Mina — Changing the future of Blockchain
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain literally means ‘Chain of Blocks’. But what are inside these blocks? Yeah, you’re right- ‘Data’. Certainly we have database for storing data. So what’s the difference between a database and a blockchain? A database also stores data but it does in the tables but a blockchain structures its data into chunks/blocks that are chained together. So all blockchains are database but all databases are not blockchain.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
A person starting up can get easily confused between a blockchain and cryptocurrency. Many companies like Walmart, Pfizer are now making there own blockchain. For example, IBM has created its Food Trust blockchain to trace the journey that food products take to get to its locations. These companies do have their own blockchain but they are not related to any kind of monetary transactions. Crypto on the other hand is a blockchain in which the data stored in the blocks are of monetary transactions. But no doubt, cryptocurrency is the most popular use case of blockchain so now we are going to take a dive inside crypto and eventually we will be discussing about our main topic which is MINA.
Problems associated with Cryptocurrency
Everybody today has heard of Bitcoin and Ethereum . Although there are more than 5000 cryptocurrencies but these two have certainly got more popular and expensive than most of the currencies. But there is also a huge problem associated with these cryptocurrencies. For the verification or validation of the transactions the validator needs an entire copy of the blockchain. So the entire blockchain needs to be downloaded inside the validator’s system. This is not a big problem in the beginning of the network when the entire blockchain in only of a few megabytes but as the ecosystem of the network expands and the transactions increases the size of the network can become humungous. For example at the time of writing this article Bitcoin blockchain has crossed 300GB and Ethereum has crossed 200GB. So it do not needs a genius to realize this is not possible for everyone. Only few have the resources to assemble thousands of computer at a place to do these verifications and earn the incentive. This makes the ecosystem vulnerable to censorship which can lead the validation of transactions in few hands.
Mina — Smaller Solution to the Bigger Problem
Mina earlier known as Coda is a cryptocurrency project kicked off in June 2017 at 0(1) Labs. The team along with CEO Evan Shapiro promises to build Mina through a technology called zk-SNARKs which will significantly reduce the size of Mina’s blockchain and hence it can be easily downloaded and the transactions can be verified even with a cell phone. In a race, where people are setting up dedicated power plants for verification of transactions, Mina’s technology is a game changer. Not only it saves time and money. It is also going to help our environment as there are now many complaints about the pollution all the power stations are creating to run thousands of computers for verification of transactions.
Size of the entire Mina Blockchain
Mina is going to be the lightest blockchain ever. What is the size of this blockchain? 22Kb!! Yeah you got it right… Not even 22 megabytes, this entire blockchain is going to be 22 kilobytes and is fixed. So it’s not going to increase as the network expands. Just compare it with any other blockchain, more than 300 GBs and still growing to just 22 kilobytes. This is not a silly competition. This is how any system evolves and no doubt Mina is going to be in the center of this evolution.
How does zk-SNARKs work?
As we know zk-SNARKs is the technology behind Mina which makes it this lightweight. Rather than keeping the whole blockchain it takes a lightweight snapshot of the entire blockchain and sends this picture. The next block will take the snapshot along with the previous chain which will keep a fixed size for the entire blockchain. Mina’s official website has an awesome example explaining how zk-SNARKs work. Its like sending a photo of an elephant on a postcard instead of massive live animal.
I sincerely wish this article gives you a peek inside Mina Cryptocurrency. It is going to be released soon. I hope this article will be helpful and will give you a heads start. For more information you can check out official site of Mina. Just click this and you will be forwarded to Mina’s website. Follow Shapiro on twitter to know the updates. I will keep on posting about Mina and the necessary updates.
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