KYVE Fundamentals Article 4: The Power Of Open Source In A Decentralized World

6 min readMay 2, 2024


In a rapidly evolving blockchain space, revisiting the foundational principles of Web3 technology becomes not just relevant but essential for builders. This article delves into the power of open source software in shaping a decentralized future, emphasizing its critical role in blockchain innovation and community collaboration for supporting widespread adoption.

Through the lens of KYVE’s open source framework, explore how transparency, security, and collective engagement are driving the march towards a decentralized ecosystem, challenging the Web2, centralized approach still popular today in Web3.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Importance of Open Source in Blockchain: Open source fosters innovation, accelerates development, allows independent verification of the code, and ensures interoperability within the Web3 ecosystem, making it a crucial component for blockchain projects aiming for decentralization.
  • KYVE, Building Open Source: KYVE’s commitment to open source principles underpins its mission towards achieving full decentralization, enhancing transparency, security, and community engagement in the blockchain data space.
  • KYVE’s Roadmap to Full Decentralization: Through initiatives like simplifying runtime development and enhancing governance processes, KYVE is strategically paving its path towards a fully decentralized and user-driven ecosystem.

Open Source Defined

Open source software is like a recipe that’s shared publicly, allowing anyone to see the ingredients and steps needed to make it. People can use the recipe as is, tweak it to taste, or even add new ingredients. For blockchain, this means anyone can see how the blockchain works, contribute to its development, or use it as a foundation for their own projects.

Being open source is key for blockchains to achieve full decentralization, seeing that, to be decentralized, a blockchain cannot rely on just one entity for managing the source code. For example, open source projects include KYVE, Ethereum, Avalanche, and many others, fostering collaborative and transparent decentralized ecosystems.

There are two types to distinguish:

  1. Source Available: This is when a company publishes its source code for the public to see while also staying protected by copyright laws. This means no one can actually use or modify the code. But one can still look through it and report bugs if they see them. However, they are not the owner of their contributions once added to the source code.
  2. Fully Open Source: Via open source licensing (like Apache, GPL, MIT, etc.), anyone is allowed to use and or modify the source code. The majority of the time, there is a request to mention the original project and the original project not taking liability for any outside contributions. In this sense, people are free to do whatever they want with the source code to best benefit their initiatives while also contributing to the core project.

But not all teams prefer these philosophies, some choosing to stay closed source, AKA centralized, according to what they believe is best for their technology. For example, non-mission-critical software or apps that cannot be exploited without being given deliberate access can be considered safe to keep closed source if preferred.

Open Source vs. Closed Source
The distinction between open source and closed source (proprietary) software is stark, with each approach offering a different spectrum of benefits and challenges:

Open Source:

  • Pros: Enhanced transparency, interoperability, accelerated innovation and stronger source code through community collaboration, and greater customizability. Also key for a decentralized network.
  • Cons: Increased vulnerability to exploits due to public access to code and potential challenges in maintaining quality with diverse contributions.

Closed Source:

  • Pros: Focuses on control and intellectual property protection.
  • Cons: More of a Web2 approach which restricts access to its source code, making it not possible for users to adapt or customize the solutions for their needs directly on their own, or contribute to its development. And relying on a central entity for security brings on risks of single point of failure. Does not allow for decentralization.

Of course, opening up a blockchain’s source code can also mean risk for bad actors or hackers to find weaknesses within the chain, causing a danger to the ecosystem in question.

In this sense, certain bigger blockchains have chosen to stay closed source, where they just share the binary instead of the full source code with the public. However, this act of centralization can also lead to its own issues and lack of security within the blockchain itself.

In the context of blockchain and Web3, where trust, security, and collaboration are paramount, the advantages of open source generally outweigh the limitations, particularly for fast-scaling projects like KYVE.

“Being open source is critical for blockchain innovation and the overall scalable expansion of Web3.” Stated Fabian Riewe, Founder of KYVE. “Especially for AppChains where “code” = “law” there is no other way than making the source code open source to allow everybody to inspect, verify, and take part in the project. The power is in numbers, not just one.”

How KYVE Embodies Open Source Principles

KYVE’s commitment to being open sourced is crucial to its mission of providing a fully decentralized historical data archiving and validating solution. By making its entire blockchain, protocol, web app, and data tooling all open source, KYVE ensures that its solutions are transparent, secure, and aligned with the core ethos of Web3.

The Impact of KYVE Being Open Source:

  • Customizability and Interoperability: Developers can tailor KYVE’s protocol solution and tooling to their specific needs, ensuring seamless integration with other Web3 technologies.
  • For example, the source registry is available for all to contribute to. As soon as their project releases an integration with KYVE, they can submit a Github pull request to update their project’s details for further brand awareness.
  • Decentralization and Security: With its source code available for review, KYVE doesn’t rely on trust in individuals but in the collective verification of its codebase. This approach bolsters security and aligns with the principle that “the code is law.”
  • Network Involvement: By allowing and encouraging community contributions, KYVE not only enhances its security and functionality but also fosters a sense of ownership in its ecosystem.

KYVE’s Roadmap to Full Decentralization

KYVE is on a journey to improve the current level of decentralization. The upcoming steps towards this initiative include:

  • Reducing reliance on KYVE’s public infrastructure: Of course, KYVE’s public infrastructure (API and RPC nodes hosted by KYVE) is great for testing, but to promote a fully decentralized network, it shouldn’t be relied on as the main source for KYVE protocol validators. Luckily, most of the larger protocol validators are already running their own KYVE node, leveraging the KYVE-chain dedicated data pools, but not all are doing so yet. With this fully in play, all could be decentralized from the start.
  • Simplified Runtime Development: Upcoming improvements and the introduction of an RDK will make it easier for developers to create and deploy custom data archiving solutions on KYVE.
  • Governance Enhancements: Streamlining the governance process to empower the community and KYVE builders to shape the project’s future more effectively.

After completing these actions and many more to improve the current level of decentralization, KYVE’s goal of making data a public good, run by the people, will be complete, and the protocol will be fully autonomous.

Conclusion: Leading by Example

KYVE’s unwavering commitment to being open source is a testament to its dedication to building a more secure, transparent, and collaborative experience with historical Web3 data. By championing the open source model, KYVE not only fosters a culture of inclusivity but also paves the way for a decentralized future where the integrity of a platform is open for all to improve.

In this digital age where Web3 strives for widespread adoption, KYVE stands as a model for the blockchain community, proving that true innovation comes from openness, collaboration, and a shared vision of decentralization.

About KYVE

KYVE provides data rollups-as-a-service (DRaaS), streamlining reliable historical data storage, validation, and accessibility to ensure your blockchains and dApps have unmatched scalability and seamless integration with a modular stack. We handle the data, you build the future.

KYVE is backed by blockchains and foundations such as Arweave, Ava Labs, Solana Foundation, Interchain Foundation, Moonbeam, TheGraph, Parity Technologies, Composable Finance, Zilliqa, Mina Foundation, Aurora, and NEAR Foundation.

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KYVE, the web3 data lake solution, that enables data providers to standardize, validate, and permanently store blockchain data streams.