On 7th, July, 2020, 17:00–18:00 (UTC+8) KuCoin hosted an AMA (Ask-Me-Anything) session with Nimiq in the KuCoin Exchange Telegram Group.
Philipp von Styp-Rekowsky, Tech Lead of Team Nimiq. BA at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. MA at Max Planck Institute for Computer Science. PhD student to Professor Michael Backes at the Information Security and Cryptography Group at CISPA (Center for Cybersecurity, Privacy and Accountability)
Supported by Ricardo Barquero, the community manager of the team, Tammo Mamedi, founder of overnice, UX/UI design, and Sven Buschbeck, communications, front-end development and documentation.
Q&A from KuCoin
Q: Can you quickly describe the Nimiq Blockchain? Is it a fork, is it built from scratch? What is its purpose?
A: Many projects "simply" fork Bitcoin or create an ERC20 token. But Nimiq built and runs on its own, original blockchain. Why? Because we wanted to create the first blockchain that can run directly in the user's browser or natively on the phone! Usually, when you use a wallet app to interact with e.g. Bitcoin, that wallet uses an intermediary to connect to the Bitcoin network and doesn't actually prove the state of the chain itself. But that is not what the crypto revolution is all about, it's about censorship resistance and decentralization!
Nimiq is special because its unique Blockchain allows you to run a node in your browser. No installation, no downloads, it just works. The Nimiq Wallet actually runs a node *in* your browser that communicates directly to the Blockchain. This is a significant step forward in decentralization because you are removing the middleman between you and the Blockchain. But on top of that, we are one of the first projects that focuses heavily on the usability of crypto. So also here, we design and build things from scratch, optimize and test the user experience to get to a very elegant and easy to use user interface. Please try it out!
Q: Your team is formed by various researchers, computer science PhDs, mathematicians and cryptographers. As you seem to be a research focused project, are there any unique inventions that you can talk about?
A: We have focused on the pain points of crypto adoption and found innovative solutions by creating original work and building on top of existing research in cryptography. Some unique creations are:
– Nimiq OASIS: nimiq.com/oasis makes it possible to create Smart-Contracts for fiat (such as USD and EUR), stock certificates, web domains and much more. We built the first product powered by Nimiq OASIS with our partner ten31.com, it allows users to buy and sell crypto directly by doing a Fiat Atomic Swap with crypto (BTC/ETH/NIM for now). You can see a demo here: https://youtu.be/RBQ_6OqVO68
– Albatross: nimiq.com/albatross is a new technology that will make Nimiq able to achieve a performance close to the theoretical maximum for single-chain Blockchains while reducing the energy consumption drastically. Here is the technical paper that we wrote about it: https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.01589
– Identicons: We added identicons and the IBAN standard to Nimiq addresses, this makes typos basically impossible and clipboard hijacking attacks very easy to spot because each address has an easy to describe avatar, which changes dramatically if you modify just one single character. No more checking the last chars of your crypto address, just compare if the little guy looks similar and you're good to go. Try them out here: https://nimiq.github.io/iqons/
Q: I understand you guys invented Albatross, a new Proof Of Stake algorithm which you are currently implementing for the first time. Can you tell us more about it?
A: We introduced an optimistic execution mode in which the network works faster compared to classic pBFT Proof-of-Stake chains like Binance's. The optimistic case will run whenever there is no "bad guy" attacking the network, making transactions very fast — but as soon as any irregular behaviour is detected, the system will switch back to classic pBFT to resolve the issue and right afterwards turn on optimistic mode again — all automatic. Albatross will improve Nimiq with instant confirmations and 1,000+ transactions per second and is planned to be implemented in Nimiq 2.0. With Nimiq 2.0 users will be able to stake and the inflation of the coin supply will be significantly reduced.
Q: You claim to be the ease-of-use crypto. Will it be easy to stake with Nimiq too?
A: That's true, crypto has to be easy and accessible for mass adoption! For staking, we aim for nothing less than the easiest and most convenient staking UX to date. Accessibility and inclusion matters too, users will be able to stake with as little as 1.000 NIM (around $3). In the end, we wish to empower every fan of Nimiq to profit from the staking rewards, no matter how much money or tech skills they have. Additionally, we're talking with other staking-enabled wallets to add staking for NIM.
Q: Can you talk more about Nimiq OASIS? What is the difference with all other crypto-fiat on-ramp providers? How does it benefit NIM?
A: OASIS enables atomic swaps between crypto assets and traditional off-chain assets. The cool thing is that it achieves this *without ever touching any crypto*, in fact, OASIS is completely crypto-agnostic. It works by providing an HTLC for off-chain assets e.g. EUR, USD or stocks, which serves as a bridge between the crypto space and the off-chain world, enabling a whole new level of decentralization when it comes to fiat/crypto conversions.
We are also building FastSpot, a service powered by OASIS, which aims to be the easiest and safest way to buy and sell crypto and fiat. Each time someone uses it, the 1% fee is used to buy Nimiq of the market, creating scarcity.
Q: What is the status of the partnership with TEN31?
A: TEN31 and Nimiq share their vision of accessible crypto for everyone. Together, we recently presented OASIS, which is a scheme that enables Fiat HTLCs. OASIS is the building block for FastSpot, a service that allows for registration free buying and selling directly from a user's bank account. Check it out, it's crazy easy and fast: https://youtu.be/KZq6Ppsw6V0. OASIS will initially be available in the European SEPA network. That's 22 countries, 2000+ banks, 500M people that will be able to do non-custodial crypto-to-fiat swaps.
Our partnership doesn't stop there, together with TEN31's network (amazing projects like https://www.zilliqa.com/ or https://www.salamantex.com/en/), we are currently exploring quite some projects, but nothing can be disclosed yet.
Check out this video with Philipp (our tech lead) and Matthias, CEO of TEN31 to get an idea of how close we are guys 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZq6Ppsw6V0
Q: What are the next steps for Nimiq OASIS?
A: We are testing the FastSpot with journalists and potential partners and later plan to roll it out publicly in Europe this year. After that we plan to explore ways to add US Dollar and other currencies by including more banks to the Nimiq OASIS Network.
By adding new banking partners, OASIS will be able to support more assets than just Euro, which is going to be the first asset we support at public launch time.
Another thing that comes to mind is that we are also exploring how to integrate OASIS with mobile payment systems, such as WeChat Pay or AliPay, which are big in Asian markets.
Q: Nimiq seems like a project with great tech but little exposure. Why? Lack of marketing?
A: We have been building all our innovative tech before we started doing marketing and showing it to the world. Currently, we are ramping up marketing and outreach quite a bit. This includes AMAs in crypto communities, landing influencer endorsements and coverage and leveraging the size and motivation of our amazing Nimiq Community. In addition, our new business developer and blockchain ambassador Max is already proactively reaching out to important target groups for Nimiq in order to raise awareness and create positive buzz for the project, you can see him in an interview here: https://youtu.be/j-Y_OwgMkT4
Q: You plan to change the emission curve based on a community decision/vote. Can you tell us more about that?
A: Oh that is very interesting and you can actually find a summary about it on this blog post: https://www.nimiq.com/blog/supply-curve-for-nimiq-20-finalized/
Nimiq stakeholders started voicing their opinions regarding the possible need to make an adjustment to the NIM supply curve and its inflation towards the end of last year.
After hearing the concerns and doing research, Team Nimiq implemented a voting procedure with an app using the Nimiq Blockchain. On June 8, 2020, a decision was reached and the inflation of Nimiq 2.0 will be reduced. You can find all the details in the blog post above.
Q: With all that in mind, why would somebody buy NIM right now?
A: Nimiq is a low cap coin with original cutting-edge tech and we are just ramping up our marketing efforts. The Albatross Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm could make Nimiq the fastest chain out there! Nimiq OASIS could become the preferred platform for all crypto/fiat conversions that can be used by providers such as Changelly and other DEXs. And the 1% fee of each fiat/crypto swap is used to buy NIM of the market creating scarcity. Nimiq is one of those hidden gems you don't want to miss.
Q: Why are you planning to support BTC alongside NIM in the new wallet you just released?
A: Thanks for that question. Bitcoin and NIM don't compete — they complete each other: While Bitcoin is the established store of value, NIM is the convenient and fast way to pay while getting staking rewards along the way — both coins have clear roles.
This strategy presents several advantages and opportunities: We can leverage BTC to address the wider crypto community with Nimiq's innovations (easy-to-use Login Files, buying and selling for fiat via OASIS etc.). Irrespectively this will contribute to and strengthen crypto in general — something that genuinely matters to us.
If in the end we make BTC a bit better and more accessible, than that's a win for us too ☺️
Ah btw. please check out the brand new wallet: http://wallet.nimiq.com/
Q: What other plans do you have to increase the use cases for NIM?
A: Right now a percentage of the fee of OASIS will be used to create scarcity. We want to build more products like this. By working with innovative partners such as TEN31, we plan to continue building products that improve the overall usability of crypto — while focusing on Nimiq of course — adding use cases to OASIS and leveraging the speed of Albatross. We have proven that we have the team and the tech to really make a difference plus a mindset to get crypto to the people — so we're just getting started!
Q: You boast about your Nimiq 2.0 that will use energy in grain of rice, how does this solve the issues of scalability, security and interoperability and speed and privacy
A: Scalability as an ongoing issue that we address with 1000+ TPS with Nimiq 2.0 — similarly to Internet bandwidth, this issue can not be solved because whenever you scale up, new applications will appear. So it is an ongoing aspect we will keep working on — similar to other projects. But with Nimiq 2.0 we will be one of the fastest and thus very relevant in the space. Security via PoS combined with attractive rewards and a very usable UI will make staking very attractive to many users that haven't staked before. And the more people stake, the better the security of the overall system — so, Nimiq focusing on usability is an advantage over many other PoS blockchains. Next is interoperability: Nimiq supports standard HTLCs, so that opens up all kinds of blockchain-interoperability. But we don't stop there, OASIS is a new level of interoperability of blockchains — not at all limited to the Nimiq blockchain alone. We feel that diversity makes the crypto space stronger. Speed is answered above. But privacy is indeed a great point! Right after the 2.0 release of Nimiq, we plan to work on private transactions. We consider this to be the next crucial thing to enable everyone to use blockchain technology, to get really everyone involved.
Q: What is the use case of Nimiq? Can you give me some reason to buy and hold nimiq?
A: Nimiq is a payment network, so it's premier use case is just that. As a browser-based chain, Nimiq can be integrated very easily in almost every web application, enabling e.g. in-game purchases with minimal effort. Of course, I'm biased so always do your own research, but I think there are many very good reasons to get into NIM now.
– Nimiq is unique and has proper USPs like the browser nodes allow true peer-to-peer participation for everyone, super accessible and beautiful UX/UI
– Nimiq will switch to its own PoS chain and enable staking in the near future
– Nimiq continuously develops original research with results like the OASIS tech, probably enabling the easiest, fastest and cheapest buying of BTC and NIM
And, to whom it matters, it's a great team full of idealists that believe in what they are doing and take the values of blockchain and decentralization over quick money any time. Check out our TG. You'll find that the community is amazing as well.
Q: What are the benefits of the partnership between WEG Bank and Nimiq? What's the main reason behind the collaboration?
A: The partnership with TEN31 bank (a brand of WEG Bank) helps Nimiq to work with the SEPA banking system (the banking network system used all over Europe), enabling us to build services like OASIS, our upcoming crypto-to-fiat bridge. OASIS will let the traditional SEPA system understand and interact with blockchain logic, making traditional bank accounts the programmable counterparty of cross-chain transactions. But of course the SEPA area is just the starting point, we are actively looking for more partners to expand to USD, and hopefully soon also towards Asian markets. As you can imagine, this has big legal implications, thus this is a process that will take time. But it's on-going.To cut a long story short: One day soon you will be able to buy NIM or BTC directly by simply sending a wire from your bank account WITHOUT using an intermediary (centralized) service. it will "just work" and will create a very easy way of buying and selling crypto. That's one of the main reasons why our partnership with TEN31 / WEG Bank is so important to get this all started.