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Find answers to common questions about Aleph Zero's blockchain technology and staking process.
Aleph Zero is a layer 1 blockchain platform based on a novel, peer-reviewed consensus protocol, AlephBFT. The consensus utilizes a Directed Acyclic Graph architecture as an intermediary data structure, resulting in a rapid time to finality. In the end, however, Aleph Zero is still a blockchain—not a DAG.
The consensus is integrated into Substrate, an open framework built by Parity and the Polkadot developer community—however, it doesn’t make Aleph Zero a parachain, but rather an independent Layer 1.
In 2023, Aleph Zero will introduce Liminal, a software-based privacy layer based on zero-knowledge proofs and secure multi-party computation.
With the above, Aleph Zero aims to solve the shortcomings of DLT base layers and to help the industry tackle the problem known as the Blockchain Trilemma.
In general, blockchain is a chain of blocks where each block contains the hash of the previous one. A block is a collection of data, and each piece of data is added to the blockchain by connecting one block after another in chronological order. What is important, in what we usually call ‘blockchain protocols,’ only one block at a time can be created globally, which requires a mechanism of assigning block creation task to a specific user. No matter what mechanism is utilized, such constraint puts serious limits on the whole protocol throughput. AlephBFT, as a DAG consensus protocol, allows multiple users to create units/blocks at the same time, and the blocks are subsequently ordered and validated by our novel consensus. Such an approach allows for massive gains in both speed and throughput of the whole platform. What’s worth pointing out, however, is that Aleph Zero is a blockchain, not a DAG—as it only uses a DAG as an intermediary data structure to help facilitate faster time to finality. For a more detailed description, you can read our blog post about DAG vs blockchain.
We are an experienced team of experts coming from many scientific and business backgrounds. We share the goal of building secure, decentralized systems that are ready for the metaverse and Web 3.0 transition. You can read more about the team members here. People working on the Aleph Zero project are either employed through the Aleph Zero Foundation directly or through organizations that have a standing partnership with the Foundation. Our core research, development partner is Cardinal Cryptography, a cryptography consulting firm founded by Aleph Zero co-founders and located in Krakow, Poland. We also work with 10Clouds on the devops infrastructure and Serotonin for consulting our marketing strategies.
Asynchronicity. Aleph Zero does not rely on any timing assumptions and ensures that all honest transactions will be confirmed even during times of total asynchrony of the network. The outcome is both DDoS resilience and easy protocol recovery after the network partitions.
Leader-free (leaderless). Aleph Zero is decentralized and leaderless. It does not have a single node in control of creating a total ordering of units at any stage of the process. This quality provides not only a greater degree of decentralization than many existing protocols—but also guards against timed DDoS attacks that can be aimed at validators.
BFT. Aleph Zero can tolerate up to 33% of malicious committee members without an effect on the validation process. Each transaction is confirmed as soon as 67% of the members agree upon it.
At the time of writing, there are several thousand projects in the crypto domain. It is, therefore, not feasible to construct comparisons towards every possible project out there. We have currently drafted FAQs for a few select projects, but we do intend to increase this count as we go along. If you have a problem finding the information you need, or If you believe our records currently are omitting a project that is advantageous to compare against, then please reach out in our telegram channel, and we will take your notion to heart.
Aleph Zero will never directly answer questions about specific exchanges or encourage speculative discourse. Listings of AZERO, the native coin powering the network, are subject to announcements by the centralized exchanges initially.
We’re looking at helping to solve the blockchain trilemma by introducing a well-balanced, peer-reviewed, scalable, and secure public network. We’re building on the shoulders of giants—academic and industry professionals within computer science and distributed computing world—and connecting the bits and pieces that have been around for four decades. On top of that, we’re adding several innovations of our own: a novel consensus protocol and a multichain privacy framework.
Having spent most of our time building proper fundamentals, Aleph Zero aims to become one of the most flexible solutions on the market—and therefore suited for the needs of a vast group of potential developers.
There are two ways in which you can use the privacy features of Aleph Zero—either natively, directly on the platform, or by integrating with the multichain privacy layer. We designed our solution, which we call Liminal, for developers who want to connect across various chains, e.g.:
• It will be possible to write smart contracts on Ethereum or Near while keeping a private state of this contract on Aleph Zero.
• For those who decide to build directly on Aleph Zero, Liminal’s privacy-enhancing capabilities will be native.
At the moment, most of the existing privacy solutions are based solely on “zero-knowledge” proofs or sMPC—but not both that complement each other in a hybrid fashion.
The idea behind ZK-Proofs is to allow one party, the prover, to produce concise proof to convince the verifier that the “prover” is performing only correct computations on its private data. Importantly, this technique reveals nothing about the “prover’s” personal data to the verifier (hence the term “zero-knowledge”).
The second solution, called secure Multi-Party Computation (sMPC) involves hiding inputs to functions (by keeping sensitive information off-chain on several nodes) but providing a verifiable and public output. Access to the data is only allowed if the nodes conduct a secure handshake. No one computer can access the encrypted contents without a supermajority.
These two solutions complement each other by eliminating their respective problems. ZK-Proofs allow for basic transfers yet are incapable of dealing with multi-user interactions. Zero-knowledge proofs can prove the correctness of the state update of their personal private state (for instance, how many private tokens they own on each address) that can be verified by blockchain.
ZK-Proofs are not capable of achieving a concept of a common private state—a state owned by a smart contract that would be updated after users interact with it. This is where sMPC’s have their moment to shine. They can be used to implement the concept of a common private state, an example of which would be a decentralized exchange based on an automated market maker model without the need to reveal the value of each transaction. The problem with sMPC is that on its own, it is prohibitively slow; hence Liminal will use this solution only for the computations that need to interact directly with the common private state. The remaining computations can be performed and validated using ZK-Proofs.
Importantly, while in a ‘classical’ submarine sends users are tasked with sending decrypted transactions after appropriate time has passed, in Liminal that will happen automatically—alongside the initial transaction, user will be obliged to send threshold encryption to specific committee, which in turn will be responsible for decrypting it on time. It is an important update, as in classical scenario user could not reveal encrypted transaction, hence such systems lack atomicity.
The idea behind fixing the MEV problem in Aleph Zero has to do with our Liminal MPC framework and the so-called submarine sends. A user would send an encrypted transaction that’s immediately ordered, but is revealed only after some time (as an example, after three blocks have been finalized). As an order in which such type of transaction would be ledgered corresponds to the order of their encrypted versions, miners can not influence the ordering for their own benefit—at the time they need to provide an order on transactions, they do not know their content yet.
Staking is a way through which cryptocurrency holders can gain passive income through their digital assets. We can find some similarities between staking and holding money in a savings account, with the caveat that staking usually delivers higher yields. This process is only possible via proof-of-stake blockchain protocols and involves special participants called validators verifying the honesty of blocks added to the blockchain. By having validators and the nominators that vote for them lock away a certain amount of tokens we can disincentivize malicious actions by making them financially unprofitable. See How to Start Staking With the Developer Wallet
Nomination pools are a system in proof-of-stake blockchain protocols that allows users to pool their coins together on-chain to nominate validators, take part in on-chain governance, and receive staking rewards. This solution helps to improve the Aleph Zero blockchain's scalability.
Yes, nomination pools are safe. They do not compromise user security when compared to nominating directly.
No, you don't need to unstake your tokens if you wish to continue staking via a direct nomination. However, we encourage users to move to the nomination pools. Nomination pools are a new way of staking that allows multiple users to act as a single nominator. No trust is required between the users in a single pool, and no security is lost through this method. Nomination pools are open to holders who own at least 10 AZERO.
If you have less than 2,000 AZERO, you will not have to unbond your coins. However, we recommend switching to a nomination pool to aid chain scalability.
No, although moving to a nomination pool would definitely benefit Aleph Zero's scalability.
The new minimum bond for staking via a direct nomination is 2,000 AZERO. After the upgrade, users with a minimum of 10 AZERO are able to stake through the nomination pools.
No. After claiming the payout, the rewards are sent to the account of the user. They will be unlocked/transferable.
Yes, the Aleph Zero application on Ledger supports nomination pools. Note that Aleph Zero is not yet available in Ledger Live and nomination pools should be used through azero.dev or one of the supported wallets.
In order to leave a nomination pool, you will need to unbond your funds. This will take 14 days.