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A Quick Look at Hub20

Hub20 is a web application that aims to work as a "bridge" between the traditional web (that is more familiar to common users) and the Web3 world of blockchain-powered distributed applications.

The people running the web application (i.e, the Operators) are still required to understand the fundamentals of how blockchains work (i.e, how to make a transaction, awareness of gas fees, the difference between "Layer-1" and "Layer-2", etc) while Users see nothing but a regular web application that provides funcionality equivalent to any digital bank.

Basic components of the Hub20 ecosystem

Hub20 follows a conventional "client/server" architecture, where client applications are focused on providing the functionality for users that need to interact with the server. Concretely, we have the following:

  • the Hub20 server is is a fairly standard application implemented in Django and Celery. Django provides the HTTP API, while celery is using to run background tasks and services. It contains all the users' data (credentials, internal transfers, token balances, etc). Operators are responsible in ensuring that this server is online and available to the users, up-to-date, secure, as well as ensuring that the data from the users is stored safely. For users to be able to connect to the server, it needs to be available on the public internet or an internal/private network that the user can be accessed by an internet browser

  • The frontend is a javascript-based web application which can connect to any different server, as long as the server is accessible through a public internet address. One installation of the frontend application is available online and its code is available in a separate repository for those that would like to run on their own.

  • There is also Checkout20, which is a javascript package that provides a checkout/payment gateway functionality for users of the Hub that would like to have a way to make online commerce and accept cryptocurrencies as payment.

Integrated services

As mentioned above, the web application works as a bridge to the world of blockchain technologies. To execute its functions, the Hub20 server communicates with other services, mainly:

  • An Ethereum node: to keep track of all of the transactions on the blockchain. You can run your own or rely on a third-party service provider such as infura. This is mandatory and Hub20 will not be able to make any kind of interaction with the blockchain if the ethereum node is unavailable.

  • A Raiden node: to be able to make and receive payments on the Raiden network. Using Raiden is optional but highly recommended, as transfers executed through Raiden are virtually free of gas fees. This client needs to run on your own infrastructure and should have its access always protected. Currently Raiden does not provide any kind of access control or authorization checks for its API, which means that anyone with direct network access to raiden will be able to make operations with it.

Before starting to look how to run these parts of the service together, we need to create the ethereum accounts that will be used by the server instance for any blockchain/raiden operation.