Pastel Network teams up with Parity Technologies to bring NFT Security and Permanent Storage to the Polkadot Ecoystem

Pastel Network is excited to announce that it’s teaming up with Parity Technologies, a leading core blockchain infrastructure company — the builders behind Polkadot and Substrate. Parity will collaborate with Pastel with the goal of providing Pastel’s Sense and Cascade protocols to its NFT ecosystem. This collaboration signifies the continued successes of both Pastel and Parity, 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 Parity Technologies?

Parity Technologies provides decentralized infrastructure for Web3, enabling blockchains to operate together at scale. It is creating an open-source creative commons that will enable people to create better institutions through technology. This started with work building Ethereum. Today, Parity is focused on Substrate, an industry-standard blockchain framework. It has used it to build Polkadot, a decentralized web blockchain meta-protocol, securing and connecting crypto-economies to the world.

What is Polkadot?

Polkadot is the first fully-sharded blockchain. Polkadot enables scalability by allowing specialized blockchains to communicate with each other in a secure, trust-free environment.

Polkadot is built to connect and secure unique blockchains, whether they be public, permissionless networks, private consortium chains, or other Web3 technologies. It enables an internet where independent blockchains can exchange information under common security guarantees.

Polkadot is a living network with the core pillars of governance and upgradability. The network has an advanced suite of governance tools and, using the WebAssembly standard as a “meta-protocol”, can autonomously deploy network upgrades. Polkadot adapts to one’s growing needs without the risks of network forks.

By connecting these dots, Polkadot serves as a foundational layer of a decentralized web, where users control their data and are not limited by trust bounds within the network.

What is Substrate?

Substrate is a Software Development Kit (SDK) specifically designed to provide you with all of the fundamental components s blockchain requires so you can focus on crafting the logic that makes your chain unique and innovative.

Substrate is a fully modular blockchain framework that lets you compose a chain with explicitly decoupled components, by selecting the network stack, consensus model, or governance method that suits one’s project or by creating one’s own components.

All of the Substrate architecture and tooling is available under open-source licensing. Substrate also has a large, active, and helpful builder community contributing to the ecosystem. Contributions from the community enhance the capabilities available for you to incorporate into your own blockchain as it evolves.

All Substrate-based blockchains can interoperate with the other blockchains through Cross-Consensus Messaging (XCM). Substrate can be used to create chains as independent networks (solo chains), or tightly coupled to a relay chain to share its security as a parachain.

Substrate is built to be upgradeable, composable, and adaptable. The state transition logic — the Substrate runtime — is a self-contained WebAssembly object. Your nodes can be given the ability to completely change the runtime itself under specific conditions, inducing a runtime upgrade network wide. Thus “forkless” upgrades are possible, as no action is required in most cases for nodes to operate with this new runtime. Over time, your network’s runtime protocols can seamlessly, and perhaps radically, evolve with the needs of your users.

What does a Pastel Collaboration mean for the Polkadot ecosystem?

In the immediate term, we are excited to collaborate with Parity to bring our mission-critical Web3 protocols to the Polkadot Ecosystem, which can be integrated seamlessly across all native layer-1s and layer-2 dApps. We will specifically work with Polkadot’s layer-1 parachains and their NFT and DeFi dApps built on top of them 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 Polkadot 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 longer term, we will work directly with Parity Technologies to develop fully decentralized and trustless interoperability via a communication bridge. As a non-parachain blockchain, Pastel Network can achieve trustless communication with Polkadot via a Substrate instance. This Substrate instance can be deployed to Polkadot via a common-good public utility or community-operated parachain. Initially, Pastel’s Network of high-compute validators (“SuperNodes”) can serve as a federation of off-chain agents.

With this type of interoperability, Pastel and Parity 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 Parity and along with other native blockchains or dApps communicate directly with Pastel via open Web3 APIs.

During NFT minting on Polkadot, 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 Polkadot 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/.

Website | Telegram | Twitter | Instagram |Github | Wiki | Discord

This article was first published by our team here.

Cezanne Mainnet Release

Pastel Network’s highly anticipated Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade is LIVE! The Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade includes major upgrades to the Pastel blockchain and a number of improvements for our broader ecosystem.

Having been under development for over 8 months, Cezanne is our largest release to date and marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Pastel Network. 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!

A full list and description of all updates can be found below.

The Pastel community has completed the painstaking and tedious process of testing each component to ensure that all functionality is highly performant and optimized under a variety of environment and network state conditions. With the completion of these multiple phases of unit-level, integration-based, and protocol-level stress-testing, we have successfully activated the latest chain release across Miner, SuperNode, WalletNode, and Node clients.

Community members have been notified to upgrade their existing infrastructure to the latest release prior to a blockHeight 316300. If you are running an active client, we encourage you to upgrade as soon as possible. Full stable release source code and upgrade instructions are available here.

First, what is a Mainnet Upgrade?

A Mainnet Upgrade is the introduction of new software changes, improvements, and features that are made at the blockchain level to continue to advance the overall network’s functionality.

Mainnet Upgrades enable all network participants and community members — such as SuperNode operators, miners, ecosystem partners, and end-users — to access the most up-to-date and cutting-edge technology.

As Mainnet Upgrades introduce drastic changes to the blockchain, they require tremendous testing, debugging, and implementation along with a majority consensus from participating network nodes and miners.

What is the Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade?

As introduced in our Testnet Release, Cezanne 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.

Continue reading to learn more about each new update, feature, and improvement.

Unrestricted NFT Functionality

One of the largest updates for the Cezanne Mainnet Release is unrestricted NFT accessibility on the network. Users are able to fully create persistent identities (‘PastelIDs’) on the network which can then be used to create, register, transfer, and trade NFTs via our layer-1 protocol. This release is instrumental in ensuring that new users — whether they are individual creators, communities, or applications — can seamlessly mint NFTs for a variety of use-cases on the Pastel protocol itself using our advanced Smart Ticket structure.

Various Smart Tickets have been added, improved, and upgraded to support all of the necessary NFT-related information on the network, ensuring even more application flexibility and functionality. Stored in a simple and secure format, information is easily written, transmitted and subsequently signed by relevant nodes on the network. Various Smart Tickets implement all requirements to support:

  • User Information
  • Creator and Collector PastelIDs
  • NFT Minting
  • NFT Collections
  • NFT Transfers, Trades, and Auctions

The benefit of this system is that it provides a highly powerful and generic framework for encapsulating all sorts of structure, features, and functionality that can be easily leveraged by users minting directly on the protocol, third-party developers building entire decentralized-applications on the Pastel Network, or decentralized ecosystems seeking cross-chain composability.

In addition, the declarative and static nature of Smart Tickets means that there is no risk to end users from subtle bugs or edge cases in custom smart contracts. Instead, all the required logic for handling tickets and performing related computations is done in the node software itself, operating at the protocol level.

Web3 OpenAPIs

The future of the Web3 ecosystem relies upon trustless applications that interact with Web APIs. As a native layer-1 blockchain, it is important that any user around the world can access the functionality powered by Pastel via simple and secure Web API calls.

Users can now interact directly with the Pastel Network via context-specific APIs, which can be done directly from native full nodes or from smart contracts via off-chain services. To support this functionality, we have upgraded the core Pastel software (‘pasteld’) to provide new types of Smart Tickets for each action type such as ActivationStatus, or Retrieval events. This also extends to native Sense and Cascade protocol-level calls, making it even easier for ecosystem partners to interact with our network.

Sense Protocol

Sense is a lightweight protocol on the Pastel Network, built to assess the relative rareness of a given NFT versus all previously registered NFTs on the network. Sense can recognize the most subtle similarities between two digital collectibles, even if one has been transformed. The protocol goes beyond the standard “digital fingerprint” approach to establishing the rareness of an NFT and actually looks at the rareness of the pixel patterns in data. While digital fingerprints do allow users to verify that an NFT was created by a particular creator, this is a fairly weak form of rareness. Sense solves this problem by assigning a ‘Relative Rareness Score’ to quantify how rare an NFT is relative to all NFTs in the underlying dataset.

See how it works first hand in our Demo.

Pastel’s Sense Protocol saw a dramatic facelift to make it even more powerful and robust against transformations through new methods of fingerprint analysis, statistical correlation, and rareness computations.

When a user registers an image as a new Pastel NFT or applies Sense via OpenAPI to an NFT from another blockchain, the Sense software analyzes the pixel data in this new “candidate” NFT and, using powerful Deep Learning models, generates a fingerprint vector (a set of ~1,500 numbers) which characterizes the visual structure of the candidate image in a very particular way. This allows the system to quickly compare this fingerprint vector to the fingerprints of all previously registered images on the Pastel Network, and for each one, precisely measure the visual similarity of that image versus the candidate image. This measure of visual similarity is robust to all sorts of transformations, allowing it to basically “see through” any superficial changes to an image. If any previously registered image is “too similar” to the candidate image, then this results in a lower “rareness score” for the candidate image.

We further modified how each WalletNode processes fingerprint data calculated by SuperNodes in order to dramatically decrease the time between asset registration and Sense analysis.

Through these method refinements and upgrades, we have more insight into image recognition and rareness than ever before. Sense provides users with the ability to define the relative rareness of their NFT with the highest level of precision. This release just made Sense even more capable.

Cascade Protocol

Cascade is an integrated, decentralized storage layer based on two powerful ideas from computer science: distributed hash tables (DHTs) and fountain codes (in particular, RaptorQ). Pastel ensures that the digital asset itself (e.g., an image file) is uploaded, verified, and registered on the Pastel Network, rather than just some brief metadata describing the asset with a link to an externally hosted file which might be unavailable in the future. Through a series of smart tickets living on the Pastel ledger, creators can store their assets in a distributed fashion across a variety of SuperNodes. The objective is that in 20, 50, or even 100+ years, the world does not lose access to a single data file entrusted to the Pastel network.

The emphasis of Cascade is on data retention, which is at its core an exercise in designing fault-tolerant, high-reliability systems.

By enhancing WalletNode features, we are optimizing Cascade to run and execute in a high activity and high volume environment. The ability to operate efficiently while scaling is crucial. The upgrades to Cascade in this release allow that to happen.

Introducing PastelUp — A Pastel-Utility Service

PastelUp is a Pastel-Utility service that makes the installation of key infrastructure like WalletNode and SuperNodes extremely intuitive and user-friendly. This service’s features include install, start, stop, remote set-up, default settings, and various command options. It also supports better handling of operation termination and dd-server installation.

We also added various SuperNode applications as systemd services for SuperNode operators, such as pasteldsupernoderq-server, and dd-server, and have built in functionality to support remote updates.

PastelUp is an extremely important infrastructure tool that we are proud to announce. PastelUp was developed with our community in mind as a means to support network participation, performance, and decentralization by making it easier for users to get up and running with Pastel services.

Network Optimization

Speed, security, storage, and efficient runtime processes are core pillars for Pastel. We rolled out a variety of network upgrades to continue to ensure that the Pastel Network runs with maximum uptime and reliability:

  • Implemented connection pool w/ multiplexing support & peer-only authentication to improve communications in Kademlia
  • Integrated zstd compression for Smart Tickets written to blockchain
  • Converted scheduler from boost to std to replace boost threads with stoppable threads
  • Added gtest for thread services and upgraded scheduler tests
  • Modified write ticket from async to sync to prevent previous ticket error during block load / re-load (on valid blocks)

Security

As always, security is our utmost concern and we made sure to further increase the robustness of our network in the Cezanne Mainnet Release. Certain improvements include:

  • Removed configuration of SSH clientConfig with insecure HostKeyCallback from various sources in sshclient.go
  • Cleared text logging sensitive data extraction
  • Added additional encryption to data returned by actions requiring SN PassPhrase logging
  • Supported enable/disable logging for P2P and MetaDB
  • Replaced Ticket encoding from b64 to ascii85
  • Included authentication of Kademlia’s peers to other peers when connections occur using a SuperNode’s PastelID as a certificate
  • Added additional validation of connection requests by Kademlia peers to confirm PastelID in handshake is generated by enabled SuperNodes

Other Improvements and Functionality

We have made a series of other improvements as well as supported a variety of new functionality including:

  • LegRoast Public Key stored and encrypted in PastelID Registration Ticket as pq_key field as a vector of bytes, making it possible to locate LegRoast Public Keys via aPastelId
  • Updated API Documentation
  • Refactored the entire GoNode layer
  • Created checkpoint of blockchain written into chainparams
  • Updated PQSignatures for sign/verify of Ed448 & LegRoast Signatures

We are very excited to have reached this key milestone in our roadmap and to share these amazing updates with the community!

The future of Web3.0 is here.

Cezanne Mainnet Release source-code can be reviewed here.

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.

This article was first published by our team here.

Cezanne Mainnet AMA Recap

Pastel co-founder, Anthony Georgiades, talked all things Cezanne and answered all the community’s questions.

Initial Questions

Q1: To start off, can you give us a little background on yourself and the team?

A: Sure! I’m one of the co-founders and early investors of Pastel. I work on a lot of the day-to-day operations of the project along with some of the product management and go to market strategy. I first got involved with Pastel after meeting Jeff Emanuel, who is the co-founder and brains/vision of the Pastel Network.

Here are some bios on Jeff and our CTO, Alexey as well

Jeff Emanuel is the co-founder and CEO of Pastel. Prior to founding Pastel, he worked as a machine-learning and financial analyst in the hedge-fund world for over a decade. Emanuel has extensive knowledge about blockchain protocols, technology, and traditional finance along with a native understanding of rare digital collectibles communities. He studied mathematics at Reed University.

Alexey Kireyev is the co-founder and CTO of Pastel. For over 3 decades, he has worked as a developer and security specialist at a variety of Fortune 500 financial and technology institutions, managing hundreds of employees and building products serving millions of customers. Kireyev has deep knowledge of blockchain protocols, cryptography, and security standards and has contributed to open-source projects like Bitcoin Private, Z-Cash, and Dash.

We came together all the way back in 2018 because we saw there was a need for blockchain purpose-built for the NFT ecosystem. Ethereum and Bitcoin were not built for the size and volume of NFT transactions. Additionally, we saw that there were certain challenges plaguing the market (including scams, frauds, and asset loss) and nobody was trying to fix them. We decided to make the tools to make this NFT world better.

Q2: Can you give us a brief summary of Pastel Network?

A: 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 infrastructure enables existing layer-1 blockchains, decentralized applications, or third-party enterprises to protect creators and collectors. From digital collectibles & media to documents & applications, users and developers are able to certify asset rareness and truly store data forever. Lightweight protocols delivered by interoperable open APIs such as Sense and Cascade can be easily integrated across existing networks. A wide range of Web3 applications can be built directly on the Pastel Network, enabling developers to enjoy the scalable registration features, storage processes, and security of the broader ecosystem.

Q3: Before we dive into Cezanne, can you give everyone a little refresher on Pastel’s Roadmap up to this point?

A: We launched Pastel Network (the original mainnet) in January 2021. Since then, we have worked on 1) developing, refining, and thoroughly testing our mission critical protocols, Sense and Cascade; 2) creating a seamless approach to integrating Sense and Cascade across the ecosystem / conducting full-scale integrations with partners; 3) building SmartMint (which will be available to Early Access users in a couple of weeks); and of course 4) this massive Mainnet Upgrade — Cezanne.

Q4: Can you also give a little refresher on what it means to “upgrade to Mainnet”?

A: A Mainnet Upgrade is the introduction of new software changes, improvements, and features that are made at the blockchain level to continue to advance the overall network’s functionality.

Mainnet Upgrades enable all network participants and community members — such as SuperNode operators, miners, ecosystem partners, and end-users — to access the most up-to-date and cutting-edge technology.

As Mainnet Upgrades introduce drastic changes to the blockchain, they require tremendous testing, debugging, and implementation along with a majority consensus from participating network nodes and miners.

Q5: Now what is Cezanne Mainnet and why is it such a big deal to the Pastel team and broader ecosystem?

A: The Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade includes major upgrades to the Pastel blockchain and a number of improvements for our broader ecosystem.

Cezanne 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.

Having been under development for over 8 months, Cezanne is our largest release to date and marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Pastel Network.

Q6: From the Cezanne Testnet medium article, it seems like development of Cezanne took a long time. Why so?

A: We knew this would be our most aggressive upgrade since we decided to build Pastel Network all the way back in 2018. The reason we spent 8 painstaking and tedious months building, refining, and testing is because of how complex and robust these new features are. Enhancing Sense and Cascade, alone, are massive undertakings. We have a team of world-class engineers and developers solving extremely complicated and technical problems to bring you this upgrade. We are very excited it is here!

Q7: Can you provide a high level overview of what the upgrade includes?

A: Sure! I’ll list out a few points:

  • 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

Q8: Of the features from the upgrade you discussed, what are you most excited about?

A: On top of the enhancements to Sense and Cascade as well as the upgrades to runtime processes and security, I am really excited about PastelUp. PastelUp is a Pastel-Utility service that makes the installation of key infrastructure like WalletNode and SuperNodes extremely intuitive and user-friendly. This service’s features include install, start, stop, remote set-up, default settings, and various command options. It also supports better handling of operation termination and dd-server installation.

Q9: How does it benefit users and partners?

A: PastelUp is an extremely important infrastructure tool. PastelUp was developed with our community in mind as a means to support network participation, performance, and decentralization by making it easier for users to get up and running with Pastel services.

Q10: Last question before we open it up to the community. What is next? What’s the technical roadmap through the end of the year?

A: After Cezanne, we have a number of technical milestones we are poised to hit. The next big milestone is the launch of SmartMint — our no-code NFT minting platform. After SmartMint, we plan to do additional network upgrades and complete a number of bridges.

Community Questions

Q: Can you go into more depth on PastelUp? What does it really mean for potential network operators?

A: Yes — as discussed above PastelUp is a Pastel-Utility service that makes the installation of key infrastructure like WalletNode and SuperNodes extremely intuitive and user-friendly. This service’s features include install, start, stop, remote set-up, default settings, and various command options. It also supports better handling of operation termination and dd-server installation. PastelUp was developed with our community in mind as a means to support network participation, performance, and decentralization by making it easier for users to get up and running with Pastel services.

Q: What does the Mainnet upgrade mean for PSL and its utility partners? Should we expect to see more network usage? And linked to that: When will partners start working with the network? What are future partner plans?

A: This update will have the biggest impact on PSL that we’ve had to date. With the release, PSL is going to see a tremendous amount of increased usage and utility on the network.

Recall that PSL serves as the native, digital cryptographically-secured utility token of the Pastel Network. By running on a specialized, purpose-built blockchain, PSL is the foundation for accessibility. It is used to handle everything on the network including:

Core Operations: Generating a PastelID, Minting NFTs, Submitting Tickets, and Performing Open-API Requests like Sense and Cascade from third party partners

Stake: Operating a SuperNode and staking collateral in exchange for providing computational resources, validation, and security services

Governance: Stakeholders are able to initiate and vote on various proposals

What does this mean? The Cezanne Mainnet Release means that existing customers and partners will be able to start to conduct more on-chain transactions for various NFT-specific use-cases such as data storage via Cascade, counterfeit / copymint protection via Sense, minting, and more.

How does it work? Each time a Pastel partner wants to mint or create 1 NFT, they conduct anywhere from 2–5 transactions on the Pastel Network (sending data to Cascade for storage or run through Sense). Each of these transactions ‘costs’ PSL.

In short, this means more on-chain transactions, more network usage, and more protocol revenue.

To put it in perspective: If an exchange like OpenSea conducts ~20K of New NFT transactions per day, a Pastel x OpenSea integration means each time that a new NFT transaction occurs on OpenSea, at least 2 transactions occur on Pastel (Sense for near-duplicate NFT detection and Cascade for data storage / caching). This equates to an annual run-rate of ~15M transactions and ~$800K of protocol revenue assuming 2 transactions per NFT and no change to transaction velocity or $/TX.

Now extend this beyond one digital art NFT marketplace to vast ecosystems like Polygon and Polkadot, and across additional use cases like DeFi and the Metaverse. The identifiable serviceable market is massive.

Oh and one last thing — you can view the exact amount of PSL that is reqiured here: https://docs.pastel.network/basics/fees-and-burn.

Basically to store a 1GB file on Pastel forever would cost around 50000 PSL, and that is for one file.

Part of the fees are burnt (meaning that they are taken out of supply forever) and part of the fees are distributed to the registering SuperNodes (meaning they are earning protocol revenue for staking, validating transactions, and performing services like storing the data).

Discussed partners a bit above with regards to PSL use-cases — partners like OnXRP.com are literally waiting for this upgrade to start using our technology. We have a tremendous amount of future partner plans in the works, and some of the initial use cases and traction will only further support additional collaborations so we will achieve dramatic network effects.

Q: How has the Cezanne Upgrade enhanced Sense? I thought Sense was already thoroughly tested and refined.

A: Our Sense Protocol saw a dramatic facelift to make it even more powerful and robust against transformations through new methods of fingerprint analysis, statistical correlation, and rareness computations.

When a user registers an image as a new Pastel NFT or applies Sense via OpenAPI to an NFT from another blockchain, the Sense software analyzes the pixel data in this new “candidate” NFT and, using powerful Deep Learning models, generates a fingerprint vector (a set of ~1,500 numbers) which characterizes the visual structure of the candidate image in a very particular way. This allows the system to quickly compare this fingerprint vector to the fingerprints of all previously registered images on the Pastel Network, and for each one, precisely measure the visual similarity of that image versus the candidate image. This measure of visual similarity is robust to all sorts of transformations, allowing it to basically “see through” any superficial changes to an image. If any previously registered image is “too similar” to the candidate image, then this results in a lower “rareness score” for the candidate image.

We further modified how each WalletNode processes fingerprint data calculated by SuperNodes in order to dramatically decrease the time between asset registration and Sense analysis.

Through these method refinements and upgrades, we have more insight into image recognition and rareness than ever before. Sense provides users with the ability to define the relative rareness of their NFT with the highest level of precision. This release just made Sense even more capable.

Q: Is there any token burn or buy back plan?

A: There is a tremendous amount of token burn baked into the system. Please see above for PSL use cases and protocol revenue examples.

Upon core network operations, a percentage of each tx-fee is distributed to a cryptophically unspendable address, resulting in a reduction of the overall supply of PSL (“Proof of Burn”). Nearly every transaction results in burn such as:

  • PastelID Creation
  • NFT Registration
  • NFT Activation
  • NFT Trade
  • Open-API Sense Request
  • Open-API Cascade Request

Additionally, given some of the macro pressures on various digital assets such as PSL the foundation has discussed engaging in a token buy-back on the open-market. This would result in basically acquiring tokens and locking them up in our existing treasury to be used in the future for things like ecosystem partners, investors, etc. (Similar to a share buyback of sorts)

Q: Talking about the upgrade, with the upgrade how has Cascade been upgraded? Also how has Cezanne enhanced NFT functionality?

A: One of the largest updates for the Cezanne Mainnet Release is unrestricted NFT accessibility on the network. Users are able to fully create persistent identities (‘PastelIDs’) on the network which can then be used to create, register, transfer, and trade NFTs via our layer-1 protocol. This release is instrumental in ensuring that new users — whether they are individual creators, communities, or applications — can seamlessly mint NFTs for a variety of use-cases on the Pastel protocol itself using our advanced Smart Ticket structure.

Various Smart Tickets have been added, improved, and upgraded to support all of the necessary NFT-related information on the network, ensuring even more application flexibility and functionality. Stored in a simple and secure format, information is easily written, transmitted and subsequently signed by relevant nodes on the network. Various Smart Tickets implement all requirements to support:

  • User Information
  • Creator and Collector PastelIDs
  • NFT Minting
  • NFT Collections
  • NFT Transfers, Trades, and Auctions

The benefit of this system is that it provides a highly powerful and generic framework for encapsulating all sorts of structure, features, and functionality that can be easily leveraged by users minting directly on the protocol, third-party developers building entire decentralized-applications on the Pastel Network, or decentralized ecosystems seeking cross-chain composability.

In addition, the declarative and static nature of Smart Tickets means that there is no risk to end users from subtle bugs or edge cases in custom smart contracts. Instead, all the required logic for handling tickets and performing related computations is done in the node software itself, operating at the protocol level.

Q: Is Pastel’s SuperNode layer vulnerable to the same exploits that we have been seeing recently?

A: This is why Pastel is setup to have a lot SuperNodes staking a small amount of PSL vs. a small # of Vaildator nodes doing everything with staking via delegation. It is also why we do not support delegation at the protocol level, which encourages a handful of centralized validators controlling key state decisions like accepted blocks etc.

Many DeFi projects and bridges follow an N-of-M validator setup, meaning at least N of a all M validator nodes operating the network must sign a particular transaction for an ‘event’ (transfer, withdrawal, deposit) to occur. This is similar to how Pastel works with SuperNode tasks, but for many pure PoS projects there is a small number M and an even smaller N controlled by just a few central parties (defeats a lot of that ‘decentralization’ purpose).

One of the reasons why Pastel is so methodical in what we do and why things may seem to move slower sometimes is because it’s in fact far more methodical and planned out. We’re focused on client diversity and various implementation controls to prevent this — it’s harder / slower upfront, but sets up the foundation for a massively decentralized, trustless organization over the long-term. And our Validator (SuperNode) bridge setup keeps these same core principles in mind.

Q: What improvements did you make to network optimization and security with this Upgrade?

A: Speed, security, storage, and efficient runtime processes are core pillars for Pastel. We rolled out a variety of network upgrades to continue to ensure that the Pastel Network runs with maximum uptime and reliability:

  • Implemented connection pool w/ multiplexing support & peer-only authentication to improve communications in Kademlia
  • Integrated zstd compression for Smart Tickets written to blockchain
  • Converted scheduler from boost to std to replace boost threads with stoppable threads
  • Added gtest for thread services and upgraded scheduler tests
  • Modified write ticket from async to sync to prevent previous ticket error during block load / re-load (on valid blocks)

As always, security is our utmost concern and we made sure to further increase the robustness of our network in the Cezanne Mainnet Release. Certain improvements include:

  • Removed configuration of SSH clientConfig with insecure HostKeyCallback from various sources in sshclient.go
  • Cleared text logging sensitive data extraction
  • Added additional encryption to data returned by actions requiring SN PassPhrase logging
  • Supported enable/disable logging for P2P and MetaDB
  • Replaced Ticket encoding from b64 to ascii85
  • Included authentication of Kademlia’s peers to other peers when connections occur using a SuperNode’s PastelID as a certificate
  • Added additional validation of connection requests by Kademlia peers to confirm PastelID in handshake is generated by enabled SuperNodes

Cezanne Mainnet Upgrade is Starting TOMORROW — 8/5/2022

As a reminder: if you are running any existing clients please upgrade to the latest version prior to activation at blockHeight = 316300 (Tuesday August 9th at approx. 16:00 UTC).

Please use this version here: https://download.pastel.network/#latest/pasteld/

The new version requires at least 16GB of RAM and if you are running on Linux, must be Ubuntu 20.04.

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.

This article was first published by our team here.

George Floyd NFT Explained (Read Before Buying)

The “Floydies” NFTs have sparked a contentious debate over intellectual property within the NFT world after an NFT collection of George Floyd caricatures in diverse costumes and settings emerged. 

George Floyd was an African-American man who was wrongly murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020. The police officer behind the crime was sentenced to 22 and a half years in jail for killing the father of five by kneeling on his throat for more than nine minutes. 

The tragic event triggered the United States’ largest racial justice protests since the Civil Rights Movement, spearheaded by the“Black Lives Matter” (BLM) organization. Interestingly, BLM  went far beyond the nation, inspiring a global reckoning with racism across the globe. 

Nonetheless, the initial collection of Floydies NFTs was released by anon curators on OpenSea starting on December 7—a week after the police officer who killed Floyd plead not guilty. OpenSea took the collection of NFTs down following backlash from those concerned about equality and human rights

Some believe digital art is “overtly racist caricatures.” The project attracted labels such as “horrible,” and many campaigned for their reporting and removal from marketplaces like OpenSea. Others claimed to perceive the digital assets as a “commemoration” of the life of George Floyd. 

Please note that this article isn’t intended to be a commentary on the social issues surrounding George Floyd’s murder, but an exploration of the debacle surrounding the “Floydies.” 

The History of Floydies 

The original Floydies weren’t very financially successful on OpenSea before being pulled down, but were the target of much criticism on Twitter. The highest-priced NFT costs 0.05 ETH ($97.39). The lowest-priced cost 0.007 ETH ($13.72).

The curator of the first drop of Floydies used Twitter to announce the drop and link to the collection on OpenSea. The post gained over 3,000 likes and 4,100 retweets in just three weeks.

Many dubbed versions of Floydies NFTs followed. The highest bid for one of the non-fungible tokens was $12k. Others sold for significantly less. 

Despite OpenSea kicking off many versions of Floydies, anon curators continue dropping other versions—“George Floyd Defender of Ukraine”, “George Floyd on the Moon”, “George Floyd Explore the Sea”, “In Memory of George Floyd 108” and “George Floyd on the Moon Shining”. 

Following the popularity of Floydies, another marketplace, Scatter Art, continued selling NFTs of George Flloyd. Although, it recently erased the collection regarding copyright issues:

Unlike OpenSea, the project removal had nothing to do with racial scrutinization. 

Floydies Digital Art – Yay or Nay? 

Many NFT projects write descriptions regarding the reasons behind their project to entice buyers. The description on OpenSea for the original collection of Floydies NFTs stated: “Owning a Floydie is a great way to express yourself and your beliefs! Floydies are a unique and progressive way to celebrate the monumental life of George Floyd”.

Although the blockchain applies human rights activism in numerous ways, many find this hard to believe concerning Floydies. 

The main issue with these NFTs is that there’s no sign of the proceeds going towards good causes, like Floyd’s family, Black Lives Matter, and the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. Further, the creators were anon. 

There’s no excuse for the proceeds not being donated. One of the most significant benefits of NFTs is that curators can easily donate auction proceeds using marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. All curators need to do is set a payout address to their given organization’s cryptocurrency wallet address in advance. 

Thus, people have turned to Twitter to voice their outrage over the anon curators behind Floydies using the homicide for financial gain:

Another concern regarding Floydies is what the imagery manifests. Many different types of Floydies have circled the Web3 space. The digital assets showcase tasteless designs, such as Floyd dressed as a police officer, angel, astronaut, minion, standing in front of a trans flag, and much more. 

It’s important to note that buyers also needed an “N word” pass to access the first collection of Floydies NFTs after purchase.

Nevertheless, the repercussions haven’t prevented other crypto collectors from being drawn to the collection and showing off their purchases on the social media site: 

As you can see, Floydies NFTs and other George Floyd derived and inspired works of art draw much criticism. 

Using NFTs to Fight for Racial Equality

Following Floydies and the many dubbed versions, George Floyd’s brother, Terrance Floyd, created his own much more tasteful collection. 

There are 9,000  “SEENINJUSTICE” NFTs in collaboration with Confront Art on the Flow blockchain. The digital assets feature George Floyd sculptures alongside Breonna Taylor ones. 

Sadly, Taylor was also killed in America by the police in 2020. She was shot by one of the seven police officers who broke into her apartment in Kentucky to investigate a drug dealing operation. 

Unlike the above collections, these NFTs highlight the need to fight for justice whilst raising money for relevant charities—The Breonna Taylor Foundation, the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation, and We Are Floyd Org.

Additionally, the NFT charity campaign also partners with the families of the late Rep. John Lewis, alongside participation from the TV host and Grammy Award-winning singer, Dionne Warwick: 

Final Thoughts

Many Floyd NFTs that degrade the African-American wrongly murdered by a policeman in the States are circling. The project scorns not only George Floyd and his beloved family but also progressivism, equality, and other politics behind the black culture. 

If you are interested in holding a mini George Floyd in your wallet, you can purchase a “SEENINJUSTICE” NFT, the collection launched by the Floyd family, donating to relevant charities.

The Floydies collection has since been removed from Opensea

Anyone disheartened by some of the characters of Floyd continuously swirling around the sphere can do their part by reporting the projects’ Twitter and Openseas accounts. Many of these projects are money grabs by anons seeking to exploit what was a nationally painful moment. 
If you want to show support without purchasing a “SEENINJUSTICE” NFT, you can pledge directly to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. Donations support critical work to inform, unite, engage communities and fight for justice.

The Solsea NFT Marketplace Explained (Read Before Using)

More blockchain platforms are coming into existence, continuously evolving the Web3 world. Of course, each claims to be the best of its kind. But, unlike some, Solana’s blockchain network has much to boast about—particularly its NFT marketplace, Solsea. 

Solana addresses common Web3 challenges, making the blockchain’s secondary marketplace all the more appealing. For example, Ethereum faces high gas fees due to the prices of gas fluctuating concerning network congestion. Contrastingly, Solana is arguably the fastest moving blockchain. It has the tech to roll out more than 20,000 transactions per second (TPS) at peak load, eliminating congestion issues entirely. 

Thus, purchasing Solana NFTs on its very own marketplace is the way forward for cheaper mints and purchases. 

But what other perks does Solsea have, and how can the secondary marketplace benefit you? 

What is Solsea? NFT and Secondary Marketplace Perks 

To better understand Solsea, grasping the concepts behind NFT marketplaces is vital. Like an art exhibition in the physical world, NFT marketplaces are galleries in the digital world. But instead, each marketplace is a hub for people to auction or buy their favourite digitized content. 

Thus, creators can make money directly from their work, and collectors can own a rare piece of content that they solely own.

Think of it like an art gallery that doubles as a 24/7/365 marketplace for art. 

The use cases of NFTs showcased on the marketplace are endless. Some include crypto domain name ownership, real estate, identification and documentation, and even real-world assets. You can find anything you want in a digital asset on such marketplaces at contrasting prices. Your most-loved celebrity may even own the NFT collection you have your eye on. 

But what makes Solsea unique compared to others?

In contrast to OpenSea, which accepts the cryptocurrencies Ethereum (ETH), Klatyn (KLAY), Polygon (MATIC), and Solana (SOL), Solsea only accepts SOL and a few FIAT currencies (USDC and USDT) for transactions. 

Minting costs also change depending on which marketplace you use. As you may have experienced firsthand, an ETH-based marketplace like OpenSea charges an arm and a leg to mint NFTs.

Solsea is hailed for its cheap experience, but again, the only NFTs available here are based on SOL. 

On top of fees during the minting process, OpenSea also takes a 2.5% profit once an NFT sells, whereas Solsea charges a 2% fee after each successful purchase. 

Other advantages of Solsea include: 

  • Airdrops for upcoming projects
  • Participants can schedule NFT drops ahead of time to avoid missing project launches
  • The first-ever NFT marketplace that enables curators to select and incorporate their licenses while minting NFTs
  • Ahead of the chain for embedding copyright-licenses into NFTs during the minting process
  • A straightforward and easy-to-use interface for uploading NFT collections 
  • Each fully verified and minted Solsea NFT highlights trait statistics and rarity ranks
  • Curators can list their NFTs for sale to the public or privately for more exclusive or more comprehensive purchases

Another plus is that Solsea handles creators’ royalties. When minting an NFT on Solsea, curators can set the percentage of royalties they want to receive (e.g., 10%). Therefore, each time an NFT sells on the secondary marketplace, you can receive a percentage of the royalties set by the current owner. 

How to Join Solsea 

If the above perks appeal to you, take a look through Solsea for yourself.

First, create a Solana wallet on Phantom–buying, storing, or trading NFTs on Solsea is impossible unless creating one. 

Upon following the straightforward guidelines shown on the site to create your wallet, you can deposit your Solana tokens. Make sure you have at least 0.2 worth of SOL in your account; otherwise your wallet will show as being invalid. 

Whether you want to be an NFT curator or to join the marketplace for buying and selling purposes, you must create a Solsea account using a valid email address and private password. 

Write down your login information and tuck it away out of reach of hackers.   

Solsea Minting Tips

Hurrah, you now know the basics for creating a Solsea account. Now it’s time to create your own personal NFT collection held on the Solana blockchain

Solsea can be a bit challenging for crypto novices and first-time curators; but don’t get overwhelmed by the buzzwords or confusing features. Here is some advice and potential hurdles you may face while minting your NFT collection: 

  • Be prepared to connect your Phantom wallet to your Solsea account due to being locked on for security purposes. Keep your login information within reach to save time
  • Describe your collection of NFTs as thoroughly as possible while using few words due to the description section having a tight word limit 
  • Be aware of no bulk option if wanting to create multiple NFTs in one collection. Mint each NFT individually if wishing to switch up the artwork
  • Patience while minting your NFT is necessary. The process takes a hot second, especially if your computer power and Wi-Fi signal isn’t the speediest
  • Be prepared to lose a little bit of SOL if uploads fail. But fear not, each transaction roughly costs around $0.075
  • Free up some time over the platform requiring 3 transactions—2 for minting (approve, wait, approve), and 1 for setting the price. Each transaction is nonsensical regarding Phantom’s approval system. You will also be unsure how much the transaction fee will be until the minting process is complete. Although, don’t let this put you off—minting charges are never too steep 
  • You cannot set the price during the minting process. Instead, once successfully minting your NFT, go to your Phantom wallet, click the second tab not in focus by default that shows your NFTs, then click the list button
  • The combination of the three transactions costs approximately $2 total per NFT. Reasonable prices compared to Ethereum, which typically charges around $70-$100 when minting for the first time 

As you can see, Solsea has a few kinks that need ironing out. However, now that you have the know-how to mint your very own collection and overcome potential issues, the process should be relatively straightforward. 

Buying and Trading Advice—Happy NFT Hunting

So, let’s figure out how to use the secondary marketplace wisely to get the most bang for your buck.

On the main page of the Solsea platform, you can see important information about the platform and featured collections. You can easily filter out projects to find a collection that best suits you. You can find it all when looking for music, art, photography, gaming, virtual, or utility NFTs. Other filters include price, rank, likes, views, categories, licenses, and rarity ranks.

With that said, once finding an NFT you desire, you can check out the history of the digital assets, including its sales history and price, before deciding whether or not it is a good investment or a reasonable sale. 

Once reviewing all information, click “Buy NFT” and confirm the transaction in your Phantom wallet. You will now own an NFT, which is viewable in your profile and the “Collections” section of your wallet. Although, it’s critical to note that Solsea is not 100% clear of imposter collections. It’s wise to join project community channels on Discord, Twitter, and Telegram to help notice suspicious activities. You can also voice concerns to other community members and project management on such sites.