● Multi-asset blockchain enables exchange of crypto assets across separate blockchains without intermediaries
Kuva, a crypto start up inspired by monetary history in Africa recently released a technical whitepaper for its blockchain kNET. The whitepaper release marks the beginning of an economic and monetary operating system, driven by users’ satisfaction. It is also the culmination of a two year effort by the Kuva team to create a scalable crypto-currency for Africa and indeed the world.
Functionally, Kuva’s native blockchain, kNET allows crypto-currency users to switch between different currencies, both digital and fiat without intermediaries as well as enabling users to pay for various services.
At a protocol level, the kNET Blockchain attempts to incorporate end user satisfaction into its governance protocols. In a statement, Kuva outlined what it terms a third generation Blockchain technology, with world first utility, scalability and user governance.
Kuva Director of Strategy, Andreiko Kerdemelidis said:
“The Kuva team has worked hard to address challenges seen in the first generation Blockchain, the Bitcoin Blockchain. Bitcoin has shown its resilience and utility as a store value over the past 10 years but its noble consensus protocol has made it difficult to implement enhancements that can help drive user adoption. Bitcoin consensus protocol has in effect become its Achilles heel.”
According to the Kuva whitepaper, statically decentralized, consensus-driven, trustless networks like that of Bitcoin, are a Gordian knot; the same security that enforces their protocol and keeps users safe is also their weakness. These protocols can only change with the majority agreement of those who provide the resources to sustain the network, with the unintended effect that these protocols rapidly harden and become unchangeable to the detriment of end users.
For instance, it has not been possible to get miners’ consensus on controversial issues like increasing the block size. Increasing the block size (a part of the protocol where transactions are processed and stored) enhances the scalability of Bitcoin. However, for miners, a smaller block size means limited space or a scarce resource which can be exploited to extract a premium on the fees paid by those who want quick confirmation of their transactions.
The result is that Bitcoin which was launched with a vision as a universal “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”, has now settled permanently to be a form of ‘digital gold’ rather than ‘digital cash.’ Bitcoin is effectively unusable for making day-to-day small-value purchases due to the cost of transacting which grows every time the cryptos’ value increases.
Some Bitcoin supporters believe addressing this scaling challenge will be vital in facilitating the next wave of its adoption. As it stands now, Bitcoin remains stuck at a block size of just 1MB, smaller than a typical photograph taken on a modern smartphone and this happens despite Bitcoin’s specialised computing power which exceeds capability of every single supercomputer on Earth put together!
User ratings in governance
Bitcoin proponents and opponents alike do acknowledge the effect of this challenge (block size) in slowing the biggest cryptocurrency from achieving its goal of creating a true alternative to fiat money as well as advancing the financial inclusion cause.
So in order to avoid falling into the same trap, Kuva has conceived that by involving end users—the true economic majority—in the governance process, the chances of a Blockchain’s ability to scale and get adoption are greatly enhanced.
Kuva believes it will achieve this by incorporating governance protocols that are intended to progress the network toward a ‘dynamically decentralized’ system with a representative strategic governance that balances the incentives for service providers and infrastructure providers, based on the satisfaction of end users. This point is appreciated when one observes the progression (or lack thereof) as well as the trends observed in pioneering Blockchains. A pertinent example is crypto mining.
A few years ago, some mining pools in Bitcoin gained over 40% of the hashing power in the network, a phenomenon that raised concerns with stakeholders. These major pool oligarchies are reported to have backed off from the 50% mark ‘voluntarily’ in order to preserve confidence in the system.
To pre-empt something similar to this from happening, the kNET whitepaper is proposing what it terms a strategy and governance for the network to be shared between collateralized Licensed Service Providers (LSP) and network infrastructure operators; the Masternodes and Masterminers.
Importantly, this complex protocol allows the public or a third-party organization to submit ‘Strategic Governance Proposals’ for voting. Collateralized stakeholders will post a vote on a submitted proposal. In other words, Kuva users will be able to influence changes or the direction of further development of the network and protocol.
Solving the exchange dilemma
Meanwhile, the whitepaper touches on what it terms Chainbond Protected Swaps (CPS) or simply put, a two party exchange between crypto-currency assets across separate crypto networks. This allows the seamless exchange between crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum without the involvement of an exchange as is currently the convention.
This is a potential game changer as users will not have to briefly relinquish control of their private keys each time they want to swap assets. Even better, they will not have to store funds with exchanges which historically, have been vulnerable to hacking.
Sometimes a person in African who wants to buy digital currency often has to spend time looking for a seller because there are no formal and locally domiciled exchanges operating. This is ironic, as the strongest use cases for alternatives to government issued money are in developing countries. Chainbond Protected Swaps address an area that is presently hindering many potential users from adopting crypto-currencies.
James Saruchera, Chief Executive of Kuva said, “CPS will enable direct, trustless exchange between ordinary people where crypto is needed the most.”
kNet’s ability to allow trustless exchange across blockchains and user centricity, are attributes that may position it as the final missing piece in the crypto puzzle.