Rather than apply brute computing force, Mina uses advanced cryptography and recursive zk-SNARKs to deliver true decentralization at scale.
In theory, blockchains are designed to be held accountable by its users. When anyone can enforce the rules by validating an irrevocable public ledger — power remains in the hands of the many, not the few. This decentralized structure is what allows the network to conduct trustless transactions.
But in practice, this hasn’t been the case. With legacy blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, when a new participant joins, they have to check every transaction since the beginning of the network to verify correctness — which amounts to hundreds of gigabytes of data. Most people can’t afford the computing power it takes to verify these heavy chains on their own and are forced to trust increasingly powerful intermediaries. This means most folks can no longer connect peer-to-peer — causing decentralization to suffer, power dynamics to shift, and the network to become more vulnerable to censorship.
Mina offers an elegant solution: replacing the blockchain with an easily verifiable, consistent-sized cryptographic proof. Mina dramatically reduces the amount of data each user needs to download. Instead of verifying the entire chain from the beginning of time, participants fully verify the network and transactions using recursive zero knowledge proofs (or zk-SNARKs). Nodes can then store the small proof, as opposed to the entire chain. And because it’s a consistent size, Mina stays accessible — even as it scales to many users and accumulates years of transaction data.
But how do zk-SNARKs work? They capture the state of the entire blockchain as a lightweight snapshot and send that around — instead of the chain itself. It’s like sending your friend a postcard of an elephant, instead of a massive live animal. When the next block in the network is created, it takes a snapshot of itself — with the snapshot of the previous state of the blockchain as the background. That new snapshot will in turn be used as the backdrop for the next block, and so on and so on. Rather amazingly, while it can contain proof of an infinite amount of information, the snapshot always remains the same size.
Coming full circle, the world’s lightest blockchain empowers inclusive consensus. Our modified Ouroboros proof-of-stake protocol maximizes inclusivity in consensus. On Mina, all participants act as full nodes and anyone can take part in consensus, secure the blockchain and hold Mina accountable.
And that’s how Mina will deliver true decentralization, scale and security.
Developers are already building powerful applications on Mina — but this is just the beginning.
Mina is focusing on three use cases that will help us build a private gateway between the real world and crypto — and the infrastructure for the secure, democratic future we all deserve.
Users can access critical on-chain services without sharing their personal data. Instead, they use Mina to access their online data and to prove that they meet the requirements of service providers. No need for a trusted enclave that can be compromised. No data vulnerabilities, end-to-end. For example, today Mina’s Snapps can connect to a credit score provider to prove that your credit score is above a certain threshold. Soon, you’ll be able to prove so much more from any website.
Status: Demo In Use.
With Snapps, developers can leverage private, verified, real world data from any website to build decentralized apps. They can input any information that is publicly available on the web (without needing that website’s permission). And they can access, use and protect sensitive data by only sharing the relevant proofs. No need for trusted oracles or custom website integrations.
Status: In Development.
Users can access any internet website or service privately — without creating an account and handing over their personal data. Instead, they login securely with Mina. No centralized service provider can block them. And developers across chains can integrate this private, secure option into their services.
Status: In Development.
Leverage Mina to develop decentralized apps that use zk-SNARKs to ensure privacy, without exposing users’ data to a public blockchain.
Use Mina to combine the cost-efficiency and privacy of a private chain with the interoperability of a public chain.
Power trustless e-commerce and global peer-to-peer transactions without using centralized intermediaries, or paying costly transaction fees.
Ensure lenders only use fair criteria to make decisions and securely verify relevant information without accessing private user data.
Guarantee fully verifiable and auditable elections, while keeping the process private and protecting individuals’ voting information.
With a 22kb1 Mina chain, access peer-to-peer stablecoins and tokens via smartphone and bring hard-earned money anywhere you go.
From its protocol architecture and roles framework to its incentive structure and monetary policy, Mina is designed to maximize network scalability and security.ECONOMICS WHITEPAPER
Mina is breaking down barriers to participation and unleashing a host of exciting new opportunities.
Block producers are akin to miners or stakers in other protocols. By staking Mina, they can be selected to produce a block and earn block rewards in the form of coinbase, transaction fees and network fees. Block producers can decide to also be SNARK producers.Run a Node
The second type of consensus node operator on Mina, snark producers help compress data in the network by generating SNARK proofs of transactions. They then sell those proofs to block producers in return for a portion of the block rewards.Run a Node
Because staking requires nodes to be online, some may choose to delegate their Mina to staking pools. These groups run staking services in exchange for a fee, which is automatically deducted when the delegator gets selected to be a block producer.Run a Node
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with our community so far — and look forward to tackling challenges and building more with a whole new generation of participants.
We make it as simple as possible to participate in Mina. With clear documentation, a supportive community and a chain that syncs in seconds, we’ll get you up and running in record time.
Here, we’ve organized our favorite go-to resources so you can explore more about how Mina works.
Interested in joining a team of passionate engineers and putting your coding skills to work at the protocol level?