The Internet Computer’s NNS Front-End Dapp Is Now Open Source

The NNS front-end dapp lets users send and receive ICP tokens, take part in NNS governance, create canister smart contracts, and top up canisters with cycles.

The Internet Computer blockchain is controlled by the Network Nervous System (NNS), a permissionless, autonomous governance system embedded within the Internet Computer’s protocols that allows it to be governed in an open, decentralized, and secure manner. The NNS has complete control over all aspects of the network — it can upgrade the ICP protocol and software used by the node machines that host the network; create new subnet blockchains to increase network capacity; split subnets to divide their load; configure economic parameters that control how much must be paid by users for compute capacity; and, in extreme situations, it can freeze malicious canister smart contracts in order to protect the network.

The NNS front-end dapp provides users with a simple, safe, and secure interface to engage the network, whether to send and receive ICP utility tokens, take part in network governance by staking ICP tokens into neurons to vote on proposals, or create canisters and charge them with cycles to run their own services.

The DFINITY Foundation’s R&D team is excited to announce that the NNS front-end dapp is now open source.

The repository is viewable here:

Get Started Using the NNS Front-End Dapp and ICP Wallet on the Internet Computer

Why the NNS front-end dapp is important

Over the years, there have been countless stories of people losing their tokens due to exchanges being hacked, or simply by losing their private keys. The NNS front-end dapp provides a secure, decentralized haven for ICP tokens where access is controlled through Internet Identity (, a new blockchain authentication system based on advanced cryptography, that allows users to authenticate into dapps using YubiKeys or the biometric sensors of their devices. This enables users to add multiple authentication devices for redundancy while keeping control of their private keys at all times.

Internet Computer | Documentation

Unlike most canister smart contracts and even the DFINITY Canister SDK, the NNS front-end dapp is part of a class of canister that is only updated via NNS proposals. (Other examples include the ledger canister, the governance canister, and Internet Identity.) Though the code of NNS front-end dapp is open source, actual updates to the code are implemented via NNS proposals, such as this recent NNS proposal:

To create and vote on proposals, users must first stake ICP tokens into neurons. In order to maximize user participation and, in turn, decentralization, users need a simple and secure method of staking and managing neurons. The NNS front-end dapp fulfils this purpose, allowing users to stake voting neurons with just a few clicks and configure them with just a few more, adjusting aspects such as the neuron’s dissolve delay (the time taken before the ICP inside the neuron becomes liquid) and its followees (the set of trusted neurons whose votes the user’s neuron will follow).

Understanding the Internet Computer’s Network Nervous System, Neurons, and ICP Utility Tokens

In order to build services that run on the Internet Computer, developers need to create canisters and convert ICP tokens into cycles to run them. Again, the NNS front-end dapp simplifies this task so that anyone can create canisters easily with just a few clicks. Once created, canisters can be monitored, configured, and topped up. For more details, refer to our guide: “How to Deploy Your First Canister Smart Contract Using the NNS Front-End Dapp.”


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The Internet Computer’s NNS Front-End Dapp Is Now Open Source was originally published in The Internet Computer Review on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
10/20/2021 - 18:10

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