ChangeNOW AMA with the NIMIQ team
Hello and welcome to another ChangeNOW AMA session. This time our guests are team members of the NIMIQ project – a cryptocurrency designed to run in a browser.
Q: Guys, сould you kindly tell us in a few words about the Nimiq project? And maybe something about the team members if they are okay with that? 😉
If you are not familiar with the members of Team Nimiq, here is a quick summary of the team structure (leaving out legal and operations):
Core (Blockchain Development & Research): Janosch, Jeff, Marvin, Pascal, Philipp, Richard.
Frontend (UI/UX, Website, Apps): Daniel, Julian, Matheo, Tammo, Sebastian, Sören, Sven.
Communication (Marketing, Content Creation, Social Media): Atua, Chris, Julian, Richy, Sven, Sui-Ju, Tammo.
We are an international team that aims to create the easiest to use payment currency. Nimiq is browser-based, which means that you can run all the software in your browser. Google-docs style.
We usually meet in Costa Rica and Germany because a big portion of the team are from these places. We work together and sync usually for a month, then we work remotely. Right now we are in the jungles of Costa Rica working together 🙂
Q: That’s neat! As far as I understand, NIM coin has a lot to do with web development. Are all of your team members must have at least a certain level of knowledge in web development to be hired? 😉
A: That’s true, Nimiq is indeed a focused web project. In general, we have a very tech and dev focused team, with coders being the significant majority. I personally am involved with Product, UX, UI, and Marketing and have no coding skills whatsoever, I do have skills around web-based products. So no but yes 😉
Q: If you were to pitch NIM to anyone (politicians, school stuff, developers) who would it be?
A: Web devs are a strong part of the Nimiq Community apart from that, merchants are our biggest focus group right now
Q: do you work with merchants that are of your target audience (development, etc) or are you planning on expanding?
A: We partnered with Kindhumans, created a Checkout that accepts BTC, ETH, and NIM together with them. Here is a blog post about it https://www.nimiq.com/blog/kindhumans-and-nimiq-checkout/
We are onboarding all merchants interested in accepting BTC, ETH, and NIM. If you know a merchant that might be interested please let us know 👍👍
Q: Did the Nimiq team know that the browser miner would be ineffectual–given an assumed high network hashrate–in advance?
A: Hi! We always considered it an onboarding tool and demonstrator, so people can see how easy it is to get started. Right in the UI, you’ll also find the link “Mine faster” that takes to the download section where you can download a native miner
Q: With many aspects of the roadmap currently delayed, does the Nimiq team recognized that it has to be addressed for accountability and transparency purposes?
A: We started to share a progress report regularly and will continue to do so, that way users can follow the milestones easier. Some items on the roadmap were indeed delayed in the past so we could be sure we delivered the level a quality expected from Team Nimiq. We are aiming to be consistent with our roadmap and not to have any major delays in the future 😇
Q: If the miner was made purely as an education tool, why not build a trivial simulator for a fraction of the dev time of the browser miner?
A: It actually is mostly a visualization of the network and that’s where most of the effort went into. Nimiq is a browser-based blockchain, mining in the browser comes naturally. Just that the cryptography doesn’t run as fast as in a native app.
Q: Would the NIMIQ team, themselves, be happy if their own native currency was replaced with notes containing the cute avatars currently part of the UX (last time I checked)? Would you expect the rest of the population to accept such a look?
A: These avatars (or “identicons” how we call them) do not only serve as a design element but are also a user-friendly way to identify a recipient. Its purpose is to help the sender to determine whether he is actually sending a transaction to the correct recipient or whether he might have mistyped the address.
They are therefore always specific to an address and not well suited to be printed on bills.
Q: do you think that accessibility will be the driving force in crypto adoption? Or do you think people will adopt crypto simply because it’s perks
A: We think crypto mass adoption is a matter of time. Usability is what ends up defining what projects are successful (think MySpace vs Facebook). We focus on creating the easiest to use crypto ecosystem so when mass adoption is around the corner, non-techy users can have a ready-to-use intuitive cryptocurrency. Check this video where we use this angle: https://youtu.be/dA40oyDVtqs
Q: That’s great and Scaling it’s a big issue right now and I agree that it needs proper research, and so what directions are being explored at this moment that will guarantee Nimiq to scale for future demand
A: The team is working intensively on switching to PoS with a brand-new consensus algorithm called “Albatross”, details in the whitepaper nimiq.com/whitepaper. We can’t yet give details on the performance but we’re pushing it and it’s going to be more than 1000 TX/s
Q: Nimiq hired a marketing company many months ago, can you please provide information on what expenses occurred and what were the results?
A: Nimiq hired overnice.com for UX, UI and marketing services. The results can be seen at the actual brand (logo, style guide, etc.), Nimiq.com and all user-flows of the Nimiq payment system (some designs have not been fully implemented yet). Communication wise, several measures and activities were conducted, ranging from the infamous onboarding boat, implementation of IG and LinkedIn, SM assets and posts, new onboarding video, etc. the list goes on. However, we are not at all happy with the overall results of Nimiq’s marketing and see a lot of potential for improvement, especially in out-reach and awareness. The most significant development here: The team recently decided to issue a marketing budget, something Nimiq has never done until this point.
Q: thanks, what kind of help the potential partners could expect of you?
A: We’re working closely together with TEN31 to enable them to provide Crypto-Fiat Atomic Swaps as part of our open-source efforts with OASIS; another good example is Kindhumans, we helped them to enable their shop to accept crypto, BTC, ETH, and NIM.
Q: Has been the dispute with Robin solved personally (face-to-face)? Could we expect a harmonic communication between team Nimiq and Robin in mid- and long-term?
A: I think that is up to him since the rest of the Team have always been open for discussion and solve any disputes. We will communicate future contributions from his end if/when there are any for sure.
Q: Do you provide any information for devs who are interested to start building stuff on top of Nimiq?
A: Yes! The dev center at nimiq.com/developers is the first starting point. It’s a work in progress and we keep adding tutorials. In parallel, we’re keeping documentation on GitHub with the individual projects so that devs can find documentation where they expect it. Just these days @daniel_nimiq was working on an app template that you can clone that has all the Nimiq goodness preloaded to get started right away!
Q: Can you briefly explain what’s the top three milestones that your team aims to execute before the end of next year?
A: The three most important (arguably) milestones are:
– Albatross Demonstration: Provide a glimpse of how freakishly fast Nimiq2.0 will be.
– Increase adoption of NIM in stores: Onboard more stores to use the Nimiq BTC/ETH/NIM checkout and the Nimiq EasyPay App (still to be released)
– OASIS Marketing: Fiat-Crypto Bridge with no KYC and no Middleman is a major breakthrough from Nimiq. We are creating the communication/marketing related to OASIS
Q: Are there any privacy-preserving features implemented in the Nimiq blockchain? Or are some in your roadmap?
A: Private transactions are indeed in our Roadmap, we have been researching different promising approaches to this challenge. Right now we are implementing Albatross Proof Of Stake Algorithm into the Nimiq Blockchain to release Nimiq2.0 without anonymous transactions. This will upgrade the Blockchain to be super-efficient in energy usage, reach more than 1000 transactions per second and sub-second confirmation time. We will continue researching/testing promising technology for private transactions and work on adding it to Nimiq after Nimiq2.0 has been released.
Q: Whom do you see as your biggest competitor in crypto space?
A: Every payment coin can be seen as a competitor in that sense, Litecoin, Nano, Dash are probably the most prominent direct contenders for actual crypto-payments. But Team Nimiq’s perspective is that not competition but collaboration should be the focus here. Our unique consensus algorithm, Albatross, will be open source and we encourage others to use it too. One important thing that sets us apart is that we don’t compromise on censorship-resistance and decentralization
Q: (we get this question a lot as well, lol). Does the team get paid in NIM or Fiat?
A: The team is paid a percentage in NIM and a percentage in other cryptos (BTC and ETH). The reason for this is that Team Members have committed not to sell their NIM holdings to contribute to the NIM Ecosystem. Team members use the BTC/ETH portion of the payment in their day-to-day expenses while holding the NIM portion. We are not paid in FIAT.
Q: Any plans to set up a way to use safe over ipfs?
A: Great stuff! I’m currently working on a project called the Nimiq Pop-Up Shop and it’s working completely decentralized with Nimiq and IPFS. And this is just the starting point! But to answer your question directly: as the Safe is fully client-side, it would totally work to deploy the Safe on IPFS – and we consider this move!
Q: How does the reward system in albatross work for stakers? How can an emission curve look like with no set blocktime?
A: Fundamentals and game theory change with the transition to PoS. There is still a bit of modeling and peer-review to be done so we are not yet set on anything disclosable. There is, however, a clear commitment to flatten the inflation curve compared to our current PoS one.
Q: Wow! don’t you think, though, that it might be a bit slow? (I am not aware (yet) about the OASIS but I know that atomic swaps might be a bit slower)
A: Atomic Swaps are as slow as the slower chain of the atomic swap. Nimiq2.0 has 1-second confirmations and the SEPA network on Europe allow Fiat to be moved from account to account in about 3 seconds. The plan here is to create a frictionless and easy way to jump in and out of crypto, speed is needed for a good user experience
Q: Do you think crypto will be able to be mobile? As in, right now, for mining you need to have a powerful computer – but what will happen in the future?
A: Nimiq blockchain is very light and can run a node on a mobile. This is something that companies like HTC are looking for. Nimiq client is built on Rust which can be compiled natively to mobile. The Nimiq client was released a couple of weeks ago and is in the testing phase. A community developer already started testing it with the Nimiq rust client recently.
Q: You recently did the first test swap between crypto and fiat with oasis. Can you give a bit more detail on the process and the state of development?
A: Bitcoin testnet HTLC used during that swap: https://blockstream.info/testnet/address/tb1qe35wwce92t5tt737yssekg2aj08aqgd3q2gm7z9pavng8l467l7sepffgu
The fiat part happened on a private test instance of the OASIS software, but with real money by sending a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer and retrieving the funds again on another account after the swap was confirmed.
This was the first proof that the concept of OASIS and its implementation is working as expected. But more testing is required.
Q: As a marketing manager at ChangeNOW I’m constantly looking for new ways to bring people to our project. How do you promote Nimiq, are you trying to educate people on crypto so they would get in, or you just trying to show them all the advantages, to attract their attention? What are your key channels for communication with your audience?
A: The way we see it, there are many audiences, requiring substantially different communication. To pick up an old slogan, Nimiq aims to be so simple that your parents can use it. Here we are talking mass communication, paid ads and such, to have an actual impact. But for now, we assume that there is no critical mass (there will be). Crypto is still a very closed space and requires targeted efforts. We’re going to massively ramp up event marketing (conferences, meetups, etc.), work with more influencers and B2B focused budget spending, for example, on LinkedIn.
I think it’s a good question for all the team members – and a nice way to end AMA on a good note 😉