Billed as “digital money for the modern world,” Nano is a lightweight cryptocurrency that is designed to facilitate secure, practically instant payments, without fees, and addresses some of the major limitations of both legacy financial infrastructure, and many modern cryptocurrencies.
Development of the project began in 2014 under the name RaiBlocks, and the coin (then termed XRB) launched the following year through a public faucet, which allowed users to claim small amounts of XRB after completing a captcha challenge. Users were allowed to complete as many captchas as they liked to increase their words — effectively trading their time and effort for XRB.
RaiBlocks (XRB) was rebranded to Nano (NANO) in January 2018, with the new name chosen to better represent the speed and simplicity the project offers to users.
It is a peer-to-peer platform that uses a unique block-lattice data structure to allow users to easily transfer value to one another without relying on centralized intermediaries.
Unlike other platforms which typically use the combined proof-of-work of a massive mining network to achieve consensus, Nano instead uses a system known as Open Representative Voting (ORV) — which sees account holders vote for their chosen representative, who then work to confirm blocks of transactions securely.
ORV makes Nano extremely energy efficient, positioning it as a more environmentally friendly alternative to proof-of-work (POW)-based cryptocurrencies.
Who Are the Founders of Nano?
Nano was founded by Colin LeMahieu, a heavily experienced software developer and engineer with a wealth of experience working for prominent tech companies, including Dell, AMD and Qualcomm.
Self-described as an inventor, LeMahieu has interests that range from space technology to physics and environmental sustainability, and is a well-known name in the digital currency space. He began working full time on Nano in 2017 and remains the CEO of the Nano Foundation — an organization created to drive the development and adoption of the Nano — to this day.
Colin LeMahieu also pushed the vast majority of commits to Nano’s GitHub repo.
Beyond LeMahieu, the Nano Foundation has over a dozen other employees, including George Coxon, a graduate in Evolutionary Anthropology and experienced account executive, and the current COO of the foundation.
What Makes Nano Unique?
As we previously touched on, Nano is designed to be fast. So fast, in fact, that most Nano transactions reach absolute finality within less than a second — compared to several minutes or even longer for many other major cryptocurrencies.
This speed makes Nano suitable for commercial payments, since merchants and retailers no longer need to worry about transaction delays when accepting payments.
Moreover, Nano transactions are completely free. Since representatives do not receive financial compensation for their efforts to secure the network, there is no need for a transaction fee. This makes Nano an ideal solution for processing micro-transactions, since users no longer need to worry about fronting a potentially expensive transaction fee when making small payments.
These features are enabled by its unique architecture. Unlike many cryptocurrencies which are built on top of a distributed ledger known as a blockchain, Nano is instead built around a similar ledger technology called a directed acyclic graph (DAG).
This structure is highly reliable and allows Nano to process as many as 1,000 transactions per second (tps) — without requiring an energy-intensive mining network to maintain its integrity, positioning Nano as an eco-friendly digital payment option.
How Many Nano (NANO) Coins Are There in Circulation?
Like the vast majority of cryptocurrencies, Nano has a fixed maximum number of tokens that will ever enter existence, this number is set at exactly 133,248,290 NANO.
The original maximum supply was set much higher than this, but any remaining NANO tokens above the current 133 million limit were permanently burned. In total, around 39% of the original genesis supply was distributed.
Nano is unusual in the fact that its entire supply is already in circulation, this means it is fully diluted.
Because it is fully diluted, Nano is also highly decentralized, and well distributed, with the vast majority of Nano accounts holding less than 100 NANO. As of December 2020, around 20% of all Nano in circulation (~26 million) is held in one of the cold wallets associated with the Binance cryptocurrency exchange.
A total of 5% of the circulating supply was held back for the continued development of the project, this was allocated to a so-called “developer fund.”
How Is the Nano Network Secured?
Nano is secured by a network of representatives, each of which is voted into position by NANO holders.
These representatives are responsible for casting their votes when the network needs to achieve consensus, and their voting power is the sum total of the voting weight delegated to them by NANO holders. These vote on the validity of transactions on the Nano network, ensuring only valid transactions are confirmed.
This process protects the network against a type of attack known as a double spend—which occurs when an attacker is able to manipulate the network to effectively spend the same funds twice.
In addition, the Nano network features a wide variety of additional defenses against various possible attack vectors—a full overview of which can be found here.
Where Can You Buy Nano (NANO)?
Since Nano cannot be mined, the most popular way to get your hands on some is by purchasing it from one of the more than 50 exchange platforms that support it. Binance, OKEx and Huobi Global are currently among the most popular exchanges for Nano to crypto trading pairs, whereas it can also be bought with fiat on Kraken and Binance.US.