As we wrote in a post last week, there are a handful of reasons that we chose the name “subnets.”
- Subnets were one of the original names considered for hyperchains, so it is a term the Stacks community is already familiar and comfortable with.
- Subnets are a descriptive name and help convey the function of this scaling infrastructure.
- Subnet is also a term for L2s in the Avalanche protocol— increasing the likelihood that more Web3 developers will be familiar with the concept from the get go.
- When Stacks community members or orgs want to roll out their own subnet, they’ll be able to easily brand it with their own name versus fighting with an existing Stacks L2 brand, i.e. “Startup X’s subnet”.
We are in the process of updating the hyperchains repos and references to reflect this name change, and those updates will be complete next week.
What Is a Subnet?
Subnets are an L2 blockchain for the Stacks mainchain. If the Stacks blockchain is the main network, you can consider subnets as a sub-network (see what we did there) that helps scale the overall Stacks network.
Subnets are designed for workloads that require high throughput and low latency (e.g. NFT mints, high-volume exchanges, etc), and each subnet has its own set of miners and consensus rules independent of the Stacks main chain. Subnets are not a one size fits all solution, and in the coming years we expect to see dozens of different subnets, with different consensus models and purposes.
Users interact with a specific subnet by depositing and withdrawing assets from a subnet smart contract that exists on the Stacks mainchain. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual user to decide which subnet they want to use, and no matter which they choose, all subnets settle back on the Stacks blockchain, which in turn settles on Bitcoin.
If you need additional background on subnets, check out the following resources:
*Note: All of these resources refer to subnets as “hyperchains” because they were published before the name change, but they refer to the same scaling solution.
Learn more about subnets and the challenges of scaling blockchains in a conversation with Hiro's Director of Engineering Sarala B:
When Will Subnets Launch?
We are fully focused on getting subnets ready to launch on mainnet in Q1 2023, and in the past week, we’ve released two important updates on our progress:
- NFT use case and beyond: we recently concluded an NFT use case simulation on devnet. In our latest blog, we talk about our progress so far and the next immediate priorities for subnets, including performance benchmarking, API integration, an abstraction layer, and more. Read more.
- How to interact with an NFT: In a video demo on our YouTube channel, we demonstrate how you can interact (mint, deposit, transfer and withdraw) an NFT within a subnet contract. Watch now.
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