Nxt 2.0 roadmap released

Wednesday 01 June 2016

Finally, the way forward is clearer, though it’s likely to be controversial no matter what.

Nxt is a fantastic piece of technology. It’s a 2.0 platform with amazing functionality, way ahead of the competition when it was launched. For a while it had a thriving asset exchange, with an ecosystem of businesses and a motivated base of users developing new apps of all kinds.

Road trip

The road map has been released. We know where we're going, but 'here' isn't a great place to start the journey...

Problems from the outset

But Nxt has always suffered from a few problems. One is a chronic lack of funding. Sometime towards the end of 2013, an anonymous dev called BCNext held an ICO to raise money for his new project. It was denounced as a scam and he collected just 21 BTC. The platform was duly completed, proving the naysayers wrong, and NXT tokens distributed accordingly. The uneven distribution that resulted from this flawed ICO meant that many whales held as much as 5% of total supply. The market has always been thin and highly susceptible to manipulation. Poor initial distribution has meant almost constant downward pressure. Distribution is far better now, but the damage to confidence has been done. Another implication of the small ICO is that funds for development and marketing have had to be raised from the community. That makes it hard to compete against platforms that have held multi-million-dollar ICOs.

Scalability

Moreover, there’s a bigger problem. Nxt 1.0 won’t scale. Like bitcoin, and just about every other blockchain out there, something fundamental needs to change if it is to reach mainstream adoption. Unfortunately, also like bitcoin, any solution will upset someone.

The proposal in itself is good. The idea is to create a master chain, which will be super efficient, pruned of everything unnecessary to allow it to scale without issue. That will be used to secure sidechains or child chains on which to carry out day-to-day business. This means organisations can create their own blockchains, secured on the master chain, but with all the functionality the platform offers.

The problem is that, in the words of the old joke, if you want to get there, you don’t start from here. For various reasons, not least due to the economic interests embodied in the asset exchange, moving to Nxt 2.0 would involve significant disruption of the existing system. The result was that many initiatives and users abandoned the platform, often selling their stake in the process. It’s been a painful few months for a once buzzing community.

A new beginning

The full proposal has now been released, along with a funding model that will hopefully make development and marketing sustainable. In short, the token representing the master chain will be distributed to existing NXT holders, according to a ‘snapshot’ of balances (actually taken over the course of several weeks; NXT spiked 25% on that announcement, which effectively makes existing NXT an ICO token for 2.0). The first sidechain will essentially be what the Nxt system is now, and will involve all the capabilities of the current system. Essentially, the master chain is for security, the side chain for transactions. 50% of the sidechain tokens will be reserved for development, the rest distributed according to existing user balances. The existing Nxt blockchain will be maintained for a year and continue to exist in whatever form users want to support.

You can read the full proposal here. It won’t please everyone, and we won’t know what the result will be until the new platform is launched in the summer of 2017. But it’s a bold plan and a clear vision, and is likely to breathe some life back into a community that has been, in recent weeks and months, existing in a holding pattern.


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