Nimiq Research

Pushing The Boundaries Of Blockchain Tech

The cryptocurrency and blockchain space is full of potentially innovative and revolutionary ideas. Team Nimiq is eager to evolve and apply new technological insights to enable Nimiq to become the most user-friendly, scalable and censorship-resistant payment system. That’s why the team is always on the lookout for interesting research angles which could add value to the Nimiq ecosystem. Once an interesting idea is identified, the team looks at it internally and potentially does more extensive research by bringing blockchain specialists together, debating, sharing our professional expertise and optimizing the idea for potential application to the Nimiq ecosystem. While doing research does not guarantee useful results, it is an essential effort for driving the Nimiq ecosystem forward.

“When a good idea comes, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving…get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know — just explore things.”

Steve Jobs on Exploring Things

In addition to its own efforts, Nimiq is sponsoring blockchain research at Stanford University’s Applied Cryptography Group under Dan Boneh (since August 2018) and a PhD position at Imperial College’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering under Arthur Gervais (since October 2017). Most recently Nimiq sponsored the 1st International Summer School on Security & Privacy for Blockchains and Distributed Ledger Technologies, a program jointly organized by members of the Technical University of Vienna (TU Wien) and Princeton University.

First Results

Albatross Consensus Algorithm

A research collaboration between Nimiq and Trinkler software has been ongoing since later 2018. A result is Albatross, a Byzantine-fault-tolerant inspired, proof-of-stake consensus algorithm (Albatross: An optimistic consensus algorithm). Albatross is a potential blueprint for Nimiq’s future consensus algorithm. Although research on Albatross looks promising, it is important to stress that Albatross is still in the research stage and that further testing is required to confirm the viability of the algorithm. More information on Albatross can be found in Nimiq’s recent blog post. Work on developing a simulator for the Albatross protocol has already begun to enable further testing.

The current theoretical benefits of Albatross are:

  • Scaling: The consensus algorithm is expected to be capable of 1000+ TPS.To put this into perspective, PayPal processes millions of transactions a day and runs on an average of just 193 TPS.
  • There is no targeted block time between blocks, meaning that blocks can be produced as fast as the network allows.
  • Proof-of-stake consensus has key benefits over proof-of-work. These include reducing the energy required to support the network, reducing risks associated with centralization and making attacks more expensive.

Nimiq OASIS

The Nimiq Open Asset Swap Interaction Scheme is the blueprint for a potentially disruptive crypto-to-fiat bridge. Nimiq OASIS is the innovative middle layer that powers Fiat <> Crypto trades by allowing exchanges to “interact” and settle with bank accounts in a unique way making Euro (USD, etc) directly behave as if it they were tokens on a blockchain. It takes an approach that establishes the Euro itself as the programmable counterparty to a non-custodial cross-chain transaction. In combination with a non-custodial exchange like agora.trade, it works without a single, centralized intermediary ever controlling the two assets that are being exchanged and without the private keys of the blockchain asset ever leaving the owners possession. This groundbreaking innovation has the potential to revolutionize how people buy and sell crypto in the future.

Nimiq OASIS is the outcome of Nimiq’s ad hoc approach to research and resulted in the formation of meaningful partnerships with WEG Bank AG, Trinkler Software and Agora Trade. Learn more about Nimiq OASIS in its dedicated blog post.

Going Forward

Team Nimiq will continue its research efforts. The main focus in the immediate future will be on assessing the viability of Albatross. There are also other early-stage ideas being explored like for example supporting private transactions or a Liquidity Network implementation to handle off-chain transactions in the Nimiq Network.

Team Nimiq would like to thank the community for its continued support and joining us on this exciting journey. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of blockchain tech and strive to do our part in building the best crypto payment system possible.

Pura Vida,
Team Nimiq