Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
What is Cryptocurrency? A Brief History
Myriad is a cryptocurrency, a spiritual successor of Bitcoin that seeks to improve and build upon the foundation created by Satoshi Nakamoto. To best understand what exactly cryptocurrency is and the implications it has for society, we’ll start with a brief overview of currency itself; Early man invented currency as a matter of simple necessity. If I’m a shepherd and have sheep but need lumber, I have to find someone that has lumber and needs sheep, otherwise I can’t acquire lumber. Rather than go through the arduous process of sequentially trading until one acquires the necessary goods, mankind began using bits of metal and other various non-perishable items to record transactions and represent grain deposits, sales and general trade. This lead to the formation of early banks, Assyrian and Babylonian institutions that made grain loans to farmers and traders who carried goods to exotic lands for trade.
Over time many different materials were used as currency, driven by whatever was considered valuable at the time. In ancient Rome coinage was used, but military men would often be paid in salt, a substance difficult to obtain and thus highly valuable. Paper money was introduced in China in the 11th century and spread to Europe through trade and exchange. So too banks evolved with the times, introducing promissory notes and coinage, often at the direction of governments who used it to monopolize and control wealth. However, this solved a fundamental problem of the time; How to move large amounts of wealth without attracting nefarious characters. By the mid-seventeenth century European banks had begun issuing banknotes which circulated the same way as modern governments. These were backed by real deposits of precious metals at the banks, that the notes could be redeemed for. This lead to the rapid proliferation of banking and its eventual control by national governments.
Banking systems underwent a massive change predicated by World War I, far too much to describe here with any justice. Suffice it to say, as Europe collapsed, so did its central banking systems. While banks had evolved into an elite group, this caused that power to accumulate even further. During the 20th century, banks and governments, now printing more money than they could back with real goods, stopped the practice of creating coinage with valuable metals and went off the Gold Standard entirely, meaning banknotes were no longer redeemable. Meanwhile, except for an increase after World War II, consolidation of wealth has proceeded apace, driven by the Industrial Revolution started in the nineteenth century.
This has lead to the global financial crisis we face today. Currencies have undergone rapid inflation and devaluation as governments print money as needed, no longer required to back it with tangible assets. Currency itself has become ever more increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite few, the top 1%, who continue to increase their incomes while the rest of the globe is put into poverty. In a game of pass-the-buck, industries seek out new people and places to exploit in the pursuit of capitalism. Only to compound the problem, the organization in charge of setting monetary policy in the world’s largest economy, the United States, is a private organization, not represented or chosen by the people, plagued by cronyism, complicit in the fraud of Wall Street. Banking has become notorious for its rampant fraud, attempts to fleece their clientele, and the fact that no one is being prosecuted for any of their crimes. For an in-depth analysis of the last three hundred years of currency, Parisian Professor of Economics Thomas Piketty has written a thorough book titled Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
The Stage is Set for Change – Bitcoin is Born
While many things have changed society, the advent of the internet has arguably the most potential to forever change the landscape of human history. Everyone on the internet has the same voice, regardless of class, creed, ethnicity or location. Now people on the opposite side of the world can debate philosophy, collaborate on projects and work together towards common goals. The internet has even been declared a basic human right by the United Nations – the near entire wealth of human knowledge at your fingertips, making lives better. As more uses were created for the internet, it was inevitably used as a tool for commerce and trade. Currency evolved further with credit cards and online banking statements – now your assets are just a number on a screen, any ties to physicality nearly gone.
In 2009 an anonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin – the first true cryptocurrency. Fundamentally, Bitcoin is a distributed ledger system. What this means is that anyone who runs the Bitcoin software downloads a copy of the blockchain, a record of all Bitcoin transactions ever. This is a public ledger, so anyone can inspect it, that is secured by complex cryptographic algorithms, so that no one can fake, lie, or falsify transactions. Everyone all over the world has the same exact copy of the blockchain. Enabled by the internet, this ledger system allows users to send bitcoins to each other, nearly instantaneously, with little to no fees. Fueled by supply and demand, Bitcoins are the next abstraction of money – not backed by physical products, they’re only worth what someone will pay for them. This revolutionary piece of software means that the stranglehold that large institutions have on currency can be broken. No longer does it cost $80 to send $200 from the United States to Uruguay. No more can banks charge exorbitant fees on currency exchanges. You can pay in Canada for goods from South Africa with bitcoins, and no exchange is necessary. Businesses accepting bitcoin no longer have to pay the 3-5% that credit card companies charge in fees. Government fiat can be changed and printed whenever the issuing body decides, but no one can change Bitcoin unless all the users agree to it. Bitcoin has done for currency what the internet has done for speech.
Bitcoin’s very success and adoption has also created the need for its evolution. Bitcoin takes quite a while for transactions to confirm – on average 10 minutes per confirmation, or an hour for the recommended 6! As a medium of trade and transaction, this creates problems – one would not want to wait 60 minutes in the grocery to purchase your goods! Furthermore, the method in which bitcoins are created has also changed drastically; Initially it was mined by a small number of users with their computer’s CPUs, but as the value of bitcoin increased, people found better ways of producing them. This technological arms race has created a situation where only the richest people can acquire the leading Bitcoin miners and massive farms of them are setup to reap money. Interestingly, the race for mining power has also brought out a potential flaw in bitcoin; If a miner or group of miners can acquire 51% of the network hashrate, or total computing power, they can write the blockchain as they see fit, potentially stealing coins or denying others’ transactions. Lastly, since Bitcoin has gone up so dramatically in value, and has a limited supply of 21 million coins ever, it is no longer feasible as a means of trade to a large portion of the world. Approximately 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10USD a day, which is currently equivalent to 0.015BTC, making the transactions fees of 0.002BTC a significant portion.
Myriadcoin seeks to solve some of the issues found in Bitcoin while also expanding and improving on the underlying technology.
Focus on Innovative Technology
Myriadcoin was the first to use a multi-algorithm blockchain – five separate algorithms that work concurrently, not chained together like other coins. This unique, forward-looking design is indicative of the design philosophy of Myriadcoin; Create applications of technology that have only been imagined and build them into useful tools that can help everyone. Many coins announce new features to jump on a hype bandwagon, or like Bitcoin are wary of adding new features, but Myriad continues to explore new avenues and implement things that have never been done before. Myriad was the third coin to create an Electrum wallet, the second coin to announce an SMS wallet, while currently working on developing Colored coins in a massive scale, as well as sidechain and metalayer technologies. Our Multi-Algorithm Merged Mining Pool will be the first of its kind, part of our larger effort to encourage merged mining on the Myriadcoin blockchain. Our particular blockchain design is excellent for both existing coins to fork onto as well as new coins to be launched from. Several coins, inspired by Myriadcoin, have already followed our design lead. Furthermore, there are several projects in process that we refuse to discuss until they are thoroughly explored and tested.
Myriadcoin’s five algorithms each take an average of 2.5 minutes to find a block, meaning that you’ll typically only wait 30 seconds for a confirmation. As a result, Myriadcoin is more readily usable as a Point of Service currency than Bitcoin, which takes 20x longer, as well as many other cryptocurrencies. Because of the multi-algorithm approach, the fast block times don’t negatively impact miners like some coins that have a single algorithm Proof of Work.
Global Vision and Reach
You can pay for goods internationally, pay your friend back for last night’s tab, or send your family money across the globe in 30 seconds. Myriadcoin allows you to send money for less than 1/5th of a US cent, significantly less than the cost of a bitcoin transaction. While the difference may seem small now, for a large portion of the world living on a few USD a day the fees for Bitcoin can take a large part of your income. Myriadcoin strives to be a coin for everyone by targeting the people it can help most: People without access to banks or who have such volatile government fiat that conventional currency is worse than nothing. We are trying to reach out to these countries specifically, using SMS wallets on flip phones, readily available and widely in use, colored coin projects and real usage applications.
Myriadcoin has no pre-mine or IPO and was fairly launched. Most importantly, Myriadcoin uses a long mining period, taking approximately 10 years to produce all the coins that will be mined. While this is significantly shorter than Bitcoin, it is significantly longer than many other coins being launched today. These other coins use a very short period of mining, one to four weeks typically, if they have any mining period at all, then become Proof of Stake. While this is very lucrative for the people who initially mined or created the coin, anyone interested in the coin later has to pay an increasing amount to acquire any. This causes a large portion of the coins to be consolidated in the hands of very few, one of the very things trying to be avoided in decentralized currency.
Myriadcoin’s unique multi-algorithm approach means that it has extra resistance to 51% attacks that can compromise other coins’ networks. In order to perform a similar attack on Myriadcoin would require a significant amount of hardware of various kinds, orchestrated across all five algorithms. Additionally, the alternating nature of the algorithms creating the blockchain means that the statistical chance of such an attack is extremely low, requiring closer to the order of 81%.
Because Myriadcoin uses five separate algorithms, no algorithm is rewarded with more than 20% of the coins created. Since each algorithm is different, different hardware can specialize for each algorithm. Currently, Myriadcoin supports SHA256, Scrypt, Skein, Groestl and Qubit. Because of the inclusion of SHA256 (the algorithm Bitcoin uses) and Scrypt, ASICs (specialized mining hardware) are able to be used to mine Myriadcoin at the same time that your average gamer can use their GPU to mine on Skein or Groestl and CPU miners can use Qubit. This all-inclusive approach means that “ASIC resistance” is completely unnecessary for Myriadcoin. Instead we encourage anyone and everyone to use whatever existing hardware they have to mine. This means that people who don’t have access to expensive hardware can still mine just as easily as people spending tens of thousands of dollars. When combined with the long mining period, Myriadcoin stands out as a coin that will be fairly distributed and easily mine-able for years to come.