A Frictionless, Censorship-Resistant Payment Protocol Native to the Web
What is Nimiq?
Nimiq is a decentralized, censorship-resistant payment protocol native to the web, with its own diverse
ecosystem of apps. The native NIM token is transacted within Nimiq as a store and transfer of value: it
acts as digital cash. The cutting-edge, browser-first blockchain approach means that users directly
connect to the blockchain with nothing more than a browser. Therefore anyone with an up-to-date browser
can join the payment network directly, pay and accept payments without having to install software or
rely on unnecessary intermediaries. This gives Nimiq its ‘it just works’ characteristic, which is
further strengthened by an ethos of simplicity and ease of use. NIM is designed to be a cryptocurrency
used by the masses.
Nimiq’s Mission & Vision
Revolutionizing money by realizing the full potential of cryptocurrency. While Nimiq itself as a
tech-focused project is dedicated to ushering in a new era of independent and censorship-resistant
digital cash, the Nimiq Ecosystem aims to bring universal access and the ease of use of NIM to both the
tech-savvy and typical Internet users. All efforts are guided by an overarching philanthropic mindset
such that as NIM is increasingly adopted, its charity’s ability to support good causes will grow.
The Nimiq Mainnet was launched on April 14, 2018 and the payment protocol is fully operational. Nimiq’s
browser-first blockchain has been deployed and streamlined for the web. All user interfaces are focused
on simplicity, maximizing ease of use, including onboarding, easy address verification, and a simplified
backup process. Nimiq is also home to a growing ecosystem of apps, and has dedicated significant efforts
to advance blockchain and crypto adoption research. Nimiq has acquired a stake in German WEG Bank to
secure a licensed ally in implementing the first version of the Open Asset Swap Interaction Scheme
(Nimiq OASIS), while diversifying project assets. The project offers active support and advice to
community developers, as well as limited seed funding for qualifying community projects.
Albatross: An optimistic consensus algorithm
A technical research paper
resulting from Nimiq’s
collaboration with Trinkler Software. It is a new PoS consensus algorithm that is able to achieve a
performance close to the theoretical maximum for a single chain.
Asset Swap Interaction Scheme is the blueprint for a potentially disruptive
crypto-to-fiat bridge, making fiat currency behave as if it were tokens on the blockchain,
a unique way of connecting the traditional banking network with non-custodial crypto
Cryptocurrencies still represent only a small fraction of the global
And much of their adoption so far has been driven by centralized services that hold your crypto assets
for you (centralized crypto exchanges, payment providers, etc). We are therefore still far away from the
goal of crypto mass adoption, even more so in its original peer-to-peer, non-centralized sense. The
reasons centralized solutions appeal to users seem to be convenience and ease of use, as they employ the
same interaction patterns we became familiar with by using online banking. This familiarity in turn
leads to a feeling of safety. But this convenience and feeling of safety come with a serious trade-off:
giving up the ownership of your keys to a third party, violating what is considered to be the most
fundamental reason for the creation of cryptocurrencies in the first place.
In light of these facts, Nimiq recognizes an enormous opportunity. Namely to pursue
and deliver the most accessible and easy-to-use but also censorship-resistant and
decentralized payment solution for mass adoption. Nimiq seeks to achieve this by
researching, implementing and combining cutting-edge technologies from:
Distributed ledger technologies,
Human psychology and behaviour.
Web apps have become the standard of the Internet and are disrupting business models of traditional
software industries. From Encarta to Wikipedia, from Office to Google Docs, web apps are far more
attractive because they improve the overall usability of software for the user:
No installation needed:
Users can open a website and start using the application with one click.
By focusing on the browser instead of each specific OS and device, a more coherent codebase is
achieved, which translates into stability and a consistent experience across devices for the user.
Built-in security and privacy:
Browsers are one of the most secure, tested and audited pieces of software. Providing untampered
client-side software that runs in the user’s browser allows for inherently secure and private
By tapping into the user’s familiarity with their browser it is possible to create a smooth and
easy-to-use user experience that ‘just works’.
Web apps are a clear long-lasting trend in software development, since the web has become ubiquitous
even in developing countries.
Crypto for Everybody
Even though there are obvious advantages in using cryptocurrencies and holding your own funds, it is
clear and understandable that non-tech-savvy users are drawn to convenient and easy-to-use
Nimiq learned from commercial payment providers that, frictionless payments are the key
for user adoption, especially as they directly influence the perceived safety and trustworthiness of a
system. In other words, a payment system that is intuitive and frictionless makes users feel much more
confident about trusting this system with their money.
Looking at the history and origins of cryptocurrencies, it is logical that the focus was on tech-savvy
users. Over decades, the primary objective was solving tremendously challenging research and engineering
problems in the realm of cryptography, distributed ledgers, and network communications. At such an early
stage it was out of scope to consider streamlining blockchain technology towards user experience and
daily payments on the web.
Powered by the knowledge we now hold and in deep gratitude for the hard work of crypto pioneers, we are
now standing on the shoulders of giants. Nimiq is working on outperforming the convenience of
conventional payment services with an enhanced user experience that is intuitive through
simplicity, whilst providing the privacy and censorship-resistance of decentralized
cryptocurrencies to create a novel payment experience. This is the Nimiq Payment Protocol, embedded in
the Nimiq Ecosystem.
Open Source and Developer Accessibility
Nimiq is encompassed by a strong philanthropic mindset, it is open-source and aims to become entirely
Team Nimiq is a tech-focused team with a deeply rooted open-source mentality. The project’s source code
is released to the public on the official GitHub repository to
encourage peer review and interaction with developers. The project’s main focus is to enable the most
accessible, censorship-resistant payment solutions. This intrinsically means that Team Nimiq works to
provide the framework and tools for developers to further build applications that tap into the Nimiq
Payment Ecosystem. To guide and support developers on this journey, Nimiq provides the Nimiq Developer Center
It is already possible to pay online with crypto. Through intermediaries. But the heart and soul of
crypto is to make ourselves as independent as possible from third parties and intermediaries.
Simplicity means bringing crypto and blockchain technology to where the user already is: online, on the
web. Instead of offering payment services for the web, Nimiq is a blockchain and payment protocol
native to the web offering any form of payment, be it online, in a shop, or between
friends, as long as the device is connected. Being a browser-first blockchain means paying becomes as
simple as browsing a website: no apps, no plugins, completely installation-free. It works on all devices
that come with a browser, from desktops to mobile phones.
To achieve this vision, two major challenges needed to be overcome. First, the core blockchain
components had to be translated to the web platform, including:
Network for establishing P2P connections
Storage for persisting keys and blockchain data
Cryptography for hashing, signing and verifying
In addition, the protocol had to be adapted to the requirements and constraints of the web:
Compression of blockchain data to sync within seconds instead of hours
Blockchain parameters optimized for the browser
Blockchain Streamlined for the Web
There are two types of nodes in the Nimiq Network: Backbone Clients and Browser
implementation of the Backbone Client is available as well. While Backbone Clients are doing most of the
heavy lifting supporting and securing the network, the Browser Clients are the ones who are making Nimiq
native to the web but also introduce all the constraints that need to be addressed to achieve a
blockchain streamlined for the web.
Backbone Clients run on servers and desktops. They communicate with each other via the
WebSocket protocol, and act as entry points and signaling servers for Browser Nodes to establish
browser-to-browser WebRTC connections.
Browser Clients are built using the features of the latest browser engines, supporting
the latest version of Blink (Chrome, Brave, Opera, Edge), Gecko (Firefox) and WebKit (Safari). They
connect to the network by initially establishing a WebSocket connection to at least one Backbone Node
before initiating secure browser-to-browser connections using the Backbone Node as signaling server.
Once the connection is established, Browser Nodes can also act as signaling servers for further
Browser Clients use the IndexedDB to store blockchain data and encrypted keys on the user’s hard drive.
By default, IndexedDB has a limited capacity. Depending on the browser engine, that might be a fixed
amount of only 5MB on mobiles or a percentage of the disk space available. Given the space constraints
as well as the overall limited memory on mobile devices, compression mechanisms are used to reduce the
amount of information that a browser needs to download and store in order to achieve consensus and
become an operational node of the network. By contrast, Backbone Clients on Node.js and Rust rely on LMDB which has no size constraints.
Nimiq combines three techniques to reduce the amount of data a client needs to download, speeding up the
time to consensus and reducing the bandwidth and storage being used. An Accounts Tree
provides easy access and verification of all account balances at a given block without the need for
access to the entire chain as with UTXO. In addition, the use of Non-Interactive Proofs of
Proof-of-Work (NIPoPoW) makes it possible for a small number of blocks – and in some case
even only the block headers – to suffice to verify the current state and reach consensus. Combining this
with an optimistic approach, allows reaching consensus with just a few hundred
kilobytes of data, with a fallback to a few megabytes in case of conflicts. More details in the “Compression” section below.
Simplicity is the best formula when building a secure payment system, and simplicity means no
scripting language. Nimiq’s core feature is fast and secure payments. Nimiq intentionally
does not have a scripting language, because projects such as Ethereum already focus on the smart
contract problem. Nimiq is not trying to compete in this field. Instead, the goal is to be compatible
with other blockchains so that Nimiq users who want to use advanced smart contract features are able to
do so. Such cross-chain compatibility is achieved by supporting Atomic Swaps. To enable atomic swaps as well as
off-chain transactions capabilities such as the Lightning Network , Nimiq supports Hash Time Locked Contracts (HTLC)
as part of the protocol.
In addition, to allow NIM to be locked in and released at a certain
, Nimiq supports Vested Contracts as part of the protocol as well. To prove Nimiq’s long-term
commitment, funds for Team members, creators, early contributors, the Nimiq Foundation, and the Nimiq Charity Foundation are vested as described in “Nimiq Supply Distribution”.
The protocol design allows further contracts to be added on demand in the future.
Accounts and balances are stored in a Merkle-based accumulator.
Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work
allow for super lightweight nodes where consensus can be established in seconds, even on mobile devices.
is Nimiq’s latency-bound PoW algorithm;
Ed 25519Schnorr signatures
secure transactions, and
Hierarchical Key Derivation
allows a practically unlimited number of accounts to be generated from the same seed. Currently, there
and C++ in Node.js.
Store of value, censorship-resistant payments
Distributed computing platform, smart contracts
Accessible and censorship-resistant payments
App or website relying on a third-party service/gateway or installing your own node
Installation free web-app that runs your own light node inside your browser
Yes, but require third-party gateway
Onboarding time (non-custodial wallet)
Less than 2 minutes
Less than 20 seconds
21 million BTC
21 billion NIM
On-chain transactions per second
up to 25
up to 12
Average block time
Current average TX fee
0.10 to 0.20 USD
0.14 - 0.28 USD
0 USD for up to 10 TX per block and sender
Light node sync download size
tens of megabytes
hundreds of megabytes
PoW based on SHA256
PoW, planned to be switched to PoS
PoW based on Argon2d
CPU, GPU and ASICs
CPU, GPU and ASICs
CPU and GPU
Scripts, not Turing-complete
HTLC + Vesting
HTLC + TBA
Nimiq Supply Distribution
The Nimiq Network has been designed for a total supply of 21 Billion NIM. The smallest unit of NIM is
called Luna and 100’000 (1e5) Luna equal 1 NIM, which results in a total supply of 21e14 Luna, identical
to Bitcoin’s 21e14 Satoshi. The NIM are distributed as follows:
88% Miners Reward (mined over ~100 years)
5% Token Sale Contributors
2.5% Long-Term Project Endowment Foundation (10-year vesting)
2% Good Cause Partnerships and Sponsorships (10-year vesting)
1.5% Early Contributors (6-month vesting)
1% Creators (3-year vesting)
When launching the Mainnet on April 14, 2018, the first 721 blocks totalling 3’176’435.57 NIM (0.00015%
of the total final supply) had been mined and
to NQ07 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000*.
This was done to prevent several problems associated with a low difficulty in the network, such as
multiple chain forks, orphaned blocks, and possible malicious attacks. The NIM were burned so as not to
adversely distort the NIM stakeholder distribution.
Block reward: Dynamic based on the following formula blockReward = (totalSupply - circulatingSupply) >>> k
With k=22 and a constant tail emission of 4’000 Luna starting at block 48692959 the total supply
will be reached in approximately 100 years.
Max block size: 100kB
Difficulty adjustment: At every block based on a 120 block window
The following methods are built into the Nimiq Blockchain to reduce the amount of
data a browser client needs to download in order to achieve the key functionality of a decentralized
payment system: reach consensus, check balances, validate received transactions, and send transactions.
Instead of using UTXOs to keep track of balances for each address, they are managed
separately in a hash tree structure called the Accounts Tree, which contains the balances of all
non-empty addresses. The root
hash of the tree is stored in
each block header.
Inspired by Ethereum, Nimiq uses a
to store balances for all accounts that are not empty. For each new block, this Accounts Tree is
updated, and the new Merkle root is stored in the header of the block to ensure consistency and
agreement between nodes.
In more detail, Nimiq’s Accounts Tree fulfills the definition of a
, a cryptographic primitive closely related to Accumulators. A Vector Commitment allows
to commit to an ordered
sequence of values, or in our case a sorted list of accounts. Moreover, one can open the commitment at
specific positions to a unique value, i.e. provide a proof for a certain account. These proofs are
logarithmic in the total number of accounts. Additionally, the Vector Commitment is dynamic and supports
updating not only the tree but also the proofs when adding and removing accounts.
The dynamic Vector Commitment properties bring in an additional storage benefit to
the nodes: they do not necessarily need to store the complete list of accounts and their balances. In
theory, users could be required to store their own proofs, keep them updated, and send them together
with any transaction they want to carry out. In practice, nodes would still store most accounts, except,
for example, long-inactive ones or potential spam accounts only created to inflate storage. Proofs of
such accounts can still be reconstructed from the blockchain at any time or could be served by special
NIPoPoW is a technique that allows consensus to be achieved faster by downloading only a portion of the
entire blockchain. During the mining process, some block hashes are randomly harder than others. Using
Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work
(NIPoPoW) the client can rely on these particularly hard blocks to verify the state of the blockchain
and the latest version of Accounts Tree without needing to download the
entire blockchain. This way, even as the blockchain grows larger, the size of the sample used grows only
logarithmically. This technique is used by Browser Clients to achieve consensus faster.
One of the advantages of the Nimiq’s Browser Clients is that they are able to achieve consensus on their
own, without having to trust information provided by any third party. This brings to the table a level
of censorship-resistance on a par with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which, despite having SPVs
available, always require a predefined third party node to broadcast transactions. The Browser Client
will in turn contact any Full Node on the network and is able to verify the data received, for example
its own balance and whether transactions have been mined.
To allow Browser and Backbone Clients to reach consensus in various constraint
environments, several browser APIs and compression techniques are being used as described in
“Blockchain Streamlined to the Web”.
To suit each environment, multiple consensus levels are available and each consensus level defines a
Full Nodes download the full blockchain and therefore require more storage. This node
type should be used solely with Backbone Clients, although, theoretically, it could run in a browser as
Light Nodes use
to determine the current blockchain head state and then download the
Accounts Tree. This node type securely syncs to
full consensus by downloading about 100MB in total. However, after initialization, it behaves like a
Full Node. See “Compression” for details.
At the present time, Team Nimiq is working on an improved light node that only
downloads the parts of the Accounts Tree required to process current transactions and blocks.
Nano Nodes are the preferred node type for Browser Clients, since they require less
data to be downloaded (~ 2MB) in order to establish consensus.
Similar to light nodes, they determine the current state of the blockchain using
but then only download block headers and the minimal amount of information related to its own accounts.
Once the correct state has been worked out, i.e. consensus established, account balances can be
cryptographically proven to this type of node.
Similar to the Nano Node, the Pico Node uses the Accounts Tree and account proofs. But instead of
syncing block headers using NiPoPoW, it will first test if all its peers are on
the same head hash (or a neighboring hash) and, if that is the case, it will accept that head as the
correct one. This is also referred to as an optimistic approach. Only if it receives incompatible head
hashes will it fall back to nano consensus.
The pico consensus is the latest development and is expected to replace the nano consensus as new
default as soon as it’s fully established.
Seed Nodes are a common component of peer-to-peer networks. In the Nimiq Network, the Seed Nodes are
Backbone Nodes set up specifically with one task in mind: serving as the entry point to the network (see
“Network”). Team Nimiq provides a list of dedicated signaling Backbone Nodes
called Seed Nodes to ensure users have a reliable entry point to the network. To maintain a
decentralized architecture, Community Seed Nodes are also available and maintained by community
Nimiq’s official Seed Nodes implement the following security and high availability
Load balancing to reduce load due solely to handling network requests
Architecture is scaled according to load
Seed Nodes are distributed around the globe
Load balancer and node servers are in close proximity to reduce latency
A list of Nimiq Community Seed Nodes is publicly available in a
Community members are supported and encouraged to host Seed Nodes.
Nimiq Payment Ecosystem
All apps in the Nimiq Payment Ecosystem are built with ease of use in mind. Having a
close bond with the community, Team Nimiq’s vision is to enable the community to create amazing apps
using the Nimiq Blockchain and supports developers in doing so with the
Nimiq Community Funding Board.
A good and professional user experience is rare amongst blockchain projects. Technical knowledge and
crypto-specific language are often required, rendering many solutions inaccessible to most potential
users. As a result, it limits those solutions to the crypto sphere. Recognizing this significant barrier
to entry for the average person, Nimiq is not only aiming to improve usability in the crypto sector but
also to provide a user experience that exceeds fintech industry standards by utilizing the advantages of
being browser-first. The intuitive user experience is an essential part of Nimiq and vital to
translating the technical capabilities of the protocol into real-world value.
The aspiration to create the most accessible and easy-to-use blockchain payment system influences every
decision. The most remarkable design choices steered by a usability-focused approach are:
Fast and Easy Onboarding
The entry point for new users is designed for speed and simplicity and does not require downloads or
personal data. By leveraging the browser-first nature of Nimiq, new users can create an account
with only three clicks.
Successfully onboarded users are presented with a round trip through the ecosystem,
focusing on the essential aspects of Nimiq: A small amount of NIM is dispatched to the newly created
Account, which can then be spent at a webshop showcasing the Nimiq checkout experience.
Usability and Safety
More demanding user tasks, such as backing up the account, are not forced on users
when they get in touch with Nimiq for the first time. Instead, this task is context-bound and only
later, when the Account actually holds value and the user is intrinsically motivated to do so, thus
increasing usability without compromising safety. The backup can be performed by downloading a
password-protected Login File, providing an alternative form of backup to the
(writing down) of the Recovery Words (24-word mnemonic seed).
Focusing on simplicity and ease of use, Nimiq is built on an serene foundation:
traditional colors, a minimal, geometric sans-serif font, and common layout patterns. We strive not only
push the boundaries of technology, but also the way we design our experiences and
touchpoints. “Driven” then translates into adding that bit of sophistication and edge that we believe
the difference between convenience and fascination.
Nimiq is an open-source project that encourages developers to take part in the
journey. Instead of dictating the way how the Nimiq ecosystem looks or feels, the intention is rather to
provide the essence of our vision, stripped down to the very core, so that there’s enough room for
fill it out with their own ideas. To create a resilient visual foundation for Nimiq itself and for the
community, we have gathered input from community members and conducted interviews with key stakeholders
the team from which we derived a common understanding of Nimiq as a brand: The
Nimiq Style Guide.
A common hassle for users of cryptocurrencies is denomination. Time has shown that even if the
mathematical value remains the same, 1.9 mBTC is easier to handle than 0.0019 BTC. This slight change in
denomination creates a positive visual effect that we deem important for mass adoption of a
Considering this and inspired by Bitcoin, the total supply of NIM is 21 billion—21e9 NIM, shifted by a
factor of 1’000 compared to Bitcoin—reducing the gap between minimum and maximum unit. The minimum unit
of NIM is called a Luna and 100’000 Luna equal 1 NIM. This makes the total supply of NIM equivalent to
21e14 Luna, matching the total supply of Satoshis in Bitcoin.
Addresses and Identicons
Addresses for Nimiq Accounts follow the International Bank Account Number format
(IBAN). This allows future frictionless integration with established payment providers but also improves
usability, as IBAN has a built-in integrity check preventing typos. Each Nimiq Address starts with the
“NQ” followed by two characters defining the checksum for the remaining 32 characters, which are the
In addition to typos, clipboard hijacking has become a more common issue. In both
cases the user will lose their funds if they are not able to verify the address. Nimiq has improved the
concept of identicons to create
“Nimiqons”. These are an
easy-to-describe visual representation of a Nimiq address that allows users to visually verify that the
address they intended to use is the one being used. This increases both the safety of the system as well
its usability. Furthermore, the Nimiqons turn a formerly dry and 'lifeless' address into a social and
fashionable item that creates a wider sense of belonging.
Each Nimiq Identicon has a background color and four different body areas: bottoms,
faces, sides, and tops, each with a distinct color. In total, Nimiqons are made up of a combination of
elements for each body part, 9 body colors, 10 background colors and 8 colors for parts.
That means 10 ✕ 9 ✕ 8 ✕ 21⁴ = 140’026’320 different Nimiqons can be generated. A
slight change like a typo, or a replacement by malware will radically change the look of the associated
Nimiqon. The highly differentiated and instantly recognizable Nimiqons look like this:
Every Nimiqon comes with a suggested label making it easy to describe.
Nimiq Safe & Nimiq Hub
Payments should be frictionless, regardless of the device being used. Nimiq Safe and
Nimiq Hub provide an interface comparable to your online banking but with a decisive difference: It does
run on a server controlled by a third party. Instead, all data is stored locally, never leaving your
Furthermore, usability and user experience are optimized for a smooth flow and do not depend on the
or operating system being used. While Nimiq Safe is the place where you can view your transaction
and balances, Nimiq Hub handles and stores a list of accounts, i.e. an address with
a label, but never the keys. The keys are stored in a dedicated, highly secure location, such as a
and/or software wallet (i.e. Ledger, Nimiq Keyguard, etc). The Hub is positioned in front of the various
storage solutions, providing a unified interface for users to manage all their accounts that might be
associated with multiple keys from multiple locations. Thus, the user will always see the same, familiar
user interface wherever they make a payment.
To get started, a user can import existing accounts and create new ones. When
requesting to send a transaction or a payment, Nimiq Hub is the interface where users are able to select
source account from which to move NIM funds, add a note for the recipient, or cancel the request
The concept of simplicity reaches all the way to the developer. Nimiq is making it easy to integrate
are supported. Our Hub API supports both, async/await function calls and traditional top-level redirects
with callback. At the same time, an ecosystem of wrappers and full integrations via plugins and modules
is continuously growing.
The implementation of both Safe and Hub are, of course, open source and can be run self-hosted. They are
intended to be an example for best practices and we encourage others to build their own solutions,
enriching the Nimiq Ecosystem.
Following the principle of simplicity, the Nimiq Keyguard is a software
wallet solution to get new users started instantly. It is optimal for day-to-day transactions, and while
maximum care is taken with respect to security, the Keyguard is not intended to replace a hardware
wallet when it comes to holding larger funds.
The first hardware wallet supporting NIM is the popular Ledger Nano S. Ledger’s security maximizing
approach is ideal for larger amounts and may also function as a cold wallet.
The first multi-coin wallet supporting NIM is Binance’s Trust
Wallet mobile app. The integration was contributed by Nimiq Community developers.
Making things easy for the user to get started is crucial for onboarding new users and promoting wider
adoption. For many users who are new to crypto, writing down 24 words and ensuring that they are in the
correct order is a serious effort and a task that can prove too technical for many regular internet
users just starting with cryptocurrencies. In particular, the initial step of asking users to get a pen
and paper can feel archaic or intimidating, and can prevent users from trying out Nimiq spontaneously.
To consider asking a first-time crypto user to set up a Hardware Wallet is out of the question.
Instead, the Nimiq Keyguard is a software wallet living entirely in your browser and is set up during
the onboarding process. The Keyguard exclusively handles your private keys locally on your device. The
entire process is streamlined to be smooth, short and simple. You create your account, set a password
and are ready to go.
It is not necessary to write down your mnemonic phrase; all that can be done later. As soon as a user
has gained a natural interest in Nimiq and, by holding NIM, also an intrinsic motivation to secure their
funds, they will be glad to do the backup. In addition, the Nimiq Ecosystem apps will kindly remind the
The convenience is underpinned with strong security measures. Your private keys are stored locally,
fully encrypted in the private storage of your browser, hosted on its own, secure origin, isolated from
other websites. Besides the mandatory Security Considerations, to
ensure the maximum security of your keys, the Keyguard is engineered with special security measures in
It is entirely free of external dependencies, making sure that a changing or even malicious
dependency cannot corrupt the behaviour of the Keyguard. This includes the build process of the app
from its source code - it is a simple reviewable script.
Each update to the source code is independently reviewed by at least two other developers in the
Each potential new version is first deployed to the testnet for user testing by developers in the
team and members of the community.
Avid users of cryptocurrencies are familiar with the complexity and potentially intimidating process of
handling private keys and the need to write down and safely store mnemonic phrases on a non-volatile
analog format, i.e. a piece of paper or steel in an airtight, fire-resistant container. Every time a
private key is used in a raw format, there is a risk of it being stolen by a malicious party. To
increase usability and safety, Nimiq provides the option of using a Login File that contains a
password-encrypted version of the private key of an Account. This is formatted as a QR code and
presented as an image file for the user to download and backup. This method allows users to easily store
their private keys while still being able to use the 24-word representation as a secondary recovery
In collaboration with Trinkler Software, this concept has been standardized as ImageWallet, so that the
same format can be used for other cryptocurrencies and as a general means of authentication.
One of the main advantages of cryptocurrencies over fiat is that the user has complete control over
their funds. This means that security of the software through which users control their funds is
crucial. Several members of Team Nimiq are exceptionally knowledgeable about cybersecurity due to their
background and scientific research experience at the Center for Information Security (CISPA) in Germany.
Before a new software release is published to the Nimiq Mainnet, it follows a strict audit process
described in this section.
In general, code is written in feature branches and reviewed as pull requests. For it to be merged into
the master branch, independent approval from at least one additional team member is required (in some
cases, such as for the Keyguard, two approvals are required). Before the major release of particularly
security-relevant parts, such as the Keyguard and Account Manager, code audits will be performed by
developers outside the team that wrote the code. In a last step, the code enters the scope of the Bug
Bounty Program for continuous public hardening.
Core-Specific Build Procedure
When a new release is ready, it is built within special-purpose, virtual machines where binary packages
for Linux (Debian, Red Hat, and derivatives) and Windows are created. Afterwards, the packages are
tested by installing them from scratch on clean systems as well as by upgrading to the new version in
systems that already have the previous version installed. Finally, the packages are signed and committed
to their respective deployment repositories, tagged with a signed tag, and signed by one of the team
Frontend-Specific Build Procedure
Before a new release is deployed, it is built and tested locally for correctness. It is then signed,
committed and pushed to the deployment server. Finally, when a release is ready, it is approved for
deployment by being marked with a signed tag. The Keyguard will require a tag signed by two members as
soon as it is in production.
The deployment server checks the prerequisites and replaces the old version with the new version. There
is no server side build process or run time code execution; the server only serves static files.
The deployment procedure is first carried out on testnet servers to test the new version on a live
system. If deployment is successful and the release is approved, the procedure is rerun on the mainnet
Besides deploying apps and publishing binary packages on Nimiq’s servers, libraries are built from the
master branch and published as packages to the npm registry by a dedicated team member.
As part of this program, people who find and report a successfully exploitable bug in Nimiq's most
security-critical code can earn as much as US$20’000 for discovering critical vulnerabilities.
Before adding code to the scope of the Bug Bounty Program, it is first reviewed by several team members
who were not involved in writing it. Each member will provide a short report and solutions will be
discussed in meetings to resolve any issues. Only after the source code has passed internal testing does
it become part of the HackerOne Bug Bounty Program.
Peer-to-Peer Fiat-Crypto Bridge
Nimiq believes that in order to achieve mass adoption, the emerging crypto ecosystems will benefit from
collaborating with the traditional financial system in complementary ways, providing freedom of choice.
Cryptocurrencies provide a degree of censorship-resistance never seen before in the history of
humankind. However, traditional centralized financial institutions are currently used and trusted by
most people in the world.
Nimiq has made a solid step in this direction by setting out to develop the Nimiq
Open Asset Swap Interaction
Scheme (OASIS), a middle layer that allows fiat currency to understand and interact
with blockchain logic. In its first version, this innovative approach focuses on making Euro (USD, etc)
bank accounts the programmable counterparty to non-custodial cross-chain transactions. In simple terms
it means that in a non-custodial (Atomic Swap) transaction to buy or sell crypto, the counterparty can
now be a fiat account holder.
With Nimiq OASIS already in development, the plan is that the first real-world transactions powered by
it will be facilitated by WEG Bank AG on the banking side and a DEX like Agora.Trade (now Trade
Telegraph) on the non-custodial crypto exchange side. In the spirit of decentralization, following an
introductory period, OASIS will be open for other Banks and DEX to tie in.
WEG Bank AG is a fully licensed German private bank catering to corporate accounts and has recently
started widening its scope in a way that selectively approaches the crypto space. After a successful
collaboration process, Nimiq partnered with WEG bank and acquired a minority stake in the bank. As a
result of this partnership and acquisition, Nimiq has new means of interacting with the
traditional financial system. An example is Nimiq OASIS being able to leverage the SEPA
instant banking network through WEG Bank. Combining Nimiq OASIS, WEG Bank and a DEX like Trade Telegraph
would enable customers at any of the 2’000+ banks in 20
that are part of the SEPA instant network to exchange value between crypto and fiat systems. DEX
Crypto-to-fiat swaps for NIM / BTC / ETH powered by Nimiq OASIS are targeted to become available by the
end of 2019 / early 2020.
Making the Vision a Reality
In true blockchain spirit, Nimiq has a decentralized, horizontal team structure. Valuing quality over
quantity, Nimiq consists of highly qualified, freelancing team members, cutting out the need for complex
hierarchies and bureaucratic overhead. Areas of responsibilities belong to one or multiple team members
who collaboratively work on them:
Communication & Marketing
Areas of additional external services include:
Legal & Administration
Localized Community Managers
A detailed description of team members is available on the
The not-for-profit Nimiq Foundation was set up to support the ongoing development and progress of the
Nimiq Blockchain and Ecosystem.
The Nimiq Foundation was donated 2.5% of the final NIM token supply, the equivalent of 525'000'000 NIM.
The Nimiq Foundation receives those tokens via a ten-year vesting contract (NQ09 VF5Y 1PKV MRM4 5LE1
55KV P6R2 GXYJ XYQF), securing the longer-term use of those funds. It also oversees the allocation of
project funding contributions from the Token Event of Nimiq Network Ltd. The US-based Nimiq Foundation
is governed by a board of seven members who are re-elected every two years. The board president is
elected annually by the board. While to date the board has consisted of team members involved with the
project since its inception, the longer-term vision is to broaden the governance and include community
members as Nimiq’s reach and the Nimiq Ecosystem mature to reflect the decentralized and global spirit
as much as possible.
Nimiq checkout with NIM/BTC/ETH and EURO into Merchant Bank via OASIS (first tests of full roundtrip)
Nimiq single-sign-on (Nimiq ID)
Full release of Nimiq OASIS, enabling easy NIM-fiat exchange
Nimiq Checkout integration with larger online merchant
Innovative multisig features for Nimiq Safe:
We are currently researching and exploring this topic to derive concrete applications and features
Nimiq 2.0 Mainnet including upgrade of all Nimiq apps
Considering: Synchronized contact book
Considering: Encrypted private key synchronization service
Nimiq 2.0 and Proof-of-Stake
Since its conception, Nimiq was intended to switch to a Proof-of-Stake algorithm to achieve an
energy-efficient blockchain system. Nimiq is investigating the next steps to improve and further evolve
the Nimiq protocol, with the aim of fulfilling our goals of being energy conserving and scalable for
global adoption. Research so far has led us to evaluate the potential move from Proof-of-Work to
Proof-of-Stake using the Albatross
consensus algorithm (research publication: “Albatross: An optimistic consensus algorithm").
Although not yet finalised, this change would drastically reduce energy consumption while increasing the
speed of blockchain transactions per second from ~12 to over 1’000. This would push the throughput rate
to the theoretical maximum of a single chain system and reach levels supported by centralized major
commercial payment providers. Evaluation and a Testnet implementation are ongoing.
Albatross: An optimistic consensus algorithm
Classic Byzantine-fault-tolerant (BFT) algorithms provide consensus in distributed systems while
considering a limited number of malicious or Byzantine actors. One of the most prominent examples of
such an algorithm is PBFT (used by the Tendermint cryptocurrency).
Speculative BFT algorithms are an advancement over standard BFT algorithms. They allow for drastic
performance increases in the event no malicious actors are present. This is the so-called
optimistic scenario. In the event Byzantine actors are present and try to tamper with
the protocol, others will notice and switch the protocol into its slower and more conservative mode,
offering the same security guarantees as standard BFT protocols.
Thus, in the best case scenario, optimistic consensus algorithms are able to perform much better than
classic ones. During an attack scenario, optimistic algorithms still have a performance similar to
Crypto Adoption Research
Nimiq is passionate about exploring and evaluating potential pathways for mass adoption of
cryptocurrency. Efforts include helping communities that are challenged by their financial
infrastructure or monetary system in meaningful and responsible ways. Ideally it should open up the
possibility of creating entirely new human and economic development models powered by crypto. These
efforts led to Nimiq sponsoring TotalCrypto.io to
create a crypto adoption proposal.
The first result of this sponsored research effort was an extensive Crypto Adoption Proposal, which can
be viewed on CryptoAdoption.io. This initial
entirely open content and anyone is encouraged to leverage this work to help develop their own crypto
adoption methodologies as well as to improve the proposal. As such, the Crypto Adoption Proposal is a
living document. In a next step Nimiq plans to evaluate potential case study candidates.
Adoption Research Overview
The Crypto Adoption Proposal put forward by TotalCrypto.io focuses not only on crypto adoption but
also fostering wealth creation in the targeted area supporting its sustainability. The proposal
advises drawing on the expertise and collaborating with academics, charities, and entrepreneurs to
help refine, execute and enhance the academic value of the potential case study.
The current proposal comprises three components:
A local exchange: To enable locals to swap crypto to fiat and vice versa. Additionally, this can
also act as a cryptocurrency information center.
Geo-targeted crypto airdrop: This would act as a one-off stimulus package for the area.
Incubator: Focuses on promoting local economic growth by supporting locals with the know-how,
tools, and resources to build online business and participate in the digital economy in a more
The ultimate goal of Nimiq’s crypto adoption research is to create a scalable blueprint for
crypto-powered human development and adoption, which is backed by the execution of a tangible case
study, the academic community, and other key groups. Most importantly, any research or data from
Nimiq’s crypto adoption efforts would be open source, as a wider contribution to the crypto,
charitable and academic communities.
Nimiq is looking to commission crypto adoption case studies to evaluate potential locations and
communities that could serve as initial roll-out internally, before making an assessment on whether
and how to proceed.
Charity was built into the spirit and life-blood of Nimiq from day one. The team decided to set
aside 2% of the final NIM token supply (420'000'000 NIM) for projects of high social and/or
ecological impact. Nimiq wants to make sure that there is a counter-piece to the natural resource
burden that securing blockchain initially with PoW entails, as well as manifesting a payment
protocol that, through simply using it, will at least indirectly support good causes. As with the
Nimiq Foundation, the ImpactX Foundation was set up to receive those donated funds via a 10-year
vesting contract (NQ19 YG54 46TX EHGQ D2R2 V8XA JX84 UFG0 S0MC), securing the longer-term use of
those funds and patience to build up its value over time. The US-based ImpactX Foundation is a
not-for-profit, registered charity, governed by a seven-member board, currently matching the board
of the Nimiq Foundation. This correlation is not necessarily expected to persist as the work of the
charity and the qualification to steer it will likely differ in the future. The plan is to open its
oversight to members of the community as Nimiq’s reach and the Nimiq Ecosystem mature. The board
will determine when the value of NIM held by ImpactX reaches a point where making a donation can
make a difference without excessively draining its potential for additional grants. ImpactX plans to
help fund projects that drive the vision of more sustainable societies, i.e. giving a chance to
outstanding individuals, groups, and organizations in this virtuous pursuit.
Community Project Funding Board
Nimiq is passionate about being inclusive and empowering people to make a difference. To that end,
Nimiq has created and sponsored the Nimiq Community Funding Board. Community members can submit
project proposals to the Board requesting for assistance or limited seed funding in the following
Security audits, technical advice, and UI/UX design by Team Nimiq
Miscellaneous costs required to create an MVP or, in the case of a not-for-profit project, costs
to maintain the project
The rules for the Community Board are simple:
The Community Funding Board is made up of six members: Three community representatives and three
from Team Nimiq
Project funding proposals will be granted if more than 50% of the board accepts the funding
The Board meets at least every two months and discusses received proposals
All decisions made by the Board are made public in a post on Nimiq’s blog
The Board members are replaced every six months
Up-to-date information about projects and proposals can be found in the Nimiq Forum.
Solving real-world scaling problems is one of the most important issues that various projects in the
space are working on solving. Without a scaling solution, it is almost impossible for the current
crypto payment technology to be widely adopted. But while a lot of effort has gone into improving
scaling and speed of blockchain technology with very promising results (including the Albatross
consensus algorithm), we are convinced that the limited adoption of cryptocurrencies is not only
related to technical shortcomings.
Team Nimiq sees two driving forces behind adoption:
Delivering usability and value incentives for average consumers in economically
developed countries to switch from their familiar ways of payment
Accessibility in countries with failing fiat currencies and financial
infrastructure or a high number of unbanked people.
Additionally, crypto payment systems are struggling to bridge the gap between traditional banking
and cryptocurrency ecosystems. Currently, the two ecosystems can be viewed as separate islands where
it is not possible to directly and trustlessly transact value between the two. The research
blueprint for Nimiq OASIS could provide the foundation for convenient and low-cost value exchange.
This whitepaper provides insight on how Nimiq is addressing these four angles: scalability,
accessibility, usability, and interoperability. Nimiq aims to outperform
traditional payment providers in terms of both convenience and costs, without falling back to
centralized, closed platforms and services. Saying this, we see the greatest potential in
identifying and addressing payment problems faced by consumers and businesses in both economically
developed and less developed countries. Armed with this knowledge we would encourage migration to
the Nimiq payment system with near zero-fee cross-border transactions combined with the convenience
of a simple user experience and user-flow to enable barrier-free value exchange that is open to
everyone. Nimiq is unique in furthering the essential features and ideals of cryptocurrency and
blockchain technology by allowing users without prior technical knowledge to run a node in their
browser with just the click of a button. Not using the network, but becoming part of it. Packaged in
a beautiful, easy-to-use and well-documented ecosystem of applications, Nimiq stands for sovereignty
of the individual, censorship-resistance, self-determination, and freedom of choice: the true spirit