Mina — The World’s Lightest Blockchain

Oct 2, 2020 4 min read
Mina — The World’s Lightest Blockchain

Everything You Want To Know About The Mina Protocol

Hi Readers👩‍💻,

Some of you might have heard about this exciting new network called Mina. And as the launch of the mainnet is soon upon us, we thought it was a great time to give you an introduction to the world’s lightest blockchain.

🧐 What is Mina?

Built by O(1)Labs, Mina is a new cryptocurrency protocol with the main focus to reduce the size of the blockchain from many gigabytes to the size of a few kilobytes. The main problem this new protocol solves is how to scale without centralizing. “Mina is about decentralizing the web in order to shift power dynamics,” said Evan Shapiro, CEO, and Co-Founder of O(1) Labs, the team behind Mina.

It is expected that because of the accessibility, Mina can go places other currencies might not be able to go. This new cryptocurrency can process thousands of transactions per second, and no matter how many transactions have happened, the entire historical data of the chain will be small enough to be stored on your smartphone. When the mainnet launches, the possibility to access the blockchain network on your smartphone will be right there; this is one of the exciting opportunities of this network.

If you want to use Mina, you’ll need around 20 kilobytes and ten milliseconds to verify your balance. And no matter how many transactions are in the blockchain, the footprint will remain small. The combination of processing speed and the small print is called a succinct blockchain.

🤓 Decentralized Cryptocurrency at Scale

Mina’s consensus mechanism is called a Decentralized Cryptocurrency at Scale. So, what does that mean?

Mina created the concept of Decentralized Cryptocurrency at Scale. Scalability refers to Mina’s ability to handle the throughput of thousands of transactions per second. The decentralization refers to the accessibility of verifying the chain and synchronizing as a new user.

If you’d want to get started with verifying transactions on a cryptocurrency, you’d need to download a full copy of the blockchain. Which, with beginning blockchain networks, might not sound that bad. However, over time this can become seriously impractical. Most top cryptocurrencies today are many gigabytes large and growing, with some near or exceeding 100GB. For most people, like you and me, downloading a file that big, and keeping it, is just not possible.

With Mina, instead of having to download an entire blockchain, the network uses zk-SNARKs to compress the blockchain into a tiny snapshot. That snapshot gets send around instead; this helps to keep the costs of verifying transactions lower, and the data remains constant and accessible to everyone.

  • zk-SNARKs — stands for Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. This, in short, refers to a proof construction where one can prove possession of information, data, etc. through a secret key, without revealing that information, and without any interaction between the prover and verifier.
First posted by the Mina Protocol.

It is Mina’s end goal to allow nearly any internet-connected device to interact with blockchain-verified data. This will make it so much easier to develop crypto apps. With this technology, a nonprofit’s website could show you exactly where every dollar given to them is used for, or file your taxes for you based on all your expenses and income that year.

💰 The Mina Token

There are three ways to acquire Mina. The first is through an exchange, the second it’s it a proof-of-stake protocol, so if you already have coins, you can either stake them yourself or delegate them. Thirdly, people who are Snarking within the protocol can get paid for their efforts in currencies.

  • Snarking — Most networks have only one group of nodes. However, Mina has two. Besides the Proof of Stake concept, the network also has Snark workers. Snark workers are required (collectively) for the liveness of the network.

💻 Mina Genesis

On March 24th, 2020, Mina launched Genesis, a token program that prepares participants to become the network’s first block producers and ensures high decentralization upon mainnet launch.

1,000 Genesis founding members will be selected to receive a distribution of 66,000 Mina tokens by completing challenges on the testnet to help strengthen the network. When the mainnet goes live, Genesis founding members will comprise the network’s initial block producers, because they will have the knowledge required to stake tokens.

Mina is setting aside up to 6.7% of tokens for Genesis founding members. Izaak Meckler, CTO & Co-founder, said: “The Genesis program allows us to build a community of engaged members who are helping to set the rules of the ecosystem. Such engagement is essential for constructing an infrastructure that serves the needs of its members.”

You can apply for Genesis here: http://codaprotocol.com/genesis

We are looking forward to being part of this amazing protocol, and helping to build a strong and healthy community around it! 🎊

Side note: Mina was previously Coda, however, last year in 2019, R3 filed a trademark lawsuit against Coda Protocol. As a result, the Coda Protocol agreed to abandon the name.

More information & sources

DISCLAIMER: This is not financial advice. Staking and cryptocurrencies investment involves a high degree of risk and there is always the possibility of loss, including the loss of all staked digital assets. Additionally, delegators are at risk of slashing in case of security or liveness faults on some PoS protocols. We advise you to DYOR before choosing a validator.

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