Nimiq World's first Browser-based Blockchain Ecosystem







  • A Next-Generation Blockchain Protocol

    Cutting-edge Blockchain research and web technology streamlined to create an open payment protocol designed to lower multiple barriers of entry.

    Installation-Free

    To lower barriers of entry for both users and developers, Nimiq is browser-based.

    Nimiq is written in ES6 Javascript and uses Websockets or WebRTC for network communication. “Browser-based” doesn’t mean Nimiq only lives in browsers, NodeJS client can run on servers as well, although it means you can connect to the network from your browser without an intermediary.

    There are two kinds of nodes: browser nodes and backbone nodes. Backbone nodes run on NodeJS and use the same code base as the browser nodes. Backbone nodes communicate with each other and Browsers via WebSocket. Backbone nodes also act as signaling servers for browsers to establish WebRTC connections.

    Browser nodes use the IndexedDB to store the Blockchain Data. Backbone nodes use LevelDB.



    Fast Synchronization

    The standard Bitcoin and Ethereum Clients download about 100 GB to establish consensus with the network. This is a huge barrier for most users, and has led to only “elite” users actually capable of participating in the network without an intermediary.

    Nimiq solves this problem by leveraging the Mini-Blockchain Scheme and allowing for Light-Clients. By introducing an AccountsTree (similar to Ethereums Merkle-Patricia-Tree) and the concept of a Headers Chain, the protocol can discard almost all old blocks and only download and store a couple of megabytes.

    Additionally, Micro-Clients only download a segment of the Header Chain and slices of the AccountsTree that are relevant to the user’s accounts. Which means only a few kilobytes will be downloaded in order to participate trustless and without an intermediary.



    Fast Transactions

    By introducing Hashed Timelock Contracts (HTLCs), users can establish Payment Channels with each other to send Off-Chain Transactions.

    Off-Chain Transactions are as secure as regular On-Chain Transactions, and they don’t require any space in the Blockchain itself. These transactions are instant because the payment is settled immediately once the recipient receives the transaction — no block confirmation is necessary and the cost is minimal.

    With Hashed Timelock Contracts, users can establish networks of payment channels in which participants can exchange payments even if they have not established a direct payment channel with each other.

    Ecosystem

    Browser Library and the Miner Demonstration

    The most fundamental part of the Nimiq Ecosystem is the Browser Library. It enables any website to become a first-class citizen of the Nimiq network.

    It can synchronize with the network, validate the Blockchain, query account balances as well as create and send transactions.

    The Nimiq Betanet interface showcases the features of this library.


    Web-based Wallet (June 2017)

    The web-based wallet uses the browser library to provide users with a wallet for everyday use.

    The main goal is to provide a first-class user experience and empower inexperienced users to become familiar with the Blockchain technology.

    Educating users about unfamiliar aspects of Blockchain technology will be key to the wallet interface — i.e., explain the need for confirmations and how to keep private keys secure.

    Functionality to print cold wallets that store funds with physical security will also be integrated.


    Peer-to-Peer Exchange (Q4 2017)

    The Peer-to-Peer Exchange will make exchanging Nimiqs into local fiat currency easy, fast and cheap.

    There are multiple steps to achieving this goal:

    Initially, the easiest way to acquire Nimiq will be via regular Token Exchanges just like any other Blockchain token.

    Use HTLCs for cross-chain transactions. Cross-chain transactions allow users to exchange tokens across different Blockchains without an escrow. This will enable Nimiq to make use of the exchange services around Bitcoin and Ethereum without paying high fees for the token exchange.

    Partner with VISA payment services to create a VISA-to-Nimiq exchange (centralized in the first place).

    Create a centralized Peer-to-Peer Exchange like localbitcoins.com. Main difference will be the radically improved usability.

    After reaching this step we want to implement results on state-of-the-art research on decentralized Peer-to-Peer Exchanges on top of our web-based protocol to create a decentralized exchange that is cheap, fast and usable for everyone.

    Betanet

    The Nimiq Betanet is a preview of the Nimiq Protocol. Its purpose is to introduce the concept to the Blockchain community, collect feedback and build a strong community around the protocol.

    It is a beta version and is not suited for permanent Nimiq Token creation. Its purpose is to learn how the Nimiq protocol behaves in the wild and get real world data about the most important improvements. To keep our development agile we might reset the Blockchain at any point in time. This will lead to the loss of all your Betanet Nimiq Tokens.

    The Betanet does yet not contain the features for fast syncing or Off-chain transactions.

    Provisional Tech Specs

    For simplification purposes the Betanet uses SHA256 as Proof-of-Work algorithm. It uses the WebCrypto API to reach near native performance. A Drawback of our Betanet approach is that Nimiq uses NIST curves for elliptic curve signatures because those are the only curves supported by WebCrypto.

    For the Mainnet release we will use WebAssembly to implement both an ASIC-resistant POW and nothing-up-my-sleeves ECDSA.

    Based on current research we chose a block time of one minute. This parameter is likely to change this parameter before the Mainnet launch. It may be desirable to achieve Blocktimes similar to Ethereum (15sec), although we have not yet decided if we want to introduce the complexity of the GHOST protocol (or some variations of underlying).

    Roadmap

    • June 6: Betanet release, Start building a community
    • AMA on Reddit and via Youtube Livestream
    • June: Token Sale
    • July 6: Start of second Hackathon
    • Implement Light-Clients following the Mini-Blockchain Scheme
    • Implementing HTLCs
    • August 8: Testnet Launch
    • From August 8:
    • Implementing Lightning Network Infrastructure
    • Implementing Peer-to-Peer Exchange
    • December 2017: Launch of Mainnet


    Team

    The Nimiq Creators are driven by the ultimate life goal to contribute something to society that is meaningful, large scale and cutting edge. Building the Nimiq Network and Ecosystem lives up to those ambitions while the teams combined talents and skillsets secure the capacity to implement them.

    Links:

    Website:

    Betanet:

    Github:

    Twitter:

    Blog:

    Youtube:

    Telegram:

    Reddit:




  • Nimiq Community FAQs

    Here we put together a list of answers for the most frequently asked questions from 

    Hackernews

    Bitcointalk

    Telegram

    Twitter

    Reddit.

    Q: What is Nimiq?

    A: Nimiq is the world’s first Browser-based Blockchain. It is the only Blockchain designed for simplicity. It makes participating in its Ecosystem as simple as accessing the Internet itself and with that launches Blockchain technology into the mainstream. Its core values are ease-of-use, scalability and speed.

    Q: What sets Nimiq apart from Bitcoin, Ethereum et al?

    A: Main differentiators:

    • Browser-based and installation-free since it is written in Javascript ES6 and communicates via WebSockets + WebRTC for connecting to the network without intermediaries.
    • Light clients allow you to establish Blockchain consensus in seconds, requiring less download data than a song.
    • Near instant transactions via unique cashlink function and off-chain transactions.
    • Long-term commitment and good cause contribution embedded into the Genesis-Block.

    Q: Why Browser-based mining?

    A: Main reasons:

    • To tear down the technical and mental borders that exclude the majority of Internet users from participating in the Blockchain Revolution.
    • To unleash the Blockchain potential by making it accessible to everyone.
    • Because it allows every web-based service to utilize Blockchain Technology through use of easy-to-implement Light Clients.

    Q: Browser based mining, it’s so simple! Why has this never been done before?

    A: Blockchain Technology is very complicated. The simplest solutions are sometimes the hardest to find. To quote Einstein: “If you can’t explain it in simple terms, you don’t understand it well enough.”

    Q: Is the base code a fork of Bitcoin?

    A: No. Our code has been specifically implemented to fit the JavaScript platform and we constantly extend it. Although, we were inspired by Bitcoin and sometimes relied on the fact that time has proven Bitcoin to work well, there are fundamental differences. For instance, in the networking and signaling part, the proof of work we will use, the block format, and the light client implementation.

    Q: Who is Team Nimiq?

    A: We are a team of highly compatible, experienced and motivated geeks whose combined skillsets deliver — meet us here: https://nimiq.com/team/ and watch our Vlogs.

    Q: Does the name Nimiq stand for anything?

    A: Nimiq is an Inuit word used for an object or a force that binds things together. We found that to be fit for the task at hand.

    Q: When will the Mainnet go live?

    A: The Mainnet and Ecosystem will launch December 2017.

    Q: What can you tell us about the Nimiq Foundation?

    A: Nimiq is encompassed by a strong philanthropic mindset. Nimiq is open source and community driven. 3,5% of all Nimiq mined will go to a Swiss Foundation that funds and manages projects with high ecological and/or social impact. This commitment will be embedded in the Mainnet Genesis Block.

    Q: Why are you in Costa Rica?

    A: Bringing a team together is essential for delivering efficient and quality work. The remote location we chose in Costa Rica provides a distraction free, healthy environment and everything else we need for a productive setting.

    Q: Why is there no Whitepaper?

    A: We did not write a scientific paper because we did ground-breaking Blockchain technology engineering. Whitepapers are — in our understanding — scientific and theoretical papers that illustrate an idea and it’s path to implementation. We feel that we are well beyond that point as we have an operating Betanet, web-applications, core documentation and open source code for everyone to see and use. We chose to put efforts into documenting the core code well because we believe this is more valuable for hands-on contributors. In any case we still plan on delivering a more extensive technical insight documentation.

    Q: Is any installation required?

    A: No installation is necessary. Nimiq runs natively in your Browsers. Only if you chose to run a Backbone Node you need to install the Nimiq NodeJs client (see https://github.com/nimiq-network/)

    Q: What is the mining reward?

    A: The reward is 50 Nimiq per block.

    Q: What is your average transaction confirmation time?

    A: The Betanet is set to confirm transactions at the average block mining time of ~1 minute. This time varies depending on the Proof of Work difficulty which is adjusted every 10 blocks. For the Mainnet we will implement off-chain transactions (Lightning Network) which will enable near instant confirmation times.

    Q: What can I do with Nimiq I receive or mine in the Betanet?

    A: You can test the network capability by sending your Nimiq to any valid account number. Just tell a friend to visit https://nimiq.com/betanet/, as soon as she connects, she will have an account number generated in the Wallet. Note that your Nimiq balance in the Betanet is for testing purposes. It is not permanent and may be reset at any time if necessary for development and upgrade purposes. The final reset will happen before the Mainnet launch.

    Q: What’s preventing people from simply continuing to use the Betanet, it’s decentralized, after all.

    A: People can do that. Though we will have multiple breaking changes which make the current Betanet incompatible with the evolved Nimiq clients.

    Q: Is the Betanet Browser wallet the only wallet available for Nimiq?

    A: For the moment the only wallet is the Browser wallet. We are working on a wallet application and a cold storage wallet is also on our roadmap. We will provide users with tools to export their (encrypted) private key or create paper wallets.

    Q: How does the Betanet store the private/public key?

    A: The private/public key is stored securely in your Browser using PersistanceAPI the first time you connect to the Betanet with that Browser. Closing and re-opening the Browser does not change or erase your account. If you open two different Browsers on the same computer it will create two different wallets. You can consolidate Nimiq wallets by sending the balance from one wallet to another.

    Q: How do I export the wallet from a Browser?

    A: Currently you can access it by opening your Javascript console (F12) and typing Nimiq.get().wallet.keyPair.toBase64(); (cf. our API doc). An import/export tool is on our roadmap.

    Q: Is it possible to mine with the same private/public key on more than one device?

    A: Yes, by using the same private key (access via JS console) you can mine into the same account on multiple machine.

    Q: Are the private/public key susceptible to Browser resets?

    A: Clearing your Browser history will not affect your wallet or key. The only thing affecting your wallet is clearing offline website data.

    Q: What happens if I switch Browsers?

    A: If you open a new browser a new account will be generated. This only applies to the Betanet though. You will be able to access your account via any Browser and device using your public and private key, much like regular web applications.

    Q: How does resource management work while mining with a Browser?

    A: When connecting to the Betanet your browser establishes consensus with the Nimiq network and starts mining using the processing power available to your Browser. If you switch to a different tab the browser does not need to render the map animation of peers joining and you may experience a higher hashrate.

    Q: Can you monitor or adjust how much processing bandwidth the Betanet Miner is using?

    A: This feature is not yet supported in the Betanet Miner. However you can pause the mining or close the window/tab of your Browser which will fully interrupt the mining process.

    Q: Will there be a mining pool available?

    A: For Browser-based mining on the Mainnet mining pools make sense and will be available.

    Q: What are the system requirements for mining?

    A: Any modern device with an up-to-date browser should be able to mine. The better your hardware, the higher your probability for mining a block reward.

    Q: Does Nimiq have API/SDK documentation?

    A: Yes, you can find the documentation here: https://github.com/nimiq-network/core/tree/master/dist

    Q: What is the official channel for developers?

    A: Developers can join our Nimiq Network Slack Channel. Get invited here: https://nimiq-slackin.herokuapp.com/

    Q: Your current proof of work is Sha256. Is this also intended for the Mainnet or are you considering ASIC resistant PoW algorithms?

    A: We will switch to an ASIC-resistant proof-of-work as soon as possible. Definitely before the Mainnet launch. We have excluded Argon2 (too slow to verify). With WebAssembly we can use most algorithms with near to native performance, but only the newest browsers have support for it (e.g. Firefox ESR does not have it yet, Safari will have it in the upcoming 11 release). WebCrypto API could be fallback in case WebAssembly support is insufficient at Mainnet Launch. We are confident we will find a proper solution.

    Q: How about GPU mining?

    A: On memory-bound hashes, the mining speed is bound by the memory latency. GDDR5 memory on latest graphic cards does not have a relevant latency benefit (if at all) compared to DDR3/DDR4 which is used by the CPU. We’ll have to try it out, but our target is to be solely memory-latency-bound because this will reduce power consumption of miners (basically putting your CPU into waiting for memory most of the time).

    Q: How do you run the proof of work through the browser? Could there be ways to game the system?

    A: Our Betanet PoW is plain sha256 so you could easily set up a miner with high hashrates. This is fine for testing purposes. The final PoW will be memory-latency-bound and implemented in (or compiled to) WebAssembly, which reaches near to native performance in modern browsers.

    Q: Is the idea to have mining be performed exclusively through the browser using CPUs?

    A: No. Serious miners will run a Backbone Node in NodeJS. Browser-based mining will require mining pools in the long run to be effective.

    Q: Is there currently an authoritative backbone node for bootstrapping, or is this determined dynamically?

    A: It is determined dynamically. Once your first connection is established even other browsers can act as signaling server for you.

    Q: Isn’t mining on a browser less efficient than the usual way?

    A: Not necessarily. With WebAssembly you can get near-to-native performance. Our Betanet is based on WebCrypto API, which is native as well, but we can’t put the whole mining logic into it. So we have a lot of context switches and slow tasks in JavaScript, which are affected by UI work. Our final client will use WebAssembly for the whole mining and WebWorker to offload the work from the UI thread.

    Q: Why are you not using libp2p for discovery and transport?

    A: libp2p in our humble opinion is way oversized. It implements tons of features and protocols we would have no use for. We restricted ourselves to certain “modern” web technologies (WebSockets and WebRTC) and thus have a whole P2P Blockchain implementation in less than a fifth of the size of libp2p. If we don’t want users to download tons of MB from the Blockchain, why should we want them to download 2MB for the networking stack alone?

    Q: What would be the benefits running Nimiq on the NodeJS client instead of the Browser Client?

    A: Currently there is no big difference. It is slightly faster but not in orders of magnitude.

    Q: Isn’t the general opinion of security experts that browser based crypto is DOA?

    A: There’s nothing inherently wrong with Browser-based crypto. Most issues arise when you try to e.g. replace TLS with JavaScript to encrypt passwords before sending them to a server. SHA256 doesn’t become broken simply because it’s run in a browser.



  • Announcing The Nimiq Network Token Sale

    Starts on June 24. 

    Since the launch of our Betanet and Source Code on June 6, more than 12'000 browser-nodes from all around the world participated in the Nimiq Network. We are grateful for the extraordinary response of our quickly growing community. Blockchain enthusiasts have been peer-reviewing our approach and code and meanwhile several of you have asked about a Token Sale date.

    We wanted to wait until our team had addressed all open technical issues that surfaced since launching the Betanet before engaging in this next step.

    The token sale is scheduled to start on June 24 and will last 4 weeks until July 28. We will reveal more details on Thursday and publish additional relevant documents over the next number of days. You can also take a look at Robin Linus’ Whitepaper or if you have not tried it yet run our Betanet Miner.

    We want to thank the community and all our early supporters who got us to this point. More than 1'400 accounts containing freshly mined Betanet Nimiq have been created or transacted with. Our community Telegram and Slack channels have been very active resulting in helpful feedback and hands-on support such as the Chinese translation of both our website and Blog.

    The frictionless payment protocol for the Web is alive.

    Team Nimiq

    For more information and to be up to date regarding the sale, follow us here on Medium and on Twitter!



  • Nimiq Network Token Sale Terms

    Mainnet Distribution, Founder Vesting, Simple Pricing

    Two days ago we announced the Nimiq Network token sale. As promised, here are the details. If you are not yet familiar with Nimiq, try out and connect to ourBetanet and meet the Team.

    Introduction

    The difference between the Nimiq token sale and most other token sales is that Nimiq is not an application on top of Ethereum, but a third-generationBlockchain and Ecosystem native to the Web. Consequently we model our token sale after Ethereum’s initial crowd-sale and issue an Exchange Token. ThoseNimiq Exchange Tokens (NET) will be exchanged into Nimiq (NIM) — the currency of the Nimiq Blockchain — at launch of the Mainnet planned for December 2017.

    The sale of NET will be facilitated through payments in Ether. We plan to accept other cryptocurrencies by using ShapeShift.

    Nimiq Supply Distribution

    To understand the terms of the token sale we need to explain the total supply structure of the future Nimiq Mainnet. The Nimiq Mainnet will be designed for a total final supply of 21 Million NIM (modeled after Bitcoin), with the following distribution:

    • 88% Miners Reward (issued over ~100 years)
    • 5% Token Sale Contributors (no vesting)
    • 2.5% Long-term Foundation Endowment¹ (10 year vesting)
    • 2% Good Cause Partnerships and Sponsorships² (10 year vesting)
    • 1.5% Early Contributors (6 month vesting)
    • 1% Creators (3 year vesting)

    Token Sale Summary

    The amount of Nimiq Exchange Tokens(NET) for sale is equivalent to 5% of thetotal future Nimiq (NIM) supply (equal to ~24.5% of the circulating NIM supply after one year).

    • NET are standard tradable ERC20 tokens.
    • Exchange rate: 1 NIM = 10 NET.
    • Tokens available for sale: 10'500'000 NET.
    • The sale is capped at 60’000 ETH.
    • Two stages:  - First two weeks: 1 ETH = 175 NET  - Last two weeks: 1 ETH = 125 NET
    • Sale starts on June 28 (Time TBA).
    • The sale will run for up to 28 days, or terminates if a cap is reached earlier.

    DISCLAIMER: Due to the volatility of the Ethereum Market we may make final adjustments to the terms no later than June 24.

    Capped for Transparency

    The Sale is capped at 60'000 ETH for simplicity and security.

    Simple Pricing

    The pricing structure is modeled after Ethereum’s initial coin offering. There are two stages, early contributors of the first stage receive a 28.6% discount:

    • The first two weeks, 1 ETH buys 175 NET
    • The last two weeks, 1 ETH buys 125 NET

    This incentivizes early contributors while providing time for everyone to take part.

    Vesting

    There is no vesting for Token Sale Contributors. NIM exchanged from NET of Token Sale Contributors have no vesting and will be available for use immediately after the Mainnet launch.

    Creators, Early Contributors, the Endowment and the Non-Profit for Good Causes will not receive any NET. They will only receive NIM at launch of the Mainnet that vest as follows:

    • Creators: 3 years vesting with 6 months cliff. This means we will mature 16.7% of our NIM every 6 months. By taking this approach we are following the successful example of others in the blockchain space and make sure we are on the conservative end of things.
    • Early Contributors: 6 months vesting with 3 months cliff. This means they will mature 50% of their tokens at the end of month three, and the rest on month six.
    • Long-Term Endowment Foundation: 10 year vesting with 6 months cliff.
    • Non-Profit Organization for Good Causes: 10 year vesting with 6 months cliff.

    ¹Long-Term Endowment

    To fund the long-term development of the protocol, the development of the ecosystem and further innovations on top of the protocol, the Nimiq Foundation will be issued 2.5% of total NIM supply over a period of 10 years after Mainnet launch. This incentivizes a long-term commitment and project philosophy.

    ²Good Cause Partnerships

    We want Nimiq to serve the planet and the people. For this reason 2% of total NIM supply will be issued over a period of 10 years to a non-profit organization which funds people working on projects with high social or ecological impact. Think of large-scale projects like planting a billion trees, cleaning the oceans from plastic or building a million schools. This organization will be founded before the Mainnet launch. It will be completely independent of the Nimiq project and will govern itself either via a committee or ideally as a decentralized organization on top of Ethereum.

    More Details

    We will soon post additional documents such as the Development Plan with Intended Use of Revenue.

    We are also undergoing security auditing and will publish the token sale smart contract for peer reviewing in the next couple of days.

    Thanks,

    Team Nimiq



  • Nimiq Token and Token Sale Audit

    Audit Results

    A few days ago we published the Token Sale Smart Contract code for peer review. Backes Security and Research Technologies today released their security audit:

    https://data.backes-srt.com/nimiq_9bf53b254b/audit_v1.3.pdf

    The last commit that was reviewed was: 8c0d545272f67f3fb07dc533490c736a39aee680 at

    https://github.com/nimiq-network/nimiq-exchange-token

    We are glad to report that besides the items that were identified — and that we worked through with them during the review period — no outstanding issues have been found and all concerns were addressed adequately.

    Bug Bounty Reward

    Smart contract security audits like this one, significantly reduce the risks of the smart contracts issues but they can not warrant bug-free code. Our Bug bounty program remains open with a reward of US$5'000 for discovery and responsible disclosure of issues that represent a tangible security threat for the Token Sale. Importantly, such bug reports need to classify as actually executable under a realistic attack scenario. Eligible bugs are:

    • Security threats: incorrect ETH/NET allocation
    • DoS: incorrect execution of the contracts through malicious actor (stuck in invalid, irrecoverable state)
    • Logical errors: issues in the contract that lead to significant deviation from specified intention and terms


  • Nimiq Token Sale Finalized — Closing Analysis

    10 day sale & very wide base of contributors

    What an experience. We barely made it back from Switzerland where we took first steps towards setting up the Endowment and Good Cause Foundations and were almost caught off-guard by the increased speed of contributions and the sudden, earlier-than-expected closing of the Token Sale. Again we are very grateful for the strong show of support — THANK YOU!

    An updated look at the distribution of contributions shows that since the previous analysis the base of supporters continued to widen significantly. With almost 4'400 valid contributions the Contribution and Creation Cap where fully met and reached in just 10 days.

    We have ‘finalized’ the Smart Contract and NET Tokens are now tradable. As indicated we are hitting the ground running and will soon release the first App to demonstrate the potential of the future Mainnet Ecosystem. Following that, the team is going to fully focus on tasks related to the Mainnet milestone. We already invited additional talent to join us in the effort and are very excited about the attention we’ve been getting from leading members of the Blockchain research community.

    Again, a big thank you for enabling and believing in this team and task ahead.

    Pura vida Team Nimiq



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