Snapshot - Collectif - ebook

Snapshot ebook

Collectif

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39,45 zł

Opis

Snapshot - Nxt, unsurpassable blockchain solutions is a collection of articles, which, after a short introduction to the concept of blockchain technology, looks into the history of Nxt, the world’s first user-, and business oriented PoS blockchain 2.0 platform.From its tumultuous launch in 2013, the pros and cons of its distribution model and the anonymous inventor, BCNext, who handed over the source code to the community and gave them the responsibility to enhance the tech and ecosystem, it takes the reader on a journey through ups and downs, features, use cases, business projects and bank/government adoption of the tech. The multi million dollar fintech and blockchain industry advances at a rapid pace these years, so why is Nxt, an underfunded open source project, still the most advanced? In 228 pages the articles contained in this book relate how a group of mostly anonymous people, investors, cryptographers, economists and software developers set out to change the world.

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Liczba stron: 215

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PREFACE

Written by: apenzl

The publication of this book was successfully crowdfunded via the Nxt platform in late January 2016,1 which means that, from conception to delivery, it has been some 9 months in gestation. A long time, especially in the cryptosphere, but unsurprising when you consider that development of the Nxt ecosystem never stops and therefore writing the book has been like chasing a moving target. At the heart of Nxt development is the Nxt core developers’ roadmap which has itself evolved, but also ideas about how to improve Nxt are always floating in from the Nxt community, the best of both worlds being realised in code and launched in new NRS releases.

My original intention was to base the publication on a pdf-book, which had been compiled from Nxter.org articles in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese by members of the Nxt Community for Nxt’s 2nd anniversary. Some of those articles are still included in the book. Many have had to be edited and updated, others didn’t make it, and as Nxt has evolved, new chapters have had to be written.

The announcement of Nxt 2.0, Ardor, represents a fundamental shift in the developers’ focus away from Nxt 1.0, and therefore a natural juncture at which to conclude the book.

And here’s the result. You’ll get a simplified ‘snapshot’ of the Nxt ecosystem as of October 2016; an introduction to its genesis and early history, its main features, its community and also some Nxt Services. Much has been tried and much has been developed on the Nxt platform. The services mentioned in the book have been chosen because of their developers’ long term dedication to Nxt and the community, and/or the originality of their projects and visions. The book does not cover all use cases for Nxt, as this would be impossible (only the future can reveal the most groundbreaking of them), neither does the book aim to offer an extensive guide to the Nxt Client interface or the Nxt API for developers. Instead it offers a general insight into the versatility of the platform and links to in-depth information.

There is a lot of thanks to be given.

First, to the team behind this publication. Authors and translators of the original pdf.2 Ludom for his support, nerve and execution of the crowdfunding campaign, and for wanting to publish it. Writers: abctc, Daniel M. Ryan, Lionel Jeannerat, Dave Pearce, Bas Wisselink, RubénBC, Jose, Roberto Capodieci, Zahlen, and more. Robert Bold (known on the Nxt forum as ‘oldnbold’) for his editing, authoring and proofreading work. Riker and Jean-Luc for fact-checking the technical articles. Shee for cover design and her help to set up all the content. *Hash* and Ideenfrishe for the Nxt logo and for the Nxt global corporate design3 (big up, Michael). And the full Nxter.org Team for your patience and for updating, tweeting, discussing, keeping our site alive and running while I was intensively working on finishing the book. Special thanks to Rubén, Jose, yassin, marenkar, and MrCluster87.

To all backers of the book, who bought into the crowdfunding campaign by ordering books in advance, trusting us not to run away with the funds and actually to publish the book as promised.

And then, of course, cheers to BCNext for his initial ideas and Nxt codebase, but even more than that to current Nxt lead developer Jean-Luc and the rest of the developers, who have continuously contributed core code to Nxt and made the advancement of blockchain technology possible: Come-from-Beyond. WesleyH, ScripterRon, Holgerd77, Kushti, Jones, Mr V, Petko, Mess, ChuckOne, Riker, testdruif. A hearty thanks also to testers and third-party developers who have played around with the Nxt API, created user friendly services, alternative clients, blockchain explorers, development tools, new business models, and have inspired us all.

The Nxt Community: the lurkers (silent investors), and all active contributors and participants in the ongoing discussion on the forums, be they users, asset issuers, MS currency issuers, DGS users or merchants, or working for Nxt behind the scenes. The uniqueness and solidarity of this community, through bear- and bull-markets, depression and enthusiasm, still looking out for each other4, earning trust, raging at each other at times but still cooperating on successfully solving very difficult tasks in just fragments of time… this community keeps blowing my mind. And I’m grateful to be a part of it.

The Nxt feature descriptions in this book are based on NRS change-logs, the Nxt Bitbucket repository, Nxtwiki.org, Nxter.org articles, videos, Nxtchat.slack- and Nxtforum.org posts, i.e. they are based on the thoughts and work of the active Nxt Community. To mention just a few contributors; QBTC, blackyblack, Tosch110, NxtSwe, evildave, Damelon, Zahlen, Daedelus, farl4bit, slothbag, chanc3r, brangdon, very-muchso, durerus, wolffang, Cassius, Jones, CryptKeeper, forkedchain, RickyJames, BitcoinPaul, chanc3r, ThomasVeil, VanBreuk, jl777, MarcDeMesel, 2Kool4Skewl, BrooklynBTC, rlh, emoneyRu, Anon138, capodieci….. You get the idea. This is not even close to being an exhaustive list - thanks goes to everyone who has contributed their thoughts and skills over the years!

A ‘Thank You’ must also be given to the initial stakeholders who invested in the Nxt IPO, in late 2013. They believed in BCNext’s initial idea and saw what Nxt could become. Contrary to the often repeated criticism about Nxt’s ‘unfair’ distribution method, it could be argued that BCNext’s initial distribution was precisely what saved Nxt, but it has certainly been a double-edged sword.

Some of the early investors have actively written code, others have contributed to the development of Nxt with donations to the hard working Nxters, understanding that that would be a wise way to protect their investment in Nxt. In addition, non-spending whales like 4747…8885 have an important role in the ecosystem, contributing with a constantly forging stake of 50 million NXT, thereby lowering the network’s vulnerability to attacks since the very beginning. Another example of a ‘nice whale’ is Megalodon, who stepped forward with an economic incentive for smaller Nxt accounts to forge and set up more nodes by donating 5M NXT to a “forging lottery”6.

“A world with money can never be perfect”, was BCNext’s short answer to the community7, when asked about his distribution. And it’s true, the generous behavior of SOME whales has certainly not been the behaviour of all whales. The initial distribution has ridden us like a mare, as other whales have continually dumped, every time the price of NXT rose – they cashed out. I do not blame them - but I give them no thanks. Investors who bought in later have been through hard times, as the early whales controlled the Nxt market at large for a long period of time, and scared off others from looking into the tech.

In December 2013 I was celebrating Christmas with my family. I was there, and I sat still, ate, laughed with them, and I left. I ran down to my home office, again and again that evening, ripped open my laptop and refreshed The Nxt Monsterthread8. I was, at the time, an unsuccesful altcoin trader and had recently discovered Nxt on Coinmarketcap.com9.

Nxt was under attack. I did not then have the knowledge needed to help, and my stake was of a laughable size, but I couldn’t leave the thread: what went on here was amazing. The coolness of the actors, the positive spirit in spite of the situation just hooked me. I watched it happen; fast analysis, and action: fight back. No-one was asking for donations, but set up nodes, bought VPS’s, set up more nodes, offered help to those who didn’t know how to do it, fought back to save and secure the newly launched Nxt ledger. Only later did I realise that most in the thread were legendary members of that Bitcoin forum.

The Nxt protocol is not all that’s going to leave traces into the future. The community’s cooperation, the blend, the social experiment has also proven itself. The time has come for more people to learn about, and build upon, our supreme platform, use the features, and make progress. Give life to new secure, disruptive, decentralised blockchain applications with Nxt.

To me, this book is the documentation of a very intense journey, and the beginning of a new era. What has been achieved thus far by the Nxt Community is absolutely astonishing.

Welcome to the past and the future, put into words by the Nxt Community. The future will not be centralised. It will be you. Enjoy, and take part. We’re right here.

/apenzl

1https://nxter.org/crowdfunding-the-first-book-about-the-nxt-cryptocurrency-platform

2https://nxter.org/nxt-2nd-birthday

3https://nxtforum.org/nxt-promotion/a-global-corporate-design

4https://nxtforum.org/general-discussion/need-help-from-nxt-community-selling-assets

5 4747…888 owns: https://www.mynxt.info/account/4747512364439223888

6https://nxter.org/the-forging-bounty-lottery-campaign-will-pay-5-million-in-rewards-to-forgers-and-nxt-nodes

7https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=345619.msg4383169#msg4383169

8https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=345619.msg4102598#msg4102598

9 Website which ranks small and major cryptocurrencies and crypto assets by their market cap.

INTRODUCTION

Written by: abctc1, apenzl

At its launch in 2013, Nxt was ostentatiously dubbed: ‘The Descendant of Bitcoin’.

Before going into detail about Nxt, it’s helpful to remind ourselves why Bitcoin, which was invented by an individual or group known as ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, is considered a work of genius.

It’s not just because Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralised payment system with its own integrated currency. More than that, it is a decentralised mechanism to secure the cooperation of a theoretically limitless number of people who, by following pre-specified rules (a protocol), are able to create and validate a public ledger of transactions. That was indeed a huge, truly revolutionary invention.

For those who aren’t familiar with Satoshi’s ground-breaking innovation, decentralised (p2p) collaboration already existed in the form of peer-to-peer file sharing technology. The music-sharing application, Napster2, was one early adopter and popularised the technology. The perfect example of that is a torrent, a more advanced version of the technology being the BitTorrent protocol3. The main problem with a torrent system is that it’s not protected from cheaters. Moreover, a lot of people only want to download torrent files, but not to share them.

Satoshi took a crucial further step – he found a way to make all the p2p participants strictly follow the rules and, in doing so, protect themselves from cheaters and thieves. In effect he had solved the ‘Byzantine Generals’ problem”4.

“Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or work loads between peers. Peers make a portion of their resources directly available to other network participants, without the need for central coordination by servers or stable hosts. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes.”5

Satoshi’s solution is based on the so-called ‘Proof-of-Work’ concept, whereby the cost incurred by any aspiring fraudster would exceed any benefits he would get. His invention was: the Bitcoin Protocol6.

The advantages of Bitcoin are many. You get full control over your own money, transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary, you can transfer Bitcoins across borders with very low fees 24/7, and all transactions are immutably secured by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger; anyone can check their validity.

There are though, also inherent disadvantages to the design, in particular: the system is not scalable as the blockchain size keeps growing and nodes need to host the full chain; the huge waste of electricity because thousands and thousands of specialised mining rigs have to run day and night competing against each other - all for nothing unless they hit a block. And increasing mining difficulty has made it impossible for average users to participate as they can’t afford the expensive specialised hardware. This has lead to centralisation of mining power in mining pools and professionally driven mining-farms7.

The creator of Nxt, building on Satoshi’s ideas, sketched out his vision of a distributed cryptographically secure blockchain platform, comprising not only a digital payment system, but a wide range of built-in services and the capacity for third party developers to add their own applications, all fully secured by the Nxt Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol8. In the PoS model, network security is governed by peers having a stake in the network. ‘Forging’ NXT (the Nxt equivalent to the ‘mining’ of Bitcoins) is energy efficient, as the software can run on small devices like a laptop computer or even a Rasp-berry Pi without exhausting it.

“The incentives provided by Nxt’s algorithm do not promote centralization in the same way that Proof of Work algorithms do, and data shows that the Nxt network has remained highly decentralized since its inception. Nxt’s unique algorithm does not depend on any implementation of the coin age concept used by other PoS cryptocurrencies, and is resistant to so-called Nothing at Stake attacks.”9

While the Average Joe may still be confused as to what Bitcoin is, for the rest of us the hype moved from Bitcoin to Blockchain, from Blockchain to Blockchain 2.0, and now it is focused on ‘smart contracts’. A smart contract is, basically, a conditional transaction.

“A smart contract is a piece of code which is stored on a blockchain, triggered by blockchain transactions, and which reads and writes data in that blockchain’s database.”

~ Gideon Greenspan10

Nxt does not use smart contracts, but ‘smart transactions’. When talking about smart contracts, the best known example is the Ethereum project11. On Ethereum, smart contracts materialize as snippets of code (a script), which define the inputs, mechanism, and outputs of a given transaction. Once the code is written, it is sent to the blockchain and is executed upon specific triggers. Ethereum smart contracts are executed on all the nodes, and their final output is validated in the same manner as any other blockchain transaction. This has unfortunately proven to be a potentially dangerous approach path12.

With Nxt’s smart transactions, the code which is executed is actual software that runs in the node server; Nxt transactions do not require any script processing or transaction input/output processing on the part of network nodes; scripts are already embedded. When a user wants to express their opinion at a poll, purchase an item in the marketplace, or sell some stocks, the transaction the user submits contains only the parameters necessary for the transaction, and the ID of the functionality they want to use, keeping the consensus of the majority of the nodes as the absolute proof that the output, saved in the next block, is the genuine result of that transaction. By leveraging these primitive Nxt transaction types, Nxt can be seen as an agile, base-layer protocol upon which developers without much prior knowledge in the cryptocurrency field can easily create a limitless range of secure decentralised services, applications, and even other currencies13.

“Bitcoin has proven that a peer-to-peer electronic cash system can indeed work and fulfil payments processing without requiring trust or a central mint. However, for an entire electronic economy to be based on a fully decentralised, peer-to-peer solution, it must be able to do the following: process transactions quickly, efficiently and securely; provide incentives for people to participate in securing the network; scale globally with a minimal resource footprint; offer a range of basic transaction types that launch cryptocurrencies past the core feature of a payment system alone; provide an agile architecture that facilitates the addition of new core features and allows for the creation and deployment of advanced decentralised applications; be able to run on a broad range of devices, including mobile ones, and Nxt satisfies all of these requirements”.

~ Lior Yaffe14

“The potential benefits of the blockchain are more than just economic – they extend into political, humanitarian, social and scientific domains. The blockchain is in a position to become the fifth disruptive computing paradigm after mainframes, PCs, the Internet, and mobile/social networking.”

~ Melaine Swan15

At the time of writing, Nxt has enjoyed almost 3 years of stable operation. Its design and core functionality has been proven in practice, in addition to being subjected to code review by independent experts in the cryptocurrency field, as well as hackers, who have tried to exploit it unsuccessfully. Nxt’s wide range of functionality, coupled with its proven, secure, modular and developer friendly design means that it will probably continue leading, or at the very least keep pace with, the cutting edge of independent, permissionless blockchain technology, and it will therefore always remain one of the world’s foremost cryptocurrency platforms, making it the true ‘Descendant of Bitcoin’. What may have been an ostentatious statement in 2013, has in fact turned out to be accurate.

1https://nxter.org/ru/что-делает-nxt-криптоплатформой-второго

2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent

4https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault_tolerance

5 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

6https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf (Bitcoin: A Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System)

7http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-nodes-need

8https://nxter.org/bcnexts-nxt

9 Source: https://nxtwiki.org/wiki/Whitepaper:Nxt

10http://www.the-blockchain.com/2016/04/12/beware-of-the-impossible-smart-contract

11https://www.ethereum.org

12http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/cryptocurrency-crowdfunding-experiment-ends-in-disaster-when-hackers-steal-53-m.html

13 Another difference between smart transactions and smart contracts is that a computer application has tenfold more power and possibilities, compared to a script interpreted in a virtual machine.

14 Advanced Concepts in Blockchain Design (Lior Yaffe, July 2016): https://youtu.be/soHe4UMyCCk

15 Blockchain – Blueprint for a New Economy (Melaine Swan, ISBN-13: 978-1491920497)

THE GENESIS: THE MISS AMERICA OF ALTERNATE CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Written by: Daniel M. Ryan1

September 27th, 2013. That was the day when a mysterious fellow with the username “BCNext” signed up for Bitcointalk2. The next day, he posted an announcement that would change the direction of cryptocurrencies forever.

The announcement was for a cryptocurrency which he called “Nxt”. Not only was it to be coded from scratch but it was also to be coded in a language that was completely different from the standard C++. Nxt was to be programmed in Java3.

Moreover, Nxt had a new wallet system called a ‘brain wallet’. The typical cryptocurrency has a file in the user’s computer, typically named ‘wallet.dat.’ (…) The brainwallet system, in contradistinction, has no definite file in which the Nxt holder’s coins are stored. They’re essentially stored in the databases of all the peers. So, there’s no explicit file target for a hacker to copy. In addition to this security model, the brainwallet emulates Java’s “write once, run anywhere” philosophy. With a Nxt brainwallet, you can “deposit once, access anywhere.”

But back then in late September of 2013, Nxt had not even been developed. Some Bitcointalk members, seeing or suffering from the scams afoot in the IPO circuit, decided that there would only be one robbery. That robbery would be of the naïfs who sent BCNext some Bitcoin, and the robber would be none other than BCNext. Yes: during the pre-sale phase, which actually lasted until November 18th, there were more than a few Bitcointalk members who decided that Nxt was a plain scam. Joining them were more than a few scoffers, and some rather clever people who opined that BCNext would send the Bitcoin he collected on a ‘round-trip’ so as to make his pre-sale seem more popular than it was and to get a big stake in Nxt for himself. But some believed in BCNext and his vision for a completely new cryptocurrency with Proof-of-Stake ‘forging’ to secure the network, registrable aliases, instant messages, a completely new infrastructure… and an inbuilt asset exchange. That asset exchange would capture the holy grail of the crypto world: so-called ‘colored coins’ that could be used to represent an outside asset. Seventy-three of those believers became the initial stakeholders of Nxt: BCNext raised 21 Bitcoins from them. The genesis block that would create all the Nxt was to contain one billion new coins.

When the presale was closed a few hours after midnight Eastern time on November 18th, only ninety-nine accounts were entitled to receive NXT from the pre-sale. One Bitcointalk member, arguably, had had the presale window slammed shut on his fingers. His complaints, plus a simmering under-the-surface hostility in Bitcointalk that had been aggravated by the sudden riches and steaminess of Altcoin Boom Town, would prove to be a fateful course changer in the entire alternate cryptocurrency world. It didn’t help that BCNext decided to vanish and communicate to his stakeholders via a spokesman named Come-From-Beyond.

The last time BCNext visited Bitcointalk, under that username, was November 8th 2013. Since then, he has communicated indirectly. The reason, so he said, was because he was afraid of being tracked down by the CIA or suchlike because they would believe that he had developed a new Silk Road4. He later revealed indirectly that he was involved in crypto under another name and he hinted that he might be back some day under yet another username with a completely different project.

Despite his conspiratorial-minded exit statement, the parallel with Bitcoin’s original developer Satoshi Nakamoto was quite evident. His supporters and fans found it easy to believe that he was in the same rank as Satoshi Nakamoto. Some even wondered if he was Satoshi Nakamoto. The unimpressed, naturally, didn’t think anything of the sort. They were inclined to make far less flattering comparisons.

In BCNext’s last message, he said that Nxt would be released in early January. In actuality, he generated the blockchain-starting genesis block less than thirty-six hours after he halted the pre-sale. And a little later, on November 20th, Come-from-Beyond unveiled the web address of a ‘bootstrap node’ that stakeholders could use to access their allocations of Nxt.

The unveiling proceeded to be a little more complicated because some stakeholders did not supply valid identification or even identify themselves at all. So the earlier genesis block was voided and a new one was regenerated. In the meantime, in the early afternoon of November 20th, Come-From-Beyond offered to sell 1 million NXT for 1 BTC, or 100 satoshis per NXT. Someone else quoted a price ten times higher. That got two complaints, one somewhat easygoing, about Come-From-Beyond quoting a price that was (in actuality) almost fifty times what he paid. In response, Come-From-Beyond said that 100 satoshis would prove to be a real bargain by late January of 2014. Another early adopter 2Kool4Skewl, averred the same thing. 2Kool4Skewl was evidently quite convincing: thirty-five minutes after his endorsement, Come-From-Beyond rescinded the offer.

No-one complained heatedly, but that ‘genesis offer’ did show (perhaps unintentionally) a somewhat mercenary attitude. On the other hand, there were seeds of generosity sprouting too. One IPO stakeholder said he was going to give away 1000 NXT to his friends, and Come-From-Beyond pledged to set up a ‘faucet:’ a website where a visitor could get a small allocation of free coins. Faucets were nothing new – Bitcoin had had them for a long time – but it did show a side in the earliest-adopter community that was the opposite of rapacious. Within a day, another first adopter - neer.g - pledged to donate 4 million of his NXT to a giveaway fund. But before that pledge, another IPOer offered 1 million of his own for that same 1 BTC. Showing that he was serious, 2Kool4-Skewl quickly offered to buy them all. “NXT @ 0.000001 btc [100 satoshis] is an investment I can’t afford to miss.” He meant what he said. On November 21st, mid-afternoon Eastern Time, yet another first adopter named Noitev posted, “I’m selling 15 Million NXT to 2Kool4Skewl for 15 BTC…. Since there is no client yet, I will need an escrow…” Soon after that, 2Kool4Skewl confirmed that he would be sending his 15 BTC to an escrower. The ‘genesis exchange’ had taken place only half a week after the pre-sale had been closed.

On late afternoon on the 21st, Come-From-Beyond explained the reason for the hurry-up: BCNext wanted the core group of Nxters to run things in his stead. But because of the advance in schedule, the first version of Nxt would only be basic. The entrancing features in his original proposals5 would be disabled for a long time. Anyone lurking in the thread, wondering if something was fishy with Nxt, had another item to add to the fishiness list. At the time though no-one piped up.

In retrospect, even though the most likely motive was BCNext deciding to remove himself from the scrutiny of the authorities that he thought were watching him, his decision was a stroke of managerial genius. By being the ‘Leader who Refuses to Lead’, by being the ‘Sleeping King’, BCNext left a vacuum that was soon filled by a whole crew of really solid programmer talent. One of them, Jean-Luc at Bitcointalk and Jean-Luc-Picard in the Nxt neighbourhood, became the official chief developer for Nxt and the maintainer of the official Nxt repository6 on Bitbucket. As of the time of this writing, there is a whole confederacy of developers for Nxt. They’re all hard at work extending its functionality and/or providing third-party services overlaying Nxt itself. Some have gone beyond even BCNext’s vision.

Of course, with respect to that masterstroke, there was some luck involved. The Leader who Refuses To Lead can create a vacuum that’s filled by indecision and infighting, as seems to be the case with Gentoo Linux. But BCNext’s vision provided a rallying touchstone, and – to be frank – he was lucky that he had captivated top-notch talent.

The total talent in play for Nxt rivals only Bitcoin’s. In fact, Nxt is the only alternate cryptocurrency with a collection of core programming talent that rivals a high-tech start-up. Ethereum, the latest hot offering in the coded-from-scratch second-generation cryptocurrency sector, claims to have a comparable suite of genius, but it’s not scheduled to launch until January of 2015. Unlike Nxt, Ethereum has generated a lot of publicity and its pre-sale has called forth tens of thousands of Bitcoins for its Ethers. Their haul has been three orders of magnitude greater than Nxt’s 21. Ethereum claims to be far more innovative than Nxt, but the time between its announcement and its scheduled release will be more than eleven months7.

After the new genesis block was pruned of unidentified or unidentifiable stakeholders, Come-from-Beyond announced late morning Eastern Time November 22nd