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Gridcoin 5.0.0.0-Mandatory "Fern" Release

https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Research/releases/tag/5.0.0.0
Finally! After over ten months of development and testing, "Fern" has arrived! This is a whopper. 240 pull requests merged. Essentially a complete rewrite that was started with the scraper (the "neural net" rewrite) in "Denise" has now been completed. Practically the ENTIRE Gridcoin specific codebase resting on top of the vanilla Bitcoin/Peercoin/Blackcoin vanilla PoS code has been rewritten. This removes the team requirement at last (see below), although there are many other important improvements besides that.
Fern was a monumental undertaking. We had to encode all of the old rules active for the v10 block protocol in new code and ensure that the new code was 100% compatible. This had to be done in such a way as to clear out all of the old spaghetti and ring-fence it with tightly controlled class implementations. We then wrote an entirely new, simplified ruleset for research rewards and reengineered contracts (which includes beacon management, polls, and voting) using properly classed code. The fundamentals of Gridcoin with this release are now on a very sound and maintainable footing, and the developers believe the codebase as updated here will serve as the fundamental basis for Gridcoin's future roadmap.
We have been testing this for MONTHS on testnet in various stages. The v10 (legacy) compatibility code has been running on testnet continuously as it was developed to ensure compatibility with existing nodes. During the last few months, we have done two private testnet forks and then the full public testnet testing for v11 code (the new protocol which is what Fern implements). The developers have also been running non-staking "sentinel" nodes on mainnet with this code to verify that the consensus rules are problem-free for the legacy compatibility code on the broader mainnet. We believe this amount of testing is going to result in a smooth rollout.
Given the amount of changes in Fern, I am presenting TWO changelogs below. One is high level, which summarizes the most significant changes in the protocol. The second changelog is the detailed one in the usual format, and gives you an inkling of the size of this release.

Highlights

Protocol

Note that the protocol changes will not become active until we cross the hard-fork transition height to v11, which has been set at 2053000. Given current average block spacing, this should happen around October 4, about one month from now.
Note that to get all of the beacons in the network on the new protocol, we are requiring ALL beacons to be validated. A two week (14 day) grace period is provided by the code, starting at the time of the transition height, for people currently holding a beacon to validate the beacon and prevent it from expiring. That means that EVERY CRUNCHER must advertise and validate their beacon AFTER the v11 transition (around Oct 4th) and BEFORE October 18th (or more precisely, 14 days from the actual date of the v11 transition). If you do not advertise and validate your beacon by this time, your beacon will expire and you will stop earning research rewards until you advertise and validate a new beacon. This process has been made much easier by a brand new beacon "wizard" that helps manage beacon advertisements and renewals. Once a beacon has been validated and is a v11 protocol beacon, the normal 180 day expiration rules apply. Note, however, that the 180 day expiration on research rewards has been removed with the Fern update. This means that while your beacon might expire after 180 days, your earned research rewards will be retained and can be claimed by advertising a beacon with the same CPID and going through the validation process again. In other words, you do not lose any earned research rewards if you do not stake a block within 180 days and keep your beacon up-to-date.
The transition height is also when the team requirement will be relaxed for the network.

GUI

Besides the beacon wizard, there are a number of improvements to the GUI, including new UI transaction types (and icons) for staking the superblock, sidestake sends, beacon advertisement, voting, poll creation, and transactions with a message. The main screen has been revamped with a better summary section, and better status icons. Several changes under the hood have improved GUI performance. And finally, the diagnostics have been revamped.

Blockchain

The wallet sync speed has been DRASTICALLY improved. A decent machine with a good network connection should be able to sync the entire mainnet blockchain in less than 4 hours. A fast machine with a really fast network connection and a good SSD can do it in about 2.5 hours. One of our goals was to reduce or eliminate the reliance on snapshots for mainnet, and I think we have accomplished that goal with the new sync speed. We have also streamlined the in-memory structures for the blockchain which shaves some memory use.
There are so many goodies here it is hard to summarize them all.
I would like to thank all of the contributors to this release, but especially thank @cyrossignol, whose incredible contributions formed the backbone of this release. I would also like to pay special thanks to @barton2526, @caraka, and @Quezacoatl1, who tirelessly helped during the testing and polishing phase on testnet with testing and repeated builds for all architectures.
The developers are proud to present this release to the community and we believe this represents the starting point for a true renaissance for Gridcoin!

Summary Changelog

Accrual

Changed

Most significantly, nodes calculate research rewards directly from the magnitudes in EACH superblock between stakes instead of using a two- or three- point average based on a CPID's current magnitude and the magnitude for the CPID when it last staked. For those long-timers in the community, this has been referred to as "Superblock Windows," and was first done in proof-of-concept form by @denravonska.

Removed

Beacons

Added

Changed

Removed

Unaltered

As a reminder:

Superblocks

Added

Changed

Removed

Voting

Added

Changed

Removed

Detailed Changelog

[5.0.0.0] 2020-09-03, mandatory, "Fern"

Added

Changed

Removed

Fixed

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DFINITY Research Report

DFINITY Research Report
Author: Gamals Ahmed, CoinEx Business Ambassador
ABSTRACT
The DFINITY blockchain computer provides a secure, performant and flexible consensus mechanism. At its core, DFINITY contains a decentralized randomness beacon, which acts as a verifiable random function (VRF) that produces a stream of outputs over time. The novel technique behind the beacon relies on the existence of a unique-deterministic, non-interactive, DKG-friendly threshold signatures scheme. The only known examples of such a scheme are pairing-based and derived from BLS.
The DFINITY blockchain is layered on top of the DFINITY beacon and uses the beacon as its source of randomness for leader selection and leader ranking. A “weight” is attributed to a chain based on the ranks of the leaders who propose the blocks in the chain, and that weight is used to select between competing chains. The DFINITY blockchain is layered on top of the DFINITY beacon and uses the beacon as its source of randomness for leader selection and leader ranking blockchain is further hardened by a notarization process which dramatically improves the time to finality and eliminates the nothing-at-stake and selfish mining attacks.
DFINITY consensus algorithm is made to scale through continuous quorum selections driven by the random beacon. In practice, DFINITY achieves block times of a few seconds and transaction finality after only two confirmations. The system gracefully handles temporary losses of network synchrony including network splits, while it is provably secure under synchrony.

1.INTRODUCTION

DFINITY is building a new kind of public decentralized cloud computing resource. The company’s platform uses blockchain technology which is aimed at building a new kind of public decentralized cloud computing resource with unlimited capacity, performance and algorithmic governance shared by the world, with the capability to power autonomous self-updating software systems, enabling organizations to design and deploy custom-tailored cloud computing projects, thereby reducing enterprise IT system costs by 90%.
DFINITY aims to explore new territory and prove that the blockchain opportunity is far broader and deeper than anyone has hitherto realized, unlocking the opportunity with powerful new crypto.
Although a standalone project, DFINITY is not maximalist minded and is a great supporter of Ethereum.
The DFINITY blockchain computer provides a secure, performant and flexible consensus mechanism. At its core, DFINITY contains a decentralized randomness beacon, which acts as a verifiable random function (VRF) that produces a stream of outputs over time. The novel technique behind the beacon relies on the existence of a unique-deterministic, non-interactive, DKG-friendly threshold signatures scheme. The only known examples of such a scheme are pairing-based and derived from BLS.
DFINITY’s consensus mechanism has four layers: notary (provides fast finality guarantees to clients and external observers), blockchain (builds a blockchain from validated transactions via the Probabilistic Slot Protocol driven by the random beacon), random beacon (provides the source of randomness for all higher layers like smart contract applications), and identity (provides a registry of all clients).
DFINITY’s consensus mechanism has four layers

Figure1: DFINITY’s consensus mechanism layers
1. Identity layer:
Active participants in the DFINITY Network are called clients. Where clients are registered with permanent identities under a pseudonym. Moreover, DFINITY supports open membership by providing a protocol for registering new clients by depositing a stake with an insurance period. This is the responsibility of the first layer.
2. Random Beacon layer:
Provides the source of randomness (VRF) for all higher layers including ap- plications (smart contracts). The random beacon in the second layer is an unbiasable, verifiable random function (VRF) that is produced jointly by registered clients. Each random output of the VRF is unpredictable by anyone until just before it becomes avail- able to everyone. This is a key technology of the DFINITY system, which relies on a threshold signature scheme with the properties of uniqueness and non-interactivity.

https://preview.redd.it/hkcf53ic05e51.jpg?width=441&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=44d45c9602ee630705ce92902b8a8379201d8111
3. Blockchain layer:
The third layer deploys the “probabilistic slot protocol” (PSP). This protocol ranks the clients for each height of the chain, in an order that is derived determin- istically from the unbiased output of the random beacon for that height. A weight is then assigned to block proposals based on the proposer’s rank such that blocks from clients at the top of the list receive a higher weight. Forks are resolved by giving favor to the “heaviest” chain in terms of accumulated block weight — quite sim- ilar to how traditional proof-of-work consensus is based on the highest accumulated amount of work.
The first advantage of the PSP protocol is that the ranking is available instantaneously, which allows for a predictable, constant block time. The second advantage is that there is always a single highest-ranked client, which allows for a homogenous network bandwidth utilization. Instead, a race between clients would favor a usage in bursts.
4. Notarization layer:
Provides fast finality guarantees to clients and external observers. DFINITY deploys the novel technique of block notarization in its fourth layer to speed up finality. A notarization is a threshold signature under a block created jointly by registered clients. Only notarized blocks can be included in a chain. Of all RSA-based alternatives exist but suffer from an impracticality of setting up the thresh- old keys without a trusted dealer.
DFINITY achieves its high speed and short block times exactly because notarization is not full consensus.
DFINITY does not suffer from selfish mining attack or a problem nothing at stake because the authentication step is impossible for the opponent to build and maintain a series of linked and trusted blocks in secret.
DFINITY’s consensus is designed to operate on a network of millions of clients. To en- able scalability to this extent, the random beacon and notarization protocols are designed such as that they can be safely and efficiently delegated to a committee

1.1 OVERVIEW ABOUT DFINITY

DFINITY is a blockchain-based cloud-computing project that aims to develop an open, public network, referred to as the “internet computer,” to host the next generation of software and data. and it is a decentralized and non-proprietary network to run the next generation of mega-applications. It dubbed this public network “Cloud 3.0”.
DFINITY is a third generation virtual blockchain network that sets out to function as an “intelligent decentralised cloud,”¹ strongly focused on delivering a viable corporate cloud solution. The DFINITY project is overseen, supported and promoted by DFINITY Stiftung a not-for-profit foundation based in Zug, Switzerland.
DFINITY is a decentralized network design whose protocols generate a reliable “virtual blockchain computer” running on top of a peer-to-peer network upon which software can be installed and can operate in the tamperproof mode of smart contracts.
DFINITY introduces algorithmic governance in the form of a “Blockchain Nervous System” that can protect users from attacks and help restart broken systems, dynamically optimize network security and efficiency, upgrade the protocol and mitigate misuse of the platform, for example by those wishing to run illegal or immoral systems.
DFINITY is an Ethereum-compatible smart contract platform that is implementing some revolutionary ideas to address blockchain performance, scaling, and governance. Whereas
DFINITY could pose a credible threat to Ethereum’s extinction, the project is pursuing a coevolutionary strategy by contributing funding and effort to Ethereum projects and freely offering their technology to Ethereum for adoption. DFINITY has labeled itself Ethereum’s “crazy sister” to express it’s close genetic resemblance to Ethereum, differentiated by its obsession with performance and neuron-inspired governance model.
Dfinity raised $61 million from Andreesen Horowitz and Polychain Capital in a February 2018 funding round. At the time, Dfinity said it wanted to create an “internet computer” to cut the costs of running cloud-based business applications. A further $102 million funding round in August 2018 brought the project’s total funding to $195 million.
In May 2018, Dfinity announced plans to distribute around $35 million worth of Dfinity tokens in an airdrop. It was part of the company’s plan to create a “Cloud 3.0.” Because of regulatory concerns, none of the tokens went to US residents.
DFINITY be broadening and strengthening the EVM ecosystem by giving applications a choice of platforms with different characteristics. However, if DFINITY succeeds in delivering a fully EVM-compatible smart contract platform with higher transaction throughput, faster confirmation times, and governance mechanisms that can resolve public disputes without causing community splits, then it will represent a clearly superior choice for deploying new applications and, as its network effects grow, an attractive place to bring existing ones. Of course the challenge for DFINITY will be to deliver on these promises while meeting the security demands of a public chain with significant value at risk.

1.1.1 DFINITY FUTURE

  • DFINITY aims to explore new blockchain territory related to the original goals of the Ethereum project and is sometimes considered “Ethereum’s crazy sister.”
  • DFINITY is developing blockchain-based infrastructure to support a new style of the internet (akin to Ethereum’s “World Computer”), one in which the internet itself will support software applications and data rather than various cloud hosting providers.
  • The project suggests this reinvented software platform can simplify the development of new software systems, reduce the human capital needed to maintain and secure data, and preserve user data privacy.
  • Dfinity aims to reduce the costs of cloud services by creating a decentralized “internet computer” which may launch in 2020
  • Dfinity claims transactions on its network are finalized in 3–5 seconds, compared to 1 hour for Bitcoin and 10 minutes for Ethereum.

1.1.2 DFINITY’S VISION

DFINITY’s vision is its new internet infrastructure can support a wide variety of end-user and enterprise applications. Social media, messaging, search, storage, and peer-to-peer Internet interactions are all examples of functionalities that DFINITY plans to host atop its public Web 3.0 cloud-like computing resource. In order to provide the transaction and data capacity necessary to support this ambitious vision, DFINITY features a unique consensus model (dubbed Threshold Relay) and algorithmic governance via its Blockchain Nervous System (BNS) — sometimes also referred to as the Network Nervous System or NNS.

1.2 DFINITY COMMUNITY

The DFINITY community brings people and organizations together to learn and collaborate on products that help steward the next-generation of internet software and services. The Internet Computer allows developers to take on the monopolization of the internet, and return the internet back to its free and open roots. We’re committed to connecting those who believe the same through our events, content, and discussions.

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1.3 DFINITY ROADMAP (TIMELINE) February 15, 2017

February 15, 2017
Ethereum based community seed round raises 4M Swiss francs (CHF)
The DFINITY Stiftung, a not-for-profit foundation entity based in Zug, Switzerland, raised the round. The foundation held $10M of assets as of April 2017.
February 8, 2018
Dfinity announces a $61M fundraising round led by Polychain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz
The round $61M round led by Polychain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, along with an DFINITY Ecosystem Venture Fund which will be used to support projects developing on the DFINITY platform, and an Ethereum based raise in 2017 brings the total funding for the project over $100 million. This is the first cryptocurrency token that Andressen Horowitz has invested in, led by Chris Dixon.
August 2018
Dfinity raises a $102,000,000 venture round from Multicoin Capital, Village Global, Aspect Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, Scalar Capital, Amino Capital and SV Angel.
January 23, 2020
Dfinity launches an open source platform aimed at the social networking giants

2.DFINITY TECHNOLOGY

Dfinity is building what it calls the internet computer, a decentralized technology spread across a network of independent data centers that allows software to run anywhere on the internet rather than in server farms that are increasingly controlled by large firms, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. This week Dfinity is releasing its software to third-party developers, who it hopes will start making the internet computer’s killer apps. It is planning a public release later this year.
At its core, the DFINITY consensus mechanism is a variation of the Proof of Stake (PoS) model, but offers an alternative to traditional Proof of Work (PoW) and delegated PoS (dPoS) networks. Threshold Relay intends to strike a balance between inefficiencies of decentralized PoW blockchains (generally characterized by slow block times) and the less robust game theory involved in vote delegation (as seen in dPoS blockchains). In DFINITY, a committee of “miners” is randomly selected to add a new block to the chain. An individual miner’s probability of being elected to the committee proposing and computing the next block (or blocks) is proportional to the number of dfinities the miner has staked on the network. Further, a “weight” is attributed to a DFINITY chain based on the ranks of the miners who propose blocks in the chain, and that weight is used to choose between competing chains (i.e. resolve chain forks).
A decentralized random beacon manages the random selection process of temporary block producers. This beacon is a Variable Random Function (VRF), which is a pseudo-random function that provides publicly verifiable proofs of its outputs’ correctness. A core component of the random beacon is the use of Boneh-Lynn-Shacham (BLS) signatures. By leveraging the BLS signature scheme, the DFINITY protocol ensures no actor in the network can determine the outcome of the next random assignment.
Dfinity is introducing a new standard, which it calls the internet computer protocol (ICP). These new rules let developers move software around the internet as well as data. All software needs computers to run on, but with ICP the computers could be anywhere. Instead of running on a dedicated server in Google Cloud, for example, the software would have no fixed physical address, moving between servers owned by independent data centers around the world. “Conceptually, it’s kind of running everywhere,” says Dfinity engineering manager Stanley Jones.
DFINITY also features a native programming language, called ActorScript (name may be subject to change), and a virtual machine for smart contract creation and execution. The new smart contract language is intended to simplify the management of application state for programmers via an orthogonal persistence environment (which means active programs are
not required to retrieve or save their state). All ActorScript contracts are eventually compiled down to WebAssembly instructions so the DFINITY virtual machine layer can execute the logic of applications running on the network. The advantage of using the WebAssembly standard is that all major browsers support it and a variety of programming languages can compile down to Wasm (not just ActorScript).
Dfinity is moving fast. Recently, Dfinity showed off a TikTok clone called CanCan. In January it demoed a LinkedIn-alike called LinkedUp. Neither app is being made public, but they make a convincing case that apps made for the internet computer can rival the real things.

2.1 DFINITY CORE APPLICATIONS

The DFINITY cloud has two core applications:
  1. Enabling the re-engineering of business: DFINITY ambitiously aims to facilitate the re-engineering of mass-market services (such as Web Search, Ridesharing Services, Messaging Services, Social Media, Supply Chain, etc) into open source businesses that leverage autonomous software and decentralised governance systems to operate and update themselves more efficiently.
  2. Enable the re-engineering of enterprise IT systems to reduce costs: DFINITY seeks to re-engineer enterprise IT systems to take advantage of the unique properties that blockchain computer networks provide.
At present, computation on blockchain-based computer networks is far more expensive than traditional, centralised solutions (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc). Despite increasing computational cost, DFINITY intends to lower net costs “by 90% or more” through reducing the human capital cost associated with sustaining and supporting these services.
Whilst conceptually similar to Ethereum, DFINITY employs original and new cryptography methods and protocols (crypto:3) at the network level, in concert with AI and network-fuelled systemic governance (Blockchain Nervous System — BNS) to facilitate Corporate adoption.
DFINITY recognises that different users value different properties and sees itself as more of a fully compatible extension of the Ethereum ecosystem rather than a competitor of the Ethereum network.
In the future, DFINITY hopes that much of their “new crypto might be used within the Ethereum network and are also working hard on shared technology components.”
As the DFINITY project develops over time, the DFINITY Stiftung foundation intends to steadily increase the BNS’ decision-making responsibilities over time, eventually resulting in the dissolution of its own involvement entirely, once the BNS is sufficiently sophisticated.
DFINITY consensus mechanism is a heavily optimized proof of stake (PoS) model. It places a strong emphasis on transaction finality through implementing a Threshold Relay technique in conjunction with the BLS signature scheme and a notarization method to address many of the problems associated with PoS consensus.

2.2 THRESHOLD RELAY

As a public cloud computing resource, DFINITY targets business applications by substantially reducing cloud computing costs for IT systems. They aim to achieve this with a highly scalable and powerful network with potentially unlimited capacity. The DFINITY platform is chalk full of innovative designs and features like their Blockchain Nervous System (BNS) for algorithmic governance.
One of the primary components of the platform is its novel Threshold Relay Consensus model from which randomness is produced, driving the other systems that the network depends on to operate effectively. The consensus system was first designed for a permissioned participation model but can be paired with any method of Sybil resistance for an open participation model.
“The Threshold Relay is the mechanism by which Dfinity randomly samples replicas into groups, sets the groups (committees) up for threshold operation, chooses the current committee, and relays from one committee to the next is called the threshold relay.”
Threshold Relay consists of four layers (As mentioned previously):
  1. Notary layer, which provides fast finality guarantees to clients and external observers and eliminates nothing-at-stake and selfish mining attacks, providing Sybil attack resistance.
  2. Blockchain layer that builds a blockchain from validated transactions via the Probabilistic Slot Protocol driven by the random beacon.
  3. Random beacon, which as previously covered, provides the source of randomness for all higher layers like the blockchain layer smart contract applications.
  4. Identity layer that provides a registry of all clients.

2.2.1 HOW DOES THRESHOLD RELAY WORK?

Threshold Relay produces an endogenous random beacon, and each new value defines random group(s) of clients that may independently try and form into a “threshold group”. The composition of each group is entirely random such that they can intersect and clients can be presented in multiple groups. In DFINITY, each group is comprised of 400 members. When a group is defined, the members attempt to set up a BLS threshold signature system using a distributed key generation protocol. If they are successful within some fixed number of blocks, they then register the public key (“identity”) created for their group on the global blockchain using a special transaction, such that it will become part of the set of active groups in a following “epoch”. The network begins at “genesis” with some number of predefined groups, one of which is nominated to create a signature on some default value. Such signatures are random values — if they were not then the group’s signatures on messages would be predictable and the threshold signature system insecure — and each random value produced thus is used to select a random successor group. This next group then signs the previous random value to produce a new random value and select another group, relaying between groups ad infinitum and producing a sequence of random values.
In a cryptographic threshold signature system a group can produce a signature on a message upon the cooperation of some minimum threshold of its members, which is set to 51% in the DFINITY network. To produce the threshold signature, group members sign the message
individually (here the preceding group’s threshold signature) creating individual “signature shares” that are then broadcast to other group members. The group threshold signature can be constructed upon combination of a sufficient threshold of signature shares. So for example, if the group size is 400, if the threshold is set at 201 any client that collects that many shares will be able to construct the group’s signature on the message. Other group members can validate each signature share, and any client using the group’s public key can validate the single group threshold signature produced by combining them. The magic of the BLS scheme is that it is “unique and deterministic” meaning that from whatever subset of group members the required number of signature shares are collected, the single threshold signature created is always the same and only a single correct value is possible.
Consequently, the sequence of random values produced is entirely deterministic and unmanipulable, and signatures generated by relaying between groups produces a Verifiable Random Function, or VRF. Although the sequence of random values is pre-determined given some set of participating groups, each new random value can only be produced upon the minimal agreement of a threshold of the current group. Conversely, in order for relaying to stall because a random number was not produced, the number of correct processes must be below the threshold. Thresholds are configured so that this is extremely unlikely. For example, if the group size is set to 400, and the threshold is 201, 200 or more of the processes must become faulty to prevent production. If there are 10,000 processes in the network, of which 3,000 are faulty, the probability this will occur is less than 10e-17.

2.3 DFINITY TOKEN

The DFINITY blockchain also supports a native token, called dfinities (DFN), which perform multiple roles within the network, including:
  1. Fuel for deploying and running smart contracts.
  2. Security deposits (i.e. staking) that enable participation in the BNS governance system.
  3. Security deposits that allow client software or private DFINITY cloud networks to connect to the public network.
Although dfinities will end up being assigned a value by the market, the DFINITY team does not intend for DFN to act as a currency. Instead, the project has envisioned PHI, a “next-generation” crypto-fiat scheme, to act as a stable medium of exchange within the DFINITY ecosystem.
Neuron operators can earn Dfinities by participating in network-wide votes, which could be concerning protocol upgrades, a new economic policy, etc. DFN rewards for participating in the governance system are proportional to the number of tokens staked inside a neuron.

2.4 SCALABILITY

DFINITY is constantly developing with a structure that separates consensus, validation, and storage into separate layers. The storage layer is divided into multiple strings, each of which is responsible for processing transactions that occur in the fragment state. The verification layer is responsible for combining hashes of all fragments in a Merkle-like structure that results in a global state fractionation that is stored in blocks in the top-level chain.

2.5 DFINITY CONSENSUS ALGORITHM

The single most important aspect of the user experience is certainly the time required before a transaction becomes final. This is not solved by a short block time alone — Dfinity’s team also had to reduce the number of confirmations required to a small constant. DFINITY moreover had to provide a provably secure proof-of-stake algorithm that scales to millions of active participants without compromising any bit on decentralization.
Dfinity soon realized that the key to scalability lay in having an unmanipulable source of randomness available. Hence they built a scalable decentralized random beacon, based on what they call the Threshold Relay technique, right into the foundation of the protocol. This strong foundation drives a scalable and fast consensus layer: On top of the beacon runs a blockchain which utilizes notarization by threshold groups to achieve near-instant finality. Details can be found in the overview paper that we are releasing today.
The roots of the DFINITY consensus mechanism date back to 2014 when thair Chief Scientist, Dominic Williams, started to look for more efficient ways to drive large consensus networks. Since then, much research has gone into the protocol and it took several iterations to reach its current design.
For any practical consensus system the difficulty lies in navigating the tight terrain that one is given between the boundaries imposed by theoretical impossibility-results and practical performance limitations.
The first key milestone was the novel Threshold Relay technique for decentralized, deterministic randomness, which is made possible by certain unique characteristics of the BLS signature system. The next breakthrough was the notarization technique, which allows DFINITY consensus to solve the traditional problems that come with proof-of-stake systems. Getting the security proofs sound was the final step before publication.
DFINITY consensus has made the proper trade-offs between the practical side (realistic threat models and security assumptions) and the theoretical side (provable security). Out came a flexible, tunable algorithm, which we expect will establish itself as the best performing proof-of-stake algorithm. In particular, having the built-in random beacon will prove to be indispensable when building out sharding and scalable validation techniques.

2.6 LINKEDUP

The startup has rather cheekily called this “an open version of LinkedIn,” the Microsoft-owned social network for professionals. Unlike LinkedIn, LinkedUp, which runs on any browser, is not owned or controlled by a corporate entity.
LinkedUp is built on Dfinity’s so-called Internet Computer, its name for the platform it is building to distribute the next generation of software and open internet services.
The software is hosted directly on the internet on a Switzerland-based independent data center, but in the concept of the Internet Computer, it could be hosted at your house or mine. The compute power to run the application LinkedUp, in this case — is coming not from Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, but is instead based on the distributed architecture that Dfinity is building.
Specifically, Dfinity notes that when enterprises and developers run their web apps and enterprise systems on the Internet Computer, the content is decentralized across a minimum of four or a maximum of an unlimited number of nodes in Dfinity’s global network of independent data centers.
Dfinity is an open source for LinkedUp to developers for creating other types of open internet services on the architecture it has built.
“Open Social Network for Professional Profiles” suggests that on Dfinity model one can create “Open WhatsApp”, “Open eBay”, “Open Salesforce” or “Open Facebook”.
The tools include a Canister Software Developer Kit and a simple programming language called Motoko that is optimized for Dfinity’s Internet Computer.
“The Internet Computer is conceived as an alternative to the $3.8 trillion legacy IT stack, and empowers the next generation of developers to build a new breed of tamper-proof enterprise software systems and open internet services. We are democratizing software development,” Williams said. “The Bronze release of the Internet Computer provides developers and enterprises a glimpse into the infinite possibilities of building on the Internet Computer — which also reflects the strength of the Dfinity team we have built so far.”
Dfinity says its “Internet Computer Protocol” allows for a new type of software called autonomous software, which can guarantee permanent APIs that cannot be revoked. When all these open internet services (e.g. open versions of WhatsApp, Facebook, eBay, Salesforce, etc.) are combined with other open software and services it creates “mutual network effects” where everyone benefits.
On 1 November, DFINITY has released 13 new public versions of the SDK, to our second major milestone [at WEF Davos] of demoing a decentralized web app called LinkedUp on the Internet Computer. Subsequent milestones towards the public launch of the Internet Computer will involve:
  1. On boarding a global network of independent data centers.
  2. Fully tested economic system.
  3. Fully tested Network Nervous Systems for configuration and upgrades

2.7 WHAT IS MOTOKO?

Motoko is a new software language being developed by the DFINITY Foundation, with an accompanying SDK, that is designed to help the broadest possible audience of developers create reliable and maintainable websites, enterprise systems and internet services on the Internet Computer with ease. By developing the Motoko language, the DFINITY Foundation will ensure that a language that is highly optimized for the new environment is available. However, the Internet Computer can support any number of different software frameworks, and the DFINITY Foundation is also working on SDKs that support the Rust and C languages. Eventually, it is expected there will be many different SDKs that target the Internet Computer.
Full article
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RESEARCH REPORT ABOUT ARYACOIN

RESEARCH REPORT ABOUT ARYACOIN
Author: Gamals Ahmed, CoinEx Business Ambassador

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ABSTRACT

Aryacoin is a new cryptocurrency, which allows for decentralized, peer to peer transactions of electronic cash. It is like Bitcoin and Litecoin, but the trading of the coin occurs on sales platforms that have no restriction to use. Further, it was created with the goal of addressing the double spend issues of Bitcoin and does so using a timestamp server to verify transactions. It works by taking the hash of a block of items to be timestamped and widely publishing the hash. The timestamp proves that the data must have existed at the time in order to get the hash. Each timestamp then includes the previous timestamp in its hash, forming a chain.
The Aryacoin team is continuously developing new use cases for the coin, including exchanges where users can exchange the coins without any fees or restrictions, and offline options where the coins can be bought and sold for cash. The coins can also be used on the company’s other platform, mrdigicoin.io. Along with the coin, there is a digital wallet that can be created and controlled by the user entirely, with no control being retained by the Aryacoin team.

1.INTRODUCTION

The concept of Blockchain first came to fame in October 2008, as part of a proposal for Bitcoin, with the aim to create P2P money without banks. Bitcoin introduced a novel solution to the age-old human problem of trust. The underlying blockchain technology allows us to trust the outputs of the system without trusting any actor within it. People and institutions who do not know or trust each other, reside in different countries, are subject to different jurisdictions, and who have no legally binding agreements with each other, can now interact over the Internet without the need for trusted third parties like banks, Internet platforms, or other types of clearing institutions.
When bitcoin was launched it was revolutionary allowing people to transfer money to anytime and anywhere with very low transaction fees . It was decentralized and their is no third party involved in the transaction , only the sender and receiver were involved.
This paper provide a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer distributed timestamp server to generate computational proof of the chronological order of transactions.The system is secure as long as honest nodes collectively control more CPU power than any cooperating group of attacker nodes. Bitcoin was made so that it would not be controlled or regulated but now exchanges and governments are regulating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at every step. Aryacoin was developed to overcome these restrictions on a free currency.
Aryacoin is a new age cryptocurrency, which withholds the original principle on which the concept of cryptocurrency was established. Combining the best in blockchain technology since the time of its creation, Aryacoin strives to deliver the highest trading and mining standards for its community.

1.1 OVERVIEW ABOUT ARYACOIN

Aryacoin is a new age cryptocurrency, which withholds the original principle on which the concept of cryptocurrency was established. Combining the best in blockchain technology since the time of its creation, Aryacoin strives to deliver the highest trading and mining standards for its community.
Aryacoin is a blockchain based project that allows users to access their wallet on the web and mobile browsers, using their login details.
Aryacoin can be mined; it also can be exchanged by other digital currencies in several world-famous exchanges such as Hitbtc, CoinEx, P2pb2b, WhiteBit, Changelly and is also listed in reputable wallets such as Coinomi and Guarda.
Aryacoin is a coin, which can be used by anyone looking to use cryptocurrency which allows them to keep their privacy even when buying/selling the coin along with while using the coin during transactions. Proof of work and cryptographic hashes allows transactions to verified.
Stable Fee Per AYA is a unique feature of Aryacoin, so by increasing the amount or volume of the transaction, there is no change in the fee within the network, which means that the fee for sending an amount less than 1 AYA is equal to several hundred million AYA. Another unique feature of Aryacoin is the undetectability of transactions in Explorer, such as the DASH and Monero, of course, this operation is unique to Aryacoin.
Using Aryacoin digital currency, like other currencies, international transactions can be done very quickly and there are no limitations in this area as the creators claim.
Aryacoin aims to allow users to access the Aryacoin wallet via the web and mobile browsers using their login details.
Aryacoin is a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that enables users to send and receive payments directly from one party to another, and allow them to transfer funds across borders with no restriction or third party involvement. The blockchain-based system embraces the digital signature, which prevents double spending and low transfer fees, which enables users to transfer huge amounts with very low fees. The proof-of-work consensus mechanism allows each transaction to be verified and confirmed, while anonymity enables users to use the coin anywhere at any time.
According to the website of the operation, each wallet is divided into 2 or more AYA wallet addresses for each transaction, and depending on the volume of the transaction block, the origin, and destination of transactions in the network can not be traced and displayed to the public.
In fact, each wallet in Aryacoin consists of a total of several wallets. The number of these wallets increases per transaction to increase both security and privacy. Aryacoin also uses the dPoW protocol. In the dPoW protocol, a second layer is added to the network to verify transactions, which makes “51% attack” impossible even with more than half of the network hash, and blocks whose Blockchain uses this second layer of security never run the risk of 51% attacks.
AYA has been listed on a number of crypto exchanges, unlike other main cryptocurrencies, it cannot be directly purchased with fiats money. However, You can still easily buy this coin by
first buying Bitcoin from any large exchanges and then transfer to the exchange that offers to trade this coin.

1.1.1 ARYACOIN HISTORY

Aryacoin (AYA) is a new cryptocurrency, which has been created by a group of Iranian developers, is an altcoin which allows for decentralised, peer to peer transactions of electronic cash without any fees whatsoever. Along with the coin, there is a digital wallet that can be created and managed by the user entirely, with no control being retained by the Aryacoin team.
Aryacoin’s founder, Kiumars Parsa, has been a fan of alternative currencies and particularly Bitcoin.
We see people from all around the world using Blockchain technology and the great benefits that came with it and it then that I decided to solve this puzzle for find a way of bringing the last missing piece to the jigsaw. The idea for Aryacoin was born.” Parsa said.
Parsa and his team of Iranian ex-pats not only persevered but expedited the project and just a year later, in the summer of 2019, the first version of Aryacoin was released. In 2020, Aryacoin is the first and only Iranian coin listed on CMC.
Parsa goes on to state that it is now the strength of the community that has invested in the coin that will ultimately drive its success, alongside its robust technology and appealing 0% network fees.
We have thousands of voices behind Aryacoin. People for the people make this coin. It is a massive shout out for democracy. This had made us base the whole team strategy on the benefits for both our users and our traders.
One key example is that the network fee on AYA Blockchain is 0%. Yes, absolutely nothing, which which differentiates us from other networks. What also differentiates us from other coins is that we have AYAPAY which is the first cryptocurrency Gateway in the world which does not save funds on third party storage with all funds being forwarded directly to any wallet address that the Gateway owner requests”.
So for the first time ever, and unlike other gateways, incoming funds will be saved on the users account with submitted withdrawal requests then made on the Gateway host website. In AYAPAY which has also been developed by the Aryacoin team, all funds without extra fees or extra costs will directly forwarded to users wallets. We have named this technology as CloudWithdrawal.
We are continuously challenging ourselves as it is a crowded marketplace. We are striving to have a safer Blockchain against 51% attacks, faster confirmations speeds of transactions, cheaper network fee, growing the market by cooperation with Top tier Exchangers.

1.1.2 ARYACOIN’S MAIN GOAL

Aryacoin’s main goal is to educate people and give them the freedom to use cryptocurrency in any way they want. Aryacoin empowers the users to transfer, pay, trade cryptocurrency from any country around the globe.
Platforms that have been created by Aryacoin Team, as well as those that will go live in future, operate on the same principle and exclude absolutely no one.

1.1.3 PROBLEM ARYACOIN SEEKS TO SOLVE

Aryacoin aims to provide a long-term solution to the problem of double spending, which is still common in the crypto market. The developers of the system have created a peer-to-peer distributed timestamp server that generates computational proof of the transactions as they occur.
Besides, the system remains secure provided honest nodes control more CPU power than any cooperating group of attacker nodes. While Bitcoin was designed not to be regulated or controlled, many exchanges and governments have put regulatory measures on the pioneer cryptocurrency at every step. Aryacoin aims to overcome these restrictions as a free digital currency.

1.1.4 BENEFITS OF USING ARYACOIN

Aryacoin solution offers the following benefits:
  • Real-time update: whether you’re going on a holiday or a business trip, no problem. You can access your coins all over the world.
  • Instant operations: Aryacoin makes it quite easy for you to use your digital wallet and perform various operations with it.
  • Safe and secure: all your data is stored encrypted and can only be decrypted with your private key, seed, or password.
  • Strong security: The system has no control over your wallet. You are 100% in charge of your wallet and funds.

1.1.5 ARYACOIN FEATURES

1. Anonymity
The coin provides decent level of anonymity for all its users. The users can send their transactions to any of the public nodes to be broadcasted , the transaction sent to the nodes should be signed by the private key of the sender address . This allows the users to use the coin anywhere any time , sending transactions directly to the node allows users from any place and country .
2. Real Life Usage
aryacoin’s team is continuously developing new and innovative ways to use the coins , they are currently developing exchanges where the users can exchange the coins without any fees and any restrictions . They also are currently developing other innovative technologies, which would allow users to spend our coins everywhere and anywhere.
3. Offline Exchanges
They are also working with different offline vendors which would enable them to buy and sell the coins directly to our users on a fixed/variable price this would allow easy buy/sell directly using cash . This would allow the coins to be accessible to users without any restrictions which most of the online exchanges have, also increase the value and number of users along with new ways to spend the coin. This would increase anonymity level of the
coin. In addition, introduce new users into the cryptomarket and technology. Creating a revolution, which educates people about crypto and introduce them to the crypto world, which introduces a completely new group of people into crypto and a move towards a Decentralized future!
4. Transactions
When it comes to transactions, Aryacoin embraces a chain of digital signatures, where each owner simply transfers the coin to the next person by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner. The recipient can then verify the signatures to confirm the chain of ownership. Importantly, Aryacoin comes with a trusted central authority that checks every transaction for double spending.
5. Business Partner with Simplex
Aryacoin is the first and only Iranian digital currency that managed to obtain a trading license in other countries.
In collaboration with the foundation and financial giant Simplex, a major cryptocurrency company that has large companies such as Binance, P2P, Changelly, etc. Aryacoin has been licensed to enter the world’s major exchanges, as well as the possibility of purchasing AYA through Credit Cards, which will begin in the second half of 2020.
Also, the possibility of purchasing Aryacoin through Visa and MasterCard credit cards will be activated simultaneously inside the Aryacoin site. plus, in less than a year, AYA will be placed next to big names such as CoinCapMarket, Coinomi, P2P, Coinpayments and many other world-class brands today.

1.1.6 WHY CHOOSE ARYACOIN?

If you want to use a cryptocurrency that allows you to keep your privacy online even when buying and selling the coins, the Aryacoin team claims that AYA is the way to go. Aryacoin is putting in the work: with more ways to buy and sell, and fixing the issues that were present in the original Bitcoin, plus pushing the boundaries with innovative solutions in cryptocurrencies. You can get started using Aryacoin (AYA) payments simply by having a CoinPayments account!

1.1.7 ARYANA CENTRALIZED EXCHANGE

Aryana, the first Iranian exchange is a unique platform with the following features:
  • The first real international Persian exchange that obtains international licenses and is listed in CoinMarketCap.
  • The first Iranian exchange that has been cooperating with a legal and European exchange for 3 years.
  • The possibility of trading in Tomans (available currency in Iran) at the user’s desired price and getting rid of the transaction prices imposed by domestic sites inside Iran.
  • There is an internal fee payment plan by Iranian domestic banks for depositing and withdrawing Tomans for Aryacoin holders in Aryana Exchange.
  • The number that you see on the monitor and in your account will be equal to the number that is transferred to your bank account without a difference of one Rial.
  • The last but not least, noting the fact that there is a trading in Tomans possibility in Aryana exchange.
Aryana Exchange is using the most powerful, fastest, and most expensive server in the world, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which is currently the highest quality server for an Iranian site, so that professional traders do not lag behind the market even for a second.
The feature of Smart Trading Robots is one of the most powerful features for digital currency traders. Digital cryptocurrency traders are well aware of how much they will benefit from smart trading robots. In the Aryana exchange, it is possible to connect exchange user accounts to intelligent trading bots and trade even when they are offline.
The injection of $ 1 million a day in liquidity by the WhiteBite exchange to maintain and support the price of Tether and eliminate the Tether fluctuations with Bitcoin instabilities used by profiteers to become a matter of course.

1.1.8 HOW DOES ARYACOIN WORK?

Aryacoin (AYA) tries to ensure a high level of security and privacy. The team has made sure to eliminate any trading restrictions for the network users: no verification is required to carry out transactions on AYA, making the project truly anonymous, decentralized, and giving it a real use in day-to-day life. The Delayed-Proof-of-Work (dPoW) algorithm makes the Aryacoin blockchain immune to any attempts of a 51% attack. AYA defines a coin as a chain of digital signatures — each owner transfers the coin to the next owner by digitally signing the hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner, and the receiver verifies the signatures and the chain of ownership.

2. ARYACOIN TECHNOLOGY

2.1 PROOF-OF-WORK

They use a proof-of-work system similar to Adam Back’s Hashcash to implement a distributed timestamp server on a peer-to-peer basis, rather than newspaper or Usenet publications. The proof-of-work involves scanning for a value that when hashed, such as with SHA-256, the hash begins with a number of zero bits. The average work required is exponential in the number of zero bits required and can be verified by executing a single hash.
For their timestamp network, they implement the proof-of-work by incrementing a nonce in the block until a value is found that gives the block’s hash the required zero bits. Once the CPU effort has been expended to make it satisfy the proof-of-work, the block cannot be changed without redoing the work. As later blocks are chained after it, the work to change the block would include redoing all the blocks after it.
The proof-of-work also solves the problem of determining representation in majority decision making. If the majority were based on one-IP-address-one-vote, it could be subverted by anyone able to allocate many IPs. Proof-of-work is essentially one-CPU-one-vote. The majority decision is represented by the longest chain, which has the greatest proof-of-work effort invested in it. If honest nodes control a majority of CPU power, the honest chain will grow the fastest and outpace any competing chains. To modify a past
block, an attacker would have to redo the proof-of-work of the block and all blocks after it, then catch up with, and surpass the work of the honest nodes.

2.2 NETWORK

The steps to run the network are as follows:
  • New transactions are broadcast to all nodes.
  • Each node collects new transactions into a block.
  • Each node works on finding a difficult proof-of-work for its block.
  • When a node finds a proof-of-work, it broadcasts the block to all nodes.
  • Nodes accept the block only if all transactions in it are valid and not already spent.
This is a very simple system that makes the network fast and scalable, while also providing a decent level of anonymity for all users. Users can send their transactions to any of the public nodes to be broadcast, and the private key of the sender’s address should sign any transaction sent to the nodes. This way, all transaction info remains strictly confidential. It also allows users to send transactions directly to the node from any place at any time and allows the transferring of huge amounts with very low fees.

2.3 AYAPAY PAYMENT SERVICES GATEWAY:

According to creators Aryacoin, the development team has succeeded in inventing a new blockchain technology for the first time in the world, which is undoubtedly a big step and great news for all digital currency enthusiasts around the world.
This new technology has been implemented on the Aryacoin AYAPAY platform and was unveiled on October 2. AYAPAY payment platform is the only payment gateway in the world that does not save money in users’ accounts and transfers incoming coins directly to any wallet address requested by the gateway owner without any additional transaction or fee.
In other similar systems or even systems such as PayPal, money is stored in the user account.

2.4 CONSENSUS ALGORITHM IN ARYACOIN

The devs introduced the Delayed-Proof-of-Work (dPoW) algorithm, which represents a hybrid consensus method that allows one blockchain to take advantage of the security provided by the hashing power of another blockchain. The AYA blockchain works on dPoW and can use such consensus methods as Proof-of-Work (PoW) or Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and join to any desired PoW blockchain. The main purpose of this is to allow the blockchain to continue operating without notary nodes on the basis of its original consensus method. In this situation, additional security will no longer be provided through the attached blockchain, but this is not a particularly significant problem. dPoW can improve the security level and reduce energy consumption for any blockchain.

2.5 DOUBLE-SPEND PROBLEM AND SOLUTION

One of the main problems in the blockchain world is that a receiver is unable to verify whether or not one of the senders did not double-spend. Aryacoin provides the solution, and has established a trusted central authority, or mint, that checks every transaction for double-spending. Only the mint can issue a new coin and all the coins issued directly from the mint are trusted and cannot be double-spent. However, such a system cannot therefore
be fully decentralized because it depends on the company running the mint, similar to a bank. Aryacoin implements a scheme where the receiver knows that the previous owners did not sign any earlier transactions. The mint is aware of all transactions including which of them arrived first. The developers used an interesting solution called the Timestamp Server, which works by taking a hash of a block of items to be ‘timestamped’ and publishing the hash. Each timestamp includes the previous timestamp in its hash, forming a chain. To modify a block, an attacker would have to redo the proof-of-work of all previous blocks, then catch up with, and surpass the work of the honest nodes. This is almost impossible, and makes the network processes more secure. The proof-of-work difficulty varies according to circumstances. Such an approach ensures reliability and high throughput.

3. ARYACOIN ROADMAP

April 2019: The launch of Aryacoin; AYA ICO, resulting in over 30BTC collected
December 2019: The launch of AYA Pay
April 2020: The successful Hamedan Hardfork, supported by all AYA exchanges, aimed at integrating the dPoW algorithm, improving the security of the AYA blockchain.
June 2020: Aryana Exchange goes live, opening more trading opportunities globally
July 2020: The enabling of our Coin Exchanger
November 2020: The implementation of Smart Contracts into the Aryacoin Ecosystem
Q1 2021: Alef B goes live (more details coming soon)

4. THE NUCYBER NETWORK COMMUNITY & SOCIAL

Website: https://aryacoin.io/
Explorer: https://explorer.aryacoin.io/
Github: https://github.com/Aryacoin/Aryacoin
Twitter: 1.1k followers https://twitter.com/AryacoinAYA
Reddit: 442 members https://github.com/nucypher
Instagram: 3.8k followers https://www.instagram.com/mrdigicoin/ Telegram: 5.9k subscribers https://t.me/AYA_Global

5. SUMMARY

Aryacoin (AYA) is a new age cryptocurrency that combines the best of the blockchain technology and strives to deliver high trading and mining standards, enabling users to make peer-to-peer decentralized transactions of electronic cash. Aryacoin is part of an ecosystem that includes payment gateway Ayapay and the Ayabank. AYA has a partnership with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which provides the ability to develop applications and store data on servers located in distributed data centers. The network fee for the AYA Blockchain is 0%. In Ayapay service, which has been developed by the Aryacoin team, all funds without extra fees or costs are directly forwarded to users’ wallets with technology called CloudWithdrawal. The devs team is introducing new use cases including exchanges where users will exchange AYA without any restrictions. You can buy AYA on an exchange of your choice, create an Aryacoin wallet, and store it in Guarda.

6. REFERENCES

1) https://coincodex.com/crypto/aryacoin/
2) https://www.icosandstos.com/coin/Aryacoin%20AYA/YuXO60UPF3
3) https://www.publish0x.com/iran-and-cryptocurrency/a-brief-introduction-of-aryacoin-first-ever-iranian-cryptocu-xoldlom
4) https://techround.co.uk/cryptocurrency/aryacoin-the-digital-currency-created-by-iranians/
5) https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/aryacoin/
6) https://blog.coinpayments.net/coin-spotlight/aryacoin
7) https://guarda.com/aryacoin-wallet
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Proof Of Work Explained

Proof Of Work Explained
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A proof-of-work (PoW) system (or protocol, or function) is a consensus mechanism that was first invented by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor as presented in a 1993 journal article. In 1999, it was officially adopted in a paper by Markus Jakobsson and Ari Juels and they named it as "proof of work".
It was developed as a way to prevent denial of service attacks and other service abuse (such as spam on a network). This is the most widely used consensus algorithm being used by many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
How does it work?
In this method, a group of users competes against each other to find the solution to a complex mathematical puzzle. Any user who successfully finds the solution would then broadcast the block to the network for verifications. Once the users verified the solution, the block then moves to confirm the state.
The blockchain network consists of numerous sets of decentralized nodes. These nodes act as admin or miners which are responsible for adding new blocks into the blockchain. The miner instantly and randomly selects a number which is combined with the data present in the block. To find a correct solution, the miners need to select a valid random number so that the newly generated block can be added to the main chain. It pays a reward to the miner node for finding the solution.
The block then passed through a hash function to generate output which matches all input/output criteria. Once the result is found, other nodes in the network verify and validate the outcome. Every new block holds the hash of the preceding block. This forms a chain of blocks. Together, they store information within the network. Changing a block requires a new block containing the same predecessor. It is almost impossible to regenerate all successors and change their data. This protects the blockchain from tampering.
What is Hash Function?
A hash function is a function that is used to map data of any length to some fixed-size values. The result or outcome of a hash function is known as hash values, hash codes, digests, or simply hashes.
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The hash method is quite secure, any slight change in input will result in a different output, which further results in discarded by network participants. The hash function generates the same length of output data to that of input data. It is a one-way function i.e the function cannot be reversed to get the original data back. One can only perform checks to validate the output data with the original data.
Implementations
Nowadays, Proof-of-Work is been used in a lot of cryptocurrencies. But it was first implemented in Bitcoin after which it becomes so popular that it was adopted by several other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin uses the puzzle Hashcash, the complexity of a puzzle is based upon the total power of the network. On average, it took approximately 10 min to block formation. Litecoin, a Bitcoin-based cryptocurrency is having a similar system. Ethereum also implemented this same protocol.
Types of PoW
Proof-of-work protocols can be categorized into two parts:-
· Challenge-response
This protocol creates a direct link between the requester (client) and the provider (server).
In this method, the requester needs to find the solution to a challenge that the server has given. The solution is then validated by the provider for authentication.
The provider chooses the challenge on the spot. Hence, its difficulty can be adapted to its current load. If the challenge-response protocol has a known solution or is known to exist within a bounded search space, then the work on the requester side may be bounded.
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Source-wiki
· Solution–verification
These protocols do not have any such prior link between the sender and the receiver. The client, self-imposed a problem and solve it. It then sends the solution to the server to check both the problem choice and the outcome. Like Hashcash these schemes are also based on unbounded probabilistic iterative procedures.
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Source-wiki
These two methods generally based on the following three techniques:-
CPU-bound
This technique depends upon the speed of the processor. The higher the processor power greater will be the computation.
Memory-bound
This technique utilizes the main memory accesses (either latency or bandwidth) in computation speed.
Network-bound
In this technique, the client must perform a few computations and wait to receive some tokens from remote servers.
List of proof-of-work functions
Here is a list of known proof-of-work functions:-
o Integer square root modulo a large prime
o Weaken Fiat–Shamir signatures`2
o Ong–Schnorr–Shamir signature is broken by Pollard
o Partial hash inversion
o Hash sequences
o Puzzles
o Diffie–Hellman–based puzzle
o Moderate
o Mbound
o Hokkaido
o Cuckoo Cycle
o Merkle tree-based
o Guided tour puzzle protocol
A successful attack on a blockchain network requires a lot of computational power and a lot of time to do the calculations. Proof of Work makes hacks inefficient since the cost incurred would be greater than the potential rewards for attacking the network. Miners are also incentivized not to cheat.
It is still considered as one of the most popular methods of reaching consensus in blockchains. Though it may not be the most efficient solution due to high energy extensive usage. But this is why it guarantees the security of the network.
Due to Proof of work, it is quite impossible to alter any aspect of the blockchain, since any such changes would require re-mining all those subsequent blocks. It is also difficult for a user to take control over the network computing power since the process requires high energy thus making these hash functions expensive.
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Bitcoin (BTC)A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.

Bitcoin (BTC)A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
  • Bitcoin (BTC) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that aims to function as a means of exchange that is independent of any central authority. BTC can be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable, and immutable way.
  • Launched in 2009, BTC is the first virtual currency to solve the double-spending issue by timestamping transactions before broadcasting them to all of the nodes in the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin Protocol offered a solution to the Byzantine Generals’ Problem with a blockchain network structure, a notion first created by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta in 1991.
  • Bitcoin’s whitepaper was published pseudonymously in 2008 by an individual, or a group, with the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”, whose underlying identity has still not been verified.
  • The Bitcoin protocol uses an SHA-256d-based Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm to reach network consensus. Its network has a target block time of 10 minutes and a maximum supply of 21 million tokens, with a decaying token emission rate. To prevent fluctuation of the block time, the network’s block difficulty is re-adjusted through an algorithm based on the past 2016 block times.
  • With a block size limit capped at 1 megabyte, the Bitcoin Protocol has supported both the Lightning Network, a second-layer infrastructure for payment channels, and Segregated Witness, a soft-fork to increase the number of transactions on a block, as solutions to network scalability.

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1. What is Bitcoin (BTC)?

  • Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that aims to function as a means of exchange and is independent of any central authority. Bitcoins are transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable, and immutable way.
  • Network validators, whom are often referred to as miners, participate in the SHA-256d-based Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to determine the next global state of the blockchain.
  • The Bitcoin protocol has a target block time of 10 minutes, and a maximum supply of 21 million tokens. The only way new bitcoins can be produced is when a block producer generates a new valid block.
  • The protocol has a token emission rate that halves every 210,000 blocks, or approximately every 4 years.
  • Unlike public blockchain infrastructures supporting the development of decentralized applications (Ethereum), the Bitcoin protocol is primarily used only for payments, and has only very limited support for smart contract-like functionalities (Bitcoin “Script” is mostly used to create certain conditions before bitcoins are used to be spent).

2. Bitcoin’s core features

For a more beginner’s introduction to Bitcoin, please visit Binance Academy’s guide to Bitcoin.

Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model

A UTXO transaction works like cash payment between two parties: Alice gives money to Bob and receives change (i.e., unspent amount). In comparison, blockchains like Ethereum rely on the account model.
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Nakamoto consensus

In the Bitcoin network, anyone can join the network and become a bookkeeping service provider i.e., a validator. All validators are allowed in the race to become the block producer for the next block, yet only the first to complete a computationally heavy task will win. This feature is called Proof of Work (PoW).
The probability of any single validator to finish the task first is equal to the percentage of the total network computation power, or hash power, the validator has. For instance, a validator with 5% of the total network computation power will have a 5% chance of completing the task first, and therefore becoming the next block producer.
Since anyone can join the race, competition is prone to increase. In the early days, Bitcoin mining was mostly done by personal computer CPUs.
As of today, Bitcoin validators, or miners, have opted for dedicated and more powerful devices such as machines based on Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (“ASIC”).
Proof of Work secures the network as block producers must have spent resources external to the network (i.e., money to pay electricity), and can provide proof to other participants that they did so.
With various miners competing for block rewards, it becomes difficult for one single malicious party to gain network majority (defined as more than 51% of the network’s hash power in the Nakamoto consensus mechanism). The ability to rearrange transactions via 51% attacks indicates another feature of the Nakamoto consensus: the finality of transactions is only probabilistic.
Once a block is produced, it is then propagated by the block producer to all other validators to check on the validity of all transactions in that block. The block producer will receive rewards in the network’s native currency (i.e., bitcoin) as all validators approve the block and update their ledgers.

The blockchain

Block production

The Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Merkle tree data structure in order to organize hashes of numerous individual transactions into each block. This concept is named after Ralph Merkle, who patented it in 1979.
With the use of a Merkle tree, though each block might contain thousands of transactions, it will have the ability to combine all of their hashes and condense them into one, allowing efficient and secure verification of this group of transactions. This single hash called is a Merkle root, which is stored in the Block Header of a block. The Block Header also stores other meta information of a block, such as a hash of the previous Block Header, which enables blocks to be associated in a chain-like structure (hence the name “blockchain”).
An illustration of block production in the Bitcoin Protocol is demonstrated below.

https://preview.redd.it/m6texxicf3151.png?width=1591&format=png&auto=webp&s=f4253304912ed8370948b9c524e08fef28f1c78d

Block time and mining difficulty

Block time is the period required to create the next block in a network. As mentioned above, the node who solves the computationally intensive task will be allowed to produce the next block. Therefore, block time is directly correlated to the amount of time it takes for a node to find a solution to the task. The Bitcoin protocol sets a target block time of 10 minutes, and attempts to achieve this by introducing a variable named mining difficulty.
Mining difficulty refers to how difficult it is for the node to solve the computationally intensive task. If the network sets a high difficulty for the task, while miners have low computational power, which is often referred to as “hashrate”, it would statistically take longer for the nodes to get an answer for the task. If the difficulty is low, but miners have rather strong computational power, statistically, some nodes will be able to solve the task quickly.
Therefore, the 10 minute target block time is achieved by constantly and automatically adjusting the mining difficulty according to how much computational power there is amongst the nodes. The average block time of the network is evaluated after a certain number of blocks, and if it is greater than the expected block time, the difficulty level will decrease; if it is less than the expected block time, the difficulty level will increase.

What are orphan blocks?

In a PoW blockchain network, if the block time is too low, it would increase the likelihood of nodes producingorphan blocks, for which they would receive no reward. Orphan blocks are produced by nodes who solved the task but did not broadcast their results to the whole network the quickest due to network latency.
It takes time for a message to travel through a network, and it is entirely possible for 2 nodes to complete the task and start to broadcast their results to the network at roughly the same time, while one’s messages are received by all other nodes earlier as the node has low latency.
Imagine there is a network latency of 1 minute and a target block time of 2 minutes. A node could solve the task in around 1 minute but his message would take 1 minute to reach the rest of the nodes that are still working on the solution. While his message travels through the network, all the work done by all other nodes during that 1 minute, even if these nodes also complete the task, would go to waste. In this case, 50% of the computational power contributed to the network is wasted.
The percentage of wasted computational power would proportionally decrease if the mining difficulty were higher, as it would statistically take longer for miners to complete the task. In other words, if the mining difficulty, and therefore targeted block time is low, miners with powerful and often centralized mining facilities would get a higher chance of becoming the block producer, while the participation of weaker miners would become in vain. This introduces possible centralization and weakens the overall security of the network.
However, given a limited amount of transactions that can be stored in a block, making the block time too longwould decrease the number of transactions the network can process per second, negatively affecting network scalability.

3. Bitcoin’s additional features

Segregated Witness (SegWit)

Segregated Witness, often abbreviated as SegWit, is a protocol upgrade proposal that went live in August 2017.
SegWit separates witness signatures from transaction-related data. Witness signatures in legacy Bitcoin blocks often take more than 50% of the block size. By removing witness signatures from the transaction block, this protocol upgrade effectively increases the number of transactions that can be stored in a single block, enabling the network to handle more transactions per second. As a result, SegWit increases the scalability of Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
SegWit also makes transactions cheaper. Since transaction fees are derived from how much data is being processed by the block producer, the more transactions that can be stored in a 1MB block, the cheaper individual transactions become.
https://preview.redd.it/depya70mf3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=a6499aa2131fbf347f8ffd812930b2f7d66be48e
The legacy Bitcoin block has a block size limit of 1 megabyte, and any change on the block size would require a network hard-fork. On August 1st 2017, the first hard-fork occurred, leading to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (“BCH”), which introduced an 8 megabyte block size limit.
Conversely, Segregated Witness was a soft-fork: it never changed the transaction block size limit of the network. Instead, it added an extended block with an upper limit of 3 megabytes, which contains solely witness signatures, to the 1 megabyte block that contains only transaction data. This new block type can be processed even by nodes that have not completed the SegWit protocol upgrade.
Furthermore, the separation of witness signatures from transaction data solves the malleability issue with the original Bitcoin protocol. Without Segregated Witness, these signatures could be altered before the block is validated by miners. Indeed, alterations can be done in such a way that if the system does a mathematical check, the signature would still be valid. However, since the values in the signature are changed, the two signatures would create vastly different hash values.
For instance, if a witness signature states “6,” it has a mathematical value of 6, and would create a hash value of 12345. However, if the witness signature were changed to “06”, it would maintain a mathematical value of 6 while creating a (faulty) hash value of 67890.
Since the mathematical values are the same, the altered signature remains a valid signature. This would create a bookkeeping issue, as transactions in Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks are documented with these hash values, or transaction IDs. Effectively, one can alter a transaction ID to a new one, and the new ID can still be valid.
This can create many issues, as illustrated in the below example:
  1. Alice sends Bob 1 BTC, and Bob sends Merchant Carol this 1 BTC for some goods.
  2. Bob sends Carols this 1 BTC, while the transaction from Alice to Bob is not yet validated. Carol sees this incoming transaction of 1 BTC to him, and immediately ships goods to B.
  3. At the moment, the transaction from Alice to Bob is still not confirmed by the network, and Bob can change the witness signature, therefore changing this transaction ID from 12345 to 67890.
  4. Now Carol will not receive his 1 BTC, as the network looks for transaction 12345 to ensure that Bob’s wallet balance is valid.
  5. As this particular transaction ID changed from 12345 to 67890, the transaction from Bob to Carol will fail, and Bob will get his goods while still holding his BTC.
With the Segregated Witness upgrade, such instances can not happen again. This is because the witness signatures are moved outside of the transaction block into an extended block, and altering the witness signature won’t affect the transaction ID.
Since the transaction malleability issue is fixed, Segregated Witness also enables the proper functioning of second-layer scalability solutions on the Bitcoin protocol, such as the Lightning Network.

Lightning Network

Lightning Network is a second-layer micropayment solution for scalability.
Specifically, Lightning Network aims to enable near-instant and low-cost payments between merchants and customers that wish to use bitcoins.
Lightning Network was conceptualized in a whitepaper by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015. Since then, it has been implemented by multiple companies. The most prominent of them include Blockstream, Lightning Labs, and ACINQ.
A list of curated resources relevant to Lightning Network can be found here.
In the Lightning Network, if a customer wishes to transact with a merchant, both of them need to open a payment channel, which operates off the Bitcoin blockchain (i.e., off-chain vs. on-chain). None of the transaction details from this payment channel are recorded on the blockchain, and only when the channel is closed will the end result of both party’s wallet balances be updated to the blockchain. The blockchain only serves as a settlement layer for Lightning transactions.
Since all transactions done via the payment channel are conducted independently of the Nakamoto consensus, both parties involved in transactions do not need to wait for network confirmation on transactions. Instead, transacting parties would pay transaction fees to Bitcoin miners only when they decide to close the channel.
https://preview.redd.it/cy56icarf3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=b239a63c6a87ec6cc1b18ce2cbd0355f8831c3a8
One limitation to the Lightning Network is that it requires a person to be online to receive transactions attributing towards him. Another limitation in user experience could be that one needs to lock up some funds every time he wishes to open a payment channel, and is only able to use that fund within the channel.
However, this does not mean he needs to create new channels every time he wishes to transact with a different person on the Lightning Network. If Alice wants to send money to Carol, but they do not have a payment channel open, they can ask Bob, who has payment channels open to both Alice and Carol, to help make that transaction. Alice will be able to send funds to Bob, and Bob to Carol. Hence, the number of “payment hubs” (i.e., Bob in the previous example) correlates with both the convenience and the usability of the Lightning Network for real-world applications.

Schnorr Signature upgrade proposal

Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (“ECDSA”) signatures are used to sign transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.
https://preview.redd.it/hjeqe4l7g3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=8014fb08fe62ac4d91645499bc0c7e1c04c5d7c4
However, many developers now advocate for replacing ECDSA with Schnorr Signature. Once Schnorr Signatures are implemented, multiple parties can collaborate in producing a signature that is valid for the sum of their public keys.
This would primarily be beneficial for network scalability. When multiple addresses were to conduct transactions to a single address, each transaction would require their own signature. With Schnorr Signature, all these signatures would be combined into one. As a result, the network would be able to store more transactions in a single block.
https://preview.redd.it/axg3wayag3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=93d958fa6b0e623caa82ca71fe457b4daa88c71e
The reduced size in signatures implies a reduced cost on transaction fees. The group of senders can split the transaction fees for that one group signature, instead of paying for one personal signature individually.
Schnorr Signature also improves network privacy and token fungibility. A third-party observer will not be able to detect if a user is sending a multi-signature transaction, since the signature will be in the same format as a single-signature transaction.

4. Economics and supply distribution

The Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Nakamoto consensus, and nodes validate blocks via Proof-of-Work mining. The bitcoin token was not pre-mined, and has a maximum supply of 21 million. The initial reward for a block was 50 BTC per block. Block mining rewards halve every 210,000 blocks. Since the average time for block production on the blockchain is 10 minutes, it implies that the block reward halving events will approximately take place every 4 years.
As of May 12th 2020, the block mining rewards are 6.25 BTC per block. Transaction fees also represent a minor revenue stream for miners.
submitted by D-platform to u/D-platform [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Visualizing Bitcoin Blockchain Block Hashes How to Calculate Bitcoin Difficulty Crypto Miners Difficulty Log Dec 27 2019 . Bitcoin Ethereum Monero LiteCoin Difficulty and HashRates Genesis Mining - Bitcoin Mining Company - YouTube Mining Pool Shares, Difficulty and Luck Explained

So Why Is Mining So Difficult? There are a number of factors here. The first is related to the number of hashes needed to create a new block. Bitcoin is a self-regulating network. The more power put into the system, the better it will regulate itself. The network does a check every two weeks to see if the time of mining (10 minutes per block ... Mining and mining difficulty. Mining Bitcoin basically means creating a new block and getting a reward for it, which is currently 12.5 BTC per each block that is mined roughly every 10 minutes. Anyone can join and abandon the process at any time. Only one miner (node) can generate a single block and despite the popular misconception, who is going to mine a block depends greatly on chance ... Basic definitions []. Difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to find a hash below a given target.The Bitcoin network has a global block difficulty. Valid blocks must have a hash below this target. Mining pools also have a pool-specific share difficulty setting a lower limit for shares.. The formula for difficulty: difficulty = difficulty_1_target / current_target Accurate Bitcoin mining calculator trusted by millions of cryptocurrency miners since May 2013 - developed by an OG Bitcoin miner looking to maximize on mining profits and calculate ROI for new ASIC miners. Updated in 2020, the newest version of the Bitcoin mining calculator makes it simple and easy to quickly calculate mining profitability for your Bitcoin mining hardware. Bitcoin mining difficulty determines how difficult it will be to mine the next block and this is why it is referred to as the difficulty of Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin difficulty is a measure of how many hashes (statistically) must be generated to find a valid solution to solve the next Bitcoin block and earn the mining reward. As you can see in the Bitcoin difficulty chart above, the Bitcoin ...

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Visualizing Bitcoin Blockchain Block Hashes

Genesis Mining Update and Buying More Hash Power by Colin Brazendale. 17:21 . How to buy Free Genesis Mining contracts and Earn Bitcoin Passively by Colin Brazendale. 24:55. Genesis Mining and big ... #Mining #Ethereum #Cryptocurrency Welcome to the 11th episode of CCMDL , January 21 2020 We go over talk a little about the difficulty of Ethereum , Bitcoin, Monero & LiteCoins difficulty for ... Bitcoin mining difficulty example. THIS IS CRAZY!! This is a great example of how fast the bitcoin community is upgrading their hardware and leaving my micro rig in the past. Mining bitcoin is not as easy as it might seem. In this video, we highlight the biggest reason that most crypto miners end up losing money. --- This episode is sponsored by Americas Cardroom, the ... Watch in 360 the inside of a nuclear reactor from the size of an atom with virtual reality - Duration: 3:42. EDF in the UK Recommended for you. 360°

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