RPCs – Why are They Crucial to Blockchain Development?

We are racing toward Web3 with the promise of improved usability and functionality of decentralized applications for participants, brought about by greater infrastructure interoperability and better tools for developers looking to build custom apps. These tools are coming in the form of environments that guide blockchain developers in how to build apps and streamline processes for the sake of both ease and security. Even if you have a passing interest in blockchain and its development, you probably would have heard about RPCs, APIs, and nodes in this context.

RPCs, APIs, and nodes are nothing new to the world of computing, but they have greater visibility in blockchain products. This is down to the fact that blockchain is still a new, developing sector, which hasn’t had as long as Web2 applications to perfect user interface layers that hide pretty much all complexity from users. Consequently, the application’s internal processes aren’t as far removed from those interacting with them. This can be seen in the example of MetaMask; to add a new connection to a blockchain, the user is required to input the RPC network information manually.

While some may like to have this agency and control within the products they use, it doesn’t necessarily aid widespread adoption, which is precisely why having better tools and environments for builders is crucial.

We will explore this area in this blog, addressing:

  • The functions of RPCs, APIs, and nodes.
  • Why RPC providers are important in blockchain development.
  • How new developments will usher in Web3 sooner, rather than later.

So whether you are a developer who wants to build apps or just someone interested in how blockchain works, read on for a comprehensive overview.

RPCs, APIs, and nodes

To understand blockchain development, knowing about the fundamentals is key. This is where we encounter RPCs, APIs, and nodes.

What’s the difference between RPCs and APIs?

RPC stands for Remote Procedure Call and involves a client request to a receiver, establishing a direct connection to a server for the purposes of retrieving information. As one example, without a remote procedure call, a DEX wouldn’t be able to display accurate pricing information. RPC connections are set up so that this can happen.

An Application Programming Interface, or API, works alongside an RPC; the RPC establishes the connection to one or multiple servers, and the API then allows for back-and-forth communication between them.

Confusion arises because when explained in short, RPCs and APIs are both described as involving requests for information—but let’s break this down:

  • RPCs are limited in that they involve making a specific request (which can be setting up a connection or retrieving certain blockchain data).
  • APIs provide a complete framework for communication once a connection has been established between different servers. They can take advantage of the information provided by remote procedure calls, but go further to allow—as mentioned above—two-way encoding of information, that is, read and write access.
  • Following on from this, we can come back to the example of the decentralized exchange. RPCs can make specific calls for information such as pricing, which is used to facilitate processes such as a cryptocurrency transaction. The API, as a communication framework with read and write access, is able to then record details like updated wallet balances to the relevant blockchain.

Where do nodes come into the picture?

You will often see the word node used in the world of blockchain. Node is just another word for server; a computer that stores information. Key to a blockchain network’s decentralization is the network of nodes throughout the world, which relay information to each other and confirm transactions or other activity that occurs on the blockchain. There is no central point of authority, and no single point of failure, making it extremely hard for one entity to control or attack.

Nodes don’t just have one kind of function; we often hear about them in the context of recording & validating transactions and creating new blocks once a network is set up, but nodes are also key to building a decentralized application.

Building Dapps with RPC nodes

When it comes to the building of decentralized applications, most developers use RPC nodes. The RPC node is a base element around which the app’s infrastructure is built and information is stored. Sounds simple enough, right? In the next section, we’ll look at what role RPC providers can play in helping to boost development.

Why are RPC providers important in blockchain development?

As we’ve established, RPC nodes are essential to creating decentralized applications, but this actually requires a lot of work; RPC node requests alone aren’t able to filter and aggregate data, and as mentioned above, are only the first step in making an expansive and functional application work as it should.

Infrastructure needs to be built around the node, and without a big dedicated team, maintaining it and ensuring security can be difficult, especially if an RPC connection with many different blockchains is required.

This is where RPC providers come in, with RPC, API, and software development products that mean you don’t have to build from scratch. Established infrastructure providers such as Ankr offer all the connections and tools to build out a decentralized application in an efficient and secure way. Not only is this great for developers, but helps to usher in an advanced suite of easy-to-use Web3 products, which, in turn, onboards new users.

Building on NEAR Protocol

NEAR blockchain is public Proof of Stake* infrastructure for creating decentralized applications. Over the last year it has grown at a spectacular rate due to a few key features:

  • Carbon-neutral – NEAR has been awarded the Climate Neutral product label by South Pole, meaning it has become a blockchain for the increasing number of environmentally-focused Regenerative Finance (ReFi) applications.
  • Nightshade sharding – More users bring more transactions, leading to, as in the case of Ethereum, slow transaction processing and high fees. Achieving scalability is they key to allowing for speed, security, and decentralization, the difficulties of which are detailed in the blockchain trilemma. NEAR’s Nightshade sharding architecture ensures the network can manage transactions successfully even at peak times, without the need for Layer 2 scaling solutions.
  • Interoperability – If you build your apps to be interoperable across blockchains, you will reach the most people and have the greatest chance of success. NEAR provides solutions for both developers and users to connect to Ethereum, the blockchain ecosystem that presently hosts the largest number of decentralized applications, through:
  • Aurora – An Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which allows developers to launch Ethereum compatible applications on the NEAR network.
  • Rainbow Bridge – A NEAR Protocol bridge built so that users can quickly and easily transfer Ethereum and many other ERC-20 assets to its blockchain.
  • Developer friendly – Along with the EVM for interoperability, NEAR puts a lot into ensuring developers get the best possible experience and support when building on its blockchain. This includes:
    • Guilds — specialist developer teams from around the world who provide support to those creating a Dapp on the NEAR blockchain.
    • Fair payment from fees that developers’ smart contracts generate.
    • Grants from the NEAR Foundation.
    • CLI, SDKs, and APIs to assist efficient and cost-effective development using different languages, even JavaScript.

NEAR RPC providers

NEAR gives developers clear set up instructions for the RPC NEAR API, as well as a list of RPC providers that help with connecting to and interacting with the NEAR Protocol ecosystem. As mentioned above, these tools allow developers to more efficiently build out a functional Web3 application in a secure environment—without having to reinvent the wheel.

Spotlight on Gynn.io

Gynn.io, the latest product from the INC4 team, gives NEAR builders the chance to achieve their development goals without the headaches. Drawing on our experience of building our leveraged yield farming app, PembRock Finance, on NEAR, we have developed GYNN to expedite the development process in a secure way.

In a nutshell, GYNN:

  • Is a magic RPC provider that removes the headache of node management.
  • Allows users to outsource their node infrastructure in a quick and easy manner — authorization can be achieved through a Google or GitHub account.
  • Operates the nodes and ensures 100% uptime so that you don’t have to.
  • Provides flexibility to ensure that development doesn’t stop because of overloads.
  • Offers a tool—GYNN Nodes Benchmark—which helps you see the most suitable node for your operations.  We track how stable the performance of each provider has been in the last 24 hours via criteria such as response rate and request duration.

How does GYNN compare to the competition?

GYNN is not the first RPC provider and won’t be the last, but we have the expertise and motivation to make sure we can assist every single user and build trust in the Web3 community, which is extremely important in what is a developing sector.

  • INC4 is a NEAR Guild, and through our work with different builders, we understand exactly what they need. Our platform is built around the continuous feedback of developers.
  • We provide support for archival nodes! Many providers are silent about the fact that they only work with full nodes, which means that they are not fully supportive of their clients’ projects. GYNN is a provider that is ready to ensure stable performance not only for full nodes but also for archival ones.
  • Our software rapidly reacts to failures, controls all resources, and automatically adds new nodes if the load is 80% or higher, ensuring the smoothest experience possible.
  • Using internal statistics, developers can check all the request parameters they may need, receiving comprehensive stats.
  • We have built in functionality that can limit endpoint requests to a specific domain. It means for users that even if their token is taken over, hackers will not be able to use it on another domain.

Find out more about GYNN on our website

Building out the Web3 Future

In sum, RPCs and APIs are both crucial to creating a Dapp that interacts with different blockchain networks. Just like in the Web2 app-building world, there need to be development tools that not only make the process of creation easier, but also provide the safety that is needed to ensure that there are no major problems along the way.

INC4’s project, GYNN, aims to be the RPC provider of choice for builders, going beyond simple node hosting to help accelerate innovative projects that are actively building out Web3, whether they are to do with DeFi, NFTs, the Metaverse, ReFi, or any other niche.

Alternatively, if you have a great idea but don’t have a development team on board to realize it, get in touch with us; INC4 offers full product development with a custom team that know the best way to build apps depending on your requirements. We have successfully delivered over 80 products, providing a range of services that include:

  • Smart contract architecture
  • Full-cycle Dapp development
  • NFT marketplace creation
  • Blockchain consulting
  • And much more…

*Nodes in a blockchain network provide a decentralized way of validating transactions. Although there are others, the two most popular consensus mechanisms are Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS): 

  • PoW requires nodes to solve complex mathematical problems by harnessing considerable computing power. Those that can do so first gets to add a new block of transactions to the blockchain, receiving the rewards that come with creating this new block.
  • PoS requires people to lock up, or stake, a certain amount of cryptocurrency in order to help validate transactions and secure the network. Unlike PoW, block validators are chosen according to this stake, rather than the exertion of computational power, which is why it is a more energy efficient alternative—NEAR is a PoS blockchain.

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