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Last updated: Dec 20, 2023
Ankr is a distributed Web3 multi-chain node infrastructure and development tools provider for Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchains. It was founded in 2017.
To run a node for a PoS blockchain one must make significant investments and have technical proficiency. Ankr is said to fix exactly this problem, so that any platform or project, be it DeFi, NFT, blockchain games, or dApps can benefit from its services.
Ankr provides API and RPC endpoints for developers. Without any setup, developers can access blockchain data and supply dApps with it using APIs. RPC or Remote Procedure Call is a form of API or Application Programming Interface, both of which allow program execution by communicating and interacting with servers remotely. In other words, they are a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other.
Furthermore, Ankr has a feature called Liquid Staking. While using Proof-of-Stake networks, users have to lock up funds and wait till the end of the staking period to get the rewards. Ankr is said to solve this problem with Liquid Staking:
There are 2 types of Liquid Staking tokens - reward-earning and reward-bearing.
When a user stakes their assets, for example, ETH, they get reward-earning tokens - aETHb or reward-bearing tokens - aETHc that represent his staked funds. These tokens can then be used in yield farming, lending, etc.
In addition to all of the above, Ankr provides custom-made solutions for enterprises because their needs can differ from those of smaller projects.
Another feature of Ankr is a Game Development Kit. The team offers an SDK for developers that is compatible with Unity, supports NFT capabilities and Web3 wallets for in-game transactions.
Lastly, Ankr has Parachain Liquid Crowdloans. Polkadot and Kusama Parachain slot auctions require locking up user funds - 2 years for Polkadot and 48 weeks for Kusama. Ankr unlocks the liquidity of bonded DOT or KSM, and after collecting the rewards from a winning Parachain slot auction, distributes them to the Parachain Liquid Crowdloan token holders.
Ankr Network has three RPC consumer tiers - Community, Premium, and Enterprise.
To start using the Community tier users need to go to the Ankr RPC service, Sidebar, Endpoints, choose a blockchain that they would like to interact with, choose Mainnet or Testnet, Connection tab, URL block, copy the URL into the project’s library or config file.
For the Premium tier they need to go to the Ankr RPC service, connect a wallet, sign a message (it will automatically create an account with premium ID), deposit a minimum of 1000 ANKR, and finally add Premium URLs into their project to interact with a blockchain.
For the Enterprise tier, users must contact the Ankr sales department.
Ankr wallet support includes wallets like Trust Wallet, Metamask, Huobi Wallet, and the WalletConnect protocol.
Ankr fees differ depending on the token staked. For ETH it is 10% of the rewards, MATIC and FTM - 0%, BNB - 5%, AVAX and DOT - 2%.
In addition to all of the above, Ankr has a multi-chain explorer Ankr Scan that gives users access to a unified view of multiple chains, a DeFi Aggregator, which combines all liquidity pools and farms into one page, Ankr Switch where users can switch reward-bearing tokens to reward-earning and vice versa, and Ankr Bridge that allows cross-chain transfer of assets.
In order to help newcomers use Ankr, the Ankr team has prepared a detailed tutorials page.
The ANKR token is the native utility and governance token for the Ankr network. It is used to pay for services within the Ankr ecosystem like the Premium RPC tier or API.
There is a fixed supply of 10 billion ANKR tokens. The supply is fully unlocked at the time of writing the article, with 2% of it being already burned. At launch, however, 60% was locked over 36 months between August 2019 - August 2022.
To participate in the Ankr governance users must create proposals, that they are allowed to do two times per month. After the proposer locks five million ANKR tokens, the proposal is checked by the Governance admin for two days, and if there is nothing “inappropriate”, it gets approved and then voted upon over the number of days set by the proposer. The proposers’ funds are locked for 14 days.
Ankr had a Domain Name System (DNS) hijack on the RPC endpoints for Polygon and Fantom on July 1, 2022. DNS is used by all websites because users connect to its servers using this protocol. Hackers were executing a DNS exploit that took control over Polygon’s and Fantom’s RPC endpoints (these endpoints allow users to connect their wallets to dApps). This hijack attempted to trick users into providing their wallets’ seed phrases.
The information came to light after a tweet by Polygon's chief information security officer Mudit Gupta. Ankr fixed the issue on the same day and no user funds were stolen.
The platform also has several audit reports from Beosin that checked the smart contract security for Ankr Bridge, Liquid Staking of AVAX, BNB, FTM, and MATIC. There is an additional audit report from PeckShield that examined the BNB Liquid Staking smart contract. All of the found issues were resolved, including critical ones, such as cross-chain deposit/withdrawal findings in the Ankr smart contract, high owner and operator permission in the Avalanche, BNB, Fantom, and Polygon smart contracts.
The core Ankr team consists of 3 members: two former UC Berkeley students and roommates - Chandler Song, the CEO, and Ryan Fang, the COO, alongside Stanley Wu, the CTO, whom Song met while interning at Amazon Web Services.
Ankr has raised $27.3 million in five funding rounds. The most recent investor is Binance - August 11, 2022. Previous funding rounds were led by Pantera Capital, with additional participation from NGC Ventures and DHVC.
One notable partnership is with Maxihost which provides Ankr with more than a hundred bare metal servers across thirteen locations with a strong presence in Latin America - Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and others.
The Ankr team claims that it is dedicated to making Ankr decentralized in the future. As well as support Unreal Engine with their gaming SDK, and allow lending/borrowing of Parachain Bonds.