ARDOR Implements Game-Changing Features In New TESTNET RELEASE

Do you remember, back in the day, the first time you got your mind blown? I remember fondly how that happened to me with Nxt. That blockchain bastard repeatedly blew my mind – sometimes several times a week as it implemented feature upon feature at such a frantic pace. As such, I became a part of the embracing high-level community of Nxters and eventually surmounted the steep learning curve. It was totally worth it but afterward, I became hard to impress.

Released today, a brand new Ardor testnet finally made my brain cells feel a tiny bit explosive again, and it feels great! Not just a tiny bit, actually. The client that lands today is blockchain 2.0 evolution at its finest. Let the popular experts, and all the great blockchain visionaries do their talks. Jelurida just wrote it in code. Again. Let others continue to talk about TPS, ignoring scalability and security, we covered it already. And if you don’t know about Nxt, you should read up.

Ardor 2.0.4e

The Nxt and Ardor core dev team at Jelurida presents to you: New asset control features, multiphased smart transactions, a new API for creating regulated tokens on the decentralized Asset Exchange, and a transaction type that allows asset issuers to increase the number of asset shares in existence. All of this is an addition to all the existing core features and API.

This new Ardor testnet release resets the existing testnet and publishes a new Genesis block that tests the transition of data from Nxt to Ardor, based on a snapshot made of Nxt’s mainnet at block 1558000, shortly after the last JLRDA (IGNIS) exchange offer expired.

The testnet Genesis block timestamp has been set to 00:00 (midnight) UTC time
on Monday, Nov 6th, in order to allow time for users to setup nodes check their balances, and start forging.

From the Nxt blockchain has been transferred the following:

  • Accounts (public keys)
  • Account balances
    • IGNIS balances are based on NXT balances, divided by 2, plus JLRDA asset balances. Each of those has been additionally divided by 2, in order to allocate 50% of the testnet coins to developer accounts for testing purposes. There has been a 10% BITSWIFT asset sharedrop distributed proportionately to all IGNIS shareholders.
  • Account info (name and description)
  • Account properties
  • Account control settings for account control by whitelist with no minimum balance.
  • Account aliases transferred to the IGNIS child chain.
  • Janus, JanusXT, and ComJNSXT assets have been imported.
  • Monetary system currencies have been imported to the IGNIS child chain.
    • Only currency code and name. It will be up to each currency issuer to re-issue the currency with the appropriate properties and re-distribute it to users.

Lior Yaffe kindly asks all of us to check our accounts on Ardor and make sure everything has happened correctly:

If you are only interested in checking your balances head to the Jelurida public node , login using your existing NXT Mainnet account id (no need to login using passphrase) and check your ARDR, IGNIS and BitSwift balances. In addition, check your Janus asset balances, aliases, account properties, currencies, account control and all other entities migrated from the NXT Mainnet according to the changelog.

When you check, be aware that your IGNIS and ARDR holdings have been divided by 2 in this testnet release, so 50% of the tokens can be allocated to dev accounts for testing purposes.

Read all details here.

This was to be expected. Massive work, yes, all as promised and fair for a call to shift from one platform to the N(e)XT, Ardor. Pun intended. There are API changes too, and new API, coders please (you must!) check the change-log.

What made my brain cells begin to feel explosive again then?

New features

Yes, the new features. Nxters run. Run out there and share it with the world!

The change-log for Ardor 2.0.4e presents the following new transaction types – add to them all that the Nxt blockchain’s smart transactions and Ardor’s globally scalable, energy efficient child chain platform design can do, and you will see clearly the size of this gamechanger. This is what the release implements:

Asset control

Allows an asset issuer to control her assets. That’s right. As the issuer you decide who can buy and sell them; a small group of selected people, only KYC verified accounts, perhaps. Or you could send non-transferrable assets to a board of holders and give them voting rights over the asset. How about that. Read it again and let it sink in – with this release you, the issuer, will get complete asset control.

No, it’s not the end of a free market. Ignis is free. It is a new opening that allows all new as well as old running businesses to shift their old backend to Ardor and Ignis and receive all the benefits of the blockchain as a business backend, consumer front-end, and even get it cheaply.

Example:

  • Have an ICO/crowdfunding on Ignis
    Upload contracts and legal documents to the data cloud, time-stamped, hashed, let the KYC compliant accounts of your business partners or angels digitally sign the agreements, this will be documented on the blockchain as well.
  • Issue your asset tokens
  • Decide which rights you want to give to your asset holders, and to your market.
  • Distribute assets, each with the rights attached that you assigned to them. Watch them be traded.

Selected (or all) asset holders can have voting rights. You can pay dividends in any token on the platform; IGNIS, another child chain coin, an € pegged coin, that can be withdrawn with your VISA/Mastercard or just sit in your bank account. Or in other assets, representing bonus points, tickets, whatever fits your business plan. You could even create games with this. It is here.

We welcome this Java code, the Asset Control feature, as one of the best newest addition to the already existing API.

Composite Phasing

Introduces AND, OR, and NOT to Nxt’s Phased Transactions. This, combined with the new Asset Control feature, adds whitelist control over asset holder accounts, you can choose, for example, which asset holders should have the opportunity to vote or even control an account by vote. Even control the whitelist of new accounts. Do you see the better DAO coming?

It also allows for example combining the existing by hash or by transaction approval models with by whitelist, by balance, etc, approvals, which enables doing atomic coupling of transactions (including cross-blockchain) even for multisignature accounts, or with assets subject to Asset Control.

I couldn’t say it better.

The NOT operator allows for dead-man-switch type conditions, where a transaction is executed only if some condition (e.g. revealing a secret) is NOT satisfied.

Source

Asset share increase

With this new smart transaction type, asset issuers can increase the number of assets in existence. Print new money?!!

The new shares are allocated to the asset issuer account, but can then be distributed to shareholders using a separate dividend payment transaction. This allows corporate actions such as capital increases or stock splits to be performed.

Be careful, like we all learned in Economics 101, increasing the supply of money will decrease the value. Take care not to dilute your asset into nothingness.

By-Property phasing

First, if you don’t know Nxt’s feature “Account Properties”, I should fill you in: Account Properties is a Nxt feature that adds the ability to permanently ‘tag’ any account on the blockchain with a small amount of data, like meta-information. Tags can also be deleted by the tagger.

Let’s see what By-Property phasing is:

 

The new by-property approval model allows the transaction execution to be made conditional on the sender account or the recipient account having a specific account property set. If this property is set, the transaction will be executed immediately, else, a second check whether the property is set is performed at the finish height defined. This allows, for example, enforcing KYC by asset issuers, who can define in their Asset Control settings that only KYC-verified accounts, labelled with a predefined account property by a trusted authority (or the asset issuer itself), to perform transactions with their assets.

So with this feature, the blockchain market is regulated.

With this, you can, for example, in the near future, issue an asset on any Ardor child chain, trade it on any child chain, but enforce/be enforced to only let KYC approved accounts trade it on the market. Or choose by country. Or any group. With Ignis, asset issuers and traders can choose whether or not to trade on the regulated market, but we all know: Regulation will be. The new By-Property phasing API makes it not just possible but also easy and cost-effective to develop as a user-friendly service, and yeah, remember, the main purpose for Nxt 2.0, Ardor, was actually to make it globally scalable.

Where does this leave us? Accounts can be tagged by 3rd party KYC service providers or, even better, by governments, may they ever choose to set official ID on accounts and begin using the benefits of the blockchain. Don’t get me started. Secure us, our medical records, money, ID – let us be secured by cryptography. Jelurida’s code does it for them. Give us voting rounds that cannot be interfered with as the result is public, and votes have already been counted by code, see the graph. It’s on blockchain, but energy efficient, secured by nodes all over the world, and while we’re at it – possible. And see, Ardor has, as another first, a solution to the blockchain bloat problem running in production. The first and most tested globally scalable PoS Platform. It’s here, get started.

Sure I am excited. I’m a Nxter. Aren’t you?

Come on, try it!

For newcomers, it may seem weird that scammers and developers collect millions and millions of dollars worth of ETH or BTC in ICO’s, selling their whitepaper only, describing smart contracts they want to invent, code, test, execute, and need us to trust, when old Nxt Cryptocurrency 2.0 already has the functionality that most of them seek. It’s weird that what most of all of these devs and their investors are trying to achieve already exists on Nxt, that now gets further ahead with the scalable and even more beneficent and featureful public Ardor Platform. Yes, it IS weird, that Nxt has been under the radar and ignored by, for example, the larger Bitcoin-paid media for so many years.

The Nxt core devs, Jelurida, has split Nxt into IGNIS, the transactional token of Ignis, the first and unrestricted full featured child chain on Ardor; the mother blockchain that forges all Ignis’ transactions and will give birth to a lot more and take care of all her children (child chains), as well as make sure they keep communicating with each other. This is Ardor. With Nxt being a blockchain 2.0 platform, should Ardor be called blockchain 3.0? Nxt 4.0? Who cares. If you’re just a little familiar with Bitcoin, blockchains and smart transactions, you will realize that you want to test this release.

For those who want to setup an Ardor full node, install the software as usual and start forging, the first block will be generated tonight at 00:00 (midnight) UTC time on Monday, Nov 6th (about 14 hours from now)

If you are installing on top of a previous Ardor release delete first the nxt_test_db folder from C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Ardor on Windows, ~/.ardor on Mac and the Ardor installation folder on Linux. If you don’t do that you’ll be left on a fork.

Follow the development closely and take part in the community. Even without the awesome potential that awaits us with this momentous release, it’s always mindblowing development.

 

Ardor vs. the Competition, Pt. 4: Waves

This post is part of a series that compares Ardor to other blockchain projects with similar features or goals. You can find the previous posts here:

Until now, one of my main goals with this series has been to survey different approaches to scaling a distributed ledger. This week and for the next couple of posts, though, I’m shifting my focus slightly towards the business side of blockchain technology. I’ll attempt to explore the real-world problems that blockchains can solve and the ways that different projects have positioned themselves to suit their target markets.

These subjects are a bit outside my comfort zone, so I’ll thank you in advance for your patience with me in case I say something ignorant or naive. And as always, I greatly appreciate constructive criticism. 🙂

This disclaimer is especially important this week, because this week I studied Waves. As a newcomer to Nxt, I’ve read just enough about its history to know that the founder of Waves, Sasha Ivanov (a.k.a. Coinomat on nxtforum.org), had been an active member of the Nxt community until the turbulent period of early 2016, at which time he left to found Waves. I won’t attempt to rehash the debate over Ardor and the future of Nxt, which I understand ended with many asset issuers like Sasha leaving the community, but if you’re interested I’d highly recommend apenzl’s summary in SNAPSHOT and the references therein.

Instead, for this post I’ll mostly ignore the histories of Nxt and Waves, and will approach both projects with an open mind and a view towards the future. I do think there would probably be some value in a proper historical analysis, but I simply am not qualified to offer one.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Waves.

Waves

At first glance, Waves looks a lot like a stripped-down version of Nxt. It is primarily a decentralized exchange (DEX), inspired by and conceptually similar to the Nxt Asset Exchange. Like Nxt, it uses a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm and allows users to lease their balances to other accounts in order to forge in pools. It recently added a way to associate a human-readable alias to an account number, partially replicating the functionality of Nxt’s Alias System. Even a couple features still in development–namely, a voting system and a way to send encrypted messages–duplicate functionality that Nxt already offers.

At the same time, Waves is missing many of Nxt’s most powerful features. For now, it doesn’t support anything similar to Nxt’s phased transactions or account control options, for example, though it is worth noting that both smart contracts and multisig transactions are on the agenda.

Additionally, the white paper suggests that crowdfunding will be one of the main uses of the Waves platform, but tokens on Waves lack the customizable properties that make Nxt’s Monetary System currencies so useful for this application. For example, the Monetary System offers the ability to condition the transfer of funds on meeting a fundraising goal, a la Kickstarter, and also the option to restrict trading so as to prevent scalpers from creating a secondary market. Using this latter feature, called a “Controllable” currency in Nxt’s terminology, it is even possible for issuers to dictate both a fixed asking price and a fixed bid for the currency, enabling them to offer buyers full or partial refunds for their tokens. Crowdfunding on Waves, in contrast, is limited to issuing a token essentially at the market rate.

These observations notwithstanding, in my opinion it would be a terrible mistake to dismiss Waves as just another Nxt copycat with fewer features. For one thing, Waves offers several key features that Nxt and other platforms do not have, which I’ll describe next. Perhaps even more importantly, though, the Waves team has built a strong brand and has offered a clear and consistent vision since the platform’s inception. The field is currently so crowded, and innovation so rapid, that the combination of a simple, clear message, a strong marketing effort, and a demonstrated ability to deliver on those promises might be even more important to the long-term success of a project than the richness or novelty of its underlying technology.

Unique Features

One interesting feature that distinguishes Waves from many other platforms is the design of its DEX. It is a hybrid approach that combines a centralized order-matching engine, called the Matcher, with decentralized settlement on the Waves blockchain.

When users place orders on Waves, the Waves client sends those orders to central Matcher nodes, which maintain the order books for all tradeable pairs. Each new order is either matched against existing orders or added to the order book for the pair in question, but either way the user who submitted the new order is notified immediately whether the order was filled. It is still necessary to wait for the next block(s) to be added to the blockchain to fully confirm the transaction, but in the meantime, the user knows with high confidence the result of the order.

This might not seem like a big improvement over a fully decentralized exchange, but from the handful of transactions I made on Waves, I must say I was quite impressed by the user experience. The ability to see real-time updates to the order book, and to know immediately whether my orders were filled, made a bigger difference than I had expected.

In principle, any full node can become a Matcher. The lite client currently only connects to Matchers at nodes.wavesnodes.com by default, though, so Matchers on the rest of the network probably do not see much volume. With new orders transmitted directly to these centralized nodes, and only broadcast to the whole network once they have been filled (I think), this design allows the order books to remain anonymous. I don’t know for sure how important it is for open orders to be anonymous, but it certainly seems like a feature that traders might value highly.

Another distinguishing feature of Waves is the ability to trade any token against any other token without first converting to WAVES. Combined with the integrated gateways that issue tokens pegged to U.S. dollars, euros, and several cryptocurrencies, this feature enables Waves to function as a decentralized foreign exchange market. It also allows token issuers to conduct an initial offering directly in fiat-pegged tokens. With the full client, it is even possible to pay fees in tokens instead of WAVES.

Additionally, it is worth noting that there are several features in development or on the roadmap that also distinguish Waves from other platforms. One is a reputation system that will score accounts by their age, transaction history, and other factors. There are not many details yet, but the goal is to provide users with at least a rough indication of how trustworthy a given token issuer is. The white paper even goes so far as to suggest that the reputation system will serve as “some form of decentralized KYC/AML” (know your customer/anti-money laundering) system. While it’s difficult to see how a decentralized reputation system could help issuers actually comply with KYC and AML laws, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that it could serve some analogous purpose in a blockchain community.

Speaking of compliance issues, Waves has also announced a new project, Tokenomica, that will provide a “100% compliant legal framework for different types of token crowdsales, including private equity crowdsales.” Unfortunately, that quote from the 2017 roadmap is just about the full extent of information I’ve been able to find about Tokenomica. My impression is that the project is still in its early stages, but it shows that the team is taking regulatory compliance seriously.

For completeness, I should probably mention that the Waves team is also planning to incorporate smart contracts into Waves. The scripting language will not be Turing complete, and there will be no equivalent to Ethereum’s concept of “gas,” presumably because there will be no loops. Beyond these details, there isn’t much other information available yet.

Finally, I must mention the approach that the Waves team has outlined for scaling. It consists primarily of two parts: a redesign of the forging process that breaks large blocks into “microblocks” to optimize bandwidth usage; and an optimization to how account balances are stored–or rather, not stored–that reduces memory requirements for full nodes.

The first of these two proposals, called Waves NG, is based on Bitcoin NG. In a nutshell, once a node has won the right to forge the next block, it immediately issues a key block, which is usually empty, and then broadcasts microblocks containing transactions every few seconds. The motivation for this design is that broadcasting one large block each block interval is a much less efficient way to use the network’s bandwidth, and the corresponding spikes in network activity place an artificially low bound on the number of transactions that the network can handle. By spreading transactions out over a sequence of microblocks, it is possible to increase the average data rate over the network but decrease the peak data rate, lessening the constraints that bandwidth and latency impose on the maximum transaction rate.

The second component of the scaling plan is to implement the ideas described in this paper by Leonid Reyzin, Dmitry Meshkov, Alexander Chepurnoy, and Sasha Ivanov. I admit I haven’t spent very much time with it, but the gist is that full nodes will not all be required to store every account’s balance of every token in memory in order to validate transactions. Instead, they will store a compact digest of this information, and forgers that do store it in full–or some subset of it, if they choose to only forge transactions involving specific tokens–will generate cryptographic proofs that they have updated the account balances correctly. The forgers will then include the proofs and an updated digest in the header of each new block. Nodes that have chosen not to record the balances of all tokens involved in those transactions will still be able to validate them by using their current digest and the forger’s proofs to compute an updated digest, which they can compare to the one the forger reported.

The authors argue that this approach can reduce the amount of memory required for a full node under realistic conditions by about a factor of four. Moreover, if this optimization is able to keep all required information in memory in cases where it would otherwise have to be stored on disk, the performance improvement could be far greater–about a factor of 20, the authors suggest.

Comparison with Ardor

Although a couple of the features described were not present in Nxt, there will be similar features available in Ardor.

Specifically, Ardor’s parent-chain/child-chain architecture will allow users to trade all pairs of child chain coins, some of which could be pegged to fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies. It will also be possible to price assets in any of the child chain coins, and to pay fees in the child chain coin when transacting on a given child chain. It will not be possible to trade assets against each other directly, but most of those trading pairs would probably have such low volume that it wouldn’t really be worthwhile to add this feature anyway.

As for the improvements that the Waves team has made to their DEX by partially centralizing it, it should be possible to mimic this functionality pretty closely by building a centralized order matcher on top of Nxt/Ardor. Indeed, the InstantDEX project accomplished something similar in the past, using Nxt to settle transactions in a decentralized manner.

On the subject of scaling, the proposal to reduce in-memory storage requirements for full nodes is intriguing, but I wonder whether there might be a small trade-off with security. (If you’ve read the previous articles in this series, then you have probably figured out by now that I always suspect that performance improvements entail reductions in security.) In particular, if nodes are not required to store the current state of every account, and must use the proofs and digest in each new block’s header to validate the transactions contained in it, then I assume that means that nodes will not be required, nor even will they be able, to validate unconfirmed transactions before broadcasting them to their peers. I don’t know the consequences of allowing nodes to propagate potentially invalid transactions across the network, but the thought makes me a bit uneasy.

Ardor’s approach to scaling is for all nodes to validate all transactions, but for only the minimum possible amount of information to be permanently recorded on the Ardor blockchain. In particular, only those transactions that change the balances of ARDR, the forging token, need to be stored on the blockchain in order for other nodes to trustlessly verify that each block was forged by an account that was eligible to do so. In contrast, the whole history of transactions involving only child chain coins and the assets and currencies traded on those child chains does not need to be stored on the blockchain, and hence can be pruned away, leaving only cryptographic hashes of that information behind. The result is that the blockchain stays much smaller and grows more slowly than would be the case if it stored all of this extra information.

Which approach is better depends on whether permanent storage of the blockchain or in-memory storage of current account balances presents a bigger problem as the two platforms grow. I don’t know the answer to this question, but there are a couple of related points that are probably worth making. One is that the timescales of the two problems could be quite different: I could see an explosion of new assets on the Ardor platform placing an immediate strain on memory, whereas blockchain bloat would likely pose a severe long-term problem for Waves, especially if it reaches hundreds or thousands of transactions per second, which is the current goal. My other thought is that Ardor required an entirely new architecture to implement its scaling solution, whereas Waves’s approach will not. It would no doubt be easier for Ardor to incorporate Waves’s solution at some point in the future than for Waves to implement Ardor’s solution.

Finally, perhaps the most interesting subject in this comparison is the issue of regulatory compliance. Waves has positioned itself as a platform for creating and issuing tokens, with a special focus on crowdfunding. To that end, the Waves team has indicated that they are taking a serious look at the regulatory complications that go along with crowdfunding–which might involve selling securities, for example–in order to help users comply with the law. While the suggestion that a decentralized reputation system might eventually replace traditional KYC/AML requirements strains credulity, it could at least help suppress scams and reduce the opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of others. In that sense, it might accomplish some of the same goals that regulators aim to achieve.

Ardor, for its part, will offer a couple of enhancements over Nxt that will be quite valuable for regulatory compliance. One is the ability to issue assets that can only be traded with a certain type of phased transaction, and the other is the addition of a new phased transaction type, which allows an account to approve a transaction only if the account has a certain specific property. Combining these two features, a user can issue an asset which can only be purchased by accounts that have a property that, for example, a KYC/AML-compliant identity provider has added to designate that it has verified the owner’s identity.

If your asset represents shares of a company, or a mutual fund, or some other type of security, this feature would enable you to prove to regulators that you know who is purchasing your tokens. Moreover, if you are a user interested in purchasing those types of tokens, recording a proof of your identity on the blockchain via your account’s properties will hopefully allow you to spend less time trying to convince businesses that you are who you say you are and that you aren’t laundering money.

In addition, it will be possible to create child chains that support only a subset of the features that the Ardor platform offers. This will allow child chain creators to disable certain features, such as coin shuffling, that might raise red flags with regulators in some jurisdictions.

Conclusion

What, then, do we make of Waves? There is definitely something to be said for choosing one problem and trying to solve it better than anybody else can do. Abandoning Nxt’s “Swiss Army knife” approach and focusing instead on the single goal of building a great token-trading platform no doubt made it easier to pitch, develop, and market Waves. There is also a lot to be said for starting off well-funded, as Waves did with a $16M ICO.

At the same time, though, I’m not sure that an objective comparison of Waves and Ardor could conclude that Waves is as technologically mature as Ardor is. (For the record, I have tried to do a fair and objective comparison in this article, but I am not claiming that I succeeded. That’s ultimately your call.) Nxt is already capable of almost all of what Waves can do, not to mention all of the things that Waves cannot do, and Ardor is adding new functionality, too.

Perhaps Ardor’s biggest remaining challenge is to truly sell its vision the way that the Bitcoin community and the Ethereum Foundation have sold their visions, and this is where Waves has a sizable head start. Being capable of so many different things, but not purpose-built for anything in particular, Ardor faces a very difficult task here. The worst possible outcome would be for users and businesses to see it as “just another platform,” or perhaps to fail to grasp the full range of what it can do, and to simply ignore it as a result.

As for Waves, I’m excited to see what the future holds. The improvements that it has made to the Nxt Asset Exchange, though modest in my opinion, have nonetheless distinguished it as a formidable DEX. If the Waves team can follow through on their roadmap, Waves will be a fierce competitor among exchanges–centralized and decentralized alike.

Ardor vs. the Competition, Pt. 3: IOTA

This post is part of a series that compares Ardor to other blockchain projects with similar features or goals. You can find the previous posts here:

This week I studied IOTA, a distributed ledger that doesn’t use a blockchain.

Why Compare Ardor and IOTA?

At first blush, IOTA is about as different from Ardor as a distributed ledger can be. It uses a directed acyclic graph (DAG), which its developers call “the tangle,” to represent the history of transactions, instead of storing transactions on a blockchain. It is intended to be used primarily for machine-to-machine microtransactions on the Internet of Things (IoT), a vision enabled by the fact that IOTA requires no transaction fees. And it doesn’t (yet) support the “blockchain 2.0” features that form a core part of Ardor’s appeal. On the surface, it doesn’t really look like a competitor to Ardor.

So why include IOTA in a series entitled “Ardor vs. the Competition”?

As I’ve mentioned before, my main interest with this series is in exploring different distributed ledgers’ approaches to scaling, and this is where the IOTA community has made some extraordinary claims. As I learned more about IOTA to better understand how it scales, I eventually came to the conclusion that IOTA and Ardor offer complementary (or more bluntly, opposite) solutions to the scaling problem:

Ardor dramatically reduces blockchain bloat but requires all nodes of the network to agree about the strict ordering of transactions; whereas IOTA achieves potentially higher throughput by relaxing the consensus rules a bit, allowing temporary discrepancies between transactions, but faces a significant challenge in coping with the growth of the tangle. These tradeoffs, plus what I learned about the security of the tangle, seemed interesting enough to warrant a post in this series.

If you aren’t convinced, though, please still check in next week!

After this post, I plan to shift my focus away from scalability and towards features and market fit. Stratis, Ark, and Waves are on the agenda, but I’m not sure of the order, yet.

The Tangle

Without a doubt, the key distinguishing feature of IOTA is the tangle.

IOTA’s other unique features, such as its lack of transaction fees, the fact that transactions are not strictly ordered but still eventually consistent, and the notion that (some) spam actually increases the throughput of the network, all stem directly from the way the tangle works.

For this reason, and also because I want to sidestep at least some of the recent controversy surrounding the IOTA project, I will try to focus primarily on understanding and evaluating the tangle itself, rather than picking apart the details of IOTA’s specific implemetation of it.

The tangle is a directed acyclic graph whose vertices represent individual transactions, and whose edges represent “approvals” of previous transactions. Each time a node submits a new transaction to the network it must choose two previous transactions to validate, which it references in the new transaction it submits. As the new transaction permeates the network, each node adds it to its local copy of the tangle, with one edge pointed to each transaction that the new transaction approved.

I tried my best, but this description is probably confusing. This diagram should help. Each square represents a transaction, and the arrows that point from each transaction to two others represent that transaction’s approval of the two earlier ones. The genesis transaction is somewhere far off the left side of the diagram, and the newest transactions, called “tips” in the white paper, are on the right side, shaded in gray.

What does it mean to validate, and hence approve, a transaction? Conceptually, the node doing the validation must start at the two transactions that it is validating and walk all paths back to the genesis transaction, ensuring that it never encounters a contradiction (e.g., double-spend, insufficient balance, or the like). If there is a contradiction, it chooses another pair of transactions to approve, knowing that no other node would ever approve the transaction it is submitting if it had approved a set of inconsistent transactions.

Notice that this means that each new transaction not only directly approves each of the two transactions it has chosen to validate, but also indirectly approves the transactions that those two approve, and the transactions that those transactions approve, and so on all the way back to the genesis. This is part of the basis for “eventual consensus” on the tangle.

In case you’re wondering about the computational burden of doing this validation, in practice it can be optimized substantially. Notice from the figures on this page that as you walk the tangle from the tips (far right) towards the genesis, you eventually reach a point past which all transactions are (indirectly) approved by all tips. In these figures, transactions approved by all tips are colored green. You could, therefore, cut the tangle across arrows that point to green transactions, validate the paths from those particular green transactions to the genesis a single time, cache the results, and from that point forward only validate from your new transaction back to those green transactions. This optimization saves you the time of validating the entire tangle every time you submit a transaction, and also allows the tangle to be pruned. More on that below.

Consensus

One very interesting feature of a tangle-based ledger like IOTA is that nodes that receive new transactions from their peers don’t have to immediately validate them. In fact, the tangle can temporarily contain contradictory transactions. Eventually, though, a node must decide which of the contradictory transactions to approve (possibly indirectly) as it adds a new transaction.

How does it choose between conflicting transactions? Assuming that each transaction is valid if considered separately, then the short answer is that a node could choose to approve either one. It has an incentive to approve the one that the rest of the network will build on, though, so that its own transaction will eventually be approved, too. Most of the nodes on the network are assumed to run the reference algorithm for selecting transactions to approve, so in the event of a conflict, a node has an incentive to choose the transaction that the reference algorithm selects.

In order to understand the reference algorithm, it is important to first understand the concept of the cumulative weight of a transaction.

Each node that submits a new transaction must do some proof-of-work (PoW), which determines the “own weight” of the transaction. The cumulative weight of a transaction is then its own weight plus the own weights of all transactions that have directly or indirectly approved it. In a general tangle the node can decide how much work to do for a transaction, but in IOTA all transactions require the same PoW and thus have the same own weight. As a result, the cumulative weight of a transaction is proportional to the number of other transactions that directly or indirectly approve it.

What, then, is the reference algorithm? The author of the white paper calls it Markov-Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC, see section 4.1), which is a fancy way of saying that it is a random walk along the tangle that favors paths with greater cumulative weight. This post is already getting long, so I’ll skip the details. Suffice it to say that, when there are conflicting transactions, the MCMC algorithm resolves the conflict by tending to choose whichever transaction has the greater cumulative weight behind it. Eventually, one subtangle becomes dominant and the other is orphaned. This is analogous to the mechanism that blockchains use to resolve forks, and the cumulative weight of a transaction in IOTA is a rough measure of its finality in the same way that adding blocks to a blockchain confirms previous transactions with greater and greater certainty.

By the way, the fact that nodes don’t immediately need to validate each new transaction received from their peers has big implications for performance. Each node does less work this way, validating transactions only when it submits a new transaction, and taking for granted that transactions that are indirectly approved by all tips have already been validated by the rest of the network. Also, validations run in parallel across the network, as different nodes choose different subsets of transactions to approve.

Security

So far I have mostly just regurgitated the information found in the IOTA white paper. The issue of the security of the tangle, on the other hand, is where things get a lot more interesting. While I definitely recommend reading the analysis in the white paper of different attacks on the tangle–and the rest of the white paper, for that matter, because it is very well written–I won’t discuss most of that analysis here.

Instead, I want to focus on the most obvious threat, which is a 51% attack. The IOTA devs actually refer to it as a 34% attack, for reasons that I’m not sure I understand. I suspect it’s because an attacker who waits for a fork to occur naturally only needs enough hashpower to out-compute the nodes on each branch of the fork–i.e., more than 50% of the rest of the network’s hashpower. Anyway, the exact number isn’t important, and for the remainder of this article I will use the term “34% attack.”

With IOTA, a 34% attack would look roughly like this. An attacker issues a transaction that spends some funds, represented by the rightmost red dot, then computes (or perhaps has precomputed) his own “parasitic” subtangle, which anchors to the main tangle somewhere upstream of his transaction and which contains a double-spend transaction, represented by the leftmost red dot. His goal is to add enough cumulative weight to his parasitic tangle to convince the MCMC algorithm to orphan the main tangle and follow the parasitic one.

Hopefully, the analogies to the blockchain are clear so far, because there is one more important one. Like a PoW blockchain, the tangle is secured by the current hashpower of the network, since this hashpower is what adds cumulative weight to the legitimate tangle. Unlike a PoW blockchain, though, nodes on IOTA only do PoW when they submit transactions. The security of the tangle, therefore, depends only on the transaction rate and the amount of PoW per transaction. Take a second to let that idea sink in because it is absolutely central to understanding the security of the tangle.

Because the IOTA network is currently small and the transaction rate is low, the IOTA team has established a single trusted node, called the Coordinator, that is ultimately responsible for deciding the current state of the tangle. Its purpose is to protect against 34% attacks, among other attacks. I’m not going to spend any more time on it, but I encourage you to read this critique and the devs’ responses, and draw your own conclusions about whether IOTA can be called decentralized while running under the supervision of the Coordinator.

Let’s see if we can come up with an order-of-magnitude estimate of how secure the network could be without the Coordinator. A recent stress test achieved well over 100 transactions per second (tps) on a small test network. The team suggested that 1,000 tps is achievable. To be generous, let’s assume that IOTA will eventually scale to 10,000 tps. I don’t know what the current PoW requirement on IOTA is, but let’s suppose that the average IoT device is approximately a Raspberry Pi and it runs at 100% CPU for 10 seconds to do the required PoW. Again, I’m trying to be generous; many IoT devices are considerably less powerful than a Raspberry Pi, and pegging the CPU for 10 seconds for each transaction would probably be a dealbreaker.

With these assumptions, we conclude that the average computational power securing the network is roughly 10,000 x (# of computations by Raspberry Pi in 10 s) per second, or equivalently, 100,000 times the computational power of a single Raspberry Pi. There are a lot of nuances to properly benchmarking computers, but we’re not concerned about factors of two or three–we’re just going for an order-of-magnitude estimate–so we’ll use some numbers I found on the internet.

A Raspberry Pi3 can achieve hundreds of MFLOPS (megaflops, or millions of floating-point operations per second), while high-end GPUs clock in at thousands of GFLOPS (gigaflops, or billions of FLOPS), a factor of 10,000 greater computing power. So in our hypothetical scenario, an attacker with ~10 GPUs could out-compute the entire network. Throw in another factor of 10 because I was being sloppy–maybe integer operations are a bit slower on the GPUs than floating-point operations, for example–and you still only need 100 GPUs to execute the attack.

I’m sure there are plenty of holes to poke in this analysis. Perhaps IOTA won’t run on devices all the way at the edge of the network, for example. Instead, it might run on the gateways and routers that those IoT devices connect to, which are typically much more powerful.

Still, the point I’m trying to make is that PoW successfully secures blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum because it isn’t tied to the transaction rate, or any other factor besides the economic value of the network. As the value of the mining reward (in fiat currency) increases with the price of Bitcoin, miners add more hardware and consume more electricity to mine it. The economic incentive to mine ensures that the amount of hashpower securing the network increases with the network’s monetary value.

With IOTA, in contrast, there is no economic incentive to secure the network. Moreover, the hashpower securing the network is tied directly to the transaction rate, which naturally has some upper limit dependent on bandwidth and network topology.

On this last point, the IOTA developers have made a creative argument, not included in the white paper, that bandwidth limitations and network topology actually improve the security of the network. I haven’t found an official statement of it anywhere, but after some digging I stumbled upon this Slack conversation, which is the most complete defense I could find.

Essentially, one of the IOTA developers (specifically Come-from-Beyond, a.k.a. Sergey Ivancheglo, possibly a.k.a. BCNext, also one of the original creators of Nxt), argues that the IOTA network will consist of IoT devices peered exclusively with their nearest neighbors in a meshnet topology, and that an attacker will not even have the option of peering with more than a very small number of devices on each such mesh. That is, the vast majority of devices will not be accessible from the internet or some other “backbone” of the network, and the only way to send messages to them will be through the mesh of other devices.

The general idea is that the mesh as a whole will be capable of achieving a high throughput, but each individual link in the mesh has a low enough bandwidth that an attacker would easily saturate it by trying to add enough transactions to convince the network to follow his parasitic subtangle. Since the attacker only has a few entry points into the mesh, he saturates all of them before his parasitic tangle accumulates enough weight for his attack to succeed.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this argument. I personally don’t think the IOTA team has made enough details public to thoroughly evaluate it.

Speaking of bandwidth limitations, let’s talk about scaling.

Scalability

Because each node must validate two other transactions before submitting its own transaction, the IOTA team likes to point out that spam actually tends to make the network more efficient. Other members of the IOTA community get carried away with this point, sometimes even making the absurd claim that IOTA is “infinitely scalable.”

Every node on the IOTA network must eventually receive every transaction in order to maintain a globally consistent tangle. Broadcasting transactions to remote nodes takes time, though, and if the transaction rate is high enough that a node receives a lot of transactions from nearby nodes before it receives the next transactions from distant nodes, the MCMC algorithm will continue to select tips submitted by nearby nodes. Eventually the tangle splits, with only nearby nodes transacting on the local copy of the tangle and remote nodes transacting on their own, divergent copy.

So bandwidth and network topology must place some limitations on the transaction rate of IOTA if the tangle is to be consistent across the entire network. We will have to wait for more stress tests to learn what these limitations are.

Additionally, like all distributed ledgers, IOTA must grapple with bloat. Each transaction on IOTA is approximately 1.6 kB in size, so a transaction rate of 100 tps would grow the tangle at a rate of 160 kB per second, or about 14 GB per day. Needless to say, that’s an unrealistic storage requirement for an IoT device.

IOTA currently solves this problem by taking periodic snapshots of the tangle, which map its current state into a new genesis transaction, allowing the transaction history to be pruned away. In the limit of very frequent pruning, a node would only have to store enough of the tangle to be able to run the MCMC algorithm.

Syncing a new node with the network is a different story, though. Either the node must download the latest snapshot from a trusted peer, or it must start at the original genesis transaction and work its way forward through the entire tangle. There is no way to trustlessly and efficiently join the network.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the IOTA team has proposed a type of horizontal partitioning of the tangle that they call a “swarm,” where many nodes together store the complete tangle but no one node stores all of it. Unfortunately, there aren’t many details yet on how this works.

Compared to Ardor

So what does any of this have to do with Ardor?

In my opinion, there are two main comparisons to draw, namely on the issues of security and scalability.

Regarding security, it isn’t clear to me that IOTA could possibly reach a high enough transaction rate to be considered secure without the Coordinator, given the monetary value of even the current network, without choosing a very high PoW requirement.

Ardor, in contrast, has the advantage that its child chains are all secured by the single parent chain.

A “small” child chain wouldn’t need a trusted node like IOTA’s Coordinator to protect it because consensus is established by the entire network and recorded (via hashes of child chain blocks) by forgers on the parent chain.

On scalability, IOTA and Ardor both currently share the requirement that each node of the network process all transactions. With IOTA, this simply means adding transactions to the tangle, which is computationally cheap, whereas, with Ardor, every node must validate every transaction. Moreover, the clever design of the tangle ensures that the confirmation time for a transaction actually decreases as the network gets busier. I would not be surprised to see IOTA achieve higher throughput than Ardor as both networks grow.

On the other hand, IOTA faces a tremendous challenge in combating tangle bloat if it is ever to achieve hundreds of transactions per second, whereas Ardor has largely solved this problem.

Finally, it’s worth noting that a proposal on the Ardor roadmap would delegate child chain transaction processing to dedicated subnets of the network. This would potentially achieve a computational gain similar to IOTA’s “swarming” proposal, possibly allowing similarly high throughput.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read this far (thank you!!) and were already familiar with IOTA, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed that I left out a lot of details, including its homebuilt hashing algorithm, the deliberate flaw in this algorithm that Come-from-Beyond included as a copy-protection mechanism, the use of ternary encoding, and the mysterious Jinn processor that will provide hardware support for IOTA in IoT devices. In the course of my research, I’ve formed fairly strong opinions on all of these things, but I was reluctant to share them here for two reasons.

First, I don’t have sufficient information to make objective statements on these issues. I’m not a cryptographer, and I know next to nothing about ternary computing or Jinn. The best I could do would be to offer subjective judgments of the design decisions the IOTA team made, but that would have simultaneously weakened the focus of this article and opened it to criticism from people who have made different subjective judgments.

Secondly, and more importantly, I’m more interested in the fundamental concepts behind the tangle than IOTA’s specific implementation of it. Regardless of whether IOTA succeeds or fails, the tangle is a beautiful idea and deserves all the attention we can muster.

So what can we say about the tangle, then? While I’m positively enamored with the elegance of its design and the nuances of its consensus mechanism, at the end of the day I’m afraid I’m quite skeptical of its suitability for the Internet of Things. Drop that aspect, increase the PoW requirement by several orders of magnitude, and find a way to tie the PoW threshold to the monetary value of the network without cutting ordinary users off from their funds, and I think the tangle has tremendous potential as a distributed ledger.

The last missing piece is how to cope trustlessly and efficiently with bloat, a problem that Ardor have solved extremely well. Perhaps somebody will find a way to combine the best elements of both designs at some point in the future. A lot could happen by then, especially in cryptoland.

P.S. – I promise the next article will be shorter. 🙂

Jelurida AMA on Cryptocopia

For those of you who do not know, a semi-private AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with Jelurida occurred on the Cryptocopia Slack last Wednesday, August 23rd at 22:00 CEST. Jelurida spoke at length with the community, answering many questions about the now-in-progress, IGNIS ICO, Nxt, the blockchain, and much more. Only registered members of the Cryptocopia community could participate, but since we are so well connected we have you covered!

Cryptocopia’s registration-page has been offline ever since they made the AMA announcement, but here we give you an abbreviated, “best of” version that has all the relevant information and highlights that you need to know.

myco [10:02 PM]

Hello, and welcome! The Jelurida AMA is starting now!

Our guests from the official Jelurida team are:

petko

Hi! My name is Petko Petkov. I am a software developer. I’m contributing to NXT since Jan 2015. Then participated in the design and the development of the Ardor platform.

tomi

I am also a software developer, with more than 15 years of experience. I survived the dot-com crash, worked for a few companies in the Silicon Valley, then for a small startup, then became interested in crypto and Nxt in particular a few years ago. Now I am a part of the core Nxt development team.

The other core developer, Lior Yaffe, unfortunately couldn’t attend this AMA tonight as he is not feeling well. Lior Yaffe is a very talented developer and also lately doing a big part of the project management.

kristina

I am not a developer and before becoming interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology I have been working as a legal advisor. I have been following Nxt from its very beginning and when Jelurida was created last year I became an official part of the team because the developers were looking for somebody to take care of organizational, administrative and legal tasks. Now, with the company growing bigger and the upcoming launch of Ardor, I am fully occupied with work and 100% devoted to it.

What will happen with NXT?

Q

myco

I know that we’ve gone through several stages in the transition of NXT to IGNIS and ARDOR.

Could you explain at a high level what is happening with NXT for those who do not know much about it?

kristina

Ardor can be considered Nxt 2.0, because it is being built using proven Nxt technology. The Nxt public blockchain, and software, will continue to exist and be maintained by Jelurida.

There were quite a few technical reasons why Ardor had to be started as a separate platform, and it wasn’t possible to just upgrade Nxt to it.

petko

NXT is an open-source project and POS-based cryptocurrency. We are planning to continue maintaining it, but after all, its the NXT stakeholders who decide whether to use the software we develop. So, there is no actual transition – we had the idea about Ardor and decided to work on it. NXT will continue to exist one way or another. As @kristina explained, there are technical reasons that prevent us from upgrading NXT to Ardor. But we distributed the Ardor tokens to the NXT stakeholders at 1:1 ratio.

Q

dereje

With the development of ardor and jlrda, do you see nxt eventually dying out from lack of support and development?

tomi

We have promised to support Nxt for at least a year, or longer, depending on the funding level obtained in the ICO, and depending on the demand for it. We will also backport features from Ardor to Nxt, if we can hire enough developers to dedicate to that. We expect that Nxt will stay as the stable, well tested and reliable platform. And not all use cases need Ardor with its multiple child chains (which also brings complexity).

kristina

please remember that Nxt is a proven and stable blockchain with a large variety of features, a platform well suited for ICOs for example which is a functionality we plan to further enhance.

Jelurida

Q

myco

What is the development like for Jelurida?

Do you work remotely, or do you have an office where you meet?

tomi

We don’t have an office, working remotely all the time. We do plan to establish a physical office however, depending on the success level of our ICO.

Q

myco

What are the upcoming tasks that the Jelurida team is focusing on in the short term?

kristina

After our ICO is over the snapshot will follow and of course the launch of the Ardor platform.

Q

sanchopansa

How many people are working full-time on the project?

kristina

4 (3 developers and myself) + 2 part time developers.

Q

sanchopansa

How do you plan to generate revenue and when do you foresee to become profitable?

Kristina

We have several possible sources of revenue – licensing of the software for private blockchains, child chain creation, and revenue sharing with businesses that run child chains, consulting, custom wallet creation. Other minor revenue sources are listed in the whitepaper.

We aim to become profitable and self sustainable by the end of 2018.

Q

doubleqp

How much funds do you expect to need until the end of 2018 to survive?

kristina

what we have collected already is enough to survive until the end of 2018.

Q

doubleqp

So what’s your reason to collect even more money?

Kristina

For two reasons: we have a detailed plan how we can utilize the funds up to €50M.

And because we exist in a very fast growing field where our competitors raise/have raised millions which they are using for marketing and because we cannot allow a technology with such a great potential not to succeed.

marenkar

In section V3 of the white paper, (https://www.jelurida.com/sites/default/files/JeluridaWhitepaper.pdf) Jelurida goes over their plan with regards to the amount that they raise (starting on page 36). More funds raised generally means a larger team, more projects, and more business activity.

tomi

Jelurida was established last year as a corporate entity to manage the development of Nxt and later Ardor. Before that, Nxt was developed as a volunteer open source project, without a legal entity behind it. This was problematic when trying for example to license the Nxt software for commercial purposes, and when having to protect the IP behind it.

IGNIS ICO < > NXT ?

Q

myco

When will the IGNIS snapshot take place?

vanbreuk

From https://www.jelurida.com/ico, “The Ardor Genesis Snapshot will be performed at least two weeks after the end of the last JLRDA sale round”. But no exact date has been announced yet.

Q

myco

What happens to the NXT collected in the ICO for IGNIS?

tomi

We will be selling most of the NXT for BTC and fiat, because the purpose of collecting it is to provide funding for the company. We have been very clear about that in the whitepaper. Some amount of NXT, up to 40 M, will be kept by the company.

Q

myco

It seems like selling the NXT you receive in the ICO for BTC and fiat will make the NXT have a much lower value.

Who will be buying the NXT from you? people who want to hold for the IGNIS snapshot?

tomi

We have already sold most of the 24 M NXT collected in the first round, it didn’t crash the price. We expect people who want to participate in the next rounds, or didn’t have a chance to buy in the previous, to be buying this NXT. And at the end, indeed those who want to hold for the snapshot. But even after the snapshot, we believe NXT will continue to have value, and this value will probably become stable, as no major disruptions will happen to it anymore.

kristina

People believed that NXT will lose value after the Ardor asset was launched too, but it didn’t happen… It indeed dropped temporarily but after that it went back up again…

Q

myco

What new functionality is present in IGNIS that was not present in NXT?

tomi

We have a feature comparison table on the website, few things I can think of: asset dividend payments using other assets, or MS currencies, or other child chain coins; asset share increase transaction; smart phasing (a boolean composite of phasing conditions); asset control…

About Ardor

Q

myco

What is the current status of development on ARDOR? When will that be a useable technology in production?

tomi

It is running on testnet now. The multiple child chains framework is implemented and working, you can try it. We are planning a new testnet release some time before the snapshot, which will introduce some innovative features – smart phasing and asset control for example.

The pruning and snapshotting parts of the Ardor design are currently being worked on, and will not be part of the initial release, they will be ready later. See the roadmap on our website for all details.

Q

myco

What mechanisms would cause the rise in price of Ardor? What is Ardor used for?

tomi

Ardor will only be used to provide security for the whole system, it is the token used in the proof-of-stake algorithm. It intentionally has very limited other functionality, as Ardor transactions by design must remain in the blockchain (and cannot be pruned like child chain ones). Having significant Ardor stake will allow users to run forging nodes, and collect fees from all child chain transactions (converted from native tokens to ARDR by their bundlers).

myco

I can understand that value if you get native tokens from staking ardor… but why would I want to get more ardor for staking ardor if there is no additional utility to it besides getting more ardor? It seems circular. what am I missing?

petko

Ardor is like the mining hardware in bitcoin, minus all the wasted electricity

marenkar

For child chains to run, bundlers will need to exist to collect child chain tokens and then pay ARDR to the forgers to process the transactions. Any account can opt to be a bundler as long as they have ARDR and set the rate they want for accepting child chain coins relative to the ARDR paid out to forgers. Transaction fees paid out to forgers will be fixed based on the amount of data processed and/or the type of transaction and have a similar fee structure as that with Nxt ( `https://nxtwiki.org/wiki/Transaction_Fees` ).

In terms of value, assuming all other things held constant, the more child chains on Ardor and the more activity on the child chains on Ardor, the higher the demand for ARDR as the need for it increases to handle the increased demand for transaction processing.

Q

oojacoboo

So Jurlidia needs money to develop Ardor so it can try and sell sidechains to companies?  That the tldr; ?

tomi

Child chains can be useful not only for companies, but for the general public, even when there is a company behind a particular child chain. For example a pegged child chain, with token value fixed to fiat currency, maintained by a 3rd party business who charges commission on entry and exit from the system – but all users than can transact with this currency on the blockchain, denominating their transactions in it. And the Ignis child chain, for which the ICO is being conducted, will always remain decentralized and accessible to everyone.

kristina

not only creating child chains, but also private blockchains – it depends on the use case

and please note that the Ardor child chains are not side chains. The difference between them is explained in our Whitepaper.

Link to white paper – `https://www.jelurida.com/sites/default/files/JeluridaWhitepaper.pdf`

Link to page about side chains vs child chains – `https://www.jelurida.com/child-chains-and-side-chains`

Q

sanchopansa

What are the major industries/verticals that you are hoping would be using NXT?

tomi

Banking and financial sectors, asset issuance and trading, voting (including shareholder meeting voting), crowdfunding. We have been in talks to several banks that are testing internally our technology, but since this is under NDA I can’t mention names until it becomes publicly known.

Q

sanchopansa

Do you have any commercial partnerships/deals that you can talk about?

kristina

The ones not covered by NDAs – we have partnerships with companies/projects like TLVC, Beecrypt, Bitswift, Sigwo Technologies and quite a few others to be announced soon…

Q

sanchopansa

If I understand correctly, you’re in the blockchain-as-a-service space so that would make Stratis, Lisk, Ark and maybe to some extent Ripple your competitors. Why would any business use Ardor instead of these other options?

tomi

We believe that our parent – child chain architecture is currently unique in the blockchain space, and it opens the door for even more use cases and a greater interoperability between child chains. It also solves the blockchain bloat problem – which I don’t believe those other platforms have a solution for. Ardor is based on the tested and stable Nxt codebase, and has a very rich feature set which will be carried over to it from Nxt.

Price speculation

Q

myco

Why do you think that NXT has been left behind in price, relative to new coins coming out in the past year?

marenkar

There’s quite a lot of reasons because Nxt has existed for quite a long time, such as a lack of a proper team, which Jelurida now fills, a lack of funds, which this ICO now aims to address. Also it being the first Proof of Stake platform during a time when everyone wanted to mine held things back a bit. I made a long post about it if anyone’s interested – `https://www.reddit.com/r/NXT/comments/6m2tyd/why_did_nxt_never_catch_on/djyjxa6/`

Q

myco

What are you going to do differently with IGNIS to make a token that people want to hold?

Or will you focus on making money through corporate consulting use cases?

Petko

My personal opinion is that there is no need to do something special with IGNIS in order to differentiate it from the other child chain tokens. Same like NXT – everyone is free to clone NXT and start another blockchain and token (and there are many clones existing), but the NXT token only one

Q

oojacoboo

And why would I want to own any JLRDA tokens?  What value do they have, since this is a funding model for Ardor…

thewiremaster

The JLRDA MS tokens represent the IGNIS tokens you will get at Ardor launch.

vanbreuk

If a company is funded for developing the platform where your tokens are used, there is a much bigger chance that tokens will appreciate in value. I don’t understand the question.

kristina

Yes, we are selling tokens, that’s right. You may want to fund the development of Ardor because it will be a scalable PoS multi chain ecosystem – it will be the next big step in the blockchain industry

marenkar

Ignis will be the first child chain on Ardor. The Ardor main chain will not have substantial features as it is intended to secure the Ardor network and not be a regularly-used chain. Ignis provides an unrestricted way for users and organizations to utilize the features of Ardor, such as creating an asset or setting up a decentralized poll. Transaction fees to do these transactions will be in IGNIS not ARDR. Other child chains will also have these capabilities but they may set restrictions on them.

The JLRDA > IGNIS ICO

Q

myco

Where can we find the best instructions for how to participate in the ICO? The software used for the ICO is different than the BTC/ETH icos we’ve been participating in lately

tomi

Since we are running our ICO on our own blockchain, it is using the Nxt wallet. It may indeed look different from the BTC and ETH client, but shouldn’t take long to figure out, and especially for the purposes of the ICO we added a separate page – accessible from the Ignis Token Sale link in the header, which really makes it easy.

But do read the instructions on our jelurida.com/ico page, there is also a video showing how to do it, and we plan to post more instructions in a video or pdf too. And remember, only use the IGNIS Token Sale link from the header – do not buy any similarly named tokens/assets/marketplace goods, as unfortunately there have been scammers selling fake JLRDA or Ignis tokens.

Q

myco

What does it mean that IGNIS is “fully permissionless” compared to other child chains

kristina

It means that it is open for everybody to use freely. Other child chains will be associated with a specific use case, a company or an organization behind them. Some of them may want to implement restrictions such as KYC for example….

tomi

Permissioned blockchains is something our enterprise customers ask for, as they want to be able to control who can connect to the blockchain (read access), who can send transactions (write access), and who can give or take such permissions (admin access). Some of this functionality will also be added to child chains that may need it.

Q

lordcameltoe

How will the next IGNIS sale be handled to avoid having whales scoop up the majority of coins before everyone else?

tomi

Everyone has equal chance to participate in the Ignis sale, using our scheduled transaction feature which automatically submits their purchase transaction as soon as the sale offer is posted. And the batch will be split into 4 rounds of 20 M each, again to give users multiple chances to participate.

lordcameltoe

So the technique one person used last time to get most of the tokens has been patched?

vanbreuk

Rather than patched, the Nxt Client now allows for everyone to place a buy order in advance, before the next batch of tokens is effectively placed for sale. So the tactical advantage of that person in the first few batches is not there anymore, since anyone can do it from the client.

marenkar

I’m not 100% sure how it works but it ends up being a lottery of sorts. Some users couldn’t get in, others could. A few users were able to get in even without the scheduler though, but that was rare. Well, at least from what people claimed on Slack.

Thanks for tuning in, dear readers. That was an interesting and informative AMA from Jelurida. They clarified a lot of their plans and continued to bring attention to the IGNIS ICO.

For our ongoing coverage of the ICO, we have our special report series and a weekly Nxter Newsletter, that follows blockchain trends and reports on the last week in the ever growing world of the blockchain. Follow us on Twitter for important breaking updates as they occur. Stay informed and keep reading.

Help us grow and help us continue to provide excellent and focused coverage on the ever growing blockchain space by rewarding us for our efforts: Donation address NXT-TK9J-MEKH-MUP9-HFCH2.

NXT

Intel & The Floor Hackathon – Day 2

Riker (Lior Yaffe, Nxt, Ardor, Jelurida) was at the Intel & The Floor Blockchain Hackathon in Tel Aviv, to meet the challenge of creating a digital “Share registration” solution.

As we learned yesterday, it turned out that coding or hacking wasn't very needed, as all the necessary functionality (and GUI) is already built into the Nxt core distribution and has been working for years. Anyone can download the Nxt Client and make use of it already.

Read on and see how Nxt solves the hackathon challenge right out of the box.

DAY 2

Judgment criteria

riker [9:36]

Update from the organizers:

The Jelurida/NXT team was automatically qualified to the finals (no need to present in front of the judges in the semi-finals). This means a whole 5 minutes presentation in front of the full panel + 2 minutes time for questions for judges.

The presentation

Powerpoint:

Mobile video recording of the presentation: https://goo.gl/photos/9P37BykVUfyo42ys9

riker [4:12 PM]

Done now. Took 4:20 minutes to deliver. There were no questions so not sure if everything was understood or if they lost interest. 

There is a low-quality video from my phone. I'll upload it after I get a chance to watch it.

The aftermath

riker [5:39 PM]

No prize but was a very nice experience.

martis [9:53 PM]

Curious why there were no questions. The audience were shocked or couldn't believe it can be done just on blockchain?

riker [9:55 PM]

Only the 10 judges were allowed to ask questions.

In other presentations, they asked 1 or 2.

apenzl [9:54 PM]

How much time did you spend on coding compared to the winners of the hackathon, u think?

riker [9:56]

Frankly, I didn't spend too much time coding. I think maybe 40% of the time. Dozens of people kept approaching my desk to chat about my plans and make suggestions and I pitched about our technology to anyone who was willing to listen.

I have business cards from businessmen from (in no particular order) KPMG, Accentue X 2, HSBC, Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Intesa San Paolo and others. Spoke to several executives from Intel, the organizer.

One of the main problems of our team was that it was only me, I think we scored really bad in this category.

Nevertheless, it was a great experience, we got tons of exposure and I made some interesting connections. I think when getting on stage in front of 200+ people my heart rate jumped to 200. Overall it was a great learning experience. 

Thanks, Riker!

What Riker presented to the panel and the audience in Tel Aviv today was just a small part of what the Nxt platform has to offer. Get a good overview of the Nxt core features and how to use them here.

Interested developers can get a good start here and by reading the nxtwiki. Don't forget to join our Slack, talk to us, and if you think Nxt is amazing - take a look at ARDOR.

Intel & The Floor Hackathon – Day 1

This morning, the Intel & The Floor Blockchain Hackathon kicked off. The blockchain hackathon, which is organized by Intel, The Floor & the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, is running for 2 days, from 29-30 March 2017 at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange together with the participation of leading banks. Nxt and Ardor core developer, and managing director of Jelurida, Riker (Lior Yaffe), is attending and has been updating the Nxt community throughout the day.

Here’s a short summary of the event so far for Nxt’s representative.

Hackathon Subject:
Blockchain solutions for banks

Participant Objectives:
Banks will be presenting challenges in advance and participants will develop solution using one of the common blockchain platforms: ethereum, R3 Corda, Hyperledger Sawtooth lake, Hyperledger Fabric, Bitcoin or others.

Riker had, beforehand, cleared with the organizer, that a Nxt/Ardor/Jelurida blockchain solution was welcome. His idea, which he pitched and discussed with the Nxters on Nxtchat yesterday evening, was to code a use case around the Nxt Asset Exchange and its built-in dividend distribution system, as it’s one of the Nxt features very relevant for banks, and also unique to Nxt.

DAY 1

Pitch

I have a vague idea what to say.

riker [8:44 AM]

“We have a solution to the blockchain bloat problem. Real solution in production, not a Whitepaper. A team of developers with over 10 man years experience combined, and an operational public blockchain running for over 3 years.

Focus today is on issuing shares on the blockchain and dividend payment. We will develop various decentralized dividend payment methods using the NXT and Ardor blockchain.

I’m Lior Yaffe, managing director of Jelurida and developer of NXT and Ardor. Come talk to me.”

Lior was one of 15 pitchers.

The Challenge

riker [5:13 PM]

I’m working on a use case for the Tel Aviv Stock exchange:

“Share registration”.

The “problem” is, that the functionality we provide out of the box with data cloud, phasing, messages, account ledger, encrypted file attachment, shared key is enough to implement this.

I don’t have anything real to develop.

The mentor told me “you better work on a presentation.”

The ETH guys have teams of 5-6 people working on similar tasks.

Use case overview

Once the issue and allocation process is determined, the issuing company files a request to list the new shares in the exchange. This request is examined by various gatekeeping entities (transfer agent; Exchange regulation) and if accepted, allows the company to list its shares, update its shareholder records, and complete the allocation to public investors. This process takes place nowadays with the issuing company producing a physical stock certificate, stating the amount of newly issued shares, in the name of the transfer agent. The agent safe keeps the certificate while instructing the clearinghouse to allocate the shares to the public owners. This process is relevant for every change in the company’s capital structure.

Challenge

Establish a digital, one stop shop solution to register shares, handle corporate actions, and allow for updates of company capital structure.

Key Features:

  • Issuing company will transmit listing request through the platform;
  • Request will be examined by various gatekeepers (exchange; due legal procedures; reception of allocation details; money transfer). Each gatekeeper will be able to access the request and approve it.
  • Once all necessary approvals have been given, the company receives listing approval, an indication to update its records, and a digital certificate indicating the issue is produced.
  • Platform will inform clearing house of issue allocation.

wolffang [5:39 PM]

Are you enjoying yourself? 🙂

riker [5:40 PM]

Eating all the time

They only provide 2 minutes to demo the solution for the semi-finals and if you qualify for the finals you get 5 more minutes. This means that live demo is out of the question.

Hence why a presentation is necessary.

riker [9:06 PM]

Done for today. Had a good intermediate lecture to the judges about the solution which again turned into a marketing pitch.
Enough for today

Tomorrow I will ask my teammate to video [my presentation] in case he is around.

Read about DAY 2 >>>

Ardor Testnet is Launched

Early this morning, Jean-Luc, lead core developer of Nxt and Ardor, made an announcement on Nxtforum.org about the launch of the Ardor testnet. While some testing was already done by some members of the Nxt community who were very knowledgeable about the platform, as we mentioned in our previous newsletter, much more testing is needed to be done before the launch of mainnet in the third quarter of this year, thus the release of testnet. Also, this is a great way to experience the Ardor blockchain without risking any funds as the tokens are given away freely to people who want to try it.

At the moment, only .zip and .exe files have been released, so Mac users will have to wait a bit. Riker, core developer of Nxt and Ardor, mentioned that a client for Mac will likely be released in version 2.0.1e. However, users of Linux operating systems as well as Windows (32 and 64 bit) can get started now. Installation is very similar to that of the Nxt client, with the notable exception of some Ardor graphics.

Ardor’s Decentralized Polling

Some activity has already been going on in just a few hours after launch. On the testnet Ignis child chain, a poll was started asking users about their favorite animal among the animals mentioned. You can take a look at this by choosing the Ignis child chain on the testnet client, clicking on “Voting System” and then “Active Polls”. Remember, while all transactions are processed by the main chain which takes ARDR, when you’re on a child chain all processing is paid for in the child chain token. So, Ignis tokens are required in order to cast your vote.

Sending Bitcoin Using the Alias Feature On Ardor

This is just one of the few things currently being tested at the moment. Get the testnet client and to find out how to request test tokens on ardorplatform.org today and experience this new blockchain platform. If you find any bugs, please report them over at Nxtforum on the announcement thread or through one of the channels listed on the website.

The ARDR token is trading!

Today, on October 13th, at block height 1000000, or 42 days before the Nxt blockchain’s 3rd birthday, the Nxt 1.0 -> Nxt 2.0 snapshot period came to an end, and 998.999.495 ARDR assets were automatically distributed to all accounts which had held any amount of NXT since the first snapshot was taken 3 months ago.

For every 1 NXT which has stayed in your account since the first snapshot, you’ve received 1 ARDR asset. If you’ve been a NXT hodler for half the period, you’ve received 0,5 ARDR per NXT. (For information about the distribution model read this)

This is the ONLY official Ardor asset:


Live feed from the Nxt AE

NXT and ARDR on exchanges

UPDATE

ARDR < > BTC markets:
https://hitbtc.com/exchange/ARDR-to-BTC
https://bittrex.com/Market/Index?MarketName=BTC-ARDR

Poloniex has distributed ARDR. We’re waiting for them to open a market.

ARDR Marketcap: http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/ardor/

ARDR assets have been distributed to all NXT-holding accounts on participating centralised exchanges and now need to be distributed among the exchanges’ customers.

The Nxt team writes:

The distribution method used will depend on each respective exchange’s internal architecture, so the Nxt team and community can’t provide a universal solution for Ardor distribution within exchanges.

Poloniex, Bittrex, HitBTC, BTC38, etc., must be contacted directly by their customers for more information about their distribution method, if you haven’t yet received your ARDR.

HitBTC was the first centralised exchange to open a BTC < > ARDR market, but more exchanges are expected to follow soon. As most NXT-exchanges have active Nxt asset markets going too, it will be very easy for them to add ARDR.

Next snapshot – IGNIS

One snapshot remains – if you want to get full value for your NXT.

Ignis will be the first child chain, which is guaranteed to get launched on the Ardor platform. In Nxt 2.0, Ardor is the token used for creating consensus and Ignis will be the first transactional token. It will be created at the Ardor Genesis block. Free Ignis tokens will be distributed with a ratio of at least 1:0.5 to all NXT-holders at Genesis. A last snapshot of the Nxt blockchain will be taken just before that, so Ignis can launch together with Ardor.

Ignis will inherit all the current Nxt core features, but will be have others added and be further developed by the Nxt development team. The snapshot will be taken in Q3 2017.

And the unparalleled Nxt platform?

Nxt will continue, and be supported, by the Nxt core devs.

As the Nxt core developers wrote, in a Q&A session a few days ago:

riker
NXT promoted Jelurida and Jelurida will promote NXT.

jean-luc
There will be small businesses and end users who don’t need, or can’t afford, a private blockchain. Those will continue using Nxt, or start a child chain on Ardor.

riker
We can use the funds we receive from private chains to promote the development of the public chain which will in turn provide marketing and public relation for NXT/Ardor and bring us more private chain business.

ipsec [9:08 PM]
Now its very risky to invest NXT and ADROR…..because after 13 price of NXT will down

jean-luc [9:09 PM]
Everybody expecting a dump after 13th… then everybody would sell before 13th
my guess is, the dump has already happened, but then I am not a trader.
If you dump, what else would you buy that has better “incentive structure”?

And that’s the case. If Nxt is not the platform to start coding your new Ardor Nxt 2.0 projects on, then which?

With the Nxt Foundation marketing it, with an educational book about Nxt 1.0 coming out soon, with businesses rushing in to get into the best blockchain tech before the technology itself disrupts them…. will it be wise to sell NXT?

Jean-Luc:

We have projects using the public Nxt blockchain which will need to be supported for at least the next 2 years and probably longer. We’re also in the process of bringing in more core devs for Nxt as well as for Ardor, with the aim of establishing 2 semi-independent core dev teams.

There has been lot of public FUD and confusion about all of this, so I hope this clears up any questions or doubts that you may have about the future plans for Nxt and Ardor.

In doubt? Get involved.

Join nxtforum.org or the Nxtchat Slack channel:

DeBuNe is currently looking for extra developers to join their distributed team. m19: “We are creating our own custom version of NXT/Ardor and some of the changes you make might even end up in the core, we are in no way competing with them but instead actively supporting it.

https://nxtchat.slack.com/messages/job-offers/mentions/

LQD asset CEO libertynow [2:37 AM]: “If NXT goes below the Oct 4 bottom at 1667 I’ll start getting worried. well, not really. i don’t care that much. I can just use the NXT for divs if I really need to”.

You might also want to read: The Nxt Asset Exchange Tutorial

Congrats with your ARDR assets. Exchanges are open. The future will not be centralised. It will be you.

The Nxt 2.0 token distribution

Details about the Nxt 2.0 token distribution have been announced.

Those who have been following  Nxt 1.0 know that the launch of Nxt 2.0 (Ardor) will be a big and important step forwards, not just for Nxt but for blockchain technology in general. With the amazing and broad set of truly disruptive, stable features already running on the Nxt 1.0 blockchain, the next leap forward will be the solving of the blockchain bloat problem inherent to all existing blockchains.

This can make Ardor the first globally scalable crypto platform, and in addition to this, Ardor will enable any individual, business and community to launch their own fully secured customised private ledgers. In short, a Nxt 2.0 Main Chain token (ARDR) will ‘forge’ (~ stake/~mine) all the childchain transactions and thereby secure them. The first and default Nxt 2.0 childchain (Ignis) to be launched with the genesis block will be a ledger which integrates all the functionality of Nxt 1.0.

Ardor’s prime innovation is to split the blockchain into a main chain that is used for consensus creation only, and multiple child chains that keep separate ledgers of transactions, each child chain using its own coin/token.

In the announcement Jean-Luc writes that:

The Nxt 1.0 branch will continue to run

Nxt 1.9 is going to be the last major release on the Nxt 1.0 branch.

Nxt 2.0 is not a fork of Nxt 1.0. NXT tokens will continue to exist.
Existing 1.0 users will be able to log in to Nxt 2.0 with their existing passphrases.

The Nxt core development team is committed to providing support for Nxt 1.x for at least one year after the Nxt 2.0 launch. Additional GUI functionality may or may not be added to the NRS Client.

The distribution of Nxt 2.0 tokens

The Core Developers recognise the tremendous contributions of the investors and holders of the original Nxt 1.0, without whom Nxt 2.0 would not be possible, and have decided to grant them exclusive rights to the new 2.0 tokens.

Ardor tokens

ALL Nxt 2.0 Main Chain tokens (ARDR) will be distributed among the holders of Nxt 1.0 tokens.

Nxt 1.9 will be announced shortly with a hard fork for the ARDR distribution without API changes.

The only way to get ARDR is by holding NXT in your account during the snapshot phase (which starts when Nxt 1.9 is released and will run for about 3 months).

Jean-Luc writes:

The Nxt Software will start taking periodic snapshots of all users’ NXT balances, at regular intervals (most likely once an hour), for a period of three months.

The NXT balances in each account will be averaged over this full three month period, and at the end all accounts will be automatically credited with a token representing their ARDR holdings, issued as an Asset on the Nxt asset exchange.

This ARDR Asset will be freely tradeable.

The distribution of the real ARDR coins will be based on the ownership of ARDR Assets taken at the point of time when the 2.0 Genesis block is created.

There will be no burning of Nxt 1.0 needed in order to receive either ARDR or [Ignis]  Tokens.

ARDR tokens will be used for forging (i.e. staking / mining) to maintain and secure the full Ardor network and incentivize people to set up nodes. Users of any Ardor childchain will have to pay bundled transaction-fees to ARDR forgers.

Riker explains:

Holding the ARDR token provides the ability to bundle many child chain transactions into a ChildChainBlock transaction on the main chain (i.e. become a bundler) and forge transactions on the main chain.

Ardor Mainnet is scheduled to launch in Q3 2017.

IGNIS; the Nxt childchain tokens

Introducing: Ignis.

As stated above, Nxt 1.x will continue to run; you will get to keep all your current NXT tokens.

The Nxt 1.x equivalent chain which will launch with the Ardor genesis, is a new Nxt ledger. Its transactional token has been dubbed Ignis. The Ignis token will be the only transactional token on the Ardor network when it launches, and until new child chains can be spawned.

Ignis tokens will be distributed ~ 50/50 to NXT holders/Nxt core development team.

The ~ 50% Ignis which are to be distributed to the core development team will be theirs to use for funding the continued development of the Nxt 2.0 platform.

Jean-Luc writes:

[Ignis] will be created in the Genesis block of Nxt 2.0. At the moment NXT holders will get 50% [Ignis] of their NXT balance. The other 50% will be reserved for the devs, for instance to do an ICO with, or something else. As this is still one year in the future, the exact method of this is still being debated.

This means, that in addition to the Main Chain tokens (ARDR), NXT 1.0 holders will be accredited a number of Ignis (Nxt 2.0 transactional tokens) equal to ~ 50% of the NXT they hold in their account when Ardor launched in Q3 2017.

As a warning to traders, Riker states that: “If you keep your NXT on a centralised exchange you’ll need to check with the exchange how they handle the ARDR/Ignis distribution since it will be distributed to the exchange account. The exchange will get the ARDR / Ignis tokens and will decide what to do with it”.

Our best advice would be for you to keep your NXT in your own Nxt account with your own passphrase.

Nxt Developers – feel safe to code with Nxt

Nxt has had issues with breaking backwards compatibility when preparing for the switch to Nxt 2.0 / Ardor.

Nxt 1.10.x API will NOT be changed, so developers working with the Nxt 1.10.x API can feel safe that their code will keep working on the 1.0 branch and that they can easily port their new or existing Nxt projects to the new Nxt 2.0 ledger, if they want to do so after it has been launched. The Nxt core development team is very willing to offer their help in that regard, in case it should be necessary.

One exception to the backwards compatibility-rule is, as announced on release, the Nxt add-ons feature (available for developers from Nxt 1.8.0e), as this will “undergo significant refactoring in 2.0”.

Use it to test, play with it, but like Jean Luc writes: “Keep any custom add-on code simple, and be prepared to have to change it for 2.0 or discard it”.

You can follow the Nxt development in nxtforum.org/, and if you’re in doubt about anything, ask the core developers.

DeBuNe – a Decentralised Business Network on the move

NXTER.ORG’s RubenBc interviews Roberto Capodieci, who is the CEO of DeBuNe (Decentralised Business Network) and OTDocs.com (Open Trade Docs) and also the Founder of TheSoundKey.com + Go.Notifile.me.

Roberto has extensive experience in the IT and business sectors. At age 10 he developed and sold his first video game, began his IT entrepreneurial career when still in his teens and at 20 years’ old was running an office of almost 40 developers and software engineers.

On January 16, 2015, he announced DeBuNe in Nxtforum and 10 days later began a successful fundraising campaign.

Roberto sees himself as a farmer with a seed in his hand (DeBuNe), a good fertile field to plant it in (Nxt) and needing only some more water (investors) to be sure of a bumper harvest.

RubenBc: Roberto, I’m delighted to be speaking with you and look forward to learning about the technology that you’re presenting to us. First of all: What is DeBuNe?

Roberto: Thanks Ruben –  it’s great to be chatting with you. Basically, DeBuNe was born with the aim of decentralising business processes. More specifically, putting business processes on the blockchain, delegating the execution of pre-agreed decisions to smart contracts and phasing transactions. DeBuNe therefore enables entrepreneurs to put the administrative aspects of their business relationships on auto-pilot. This of course means they can then focus much more on the aspects of their work that require their key skills.

RubenBc: What types of project are currently running on the DeBuNe platform?

Roberto: Before having the chance to become a service open to everyone, DeBuNe has become a technological foundation for other projects of our own. We’ve been using it as a platform to implement some of our other technological solutions:

For example, OTDocs. This was the first project to use DeBuNe decentralised business process solutions to help manage documentation in international trade finance. We’re currently working on proof of concept pilot projects with several banks in Singapore and Australia.

Another of our projects is TheSoundKey; this is a small hardware device you can use to digitally sign blockchain transactions while making sure your digital identity is absolutely secure at all times.

Last, but not least, our latest project – my favorite and for sure the best – but it’s still top secret! One of the four versions of this project, http://go.notifile.me, will run on the Nxt blockchain, and will hopefully help to keep Nxt alive!

RubenBc: Do you require a new financing round? If so, will you be making use of the Nxt platform to raise the finance?

Roberto: The short answers are: not yet and yes I expect we will be doing so but only when the time is right. Nxt of course is not only a platform, it’s also a community and it was the amazing enthusiasm and support of the Nxt community that gave me, and the rest of the team, the courage to drop everything else and focus 100% on DeBuNe and collateral projects. The funds which we raised initially represent less than 10% of what we ourselves have invested so far.

The income generated by the DeBuNe projects is distributed according to asset ownership which in practice means that approximately 25% is distributed, as revenue share, via the Nxt platform, to the individual asset holders and the rest is retained by DeBuNe to cover the running costs. This is why DeBuNe will never put up for sale in the market more than 50% of the total amount of assets.

To support our efforts we have started offering consulting on blockchain projects, and implemented a couple of solutions. We are now hoping with our most recent (and still top secret) project to generate some fast income, and at the same time we are closing some paid pilot projects with some banks in Singapore.

We haven’t yet accepted any seed fundings with our startups because, before we sell any equity to investors, we want the companies to be worth as much as possible. In this way we’ll be able to raise the necessary finance without having to give away too much share capital.

RubenBc: I’ve read some of your articles, blockchain technology clearly fascinates you and specifically the Nxt blockchain…. How do you think DeBuNe can change the way a business is run?

Roberto: Through data decentralisation, combined with the use of digital signatures and thus identities, secure “timestamping” of transactions, non-repudiation, and pre-programmable actions. These are all key aspects of how DeBuNe can prevent business processes from being manipulated by any third party.

Two other things are needed. First, a reputation management system that lets everyone know how much trust they can place on a user via his digital identity (i.e. their public key on the blockchain with which they sign all their digital transactions). Second, coupled with that, a good decentralised KYC system which ties a person’s or company’s real identity to their digital identity. Together these two things will empower people and companies all around the world to do business with each other, regardless of where they are located, or what prejudices other people may have of them or indeed they may have about other people.

RubenBc: What Nxt features are you using?

Roberto: We pretty much only use the messaging system and sometimes the Alias System. We may consider the use of Phased Transactions.

RubenBc: We have started 2016 with a remarkable increase of confidence in the crypto ecosystem thanks in part to the prospect of another large crisis in the financial markets. What will happen with DeBuNe during 2016?

Roberto: DeBuNe will take time to release a finished product, due to several legal and practical (funding) reasons, but it has opened the doors to the means to get there. DeBuNe sub products will see the light of day this year, and I am very confident that they will succeed!

RubenBc: Do you think that the growth of Nxt’s adoption and other cryptocurrencies will be constant, progressive or will there be an event which will make it grow exponentially?

Roberto: As with any new technology there is a huge need for education in order to gain adoption. At the moment though, the “blockchain” is just a buzz word and every financial institution thinks it needs to have a project involving one, even if in most cases they have not much idea of what it means. And, at the other end of the supply chain – the end users – don’t even know what they are using.

I recently overheard someone expressing his surprise that to use Facebook he needed an Internet connection: to him Facebook was an application on his phone, and had nothing to do with the Internet. It will therefore very likely take a few years before this person understands crypto platforms!

Roberto Capodieci: https://sg.linkedin.com/in/debune
The DeBuNe whitepaper: http://debune.org/DeBuNe.pdf

Read more about Roberto Capodieci and his background + blockchain visions in the The First Nxt Book (to be published in late February/early March 2016). 

Three unappreciated Nxt services

Nxt is a hugely versatile and powerful platform, with a massive range of functionality. Nxt’s current and upcoming releases have already incorporated capabilities that are each a sole or major focus for other coins – shuffling, decentralised asset exchange, voting, messaging and more. Few other platforms have anything like Nxt’s sheer number of tools.

However, this extensive toolbox is both a strength and a weakness for Nxt. There are the killer services, like the AE, which has seen massive use since its launch 18 months ago. Then there are other functions such as Voting, which have seen some use. Others, like Aliasing, have attracted some interest but have yet to find a widespread use-case.

Then there are other features, each impressive in their own right, which have become all but lost under the other tools that are taken out and used on a daily basis. Three of these are the MS (Monetary System), Digital Marketplace, and Tokens.

Monetary System

The MS is a fantastic innovation that aims to simplify the creation and administration of new coins. It allows anyone to design and issue a new, off-the-peg cryptocurrency on top of Nxt – choosing from a list of features and using the Nxt blockchain to secure it, rather than bootstrapping a whole new network.

In theory, this should have been far more popular. After all, new coins are created every day, mostly by cloning bitcoin and tweaking one or other parameter. But it hasn’t happened with Nxt MS.

There are at least two reasons for this. One is that the MS has a clunky and somewhat user-unfriendly interface, which makes it hard to engage with the process, whether as an issuer or user. Secondly, these coins are not independent. They are based on Nxt and require NXT transaction fees, rather than fees being paid in their own currencies. NautilusCoin (NAUT), which was ported to Nxt, deals with this issue through a dedicated wallet that deducts fees in NAUT automatically, taking care of the conversion to NXT behind the scenes.

It may be wrong to think of these as truly independent new cryptocurrencies, but that doesn’t mean MS lacks use cases. One of the most obvious and powerful lies in crowdfunding – as recently proved by the Tennessee marketing campaign. TNSSE (the coin code) collected 10 million NXT for marketing activities. Two built-in properties made this a safe process. Firstly, if the 10m target was not met, all pledged funds would be returned to the senders automatically. Secondly, TNSSE tokens cannot be transferred or sold, except back to the issuing account. This ensures that no fraudulent secondary market develops.

Digital Marketplace

The Marketplace – originally titled the Digital Goods Store – is the true Cinderella of Nxt. It’s a great service, but it’s all but unused. It enables users to buy and sell digital files – music, ebooks, images, software and apps – quickly and easily, and returns their money if the link isn’t provided in a given window of time.

The Marketplace has seen almost no adoption. At first, a few people used it to sell physical goods, despite the fact that it wasn’t designed for this – there is no way of ensuring that a physical object has been delivered, whereas delivering a file is a different matter (though of course, there’s always the problem of ensuring it’s the right file). A few people also sold music on it. There was a significant project, Melodius, which aimed to use DGS to power a platform for independent artists. Coupled with a seamless fiat gateway provided by an exchange, the idea was to keep Nxt very firmly in the background, using the platform to make it easy to upload and sell music without the assistance of a major label. The project was unfortunately mired in complications and delays, and has not (yet) made it to completion.

The marketplace remains under-used and almost unused. Once again, the reason may be the friction of converting funds into NXT, as well as a lack of visibility outside of Nxt circles, let alone crypto circles. With a proper interface and fiat gateway, and the right marketing, it remains a powerful proposition.

Tokens

One last function that deserves a mention is tokenisation. This is a rather obscure process, but it has far-reaching applications.

A token is a string of characters that encapsulates a given piece of text (a name, phrase, URL – it doesn’t matter) and the public key of the user providing the token. Tokens can be created easily within the NRS, simply by providing your passphrase and the required text. This can be decoded by any other user, again using the NRS. There is no charge for this.

What this means is that users can provide cryptographically verifiable proof of ownership. Anyone can, for free, create a token which proves they own a particular address – without needing to show anyone their passphrase.

This may sound mundane but the implications are profound. Tokenisation could be used for signing into websites, for example; submitting a token consisting of the website’s URL and encapsulating the user’s Nxt address could allow them to log into their account without worrying about passwords or usernames. The username would effectively be the Nxt address, and there would be no concerns about passwords being hacked from the site, because a password would never be submitted – ownership of the Nxt account would be confirmed from the token.

Tokenisation isn’t unique to Nxt, though it makes it very easy. However, this action could be combined with further Nxt services. For example, in connection with the Marketplace, it could be used to subscribe to an online journal or media service. Files could be made available to the recipient’s Nxt account on submission of a token that proved their ownership of the account in question. If a Nxt account is also used for payment of a subscription, a token could be used to establish that the user had paid their fees – and access cancelled once the period covered by the fees expired.

Nxt’s toolbox enables a vast, thriving system of trustless e-commerce. Going into its third year, we hope to see more of these being realised.

Forkpay.net – the imminent future of altcoin payments?

Forkpay.net has just released its first browser extension, making it extremely easy for anyone to make payments with altcoins anywhere Bitcoin is accepted.

But take a deeper look at the new startup and what’s going on around it, and you will see that Forkpay has a lot more to offer. Indeed, Forkpay could very well become one of the stepping stones needed for cryptocurrencies and blockchain based tokens to achieve global adoption.

Why alts?

Altcoins improve on Bitcoin and add features to what is still the King of Crypto. For example, BitcoinDark and Dash offer anonymity features. Litecoin is the best-known fork, with faster block times than Bitcoin and a different mining algorithm (scrypt), just like DOGE. By contrast, Nxt uses PoS and offers, besides a payment system using its monetary unit NXT, a whole financial ecosystem of features.

Still, no coin has yet reached anywhere near the degree of adoption that Bitcoin has. Even though Bitcoin is based on old and (arguably) no longer bold code and the growth of both the Bitcoin blockchain and difficulty of mining has meant more centralisation in the Bitcoin network, Bitcoin’s dominant network effect means that it continues to reign supreme (at least for the time being).

There are already lots of places in which to spend Bitcoin. From small private retailers, like ititch.com (anonymous domain registration and hosting), to larger ventures like Gyft, Overstock, Amazon and Virgin Galactic. They all see the potential of blockchain-based currencies and regard themselves as first movers in the developing cryptocurrency-fuelled economy.

So, if you want your own particular altcoin accepted in stores, you have to get out there and start knocking on doors.

At least, that is, up till now.

Pay bills with altcoins

With the Forkpay plugin, which is available as a Chrome extension, and soon to be released for Firefox, you can now visit any online merchant that accepts Bitcoin and pay for goods with your favorite altcoin, starting with LiteCoin, PeerCoin, DOGE, NXT, BitcoinDark, and Dash.

UPDATE: The Forkpay Firefox plugin is now awaiting approval from the Firefox webstore. As soon as it is available, the Forkpay ICO at NXT asset exchange will be complete, and the project will be officially launched.

ForkPay.net is very easy to use: When the extension is installed, every time a Bitcoin address is shown on a site, you will see a Fork logo next to it. To pay with alts, you simply click the fork, choose your coin from the dropdown menu, and make the payment. Forkpay.net converts your altcoins on the fly, and you don’t have to go through any registration process.

Forkpay.net wants to become “the most versatile payment solution for cryptocurrency merchants”, so this is just the beginning. The Lithuanian-based startup has further plans in the pipeline, which are in the process of being coded even as I write this.

Download the free Forkpay Chrome extension from the Google Chrome Webshop.

Crypto currency volatility

There are several players already in the crypto merchant solution field, but where Forkpay.net stands out from the rest is by bringing a BTC > altcoin exchange to the merchant sites (using Coinomat Instant Crypto Exchange’s API), so altcoin users can buy goods, even if the merchant doesn’t accept their altcoin. It’s certainly a problem solver. But will it be enough on its own to enable Forkpay.net to take a significant market share and succeed as a business?

The current volatile monetary value of Bit- and alt-coins is one of the most significant factors preventing wider adoption; many people, understandably, are hesitant to use a unit of monetary value as a means of payment which they cannot depend upon to be as least as good at storing value as their fiat money.

The price of BTC goes up, goes down, and it goes up again – or further down, and because its market cap changes rapidly, investors move in and out of the market, and yes, speculators also try to make huge profits on exchanges, by running pump and dump schemes.

The race is therefore on to solve the riddle: How to create pegged or ‘stable’ cryptocurrencies?

Front-runners include the Nxt platform which, via its Monetary System, now supports the creation of peggable currencies, albeit none have yet been created so it’s not yet known how successful this solution will be in practice.

Another solution provided by the Nxt platform is the Nxt Asset Exchange where you’ll find fiat-pegged assets like CoinoUSD, CoinoEUR, as well as YAN-pegged assets.

Other cryptocurrencies are also in the race to reach the same goal. One of the truly exciting projects still in the pipeline is PAX, a fully decentralized way to peg crypto to anything, which is currently being developed, along with other supporting features, by SuperNET + BitcoinDark lead developer: jl777.

But how hard would it be in practice to integrate such solutions with ForkPay?

Coming up: Fiat pegged crypto

I asked the people behind Coinomat, the crypto exchange responsible for the API that Forkpay uses, and who also happen to be the issuer of CoinoUSD and CoinoEUR on the Nxt AE. Their answer was clear and to the point.

Coinomat:

We’ll do it very soon, also MS [Nxt Monetary System coins] will be integrated.

Now, as already mentioned, Forkpay makes it extremely easy for anyone who owns and wants to spend altcoins anywhere Bitcoin is accepted. A fine business idea, and it sure works like a breeze. But… Will this ever become a truly useful service for the everyday consumer who doesn’t mine altcoins, or who doesn’t just happen to hold a bag of DOGE, BitcoinDark or NXT crypto 2.0 tokens?

It seems so.

Couple the upcoming fiat pegged crypto integration with a nice looking and easy to use browser extension, then look at the roadmap from Forkpay. The browser extension is live, operational and its marketing has only just started. Forkpay’s further development plan includes:

  • release of Firefox plug-ins;
  • a cash-back program for plug-in user;
  • server-side plug-ins for merchants;
  • ‘reverse’ plugin solution, where merchants can get paid in fiat and receive crypto; and also being worked on,
  • paying credit card bills with Forkpay in crypto.

To give you an idea of what the future may hold, let’s see what’s already possible with the solutions we have now. In the not too distant future, these services will most likely be integrated as a self-contained solution by some smart developer or visionary business. We’re still in the early days of the blockchain revolution, so everything will eventually end up being much easier to use. But here’s an approach you can use now:

A 3 step plan to saving money

1: Coinomat

Exchange USD to CoinoUSD, or EUR to CoinoEUR. It’s easy. Your fiat money will not lose value as the Coino assets are pegged to the fiat value.

You earn interest (0.06% daily at the moment, which is 24% per year) just by holding your Coino assets in your safe and personal Nxt wallet. Now that’s a quite a bit more than my bank offers me and no doubt what yours offers you. No registration required and you can withdraw to any VISA/Mastercard whenever you want.

2: Nxt

This is the blockchain 2.0 which secures all your fiat pegged assets as well as, of course, your NXT (the Nxt platform’s monetary unit). This is your money. You own it. Absolutely. Moreover, being secured by Nxt’s decentralized network, it’s 100% safe. By contrast, when you deposit ‘your money’ in a bank account you are by law deemed to be lending that money to the bank. You are in effect, an unsecured creditor of the bank and ‘your money’ is therefore not safe.

You can send or receive any amount of assets, NXT or Nxt MS coins for a fee of 1 NXT. This currently equals €0.01, the amount and destination don’t matter. In comparison, according to the World Bank, sending remittances around the world using the banking system costs an average of 7.37 percent of the amount sent. All in all, cross-border transactions are expected to reach $608 billion in 2015. Now that’s a lot of fees to save.

With your funds in the Nxt blockchain, you can also use all the core and 3rd party features in the Nxt network. The decentralized global p2p marketplace. Issue tokens. Invest in promising real world ventures on AE. Play games. Upload data. Torrents. Build a business, crowdfund it. Keep assets, Bitcoin, altcoins and your investments right there in the same wallet, using Nxt Multigateway features.

3: Forkpay 

Go shopping. Pay with NXT (or any of the other integrated altcoins).
Buy goods anywhere Bitcoin is accepted, using the browser extension.

If you’re a merchant, use Forkpay to set up your merchant crypto payment solution.

Cashback? It’s coming.

Direct payments with your fiat-pegged crypto assets (USD/EUR/etc). Very soon.

Why? Forkpay’s exchange rate does not exceed 3%. With Paypal the standard rate for receiving payments for goods and services is 3.9% + fixed fee, and for payments across borders, it’s up to 5.99% + a fixed fee.

Forkpay.net ICO on Nxt AE

You can share profits with Forkpay by participating in their ICO currently taking place on the Nxt AE.

Nxtforum ANN thread: https://nxtforum.org/assets-board/(pre-ann)-forkpay-net/

Forkpay.net is going to follow the standard start-up cycle. This first asset issue is the seed stage investment. Forkpay.net is going to approach venture funds for a second round investment or buy-out in future at which stage asset holders will be able to make an exit or exchange the assets for the ‘real’ equity. This is going to be an experiment with classical seed stage investment made on the Nxt platform.

Forkpay’s revenue model is based on transaction fees. 50% of the profits will be paid out to shareholders.

Asset ID: 4244599378927106120
Total assets sold at ICO: 3 million. ICO asset price: 1 NXT

To learn more about how to use the Nxt Asset Exchange, read this AE tutorial.

forkpay-altcoin-payments

——————–

This article is for general information and news purposes only. It does not take into account readers’ personal circumstances or investment objectives. As with any investment, readers should carry out their own due diligence research before making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

[crowdfunding] The First Book About Nxt

The first book about Nxt

Crowdfunding campaign: 5th December 2015 to 5th January 2016

We need your support
NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV

What is this book ?

Initially published as a pdf, it will be the first multi-lingual, tangible symbol of the real-life, global, transformative potential of Nxt.

More specifically, co-published by Nxter Magazine and Plaisir d’histoire (Ludom), it will be the printed (paper) version of the free pdf-book that was published to celebrate Nxt’s second birthday. It contains articles written in English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese.

***

http://test.nxter.org/nxt-2nd-birthday/

nxt-2nd-bday

Introduction
by apenzl …………………………………………………………………………………. 4

Что делает Nxt криптоплатформой второго поколения?
(English: What makes Nxt crypto platform 2nd generation?)
by abctc …………………………………………………………………………………. 11

The original spirit
by Bas ‘Damelon’ Wisselink ………………………………………………………….. 17

Nxt son histoire et son potentiel
(English: Nxt – its history and potential)
by Lionel ‘Ludom’ Jeannerat …………………………………………………………. 28

Three unappreciated Nxt services
by Cassius ………………………………………………………………………………. 52

Nxt financiación colectiva
(English: Nxt Crowdfunding)
by Rubén BC ……………………………………………………………………………. 58

Nxt Foundation:
How to market a decentralised, open source organisation
by Dave ‘EvilDave’ Pearce ……………………………………………………………. 73

The Value of 10 NXTs
by ChuckOne …………………………………………………………………………… 80

SuperNET
by Cassius and apenzl ………………………………………………………………… 87

中国正在觉醒
(English: China is awake)
by NxtChina ……………………………………………………………………………. 97

The regulatory process:
if you‘re not at the table, you‘re on the menu
by Robert Bold, Kushti, Jean-Luc and Riker …………………………………….. 105

***

In summary, our goals are:

  • Produce a high quality, limited edition of the English language version of the book in printed (paper) form.
  • Translate the book into each of the other 4 languages depending on demand and to make them available initially as pdfs.
  • Produce paper versions of the book in each of the other 4 languages either as ‘Print-on-Demand’ or in high quality, again depending on demand.

See below for further details.

Why we need your support

This project needs support from the community: morally and financially.

Morally: we need your support to help sustain our motivation. If our project doesn’t have the community’s support, we have no reason to continue working on it.

Financially: we need your support so that we can create high quality publications of the book in paper form, starting with the English Language version.

Each copy sold during the campaign will be numbered and signed by Ludom on behalf of Nxter Magazine and Plaisir d’histoire.

Over time, as Nxt becomes established as a financial ecosystem, it is anticipated that the book will become an increasingly valuable collector’s item.

Our projected costs are:

  • Printing cost: 200 books
    (150mm x 220 mm, 136 + 4 pages,
    Interior B/W 90gr Premium,
    Couverture Quadri 235gr Integra Antalis,
    Spine Sewn and glued).
  • Shipping cost, taxes and custom fees (30% of the book’s price).
  • Miscellaneous costs: ISBN and Swiss National Library registration of the books, shipping of the books for the contributors (writers, editors and translators).

Plaisir d’histoire will pay the FIAT bills but wants to be reimbursed in crypto-currencies, assets and MScoins.

Nxter Magazine and Plaisir d’histoire need 200’000 NXT or its equivalent in value in other crytocurrencies, assets or MScoins to produce and deliver a high quality paper version of the book in English.

How you can support us

nxt-crowdfunding

Buying e-book and paper books

Once a week during the campaign, the prices, which are determined in USD, will be converted into crypto value and published on the Nxtforum.

Worldwide delivery will be available.

Tokens to buy e-books are:

ebookeng: E-book in English

Asset ID 18310681715601320988
https://trade.secureae.com/#18310681715601320988

ebookfre:  E-book in French

Asset ID 762274092038885351
https://trade.secureae.com/#762274092038885351

ebookrus: E-book in Russian

Asset ID 18284118483914201034
https://trade.secureae.com/#18284118483914201034

ebookspa: E-book in Spanish

Asset ID 2728308106613828176
https://trade.secureae.com/#2728308106613828176

ebookchi: E-book in Chinese

Asset ID 10707307993124388284
https://trade.secureae.com/#10707307993124388284

The price of the e-book is 2$ (Price in NXT and other tokens on Nxtforum).

Tokens to buy paper-books are:

Pbookeng: 1 paper book in English

Asset ID 7676447843512066742
https://trade.secureae.com/#7676447843512066742

Price: 20$ (Price in NXT and other tokens on Nxtforum).

TENGB (MScoin tradable, controllable): 3 paper books in English (16% discount)

Price: 50$ (Price in NXT and other tokens on Nxtforum).

XENGB (MScoin tradable, controllable): 10 paper books in English (25% discount)

Price: 150$(Price in NXT and other tokens on Nxtforum).

LENGB (MScoin tradable, controllable): 50 paper books in English (50% discount)

Price: 500$ (Price in NXT and other tokens on Nxtforum).

How to buy with NXT

Buy the tokens that you want on the asset exchange or on the MScoin exchange. Verify the ID of the assets.

How to buy with a listed asset

Send the required amount of the asset (look at the price list on Nxtforum)) to NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV with a message that explains what you buy.

How to buy with other assets or MScoins

We can accept other crypto-value. For more details, send a message to ludom@test.nxter.org or an arbitrary message to NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV.

How do you send the books

When the e-books are ready, we will send an encrypted message to the asset holders with instructions how to download the e-books.

When the books have been printed, a confirmatory message to that effect will be sent to the assets/MScoin holders. As soon as each holder sends us back the token with their physical address, Plaisir d’histoire will send the book(s) to their address.

Where any part of the campaign fails to meets its objectives, we will buy back the tokens concerned.

Free donations and account leasing

Feel free to make donation to the account NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV. We accept everything:

NXT, assets, MScoins, alias, nice messages and anything-else you like.

During the crowdfunding campaign, the account will be forging all the time, the forging revenues will be part of the funding. You can lease your account to support the project.

Special rewards

Alias system

On Nxtforum, we’ll organise an auction to sell a special alias: SurpriseAlias. The winner of the auction will buy the alias on the Nxt platform.

This alias will be printed in large font on the first pages under the words: “Discover the link of SupriseAlias”.

Early bird discount grunge rubber stamp on white background, vector illustration

Marketplace

15 x Early English Bird (17$):

The English language version of the book will be sold with a 15% discount. Each Nxt account will be limited to one book at this discount.

You will also receive 1 asset Pbookeng.

If you want more than one book at a discount, please buy the TENGB, XENGB or LENGB MScoins.

4 x Little advertiser (200$):

You receive a XENGB (10 books) + a half page of the book for your advertisement.

2 x Big advertiser (600$):

You receive a LENGB (50 books) + a full page of the book for your advertisement.

10 x E-book life subscription (40$)

You receive the asset NxterSub (1637207859198711678). This asset gives the right to receive for free every e-book published by Nxter Magazine for EVER.

FreeMarket

Additionally, to show our support for this promising Nxt project, we will be selling 15 Early birds and 10 E-book life subscriptions on FreeMarket.

I want to help in some other way

Contact Ludom of Plaisir d’histoire: ludom@test.nxter.org or NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV

What are the goals

The main goal: English paper book

We want to publish a really good quality book in English. We don’t want to use the print-on-demand solution because the print quality is bad and the profits are tiny.

To print 200 books, we need 200’000 NXT of crypto-value. All the NXT, assets and the MScoins are in the “First Nxt book” account NXT-DE5P-4A5T-6SHU-7FHCV.

The campaign will end on the 5th January 2015.

Updates of the estimated value of the ‘First Nxt book’ portfolio will be published regularly on Nxtforum.

Secondary goals: other language versions of the book

Since there would certainly be less demand for editions of the book in other languages, we are putting forward the following proposals:

20 e-books: translation into any of the other 4 languages: Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese.

If 20 assets of an e-book in one of the above languages are sold, we will begin translating it into that language. You can buy as many assets as you want to support your own language version of the book.

50 e-books: paper book published as Print-on-demand

If 50 assets of an e-book in a particular language are sold, we will launch the corresponding asset PbookXXX and the MScoins (x3, x10 and x50). You will then be able to buy the paper book in this language.

Subject as provided below, the quality of the book will be ‘Print-on-Demand’.

30 paper books + 150k NXT: paper book ‘best quality’

After the main goal of 200k NXT has been reached, for every additional 150k NXT, we will publish the book in a new language in the same quality as the English language version.

To qualify for high quality publication, a minimum of 30 copies of the particular language version of the book must have been purchased. Where two or more language versions of the book qualify, the best seller will be the one chosen.

FAQ

Who am I?

My name is Lionel Jeannerat (‘Ludom’ on Nxtforum). I’m a Swiss. I work freelance in History and game design and carry on a publishing business under the name Plaisir d’histoire. I am responsible for managing this campaign and the logistical aspects of publishing the book.  My website is: http://www.plaisirdhistoire.ch/

I’m working with the core team of Nxter.org, the Nxter Magazine. They are responsible for editing and translating the book. Their website is: http://test.nxter.org/

We are all well-known and, we like to think, trusted in the Nxt community.

What will we do if the goals are not reached?

First, we’ll all be very disappointed!

Second, I’ll rebuy every asset that can’t be exchanged with the promised product.

The articles are already available to read, so why should you support us?

Yes, it’s true. You can already read the articles for free, at least in their original languages: http://test.nxter.org/nxt-2nd-birthday/

But our ambition extends beyond this campaign.

Our future projects

Nxter Magazine and Plaisir d’histoire want to build new projects on the Nxt platform. This campaign is the first of the projects we are planning based on the Nxt platform.

The Nxt marketing

An excellent, beautifully produced book about Nxt is a great tool for Nxt marketing. A PDF or a cheap Print-on-demand Book is a poor substitute for that. And, if we have books in other languages, we can of course reach more people.

We want to print more books than are sold during the campaign. Having a good stock available in each language will enable us to market it, and therefore Nxt, more effectively.

To that end we want to increase the book’s distribution via online and physicals books shops.

A new example of the use of Nxt platform

As you can see, we will be using every feature of Nxt in our crowdfunding campaign. Nxt needs its crowdfunding platform to be used in as many different ways as possible in order for its flexibility and effectiveness to be fully demonstrated. The success of our campaign will provide a further demonstration of the power of Nxt.

If the campaign is as big a success as you envisage, what will you do with the extra funding?

We won’t make any profit until the book is published in each language: English, French, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. And we need 200k + 150k + 150k + 150k + 150k NXT = 800k NXT for that.

If we funded more than that, it would mean that we would have sold more and the shipping cost would therefore be bigger too. Firstly, I would pay the extra cost with the extra funds.

After that, the surplus (i.e. the profit) would be shared between the contributors (1/3), Nxter.org (1/3) and Plaisir d’histoire (1/3). This revenue would be used to reward the writers, editors and translators, and to prefund our future projects on the Nxt platform.

What will we do with the funding?

Plaisir d’histoire will pay every FIAT bill of the project. If the costs don’t exceed what is planned, there is no reason to sell any of the fund.

Plaisir d’histoire pays in FIAT and receive the equivalence NXT and/or assets, that’s it.

If there is good liquidity to sell them, I’ll do it during and after the campaign. But we don’t want to crash the price of any token. If people want to buy some of our assets, they can propose their price.  This would be another good way to help us meet our objectives and therefore help Nxt. Contact me at ludom@test.nxter.org

The regulatory process: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu

On 22 April 2015 The European Securities and Markets Authority (‘ESMA’)1, the equivalent of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, issued a call for evidence regarding ‘Investment using virtual currency or distributed ledger technology’.

Nxt is the example of the digital currency platform ESMA used in its ‘call for evidence’ to illustrate how distributed ledger technology works.

ESMA has now published the 18 responses it received, only two of which were made on behalf of cryptocurrencies: Nxt and FIMK (which is based on the Nxt blockchain). No response was made on behalf of Bitcoin, although one was made in support of it by an exchange called Paymium.

No response to the ESMA call for evidence was made on behalf of (or even in support of) Ethereum, Counterparty, MaidSafe etc.

One can of course understand the lack of engagement on the part of the majority of cryptocurrencies (being, as they mostly are, opportunistic Bitcoin clones), but for Bitcoin itself and other serious players such as those mentioned above not to have responded is surprising.

The cryptocurrency industry needs to fully engage in the regulatory process to make sure that the potential for independent, genuinely decentralised, blockchain technology to democratize financial power is not compromised by a failure to challenge incompleteness or other inaccuracy in the information relied on by regulators.

Some examples of incompleteness and other inaccuracies can be found in the following extract of the ESMA response from Intesa Sanpaolo (a banking group based in Italy):

“We would like to point out that, unlike Bitcoin’s Proof of Work method (which, as stated in O1, we regard as the only effective one, at least at the moment, because of the computational power dedicated to it), other decentralized double-spending prevention algorithms, like NXT’s Proof of Stake (PoS) presented in paragraph n.17, are still not validated from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view:

○ There is an ongoing debate over the “Nothing at Stake” problem affecting every system which doesn’t use any consumption of resources external to the system for the validation;

○ Every single existing PoS scheme, NXT included, is actually relying on some kind of centralization in validation checkpoints, in “currency” ownership or in nodes distribution.”

It would not of course be reasonable to expect a mainstream commercial banking group to argue in favour of a genuinely independent decentralised financial ecosystem.

Rather, it is for the proponents of that technology to correct any inaccuracies and supply any omissions in how others (doubtless unintentionally) represent it, but to do that they need to get involved in the consultation process.

Thus, by way of correcting certain inaccuracies and otherwise filling in the gaps, we shall deal with each of Intesa’s three claims in turn.

Intesa Sanpaolo claims that Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW) method has been empirically and theoretically validated and that Nxt’s Proof of Stake (PoS) method has not.

Theoretically, the PoW and PoS consensus mechanisms are neither better nor worse than each other, merely different. For a description of Nxt’s Proof of Stake model, see pages 5/6 of Nxt’s Response to ESMA.

As regards, the respective theoretical formalizations of PoW and PoS, the following points should be noted:

PoW formalization

The initial Satoshi Nakamoto paper (Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System) only investigated the consensus algorithm security against private branch attack.

Since then other potential attack vectors, for example selfish mining, have been discovered.

The selfish mining strategy provides unfair profit for the 33+% adversary and that’s dangerous in the long-term, but not critical for consensus itself.

Most recently, in November 2014, the formal model (of a more or less appropriate quality) was published: The Bitcoin Backbone Protocol: Analysis and Applications.

PoS formalization

Whilst Proof-of-Stake formalization is currently still behind that of PoW it’s now developing faster than PoW’s formalization and therefore catching up quickly.

The first implementations of pure PoS appeared in the second half of 2013, with the first investigations started in the first half of 2014 (Math of Nxt Forging by mthcl) following which Consensus Research made simulations2 and wrote articles3 about the few types of known attacks.

Consensus Research are currently in the process of discussing deeper formalization with colleagues from mathematics and theoretical computer science.

Turning next to Intesa Sanpaolo’s claim that Bitcoin’s PoW method has been “empirically validated” and that Nxt’s PoS method has not.

We assume “empirically validated”, as applied to Bitcoin’s PoW and Nxt’s PoS technologies, is intended to mean: proven to work in practice in accordance with their objectives.

Since both technologies demonstrably do work in practice in accordance with their objectives, at least up until now, they can therefore both be said to have been empirically validated: Bitcoin as a payment system and Nxt as a financial ecosystem which includes a payment system (see: Nxt Core Features, as described on pages 15/16 of Nxt’s response to ESMA).

But blockchain technology in general is still in its infancy and faces a number of significant practical challenges, including that of blockchain bloat and scalability – a problem which, at some stage, will have to be addressed and resolved (if they are to remain viable) by all blockchain technologies, including of course Nxt itself.

However, due to the large and (as currently anticipated) increasing number of transactions being processed through its network, Bitcoin now needs to address that problem as a matter of urgency and it is running out of time in which to do so.

According to Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen speaking in an interview in June 2015, Bitcoin will be reaching its 1 MB block size limit “some time in the next 6 to 12 to 18 months….”. In the interview Mr Andresen goes on to warn of what could happen if the problem isn’t resolved.4

In an apparent attempt to force the pace as regards tackling the block size issue, a patch to the Bitcoin Core was released on August 4 and is now available to download here: https://bitcoinxt.software/

It remains to be seen whether the Bitcoin network as a whole will accept or reject what in effect is a hard fork or indeed whether the network will split, resulting in the creation of two versions of Bitcoin, thereby crashing the value of one, if not both.

What is certainly clear is that the Bitcoin XT debate (whether or not to replace the current hard-coded block size limit of 1mb with a patch that, amongst other things, supports larger blocks) has polarized opinion.5

And it is doing so for the reason explained in this article in The Wall Street Technologist:

“What we have here is an ideological schism in Bitcoin. Most people fail to realize that this is what the block debate is really about. On one hand you have folks who believe Bitcoin should be the new VISA system. They believe that Bitcoin should be able to handle all the transactions on planet earth, from everyone’s daily coffee purchase, to everyone’s house purchase, to how Google cars should be paid for their services.  On the other hand, you have those who believe Bitcoin’s core value is the fact that it is a hedge against fiat currencies, and by extension, governments (in the case they decide to infringe upon your liberties). Bitcoin CANNOT be both. It’s just not possible.”

Whilst, as already mentioned, the scalability problem is common to all blockchain technologies, the following empirically observed problems are exclusive to Bitcoin and should also be borne in mind when reassessing the accuracy of any claim that Bitcoin is empirically valid:

  • the inherent tendency of the underlying economics of the Bitcoin network to create a vicious circle whereby increasingly sophisticated mining rigs generate increased hash output resulting in increased difficulty which in turn drives the need for evermore powerful rigs thereby making it uneconomic for any but the biggest miners and pools to operate. The end result: increasing centralisation of mining power; i.e. a shrinking network of nodes, making it less secure.6
  • over-dependency on a few manufacturers of the prohibitively expensive ASIC mining equipment.
  • high energy consumption involved in miners competing for blocks to validate, making the process environmentally very unfriendly.

Intesa Sanpaolo claims that “there is an ongoing debate over the “Nothing at Stake” problem affecting every system which doesn’t use any consumption of resources external to the system for the validation.”

The unqualified use of the word “problem” might suggest to the uninformed reader that Nxt, as a PoS system, has actually been subjected to a Nothing-at-Stake attack. In fact, it has not.

Like Bitcoin’s PoW, the Nxt PoS consensus algorithm is a work in progress; the current state of thinking and research regarding any theoretical vulnerability to a N@S attack can be summarised as follows:

A. The first more or less formal definition (at least in the form of computer code) has been produced by Consensus Research:

PoS forging algorithms: multi-strategy forging and related security issues.

B. The number of possible forks grows exponentially over time. A Nothing-at-Stake attack could therefore only be made by a multi-branch forger contributing to N best forks and since it’s impossible to predict whether 2 forks will be within N best forks from the exponentially growing set for k confirmations (a significant imponderable), this attack vector is inherently unpredictable making it very difficult to enforce in theory, let alone in practice.

C. The correlation with stake size is still the open question but, contrary to what has been stated by Vitalik Buterin,7  it’s nearly impossible to attack a proof-of-stake currency with “1% stake even”.

D. A solution to make the PoS consensus algorithmically enforced (as in PoW) is theoretically possible.

E. The N@S simulation tool is published here: https://github.com/ConsensusResearch/MultiBranch  for people to carry out their own experiments. Unfortunately, there is not currently any easy-to-understand (i.e. non-technical) visualization of the non-feasibility of a Nothing-at-Stake attack.

In practice, the Nxt forging algorithm provides a defence against a Nothing-at-Stake attack in the form of what has been termed Transparent Forging (TF), the main feature of which is the ability to predict which account will generate the next block.

Other TF aspects of the Nxt forging algorithm are:

  • account balance having to be older than 1440 blocks;
  • the ability to lease account balance for forging;
  • requiring the forging account to have had its public key announced for 1440 blocks before being able to forge; and,
  • not accepting a forged block if its timestamp is more than 1 second after the predicted time to forge.

Improvements to take effect in release 1.7 are a minimum effective balance requirement of 1000 NXT for an account to be eligible to forge, and preventing very long blocks by an improved base target adjustment algorithm.

Elements of the TF concept which have not yet been implemented include: achieving higher transaction processing speeds by sending transactions directly to the node expected to generate the next block, and reducing the time interval between blocks based on the knowledge of the next few predicted block generator accounts.

Further protection against any ‘Nothing at Stake’ attack can be achieved by temporarily reducing to zero the forging power of accounts which should have generated a block but skipped their turn.

At present though, the currently implemented components of TF are considered sufficient to protect against such an attack.

Those TF elements mentioned above which are designed to increase the possible transaction throughput will only be implemented once the need for it appears, and certainly not until blockchain pruning has first been implemented.

Intesa Sanpaolo claims that “Every single existing PoS scheme, NXT included, is actually relying on some kind of centralization in validation checkpoints, in “currency” ownership or in nodes distribution.”

At their current level of technological development, no blockchain (arguably Bitcoin least of all) is 100% decentralised.

Nxt validation checkpoints

The Nxt protocol includes a rolling checkpoint whereby any block submitted at a height more than 720 blocks behind the current block height is automatically rejected. This in effect limits chain reorganization to the most recent 720 blocks.

The Nxt protocol also includes some hard-coded checkpoints (e.g. at Block 333,000). Their purpose is to prevent any possibility of a so-called “history rewriting attack” in which somebody buys redundant early stakeholder accounts in order to try to build a complete alternative blockchain.

Another reason for the hard-coded checkpoints is performance optimization, specifically: improved blockchain download speeds for peers downloading the blockchain from scratch, the improved speed being due to the fact that they don’t need to check with multiple peers in respect of the blockchain before the latest hard-coded checkpoint whether or not the current fork they are on is the best one.

Most importantly, such hard-coded checkpoints are only added at blocks more than 720 blocks before the current (at the time of adding the checkpoint) last block. At this point, the consensus has already been reached and set in stone by the rolling 720 block checkpoint limit, therefore the hardcoded checkpoint does not influence the decentralized consensus.

Whether or not these validation features can be regarded as  “centralised” is debatable and in any case neither are critically needed for blockchain survival.

Bitcoin, of course, has its own hard-coded checkpoints (see further: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/src/chainparams.cpp )

Nxt currency ownership and node distribution

Nxt does not rely, as a matter of technical design, on centralisation of currency ownership or node distribution and the authors of this article are unaware of any PoS model (or indeed any other blockchain consensus mechanism) that does.

Proof-of-stake must have a way of defining the next valid block in any blockchain. Selection by account balance would result in (undesirable) centralization, as the single richest member would have a permanent advantage. Instead, several different methods of selection have been devised.

Randomized Block Selection

Nxt uses a pseudo-random algorithm to predict the next block generator i.e. forger, by calculating a hash value which should be lower than a target value using the combination of the account stake, time since last block, signature of the previous block and the forger account public key. Since all these parameters are publicly available, each node can predict, with reasonable accuracy which account will forge the next block.

It might be that what Intesa Sanpaolo meant to say in its ESMA response was that in certain PoS models a relatively small number of accounts are in practice currently responsible for the majority of the work of validating blocks and earning the transaction fees for doing so.

In the case of Nxt the original distribution of the currency was made to the 73 subscribers who participated at the start and as a continuing, albeit slowly improving, legacy effect of that relatively small distribution, it is true to say that a large percentage of the Nxt currency has been owned by a relatively small number of account-holders.

Nxt critics have long sought to portray this as an inherent irremediable weakness of the system. It is not and over time, as more people get involved in Nxt, the number of accounts will continue to increase and ownership become more diffuse.

In the meantime, having a large percentage of the currency concentrated in a relatively few hands has had some advantages for the system, not least of which is the relative absence of speculative manipulation (i.e. pump and dump) and the funding of development and marketing that would not have happened but for the generous bounties made available by large Nxt account holders.

Meanwhile, Proof of Stake blockchain technology, of which Nxt is the leading example, continues to innovate and improve.

The features planned for the next hard fork (Release 1.7) are coin shuffling, account control for phased transactions (whereby an account is only allowed to submit phased transactions that require the approval of one or more other accounts), more stable block times and various usability enhancements. A security enhancement, 2FA using hash chains, will be added in Release 1.8.

Nxt core developers will also be adding features that make it easier to use the platform in regulated financial environments, for example “account properties” which can be used to endorse accounts as having been verified or authorized by third parties (to be implemented in Release 1.7) and “controllable assets”, designed to satisfy legal requirements that only authorized accounts can purchase certain types of asset (planned for Release 1.8).

Update: Since this article was published, a new version of The Nxt NRS client software has been released: NRS v.1.7.0e

This is an experimental release for testing only. Source code is not provided.

—————————

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to kushti, Jean-Luc, Riker, mthcl and ChuckOne who all reviewed and variously commented on and contributed wording to the article.

re-esma-nxt-cryptocurrency

Footnotes

1. ESMA states on its website that it:

‘…is interested in how different virtual currencies and the associated blockchain, or distributed ledger, can be used in investments. There are now facilities available to use the blockchain infrastructure as a means of issuing, transacting in and transferring ownership of securities in a way that bypasses the traditional infrastructure for public offer and issuance of securities, trading venues like exchanges and central securities depositaries or other typical means of recording ownership. ESMA would like to find out more about these market developments and in particular to know to what extent the use of the blockchain could enter the financial mainstream, and how it could be used.’

2. https://github.com/ConsensusResearch/ForgingSimulation.

3. https://github.com/ConsensusResearch/articles-papers.

Kushti is currently discussing joint papers possibilities with colleagues and preparing a paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

4. In the interview (at 6:43 mins), Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Mr Andresen, who has a less apocalyptic vision than his colleague Mike Hearn as to what might happen to Bitcoin in a worst case scenario, nevertheless warns that:

“…people will just stop sending transactions if they notice that their transactions are not getting confirmed in a day or two or three or a week. The nature of transaction confirmation and the nature of how blocks are found softens that a little bit so every once in a while we’ll get a period of time when transactions really pile up because blocks are found more slowly than normal and every once in a while we’ll have a period of time where lots of transactions get confirmed because we’re finding lots of blocks.

It’s just the nature of the randomness of mining that we get this natural variation in how many transactions are confirmed in any given period of time and so I think that that natural variation plus people react so if you’re sending transactions with very low fees that aren’t getting confirmed well then you’ll bump up your fees if you can and if you can’t bump up your fees because transactions get more expensive then you find some alternative and that alternative may be: well I won’t use Bitcoin, I’ll find some other way of doing what I want to do.

So I don’t think we’ll have a crash. It won’t be a disaster. I think what we will see is people turning away from Bitcoin and using other things and I think we’ll see transaction fees rising. Both of these things I think are bad.”

5. Bitcoin XT vs Core, Blocksize limit, the schism that divides us all.

“The news recently is all abuzz about the Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn’s fork of Bitcoin called Bitcoin XT.  For the first time in the history of Bitcoin, its very existence has been put into peril by way of what is termed a ‘Hard Fork’ of the protocol.  I have watched the situation develop, and I feel that I must comment on this topic as the amount of FUD coming from both sides of the camps is reaching alarming levels, and frankly I think this is hurting Bitcoin.”

As at 24 November 2015, there were 410 Bitcoin XT nodes (supporting bigger blocks) out of a total of 5018 nodes in the Bitcoin network. Source: http://www.xtnodes.com/ Accessed 24.11.2015.

6. “As a Proof of Work network becomes stronger, there is less incentive for an individual peer to support the network, because their potential reward is split among a greater number of peers. In search of profitability, miners keep adding resources in the form of specialized, proprietary hardware that requires significant capital investment and high ongoing energy demands. As time progresses, the network becomes more and more centralized as smaller peers (those who can do less work) drop out or combine their resources into pools.”

http://wiki.nxtcrypto.org/wiki/Whitepaper:Nxt#Proof_of_Stake_Attacks.

See also:

“The risk is that the trend will claim too much obsolete hardware and put many miners out of business, resulting in even more centralisation and fewer incentives to invest in the mining space.” http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-mining-can-longer-ignore-moores-law/

And:

“The problem is that there is little incentive to run a node anymore. That’s because powerful machines built specifically for bitcoin’s SHA-256 proof-of-work algorithm have changed its decentralized and more open nature.” http://www.coindesk.com/five-biggest-threats-facing-bitcoin/

7. Vitalik Buterin is one of the original authors of a cryptocurrency platform called Ethereum. A version of Ethereum, called Serenity, currently in development “…is meant to move from consensus through Proof-of-work to Proof-of-Stake.”

The “Nothing at Stake” attack is described by Vitalik Buterin here:

“However, this algorithm has one important flaw: there is ”nothing at stake”. In the event of a fork, whether the fork is accidental or a malicious attempt to rewrite history and reverse a transaction, the optimal strategy for any miner is to mine on every chain, so that the miner gets their reward no matter which fork wins. Thus, assuming a large number of economically interested miners, an attacker may be able to send a transaction in exchange for some digital good (usually another cryptocurrency), receive the good, then start a fork of the blockchain from one block behind the transaction and send the money to themselves instead, and even with 1% of the total stake the attacker’s fork would win because everyone else is mining on both.” Extract from Proof of Stake: How I Learned to Love Weak Subjectivity

In the following two papers, the authors also seek to prove the feasibility of a “Nothing at Stake” attack

It Will Cost You Nothing to ‘Kill’ a Proof-of-Stake Crypto-Currency     Nicolas Houy, University of Lyon, January 2014.

On Stake and Consensus, Andrew Polesta, March 2015

By contrast, here’s a detailed description, written in layman’s terms, on the practical impossibility of N@S attack by JordanLee

http://www.peercointalk.org/index.php?topic=2976.msg27303#msg27303

Discussion threads regarding the theoretical possibility of a Nothing-at-Stake attack include:

BitCoin Talk: Nothing-at-Stake & Long Range Attack on Proof-of-Stake (Consensus Research).

Nxt Forum: The Paper on Long-Range attack & Nothing-at-Stake.

NXT Sub-Forum: Consensus Research.

Phase 4: A look at what’s coming

nxt-cryptocurrency-phase4

Group psychologists sometimes describe the dynamics of team formation and evolution in four stages, often dubbed Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Looking at the history of Nxt and its community, it’s certainly possible to divide it into three distinct parts, each of which is characterised by its own Zeitgeist – as well as the market’s reflection of that mood. It’s also valid to consider where we are now as being the end of one era and the beginning of the next, with its own challenges and opportunities: Phase 4.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

Phase 1: Forming

December 2013 – April 2014. Nxt launches. The market has no way of valuing the new 2.0 platform that promises much but has had no time to prove itself, or even implement many of the promised features. Like most alts, the price spikes – in this case about to around $100 million market cap. The hype inevitably fades, short-term traders exit and the new community forms from the wreckage.

Phase 2: Storming

April – August 2014. It’s a formative stage for Nxt. The community has become established, the Asset Exchange launches, and there is a huge amount of excitement and momentum. There are also an unprecedented number of scams. It’s a tumultuous time, but a case of too much, too soon; optimism evaporates, the bubble bursts and the community is left licking its wounds.

Phase 3: Norming

August 2014 – present. The SuperNET ICO brings a wave of optimism and activity, but over the next 14 months the protracted bear market saps confidence in Nxt (and all the alts) and sees its market cap shrink to less than a tenth of its high. However, behind the scenes there is a huge amount of positive activity, with dozens of new businesses and initiatives getting under way. The downtrend has the effect of funnelling money into the Asset Exchange, as holders seek either to sell or invest their NXT for a better return. Key relationships and reputations become well established. The community consolidates and collectively negotiates a set of tacit rules about how it will operate.

Phase 4: Performing

November 2015 onwards. Those who are going to leave have done so as the price collapses; those who are left have accumulated a larger share of NXT and built strong foundations for the future. A number of key business projects are well underway. The Nxt Foundation is well-established and the Tennessee project fully funded. There are good reasons for optimism.

However, here’s where it necessarily becomes more speculative, it’s always easier to describe the past than predict the future. There are many unknown factors in play. New 2.0 projects such as Ethereum are attracting attention, while the bear market across the alts continues. Bitcoin, meanwhile, is looking healthier than it has for a while, with more and more positive news – though still unresolved issues of its own. These factors will undoubtedly affect Nxt.

In addition, there are some interesting economic effects in play that are unique to Nxt. The bear market went hand-in-hand with an asset boom, arguably a bubble. At historically low prices but with optimism growing, minds are turning to accumulating as much NXT as possible. This naturally means selling assets as well as BTC and other cryptos. Thus there’s a chance that Phase 4 will kick off with an asset crash as traders and holders position themselves to go long on NXT, and that new assets will struggle for liquidity as a result. On the other hand, increasing interest from outside the core community might compensate for that, albeit with a time lag.

These are all issues that will no doubt work themselves out, one way or another and with a few more bumps along the way. What should be obvious at this point is that Year 3 and Phase 4 will be well worth sticking around for.

Tennessee Project: Working on the NXT Frontier

Since the launch of the NXT platform the main focus has been on the tech: NXT Currency, Asset Exchange, Monetary System, Marketplace, Arbitrary Messaging, Alias System, … So many features and possibilities.

Whilst the tech undoubtedly gives NXT a big potential advantage over competing platforms, it seems every time a new technological innovation is added to the NXT platform it actually results in a price drop. Why? Presumably because the platform, in all its ever-increasing functionality, is not intuitively easy to use, nor easy to explain. Let’s face it, it’s not for the average joe… At least not yet.

This is where the Tennessee Project wants to step in and make a change. With all the focus on technological advancements, the marketing has been neglected resulting in a declining adoption rate and a gradual price drop.

The project’s goal is to push NXT marketing and promotion to a professional level over the next 12 months while at the same time making it easier to use for the average joe.

Not a small task to take on, but a great team has been assembled including, at its heart, Bas Wisselink (Damelon) and Dave Pearce (EvilDave), who will each receive a part-time salary on a self-employed basis, allowing them to work freely on Tennessee, in addition to their other tasks within the Nxt community. They will work closely together with NXT core developers Jean-Luc and Lyaffe. Several components of Tennessee will also require paid outside contractors. The Tennessee Project will be run under the banner of the Nxt Foundation.

A professional project of this size needs serious funding. The project is looking to raise 10 million NXT in order to function for 12 months. The Monetary System will be used to raise the funds. EvilDave has issued the TNSSE currency with account NXT-P439-YVBD-VUEQ-A3S2T

We have already started an informal fundraising project among NXT businesses and stakeholders to raise the minimum of 10 million NXT, and we are happy to say we have already received firm pledges for up to 5.5 million from Nxt investors and stake-holders.

The funding will end on Monday October 26. If the target 10 million NXT is reached, all funds will be transferred to the Tennessee account. If it is not reached, all funds will be returned to the original accounts. This could mean a big boost for NXT from which the whole community would benefit, so every donation matters, no matter how small. 4.5 million NXT is still needed to meet the 10 million NXT target. This covers the salaries of both Damelon and EvilDave for a year and the budget to actually do the tasks.

As explained on the Nxt forum, the Tennessee Project has three overall aims:

  1. A major increase in and professionalisation of NXT marketing.
  2. To improve the Nxt user experience, in terms of ease of use, support and documentation.
  3. The acquisition of leads to incorporate NXT into real world applications/businesses and to attract investors to the platform.

In order to achieve the above aims, the Tennessee project will have the following short term goals, to be realised by Q1 2016:

● Completely overhaul www.nxt.org, and streamline the web presence/SEO for all community owned sites.

● Create a continuous and coherent marketing/PR campaign, putting the focus on what NXT has achieved so far, and on highlighting real world use cases for NXT.

● As part of the above 2 points: create a complete portfolio of use cases, media packs and other publicity material, to be used in all NXT marketing.

● Set up a co-ordinated team for social networking/forums.

● Create a coherent strategy to interest potential Nxt-based projects and investors who may be interested in utilising or investing in NXT/SuperNet.

● Expand and improve on relationships with our media contacts, including establishing exploratory relationships with professional PR agencies.

● Create leads, and follow them up. This is a task we have been doing for months now, but it desperately needs to be professionalised and that takes time.

Long term goals, to be realised by Q2/3 2016:

● Assist/finance the development and deployment of simplified NRS software: i.e. Lite clients and webwallets.

● Create a comprehensive user guide for the entire NXT system, from account creation all the way to customised MS issues.

● Set up an incubator system for both potential and currently running Nxt-based projects. This will have the aim of helping out projects with both direct technical/marketing assistance, and to bring these projects into contact with investors. The incubator will take a small percentage portion of any projects that it helps, and redistribute this income to the NXT community.

● Integrate a professional PR agency into NXT promotion, and finance a campaign from them.

Further goals will be added to Tennessee as the project progresses, but this outline is a solid basis on which to build further marketing and PR.

More information on the project can be found on the Nxt forum.

You can make a donation using the official NRS Client, local, lite, or webversion:

  • Click on Monetary System + Currencies section.
  • Find TNSSE / Tennessee (search “TNSSE”).
  • Click on “Reserve” in the “Actions” column.

tnsse

  • Enter the amount of NXT you want to donate.

  • The NXT amount will be deducted from your account and held until the activation block, which is block 554,000, approximately Monday 26 October 2015, 22:00.

In my opinion, this is the missing component in the NXT platform: a strong dedicated team focused on marketing, promotion and pushing adoption.

As to where the project name came from? Who knows… maybe they came up with the name over a glass of aged Jack Daniels!

………………………………….

With Nxt Monetary System anyone can run a decentralized crowdfunding campaign.

Learn more about the Monetary System here: 

http://test.nxter.org/nxt-core-monetary-system/ 

BTCOR Group: Revamped team and asset

Core
BTCOR was formed early in 2015 by House. A visionary who saw the potential of using Nxt as a basis for his projects. Under the BTCOR umbrella he set up multiple assets to provide funds for his trading activities. He was one of the first to put the Monetary System to good use, by setting up a monthly ticket system to invest in his trading activities.  Maintenance of the system and of the assets he has created has been no small task. The assets proved to be a success and House has become a known name in the Nxt and Supernet community.

As BTCOR was growing, help was needed and in May House announced the appointment of an Executive Board to help build the future of BTCOR. You can read more on this in the article about BTCOR published on nxter.org a few months ago.

A lot has changed since then, including some internal changes to the team following Gambleh’s departure for personal reasons.

“It is with sadness that we have seen the departure of Gambleh, but we separated on good terms and we will see him back in slack after a deserved break, while he focuses on his primary concerns in business and family life. – House”

But as Gambleh left, another renowned Nxter joined the team.

“BTCOR is welcoming new team member sigwo, http://sigwo.com/sigwonet.html. As a developer he is now an integral part of the BTCOR Development Team. sigwo together with shack4 as the Chief Systems Engineer and pnoch as Lead Developer will work together closely to achieve the goals the Board will set.    – House”

The biggest news came recently when it was announced that mxxxxxx was joining House as Co-director of BTCOR.

“I am more than happy and honoured to announce that I was propositioned today and agreed to be co-director of BTCOR.

I deeply believe that this will continue to be a great partnership built on hard work, trust, skills, and experience and that we can bring great success with all the brilliant minds involved together within our community.

We have a long and fruitful journey ahead of us with all things coming in the near future together with our personal plans, planned development, cooperations and with a very big possibility of injecting personal business into BTCOR in some safe form for everyone.

As of today I have been granted access to all BTCOR accounts.

Thank you all for the support!

All the best!”

Until recently there were assets for a variety of investments: GDCAR for gold, SVCAR for silver, BTCAR for bitcoin, FIATX for money and BTCOR as a parent asset that would benefit from all of the others.

In addition to the assets there was the option to invest in monthly tickets through the NXT Monetary System. While the assets were a relatively safe investment, the tickets were a high risk investment, with the possibility of losing your complete investment if trades went wrong.

But this is all in the past, as the BTCOR Group announced at the beginning of September that they will change the complete structure of their assets. All previous assets have been combined into 1 asset: CORE. After the announcement an asset swap was started for the investors where all the old assets (GDCAR, SVCAR, BTCAR, FIATX and BTCOR) were exchanged on a 1:1 basis. All the investors had to do was send their assets to NXT-T4BJ-M2B6-9LHP-8YG7 and they would receive CORE assets in exchange.

After 1 month we can say that the swap was a huge success with 99.71% of all the assets swapped.

If you still have any of the old assets send them as soon as possible to NXT-T4BJ-M2B6-9LHP-8YG7. The old assets do not receive dividends anymore. Only the new CORE asset receive dividends from now on.

Having everything combined in 1 asset has multiple benefits for both the investors and the team including a better overview and transparency of the operations. With the new CORE asset the investor profits from all the investments and operations the team makes.

The revenue generated by the BTCOR Group is coming from 2 major parts: trading operations and crypto investments. Operations include trading in gold, silver, bitcoin and fiat. Investments are made in Crypto projects with a promising future that fit the BTCOR profile. You can see their complete portfolio at NXT-NUEG-HFEQ-NU9Z-72KUS.

Breakdown of the monthly profits:

1. 70% from trading profit will go to dividends, 25% from trading profit will be added to the new trading budget for November, 5% to veteran league of heroes /development.

2. 75% from dividends of assets in treasury will go to dividends, 25% for treasury (investments, buy walls, Net Asset Value increase, etc).

3. 75% from new assets sales for treasury (investments, buy walls, Net Asset Value increase, etc), 25% from new assets sales will be added to the new trading budget for November.

In total 5.000.000 CORE assets were issued. 51% (2.550.000 assets) will remain in the hands of the group, 49% (2.450.000 assets) will be sold to the public over time. The sale of assets will happen monthly in small batches. The first batch sold out pretty quick in September at a price of 25 NXT/CORE. The October batch is selling at 30 NXT/CORE, and is moving quickly. This is a pretty popular asset on the market, and we think it’s still a good price to buy in. With the good news and dynamic team behind the BTCOR Group, this month’s batch should sell quickly, with higher prices likely to follow. At the moment there are 383579 CORE assets in circulation.

The core asset id is 18026565504333172181.

Business plans, activities and more information about the BTCOR Group and CORE asset can be found at https://www.btcor.co and on their nxt forum thread.

The first dividend of the new CORE asset was paid on the 1st of October at 0.533 nxt per asset. At 25nxt/asset this is a 2.13% ROI for the first month. Which is an incredible result as they were trading with a low budget in September. Now that the first batch is completely sold and the BTCOR Group can therefore work with a bigger budget over the coming months, the chances are that we will see an increase in dividends, provided they can keep the momentum going.

The BTCOR Group is constantly working on improving their business and strategies. I applaud their enterprise and work ethic which should hopefully result in a promising future for them as well as increasing prices and nice dividends for their investors.

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This article is for general information and news purposes only. It does not take into account readers’ personal circumstances or investment objectives. As with any investment, readers should carry out their own due diligence research before making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

Fiat is failing. Let ‘battle’ commence?

This is the first in a series of articles examining the problems of the fiat monetary system and comparing the various possible solutions, with particular reference to the 2nd generation cryptocurrency: Nxt.

———————

Cryptocurrency (which is a decentralised form of digital currency)1 has now reached such an advanced stage of technological development that it would be remarkable if there was a national government anywhere in the world that was still not yet paying it serious attention; at the same time, the debt based fiat monetary system, following the ‘global’ financial crisis of 2007/8,2 remains in a critical condition.3

What exactly the world’s financial and monetary systems will look like beyond the short time horizon of the foreseeable future is impossible to know but we can at least be sure that the powerful private vested interests (primarily the commercial banks) who support the fiat monetary system in its present form will seek to preserve it substantially unchanged as far as possible and for as long as possible (a subject which is discussed in more detail in the forthcoming second article in the series: ‘Is fiat a fraud? From false commodity to false economy’).

fiat-printing-nxt-crypto-currency

Has war been declared and, if so, where are the battle lines?

As yet there has been no internationally co-ordinated government level response to the disruptive potential of decentralised ledger technology (i.e. cryptocurrency 1.0 and 2.0),  although work is currently being carried out which will ultimately lead to a response at the European Union level specifically regarding investments.4

In the meantime there has, to date, been a number of responses from individual countries, either specifically in respect of bitcoin or otherwise regarding all forms of digital currency, including for example:

  • declaring the use of bitcoin as a parallel currency to be illegal (Russia).
  • (whilst allowing citizens to buy or sell bitcoins amongst themselves), banning the country’s banks from processing transactions involving bitcoin (China).
  • stating (or at least intimating) that they do not recognise digital currencies as legal tender and therefore do not regulate them (Ireland).
  • treating bitcoin as a commodity and banning its use as a currency (Japan).
  • treating bitcoin as a foreign currency and banning its exchange with the national currency (Iceland).
  • announcing the creation of a national digital currency and banning all others (Ecuador).
  • regulating digital currencies to the extent of requiring ‘digital currency businesses’ to comply with anti-money laundering laws (Isle of Man).5
  • announcing proposals to consult on how best to regulate digital currencies and in the meantime issuing guidance regarding their status/treatment for tax purposes (the US and UK).

So, whilst some governments apparently see digital currencies as constituting an immediate, existential threat to their financial and monetary systems (even their national sovereignty)6 others are for the time being more welcoming, at least as regards the potential for blockchain technology to confer a competitive advantage on their economies.7

Financial and monetary stability is, quite rightly, of paramount importance to governments but, despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary, they still regard that stability as best being achieved by the continuation of a debt based, fiat money creation and allocation system run by profit-maximising private banks, ostensibly subject to central bank control.

Happily, there are signs that this inter-governmental consensus may perhaps finally be starting to break down:

For more than half a century, Iceland has suffered from serious monetary problems including inflation, hyperinflation, devaluations, an asset bubble and ultimately the collapse of its banking sector in 2008.
Other countries have faced similar problems. Since 1970, bank crises have occurred 147 times in 114 countries causing serious reductions in output and increases in debt. Despite its frequent failures, the banking system has remained essentially unchanged and homogenous around the world….[a] necessary step toward monetary reform is to increase awareness of the drawbacks and risks of the present system and why reform is needed.
This report will hopefully serve as a useful source of information for the coming debate on the money creation process in Iceland and how it could be reformed to serve society better in the future.

Extract from the Preface to ‘Monetary Reform – a Better Monetary System for Iceland’ (March 2015)

The solution to the debt based fiat money problem being proposed for Iceland is the Sovereign Money System.8 How this potential solution, which is also being advocated by the Positive Money campaign, compares with Nxt will be discussed in the third article in the series (‘Comparing the potential of sovereign/positive money and Nxt to solve the debt-based fiat money problem’).

Regardless of the success or otherwise of the Positive Money campaign or the Icelandic initiative, the existing fiat monetary system looks set to continue, fundamentally unchanged, in the rest of the world indefinitely, thanks partly to the entrenched network effect that the existing system enjoys, partly to the commercial vested interest of the disproportionately powerful commercial banks9 and partly also to:

  • the collective bureaucratic inertia of the ‘four pillars’ of global economic governance (the International Monetary Fund,10 the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the Financial Stability Board of the G2011) and of the Bank for International Settlement;
  • large parts of the financial press; and last, but by no means least,
  • mainstream economic theorists.12

To be as effective as possible in getting our message listened to with attention it’s not enough for cryptocurrency advocates only to refer to the fact that the current fiat monetary creation and allocation system leads to socially and economically damaging results and that it remains in a critical condition, we must also demonstrate that we understand why it does so (topics which are examined in more detail in the next article in the series: ‘Is fiat a fraud? From false commodity to false economy’).

Six years after the launch of blockchain technology (in the initial form of Bitcoin), the commercial banks are becoming increasingly aware of the competitive threat which this rapidly developing technology poses to their business.13

They understand that their long-established centralised system of financial networks based, as they are, on restricted access to the APIs14 on which they run is now being challenged by a rapidly developing and expanding decentralised system of financial networks based on open API access which, in effect, makes possible the democratisation of financial power worldwide.

The banks also understand that cryptocurrency technology does not just represent a competitive threat to their dominant position in the provision of financial services in general it also represents (at least in theory) an existential threat to their virtual monopoly position as money creators and allocators which came about purely as an accident of history.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that most of the major banks are now working on blockchain solutions/strategies albeit that, under the mantra of Bitcoin is bad, blockchain is good they seem to be currently focusing their attention on trying to adopt/adapt the capacity of bitcoin’s blockchain technology to store data and execute financial contracts without needing to use the reward mechanism of the bitcoin currency to secure the integrity of the ledger. Their objective appears to be the creation of a private, federated blockchain in which every hashing institution is known and trusted.

Whether that would work and, assuming it did, what effect, if any, it would have on the continuing development, implementation and rate of adoption of genuinely decentralised, trustless, mathematically secure, blockchain technologies, such as Nxt, remains to be seen.

Much more promising than private, federated blockchains (technologically speaking and also in terms of social utility) is the idea of hybrid systems that, in effect, bridge the gap between the banks’ existing infrastructure and blockchain technology. A prime example being 44 Phones’ hybrid cash and cryptocurrency platform15 which has been developed as a mobile banking application using the Nxt blockchain technology to deliver mobile money via SMS, mobile app and the web.

Systems such as these may well prove to be the salvation of the fiat monetary system which otherwise left to its own devices seems set to go that one step further than it did in 2007/8 and irretrievably implode.

In the meantime, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts appear to welcome the prospect of a mainstream financial collapse believing that it would clear the way for cryptocurrency to take its rightful place in the world.

In practice, though, it is much more likely that in the event of such a collapse national governments would take emergency powers 16 and impose a top down solution designed in collaboration with, and therefore favouring, the banking industry rather than adopting a solution from the genuinely free market, unless that solution had already achieved such widespread acceptance that public and commercial pressure to adopt it was irresistible (an unlikely scenario admittedly, but anything is possible).

Are we ready for war?

The short answer is no, we’re not. At least not one against a common enemy. Instead, the cryptocurrency industry appears to be engaged in its own permanent civil war. Have a quick read of some of the discussion threads on bitcointalk.org and it soon becomes obvious that many, perhaps most, people involved in cryptocurrency seem to regard the only enemy as being the developers, owners and promoters of any cryptocurrency they don’t currently own which is doing better than the ones they do.

Although some people do genuinely invest in cryptocurrency for the long term, most seem to be looking to make as much ‘fiat money’ as quickly as possible. Moreover, whilst all of us (long and short term investors alike) say that we welcome competition as a force for catalysing innovation and improvement, which it undoubtedly does, competition also inevitably has the effect of engaging our instincts for survival and dominance, hence the feeling of despair that some may feel when a crypto in which they decided not to invest suddenly increases significantly in value and then the feeling of relief if, as they had been fervently hoping, it subsequently collapses.

What we must always bear in mind however is that the cryptocurrency industry is still in its infancy and until the various (competing) blockchain technologies become established and their real value gets priced by the market, the price and purchasing power of their native currencies will continue to be subject to much greater potential volatility than that of fiat currencies. In the longer term, of course, the reverse may well eventually turn out be the case.

Can war be avoided?

Answer: it depends if you listen to your heart or your head.

Emotionally speaking, war is inevitable and the ‘enemy’ is either other cryptos or fiat money or both (including their respective providers, users, supporters and fellow travellers), depending on what your unmediated instinct for self-preservation tells you.

Strategically speaking, yes, war can be avoided as there shouldn’t, in reality, be any enemy to fight, at least not as far as cryptocurrency is concerned.

To acknowledge someone as an ‘enemy’ is to acknowledge that instead of merely competing with them one wants, if possible, to destroy them in a ‘zero-sum’ fight to the death where the winner takes all and the loser ceases to exist.

However, there seems little possibility of blockchain technology on its own destroying the fiat based monetary system and absolutely no advantage to be gained by claiming that it could.

Moreover, other cryptocurrencies aren’t the enemy either; no one single coin, not even Bitcoin itself, will be able to monopolize what will inevitably become an ever-expanding and diversifying market.

Every cryptocurrency that gains a foothold in the mainstream (in particular, it must be said, when one of those cryptos is part of SuperNET 17) will help to educate the wider population about the benefits of the technology, thereby opening up the market for cryptocurrency usage more generally.

In my opinion, the language of war is not the most appropriate category of discourse to use in the ongoing struggle to establish cryptocurrency. Instead we should be more inclined to use the language of diplomacy in recognition of the fact that whatever ‘best case’ scenarios we might imagine for cryptocurrency, the financial landscape in which cryptocurrencies will be operating in the future will, in the absence of a complete and irretrievable global financial collapse, almost certainly continue to be dominated by the existing debt based fiat monetary system.

It may even be that cryptocurrencies, by strengthening local economies and thereby building greater resilience into national economies and ultimately the global economy, will actually help the existing fiat monetary system to survive and traditional banks to continue in business.

Seen in that light, it would actually be in the banks’ own best interests to be more accommodating in their attitude towards independent cryptocurrencies and, for our part, perhaps we should be thinking of making a virtue out of the fact that cryptocurrency usage in the mainstream economy, if sufficiently widespread, could have the unintended consequence of actually bolstering the fiat monetary system.

The non-crypto, potential solutions to the fiat problem include:

  • a fundamental reform of the debt based fiat system as advocated by, for example, the positive money campaign, which argues that money creation should only be used in the public interest.
  • Abandonment of the debt based fiat system and a return to the gold standard.

In articles 4 to 6 in the series each of the above solutions is examined in turn and the case is made for why the blockchain based, financial platform known as Nxt is the better solution.

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Notes:

1. ‘Cryptocurrencies [which are a type of digital currency] typically feature decentralized control (as opposed to a centralized electronic money system, such as PayPal) and a public ledger (such as bitcoin’s block chain) which records transactions.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency

‘Cryptocurrencies are designed to be capable of replacing cash…No central power has arbitrary control over the money supply.’ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/15862/digital-vs-virtual-currencies/

cryptocurrency 1.0: decentralised, P2P, cryptographically secured, digital payment systems.

cryptocurrency 2.0: ‘…is the application of block chain or distributed ledger technology to things other than digital currency. The block chain offers the ability to facilitate decentralized ownership and store, transfer and process information in a decentralized, programmable way. Many consider that innovation to be the true value of this technology.’ http://www.coindesk.com/crypto-2-0-roundup-bitcoins-revolution-moves-beyond-currency/.

2. ‘While the housing and credit bubbles [the immediate causes of the financial crisis] were building, a series of factors caused the financial system to both expand and become increasingly fragile, a process called financialization.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%9308

3. Is the debt based fiat monetary creation and allocation system sufficiently robust to be able to respond adequately to the ‘extraordinary’ demands that are being placed on it?

‘…extraordinary central bank action has become the new normal in the developed world. Faced with the twins threats of deflation and economic stagnation, monetary policymakers are reaching for their interest rate levers and digital money-printing tools in a bid to stave off recessions and debt deflationary dynamics.’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11378193/How-central-banks-have-lost-control-of-the-world.html

4. On 22 April 2015, The European Securities and Markets Authority (equivalent to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US) issued a call for evidence regarding ‘Investment using virtual [sic] currency or distributed ledger technology’.

ESMA states on its website that it:

‘…is interested in how different virtual currencies and the associated blockchain, or distributed ledger, can be used in investments. There are now facilities available to use the blockchain infrastructure as a means of issuing, transacting in and transferring ownership of securities in a way that bypasses the traditional infrastructure for public offer and issuance of securities, trading venues like exchanges and central securities depositaries or other typical means of recording ownership. ESMA would like to find out more about these market developments and in particular to know to what extent the use of the blockchain could enter the financial mainstream, and how it could be used.’

Nxt is the example of the digital currency platform ESMA uses in its ‘call for evidence’ to illustrate how distributed ledger technology works.

The NXT Foundation will be submitting a ‘NXT Community Response To ESMA’s Inquiry  On Investments Using Virtual Currency Or Distributed Ledger Technology’ a week before the July 21, 2015 ESMA deadline. For more information visit the related discussion on the Nxt forum.

5. ‘Digital currency businesses [as defined below] will have to comply with the Isle of Man’s anti-money laundering (AML) laws from 1st April [2015] and will likely fall under the remit of the Financial Services Commission from the Summer.’

‘[Those in] the business of issuing, transmitting, transferring, providing safe custody or storage of, administering, managing, lending, buying, selling, exchanging or otherwise trading or intermediating convertible virtual currencies, including crypto-currencies or similar concepts where the concept is accepted by persons as a means of payment for goods or services, a unit of account, a store of value or a commodity.’ http://www.coindesk.com/isle-of-man-introduces-regulation-for-bitcoin-businesses/

6. A senior Central Bank [of Ireland] official has warned that virtual and digital currencies have the potential to challenge the sovereignty of states.

7. ‘Osborne looks to virtual currencies in bid to make UK world fintech capital’.

Further details regarding the UK government’s attitude towards ‘digital’ currency is contained in two recently published reports: Digital Currencies – response to the call for information
and Banking for the 21st Century – driving competition and choice.

See also:

‘Virtual Currency Schemes – a further analysis’, European Central Bank, February 2015.

‘Cryptotechnologies, a major IT innovation and catalyst for change’. European Banking Authority, 11 May 2015.

8. Sovereign Money System: this, in effect, nationalises money by giving the central bank the exclusive power to create money and parliament the power to allocate how the money is used; the government then spends/invests it into circulation.

9.The network of global corporate control’ Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston published in the New Scientist Magazine 22 October 2011 (Issue no. 2835) An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

10. But see: IMF report from 2012 by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof. The focus of the study is the so-called Chicago plan of the 1930s which the authors have updated to fit into today’s economy. The basic idea is that banks should be required to have full coverage for money they lend. Under this proposal, banks would no longer be allowed to create new money in the form of credit in connection with their lending activities. Instead, the central bank should be solely responsible for all the creation of all forms of money, not just paper money and coins. The advantages of such a system, according to the authors, are a more balanced economy without the booms and busts of the current system, the elimination of bank runs, and a drastic reduction of both public and private debt. The authors rely on both economic theory and historical examples, and state that inflation, according to their calculations, would be very low.’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chicago_Plan_Revisited

11. It should be noted however that the chair of the policy development committee of the Financial Stability Board, Adair Turner, wrote in his foreword to Monetary Reform – a Better Monetary System for Iceland’ (March 2015) that the efforts to make the existing financial system more stable: have still failed to address the fundamental issue – the ability of banks to create credit, money and purchasing power, and the instability which inevitably follows. As a result, the reforms agreed to date still leave the world dangerously vulnerable to future financial and economic instability.’

12. ‘Mainstream economists’, those who subscribe to ‘…neoclassical equilibrium theory and assimilated Neokeynesianism, or to put it differently, American textbook standard economics…Mainstream economics for the most part rests on the assumption of neutrality of money…If one believes in neutrality of money, then of course dysfunctions of the money system are not an obvious subject of concern, despite all financial crises. As a consequence, most mainstream economists find it difficult to see why monetary reform might be of relevance.’ Joseph Huber http://www.sovereignmoney.eu/sovereign-money-in-critical-context/

13. The banking industry is now organising conferences to consider questions such as:

What is the future of money?

Do you know what cryptocurrencies mean for your business and for the future of financial services? Are you leveraging [the] blockchain? Are these developments an opportunity or a threat for traditional financial services providers?

SWIFT Business Forum London, 23 April 2015

14. An example of an API (Application Programming Interface) in the mainstream financial system is the VISA network’s merchant API which only the merchant, as a trusted party, is allowed to program. Examples of APIs in cryptocurrency based systems include: the transaction scripting language, the P2P network protocol and the ‘Northbound’ client, all of which are open source and are therefore available for anyone to program.

15. ‘UK’s 44 Phones Building Blockchain-Based International Mobile Network, Mobile Money Service.’

16. For example (in the UK) the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, Part 2 Emergency Powers, S. 22 (2) (h) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/36/pdfs/ukpga_20040036_en.pdf

17. SuperNET is an association of the most reliable blockchain technologies. Giving you access to all their innovation from one place.

The Tipping Point

It’s been a long, long bear market. Nxt has slipped from a dizzy high of $0.10 – a market cap of $100 million – to a low of less than a cent and a market cap of only $8 million. But despite that and even because of it, I think we’ve finally hit a tipping point.

If I had to assign a moment to the tipping point, it would have to be 11 May at 07:35:54. That was the moment when the mgwBTC market on AE dropped to 3300 satoshis and a prescient bitcoin whale picked up a million NXT in one trade while, at the same time, another large SuperNET holder was taking the opportunity to cash out assets without slippage. Another 12.5 bitcoins were sold into the same 300 BTC wall over the next 40 minutes, but after that the price rebounded. A couple of weeks later some irrational exuberance led by China has pushed us back up to and over the 5k mark. (Whether this was caused by money leaving the overheated Chinese stock market and finding a handful of key alts, or whether it was BTC38 faking some volume to gain a reputation as the new exchange in town, we don’t know.) In any event, NXT has recovered around 50% since that low at 3300.

But this tipping point isn’t really about price. It’s been remarked before that market cap is largely meaningless and price does not equal value. As jl777 has said, ‘The market is technically a manic/depressive psychotic. That means it is delusional and says things that are, well, insane. Like LTC is 30x more valuable than NXT, or AUR is 10% of bitcoin, etc.’ Price and market cap should follow, but the market isn’t a good judge of value in these circumstances. The market sometimes overvalues things, like in the early stages where hype sucks in walls of money from excited speculators; it sometimes undervalues them, as when investors lose patience or get caught up in the mood of collective despair that swirls around a bear market. Price and value rarely coincide at all, and then only incidentally, like a stopped clock that is right twice a day.

Building the foundations

nrs

This is about the solid foundations Nxt has built over the last year, particularly its crypto-stock ecosystem hosted on the Asset Exchange. As I recently wrote in another article, it’s just possible that the horrendous bear market was the best thing that could have happened to Nxt, if not individual NXT holders, some of whom have seen their net worth slashed by 90%. It represented a massive injection of liquidity into key assets, a lot like quantitative easing or the boost to spending central banks try to engineer by cutting interest rates: if your money is going to be worth less tomorrow, you spend it today. Some people simply cashed out to bitcoin or fiat, but huge sums flowed into assets. The scale is simply remarkable. SuperNET’s ICO collected something like $4 million, most of it in NXT. Other assets have had no trouble collecting five- or six-figure sums. Some of it unfortunately ended up in mining assets which then mysteriously evaporated, but there was still a vast investment into some extremely promising projects.

Now, at last, some of those assets are starting to pay regular dividends. We’ll ignore the mining assets, but a quick survey shows there’s some respectable activity already.

Coinomat’s assets (coinomat and coinomat1) have been paying out regularly for months, of the order of 0.015 NXT per asset, or a current yield of 0.3% per week at a price of around 5 NXT per asset. Coinomat’s arbitrage asset, MMNXT, yields around 0.7% per week.

The newer arbitrage and trading asset Liquid looks set to yield around 2% for the month, and though it’s early days the wide-ranging trading company BTCOR has been posting stellar results. It paid 0.43 NXT per asset for April, and even at the current sell price of 15 NXT per asset that’s around 3% per month.

Audit company NXTinspect looks set to have a bright future, since its business model involves verifying the accounts, security and strategies of new assets – plus it’s got a new business incubator venture up its sleeve. It pays out in the assets it is paid by clients, as well as NXT, and dividends depend on the number and nature of clients in the last month or months (they’re not always monthly), but the last one was remarkably promising – something like 20%. Freebieservers has been paying out since April based on advertising revenues from its free servers, used by 100,000 gamers and growing fast. The last payout was 0.034 NXT per asset, or in the region of 1% per month if you buy at the current sell price, and they’re looking set to scale pretty well.

Then there are the gambling assets that are just coming online. NXTbubble, the Nxt version of a famous bitcoin game Bustabit, is recording huge volumes of play. The house edge is around 1%, but variance means the revenues probably won’t be regular each month; whilst the house always wins in the end, there are some high-rollers who are testing out the theory and they haven’t hit gamblers’ ruin just yet. After a long delay, neoDICE – based on the legendary bitcoin game SatoshiDICE – is being tested with a small bankroll on MainNet, and a fancy GUI is in the works. What will the effect be when it’s embedded in your SuperNET client, waiting for any spare moments to try your luck? And, of course, there’s SuperNET’s own suite of projects, including InstantDEX, which is now in testing.

The dividends are still a relative trickle given the overall size of the Nxt economy and its daily trade volume, but they are there and they are growing, along with the ever-increasing list of viable assets. It’s like a coiling spring.

What next?

nxt-crypto-tipping-point

It’s unclear to me quite what happens next, though I think the general direction of travel is obvious. Economics is an imprecise science, as any self-respecting economist should tell you. Broadly speaking, the money flowing out of NXT-the-currency has prompted investment in Nxt-the-platform. In the bear market, money hemhorraged out of NXT and into assets. Now, after several months of development, those well-capitalised businesses are firing up and generating a flow of value back to the assetholders in the form of dividends.

What investors then do with that NXT is up to them, but not all will sell it for fiat or other alts – especially if they believe the tide really has turned. Some will be held, some recirculated back into the Nxt economy, into new assets and new initiatives: a virtuous cycle.

Not all assets are equal – not just in their returns but in their approach. Some assets keep pace with NXT, others with fiat. Imagine a traditional ‘real-world’ business, or a mining asset: the NXT invested would be converted to fiat, so the capacity of the business to generate a return is broadly correlated with its initial fiat capitalisation. If a mining asset cashes out 1 million NXT to buy ASICs then its investment is fixed at the fiat value of its funds at that time. All other things being equal (which admittedly is unlikely in the fast-moving and murky world of mining, but that’s another story), if NXT rises in price against the mined coin, the NXT purchasing power of its revenues will decrease.

But other assets – like the arbitrage and gambling assets – mainly keep their funds as NXT. If NXT rises in price then they will keep pace. In fact, they’re likely to do even better, since rising prices lead to greater volumes traded.

The market will presumably judge these assets by their respective earning potentials – punishing some for being pinned to bitcoin or fiat, and rewarding others for keeping up with NXT. Against that, there is the complexity of what happens when a currency rises in price, and funds are sucked in from other areas – both assets and other crypto coins – as traders seek to get on board. And then there’s the issue of rising NXT prices (deflation) that encourages hoarding rather than spending, investment and economic activity. And the fact that the effects could all be dwarfed by the impact of the wall of Chinese money that seems to be pouring in anyway; this time around, the Chinese are wary of bitcoin but a number of alts have posted impressive rises in the last few weeks, up 50 to 100% already.

So it’s complicated, but there are certain incontestable facts: NXT has a fixed supply; the asset economy – now very nicely revving up and moving off the starting line – has no such cap. That means there is no cap on the revenues it can generate, and which it will need to pay out in NXT. Limited supply, unlimited demand. That seems to point in just one direction.

It’s a picture that will only become clear with hindsight. But hazy and fragmented though that picture may still currently be – even leaving aside the steady work being done in the background by the likes of DeBuNe and the NXT Foundation, bringing Nxt to PayExpo, conferences and dozens of businesses around the world – things are definitely looking up.

So don’t say it too loud just yet, but I’d argue it’s just possible we’ve turned the corner.

For more information about the assets referred to in this article, visit:

http://nxtreporting.com or http://www.secureae.com and click on ‘View Live Exchange’

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Disclaimer Notice

This article is for general information only. It does not take into account the reader’s personal circumstances, objectives or attitude towards risk. It is not (and is not intended to be) any form of advice, recommendation, or endorsement by the author or the web site owner and should not be relied upon when making (or refraining from making) any investment decision.

Remember: the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent; investments can fall as well as rise in value and past performance is no indication of future performance.