- 1 Mina is a Layer 1 blockchain using a cryptographic technique known as zk-SNARKS.
- 2 MINA is the cryptocurrency to power the Mina Protocol and facilitate transactions in the Mina Protocol.
- 3 It builds privacy-preserving smart contracts and decentralized applications based on zero-knowledge proofs (zkp).
Mina is an L1 blockchain that is based on ZKP (Zero-Knowledge proof) with smart contracts that are written in TypeScript. It is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a 22 KB succinct blockchain.
The Mina Protocol was initially launched as the Coda Protocol, but later in August 2019, it was rebranded as the Mina Protocol.
The protocol was developed with the objective of addressing computational requirements and maintaining a constant size despite usage growth. It aims to keep the entire blockchain smaller than most pictures on a phone.
Blockchains are the decentralized ledgers of historical transactions; running a node requires greater computing power and energy as the blockchain grows. It made the process increasingly difficult for average users to participate in the blockchain.
Many developers felt that this would open up the risk of centralization in blockchain. They were concerned because blockchains with the greatest computing power are most efficient in managing larger chains.
To solve this issue, Mina’s developers used the technique of zk-SNARKS.
The team at O (1) Labs created the Mina Protocol. Evan Shapiro and Izaak Meckler founded O (1) Labs in 2017. The aim of the O(1) Labs was to use cryptographic computing in order to give people control over their digital lives.
After four years of functioning, building, and testing their platform, the team launched the Mina mainnet on March 23, 2021.
The Mina Foundation hosted a token sale in April 2021 for the community.
Working Mechanism of the Mina Protocol
The key to the growth of the Mina Protocol is the incorporation of zk-SNARKs, which stands for zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge.
MIT Professor and Algorand founder Silvio Micali first developed the concept of zk-SNARK. It allows users to confirm that they have certain data without revealing the data to each other. Zcash is another popular cryptocurrency that users zk-SNARK.
It means that the network does not have to verify a transaction with every block that is created. In contrast, the blockchain is represented with an easily verifiable cryptographic proof.
This proof is smaller than most of the other blockchains and represents the state of the whole chain, rather than the latest block.
It is combined with the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which facilitates the implementation of zk-SNARKs and cuts down on the resources needed to process and record transactions significantly.
To send and receive transactions on the Mina network, each participant or user is required to run a node. Moreover, the Mina Protocol requires two specialized nodes within the network to run effectively. These two specialized nodes are:
They select which transactions to include in the next block and win that block’s reward. In a way, they are like miners or validators of other blockchains.
They dedicate computing power to helping compress network data and generate proofs of transactions. Then, block producers can bid on these proofs, for which snark workers are paid in MINA.
Participants in the Mina Protocol
Mina works on revolutionizing the current blockchain landscape, where most platforms have verifiers, including miners, stakers, and light clients who act as third parties when verifying transactions.
As Mina has multiple participants, it takes a different approach for each participant to handle a specific function on the decentralized network.
The three major roles include verifiers, block producers, and snarkers. Verifiers interact with zk-SNARKS that deal with certifying the consensus information. Each Mina protocol user is considered a verifier, provided that their devices can handle a 22 KB chain and withstand a few milliseconds of processing time.
The MINA Token
The Mina Protocol uses the MINA token to execute network transactions. Users can exchange Mina like any other cryptocurrency or choose to stake their MINA to earn a reward while securing the network.
Apart from this, MINA serves as the payment medium of the Mina Protocol, incentivizing block producers to create blocks and rewarding snark workers who prove transaction validity.
The MINA token is additionally used to interact with Snapps, which are decentralized applications built on the Mina Protocol.
Teller, one of the first-ever Snapps, is a credit risk platform that helps users prove their credit scores are above certain thresholds without sharing their private data.
The initial supply of MINA was capped at 1 billion tokens. The total supply was expected to increase over time, but inflation is expected to decrease from 12% to 7% over the past five years. Further decreases in the inflation rate are subject to the Mina Protocol’s governance.
Conclusion: Key Events and Management
Mina, which was first called Coda Protocol, was rebranded in August 2019 as a result of a lawsuit an enterprise blockchain company called R3 filed against the protocol, as its protocol was also called Coda.
The Mina protocol was able to raise $3.5 million in May 2018 and $15 million in April 2019. Backers of this protocol include payment companies Circle, Coinbase Ventures, Dragonfly Capital, FTX Ventures, and Three Arrows Capital.
The Mina Foundation now oversees the blockchain. The Mina Foundation is a non-profit organization that governs the network, like the Ethereum Foundation.
Evan Shapiro, CEO of the Foundation, has worked as a software engineer at Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser. Others on the board of directors include Josh Cincinnati, who is a former executive director of the Zcash Foundation, Jill Carlson was principal at Slow Ventures, and Tess Rinearson was the crypto engineering lead at Twitter.
With a background in journalism, Ritika Sharma has worked with many reputed media firms focusing on general news such as politics and crime. She joined The Coin Republic as a reporter for crypto, and found a great passion for cryptocurrency, Web3, NFTs and other digital assets. She spends a lot of time researching and delving deeper into these concepts around the clock, and is a strong advocate for women in STEM.