The NNS is the autonomous software that governs the Internet Computer blockchain and manages everything from economics to network structure. The NNS is hosted within the network itself, and is part of the system of protocols that securely weaves together the compute capacity of node machines to create the Internet Computer blockchain, allowing the network to be autonomous and adaptive. The NNS acts as an autonomous “master” blockchain, with a public key to validate all transactions on the protocol.
The NNS will put proposals to a vote, such as whether to expand the network by adding subnet blockchains or onboarding new node machines, which are then voted on by holders of ICP utility tokens who have locked up their tokens.
The NNS also combines nodes from independent data centers to create subnets, which are used to host smart contracts, an evolution of smart contracts. The NNS continues to create subnets based on the capacity demands of hosting smart contracts and the ability to connect to other subnets, allowing the Internet Computer to scale indefinitely.
To learn more about the NNS, check out the Internet Computer Wiki.