The Open Application Network (OAN) is the first project built out of Nuco, Inc. It aims to provide private and public blockchains with a solution that allows them to interoperate, scale, and communicate with any other network. Nuco was founded by a group of ex-Deloitte employees in 2016 to focus on production-ready enterprise blockchain infrastructure. The firm developed a few solutions for the Ethereum blockchain. It formalized the concept of the “Enterprise Ethereum Stack,” leading Nuco to base an early implementation of The OAN on Ethereum.
The OAN initially launched as the Aion project in July 2017 and focused on providing a blockchain-based ecosystem supported by a scalable, private, and interoperable public blockchain network. The team open-sourced the protocol code in March 2018 and launched its mainnet soon after (April 2018). Since its mainnet launch, the project also released the Aion Virtual Machine — a JVM compliant execution environment on a public chain — and established the Aion Foundation with 55 employees across three cities (Toronto, Shanghai, and Barbados).
In Nov. 2019, the project rebranded to The Open Application Network (OAN) as the team sought a new strategic direction for its blockchain ecosystem. Per the announcement, the new direction is "focused on establishing a distinct narrative in the traditional software industry" and "solving real problems that are understood and actionable today." Despite the change, Aion remains the exclusive brand and narrative of the digital asset underpinning the protocol (i.e., The OAN).
Later that same month, The OAN also upgraded its protocol to include a new consensus algorithm, called Unity, which combines elements of Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Previously, The OAN, as well as Aion, was exclusively a PoW chain. The project introduced staking to incentivize participation in and engagement with the network. Unity also led The OAN to shift the economics of Aion issuance by increasing the block reward to compensate both stakers and miners for deploying resources to the network
Mainstream adoption of blockchains has been limited because of scalability, privacy, and interoperability challenges. Aion is a multi-tier blockchain network designed to address these challenges. Core to our hypothesis is the idea that many blockchains will be created to solve unique business challenges within unique industries. As such, the Aion network is designed to support custom blockchain architectures while providing a trustless mechanism for cross-chain interoperability.