Mina — The World’s Lightest Blockchain


Oct 02, 2020

3 min read

Mina — The World’s Lightest Blockchain

Hi Readers👩‍💻,

Some of you might have heard about this exciting network called Mina. And 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 cryptocurrency protocol with the main focus on reducing the size of the blockchain from many gigabytes to the size of a few kilobytes. The main problem Mina solves is how to scale without centralizing. “Mina is about decentralizing the web 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. It 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. As the mainnet is launched, the possibility to access the blockchain network on your smartphone will be right there; this is one of the exciting opportunities of the network.

If you want to use Mina, you’ll need around 20 kilobytes and 10 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. 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 want to get started with verifying transactions on a cryptocurrency, you 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. Today's top cryptocurrencies 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 sent 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.

Mina’s goal is 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, 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, and 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.

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. As the mainnet is 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 and 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.”

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

More information & sources

DISCLAIMER: This is not financial advice. Staking and cryptocurrency 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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