Cortex App and Network Frequently Asked Questions


What is Cortex Network?

Cortex is a scalable foundation for just about any kind of content on Web3, the user-owned web. That means you could build social apps where the users own their social posts or a private document network for communities like DAOs where the documents are all proven and signed with multisig by the authorized parties, or a gallery for your artwork. The opportunities to build are really limitless.

How is Cortex App different from typical note-taking or web-publishing tools?

With Cortex, each individual owns their information: their notes, their documents. Only the person with the keys can control them. In addition, Cortex enables private channels in the same network. So you can choose what’s private and what’s public. Finally, with Cortex’s blockchain links or, “blinks.” You can set up messaging systems between Cortex wallet addresses.

How does cortex enable “Web3 for everyone?”

First, we’ve given away .hmn domains so that anyone can get started in Web3. These domains will act as your identity in the Cortex app and are completely self-sovereign and full NFTs. You can also build your digital kingdom where you sell subdomains, so if you have ‘gates.hmn,’ you can sell ‘bill.gates.hmn’ to someone else but maintain custody of the gates.hmn domain overall. In addition, these domains, combined with your keys, create the namespace for all your data. You can think of this namespace like a filestore or folder pathway for all your stuff.

Data on Cortex Network and in the Cortex App

How does a user own their data on Cortex?

Cortex is a ‘trustless’ distributed system. That means, much like cryptocurrency, the key-holder controls the assets in their wallet, the ones attached to their crypto address and public/private keys. The same is true for data in the Cortex network; only the key-holder can access and edit their content unless it’s made public..

How will cortex work with IPFS will there be other backends for data we can use?

Cortex uses much of the current IPFS standards and hashing, so in the near-term IPFS will be the simplest. With demand, we do plan on offering encrypted data hosting wherever users want it to be hosted, AWS, Google, your their own servers, etc. The backend is flexible.

Is the user’s data visible to Cortex?

In the version to be launched first, all info will be public by default since the main use case now is making public web3 sites. But soon we will offer a version that is encrypted by default and, unless intentionally flagged as public, your data is only visible to the user and those with the channel code. Cortex App makes the data easy to code and use, but the data is only read and edited by the user. We will also enable private collaboration groups in future versions.

The Cortex Content Network and Publishing

How do the nodes in Cortex work and coordinate?

The nodes in the Cortex Network are called Press Nodes. They operate in mostly a chain-independent manner. The nodes operate the network and enable publishers to collect and validate updates to the network via HDIndex, which allows a simple hash to define the current state of content in the network. Press nodes can then retrieve and display that content.

How will the Content Network use the $CRTX tokens?

$CRTX tokens will be used much like any Proof of Stake system. Publishers will stake a certain amount of token. The token amount staked determines the frequency with which a publisher can publish. Could be once per minute or once per month. That’s up to the publisher.

What is the role of publishers on the Cortex network?

Publishers work very much like miners in a Proof of Stake Blockchain network. They operate nodes, validate transactions, and receive rewards for staking. Publishers receive more rewards the more total publishing happens on the network, so each publisher has an incentive to publish.
Publishers spend $CRTX every time they publish. At least part of that $CRTX is distributed to other publishers based on the amount they stake. It isn't distributed to all token holders.
A publisher also publishes multiple updates (commits) each time they publish. That means they aren't doing a transaction for every change but rather they publish a single release which contains many commits, a key scalability feature.

What is the relationship between Publishers and Users?

The relationship between publishers and users is really up to them. You can self-publish and be your own publisher. You might charge people to publish, or you might curate what you publish in a marketplace or news publication setting. While users own their data, the publishers maintain control over what they publish. The relationship between publishers and users also adds a new layer of privacy, as the publisher’s keys are used to publish, not the users, even as the user signs with their keys, their commits are provable, but not used to write on-chain..

What are the advantages to the publishers for joining the Cortex network?

Just as any kind of news service or application runs on web2 today, the opportunity is to pull together and publish conversations within your community, but do it in a way that is validated and secured for the users. Then, of course, publishers receive rewards from the network for staking. The more publishing that takes place on the network, the more of a reward each publisher receives.
But at the most basic level, the reason to be a publisher is so that you can publish content. That can range from an individual wanting to self publish all the way up to a service provider publishing content for their customers. It could be a company publishing content for their employees to create an internal knowledge base, a project using it to manage code, documentation, and community all in one place, or anywhere in-between.

How will I select a publisher to publish my content?

Users will choose publishers the same way you might choose a social platform or marketplace today. You publish where you want your content to be seen. The benefit with Cortex is, you still own and control your content, not the publisher. A user can send same content to multiple publishers.

Butterfly Protocol Domains on Cortex

How do domain names work within Cortex?

Domain names in Cortex are based on Butterfly Protocol Domain Names, which are Web3-smart-contract-governed, DNS-based names. They are full NFTs, meaning they have much wider use cases and can have many more attributes than current Web3 domains. They can do more than just resolve addresses. They can hold data and other information (and more to come.)

What kinds of things can one publish?

There is a wide variety of file types supported. The Cortex application itself will use markdown, but the backend is based on git, so just about any git-supported file type can be used. These currently include:
PNG (.png) GIF (.gif) JPEG (.jpg) SVG (.svg) Log files (.log) Microsoft Word (.docx), Powerpoint (.pptx), and Excel (.xlsx) documents Text files (.txt) PDFs (.pdf) ZIP (.zip, .gz) Video (.mp4, .mov)

Are there size limits?

Each node (note, document or page) is currently a folder on IPFS, so will have the same limits as IPFS.

How do I claim a domain name?

We pride ourselves on making a “Web3 for Everyone”. That means making it simple and inexpensive. You can claim a domain in 2 clicks or less for free at to get started. We will have paid TLDs shortly, and working with partners to create new TLDs that will allow anyone to claim domains there.

Can anyone get a Butterfly top-level domain, or TLD?

Creating a fully-owned TLD requires 100,000 BFLY tokens, so there will only ever be at most 1000 fully-owned TLDs. So having one will be a rare commodity. Get yours soon! There are also community sponsored TLDs that are limited to Ethereum and are not as flexible as fully-owned TLDs. Anyone with enough $BFLY can sponsor a TLD. Yes, anyone, true decentralized control.

What does it mean that I can edit the metadata on my Butterfly Domain NFT?

Unlike several decentralized domain name systems, Butterfly domains are full NFTs and can issue subdomain NFTs that are also full NFTs.
For example, you can’t take an ENS NFT and change the metadata to add custom art to it. You can’t use the NFT that represents your domain for anything else.
Metadata for these Butterfly NFTs can be edited in the following ways:
If you buy a domain, you can set the image associated with the NFT so that it shows a picture of you for example. If you have a game, and use the Butterfly NFTs for items you can set different information, like charge level and the longer the NFT is held the charge information is updated over item. You can create custom attributes. You have a name for your NFT, but also a location in Web3 for endless multimedia storytelling with the Cortex App. Other direction, then you have the tree structure, so you get the sub-NFTs and you get the name and the site, you can think of thes like enhanced DVDs, you can keep adding new features.

Can you mint subdomain NFTs?

Yes! How are Butterfly Protocol Domains, like .hmn, .ape, and .crtx different from other Web3 decentralized domains? Butterfly domains currently resolve across both Ethereum and Polygon, with more chains coming, reducing the complexity of integrations. Butterfly domain names are full NFTs, meaning you can edit the metadata and even issue full NFT subdomains. So you could sell a piece of art as an NFT, for example, that would have a home on the Web as well as on chain. *How it will work: You might issue NFT1.Series3.web3monet.hmn as an NFT with the art IN it. Then the art has a life on the web, but can be transacted as NFT as well. Full domains also mean potentially lifetime ownership, or until sold: Each web3 domain name project handles things a little differently. Several have their own blockchain and require yearly renewal fees. Butterfly domains, once owned, are owned for life or until sold, like any other NFT. No renewal fees. Butterfly Protocol is an alternate root meaning Butterfly can issue multiple TLDs (top-level domains) and let the community choose what TLDs are sponsored. You could, if you wanted, create a .web3monet TLD, for example. if you have say, on web2 you could tie those domains to it and publish there as well. So everything that you have on .web3monet TLD within will also appear on legacy web (web2) at Full NFTs allow for cool new use cases such as gaming and tracking partial ownership of real world goods by issuing those subdomains. Overall Butterfly takes a more holistic approach and building multiple components to support dapp development through Cortex. Naming is just the first phase and the tip of the iceberg. Cortex then enables real utility for publishing around those domains.


How do Cortex domains work with ENS?

When you grab a .hmn or other Cortex domain, you automatically become the owner of the .hmn or other subdomain on .eth. So if you have alice.hmn with Cortex, you become the owner of alice.hmn.eth on ENS. You just need to pay gas to claim it!

What Blockchain does Cortex operate on for tokens and publishing?

Cortex domains and tokens will be on the Polygon network. We chose Polygon for low-cost, high scalability, developer-friendliness, and easy integration with Ethereum. However, Cortex Network runs largely off chain and Butterfly Protocol domains resolve cross-chain.

Is Cortex cross chain and chain independent?

While much of the Cortex Network and HDIndex operate off-chain. The Butterfly Protocol domains handle identities and these identities are cross chain using different “zones” in the Butterfly Protocol.

Will Cortex tokens work on other blockchains, so publishers can operate on other chains?

Tokens can be bridged and the domains will work on other chains, but the publishing network will operate on Polygon.

How does one build a publishing app on Cortex?

You can think of the on-chain output transaction of a particular publisher as their “feed.” The feed can then be published on the web or anywhere as you can have services subscribe to the feed, much like an API for publishing apps today..
Publishers manage a feed by running a Press node composed of a single node or a cluster. The Press node acts as a gateway to the Cortex Content Network. A publisher receives updates called commits from its users which it approves based on rules for its use-case.
If a commit is approved the publisher can broadcast it immediately using any means it chooses including a pub/sub network created by the Press nodes. The broadcast commits are ephemeral and a client/consumer must be online to receive them.
At the same time a publisher collects valid commits and bundles them into a release. Each release should contain all the commits broadcast since the previous release. A release is finalized at an interval determined by the amount of CRTX staked. Once finalized the release (pointer) is stored on-chain.
Content consumers can take different forms such as apps, websites, dapps, or other services. The consumer accesses data by subscribing to a publisher’s feed.
When a consumer subscribes to a feed it first retrieves the most recent release from the chain. It then (optionally) listens for new commits broadcast from the publisher and applies them as they are received. When new releases are stored on-chain it will apply those as well.
The consumer can choose to keep each feed separate to scope the content it sees or merge several feeds together. For example create a collection of feeds for work and another for family friendly content.

Scalability and UI

What makes Cortex scalable and efficient?

Via HD Index. 1000s or nearly unlimited content updates can be put into a single transaction on chain. Most of the state management happens off chain while publishers stake their reputations on what gets published.
HDIndex also allows Releases to be merged together meaning they can be created in parallel and combined in parallel. This lets a publisher run a cluster of press nodes which split the work up. It also let's consumers easily combine multiple feeds together into a collection.
We also use BLS signatures for releases which allows signatures to be aggregated. This makes verification faster, reduces the amount of data that needs to be stored while keeping the same level of security.

What makes cortex so easy to use?

We abstract a lot of the complexity around hashes, keys, IPFS, and working with crypto. Human-readable names make coding and building much more intuitive. Although much of the publishing and data storage will happen on IPFS, users don’t need to deal with IPFS directly much at all. The app and network take care of a lot of the hard stuff.

Is Cortex Network a social network or does it just enable social network apps to be built on Web3?

Both. Cortex is enabling a Web3 where the entire web itself becomes a social network. People will be able to comment on other pages and see what their friends are commenting on different topics and different sites. Everything becomes something you can edit or comment on because it’s all tied to your domain and you own the originals. In addition, new publishers can come on and pull together new communities that can connect around the topics and content in the manner they choose. The opportunities for community-building when everyone has an identity and immutable content histories – that belong to them - are endless.

Use Cases

How can cortex enable DAOs and defi?

DAOs and DeFi often struggle with trusted, decentralized governance and documentation. As the Cortex Network will allow for trusted, mutlisig-signed and even privately-signed documents, as well as each document having a human-readable crypto address, Cortex can be the natural and neutral choice for DAO and DeFi projects.

How can cortex help enterprise use cases?

Cortex works in a familiar way to how enterprises are used to handling data but security and authenticity is built in. Security and privacy are built in at the file level. In the next phases, we will be a strong decentralzied document management system that will allow for multiple parties to collaborate, say in a supply chain, or a building project, all with a provable history.

How will cortex work with art NFTs?

Each page on Cortex is a kind of immutable asset and a crypto address to receive funds. So creating your own gallery or place to showcase your art become simple in a true decentralized environment owned by you, the artist or collector. You can display NFTs there as well, of course, and you’ll be able to transact around them.

How will cortex work with real world assets like buildings?

Cortex’s hierarchical structure, provable histories, and backlinks are a natural fit for modeling multi-dimensional spaces and projects, 3D and beyond. Digital twins can now be provable in time to match physical structures and ongoing changes.

Since each page or piece of content a human-readable wallet address, can you create namespaces of assets?

Yes! You can place assets in domains/URLs that are also wallet addresses.

How might brands use such a namespace that holds assets?

Each note will be it’s own namespace. This will require a special wallet that we have in development. If you use the (in commit, it’s called subject). Any of those sub-addresses will need a way to sign. You would have to have private key available.

Is the Cortex Network an improvement for security of data?

We believe so. As each piece of data is encrypted (unless made public by the user), there is security built in at the root level of the data. This means current attack vectors, like phishing attacks, may be much less effective.

Is the Cortex Network an improvement for privacy of data?

Because it is a decentralized content and data solution that is encrypted by default, only the key-holder can decide what to unencrypt and with whom, down to the individual file level.

Can you do wallet-to-wallet or namespace messaging?

This will be enabled, and simpler with human-readable addresses. Blockchain links, or “blinks” is how the messaging will take place. You can choose which links to your address/conetnt that you see.

How do you use your domains to verify yourself?

The Butterfly Protocol handles who owns a domain at a given moment in time. You can then sign with the address within the namespace of addresses to prove what content is valid.

Could you build a decentralized Open Sea on Cortex Network?

Yes, you probably could as wallets are built into every page, so every page can hold assets.


How is the cortex state management system different from a state machine?

Cortex doesn’t measure specific changes to a set of content, say a single character change when editing a document. We only track what the current state is, and we have a history of those former states. This works better and more efficiently, we believe, than a state machine for most content use cases. The idea is very similar to how git manages changes. The specific changes made can be done in a comparison of states after the fact.

Will the platform be open source?

The Cortex Network will be open source. We are long-time believers and contributors to open source, but on a practical level, just like Ethereum or other blockchains, crypto networks have to be or they can’t be trusted.

What can we build on Cortex and how will it be discoverable and interconnected to other tech?

Content on Cortex will be public to start, and will be available on the legacy web at a domain related to your Cortex domain. A alice.hmn domain may be or on the legacy web, for example. So these will be discoverable through current search engines. Web3-specific search engines will also be an opportunity, however. Is it free? At first, yes, but eventually Cortex will be another publisher and we will build in a reasonable pricing model using Cortex as a publisher to start, but then we’ll add others at launch of the full network. What’s the cost? Cost for publishing will depend on each publisher, how often they publish. Cortex will be a publisher as well and we will provide our pricing model at a later date. What’s possible in the bigger picture and what’s the timeline? Any easy way to think of the bigger picture is “What if the entire web and everything in it was a social network? And an economy of content?” When you tie together Content, Identity and value transfer, that’s what you get. We are personally interested in what this can do, say, for sharing and tracking scientific data, but the opportunities are really limitless.
Last modified 1mo ago