NFTs directly on Solana.
  • Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade: having been under development for over 8 months, Cezanne is Pastel’s largest release to date that brings significant enhancements to the Pastel blockchain and improved functionality.

2023 Roadmap

This year, we aim to capitalize on the momentum we created over the past year and focus on what is vital for Pastel Network to continue to cement ourselves as the preeminent Web3 protocol standard. We will continue to execute our vision across interoperability, user experience, and versatility.

In 2023, we are focused on:

  • Expediting development release cycles of Testnet and Mainnet upgrades — such as with versions Monet and Van Gogh;
  • Building stronger cross-chain bridges, specifically with Ethereum Polygon, and Polkadot;
  • Enhancing SmartMint and developing new features;
  • Refining user and partner experience with the roll-out of new technical resources and tools;
  • Expanding our network of partners across more L2s, DApps, enterprise user-cases, native L1s; and
  • Further increasing our exposure to the community of technical users, non-technical users, and creators.

In spite of the broader uncertainty in the market and ever-changing landscape, we believe that delivering upon our roadmap will position Pastel for success in years to come.

Please see below for Pastel Network’s target 2023 release schedule. Note that all releases and milestones are subject to change.

Q1 2023

Mainnet Upgrade: Monet Release 1.2

  • Supernode Storage Challenges— A novel mechanism by which Pastel Supernodes verify that other nodes are following the rules of the protocol and storing all files they are supposed to be
  • Self-Healing — Intrinsic storage redundancy of Cascade to replace lost or missing symbol files resulting from Supernodes leaving the network
  • Supernode Health and State Challenges
  • Sense Stabilization — Includes refactoring of the core protocol and asynchronous execution

Explorer

  • Upgrade for additional features and analytics including support for parsing of comprehensive ticket data and additional historical statistics

OpenAPI

  • Production OpenAPI 2.0 supported via Mainnet
  • UI/UX for user account management

Network Tools

  • Release of Testnet Faucet

Smartmint

  • Integration of Pastel’s Sense & Cascade protocols
  • Additional network support (Binance Smart Chain)

Documentation/Services

  • Complete overhaul of documentation including client setup docs for Node, Walletnode, and Supernode
  • Endpoint exposure via PastelID RPC

Business Development Tools

  • Cascade Demo for third party partners

Q2 2023

Mainnet Upgrade: Monet Release 1.3

  • Further support for ownership transfer —Gifting of NFTs, Bridging NFTs and assets across Ethereum, enhancement of PastelID
  • New PastelId APIs to work with light wallets
  • PastelId Blockchain-less API Mode — API execution via light clients (i.e., does not require running a full copy of the blockchain)
  • Wallet Enhancements — Support for new address types and additional functionality such as import/export
  • Objectless Ticket APIs — Buy, sell, trade and return both created and signed TXs as ‘hex’ instead of submitting it directly to the blockchain

Open API

  • ERC-721 NFT functionality with to bridge and Wrap/Unwrap
  • API for ownership transfer (e.g. gift, wrap/unwrap PSL/wPSL)
  • API to expose set of core Pastel APIs to work with blockchain-less API, such as acceping ticket TXs

Network Tools

  • Release of DevNet
  • Streamlined support for multiple networks (across Mainnet, Testnet, and Regtest)
  • Continuous running of automatic stress tests

SmartMint

  • PFP Generator
  • Additional Network Support (Pastel, ImmutableX)

Documentation/Services

  • PastelId blockchainless API mode

Bridges

  • Ethereum
  • Polygon

User Tools

  • Pastel Hub — Browser-based application that interacts with Wallet via Web App and support consumer facing services for direct exposure to just Sense and Cascade

Q3

Mainnet Upgrade: Van Gogh Release 2.0

  • Hardening access protection to NFT and Cascade files — IP whitelisting layer (e.g. Supernodes will only respond for file access calls from other registered Supernodes)
  • Activation of WN-2-SN-2-SN encryption
  • Sense Enhancements— Support for additional file types
  • Bug fixes

Open API

  • “Host your own OpenAPI” package — dockerized or containerized solution that any user can acquire and run to have their own OpenAPI server for whatever purpose)

Light/Mobile Wallet

  • Browser extension wallet

SmartMint

  • Additional Network Support (Flow, Avalanche)

Documentation/Services

  • PastelId blockchainless API mode (see above)

Bridges

  • Polkadot — Includes the native deployment of a Parachain to seamlessly interact with the Polkadot ecosystem

Q4

Mainnet Upgrade: Van Gogh Release 2.1

  • NFT Auctions — Add functionality to run various auction formats
  • Sense Enhancements — Includes sharding, correlation optimization techniques, and tSNE
  • Client Reputation Tracking — Include across various client types to aggregate various indicators like Supernode storage challenges, successful registrations, and manual user complaints
  • Bug fixes

Security / Infrastructure

  • Harden against DDOS attacks (random IPs via VPN / whitelist / blacklist)
  • Simple load balancer

Business Development Tools

  • Sandbox for Layer 1 Partner PoC

Bridges

  • Avalanche, Solana

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

Originally Published on Pastel Network’s Medium

SmartMint Banff Release

Our latest release includes refined functionality, a number of additional features, support for minting on Solana, and much more!

We are very excited to announce that we have just released our SmartMint Banff update, our largest upgrade to the novel no-code minting platform to date! In this release, we have refined functionality of SmartMint’s core workflows, added a number of features to enhance user experience and minting capabilities, and extended SmartMint compatibility to support minting NFTs directly on Solana.

First, a refresher on SmartMint.

SmartMint is an NFT minting platform where users can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also provides creators with additional peace of mind as it leverages Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade).

SmartMint enables creators to mint NFTs directly on Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Pastel, and more with a simple click of a button. Creators can launch drops on SmartMint as their backend management platform and list NFTs for sale on their own site or marketplaces like OpenSea.

SmartMint makes minting NFT drops and collections easy and more powerful than ever.

SmartMint Banff Release Features

The SmartMint Banff release was a labor of love for the Pastel team. We spent countless hours ensuring SmartMint is the easiest and most powerful NFT creation platform in the ecosystem.

Please see below for details on what’s included in the latest upgrade:

Bulk Upload

  • Users can now easily utilize CSV or JSON files to automatically upload metadata and generate mass quantities of NFTs with the click of a button. No need to manually enter properties and traits for individual NFTs one at time.

Additional File Format Support

  • SmartMint now supports minting of various file types such as SVG, GIF, MP3, MP4, and more.

Solana Support

  • Users can now create NFT collections and drops directly on the Solana network via SmartMint, as we support the industry’s most up-to-date standards like Metaplex’s Candy Machine Protocol.

List-For-Sale (“Sell”) NFT Button

  • NFTs that you have created, minted, or own now have a Sell NFT Button to make listing for sale easier than ever. Simply click the button and select the marketplace of your choosing.

Submit a Request

  • User can submit tickets directly to the Pastel support team regarding issues they face on the platform. Submissions can include any issues such as those related to logging in, creating collections, and more.

Deleting Drops/Collections/NFTs

  • Creators can now delete draft collections, drops, and NFTs that have yet to be deployed.

Social Share Profile/NFT Button

  • Users can now share their own profile and NFT creations through the Social Share Button. Creators will have a link that they can send to their followers to view their profile or NFTs.

Additional Filters to View Drops and Collections

  • As your NFT profile continues to grow, we have implemented additional filters to help creators better view their various drops and collections. Filters include networks minted on, release date, mint price, and more.

Directly Download CSV Files for NFTs

  • Users can download a CSV file containing all the different metadata, properties, rankings, and stats of their NFTs.

Click on User Profile to View Collections in One Place

  • Under the Creator Info Tab, users can now view all the NFT creations as well as their Collections/Drops in one area.

CertiK Audit — Awarded the Gold CertiK KYC Badge!

Recently, we engaged CertiK to run a Smart Contract Audit of SmartMint Factory and Drop Contracts deployed on Ethereum and Polygon. We have successfully resolved all identified issues and updated the core contracts.

We are also pleased to confirm that we have successfully passed every stage of the CertiK KYC process and were awarded the official — and highest level — Gold CertiK KYC Badge!

This Comprehensive KYC Badge brings an additional security layer to our project and proves to our community and to the world our willingness to demonstrate the highest level of transparency and trustworthiness.

Our CertiK KYC Badge Award has been published on the CertiK Security Leaderboard, and can be verified here: https://www.certik.com/projects/pastel-network

SmartMint is a game-changer for the NFT ecosystem because of its simplicity and versatility. Start creating on SmartMint today!

Link to sign up: https://smartmint.pastel.network/signup

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

Originally Published on Pastel Network’s Medium

SmartMint vs. Other NFT Tools

SmartMint — The Leading NFT Minting Platform

There are variety of tools on the market promising ease-of-use, no-code minting, and safe and secure storage. In this article, we share how SmartMint is truly differentiated from other competitors in the market such as NiftyKit and Manifold Studio.

SmartMint empowers creators without needing to know or understand much about NFTs, smart contracts, or blockchain to mint their works.

This is essential because there are various so-called no-code NFT minting platforms that include features that many creators new to the space won’t fully understand. Our objective is to make onboarding to Web3 as painless and seamless as possible. Creators should do what they do best — create — and not worry about ASCII marks, how to create un-lockable NFTs, or understand the underlying coding for NFT properties or collections.

How can we guarantee that? Well, SmartMint was developed by creators for creators and is the world’s first truly no-code NFT minting platform that provides NFT security and truly permanent decentralized storage.

So, what is SmartMint?

SmartMint is an NFT minting platform where users can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also provides creators with additional peace of mind as it leverages Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade).

SmartMint enables creators to mint NFTs directly on Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Pastel, and more with a simple click of a button. Creators can launch drops on SmartMint as their backend management platform and list NFTs for sale on their own site or marketplaces like OpenSea.

SmartMint makes minting NFT drops and collections easy and more powerful than ever.

Users can seamlessly create custom NFT Drops and Collections via smart contracts deployed on a particular network like Ethereum with the automated no-code tools provided by SmartMint.

Once a creator signs up for the SmartMint membership — which is free — and connects their digital asset wallet, they will have access to tools to create and manage custom NFT drops and collections.

The platform was developed to make minting NFTs and creating drops/collections as seamless and simple as possible. The process is broken down into three straightforward steps:

  1. Create a drop or collection
  2. Create the Custom Smart Contract
  3. Generate NFTs

From there, creators can manage existing drops, add new NFTs to existing collections, and list for sale on marketplaces like OpenSea or Rarible or airdrop to fans.

Why is SmartMint the best option for creators?

Easy.

1) Ease of Use

SmartMint is extremely simple to use. It was made for new and established creators alike. Its purpose is to allow creators to mint NFTs and deploy custom smart contracts that YOU OWN.

When we say no code we mean it — no coding is required to mint your creations. Many existing “no-code” platforms — before you even can begin minting — force you to create or upload ASCII marks. While ASCII marks are cool because they are basically your digital signature for your artwork, it requires serious know-how and technical knowledge to create. Many artists have them but the only reason they do is because they either paid someone or some separate platform / website to do it.

Let’s say you figure that out or pay someone to do it, and you finally get to create your NFTs and mint. The minting process can be complicated — using a variety of jargon without explaining it or requiring a series of steps that are truly intimidating.

SmartMint was designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. All you need to do is upload your file, select a network (like Ethereum, Polygon, or Solana), type your contract name and symbol (aka your personal stock market ticker), add your NFT details, enter your collection description, and you are DONE.

2) Multi-Chain Access

The future of Web3 is multi-chain. For this ecosystem to thrive, interoperability, consolidated access, and easy-to-use platforms working across different blockchains are key. Each blockchain provides variety of different features, attributes, and strengths, so isolating them and forcing you to manually access each one is not sustainable. Moreover, it could even lead to a stagnant, idling ecosystem where networks are cannibalizing each another for share. Interoperability and comprehensive interfaces is truly the only way for Web3 to succeed.

Pastel is a firm believer in this multi-chain future, and has built its network around interoperability and seamless bridging through the development of Pastel’s own Web3 Open APIs.

So, it was only logical to incorporate that vision and technological innovation into SmartMint.

SmartMint allows you to mint NFTs on a variety of networks, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, and more, very easily. With one click, you can mint on different chains — offering you versatility and optionality.

In this multi-chain future, having the ability to create custom smart contracts and mint NFTs on any chain AND on one simple platform will be extremely invaluable.

3) Permanent Storage, Data Security, and CopyMint Protection

Never worry about losing or someone copying your NFTs again.

You may ask, how?

Well, SmartMint was built by the developers behind Pastel Network — an app-specific, purpose-built native blockchain who brought the ecosystem Sense & Cascade. These two services are mission-critical for the ecosystem, and the team at Pastel decided to integrate them into the platform on the back end.

Pastel’s Cascade is a decentralized storage layer that brings you true NFT permanence on chain. You should never have to be concerned about pinning to IPFS, navigating the complexities of Arweave, or paying monthly hosting fees for centralized services.

Sense combats fraud and copymint issues through a revolutionary near-duplicate detection system that assesses the relative rareness of NFTs using ML algorithms. What does that mean? Your work is certified as authentic and rare.

So, not only is SmartMint easy to use and super straightforward, but it also provides the highest tier of NFT security, copymint protection, and permanent storage. And, this is all done without any coding or Web3 complexities.

The reason SmartMint has all these amazing features and guarantees ownership and security of your smart contracts and NFTs is because it is built on a native layer-1 blockchain. As mentioned above, the team behind Pastel Network built SmartMint on top of this powerful and robust network. So, all the functionality and capabilities of the network that have led to partnerships with major players in the ecosystem, including Avalanche and Polkadot, are running on SmartMint and supporting creators on every step of your NFT creation journey.

4) Creator Ownership: You created it — it should be yours.

Alright, so once you navigate the complexities of the other “no-code” platforms, you may actually find yourself in a position to mint your NFTs, which is exciting!

However, without ruining the mood too much, there is one question you should really ask yourself: when you create the smart contract for your NFTs do you own it?

With marketplaces, you do not retain ownership of the smart contracts and in the case of these tools you will more often than not have to deal with third-party smart contracts created out of your contract.

What does that mean? You do not actually own the smart contracts and thus the NFTs. It is a little crazy to think that you put all of this effort, time, and passion into creating amazing works and because you are not a developer or technical guru, you lose your right to them.

SmartMint is different. You own the smart contract. Period. AND you will always own it. Even in the very unlikely event that one day you decide to delete your SmartMint account, the smart contracts will always be yours.

5) Oh, and it’s FREE.

SmartMint membership is free. The only fee you pay is network gas to mint your NFTs.

SmartMint is a game-changer for the NFT ecosystem because of its simplicity and versatility. Start creating on SmartMint today!

Link to sign up: https://smartmint.pastel.network/signup

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

Originally Published on Pastel Network’s Medium

Pastel Investor Update

State of Digital Assets & Web3: Pastel is Poised for Rapid Growth

Sustained Development, Relentless Partnership Pursuits, and Focus on Community

What’s below?

We provide an update on Pastel Network. We also evaluate the state of the broader global environment and its impact on technology, digital assets, and Pastel. We provide an outlook into the nascent Web3 industry and forecast where it is headed. Lastly, we share details on what Pastel has achieved so far in ’22 and what’s to come.

Enjoy.

State of the Market

Many of you are undoubtedly wondering if and how the digital asset and Web3 markets can recover from the current downturn. And what does it mean for Pastel Network & its native PSL token? It is important to first understand how we got here and keep mindful that digital assets are still tightly interconnected to both traditional risk-asset markets and broader economic conditions.

There is no question that we have swiftly transitioned away from a relatively frothy macro environment characterized by cheap money and low interest rates, which had enabled investors to justify paying unjustifiable multiples in order to gamble on the techno-rich future of tomorrow.

The irrational behavior of the average investor results in a failure to adequately calculate the cyclical nature of markets — particularly in a debt-based, non-free risk asset environment. Subsequent selection bias drives us to overlook inconvenient truths about systematic portfolio risk to the point until wen moon? remains the only relevant question.

Beginning in November of ’08 when QE-1 commenced, accelerating with quasi-imprudent policy inclusions over the last decade (see: Operation Twist), and culminating with COVID-19 era monetary and federal recklessness (e.g., Reverse Repos, crisis-era backstopping of corporate commercial paper, and outright helicopter money) global markets have witnessed unprecedented dovish policy catapulting the aforementioned phenomenons to new extremes.

Alas — all good things must come to an end. And as the fed’s arsenal dried up, repercussions of supply chain disruptions, energy consumption, global tensions, and fiscal stimulus collided in perfect sync resulting not only in a forceful ‘press-pause’ on the money printer but also leading to a 180-degree policy reversal.

This broader market correction started in the first half of 2021 with high-growth tech equities and began to disseminate through the latter half of 2021 across the broader public markets, finally spreading into private equity, corporate credit, growth assets, and of course crypto. To be certain, a combination of factors — from hawkish monetary policy to supply chain disruptions and global uncertainty — has undoubtedly caused a perfect storm of global market volatility.

As risk assets take a beating across the board, nothing is spared. While wen moon transposes to 75 vs 100bps, the market paints with a very broad bush and often the ‘baby is thrown out with the bath water.’ The result? Certain equities, bonds, or digital assets are temporarily mispriced, creating an opportunity. Periods of intense dislocations have historically proven to be fertile hunting grounds for value-oriented and patient investors.

Impact on Digital Assets and Web3

The downturn has been felt across the crypto market as well — hindered by a number of the same economic, monetary, and geopolitical issues. Stablecoins like Tether were strained as credit markets reacted to increasing benchmark rates, while de-pegging of UST caused lasting ripple-effects across the crypto ecosystem.

Cheap money and a self-fulfilling prophecy of stratospheric rises in token prices created a tight feedback loop of reckless leverage. A counteracting wave of margin calls and liquidations drove even the crème de la crème to insolvency (see: Three Arrows Capital), bringing down much of the market as balance sheets were wound down to nothing. Purported net-neutral market-makers moved to net-short positions and began to ‘take’.

DeFi and illiquid assets like NFTs at the right tail-end of the risk curve were arguably impacted the most. From just June to July, NFT sales value dropped by 26% to ~$647m — a monumental decrease from ~$4.8bn in as recently as January. Not surprisingly, fear spread, money withdrawals occurred, and nearly every digital asset including Bitcoin and Ethereum significantly decreased in value.

Should I Be Worried?

TL;DR: Be greedy when others are fearful.

In spite of the current downturn, Web3 and NFT technology are better positioned than ever to reshape society and the way consumers interact with the internet. NFTs are here to stay. Momentum will continue to build as projects continue to innovate and develop future use-cases — including applications in finance, healthcare, copyright, real estate, and many more as shown below.

NFTs and Web3 innovation is real and growing.

Projects are investing time, energy, and resources in innovation and refined utility. There is more building and development in Web3 than ever as projects and investors properly calculate just how massive the market opportunity is ahead of us. The Web3 market is expected to hit ~$42Bn by 2028 at a ~42.5% CAGR. Given the nascency of Web3 and the interconnected technological world, its rapid growth is unlike any new industry we have seen before.

Such growth is substantiated by the steep increase in developer, startup, and social media activity since inception as well as the healthy segmentation across key market sectors, including NFTs, Gaming, Metaverse, and DeFi.

Source: Electric Capital

Web3 continues to build momentum as the internet continues its massive evolution, and blockchain provides the fundamental foundation on which it can grow. As a result, VC activity in Web3 has increased significantly in 2021, and the capital invested will play a pivotal role in the success of Web3 companies throughout the current down-cycle.

Source: Silicon Valley Bank’s State of the Markets H1 2022 Report

In particular, Pastel Network is better positioned than ever to capitalize on current market conditions as it is focused on mass global disruption with a multi-year outlook — spending millions of dollars on continuous technological development and innovation during the current “crypto winter.” While others sit in fear of what’s to come, we remember that price is NOT a KPI. We remain more bullish than ever on our initial thesis. And we are using this time to continue to build revolutionary technology, recruit the best talent, secure large customers, and beat out our competition.

We continue to emerge as the preeminent protocol standard of Web3 with better software, higher on-chain transactions, larger protocol revenue, and bigger partners.

Our Vision

We launched Pastel with the goal of building a marketplace so that creators, collectors, and builders could benefit from the world-class features and protocols that Pastel had to offer. At its core, a decentralized system that allowed for creators and collectors to trade NFTs in an entirely decentralized, peer-to-peer manner. A platform built purely to be the alternative to those running on Ethereum — offering a very intuitive interface, negligible fees, proven authentication of NFTs, and reliable storage.

With this objective in mind and our technical prowess already proven, we raised $5M in seed funding from Innovating Capital to continue refining the network and platform while simultaneously building out our marketing and business development program. We employed a less popular development model than most projects coming onto the market today. Unlike other projects who marketed their vision, raised capital, and then started building, we focused on perfecting the technology first.

Pioneering Web3

After a few months of developing the marketplace, we began to identify that certain gaps in the broader NFT ecosystem were growing larger and larger. We saw major issues not being solved but rather ignored. NFT scams and frauds were innumerable and asset loss due to antiquated and centralized storage solutions was dangerously high.

We already built the protocols to solve these problems, but they were to be accessible only to those using the marketplace on our native blockchain. That did not sit well with our team because this ecosystem was built with collaboration, decentralization, and open-source in mind. The very nature of decentralization is that no one entity holds the keys to the castle. We had the tools to protect users from scams and asset loss with all the necessary infrastructure to work with layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 scaling solutions, and third-party dApps. Additionally, we had a number of layer-1 projects interested in utilizing our protocols on their own networks.

As such, we opened our technology to the world and focused all our efforts on becoming the infrastructure standard for Web3. We decoupled our protocols and features, modifying them to be standalone solutions easily capable of integrating across the ecosystem via Web3 open-APIs. Core features are as follows:

  • Sense Near-Duplicate NFT Detection Protocol: Deep-learning based system to assess the relative rareness between NFTs that can be used to detect scams / copyright infringement and provide certification of authenticity.
  • Cascade Protocol for Permanent NFT Data Storage: Fully distributed, permanent, and entirely redundant storage protocol. Pay once and store forever. Prevent centralized points of failure, monthly subscription maintenance, IPFS pinning, and 404 errors.
  • Pastel Developer Modules: Develop on-chain marketplaces or third-party applications directly on the Pastel blockchain, supported by a series of protocols, Web3 APIs, and RPC functionality to help builders get started.
  • Agile Smart Ticket Structure: A lightweight, flexible system of a higher-level series of tickets is leveraged to allow information to be written to and stored on the blockchain as a means of performing the necessary NFT-related information on the network.

So where does Pastel fit into the ecosystem after their path change?

Pastel Ecosystem Map

We continue to follow our core tenets of creating a better world for creators, collectors, and builders. And we are bringing our technology to the ecosystem. Pastel is the preferred partner for mission critical NFT/Web3 infrastructure. As a native layer-1, application-specific blockchain, we have been able to develop a framework that allows our core protocols — Sense and Cascade — to integrate seamlessly with all layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 scaling solutions, and third-party dApps. Additionally, shown in the diagram above, we are well-positioned to integrate and partner across the entire ecosystem. We have increased our footprint — all through tremendous technological innovation.

Current Achievements

Technical Developments:

Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade: We released a massive Pastel Chain upgrade — Cezanne Mainnet. It is perhaps the largest milestone for Pastel to date. Having been under development for over 8 months, Cezanne marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Pastel Network. What does this mean? In short, more on-chain transactions, more network usage, and more protocol revenue. This upgrade includes:

  • Improvements to NFT Minting and Collections
  • Support for NFT Transfers, Trades, and Auctions
  • Interchain account identification via PastelIDs
  • Cross-chain network access via Web3 APIs
  • Dramatic upgrades to Sense (our near-duplicate NFT detection protocol)
  • Enhancements to Cascade (our distributed NFT storage protocol)
  • User-friendly utility services via PastelUp
  • Improvements to network optimization and security

SmartMint Launch: We spent months developing a tool built for creators by creators. There is currently no simple solution for users to easily create smart-contracts and NFTs that allows for custom metadata, properties, and attributes while also guaranteeing permanent NFT data / metadata storage on a decentralized network.

SmartMint is a no-code NFT minting platform where creators can easily create, manage, and mint NFTs on their own custom smart contracts. The tool also provides creators with additional peace of mind as it leverages Pastel’s infrastructure for near-duplicate NFT detection (Sense) and permanent NFT data storage (Cascade). SmartMint enables creators to mint NFTs on Ethereum, Solana, Pastel, and more.

It enables creators to do what they love without the hassle and complexities of minting and deploying NFTs across various platforms and blockchains. Easily create smart contracts and NFTs in seconds via our no-code tool powered by Pastel’s advanced technologies for guaranteed NFT security, storage, and counterfeit protection.

New Partnerships:

Since opening up our technology to the ecosystem, we have closed on 8 partnerships this year with integrations currently underway. These integrations consist of a Sense and Cascade implementation at the core protocol level, NFT standard, or dApp level.

With the Cezanne upgrade here, we are now in a position to move our integrations from Testnet to Mainnet which we expect to take place in early to mid-Q4. What this means in short is that each time a new NFT transaction occurs on any of our partners’ networks, at least 2 transactions occur on Pastel. We anticipate this will equate to high on-chain transactions and protocol revenue per partner.

Partnership highlights include:

What’s Next?

We have a healthy pipeline of marquee and high-impact projects that we are close to securing in the near future. Our commitment is to bring revolutionary, mission critical technology across the entire ecosystem.

The future is bright for us. Pastel provides mission critical infrastructure to NFTs and Web3. Sense and Cascade are powerful solutions that have far more applications than merely digital art. Pastel Network was built for the future of NFTs and Web3. We are excited for what’s to come. The future of Web3 is now.

Target use cases of focus:

  • Emergent DeFi protocols that use non fungible standards — think Uniswap V3 leveraging ERC721 for LP positions — for metadata storage on our native storage layer (Cascade) and duplicate detection (Sense) to detect on-chain over hypothecation.
  • Legal documentation tokenized to provide higher levels of security must leverage Sense for authentication.
  • Medical records as NFTs will require highly scalable metadata storage solutions on decentralized infrastructure and duplicate detection technology to ensure records are not subject to tampering or copying.
  • Traditional companies like Getty Images can utilize Sense to protect against copyright.

Pastel is poised for this burgeoning world and we are excited to have you on board for the journey. All of us at Pastel would like to thank you greatly for all of your support thus far. As always, we are beyond grateful for your tremendous support! We are more driven and inspired than ever before. A big thank you from the entire Pastel Network family!

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

Originally Published on Pastel Network’s Medium

Pastel Network teams up with Ava Labs to bring NFT Security and Permanent Storage to the Avalanche Ecosystem

Pastel Network is excited to announce that it’s teaming up with Ava Labs — the builders behind Avalanche. Ava Labs will collaborate with Pastel with the goal of providing Pastel’s Sense and Cascade protocols to Avalanche’s NFT ecosystem. This collaboration signifies the continued successes of both Pastel and Ava Labs, and is a massive step forward for the overall NFT ecosystem. It is a testament to the growing need for NFT reliability, security and verifiability, solved via Pastel’s advanced infrastructure.

What is Ava Labs?

Ava Labs is the team behind the Avalanche — the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain industry, as measured by time-to-finality, and has the most validators securing its activity of any proof-of-stake protocol.

Ava Labs makes it simple to launch a number of different Web3 applications using blockchain technology–with highly scalable and efficient networks, customizable public and private blockchains, the capability to create any digital asset, and more.

What is Avalanche?

Avalanche is an open-source platform for launching decentralized applications and enterprise blockchain deployments in one interoperable, highly scalable ecosystem. Avalanche is the first decentralized smart contracts platform built for the scale of global finance, with near-instant transaction finality. Ethereum developers can quickly build on Avalanche as Solidity works out-of-the-box. an open, programmable smart contracts platform for decentralized applications. It also provides the foundation to scale to millions of validators with minimal hardware.

Additionally, Avalanche employs a novel approach to consensus to achieve its strong safety guarantees, quick finality, and high-throughput without compromising decentralization.

What does a Pastel Collaboration mean for the Avalanche ecosystem?

In the immediate term, we are excited to collaborate with Ava Labs to bring our mission-critical Web3 protocols to the Avalanche Ecosystem, which can be integrated seamlessly across all native layer-1s and layer-2 dApps. We will specifically work with Avalanche’s NFT dApps to integrate Pastel’s:

  • Near-Duplicate NFT Detection (Sense) → Deep-learning technology that assesses the relative rareness between NFTs to detect counterfeits, scams, or copyright infringement and provide a certification of authenticity.
  • NFT Data & Metadata Storage (Cascade) → Fully distributed, permanent and entirely redundant storage protocol. Pay once and store forever. Prevent centralized points of failure, monthly subscription maintenance, IPFS pinning & 404 errors.

Given the lightweight nature of these protocols and their interoperability as Web3 Open APIs, any Avalanche ecosystem member will be able to directly access Pastel’s near-duplicate NFT detection and store NFT metadata in a cryptographically secure, redundant, and distributed manner.

In the medium and long term, we will work directly with Ava Labs to develop fully decentralized and trustless interoperability. Initially, we can support functionality that allows users to call an API endpoint via RPC-URL to an open Pastel Client when compiling smart contracts on the C-Chain or during mint. Both of these would be done on the front end. When data is posted, they get the respondent URI which is stored as state variables. Ultimately, over time, Pastel will deploy its own subnet to allow for direct communication with C-Chain and other subnets along with cross-chain transactions (including asset bridging).

With this type of interoperability, Pastel and Ava Labs can bring decentralized NFT permanence and security to the entire ecosystem.

How does the integration work?

Pastel Network has not only worked relentlessly to develop incredible infrastructure for the NFT ecosystem, but to also deliver it to network partners in a lightweight, seamless manner. Partners of the Pastel Network such as Ava Labs and along with other native blockchains or dApps communicate directly with Pastel via open Web3 APIs.

During NFT minting on Avalanche, secure and authenticated REST API calls pass the hash of the candidate NFT to Pastel Network. The return responses — 1) a JSON file with the relative rareness score in the case of Sense and 2) the SHA3–256 hash for the JSON file stored in Kademlia which itself contains the SHA3–256 hashes of the set of redundant copies of the JSON files in Kademlia — are signed by randomly selected SuperNodes operating on the Pastel Network. Smart tickets write and store the outputs to the Pastel blockchain, which is returned to Avalanche and included as additional Response fields in its NFT standard.

We are very excited to embark on this relationship and look forward to sharing more great news with the entire community.

If interested in learning more about Pastel and these revolutionary protocols, please see below:

Pastel Overviewhttps://pastel.network/

Pastel Docs (more technical)https://docs.pastel.network/introduction/pastel-overview

Sense Protocolhttps://sense.pastel.network/

Cascade Protocolhttps://cascade.pastel.network/

About Pastel Network

Pastel Network is a fully decentralized, developer-friendly layer-1 blockchain serving as the preeminent protocol standard for non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) and Web3 technology.

Pastel allows for the development of third-party decentralized-applications (“DApps”) to sit on top of its Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem. Lightweight protocols such as Sense — which was built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT against near-duplicate metadata — and Cascade — which conducts permanent, distributed storage of underlying NFT data — can be integrated cross-chain across various layer-1 blockchains, layer-2 protocols, or other third-party apps.

Pastel is managed by world-class developers, cryptographers, and technologists, supported alongside an experienced and extensive network of marketers, influencers, and third-party agencies. Pastel is backed by key stakeholders including Innovating Capital, a prominent venture fund.

For more information on Pastel Network, visit https://pastel.network/.

Originally Published on Pastel Network’s Medium