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Cool Story Brah
Every once in a while there is a paradigm shift; and like the structure within structure of Elliot Wave, you can see the same sort of accelerated incremental mountain climb during technological advancement. Fair warning, if you’re a new reader and looking for ‘when moon’ or some price prediction you’re not going to find it here. In the usual structure that is my writing style, I will come in to topic from far outside of the field of view and try to tie together why the advent of 3rd Generation Blockchain such as Cardano is not history repeating itself, but rhyming. If we are to truly understand how Search, Blockchain Search and perhaps humanity itself can be altered; we need to go back at-least two decades. I am going to visit the past, my past, the potential of the future.
The Days of BBS
I don’t consider myself old, as I am now only in my mid 30s, but my earliest childhood experiences with computers went right back to Amstrad CPC 464s and Intel 8088 and 80286 powered IBM’s hailing from the 1980s. I’m talking 64KB of ram, 4Mhz CPUs and the whole works. Extended memory support, tweaking config.sys files and so on.
At 11 or 12, my dad introduced me to a friend of friend. If my memory serves, it was through an eccentric ‘fringe scientist/inventor’ friend of his. Having been a kid that showed some talent with computers, my dad lines up a meeting with this guy, and through “Andrew”, I find out about PukeNet. I am taught how to more thoroughly use MS-DOS, as well as the beginnings of learning assembly language and a more in-depth understanding of PC Architecture, thanks in part to a Barry Kauler book he gives me. I’ll never forget mov ax,3d02h. Andrew shows me a new world, from connectivity with others to malicious source code. He gives me a copy of a TSR called Paradox. Incidentally, years later, a printed copy was under my bed where my mum was expecting to find porn mags. I remember the look of ‘wtf’ on her face..
Through “Andrew” I became aware of who “Electron” and “Slicemeister” were, and by proxy fiound out about “Mendax”. The stories of these peoples skills were amazing. It wasn’t until my teens and after some years of begging, that my mother was able to scrape together the money for a new machine so I could do my school work. A second hand 80486 SX 25 with a whopping 4MB of ram. Woah, I was able to run Windows 3. I later got that machine running Windows 95, installed via a stack of floppy disks. Welcome to a new world.
I had been learning some level of programming since my childhood, but I was never going to be one of those people who thoroughly enjoyed programming. With the 486 came the days of learning how to network; inter-connectivity, communications and realising early on that this was undoubtedly going to be the future. While I still loved sports and socialising, there was something about this digital world that drew me in. I would spend time with friends a few weekends a year, drinking gallons of Jolt Cola or Colombian Cola from the local Night Owl, connecting our computers via a serial or parallel printer cable. Using a program called FastLynx, we could share files and we could play games like Doom against each other… but dragging a computer around and being connected with one other party was not enough to keep me interested long term.
My earliest memories of getting online stem back to the mid 1990s. As I’ve already eluded to, I didn’t come from a wealthy family. My mother insisted I go to a private high school. A high school with a great reputation, rules, discipline, traditional values, and a very… shall we say… exhaustive black market. I got my hands on a Maestro 14,400bps modem through a friend.
This little modem opened up a whole new world to me. Bulletin Board Systems. BananaCom. HyperTerminals. Fidonet. Communicating with people about politics, economics, ideology, libertarian ideals, anarchy and of course, hacking and encryption.
At school, I found out a little later that others were also on the BBSes. Some of them, I truly did not expect to be there. I was probably more expected. While I played sports, was fit, good at track and had a large circle of friends; I was well known for being a computer nerd. I wasn’t socially awkward by any stretch, but this type of thing was very fringe back then and admitting you were into these things could spell social suicide or at the very least, a negative label. Even something like gaming, wasn’t considered unironic like it is nowadays.
After finding out that some other people were on the same trajectory as myself, I made some new friends and found a sense of community that was notably different to the other ‘nerds’. We were skaters, we were into cars or bikes. We had girlfriends. Further, not like normal nerds, we had an anarchistic streak. We started swapping floppy disks with guides, exploits, source code, hacking tools, instructions, challenges and so forth. We encrypted it all with PGP for DOS.
This went on for some months. We’d meet up after school sometimes too, smoke or drink and share fone phreaking numbers such as international operators so we could launch reverse charges calls out of Australia into the USA or Europe. We’d war dial on payphones at the mall. While other kids shop lifted booze and goon, we also stole technical books. Our mission was to get our hands on a red TS30 linesman handset from a Telecom van. Unfortunately for me, I would finally get my hands on one in adulthood, legitimately and by then I’d lost the desire to really use it.
Looking back it has a veil of teenage cringe, but we thought we were bad ass. We left copies of games and disks marked “porno.com” around the school, infected with stoned virus. Later, fate somewhat fell into my lap. Some people I knew had been involved in a retail theft spree, and one of the items they had stolen was a Netcomm 33.6KBaud modem. They gave it to me to look after, and after getting arrested and having to conduct community service, never asked for it back. I guess it had to ‘disappear’ for good or maybe they just wanted to forget about it all.
As the internet at a consumer level blossomed, I flashed the firmware on my new 33600 bps modem to the all mighty standard 56 kbps. This particular modem shared the same chipset as their 56k model, which I found out from someone who would later be a mentor from not only a Linux perspective, but also learning Forex Trading, Commodities and Fundamentals Research. He even trained me up to take over his job when he walked in and announced he had “fuck you money” and quit on the spot. He was the first person that I had ever seen myself in real life, to be conducting algorithmic/bot Forex trading. This was later though, in 2001/2002. This was also something that impacted me greatly.
Anyway, back to 1996. We could, due to the quality of the copper network, never really exceed 44 kbps. From downloading shareware, to mod files (this is before MP3 and WMA etc) to getting my hands on materials that shall remain nameless. This is before Napster. Before Limewire. Before Bearshare, Torrents and all of those things that people literally have taken for granted now. It was one of the times in my life that I look back and am thoroughly grateful that I was a part of. That and the rave scene, but let’s talk about that another time.
Around this time, my best friend and accomplice got a copy of the above book. Reading this work by Suelette Dreyfus (free PDF copy), I read about some of the worlds best hackers and cyberpunks. Some of them had heralded from Australia. It is a book which truly changed my life for ever. Quip: I learned later that Mendax was Julian Assange.
The work at school, public libraries, corporate buildings and any where else we could get into continued, from minor pranks to outright electronic destruction. My head is spinning thinking back; 2600hz, Blue Boxing, Red Boxing, Fone Phreaking, usenets, The NoiSY MiNoRiTY, spraying NetBus around the school network, modifying startup scripts so that reboots would result in emptying hard disks. Kids are shitheads sometimes.
It was 1998 now. I was 15 this year. My mother got me my first ‘real serious business’ computer. An AMD K6 233 that I overclocked to 277mhz. I gained my first employment and saved up my money for hard ware upgrades; and to pay for my own connectivity. I met someone through my Forex mentor who was a seriously subversive individual. I’ll leave the details off for this story, but let’s just say it was more influence.
At school, we discovered an exploit/bug in Microsoft Office where we can use the Open File mechanism in the office applications to be able to browse the network, reaching machines and servers that would have been otherwise fenced off. Anyone who has ever bullied us gets all their work deleted. Tinkering with my home computer after a hardware upgrade, I decide I want to do a full Operating System reinstall and I find Poledit on Windows 98 Installation CD. I take copies to school and systematically break machines out of the Group Policy enforced settings and security placed on them by the school IT Administrators. At first, my friends and I just look around, gleefully happy with our success.
The curiosity and pent for teenage destruction overcomes us. With PolEdit we are able to hijack machines and install Sub7. We inject the Sub7 installer into porn pics or games and leave them around on dead drops. Using Sub7 we start collecting passwords from everyone. We are meticulous about cleaning up our tracks. We move on from Stoner (machine slowdown) pranks to outright mayhem at anyone who had previously ‘justed’ us. The mindset of teenagers still amazes me. We hijack teachers profiles, we control dozens of machines remotely. We get our hands on Nuke’s Randomic Life Generator – NRLG, which means we can bash out multiple stealth TSR viruses that destroy machines without effort.
Later, one of the better coders in our crew develops the Behemoth tool, and we build on NRLG to add our own flavour with new attack vectors and new attacks – such as dropping the read/write heads on hard drives. There’s heaps of other things worth mentioning, such as ping floods, bitch-slapping port 137, smurphing and so on. Looking back, we were talented amateurs. Better than script kids, but by how much is debatable. We had managed to modify teacher profiles, and saw emails about ‘jokes about little boys’ that my best friend had kept a copy of. The threat of this later, would keep us in school.
Then it happened, one of the guys in the crew got lazy and was spotted by a snitch. The snitch promptly told the headmaster who involved the police. We were walking between class and spotted an undercover police vehicle in the front car park of the school. Ironically my best friends dad was a police officer, so he was the first to spot it. Within a short time, we were summoned to the principals office. When confronted by the Sys-Admin with “I’ve got logs of everything”, I blurted out “I know, I’ve deleted them” and may have been one of the most amazing examples of a man nearly exploding in front of authorities I’ve ever seen. When asked why we did it, the “Ferrari with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition in an empty car-park in the middle of the night” analogy went down like a lead balloon as well. When threatened with expulsion we advised about the emails. A compromise was made, we could finish high-school on disconnected machines and therefore still get into university. We were indoctrinated to think failure to go to university was the end of life… so we agreed.
They gave me an old i386 laptop with a black and white screen and promptly gave me assignments to complete in colour coding with turbo pascal (LOL). It was half my luck I remembered the hex codes for basic colours as I was starting to learn HTML/DHTML in my spare time, and managed to still complete the classes with a B+ average. Luckily, other teachers from other subjects either weren’t aware, didn’t care, or were actually on my side as they hated the IT staff.
I was accepted into university, but it was solace to be lived for only a short while. I enjoyed a brief few months off on holiday, but walking into university during the first week there were university authorities waiting for me. The high school had rang ahead of time. The dean, as well as core IT staff advised that they had been forewarned of my antics; and anything so much as a digital spit in the wrong direction would result in forced removal from the grounds and expulsion. Walking out of that meeting, I was contacted a short time later by “Harry”. “Harry” as I came to learn was more in control of the university than the university was….
Freedom of Internet, Freedom of Information, The Crime of Curiosity
I know most people want a “when moon” article but as the frequent readers know, that’s not how things work here. I am telling this story as it was an amazing time of radical change in just a few years. I wasn’t around for the original DARPA internet to come into existence, but the rate of change that I experienced from the late 1980s, through the 1990s to the 2000s had been incredibly accelerated.
==Phrack Inc.== Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The following was written shortly after my arrest... \/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/ by +++The Mentor+++ Written on January 8, 1986 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"... Damn kids. They're all alike. But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world... Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me... Damn underachiever. They're all alike. I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..." Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike. I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me... Or thinks I'm a smart ass... Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here... Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike. And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all... Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike... You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us will- ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert. This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike. +++The Mentor+++
- Internet History Timeline: ARPANET to the World Wide Web
- Internet Freedom
- Telecommunications Act of 1996
- Human Right to Internet access – UN
The dial up internet in Australia
As I noted to earlier, in Australia at least, I was able to enjoy some of the glory of BBS – and enjoyed the beginnings of the consumer grade available Internet. 28.8k, 33.6k and if you were lucky, over 42k approaching 56k. Companies like Ozemail ruled the scene, charging internet access based on time. $10 for 10 hours a month. Garbage like this. As the years progressed it did get more lax, and more encompassing for users. I still remember when the crucial tipping point was hit – unlimited internet for under $20 a month. We were now joining the rest of the world, and leaving manual systems behind us.
Around this time I actually got one of my first jobs, working at an ISP and got a better understanding of the back of house of such an enterprise. I also got to mingle with more people who were, let’s say, fringe.
There has always been a strong lathering of libertarianism and anarchism when it came to the IT landscape; especially the early internet. It was the wild west, without a sheriff. It’s somewhat heartwarming, and nice to see it occurring in the crypto space; with little wonder when you look at who is driving it. There has been this air of ‘don’t tell us what to do or how to do it’, but I think as the internet has become more of a utility and more mainstream, that has certainly diminished. for me personally, maybe in part as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more and more of a capitalist. I believe in reward for hard work and innovation. I’m still for small government, less intrusive government, freedom of expression, freedom of privacy and autonomy but there is an economic realisation that I’ve become very familiar with. Maybe we need an overhaul of the entire fabric and paradigm. Maybe It’s almost as though these original types of people have been instead lurking in the darker recesses of the internet, returning in waves now, decades later.
The beginnings of Search
As the ‘consumer’ internet got its footing in the mid 1990s, search quickly became and has been an integral part of online activity on the web since that time, and for the most part really began with two companies (there were others) that most people will be familiar with.
The original internet search engines were often more of a ordered list, or directory. Often these were kept up to date by humans. The history of search is a very long topic, spreading across decades; and having sidetracked enough I will leave it up to you to research. As such, if you’re interested in search and it’s history, I would suggest looking at:
- THE HISTORY OF SEARCH ENGINES
- Timeline of web search engines
- Web search engine
Google Changes Everything
People take search for granted nowadays, but the underpinnings of what makes for one of the most important additions to the history of humanity are absolutely extraordinary. Considering now most people consider ‘the internet’ as google.com – there is something that has to be said about. Now time in human history have we ever been able to access so much information so easily. With human search terms that work, absolutely smashing the guts out of anything altavista had – we are truly in a new paradigm. It goes even further, with the search history and machine analytics and big data, we are now able and review everything from market movements, political disposition, voting sentiment, sex preferences, sexual kink preferences, interests, sociological issues – all the way to:
- What our Google searches reveal about the drug epidemic
- PREDICTING EPIDEMICS WITH INTERNET SEARCH DATA
- Accurate estimation of influenza epidemics using Google search data via ARGO
- Doxxing of almost anyone with Google-Fu skills as well as other data gathering tools and lookups
Before I continue, someone mentioned astalavista.box.sk to me recently and it brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Hilariously, it’s still up.
Google has revolutionised the world. Google has amazing technology. Google is essentially a monopoly on search. Google influences people, the paradigm, culture, everything. Google is referenced as a utility. If this is the case, Google needs to be neutral. There is an accusation that Google is not.
There has been an ongoing accusation since at least late 2016, early 2017 from Conservatives, Libertarians, Centrists, Center-Right, and Right Wing pundits that Google has been censoring search results, removing key information from previews, removing documents and so forth.
- Julian Assange says Google and Facebook have become an ‘existential threat to humanity’
- Harlem Shook: Google Is Using Its Immense Power To Censor Content That Doesn’t Fit Its Political Goals. Everyone In America Should Be Concerned About That
- Google’s New Fact-Check Feature Almost Exclusively Targets Conservative Sites
- DuckDuckGo CEO: ‘Google and Facebook Are Watching Our Every Move Online. It’s Time to Make Them Stop alternate source: Google and Facebook are watching our every move online. It’s time to make them stop
- Princeton University: 76% of websites track you with google tech
- Google Doubles Down on Purging Conservative Speech
- A new machine learning app for reporting on hate in America
- Princeton Web Accountability and Transparency Project
- The New Censorship How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?
Regardless of your political position; the concept of Google or any other institution exercising censorship or influence on search results is frightening. It may be in your favour today, but who is to judge where that might be in 1 year, 5 years or 10 years? Who works out what is correct to show? Who determines these things? How do you even know if you’re not told and your results are censored? Just remember as the overton window shifts left and right, and Treviño’s degrees of acceptance move with it, you, your beliefs and your very thoughts might end up being considered subversive or dissident without you even realising it.
The same way FunFair uses blockchain to keep their gaming system fair; blockchain could be used to validate such technological institutions and keep search results fair. The most important thing we have is transparency, open communication and time itself for the progression of ideas and finding consensus for our society.
Are the accusations true? Do we trust Google? Do we trust Apple? Do we trust Facebook? Do we trust Amazon? Do we trust Microsoft? Are they on the level? Are they fair? Are they neutral? Are they free? I don’t think the people that work for these companies are bad people, or have bad intentions; but a trust system built on blockchain would put a lot of these accusations to bed.
Nebulas has the potential to be to blockchain, what Google was to search – and what it was to internet as a whole. As we moved from ARPANET, x.25 and BBS, to dial up internet, to web 2.0, our understanding of the internet, connectivity and communication has radically changed. Generation 3 blockchain has the opportunity to do the same thing for cryptocurrency, blockchain and who knows what else. The very premise of the reward system of Nebulas is based in my opinion on meritocracy. It doesn’t care who you are, where you are from, your personal beliefs, your wealth, your gender; none of that. What matters is YOUR CONTRIBUTION to the network. This is fantastic.
Nebulas is a 3rd generation, incentive-based, evolutionary blockchain system that provides a search framework for all blockchains, a search engine as well as upgraded smart contract capabilities. It was founded in 2017 in Singapore by Hitters Xu, Robin Zhong and Aero Wang. A ternary who’s who of AntShares, all three come with significant blockchain pedigree and are supported by a strong team.
As is obvious, the developers have real experience, with experience being drawn not only from blockchain, Google, IBM, Alibaba, Airbnb and of course AntShares (NEO).
While a large number of punters in the crypto community are referring to Nebulas as “the new Google”, and while this is somewhat similar in premise, the key delineation comes in their respective intended use case scenarios. Google, at the core is a day to day internet search engine, returning information that has been parsed in huge volumes. Nebulas on the other hand is designed to search decentralized applications (DApps), smart contracts, and user’s blockchain assets. Like many other new projects, as it stands, Nebulas (NAS) token is an ERC20 token. In March 2018, the intention is to launch the Nebulas Mainnet, and NAS will switch over to it’s own chain and its own token.
- Hitters Xu, Nebulas & Antshares (NEO) founder, former founding leader of Ant
Financial’s Blockchain Platform, ex-Googler in Search & Anti-Fraud team, and
graduated from Tongji University in Computer Science and Technology. First
blockchain pioneer in China. Since 2013, he has founded BitsClub (the first
Blockchain/ Bitcoin innovation community in China), Antshares (the first
Blockchain in China), FBG (the first fund dedicated to Blockchain in China),
Gempay (the first Bitcoin/Blockchain cross-border payment platform in China).
In 2014, he founded the first international blockchain summit in China with series
of influential international blockchain summits.
- Robin Zhong, Nebulas co-founder, former architect of Ant Financial’s
Blockchain Platform, former senior development director of Dolphin Browser and
leader of the Game division. Graduated from Huazhong University of Science
and Technology. He is also the founder of Tongxinclub, the first Blockchain
mutual support platform in China.
- Guan Wang, Nebulas & Antshares (NEO) co-founder, initiator of OpenIP & IP
Community, a serial entrepreneur in blockchain industry. Graduated from
Must Read: Nebulas Technical White Paper Review January 20, 2018 . Huge shout out and credit to satoshibytes who made my journey of understanding Nebulas far easier.
From the whitepaper:
Bitcoin and Ethereum have successfully introduced “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” and “Smart
Contract” to blockchains. The industry is evolving rapidly, with emerging application scenarios and business requirements. For current blockchain technologies, we find there are three challenges: measure of value, self-evolving capability, and healthy ecosystem development.
Nebulas aims to address those challenges. This white paper explains the technical design ideologies
and principles of the Nebulas framework. The framework includes:
• Nebulas Rank (NR) (§2), which measures value by considering liquidity and propagation of the
address. Nebulas Ranking tries to establish a trustful, computable and deterministic measurement
approach. With the value ranking system, we will see more and more outstanding applications
surfacing on the Nebulas platform.
• Nebulas Force (NF) (§3), which supports upgrading core protocols and smart contracts on the
chains. It provides self-evolving capabilities to Nebulas system and its applications. With Nebulas
Force, developers can build rich applications in fast iterations, and the applications can dynamically
adapt to community or market changes.
• Developer Incentive Protocol (DIP) (§4), designed to build the blockchain ecosystem in a better
way. The Nebulas token incentives will help top developers to create more values in Nebulas.
• Proof of Devotion (PoD) Consensus Algorithm (§5). To build a healthy ecosystem, Nebulas proposes three key points for consensus algorithm: speediness, irreversibility and fairness. By adopting the advantages of PoS and PoI, and leveraging NR, PoD will take the lead in consensus algorithms.
• Search engine for decentralized applications (§6). Nebulas constructs a search engine for decentralized applications based on Nebulas value ranking. Using this engine, users can easily find desired decentralized applications from the massive market
According to its whitepaper:
The ongoing scientific and technological evolving will lead us to a better life with a higher level of freedom and equality. As one of the major technologies, blockchain will gradually give full play to its advantages. Being part of this evolving is our greatest happiness and accomplishment.
Similar to the Internet, blockchains will also enter a phase of explosive users/apps. Blockchain technology will become the base protocol of the next-generation “smart network”, and the number of users will reach or even go beyond one billion in the next 5 to 10 years. Significant opportunities and challenges will both emerge in the next five years.
Facing the tremendous ecosystem in the future, ask not what blockchain can do for you, ask what you can do for blockchain. Because blockchain is an organism and economy. We are glad to share these with all of you in the exploration of blockchain technologies.
Nebulas Rank (NR)
Nebulas Rank (NR) is the protocol that the integration of search engine capability into blockchain, which will also take care of search engine ranking. The algorithm develops a measure of value, based on liquidity,
propagation of users’ assets, and the interactivity between users. NR is used to rank addresses, smart contracts, distributed applications (DApps) and other entities on the blockchain.
Just like we saw the evolution of search take place from ordered lists, to crawling bots, to ranking systems and further to AI/GAI based systems; NR has the potential to evolve blockchain to new levels of usability, utility and adoption. Because of the ranking method, it makes it easy for users to find and utilise dApps (decentralized apps) and smart contracts based on multiple data resources, such as blockchain activity, github activity, and even the search history of other search engines. Sound familiar?
In Nebulas, we measure value regarding:
Finance essentially is the social activity that optimizes social resources via capital liquidity and promotes economic development. Blockchains establish a value network in which financial assets can flow. Daily volume of Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are most familiar to us, already exceeds $1 billion. From these data, we can see that the more transaction volume and transaction scale, the higher liquidity. In turn, higher liquidity will increase the quantity of transaction and enhance the value. That will further strengthen financial assets’ value,creating a complete positive feedback mechanism. Therefore liquidity, i.e.transaction frequency and scale, is the first dimension that NR measures.
Social platforms like WeChat and Facebook have almost 3 billion active users per month. Social platforms’ rapid user growth is a result of the reflection of existing social networks and stronger viral growth. In particular, viral transmission, i.e. speed, scope, depth of information transmission and linkage, is the key index to monitor the quality and user growth of social networks. In the blockchain world, we can see the same pattern. Powerful viral propagation indicates scope and depth of asset liquidity, which can promote the blockchain world’s asset quality and asset scale. Thus, viral transmission, i.e. scope and depth of asset liquidity, is the second dimension that NR measures.
At the Internet’s early stage, there were only basic websites and private information. Now, information on different platforms can be forwarded on the network, and isolated data silos are gradually being broken. This trend is the process of identifying higher dimensional information. In our point of view, the world of blockchains will follow a similar pattern, but its speed will be faster. The information on users, assets, smart contracts, and DApps will become richer,and the interaction of higher dimensional information will be more frequent. Asa result, better interoperability will become more and more important. Therefore,NR’s third measure dimension is interoperability.
Proof of Devotion (PoD) Consensus Algorithm
People who’ve spent any considerable amount of time in the cryptocurrency world are more than likely well aware of two methods of consensus. Proof of work (PoW), or mining and Proof of Stake (PoS), holding unspendable coins. While the Cardano team have proven PoS can be as secure as PoW, both PoW and PoS have significant downsides. PoW consumes tremendous amounts of energy and resources while also creating heat, and dependant on energy supplied, by proxy, pollution and so on. PoS allows for large wallet holders to capture and corner a coin, as their huge stake is rewarded by more coins which further cements their ability to control or even monopolize a market.
Nebulas instead uses Proof of Devotion (PoD) which rewards instead influential and important users within the network.
PoD algorithm’s core concept:
- users with NR values higher than a specified threshold may take part in the
bookkeeper selection procedure by paying a security deposit;
- through virtual mining, each bookkeeper candidate competes to earn
- users with bookkeeping right are responsible for block generation, and in return
receive block reward and transaction fee as revenue;
- and if any user behaves in an inappropriate fashion, the user’s security deposit will
be confiscated and reassigned to other bookkeeper candidates.
Developer Incentive Protocol (DIP)
For the Nebulas blockchain, we are proposing the concept of DIP (Developer Incentive Protocol) for developers of smart contracts and DApps.
DIP’s core concepts:
in pre-specified block intervals, for those developers whose smart contracts and DApps deploy online in the most recent interval with an NR value higher than a specified threshold, DIP will reward them corresponding developer incentives, and these incentives shall be recorded on blocks by bookkeepers, and with DIP’s positive incentive mechanism, more and more developers will get incentives to create valuable smart contracts and DApps, which will, in turn, help to build a positive feedback ecosystem for the developers community.
So on top of PoD, the best developers pumping out the best applications will be further rewarded for their efforts.
Nebulas Force (NF)
Bitcoin death by a thousand forks? A fork a day? One of the main criticisms of other blockchains is the requirement for forks to implement new features and protocols. Also, as we’ve seen there room for ideologically driven forks and community fallout as we’ve seen with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash; or Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Nebulas allows, via Nebulas Force for developers to implement new features and protocols into the Nebulas blockchain without requiring a fork. Referenced in the Nebulas white paper as “Self-evolving blockchain technology” it reminds me of concepts I first heard about in Cardano, as evolutionary improvement, instead of iterated.
Nebulas allows for new features and improvements to be developed, voted on by the Nebulas community, and then integrated if approved by the Nebulas holders. At that point, they can be integrated into the blockchain. On top of this, Nebulas Force will allow for upgradable smart contracts. If smart contracts have errors, bugs or otherwise need to fixed – Nebulas allows for this to be overwritten provided the vote has consensus.
Extra features noted in Nebulas Technical White Paper Review January 20, 2018:
To ensure fairness, the above protocols contain anti-cheating algorithms that are manipulation resistant, and, if someone is found trying to cheat, there are penalties.
Smart contracts almost anyone can write!
Full voting protocol
Since Nebulas includes a full voting protocol in the blockchain, you and I, as token holders, can help decide the direction of Nebulas. As an example, the coin “Decred” also has a voting system; giving end-users a voice keeps them engaged.
Domain Name Service
Although blockchain users are accustomed to “please send funds to: 0x488B2630CEdB5Bfd5e02c33A3653227170743357”, it’s simply not logical. If you miss a letter, change a number, or simply enter an address incompletely, funds are sent into the abyss – forever. To correct this inherent problem, Nebulas will implement the use of “meaningful names.” For instance, using a meaningful name, your Nebulas address could be “Rick_Sanchez.me.” Users will have the opportunity to bid for requested names, and renew yearly – just like a web based domain name.
As many of you probably already know, bitcoin can now use a Lightning Network. This will allow multiple small transactions to be signed without clogging up the blockchain and memory pool. It keeps an open ledger between two entities and can be closed at any time by either party, resulting in one transaction on the network instead of potentially dozens or hundreds.If the Bitcoin network started with the Lightning Network, it would currently be able to handle all transactions per second without any problems. Without the Lightening Network, Bitcoin can only handle 7~ transactions per second (and usually less). With the Lightening Network initially in place, the Nebulas network will be able to handle the required transactions and close the lightning ledgers when requested by users. It would also not cost $20.00++ to send $5.00 nor would it take an hour. I won’t get into the ludicrous prices of Bitcoin transactions fees and how we got here, but if you don’t know much about it, you should learn more. As an important feature of Nebulas, the Lightning Network will provide quick and cheap transactions.
High Strength Encryption
Nebulas uses SHA3-256 encryption. Although you won’t find this in the white paper, SHA3-256 is Highly Quantum Resistant – research it yourself. Why is this so important? Well, as an inevitable evolution of quantum computing, previous generations of encryption will be rendered inadequate, and, consequently, susceptible to decryption of private keys. Basically, this means that once quantum computers are developed, you can lose your money in a non-quantum resistant blockchain. Since Quantum Resistance is a very important feature, many new coins (such as the QRL coin) are being intentionally created for this purpose.
So, what role does the NAS token play in the network?
Directly from the white paper; “The Nebulas network has its own built-in token, NAS. NAS plays two roles in the network. First, as the original money in the network, NAS provides asset liquidity among users, and functions as the incentive token for PoD bookkeepers and DIP. Second, NAS will be charged as the calculation fee for running smart contracts. The minimum unit of NAS is 10−18 NAS.” If interested, the white paper goes into detail. If you question the purpose of NAS, simply ask yourself, “What role does ETHER play in the Ethereum network?” As of this writing, ETHER’s current price is $1098.00USD – and that’s not even it’s high. I believe that common sense indicates the potential value of the NAS coin!
Nebulas will have a maximum of 100,000,000 tokens
Many of the top 10 cryptocurrencies will distribute coins/tokens in the tens of billions, and, in fact, Ethereum will have an indefinite amount (albeit, they will taper off in time). However, when there are significantly less coins/tokens, the value of each increases. Treasure each NAS token!
A web-based playground for developer tools
To help developers create smart contracts easier and faster, Nebulas will offer developer tools. Nebulas will also support multiple IDE’s.
Although the list of features and functions goes on, this should give you an overview of what the Nebulas network can do, how it can evolve blockchain technology, and why it will be a very attractive option for future dApps. Having said all this, please be clear, it is not financial advice.
Also, keep in mind that the above statements are based on my analysis of the white paper (version: 1.0 September, 2017), but this is not to say that the developers don’t have a different perspective. With that being said, Nebulas staff and co-founder, Robin Zhong, actively responds to questions in their Slack channel. This leads us to a review of the Nebulas team.
As usual per previous articles, let’s have a quick look at NAV against my decision matrix.
- Is the project and the currency compliant with the future of regulation and compliance as I believe it will exist
- On page 26 of the Non-Technical WhitePaper the Nebulas team note they intend to be compliant with applicable laws.
- Is the project backed by a significant team, with credentials and experience that is searchable.
- Is the project already operating, and has tangible products.
- The testnet is running
Q1’2018 v1.0 Release & Mainnet Online
Q4’2018 v2.0 & Self-evolution Function Release
- Is the project addressing a business requirement in the market today and Is the project addressing a specific niche and use case scenario.
- Is the project scalable and able to handle significant transaction counts.
- Yes, the evolutionary upgrade method allows for this.
- Is the project resilient to change over time and able to be updated without issue.
- The impression I get is that they have sufficient technical resource and capital to facilitate this without issue. The GitHub commits are obvious of this.
- Is the project resistant to impact from Green Policy, Eco-Terrorism and other changes in the Energy Space.
- PoD, evolutionary upgrade model and so.
As I said earlier, Nebulas is potentially to the blockchain story what Google was to internet. The evolution from Nebulas has the potential to be to blockchain, what Google was to search – and what it was to internet as a whole. As we moved from ARPANET, x.25 and BBS, to dial up internet, to web 2.0, our understanding of the internet, connectivity and communication has radically changed. Generation 3 blockchain has the opportunity to do the same thing for cryptocurrency, blockchain and who knows what else. It’s mission statement is based on the good of all humanity, it works to reward merit, what an amazing premise.
Concerns raised in Nebulas Technical White Paper Review January 20, 2018
NR potential issues:
- The search engine will mostly likely be centralized. While I would prefer a decentralized system to search data, there is a huge technological barrier to accomplish this task presently. Due to databases and data feeds, web pages are constantly changing, and even ads randomly change, and this makes a decentralized search engine a huge undertaking. Imagine if multiple computers have to search all data points and agree on specific data. Not only would it be impossible to form a consensus, it would also take incredible power and bandwidth.
- The search engine will update weekly and be placed into the blockchain. You may not realize it, but most pages on google are not indexed daily or even weekly. Only the most active pages are crawled often – some are even crawled every few minutes. I know you might think, “Hey, it’s 2018 and I want real time information,” but technology is just not there yet. If search data was consistently updated in the Nebulas blockchain, the blockchain would be extremely bloated, and, therefore, real time data is technically illogical at this time.
- However, while the white paper describes the search engine being centralized, it also says “In current stage…” Thereby indicating that Nebulas developers have a better solution in the long run. Perhaps a sidechain just for searching? The white paper also states that “the complete code for searching backend is available to the community and third-party developers can create their own searching services on this basis.” Hopefully, this will keep the ranking honest.
PoD potential issues:
Although Proof of Devotion gives new developers the potential to profit greatly, it also favors top developers. For example, Gifto just announced that they will launch on the Nebulas network. At least in the beginning, Gifto will be a powerful contender for other dApp creators.
How can I get Nebulas?
This article is my opinion; is editorialised and does not constitute financial advice. If you have conducted your own research, due diligence, and want to buy Nebulas; you can get it at many places including:
Want to get other coins?
- Coinspot (currently being proposed / requested – you can put in your vote here)
Additional Reading and Research
- Nebulas Website
- Nebulas Technical Whitepaper
- Nebulas Blog
- Nebulas Twitter
- Nebulas Youtube
- Nebulas Telegram
- Nebulas Telegram中文
- Nebulas Github
- Nebulas Slack
- Nebulas on Medium
- Nebulas Reddit
- And Then Came Nebulas (NAS)
- The 3 most promising public blockchain projects from China for 2018 A post about VeChain, Matrix and Nebulas
- 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day. How does CPG & Retail manage it?
- Bulletin board system
- Free Copy: Underground -Tales of hacking, madness and obsession on the electronic frontier
- EVERY DAY BIG DATA STATISTICS – 2.5 QUINTILLION BYTES OF DATA CREATED DAILY
- The Beauty of Nebulas (NAS)
- Nebulas — Yes We Believe.
- Nebulas Partners with GIFTO to Organize Blockchain Virtual Gifts for 30 Million Users
- Nebulas (NAS) ICO Analysis: A Decentralized Search Engine For The Blockchain
- What is Nebulas (NAS)? A Beginner’s Guide
- ICOBench Review
- Nebulas Discussion on Bitcoin Talk
- Nebulas Partners with GIFTO to Organize Blockchain Virtual Gifts for 30 Million Users
- Nebulas Milestones and RoadMap