Codename KEANU

A proposal for the first-ever decentralized, on-chain network hard merge between Keep and NuCypher.

Codename KEANU

We’d like to propose the first-ever decentralized, on-chain network hard merge of the Keep and NuCypher networks to form the KEANU network.


Keep, like NuCypher, is a threshold cryptography network. The main application that currently runs on Keep is tBTC, a decentralized Bitcoin-backed erc20 token that enables Bitcoin holders to participate in Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem.

Since asset bridges are a logical use case for threshold cryptography networks, developers within the NuCypher community have been exploring applications similar to tBTC.

tBTC v2

tBTC v1 is the most credible decentralized BTC on Ethereum in the market. However, its market share is currently limited by high collateral requirements and minting costs.

tBTC is the only decentralized BTC token on DEFI PULSE

tBTC v2 is designed to address these limitations and, with NuCypher’s help, may become the de facto wrapped BTC on Ethereum.

The security model of v2 requires a significantly higher number of signers than v1. A hard merge would allow Keep's ~200 nodes and NuCypher’s ~2,000 nodes to provide an extremely robust signer set for tBTC and an additional revenue stream for stakers.


The long-term benefits of this potential hard merge could be immense and include a unified specification/architecture, multiple software clients, multiple core development teams, and combined communities/stakers/node operators providing threshold cryptography services. A hard merge could also accelerate the introduction of future threshold primitives beyond the proxy re-encryption, threshold signature, and random beacon services that are currently being provided on the networks, greatly expanding the scope and functionality of applications that can be built by the Web3 and DeFi community.


We would like to solicit community feedback on the first-ever decentralized, on-chain network hard merge to potentially combine Keep and NuCypher into the KEANU network.

The first component in the KEANU network would be a staking contract that accepts both NU and KEEP, each with a DAO-specified relative staking weight. There would also be a mechanism for existing NU stakers to opt-in as well.

The staking weights would be algorithmically or manually managed to account for each existing network's emissions schedule, giving each community a collective 50/50 stake in the KEANU network.

Over time, a unified protocol specification may be developed by the community that supports generic threshold cryptography operations, including proxy re-encryption. The NuCypher and Keep software clients could both conform to the shared specification, resulting in a more diverse and robust network.

As part of this proposal, there would NOT be any token swap or burn. NU and KEEP would both continue to exist as stake-able assets in KEANU and their respective networks.

The Keep and NuCypher core teams would NOT be merging as part of this proposal. Instead, they would remain independent entities, both with stakes in the KEANU network.

What does this mean for you?

Like all decentralized community efforts, NuCypher and KEEP stakeholders will determine whether this hard merge occurs, so please provide your thoughts and feedback in the forum!

KEANU is a codename but what’s the best name for the network in the long-run? We want something that both communities can rally behind, so share your ideas.

Lastly, if you are a NuCypher staker, node operator, service provider (wallet, exchange, or custodian), or token holder, there is no immediate action you need to take. For now, everything will continue operating as normal.