An Interview with Brandon Grill from the 0xBitcoin Foundation on Altcoin Magazine
A pure mined currency for Ethereum Applications
Hey, Brandon, thank you for introducing us to 0xBitcoin! Firstly, can you introduce us to the project and its history?
Hello, Emil, happy to be here! 0xBitcoin is a project that I’m very passionate about, and I’m always excited to discuss the token and the crypto scene in general. 0xBitcoin is an incredibly unique ERC-20 token deployed in February of 2018 by a developer who goes by the handle Infernal_Toast. Toast, who is a huge supporter of the Bitcoin currency and the Ethereum network, was frustrated by the limitations of both platforms. He recognized the usefulness of Ethereum’s smart contract capabilities but did not consider Ether (ETH) to be nearly as appropriate of a currency as Bitcoin (BTC). The problem, he determined, was the centralization of asset distribution that arose from the ICO model of fundraising. His solution was simple yet groundbreaking: introduce PoW mining to Ethereum-based tokens. He eventually created 0xBitcoin, the first mineable ERC-20 token in existence.
Here’s a quick video introduction to 0xBTC:
Could you tell me more about why 0xBitcoin is needed on Ethereum?
In my opinion, the biggest issue with Ethereum was the lack of a native Bitcoin-like currency. Bitcoin, which uses a PoW algorithm for distribution, is distributed fairly to whoever expends the resources necessary to mine it. From the very first genesis block, anyone was able to start mining Bitcoin. Ether, on the other hand, initially had a huge premine granted to the core developers.
Furthermore, with the upcoming PoS updates, Ether will be distributed not based on work done but based on how much existing Ether one is willing to stake. Not only has Ether proven itself less than ideal as a currency due to centralization, but it also has no supply cap, subjecting it to endless inflation.
0xBitcoin fills the technological void that exists within Ethereum by taking what we know about currencies from Bitcoin and having them be accessible natively on Ethereum.
How does 0xBitcoin work? Have mineable tokens been attempted before?
Instead of allocating every one of 0xBitcoin’s 21,000,000 tokens to the owner upon deployment, 0xBitcoin can only be minted upon receipt of the “golden nonce,” or solution. This solution is incredibly difficult to find, and you’ll need a GPU to work on the SoliditySHA3 hashing algorithm. The process for mining 0xBitcoin is nearly the same as it is for mining Bitcoin. As more miners want to mine 0xBitcoin, the difficulty gradually adjusts higher and increases competition for the token. This process ensures that only those who spent the resources to mine the token are rewarded. As I wrote about in a blog post for the 0xBitcoin Foundation, previous attempts to create a mineable token such as Bitcoinereum are flawed and vulnerable to Sybil attack. 0xBitcoin is the first token that uses real hashing algorithms for distribution to ensure that rewards can’t be gamed.
Could you elaborate on some of your concerns regarding existing ERC-20 tokens?
The ERC-20 standard revolutionized the way in which we think about Ethereum’s utility. Much of the value held within the Ethereum ecosystem is in the form of ERC-20 tokens. The issue with ERC-20 tokens, however, is that the entirety of the supply starts off by being allocated to one entity. If you look at the distribution of well known ERC-20 tokens, you’ll notice that it’s not unusual to see a small set of addresses own a majority of the existing tokens.
This is a direct result of the ICO model of fundraising which gives incredible amounts of control to a single entity. While ICOs can be used both responsibly and legitimately, what we’re seeing in many cases is a lack of accountability that results in under-delivery of stated promises. In some cases, developers have even been abandoning their project without refunding early backers.
How does the technology behind 0xBTC alleviate these concerns?
Right off the bat, 0xBitcoin avoided many of these red flags by being pure mined; there was no ICO and no premine. The contract owner has as much power over 0xBitcoin as you or I do. Even ownership of the contract address has been burned at this point. Due to its distribution by mining, 0xBitcoin is the most decentralized asset in the entire Ethereum ecosystem, Ether included.
Developers who want to demonstrate integrity and commitment to their backers while still being funded can easily integrate PoW distribution into their own projects by following the EIP918 mineable token standard. They have two options for fairly distributing their token. First, they can adopt an Initial Mining Offering (IMO) model, in which they take a percentage of all new tokens mined for themselves. Second, they can opt to be Merge Mined with 0xBitcoin. A token that is merge mined gets awarded to 0xBitcoin miners without any extra computational power needed. Essentially, a project can “piggyback” off of 0xBitcoin’s fair distribution without requiring their own dedicated hash power and mining pools. Through both methods, developers would receive a gradual income that is proportional to the value of their token. I think that in the coming months we’re going to see more new projects opt for some kind of mining-based distribution, as investors are rightfully wary of lump sum grants to developers.
Give us a rundown of the future of 0xBTC over the next year or two. What’s your overall vision for the project going forward?
One of the strengths of 0xBitcoin is that it fulfills a specific technological and economic need within Ethereum in a way that is hard to improve upon. As it stands, 0xBitcoin is the only major non-ICO mineable asset in the entire Ethereum ecosystem. Unlike the hundreds of projects that have come and gone in just a single year, 0xBitcoin is not at risk of going anywhere; its importance is increasingly being recognized among developers. My final vision for 0xBitcoin is to have it be seen as a major currency within Ethereum, either primary or secondary to Ether.
There are three important projects that 0xBitcoin developers are currently working on that will use 0xBitcoin in various ways. The first project is Lava Wallet, which is being developed by 0xBitcoin’s creator, Infernal_Toast. Lava Wallet will enable a network of relayers that accept ERC-20 tokens in return for providing the gas necessary to send transactions. When this network is complete, users will be able to access the full range of Ethereum’s applications without having to have Ether in their wallets. Those who prefer 0xBitcoin as a currency will be able to use it as such without having to buy a gas token.
The second project I’m excited about is the (tentatively named) 0xbitchain. This side chain, governed by 0xBitcoin miners, will allow for fast and cheap dApp usage secured by real PoW mining. This initiative not only tackles Ethereum’s scaling problems but does so by incorporating the security that mining provides. Lastly, through the Mineables Network, users will be able to easily create their own mineable tokens and be integrated into a network of virtual mining. This will expand the utility of the Ethereum network further and push the limits of what developers can do on the platform.
Briefly, could tell me about the 0xBitcoin Foundation and how community members are involved in the project?
A couple of months ago, a number of dedicated community members (myself included) decided to band together and form a nonprofit corporation to both lend the project a sense of legitimacy and to create a central point of contact for inquiries from media sources and exchanges looking to list us. None of the Foundation members are paid, and we by no means claim to be the only or “official” authority on 0xBitcoin. Our only funding comes from community donations, as we have no ICO or premine funds to pull from.
0xBitcoin began as and has remained a community-based project. Our community’s views on the dangers of centralization and the importance of fair distribution through mining have resonated strongly among members of the cryptocurrency community-at-large. People in our community step up to do the work that needs to be done, whether that be by making dApps, writing articles, developing our website, or helping new members start mining. There are no CEOs in the 0xBitcoin community, everything is a team effort. At risk of sounding sentimental, I truly believe that we have something special in the 0xBitcoin community that centralized projects just can’t offer.
If people wish to learn more about 0xBTC, where can they get in touch with you, or read your documents?
The best place to get in touch with the 0xBitcoin community is through our Discord channel. Developers, investors, and enthusiasts all gather to discuss the crypto scene through the lens of decentralization. Feel free to reach out to me directly on Discord with any questions or suggestions; my username is Userbrn#7056. For links to the whitepaper and mining statistics, the website is the best place to look: https://0xBitcoin.org.
Lastly, if you had to give props to one other cryptocurrency project, company or personality, who would it be and why?
If I had to choose one group to give props to, it would be the community over at Ravencoin. They really take their community focus seriously and are now being recognized for it. Their talented developers have put in the time to build something from the ground up without compromising their values. The 0xBitcoin Foundation shares this belief in the power of community and will continue to press forward with our mission to build a decentralized currency.
Do you have anything to add before we finish?
I appreciate the opportunity to have 0xBitcoin featured in Altcoin Magazine! Our team at the 0xBitcoin Foundation is always happy to engage in discussions around mineable token technology. I can be reached directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored interview. It was a pleasure getting to know Brandon and the 0xBitcoin Foundation.
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