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Mina Protocol

Mina Protocol (formerly called Coda Protocol) is a fixed-size L1 built on top of zero-knowledge proofs (“ZKP”) with written in TypeScript. It is a "succinct blockchain" of 22KB. [1][2][3][4]

Overview

Mina Protocol was established in 2017 by O(1) Labs. It was initially known as Coda Protocol but had to change its name in September 2020 to Mina due to a trademark dispute with R3 for the similarity of the name to its Corda blockchain[17]. [16][18]

Mina Protocol was created by computer scientists and and it describes itself as "the world’s lightest blockchain" on its website. [3]

Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants. Using zero-knowledge proofs, Mina is creating the infrastructure for the secure, democratic future we all deserve.

In October 2020, Mina Protocol raised $10.9 million in a funding round co-led by Hong Kong-based Bixin Ventures and Singapore-based Three Arrows Capital. Mina was set for  launch in Q4, 2020 but O(1) Labs CEO Evan Shapiro told CoinDesk it has been delayed to early 2021 because “launching a blockchain near the holiday season is never a good idea.”[14]

Mainnet Launch

On March 23, 2021, Mina launched on and announced its partnership with CoinList for its token sale. [13]

, CEO and Co-Founder of O(1) Labs and Mina Foundation, shared:

"Mina aims to empower users through its lightweight blockchain, giving users direct, permissionless access to cryptocurrency, while its Snapps, or SNARK-powered applications bring new possibilities for internet privacy and data security. Between its lightweight design and Snapps, Mina provides a seamless gateway to privately connect the real world with crypto." [13]

Mina protocol uses Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge (zk-SNARKs), a cryptographic proof that enables someone to authenticate information without revealing said information. [5]

$92 Million Capital Raise

On March 17, 2022, The Mina Ecosystem announced[21] that it had raised $92 million to help attract world-class developers through grants. The $92 million financing was led by and Three Arrows Capital, with the help of hedge fund Brevan Howard (and its co-founder and billionaire Alan Howard), Amber Group, Blockchain.com, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners, , and five unnamed Mina backers. [22]

The proceeds from the capital raise will help finance grants to attract developers and drive Mina's adoption as the leading zero-knowledge platform within , the company said. [22]

“We are pleased to have worked with the Mina ecosystem and world-class funds on this $92M raise. This validation from some of the most respected entities in crypto bolsters our aim to ensure that Mina becomes the go-to privacy and end-to-end security layer for Web3 while remaining powered by participants.” - , CEO of Mina Protocol[21]

zkApps

zkApps ("zero-knowledge apps") are Mina Protocol’s powered by zero-knowledge proofs, specifically using zk-SNARKs. zkApps provide characteristics such as unlimited off-chain execution, privacy for private data inputs that are never seen by the blockchain, the ability to write smart contracts in TypeScript, etc. [6]

Zero Knowledge Proofs

Zero-knowledge proofs is a concept that keeps Mina's blockchain light and personal data private. It allows no leak of information to anyone who observes it. [7]

zk-SNARKS

Zk-SNARKs stands for “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge.” and it is a form of zero-knowledge cryptography where one can prove possession of information, such as a private key, without revealing said information, and without interaction between the prover and verifier, thereby ensuring privacy for users. [8]

Mina Consensus Mechanism

Mina Protocol uses a consensus mechanism called Ouroboros Samasika. This consensus mechanism is specially designed for succinct decentralized networks since it provides bootstrapping from a genesis block. [7][9]

Succinct blockchains contain two major functions: verify and update. Verification touches on consensus, blockchain summary, and blocks, while the update function interacts with consensus and chain summary. [4]

The project also uses a parallel scan state to optimize transaction processing speed, which works by grouping unproven blocks and assigning the process to parallel provers. [4]

Major Mina Protocol Participants

Mina aims to differentiate itself from existing blockchain platforms by using a unique approach where various participants are responsible for different functions on the decentralized network. These roles include verifiers, block producers, and snarkers, unlike other platforms that rely on verifiers such as miners/stakers and light clients as third parties to verify transactions. [10]

Verifiers

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. [10]

Block Producers

Block producers in Mina can be either or miners and receive block rewards and transaction fees. They are responsible for bundling transactions into blocks and SNARKing an equal number of previous transactions to prevent incomplete blocks. Users can delegate their coins to block producers. Snarkers are a special group of participants who can generate SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge), which can be used by block producers to fulfill their SNARKing obligations. [10]

Snarkers

Snarkers, or provers, are responsible for generating zk-SNARKs used to verify transactions on Mina's blockchain. Block producers pay snarkers using transaction fees they earn when adding new blocks, but snarkers must bid to qualify for fees. Once a snarker's zk-SNARK is used in a block, the block producer who uses it is responsible for incentivizing the snarker. This creates a competitive economy where multiple snarkers can bid for the same transaction. Block producers seek to maximize profits by selecting the bid with the lowest fees, motivating snarkers to produce cost-effective SNARKs. [10]

Lifecycle of a Mina Transaction

A Mina transaction begins with the verifier executing the transaction, which enters the mempool. Snarkers then generate proofs for the new transactions without snarks. The next step involves selecting a block producer to produce a block and choose the most profitable transactions and an equivalent number of unsnarked transactions. [16]

The block producer must then purchase SNARKs from the SNARK order book that corresponds with these transactions. Once done, the block producer adds a new block to the Mina blockchain, and the queue state is updated by adding new transactions and deleting snarked transactions. Finally, the block producer updates the zk-SNARK for the blockchain, and the new block is validated. [16]

MINA Token

MINA is the native currency of the . MINA tokens are required to  and produce blocks on the Mina blockchain. They’re also the exclusive currency of the Snarketplace, which is used by block producers and SNARK producers to buy and sell SNARK proofs. Each MINA token is divisible up to 9 decimal places. [1]

CoinList Token Sale

Mina Foundation's token sale generated $18.7 million in four hours in April 2021 after a rush of CoinList users tried to buy up more MINA than the project was willing to sell. Only 12% of the sale’s 375,000 registrants were able to buy the 7.5% of MINA supply that Mina Foundation made available, according to data reviewed by . [15]

Mina Protocol Utility

  • End-to-end data privacy: Mina Protocol allows users to perform sensitive operations on the blockchain without disclosing personal information.
  • Permissionless web oracles: Developers can integrate multiple public data sources from the Internet into their decentralized applications without having to obtain permission.
  • Managing web identifiers: Mina can be used to access a site or an Internet service without users having to create an account or share personal data. In this case, Mina functions as an interface for anonymous access to any platform. [3]

Polygon x Mina Protocol

On September 9, 2021, announced its integration with Mina Protocol. [12]

"@MinaProtocol & Polygon are working towards building a bridge that will enable #developers building applications on Polygon PoS to leverage privacy and verifiability via Mina's zk-SNARK-based protocol." - Polygon announced on Twitter [11]

, CEO of the Mina Foundation, said:

“Mina Foundation shares Polygon’s dream of a fully decentralized ecosystem of dapps empowering users with control over their own data privacy. We are very excited about the privacy-preserving and verifiable applications that will be launched on Polygon utilizing Mina Protocol.” [12]

Public Roadmap

Mina Protocol announced[20] its public roadmap, a multi-year vision for unlocking the user-owned, decentralized web with zero knowledge programmability which went live on April 6, 2023.[19]

The roadmap is broken up into 5 tracks: Trust Minimization, ZK-Programmability, Settlement Layer Performance, Recursive Rollups, and Road to DAOification with each track having a role to play in making Mina all it can be and the ultimate layer 1 . [19]

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Mina Protocol

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