ICO Review: Coda Protocol

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets.

Introduction

Coda Protocol is developed by o1labs (https://o1labs.org/). With Coda the team behind o1labs is aiming to create a truly decentralised constant-sized blockchain by using recursive composition of zk-SNARKs to compress the blockchain to “the size of a few tweets”.

Verifying the current blockchain state only requires around 20 kilobytes and about 10 milliseconds and can thereby instantly verified even on smartphones.

Trying to solve a sizing Problem

If you want to participate and to verify transactions in blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum you need to download a full copy of the blockchain. In the early days of those blockchains it was not a big problem, but nowadays blockchains have reached massive sizes, e.g. Bitcoin > 160 GB, Ethereum > 660 GB.

Compact Blockchain by using zk-SNARKs

In the Coda blockchain it does not matter how many transactions are performed, the size of the blockchain always remains the same as the Coda nodes validate a recursive composition of zero knowledge proofs, rather than the complete transaction history. In addition also the time to verify transactions stay in range of a few milliseconds.

Under a zero knowledge proof one can understand a cryptographic scheme which allows a participant to prove the knowledge of a certain value without unveiling the actual data. Thus a zero knowledge proof can prove a knowledge of information (e.g. validation of a block) without the need to actually know the information itself (e.g. the transactions in that block).

In the area of zero knowledge proof schemes zk-SNARKs is the least expensive one to build and validate, as once the SNARK is build and validated the block is created.

Coda is using a permissioning mechanism such as Ouroboros Praos proof-of-stake protocol which can handle over 2.000 transactions per second (TPS).

Coda has raised a $3.5M seed round from a group of investors including MetaStable, Polychain Capital, Electric Capital, Naval Ravikant, Charlie Noyes, Elad Gil, Linda Xie, Fred Ehrsam, Jack Herrik, Kindred Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, Dekrypt Capital, Nima Capital and SciFi VC.

Team & Advisors

  • Evan Shapiro — CEO: worked as a software engineer at Mozilla and has a computer/robotis science background
  • Izaak Meckler — CTO: he is a mathematician and computer scientist with a cryptographic background
  • Brad Cohn — Strategy & Operations: has worked for Bridgewater Associates as an Investment Engineer and has some financial experience
  • Rest of the team: lots of experienced Protocol Engineers and Protocol Researchers which are very confident

Coda’s team is technically very experienced, but could lack in corporate management as there is nobody with such an experience in their team. Coda does have a few Advisors, but if they are thinking about doing an ICO this list has to increase in our opinion

Roadmap

  • Testnet in Q3 2018

Community

As the whitepaper currently only exists in a draft version and there are no information about an ICO to day, the community is very quiet, but is now gaining traction:

For interested people a mailing list form exists under https://goo.gl/forms/nS9hLYlB7mMb74bx2

Conclusion

Coda Protocol is a real innovation in the blockchain space and could solve an existing issue. Together with a big group of investors and an experienced technical team this project could result in a big success. Their roadmap is very short right now with focusing on the testnet in Q3 2018, but we really like that they are focusing on the basic stuff first before mentioning any further plans, although some global future plans would be nice to see :)

For a detailed analysis, as block42.tech normally does, we still have to wait for a final whitepaper and some additional information. Meanwhile stay up to date and join some official channels (see below).

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