Mina is an open-source token of the cutting-edge permissionless cryptocurrency protocol that is the first of its kind as it empowers the blockchain of a succinct type. The breakthrough technology is the core of the Mina protocol. Being a payment-focused blockchain, Mina features the same functionality as Bitcoin but employs radically different transaction semantics. Thanks to the innovative approach, it doesn’t increase in size in comparison with other networks that suffer from scalability problems. The technology creates the compression applied to the blockchain to preserve small size that enables easy verification and synchronization of the network.
The whole blockchain is based on micro-cryptographic certificates in the nodes called SNARKS (succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge). The blockchain employs a Proof-of-Stake algorithm known as Ouroborous Praos.
The basic technology behind the protocol is zk-SNARKs making the blockchain succinct. This is a kind of cryptographic proof that is generated with the production of a new block. The goal of SNARK proof is the verification of the block validity. It means that it is enough to store the proof instead of the whole chain thus reducing the block size. The whole size of the blockchain is 22 KB and it will always remain immutable.
A state proof size is only 864 bytes so the verification takes about 200 ms. It makes the blockchain available for computation on any device. Even modern smartphones can conduct verification easily.
Mina Protocol was developed in 2017 by O(1) Labs with the goal to optimize blockchain scalability. When it first appeared, it was called Coda Protocol but it changed the name because of a trademark dispute with R3 due to the similarity of the name with Corda blockchain. The mainnet was launched on March 23rd, 2021. The lightness of the network made the protocol immediately famous. The decentralized payment system features a continuous verification time thanks to succinct proofs of state validity that are added to all blocks.
The seamless work of the blockchain is provided by the main participants of the process such as verifiers, block producers, and snarkers. The process of verification is simple and fast. It requires downloading a zk-SNARK that doesn’t weigh much so the computation verification processes take a millisecond only.
Block producers are stakers and miners who earn fees and block rewards with their activity. The block producers select transactions that are included in the block. Also, these participants ensure the succinctness of the blockchain as with each transaction added to the block they need to SNARK an equal number of previous transactions for their block. It is necessary to comply with the consensus rules.
Snarkers produce the zk-Snarks required for the verification of transactions and then offer them to block producers that choose the best price and acquire them paying from the transaction fees they earned. The competition between snarkers helps block producers to get the most cost-efficient price.
Since the blockchain is lightweight, it is available for users with devices featuring average computing power. In this way, they can run full nodes despite the lack of powerful computers. Though the blockchain solves many problems that are acute for the cryptocurrency industry nowadays, it has some shortcomings as well. This is an open-source protocol that wasn’t patented hence the clones may appear.
The essence of SNARKS technology
zk-SNARK works as a genuine certificate proving the correctness of computation thus validating transactions without the necessity to display them. Therefore, the block size is decreased to one SNARK. However, the replacement of a block with SNARK is not a solution as it also leads to linear growth with the accumulation of SNARKS. So, the developers of the MINA protocol created SNARKS from numerous SNARKS. For this reason, the generation of a new Snark certificate occurs every time a new block is created. With the creation of Snark confirming previous certificates, a Snark proving the entire transaction history can be created as well and the size of the blockchain won’t increase.
The MINA token powering the Mina protocol is listed on several exchanges such as Kraken, Coinlist, and others. The digital currency is used for staking within the native ecosystem and will be used for governance of the Mina protocol.
On May 5, 2021, Mina raised 18.75 million USD in its Community Sale that was arranged with the help of the official partner Coinlist. 375,000 verified registrants participated in it. The demand exceeded supply more than 8 times and all tokens were sold out in 8 hours. The initial supply of Mina is 1 billion tokens. The token doesn’t have maximum supply.
1% of the total supply in token rewards is allocated to secure the network. Mina bug bounty program started in January 2021, before the launch of the testnet to uncover security vulnerabilities. The program was arranged in partnership with HackerOne, a hacker-powered platform developed for pentests.
In February 2021, Gauntlet, a financial modeling platform for DeFi, reported that Mina is highly resilient to 51% attacks as hacking attempts are too costly thanks to the underlying PoS consensus.
Mina team and partners
The CEO of Mina Protocol is Evans Shapiro who is also the Board Member of the Mina Foundation. He founded the platform with Izaak Meckler (CTO), Brad Cohen, Emre Tekişalp (Head of Business Development), and Vanishree Rao, the employees of O(1) Labs. Also, Joseph Bonneau from New York University participated in the process. Being an inclusive open-source protocol, it unites technicians and teams from San Francisco and other countries of the world.
Mina partners with Teller Finance, which is an algorithmic credit risk platform that builds a lending app using Mina technology. The platform also collaborates with Finoa, institutional custodian for professional investors who want to diversify portfolio using Mina tokens.