Andy Johnson
Jul 27 · 9 min read

On 6:30 PM UTC, Thursday July 18th we hosted an ‘Ask me Anything’ on Reddit. Nano Founder Colin LeMahieu answered a basket of burning community questions which we have compiled here for your convenience.

Is the team in contact with the biggest exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bittrex, Poloniex, Bitfinex, Gemini…about adding NANO?

We’ve reached out to all the major exchanges and we focus on region/fiat pairing/prestige/fees. It’s important to note all exchanges contain non-disclosure agreements on any integration progress information for purposes of preventing insider trading.

Is there anything we can do as a big community to help NANO get listed on those exchanges?

Exchanges always look at how much money they will make off a certain listing. Every time someone builds a project that integrates Nano it makes these discussions far easier so every little bit helps.

The developer fund has spent 1,150,000 Nano in 2019 so far. At the current burn rate of Nano, the developer fund will be fully utilized in 15–20 months time. Do you think Nano will be in a self-sufficient/ community-led environment by this point? If not, how will the project progress in the future?

The beginning of the year incurred some larger fixed-costs and our burn rate has greatly decreased in the last quarter. Last fall and this spring we’ve been working heavily on making sure our costs are streamlined. Our exchange and media payment policies reflect our focus on making sure the protocol is developed to a point of of being self-sustaining as an open source project. We’re in a really good position right now and development is progressing well.

What is the plan for once the development fund is exhausted?

The goal has always been to keep the scope of the protocol focused and get it into a maintenance cycle like any of the other major open source projects out there. Limiting our feature scope and focusing on being the most efficient currency also ties in to this as it gives us a solid core feature people want to maintain.

Where do you see Nano in 10 years?

I envision it as a massive, global network of moving value around the world. Development improvements will move Nano closer to the most efficient form of currency possible e.g. moving value at the speed of light. Because we designed Nano to be simple, the node code will be infrequently modified and the focus will be on the hardware and configuration people use to connect. The decreased focus on fiat currency would cause mergers in several fiat currencies with low usage.

Can you elaborate on your plans for Appia? Do you have a timeline for releasing a public product?

Appia is separate from Nano, it’s exists as any other player in the hardware-payments sector. We’re finishing up a full prototype run, making sure all the fine details look good because this is an end-consumer item.

Do you have a timeline for adding multisig support to Nano? I think it could be one of the barriers holding back exchanges as it makes their cold-storage mechanism more complicated, and the decentralized exchanges need it.

We don’t have plans for in-protocol multisig right now; it has been asked by some services though not very many. Many services don’t need in-protocol multisig and can instead use offline multisig which can involve much more sophisticated key-assembly schemes than can be achieved in-protocol.

What marketing efforts will be taken now that v19 is released, as it was always said that marketing begins now? What is the marketing strategy? Are you going to hire an expert to lead this aspect of the project?

We’re transitioning from heavy development focus to heavy adoption focus, a component of that is marketing. We’re looking for someone with experience rolling out and marketing global finance products as they’ll understand out target audience in finance the most.

It’s evident that price action means everything in the crypto community. Price action = adoption, and technology seems to have almost no bearing on adoption (counter-intuitive and stupid, but it is what it is). what are your plans to entice people to buy Nano and encourage a culture of buying & HODLing the dips like Bitcoin and Litecoin have done.

Price action/variance drives speculative crypto trading but it hinders vendor and user adoption. It’s obvious to people how a drop in price is bad but it’s not obvious how a price increase is bad, in fact the crypto community encourages it which I think is a mistake.

A price increase breaks the property of store of value as much as a price decrease. Encouraging people to hold in hopes of keeping a high last-trade price is misguided and causes price variance as it encourages people to act against what they’re comfortable with and encourages panic buy/sell. People should use Nano as currency, acquiring and using it at a natural pace as it serves their needs.

And lastly, what is your opinion of Libra, and why do you think that Nano should attempt to compete with it in the same markets when Facebook is going to have a clear advantage from the beginning (given it’s wealth and already existing reach)?

Deposit accounts i.e. reserved backed stablecoins, don’t provide the assurance of your-key your-money and that’s the fundamental shift in the concept of currency that cryptocurrency provides. Everything else is an elaborate system of credit with multiple points of failure.

Do you have any concerns with low end nodes (both PRs and non-PRs) limiting scalability?

The network scalability is defined by the hardware capacity of the PRs so in the strictest sense, the amount of money PRs dedicate to their nodes will be the limiting factor of the network. Fortunately the node costs are low so there’s a large amount of room for increase.

Do you have any ideas that would help ensure that running a node is always a net-positive, regardless of specs?

There are a couple things we’re going to implement to lower the hardware requirements for non PR nodes specifically with 2 phase voting. With two phase voting, non-PR nodes don’t need to listen to the negotiation votes and only final votes which reduces some traffic. We’ll also add a way for nodes to not subscribe to votes at all and solicit the final votes periodically or if they’ve received a transaction.

What could be the most significant change made to the Nano protocol in the next 12 months?

2-phase voting, changing the PoW algorithm and a structured network overlay. The network overlay will allow us to flood transactions out in a more efficient way, ideally a minimal spanning tree.

Can you tell us anything about new exchanges? Will Solidus have an impact when it comes to exchanges?

TCP was something we added for infrastructures that support outgoing TCP only, for security purposes. This was a limiting factor in some cases. Confirmation height changes in Solidus gave us the biggest positive feedback as it makes implementations much simpler.

Ok, so many questions about nano but nothing about you. It is possible that at some point you will be considered a genius and will be famous and I would regret not asking you these questions when I had the opportunity:

What music do you listen to and what are some of your favourite movies?

Everyone that knows me knows I have a huge hole around music and movies. The answer to “have you heard this song?” is no. I appreciate whatever is playing, I just don’t go in search of bands or songs.

Lots of developers listen to music while working but I really prefer silence. When music is playing part of my attention gets diverted to the song or lyrics and work slows down. Silence and pacing, you know, a super normal way to work ;)

Do you have any hobbies beside nano?

I love traveling, which I do 100% of the time these days as a digital nomad. I travel with all my possessions in a a backpack and a carryon. It actually makes it really convenient for talking with businesses about Nano because making a trip is no big deal.

I read extensively about astronomy. I keep up with most space technology being developed and have some ideas myself. I watch PBS SpaceTime whenever there’s a new episode. Stuff You Should Know podcast is great, saw them live in Austin.

If you could have dinner with any two persons dead or alive, who would you invite?

I’d probably invite Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and Adam Smith. I think Cecilia would be interesting because she overturned an entire discipline with her discovery and had the credit taken from her for so long.

I think Adam Smith would be interesting because I think free markets are the second best human invention behind the scientific method.

Around when will Appia be available for vendors? Will the development continue after the initial release or will the platform be more or less feature complete?

Appia is working on full prototypes right now and will follow up with longer production runs after.

How advanced is research on new spam mitigation PoW algorithms and what solutions has the team found until now? Are VDFs a valid option?

We’ve done a significant amount of research in to PoW algorithms. The ones interesting to us create a time delay and also require a lot of hardware gates (time x area). We prefer memory gates instead of clocked logic gates for power efficiency, compute-hard versus memory-hard. We want the verification to be trivial so it can be used as DDoS prevention, and the proof to be small so it doesn’t add overhead to our small transaction sizes.

VDFs can create a provable delay in a single solution but if multiple solutions are simultaneously acceptable, as is for our asynchronous ledger, someone could instantiate several VDF instances in hardware for multiple accounts. This is why the space limitation is important as requiring a lot of gates limits the ability to construct horizontally parallel specialized hardware.

What is in your opinion the currently two most important features you really want for the protocol that

  1. You know that the team can solve
  2. You have a vague idea about but don’t have a solid plan for yet or don’t know if it can be solved

2-phase voting and a structured network overlay will open up a lot of improvement opportunities for lower bandwidth usage i.e. higher transaction throughput.

We have an idea on how to improve our disk IOPS and we’re developing some prototypes right now but don’t have results.

Some harder problems involve solving long term ledger bloat, tiered storage or storing old transactions in less expensive storage or in a network DHT seem likely candidates for solutions. Storage is cheap though so we prioritize development accordingly.

Will there ever be a way for Nano to be added to a DEX like

We would need several things in order to be DEX compatible: A compatible hashing algorithm, we use blake2 and many don’t, signature changes / multi-sig, scripting changes

Comparing the list of requirements to how much of a value-add users get on a DEX versus a normal exchange, I don’t see this compatibility as worth the effort. I don’t see this as significantly increasing adoption.

How confident are you about dynamic PoW working as a spam solution long-term? From what I know of the stress tests on the beta network there’s a marked increase in transaction time during times of high traffic; how do you see that resolving as time goes on? And how confident are you that in the future a solution can be developed that maintains everything Nano is today while also being able to embrace spam and avoid the ledger becoming too bloated?

I’m very confident of the anti-spam measures long term. The throttling trio is dynamic-PoW/bandwidth limiting/Memory-hard-PoW and we only have the last one to implement.

Anti-spam is essentially a QoS/flow-control problem which is an extremely well-studied networking discipline going all the way down to the transport layer. Getting the basics of each of these put in is the first step and we’ll make improvements as necessity and time directs.

What are the plans to get Nano adopted in the Forex market?

Getting in to FX is a regulation/compliance/logistics heavy process and less of technical problem to code. This is why we’re working with Andy Woolmer and others who have an extensive background in the industry. The nice part of crypto FX is it’s B2B and looks identical to existing FX companies externally, just built using Nano internally.

The other major cryptocurrency making an attempt at FX is making the not-so-subtle mistake of attempting to monopolize the entire FX industry on their platform. The opinions from insiders we’ve talked with is: this attempt at a monopoly is very transparent and they would never vendor-lock all their trades to a single platform.

In contrast, Nano is simply a currency and any number of FX trading companies can be built on top of it and used as an extremely high-speed form of value transfer. A larger number of competing FX companies is better for the ecosystem.

When is the new website

Andy, Austin, and the community put a lot of effort in to developing the new website last year. Now we have Marko working on it full time and he’s making sure it’s scalable and secure. We know it’s been a long time coming but we wanted to make sure we had people in place to maintain everything otherwise it would be a poor experience consuming a lot of our time.


Nano is a secure global digital currency

Andy Johnson

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Nano is a secure global digital currency

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