Chunk (NEAR)

Chunk refers to a portion of the block generated through sharding in the NEAR protocol.


What Is Chunk (NEAR)?

A fraction of each block produced as a result of sharding on NEAR is called a Chunk.

Chunk is a part of the data sharding mechanism in the NEAR protocol, allowing the system to scale horizontally by splitting the blockchain state into non-overlapping chunks. Each chunk is managed by a group of validators, who together take care of storage and compute resources needed to process transactions related to that chunk.

Chunk provides two services:

State storage – Chunk maintains a history of states and provides an indexing and querying service on top of it.

Execution – Chunk executes transactions using the EVM and maintains a transaction history, which includes both failed and successful transactions.
NEAR uses a Proof-of-Stake consensus. A key property of this system is that anyone can participate as a validator (this is also why it is called “open Proof of Stake”). This ensures that we remain open and permissionless, while still being secure.

NEAR uses sharding to scale the network. This means that the more people using it, the faster it gets. Unlike many other systems, NEAR is designed with sharding in mind from day one and it is integrated into the core protocol.

It has a unique set of design tradeoffs that allow it to achieve the highest possible decentralization at a performance level close to centralized alternatives. It achieves this by using sharding (also known as horizontal scaling) which means parallelizing transactions across thousands of computers. NEAR uses “shards” – groups of computers (or “validators”) that process transactions concurrently, each processing a small part of all the transactions at any one time.

NEAR is a decentralized cloud computing network that allows developers to build on top of a shared infrastructure. This network is run by validators and stake-weighted community members, who are compensated for their contributions with NEAR tokens.

NEAR provides three main pillars for developers to create highly scalable applications:

Scalability: Developers can scale their applications to match the demand by using state sharding. The same machine learning model can be used across different shards, which reduces the cost of scaling.

Compute Resources: Developers can access compute resources (CPU, RAM) through the protocol to run their application.

NEAR Tokens: Users transact on the platform with NEAR tokens, which allow them to interact with services and applications built on top of the protocol.

NEAR Protocol has introduced “Chunk-Only Producers” to allow more people to take part in securing and decentralizing the network.

A chunk-only producer (COP) is a process that runs on a node and is responsible for producing blocks. In addition to the storage and networking components, each shard is equipped with a dedicated COP. The COP is only interested in producing chunks, not validating transactions or maintaining the state.

Chunks contain all transactions of a block, as well as the receipts and execution results of those transactions.