The premine of KOIN, the native cryptocurrency of the Koinos blockchain to be launched next year started today. It will last for the next six months. The mining process uses a hashing algorithm that is memory hard, which means that it uses a lot of memory instead of processing power, which in turn makes it suitable to run on regular off-the-shelf hardware everybody has in their homes. The purpose of this to make the initial coin distribution as decentralized as possible. Anyone can mine KOIN on their PCs and laptops at home.
As the premining progresses, the KOIN ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum that are credited to the miners will be the basis of an airdrop of the actual KOIN coins on the Koinos blockchain to be launched soon afterwards.
If you want to mine KOIN, the instructions can befound here:
The white paper that I'm referring here is this:
I took a look at the whitepaper to see what was special about the Koinos blockchain.
Better modularization enables easier upgrades to the core blockchain software
The creators of Koinos say that the problem with most blockchains is the difficulty of upgrading the chain. Even small changes to the protocol typically require a hard fork. The idea is to break up the core blockchain into modules that can be updated peacemeal without requiring a hardfork. The way this is done is having a small set of primitive functionalities and running everything else as user-defined smart contracts.
Protocol upgrades done via an on-chain governance system
This is something novel. Imagine if Hive had the ability to run user-defined smart contracts and were upgraded by proposals being put forward, which were then approved or rejected by stakeholders. Upon approval the approved code would then be sent to a contract address after which it would become part of the protocol. The whitepaper talks about contracts having alternative implementations of which the most frequently used would be native to the core protocol and optimized for performance.
Interestingly, even the functionalities like the consensus or authentication mechanisms can be changed on the fly through the governance system. I guess it is for this reason that there was no clear description of the consensus mechanism except that it will be something new. The creators make a good point that many protocol upgrades bear no economic significance and are uncontroversial, in which case avoiding a hard fork is a very good thing.
StateDB to optimize memory usage
The team has developed StateDB designed to minimize the use of RAM in nodes, the purpose of which is to make running a node more affordable with cheap hardware. The white paper says that StateDB will make it easier for the chain to deal with micro-forks happening frequently and to reach consensus when operating near full capacity.
State paging to reduce blockchain size
Yet another interesting feature is state paging which means offloading unused state information (blockchain content) that is old or unused (dead buggy and exploited contracts, for example) from the chain while making it possible to be recalled upon request while cryptographically verifying its correctness. This shows real long-term thinking because a high-throughput chain operating, say, for a couple decades would easily bloat into an unmanageable size unless old transactions weren't possible to offload to be recalled when needed.
The fundamental building blocks of the chain still a work in progress
The whitepaper says that the following features will implemented in the mainnet:
New Consensus Algorithm
Mana Resource System
a. Unlimited Free Account Creation
b. Fee-less Transactions
a. Blockchain Bonds
Automated Market Maker
The Koinos team has a taken a very novel and creative approach with a focus on the long-term future. With the permanent layer of the blockchain code being very thin and literally everything else about the chain being dynamic, this is indeed a novel approach. It sounds like something that intelligent and creative software engineers would come up with. Philosophically, the Koinos project is in opposition to the philosophy of projects like Bitcoin where the stability and simplicity of the protocol are the core value proposition. The protocol is designed for an ability to evolve but also recover from faults. It's an interesting approach and only time will tell what will become of it.
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