NuCypher and Keep Network propose ‘world’s first decentralized protocol merger’

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The communities of crypto projects Keep and NuCypher are proposing a “hard merge,” with onlookers describing the move as “the world’s first decentralized protocol merger.”

Proposals were published to the respective forums of Keep and NuCypher’s DAO on March 8, revealing discussions have been underway between the two projects for several weeks. If passed, the merger is expected to see the two projects integrated into a new interoperable network dubbed “Keanu.”

The Keep Network is a protocol allowing blockchain users to privately store and transfer data off-chain, with the team using its tech to build the decentralized Bitcoin tokenization protocol, tBTC. NuCypher similarly offers a decentralized data encryption and protection layer for Ethereum-based decentralized applications.

The post written by NuCypher CEO MacLane Wilkison to his project’s DAO notes that NuCypher’s 2,000 nodes would become signers to tBTC, increasing its node-count by 1,000% and providing a robust foundation for tBTC’s coming v2 overhaul.

The proposals recommend a phased roll-out for the integration. A new staking contract would first be launching, maintaining support for both NU and KEEP as work tokens. Each community will be granted a combined 50% stake in Keanu.

A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, managed by the new contracts would shortly follow, followed by tBTC v2’s deployment and integration of the respective client networks.

Despite the networks planning to integrate, development will be driven by two independent teams working toward shared objectives. Keep project lead Matt Luongo wrote:

“The Keep and NuCypher networks have built similar technology with similar goals. Rather than continuing to split the market, we think we can achieve significantly more together. And while both dev teams will remain independent, we’ll all be focused on a single protocol.”

On Twitter, Luongo also predicted the integration will pave the way for layer-two integrations, suggesting users will soon be able to mint tBTC on Optimism, Arbitrum, Polygon, or zkSync.

Viktor Bunin of blockchain infrastructure provider Bison Trails noted that Keanu would offer the projects’ existing stakers greater modularity, tweeting:

“Keep and NuCypher are both modular. They can add support for new use cases, which stakers can opt into supporting. Stakers on the new network will have a greater selection of modular components […] via which they can earn fees.”

Bunin added that Keanu will diminish each network’s “reliance on inflationary incentives,” allowing the new network to become “sustainable off of fees alone much faster.”