Nano Foundation — CryptoFriendly AMA Recap

Andy Johnson
Apr 16, 2020 · 20 min read
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We had the pleasure of meeting up with the CryptoFriendly community on Telegram this afternoon for an energetic and engaging Q&A session. A huge stream of great questions filled the chat and we endeavored to answer as many as possible, you can find them all below.

If you have any additional questions or wish to continue the discussion, you can find us on the Nano forums, Telegram channel or Discord.

Can you introduce yourself to the community? What is your background and how did you join Nano?

Hey everyone! I am George Coxon, COO of the Nano Foundation. I found Raiblocks back in early 2017 and have been hooked since!

Hey guys. I have a background in computer engineering and have worked for several large tech companies. I’ve been interested in cryptocurrency since 2010 but after a couple years of watching the space and seeing slowness of the technology and environmental impact I went to work trying to make something better that remains decentralized.

Hi my name is Andy Johnson, I am the Communications Manager at Nano. I learned about Nano (then Raiblocks) years ago and became passionate about working towards providing an open and empowering payments network that can benefit far more people than the systems we currently rely on.

What are the major milestones you have achieved so far?

Well, so many great things have been happening over the last 2 years.

- Our milestone node releases have been consistently adding additional functionality to the protocol and making it even faster. The network is now processing transactions, fully confirmed, in under 0.3 seconds — which is extremely fast.

- We have seen a great trend towards increased decentralization over time as more services identify the benefits of utilizing Nano

There’s plenty more happening too, perhaps the team can add more… — Andy Johnson

…and of course our wonderful community! Our community is often cited as the second most active after bitcoin and we love seeing what projects and awesome innovation they create around Nano — George Coxon

Throughput tx/sec has seen a major increase too. That’ll be a major benefit for global usage. — Colin LeMahieu

What are the top 3 highlights for Nano in 2020?

We’re really happy to see Nano as one of the few coins added to the Binance browser widget, that’s going to make it a lot easier for new users to access Nano. — Colin LeMahieu

We’ve had a very busy start to the year! Some amazing community projects such as WeNano, EarnNano among many more! The Nano Africa community had an incredible first meetup in Ghana that Colin was able to video call in — great turn out and so exciting to see our communities grow across the world

We have also had some wonderful integrations such as Simplex and the brand new Binance Widget!

Our development team have been working really hard on v.21 which is soon to be released — that will definitely be a highlight of the first part of 2020! — George Coxon

2020 has been an interesting year so far for Nano, with lots of new challenges to overcome due to the pandemic. We are looking forward to getting out and meeting people later in the year to talk about Nano and show people how much progress has been made, and just how useful instant and feeless transactions can be! — Andy Johnson

How does Nano provide a more sustainable solution than others, with transactions settled at 1 second with no fees and tiny environmental footprint?

Nano can offer these types of transactions on a sustainable network because the protocol is explicitly built with efficiency in mind. It is entirely different to bitcoin and the single ledger approach. In Nano, each account has its own blockchain and can execute transactions quickly without having to compete for a place in the “next block”.

The consensus is efficient and sustainable because it uses the principles of Open Representative Voting, which is a unique solution to security that does not rely on expensive mining. It’s a lot to discuss in this context, so if you would like to learn more, then please visit our documentation here: https://docs.nano.org/glossary/#open-representative-voting-orvAndy Johnson

My question is what financial impact does the “No fee” feature has on the development and mass adoption of Nano, vulnerabilities to attack and crypto usage of Nano tech.

It’s important to remember that fees in other coins don’t go to developers, users, or business, they go to miners. All the fees that go to miners is at the expense of users with higher prices or businesses with lower profits. Fees also hurt adoption because if it’s more expensive to use cryptocurrency than traditional banking, businesses have little reason to change.

When analyzing attacks you need to look at cost to attack. With Nano you need to control over half the market cap of voting weight. With PoW chains you need to control over half of the mining hardware. Since the market cap will always be greater than mining hardware investment, we think the security exceeds PoW chains in that respect. — Colin LeMahieu

Super fast transactions is great, but what about in terms of security, could it be considered as secure as bitcoin, ethereum?

Yes, Nano doesn’t have to make any security concessions in order to provide such fast and feeless transactions. — Andy Johnson

How has Nano’s work, services, applications, educational resources, meetings held so far helped in creating the creative uses of Nano and adopting global digital money? How do you see the benefits of the work done?

Adoption in the real world is a long game and so we have been focusing on creating meaningful use-cases for Nano where we can really make a difference in people’s lives. This includes building up our educational resources, communities and service partnerships over the last year as space and infrastructure to support Nano for use in the real world has matured. We are really excited to continue to expand these resources as we try and reduce the barriers of entry for Nano across the world and are in constant discussions with universities and other educational institutions and groups — George Coxon

How will a new node be able to trustlessly sync from the network when the full ledger size increases significantly and many nodes prune. Is there the potential for a way to trustlessly synchronise from a network of pruned nodes?

“Trustless” is more of a marketing term than a reality. Most people don’t program their own nodes, many people don’t hold their own keys, or even run full nodes. Even PoW chains can’t bootstrap from genesis without programmed checkpoints in the node or they’d be vulnerable to denial of service attacks.

From a game-theory standpoint, who can you pull a ledger from who has an incentive to give you a true copy? Anyone wanting to receive cryptocurrency from you has an incentive to give you a true copy of the ledger because they don’t want counterfeit coins. — Colin LeMahieu

Nano is way user friendly, way faster, than any other digital payment coin, now with all honesty, what is lacking in Nano tech that needs to be improved?

Thank you, great question.

We agree Nano is designed to be used with as little fuss and onboarding as possible. The protocol is in a very good place right now with some really useful updates being targeted for upcoming node releases.

Aside from the protocol, areas that always need improvement are things like improving the accessibility through simple fiat on and off-ramps, more opportunities to spend Nano directly, a continuation of the improvement to the user experience and identifying areas where Nano can make a difference to people right now.

As the space matures and regulators become more familiar with digital assets, we feel Nano is well-positioned to best capitalize on people's desire to use a decentralized currency. — Andy Johnson

Crypto has high volatility so how is Nano the best option for merchants?

As Nano cannot be mined and is fully distributed, the volatility of Nano will decrease as adoption increases. Due to the feeless nature of Nano, merchants can save on credit card fees from Visa and Mastercard etc — this can be between 2–5% sometimes per transaction! For a small business that is a huge percentage of their profit taken away just for the right to transact securely— George Coxon

As a COO of NANO, what is the value you receive from the community and how will it help you to improve NANO in the future?

Our community is amazing and we wouldn’t be here with Nano without them. The 2nd layer applications around Nano created by the community are really the crux of adoption, helping not only spread awareness of how Nano can change peoples’ lives for the better but creating meaningful ways in which Nano can be used! We do our best to listen to what the community want — whether a certain fiat pairing or accessibility point such as ATMs, however securing and integrating these takes time — George Coxon

I am new to Nano, my question is what’s the requirements to be a node operator?

Yes, anyone can run a representative node and we encourage this because it gives you a top slot in the representatives list. Right now it requires about 5mbps for a connection, about 60gb of space and a 4-core machine. This costs usually 40–60$/mo on a cloud hosting service. Once you’ve synced the node and created your representative account address, you go out to the community and convince people to use your representative for their coins.

https://docs.nano.org/running-a-node/overview/ — Colin LeMahieu

Why does Nano use a PoW algorithm and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the PoW algorithm?

A small PoW is nice because it is well-documented and does not have ambiguity. We want to show that someone has spent a certain amount of time to creating their transaction and not simply creating junk transactions of no value to anyone.

Block lattice simply means we have multiple chains instead of one chain. This means if there is a conflict/fork in one chain, the rest of the network can continue without being slowed down while consensus is resolving. Single-chain systems need to run consensus for every transaction which slows everything down. — Colin LeMahieu

What your plans in place for global expansion, are you focusing on only market at this time? Or focus on building and developing or getting customers and users, or partnerships? Can you explain this?

Our method of expansion is to make a beach-head in a specific industry. The reason to do this is if you get integrated into the business process of an industry it doesn’t need maintenance from us anymore and we can move on to the next industry.

Right now what we’re focusing on is inter-banking-system digital delivery. This needs two things. 1) Users want instant gratification which other coins can’t give because they’re too slow. 2) It represents the largest business savings both from ease-of-use and transaction cost to both traditional payments and other coins with fees. — Colin LeMahieu

I love the gamification of Nano With CS:GO and Quake, but also there exist the possibility to do the same With Battle Royal games?

What is the advantages of Nano as payments methods over others projects and P2P transactions?

Nano can be integrated into any games really. Wesley on our team made a prototype for the Unreal Engine which shows how payments can be integrated directly into the game. This got a lot of press from finance and gaming companies and we want to persue this more. Right now this is held up by tooling and accountants. They want to make sure they can properly account for payments as they do with gaming cards and credit cards and we’re making sure they have these tools. — Colin LeMahieu

What makes the network Nanounique and efficient to provide instant payments which requiere very little energy?

How easy is it to use? What kind of people can use it?

Nano is unique because it uses the Block Lattice data structure and Open Representative Voting. It is an asynchronous network with gives the ability for instant and feeless transactions.

Nano is easy to use, there’s no question that people discovering digital money want it to be easy and intuitive. That means people don’t want to wait or have to calculate fees. It has to be easy to use for people to want to adopt it.

Nano provides this functionality to anyone with the ability to connect to the internet. Without fees as a hurdle, Nano can truly help the underbanked to take more control of their wealth and interact with a global economy, without the need for a bank. — Andy Johnson

Would you describe how does captcha faucet system work in Nano platform? and what are the advantages this offers?

What improvements will the Athena node make for the Nano platform? What features do you think will improve with this node?

We are really proud of our distribution method and not having an ICO. Where ICOs only benefited those people in the world that had capital (the antithesis of what cryptocurrency was designed for), our CAPTCHA faucet benefitted those people that had the most time on a global scale. This method also has meant that Nano cannot be deemed a ‘security’, which is a huge barrier for global adoption of a currency — George Coxon

Sending Nano is feeless. How does the wallet company (like AtomicWallet) get profit?

One thing to remember is, even in coins with fees, wallet providers don’t get this money, only miners. Wallet providers make money through other means such as referral programs for people buying cryptocurrency with credit cards or advertising. They can do both of these things with Nano just as well and they also don’t have to cover the fee costs to publish transactions to the network.— Colin LeMahieu

For Nano, what niche market are you expecting to be a leader in? How will Nano differentiate itself among the market?

In addition to being an excellent tool with a low barrier of entry for people looking to make and receive payments, Nano is also able to utilized things such as micropayments and remittances. Quite frankly, the potential use cases for Nano are vast and as the technology becomes more widely known — more businesses will be able to identify areas where fully confirmed, instant and fee-less transactions will reduce their overhead — Andy Johnson

Nano focuses on removing inefficiencies present in other cryptocurrencies, what do you think is the main inefficiency that Nano removes?

The main inefficiency is miners. This group of people is a completely new group of people when compared to traditional banks. They simultaneously extract fees from the network while dictating technical direction by means of their hash-power. They operate against both users and businesses who use the cryptocurrency and one of our main focuses was to remove them from the equation entirely. — Colin LeMahieu

What guarantees are there that a pending transaction will be received by the destination address.

Does the ORV (Open Representative Voting) mechanism guarantee the longterm sustainability of the platform?

Nano transactions are two parts, send/receive. When a send is confirmed it cannot be reversed so you can be assured it won’t go away. This means the receiver can be offline without any problems and once they’re online they can receive.

ORV and no network fees, we think, gives the best long-term sustainability because it dis-incentivizes rent-seeking. Network fees are vulnerable to economies of scale, people with a large amount of money can invest in becoming the biggest miners and start to extract fees from the network. I did a writeup on this here: https://medium.com/@clemahieu/emergent-centralization-due-to-economies-of-scale-83cc85a7cbef — Colin LeMahieu

In this time of pandemic, have you made more improvements and development to the Nano project while at home? Or is it difficult for the team because of a lack of communication?

The pandemic has been tough on everyone whether personal or with businesses however with Nano Foundation and our team, we are lucky that we work remotely and often from home already so we have been pushing on the best we can with a lot of flexibility for those who have families etc. We really pride ourselves on the fact that the Nano team are like family itself and we do our best to make sure that our team have the right resources, information, and support to cope through this time — George Coxon

An advantage for us, the users, is that Nano is fee-less. But how does this benefit Nano? How do you make sustainable profits?

The goal of Nano is to create a global tool that people can use and build businesses off of. The problem with coins that build a business model into their technology is they’re going to suffer from a conflict of interest or enact rent-seeking to extract money out of the system. While they may have good intentions or give pretty slide-decks about their governance model, eventually that will be corrupted and they’ll be pressured to take more money out of the network through higher fees.

Many PoW chains with fees restrict their transactions per second because this causes fees to be higher which means more profit for miners. Removing this dis-incentive means people can’t do this. — Colin LeMahieu

How do you plan to explain such technical topics to a wider audience?

Evolution in language is needed when looking at wider audiences — for instance, we call ourselves Digital Money and not a cryptocurrency as we have found that that term may scare off those people who are not technical — those who would just like to use Nano do not need to know ‘how’ it works but trust that it does. This means that as adoption grows past ‘early adopters and innovators’ and into those people that just want to use Nano, we are evolving our language to speak to wider audiences while building brand trust and taking into account payment behaviors and psychology.

Of course, we must also take into account that every country and community is different, with different barriers of entry and with different payment cultures and and so we are working hard with our language-use.

We are always looking for growing our communities in various countries so get in touch if you are interested 🙌 — George Coxon

Nano was recently added to the Binance Widget, how do you view this milestone and what advantage does this add to the Nano Ecosystem?

We think that this is one of the most important integrations in the ecosystem right now. For a currency coin like Nano, accessibility and useful fiat gateways add an incredible amount of value to the overall utility. It can be an intimidating process trying to acquire digital assets for the first time and many new users find it difficult to get past this initial hurdle.

This type of integration seeks to address some of these concerns and we are really excited to see how websites and platforms utilize the widget to bring Nano to their users/audience while also adding a new income stream via the Binance Partner Program. — Andy Johnson

For money to be smart, it must be instant, zero fee transactions and private. Does Nano meet these 3 pain points?

Good question — everyone has their opinions about what makes a true global digital currency and in our opinion, instant and feeless transactions are a must. However, privacy (although we like it) is a huge barrier with adoption by various countries meaning as Colin said above that those in those areas cannot accept that particular privacy coin. Decentralization is of paramount importance however and MUST be the third priority for a global currency. — George Coxon

As a developer I Know SOLIDITY, Java C, KSML can I build dApps on NANO and how easy is it,

What programming language does NANO employ and what is the incentive for me to build on nano

Nano focuses only on being a currency, it isn’t a smart contract / dApp platform.

The incentive to using Nano as a currency is it faster and cheaper than any other payment method out there, it doesn’t need intermediaries like credit cards or banks, and is decentralized unlike some of the other fast currencies out there. — Colin LeMahieu

How is the average of workload values and workload calculated in transactions approved by the node on the network?

Transactions are prioritized by their proof of work difficulty, higher difficulty gets processed first. — Colin LeMahieu

There is a huge increase in cybercrime right now, in consequence, many projects have started to improve their security systems to affront this situation, so what is the posture of Nano in these terms?

Are there any plans to implement privacy features? Is it needed?

Most cybercrimes are committed at the network endpoints, bugs in code by developers or phishing to steal keys. These things happen regardless of the technology used and there isn’t a way to ensure developers are doing their job correctly when integrating into specific coins. One thing we focus on is making things simple, simple things have fewer things to break. We want the entire process of Nano to be as simple as possible.

I like privacy features in coins but the main problem is at the current point in time, this would be a massive hurdle for adoption. A number of countries have completely banned the usage of privacy coins which means businesses can’t accept them for payments and people can't guarantee they can liquidate them if needed. Hopefully, this will change as the banking system changes and adapts to using cryptocurrency. — Colin LeMahieu

From what I understand, nano has a fixed supply, so, since there is no threat of emission, what would be the incentives to spend it, give it a use and not just hodl?

First time I read a consensus mechanism like this “Open Representative Voting (ORV)”. What advantages does this bring compared to other consensus mechanisms and in particular to the NANO network? according to its characteristics.

People spend currency because they want to buy things. Very few people obtain currencies for speculative reasons. While most people obtain cryptocurrencies for speculative reasons right now, that’s not a long term-strategy as eventually the volatility, up as well as down, will even out and the remaining people will be using the currency for it’s ease-of-use.

The main advantage of ORV is it can be digitally moved if needed and holders determine who are the consensus deciders and how decentralized they want the network to be.

PoW chains have a problem because they need to be connected to industrial-grade power lines. If the jurisdiction they’re in becomes hostile to cryptocurrency, the consensus generation can’t be moved to anywhere else in the world easily.

PoW chains also don’t give users any ability to decide who runs consensus so they’re victims of the economic circumstances. — Colin LeMahieu

Q1: what is the main core team focus of the nano project?

Q2: What is RaiBlocks and what is RaiBlocks’ important role in the nano project?

Q3: what is the vision of the project mission & nano team for the future

1. Our focus is primarily on the development of the core protocol to be as efficient and accessible as possible, in tandem with expanding the accessibility points of Nano.

2. Raiblocks was the original name of Nano before rebranding in early 2018.

3. Our vision is to continue working on providing an open, accessible and empowering financial network for the entire world. Amongst other things, we want to create something that is used by people who otherwise would be limited in their access to a fair and equal global economy. — Andy Johnson

1. One of Nano’s goals is to optimize the network in order to make money transfers as fast as possible but how much time are we talking about? Considering this a key factor for the growth of the Nano ecosystem.

2. How does Nano provide better security for the project? And how Nano can protect its users from hackers?

Right now our transactions complete in less than a second, and with physical limits of the speed of light that’s about as fast as it can get. We’ve focused on throughput, higher tx/sec, which is from more intelligent network bandwidth usage and disk optimizations. We’re pretty happy with where we are and we think with v21 we’re faster than anyone else in a live network environment while also being decentralized.

Hackers usually attack things the protocol cannot protect against, phishing keys, or vulnerabilities in website implementations, etc. Our general strategy is to make everything as simple as possible, simple things are harder to mess up, but unfortunately, it still requires competent developers when connecting to Nano so that issue is shared across the entire industry. — Colin LeMahieu

What is the uniqueness of NANO project that cannot be found in other projects that have been released so far?

Do you pay close attention to what your competitors are doing in order to orient and respond accordingly or are you locked in your own strategy?

I look at all the competitors and generally read any unique-sounding whitepaper I come across.

Most of the cryptocurrency space are clone-coins and coins-for-a-purpose and I don’t see either of these as viable so I largely ignore them.

Of the interesting ones I’m checking out their technology to see if they’ve identified anything unique that we can adopt. If/when I see these we adopt them as quickly as possible to remove their competitive advantage. Creating a cryptocurrency is more than just identifying a slight algorithmic improvement, it is a huge international effort and the faster we identify improvements, the bigger head-start we have against competitors. — Colin LeMahieu

Nano uses a unique and efficient consensus mechanism called Open Representative Voting (ORV). Can you explain to us why Nano decided to use the Open Representative Voting and the advantages it benefits from it?

We chose to use ORV because of it’s lightweight and efficiency for minimal energy usage compared to single ledger projects and this allows us to have instant transactions that are feeless— George Coxon

As a high-performance blockchain platform for real-world business, how robust is the platform in terms of handling 21st-century business needs?

How do you deal with the issues of scalability, security interoperability, speed and privacy plaguing crypto and blockchain technology?

Businesses want to know how new tools will save them money which includes the cost of changing technology. In order to make sure the change-of-technology conversation is as easy as possible we want to make sure it’s as fast and as performant as existing options. With our v21 release, we’ve made significant throughput improvements. In a nutshell, our transactions confirm faster, feelessly, and we can handle a larger amount of transactions than competitors while also maintaining decentralization.

The problems plaguing other coins were technology problems, unfortunately, they spent time in other areas, or were stopped by miners from making performance improvements in order to maintain higher fees. — Colin LeMahieu

NANO IS HERE!

How can I convince merchants to use NANO, what gateways are there for them?

Can you give us a summary of your versions V19, V20 and V21, and what news could be for V22, V23, etc?

Thank you!!

You can find a list of gateways here: https://nanolinks.info/#point-of-sale

As well as CoinGate, Coinify, Cyclebit, NOWPayment etc — there are plenty out there.

For a summary of previous releases, you should check out our Medium Blog where we summarize everything regarding each release and go into more detail on specific features: https://medium.com/nanocurrency

And finally for an indication of what's to come in future releases you can follow along here: https://docs.nano.org/releases/upcoming-features/Andy Johnson

Can you solve the scaling problem that many decentralized projects have? And how will do you overcome the threat of centralization in your blockchain?

With the numbers we see our network confirms faster, has a higher throughput, with a decentralization roughly equivalent to BitCoin. In the future, we’re hoping to get higher decentralization and exceed any other project out there.

I wrote about the problems with centralization, this mostly comes from fees and block rewards in the network. Since Nano removed both of these we see it as the most resistant to emergent centralization. https://medium.com/@clemahieu/emergent-centralization-due-to-economies-of-scale-83cc85a7cbef — Colin LeMahieu

What makes you different and special from others and why should we choose you?❤️

Nano stands out from the crowd with the following trifecta:

Easy-to-use and Feeless: Nano is simple and easy-to-use by design. By focusing on transferring value as efficiently as possible, the Nano network is able to offer feeless transactions and provides options for users and services to easily access the empowering and cost-saving qualities of digital money.

Eco-friendly: As the world continues efforts to reduce pollution and energy consumption, many digital money networks have resorted to wasteful designs to secure their networks. Nano is smartly designed to address this issue by not relying on power-hungry mining for security, but instead uses a lightweight and efficient consensus protocol called Open Representative Voting (ORV) for minimal energy usage.

Instant: Digital money should be quick and easy-to-use. Whether buying goods at a store, transferring money across borders or making payments online, Nano transactions are completed in under a second so you no longer have to wait. And these are fully settled payments on the network, businesses no longer have to wait for credit card or banking network approval. — George Coxon

Huge thanks to the team at CryptoFriendly for hosting us and the community for offering a great set of questions! If you want to find out more about Nano then check out the website and join our forums!

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