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How four companies are boosting Web3 innovation with Blockchain Node Engine

August 14, 2023
Nalin Mittal

Product Manager, Google Cloud

Blockchain technology is transforming how the world stores and moves information. Companies of all sizes are exploring its potential for enabling smart contract automation, building decentralized applications, driving open-source innovation, and more. But many also face a common hurdle: running and maintaining their own node, a prerequisite for many Web3 use cases. Deploying and managing nodes can be costly, time consuming, and complex. 

We designed Blockchain Node Engine to make things easier: Node hosting on Google Cloud frees you from worrying about the hardware, bandwidth, network connectivity, and maintenance requirements of running a node so they can focus on their core business instead. Recently, we also launched snapshot-based provisioning for nodes, allowing full and archive nodes to be synced in less than a day. This is a major improvement and allows developers to quickly deploy and scale their blockchain infrastructure.

Since its preview launch, both traditional enterprises and Web3 digital-native companies have used Blockchain Node Engine to solve some of the challenges of hosting their nodes. And as of June 2023, Blockchain Node Engine is generally available, helping more companies achieve the same. 

In today’s blog, we meet four companies using Blockchain Node Engine to help with their operational challenges, so they can build and scale faster in Web3 to benefit their customers and communities.  

Accenture: Helping clients take the next step in Web3

In 2022, Accenture Italy, leveraging Accenture Google Business Group, tested Blockchain Node Engine as a possible solution for its clients as they move deeper into the Web3 space.

Initially, the company installed a node and deployed smart contracts from Cloud Shell. It then applied the solution for tokenization and supply chain context, fostering Web3 integrations with processes. Blockchain Node Engine simplified deployment activities and allowed for a higher flexibility during configuration by making launching and running nodes easy and straightforward. Compared to its previous process, which entailed working with IaaS services, installing, and maintaining the nodes internally, Accenture found that using Blockchain Node Engine has lowered its configuration and deployment times by 30% to 50%. 

“Google Cloud's Web3 products like Blockchain Node Engine are quickly becoming the reference in the market for this kind of services,” says Alberto Nunzio Bonadonna, Managing Director, Accenture Cloud First - Software Engineering - Italy, Central Europe & Greece. “Using Blockchain Node Engine alongside the products already offered in its ecosystem, we’re confident that Google Cloud plays a relevant role in leading the transition from Web2 to Web3 culture.”

ENS Labs: Ensuring long-term availability and relevance of NFTs

Non-profit organization ENS Labs is responsible for the core software development of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). ENS Labs manages the ENS Manager app, develops and maintains open source libraries and core smart contracts, and hosts its NFT Metadata Service — a server designed to manage and access the unique data associated with ENS Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). 

Information in the Metadata Service includes ENS names, descriptions, images, and ownership details, as well as the retrieval of data via distributed storage solutions for persistent data access. Regardless of the state of the original issuing platform or service, it is important to ensure the long-term availability and relevance of NFTs by preserving the integrity of the metadata. This means that delivering queries with speed and accuracy is of critical importance for the company, which regards Blockchain Node Engine as a key asset in its technology stack.

“Blockchain Node Engine consistently outperforms benchmarks, and using a fast and reliable blockchain for our Metadata Service is crucial to ensure prompt data retrieval, thereby improving overall system efficiency and user experience,” explains Muhammed Tanrikulu, Senior Software Engineer at ENS Labs. “Blockchain Node Engine architects our metadata service to prioritize reliability during peak network periods so we can ensure seamless, uninterrupted data access. This feature is critical to maintaining the integrity of our request-response model, especially during high-volume or mission-critical operations. For developers, this reliability means a stable platform on which to build their applications, ultimately increasing their productivity and the quality of their output.”

thirdweb: Making it easier and faster for developers to innovate on Web3 

Development platform thirdweb offers APIs and services that make it easier for developers to build Web3 apps. When developers use thirdweb tools, they don’t need to worry about hardware, scalability, security, or performance — they can just focus on building. And Blockchain Node Engine is at the core of thirdweb’s infrastructure.

“We’re using Blockchain Node Engine to serve our blockchain access node for developers,” explains Jake Loo, Co-founder and CTO,  thirdweb. The startup has been testing Blockchain Node Engine since it launched in 2022. Six months into leveraging a dedicated node engine, the startup noticed a significant decrease in costs compared to its previous setup.

“There is a lot of work associated with running a node, and Blockchain Node Engine decreases that significantly. We can focus on building new technology with peace of mind that those important considerations around infrastructure management and security are being taken care of behind the scenes,” says Loo. “thirdweb facilitates the developer workflow so they can build Web3 apps instead of figuring out infrastructure. Blockchain Node Engine makes it easier for us to operate nodes and focus on the software layer without having to think about its underlying issues.”

IEX Cloud: Building bridges from Web2 to Web3

A wholly-owned subsidiary of IEX Group, Inc., IEX Cloud is a platform that makes financial data and services easily accessible to everyone. The company released event-processing capabilities followed by an Ethereum connector in 2023, but to leverage these services, users need to have a node. At its testing phase, IEX Cloud used various node providers but faced technical challenges around data quality with unreliable throughput (known as “noisy neighbors” syndrome). The instability experienced was not acceptable for the company since it aimed to offer a real-time events service, which entails reliable data, infrastructure, and connection.

That’s when Blockchain Node Engine was launched, and since the company runs on Google Cloud, embracing the new solution felt like a natural progression. Compared to provisioning a dedicated node (which involved the company standing up its own instance, installing software, and then monitoring and maintaining it), Blockchain Node Engine reduced the overhead for IEX Cloud’s team dramatically. 

“Blockchain Node Engine frees us from building blockchain infrastructure, which is not our expertise, to focus on building the capabilities we are actually known for,” explains Liz Grausam, Head of IEX Cloud. 

“As transactions move on-chain, we’re expected to deliver critical financial services as we do on Web2 — with reliability and real-time processing,” says Grausam. “Our customers are building applications that are very new to the world, but you can’t build the application layer if the data infrastructure is impossible to use. Having Google Cloud-native node services is reassuring. It gives us the foundation for building more bridges from Web2 to Web3 on high-quality, scaling infrastructure.” 

Discover how Google Cloud for Web3 can help you take the next step towards building on the blockchain. We offer enterprise-grade performance, regional configurability, and flat pricing, so you can focus on building what matters most.

Special thanks to members of the Cloud Web3 team: Leon Glover, Joseph Kottapurath, Ryan Kim, Monika Kumari, Ross Nicoll, Cat Ockman, Justin Pachter, Vamsi Pasupuleti, Nick Rogers, Kelley Scroggs, and Ethan Wang. Their hard work and dedication made it possible for us to bring Blockchain Node Engine to general availability.
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