Spotlight on: Nxt

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Nxt isn’t really a cryptocurrency: it’s a crypto finance platform. It’s powerful, versatile, and offers great functionality for businesses.

I’ve been involved in Nxt for well over a year now, and am continually staggered about the level of innovation in the technology and the enthusiasm of the community - so I make no apologies for mentioning here on BitScan from time to time. Nxt is a rather different beast to most cryptos. Rather than being concerned with transferring value (though it does that too), the currency is really a kind of fuel for other types of transaction.

Read also: Spotlight on Dogecoin

SuperNET

The SuperNET family of crypto projects is probably the best-known application built on Nxt

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Unlike most alts, Nxt was not cloned from bitcoin (the platform is generally called Nxt, the coin NXT, by the way - and though there’s no consensus, it’s generally pronounced en-ex-tee). It was created from scratch in Java, a very popular language for developers. Its many functions are built into the core, and it’s very easy to create services on top of it using the simple API. This approach means it does a lot of things that other crypto coins aren’t designed to do. For example:

  • Messages. It’s possible to send encrypted or plain-text messages on the blockchain. Larger blocks of text can also be stored and the overhead is dealt with by pruning them regularly, or else requiring further payment. This is a critical function for proof-of-existence and proof-of-identity applications.
  • Asset exchange. It’s possible to create, issue, buy and sell crypto-assets peer-to-peer on the decentralised asset exchange, paying dividends to your investors whenever you want. There are already dozens of businesses that have raised community funds and are running successfully (bear in mind regulations in your jurisdiction might raise questions about issuing crypto-assets).
  • Monetary system. You can create new coins on top of Nxt, using Nxt’s blockchain to secure them rather than bootstrapping a whole new network. Coins can have different properties and can be highly tailored. (You can even distribute by proof-of-work and secure by Nxt’s proof-of-stake.)
  • Digital goods store. There’s a built-in marketplace for digital products like ebooks, apps, digital art, music and so on. It’s one of Nxt’s features that has existed for a while but is still very underused.
  • Voting. This is now built into the blockchain and offers the possibility of organisations voting on business decisions, and much else besides.
  • Phasing (multi-sig transactions).

The implications of Nxt are not the same as the implications of bitcoin. The two are not in direct competition. If you want to transfer value, bitcoin is still the best option. If you want to build blockchain applications - proof-of-identity, proof-of-existence, loyalty tokens, crypto-stocks, secure messaging, decentralised exchanges, voting platforms, and just about anything else you could want - then Nxt is a serious contender.

Nxt works on a brainwallet system, rather than using a wallet.dat, so you can access it from anywhere so long as you have your passphrase. (The client itself will help you generate a secure one.) You can get started with the reference client at NXT.org, but there is also a fantastic one-page html lite client that’s perfect for cold storage that you can use to play around if you don’t want to download the full blockchain. I’ll be taking a closer look at this great little piece of software in due course.


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