NKN, The Story So Far

5 min readJun 27, 2021

This article was originally published on The Daily Chain, 15th April 2021.

The Daily Chain has covered NKN (New Kind of Network) since 2019. During this time the California-based startup has made many advancements in developing its highly-scalable blockchain network for networks.

The price of the NKN token hardly reflected these advancements, not to mention the many partnerships, until a month ago when the price began to rocket.

In honor of the market recognizing NKN’s achievements, The Daily Chain presents a sampling of quotes from these articles and interviews.

1. October 2019, “NKN: The Primer”

The first NKN article published on The Daily Chain was a primer for New Kind of Network’s technology. An exploration into the dizzying world of cellular automaton, a way of modelling life and the universe using deceptively simple patterns, the article explains the ideas which inspired NKN.

Superior network scaling in NKN

Advisor Stephen Wolfram authored a “New Kind of Science” in 2002, a seminal book in cellular automata research and beyond. Read by Yanbo Li, Wolfram’s masterpiece set the wheels in motion and ultimately led to the creation of NKN which is named in its honor.

Stephen Wolfram, “New Kind of Science”

Whitfield Diffie, the co-inventor of public key cryptography, was introduced as NKN’s other distinguished adviser, and it was his weighty words the article quoted at its beginning.

“The decisions we make about communication security today will determine the kind of society we live in tomorrow.”


2. November 2019, “Interview with Yanbo Li, OnChain and NKN co-founder”

Yanbo Li

Before NKN, founder Yanbo Li started a blockchain company called OnChain with two other men who were later to found NEO and Ontology respectively.

In late 2019 Yilun gave a personal and moving account of his life, from his childhood in rural China, his move to California, his discovery of Wolfram’s work, and his plans for NKN.

The interview was published with his answers in Chinese accompanied by an English translation. It was also published alongside several photos of Yanbo taken at different points throughout his life, including the photo below taken many years ago during what Yanbo described as his “hacker phase.”

“After my graduation, I joined Motorola. However, I did not develop the most famous mobile phone system for Motorola, but developed a virtual file system (VFS) that accelerated the access speed at the time of compile program. I preferred to work on it, because the entire system was based on Linux, and I could better understand and utilize the attributes of the Linux kernel file system. This was very helpful for me to understand the core of the entire Linux. But unfortunately, like all other large companies, all that we did were private, not open source. Being in such a working environment also prevented me from having a deep communicate with some of the most talented programmers. As a result, I spent my spare time developing a device driver for a wireless network card, in cooperation with the Linux community.

“It is a pure community contributed development effort, where developers from all around the world communicate over mailing lists and IRC. In this community, I have had the honor of becoming acquainted with many top developers and maintainers of the Linux community, like Kalle Valo, Luis R. Rodriguez, and Jouni Malinen and etc. In doing so, my interest in network protocols and development started to grow..”

Yanbo Li, November 2021


3. January 2020, “An NKN Odyssey: A Billion Nodes with Dr. Zhang”

Dr. Yilun Zhang

In 2020, The Daily Chain spoke to NKN co-founder and CTO Dr. Yilun Zhang. Yilun was working on his Philosophy and Computational Neuroscience doctorate around the same time he first met Yilun and Bruce in California.

“When I learnt about blockchain, consensus algorithm and everything about decentralization, I realized that the brain is a very typical decentralized system. Take humans for example, there are tens of billions of neurons in the brain, but typically each neuron is only connected to thousands of other neurons, a very tiny portion, and only communicates with those direct neighbors”

Dr. Yilun Zhang, January 2020

The article covered many NKN technologies like nCDN, D-Chat, nMobile and nsh, and elicited some of the most startling and impressive quotes to ever be published by The Daily Chain.

“Let me be explicit: the current NKN node code, without any modification, will work with 1 billion full node without any problem.”

Dr. Yilun Zhang, January 2020


4. April 2020, “NKN 2020 with co-founder Zheng Bruce Li”

Zheng ‘Bruce’ Li

Bruce is NKN’s most vocal team member. He founded multiple internal startup projects at Nokia and Google and he’s an expert on telecom innovation, specializing in strategy and business development.

In April 2020 The Daily Chain spoke to Bruce about NKN’s multiple commercial partnerships, business strategy, and his past.

“So far we have signed commercial contracts with China Mobile (mobile service provider), NETNIC (enterprise cloud integrator), and iQIYI (video streaming service). There are a few companies in the pipeline.”

Zheng “Bruce’” Li, April 2020

When asked which of these partnerships excited him most, Bruce replied:

“I’m most excited about the iQIYI announcement, which has the biggest impact and was the hardest to win. This gave us a convincing reference customer, who happens to be the largest video streaming platform in China and among the largest in the world. It will generate revenue for NKN, which will jumpstart the virtuous cycle of token economy.”

Zheng “Bruce’” Li, April 2020

CoinDesk also reported on the the iQIYI announcement, stating simply “One of the world’s largest video platforms, iQiyi, hopes to improve its user experience after joining forces with a public blockchain that enables bandwidth sharing.”


The Daily Chain is delighted that NKN is growing from strength to strength, and is proud to have brought such detailed reporting about its disruptive and elegant technologies, as well as its disruptive and elegant leaders.

Today the NKN network exceeds 100,000 full nodes, the largest public full node count of any blockchain network currently in existence.

To find out more about NKN check out their website and follow them on Twitter.




The Immutable Network (DARA), founder. Immutable builds free blockchain products and platforms to fight censorship and stop data loss. Also a journalist/writer.