Mina (MINA) is a crypto protocol that differentiates itself from others by virtue of being the first one with a concise blockchain. Within it, existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum store hundreds of gigabytes of data and the size of blockchains increases accordingly as time goes on, but with Mina (MINA) no matter how much usage grows, the blockchain always stays the same size. This corresponds to just about 22kbs, which is a little more than a few tweets. This small size allows a quick sync and verification of the network. In this post, we will find out more about it. Let’s get started.
MINA Protocol: Critical Info
What is the Mina Protocol?
This breakthrough was made possible by zk-SNARKs, a kind of succinct cryptographic proof. Each time the Mina node generates a new block, it also generates a SNARK cryptographic proof that verifies that the block is valid. All nodes can store a small proof as opposed to the whole chain. The Mina (MINA) protocol provides a decentralized blockchain at scale, without letting you worry about block size.
How big is the Mina network?
Mina (MINA) is a minimal “concise blockchain” created to reduce computational requirements to run DApps (Decentralized Applications) more efficiently. Mina (MINA) is described as the world’s lightest blockchain as it is designed to remain constant in size despite growth in usage. It also has a structure that remains balanced in terms of security and decentralization. The project was changed from Coda Protocol to Mina (MINA) in October 2020. The Mina (MINA) network has a size of only 22 KB, which is very small compared to Bitcoin’s 300 GB blockchain.
How do developers design blockchains?
When building blockchains, developers often have to choose between scalability, decentralization, and security, features that seem seemingly incompatible when implemented under a single protocol.
For most projects, only two components can fit together, forcing projects to compromise. The juxtaposition of these three features is known as the blockchain trilogy, which originated as the scalability trilogy by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
A major reason for the lockdown is that decentralized platforms grow in size as usage increases. Large sizes are evident in leading projects such as Bitcoin (which can be traded through platforms like bitlq) and Ethereum.
Bitcoin uses a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism that is decentralized and secure but lacks scalability. Ethereum currently uses Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which is expected to scale better than PoW, but the original smart contract network has yet to achieve a high level of scalability with its DApps, especially given the current astronomical ‘gas’ costs required for interaction. Other top five cryptocurrencies have similar problems. For example, the XRP ledger scales very well but has been heavily criticized by the crypto community for its lack of decentralization.
How Does Mina (MINA) Work?
Mina (MINA) is similar to Bitcoin except for how it handles transactions, but it also uses the account model used in Ethereum. The difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum in this respect is that the Bitcoin blockchain state consists of a list of unspent coins, while the state of Ethereum consists of account balances.
Mina, on the other hand, uses a miner-equivalent proof (or snarker) to ensure that each block is state-bound.
Mina (MINA) uses Ouroboros Samasika, a type of Proof of Stake mechanism designed specifically for short and concise decentralized networks, as it bootstraps from a genesis block.
Concise blockchains contain two main functions, known as verification and updating. Verification deals with consensus, blockchain digest, and blocks, while the update function interacts with consensus and chain digest.
In addition, the Mina (MINA) project uses a parallel scan state to optimize worker transaction processing speed by grouping unproven blocks and assigning the process to parallel validators.
Mina (MINA) is all about revolutionizing the current blockchain environment where most platforms have validators like miners or stakeholders and thin clients that act as third parties when verifying transactions.
Mina (MINA) takes a different approach by having multiple participants, each performing a specific function in the decentralized network.
Mina (MINA) includes validators, block producers and snarkers as three main roles.
What is the role of validators?
Validators interact with zk-SNARKS, which deals with the validation of consensus information. Every Mina (MINA) user is considered an authenticator provided their device can process a 22KB chain and withstand a few milliseconds of processing time.
What is the role of block builders?
Block producers take the form of bookmakers or miners and earn block rewards, transaction fee payments. The Mina (MINA) project does not reduce incentives that hinder producers. This category of contributors allows Mina (MINA) users to transfer their coins to them.
In addition to separating transactions into blocks, block producers must make an equivalent number of previously committed SNARKs, as failure to do so during block generation will result in missing blocks and other nodes denying their validity.
If a block producer wants to add 10 transactions to the chain, they must also do SNARK transactions from the front of the queue, but they have the option to either generate the SNARK or use those created by a special group of participants called snarkers.
What is the role of snarkers?
Snarkers, also known as Provers, generate zk-SNARKs that are used to verify transactions.
Block producers pay the snarker the total transaction fees they charge for adding new blocks, but they must bid to qualify for the fees. It should be noted that a snarker’s zk-SNARK must be used in a block, the block producer using it is responsible for promoting the snarker. In other words, this creates a business economy where multiple snarkers can post offers linked to the same transaction. Block producers, on the other hand, are for-profit and will choose the lowest paid bid. As a result, snarkers are forced to produce low-cost SNARKS.
What purpose does Mina serve?
Mina (MINA) works to achieve an efficient distributed payment system that allows users to authenticate the platform locally directly from the genesis block. The whitepaper describes it as a “short blockchain.”
The protocol uses Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge, zk-SNARKs, which are cryptographic proofs that allow someone to authenticate information without disclosing the information in question. However, on a large network it may be impractical to have any user trace the platform back to the starting block. That’s why Mina (MINA) incrementally calculates SNARKS focusing only on the last few blocks. In other words, this means that end users check the zk-SNARK compressed proof instead of the entire transaction history of any given block.
At the heart of the Mina protocol is its native token, MINA, which functions as a utility token and medium of exchange.
How are Mina transactions carried out?
In Mina, transactions start when a user initiates a transaction, then moves to the mempool, a pool of valid but unconfirmed transactions.
Then the snarkers take control by doing proofs or SNARKS. The process continues with the selection of a block producer (BP) to aggregate the transactions into a block. It should be noted that a BP passes through the mempool for profitable transactions.
The block producer then chooses a SNARK according to the rules in the consensus mechanism.
It should also be noted that a block producer scans bids for the lowest priced SNARK. In addition, recently added transactions have an updated SARKS order book. Next comes the time to include SARKS in a block, add the block to the chain, and update the network. To help keep the protocol size constant, snarked transactions are then removed from the chain and the block producer raises the protocol’s zk-SNARKS. Finally, the new blockchain becomes an immutable part of the chain.
To take a closer look at the route a transaction was made before finding a permanent record on the Mina (MINA) blockchain, it is explained step by step as follows:
- The transaction starts when a user initiates a transaction, then the transaction goes to the mempool, which is a pool of valid but unconfirmed transactions.
- Next, snarkers take control by making proofs or SNARKS. The process continues with the selection of a block producer (BP) to aggregate the transactions into a block. Remember that a BP goes through the mempool for profitable trades.
- Next, BP chooses a SNARK according to the rules in the consensus mechanism.
- Note that a block producer scans bids for the lowest priced SNARK. Also, recently added trades have an updated SARKS order book.
- Next comes the time to include the SARKS in a block, then add the block to the chain and update the network. To help keep the protocol size constant, snarked transactions are removed from the chain.
- Next, the block generator raises the zk-SNARKS of the protocol.
- Finally, the new blockchain becomes an immutable part of the chain.
The use of zk-SNARKS allows verification of Mina (MINA) status without revealing the contents of the blockchain and as a result, provides a censorship-proof platform.
In addition, zk-SNARKS contributes immensely to maintaining a fixed size network that allows for scalability, security and decentralization.
The presence of various critical participants such as snarkers, block producers and validators helps to streamline different protocol functions.