Strengths and Weaknesses
- Low transaction fees – like NEAR, boasts low transaction fees (mostly 0.02 USD)
- Network speed – Aurora is one of the fastest EVMs today
- Security – uses the NEAR Protocol security
- Weak marketing – Aurora is not well known in the crypto world
Aurora works on the delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus.
It is an EVM running on the NEAR blockchain that aims to be a faster and more secure solution for Ethereum developers. It wants to achieve this with cheap transaction fees and fast scalability, which it owes to the NEAR Protocol (it finalizes blocks in 1 to 2 seconds and is scalable).
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Functioning of the Chain
Aurora implements two main interfaces:
- execution: allows users to send common Ethereum transactions. These transactions are then decrypted (RLP), authenticated (secp256k1) and executed in the EVM mode (VM Sputnik). Some operations enabled in the EVM environment may be moved to the NEAR Protocol level (thus becoming precompiled), if sufficient smart contract speed is not provided.
- token: uses Rainbow Bridge technology for Ethereum transfers and internal NEAR token transfers. This will allow the native $NEAR conversion to the Aurora chain. Aurora thus becomes the connection point between the Ethereum and NEAR blockchains. Fees when using the Aurora blockchain are paid in $ETH. The main reason is the 100% smart contracts’ compatibility between the Ethereum and Aurora blockchains. No change is needed when deploying to the Aurora network.
RLP (Recursive Length Prefix) is the arbitrary field encoding of binary data. It was first proposed for serializing transactions and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Data for RLP encoding is defined in two forms: a series and an array. The array is also split into two forms, hence the name "Recursive". RLP appends a prefix before the encoded data. Therefore, it is called "Length Prefix".
secp256k1 is the name of the elliptic curve used to implement the cryptographic public key. All points on this curve are valid public keys. If a user wants to generate a public key using his private key, he multiplies his private key by a defined point (generator point) on the secp256k1 curve.
The private key cannot be determined in the opposite way (by division).
VM Sputnik is an enhanced version of the classic EVM that implements the original Ethereum EVM features. However, its design and coding has changed to meet the developers' goals: less computational complexity, better integrity, and simplicity. The developers behind the project are from Ethereum Classic.
Aurora is a modern EVM running on the NEAR Protocol. A bridge between the Aurora, NEAR and Ethereum blockchains has been developed for a more secure and faster transfer. It is called Rainbow Bridge, and its author is Kirill Abramov, a software engineer at Aurora Labs.
You can transfer your $ETH from the Ethereum blockchain to the Aurora chain with $ETH fees. You can transact right away and not deal with another coin / token to pay for the first transaction. This is a big advantage over other blockchains that let you pay for transactions with your governance coin / token.
Aurora was launched on 12 May 2021 on the NEAR Protocol.
On 14 October 2021, Aurora Labs raised USD 12 million in its latest funding round.
Aurora coin ICO took place on 11 November 2021.
On 26 April 2022, a critical flaw in the Aurora engine was discovered that would have drained at least 70 thousand $ETH (about 200 million USD at the time). The flaw was reported by ethical hacker "pwning.eth" who received a 6 million USD reward from Aurora. The bug was fixed quickly without any user funds loss.
On 17 May, Aurora launched its staking platform Aurora+. It was necessary to change the RPC in the wallet to the Aurora+ RPC. There were issues with the smoothness and transaction speed for a while after the launch. Everything was debugged within a few days.
June 2022 – 2 critical errors were identified. The first was related to NEP-141 (Aurora blockchain token standard). Due to this flaw, an attacker could create NEAR coins, bridge them from the Aurora chain and then use them to extract ETH coins from Aurora chain users' addresses.
The second bug was found in the burning function when using the bridge service. An attacker could create a fake burn and thus remove 4 $ETH from the Aurora chain reserve.
The vulnerabilities were reported by ethical hackers, who received a 2 million USD reward. All bugs were fixed, and no funds were stolen.
Alexander Shevchenko studied applied mathematics and physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology from 2006-2015.
Subsequently, he worked for Bitfury, where he served as Exonum project leader until 2018.
He was promoted to the position of CEO Business Assistant that year. He held this position for two years.
He started working for NEAR as a product manager in 2020.
He expanded his involvement with NEAR Protocol as Aurora Labs CEO a year later.
$Aurora is the Aurora blockchain governance coin.
- voting on network changes
- Aurora ecosystem development support through AuroraDAO
- staking in Aurora+
Revenue & Tokenomics
The Aurora coin total supply is 1 billion. There are now 109 204 046 coins in circulation (as of 4 December 2022).
$Aurora ICO took place on 18 November 2021.
- 48% - AuroraDAO for future ecosystem development
- 20% - community
- 16% - AuroraLabs
- 9% - private investor round
- 3% - for the NEAR ecosystem
- 2% - initial investors
- 1% - for running projects on Aurora
- 1% - Aurora ecosystem support
Coin unlock is set linearly to vest for up to 2 years, per 3 month periods. Of the total, 25% of the coins were unlocked after 6 months and 12.5% every 3 months thereafter.
The Uniqueness of the Chain
What do the community and developers appreciate about it?
Aurora provides to Ethereum a development environment with L2-like speed and scalability.
The connection with NEAR Protocol makes the Aurora chain one of the best and fastest EVMs in the crypto world.
Aurora has developed its own Rainbow Bridge between the Ethereum, NEAR and Aurora blockchains, ensuring easier asset transfer.
Aurora provides its own coin staking platform called Aurora+.
- 50 free transactions per month
- staking rewards (you get rewarded in Aurora coin and tokens of other projects on the Aurora chain)
- Aurora Airdrop
With the Aurora+ launch, the company has shown its readiness for mass adoption by retail and together with the NEAR chain they are building a solid foundation.
It opens the door to a new DeFi generation that will be more user-friendly. Aurora+ plans to further expand its features:
- single-point KYC – in the Aurora+ interface, you perform a quick KYC that is recorded on the blockchain. You will no longer need to perform KYC in any dApp within the Aurora ecosystem,
- premium plans – for users who will not be enough with 50 transactions per month, a premium plan will be created to suit their needs,
- governance participation – you will be able to participate in the Aurora ecosystem development and governance through AuroraDAO for staking $Aurora,
- private transaction – your transactions will be less searchable.
Aurora Engine 2.7.0 advances interoperability with NEAR chain, Octopus Network, and others.
For users, this means integration with any NEAR dApp directly from the Aurora chain.
The whitepaper absence can be considered one of the exceptional features. According to the Aurora ecosystem creators, this concept is outdated. That's why they came up with putting the information directly on their website. It points to a completely different and perhaps innovative view of the crypto world.
How the Network is Secured
The NEAR Protocol takes care of the Aurora network security.
You can delegate $Aurora to increase the NEAR ecosystem security.
How to stake Aurora coin:
- connect your wallet at here
- go to ‘Stake’ in the tabs
- deposit your coins
For more information on the Aurora staking concept, please see this forum.
You get Aurora partner tokens as a reward.
You have to wait 2 days to be removed from the staking service.
When withdrawing $Aurora, be sure to select partner rewards as well, otherwise they will be lost. Just click on the 'Claim all' button.
If you don't have $Aurora, you can stake $NEAR directly in your NEAR wallet.
- just select the 'staking' tab of the Aurora pool in the wallet
- click on "Stake with validator"
You will receive $Aurora as a reward. More details can be found here.
You get 50 free transactions per month by using Aurora+ RPC in your wallet.
Biggest DeFi projects on the Aurora network:
- Bastion – Lending
- Trisolaris –DEX
- Aurora Plus –Services
Since Aurora is not that well known, its DeFi ecosystem is small. It has around 40 dApps.
Aurora DAO allocates grants to new projects that want to join the ecosystem.
AuroraDAO operates much like a traditional board of directors, making decisions about the entire ecosystem functioning.
AuroraDAO consists of Aurora Labs, early investors, and ecosystem partners.
The $Aurora holders regularly vote on the board structure.
The Aurora community is still small. Nevertheless, the Discord administrators are active and answer all questions from Aurora chain developers and users.
The main information channel is Twitter, through which Aurora Labs communicates with the outside world and shares news.
Aurora is not a big name in the crypto world yet. It's a shame, as its speed and cheap transactions are fascinating. With the support from NEAR Protocol, the Aurora chain is becoming one of the best EVMs on the market. The big weakness I see is in the marketing, which could be more prominent to attract new users to try the fast and cheap blockchain. Aurora has been lucky with ethical hackers during its short time in the crypto world. They have pointed out the bugs and been rewarded, rather than choosing to exploit the flaws they found in the system.
Aurora goes hand in hand with the NEAR protocol. If one does well, the other will benefit.
Personally, I have been using Aurora chain for some time now and I am very satisfied with its operation.
NEAR chain is completing its sharding at the end of 2022, which will also benefit Aurora.