I see a lot of cryptocurrency-related press releases. I research many different crypto companies and coins. I comb through a lot of their websites and wikis. It’s part of the job.
And about a month ago, Nxt started to stand out to me.
The branding seemed consistent, yet somehow still decentralized. The apps just kept getting released — not announced as “in development”— but actually available for use. And proof-of-stake has me pretty excited about the future of mining, too (or as it’s called in Nxt, “forging”).
But it wasn’t until I actually installed the wallet client that Nxt legitimately gave me a ‘braingasm.’
Everything in One Place, and Lots of it
Upon opening the client for the first time (after waiting about 10 hours for the one-time download of the Nxt blockchain), I was immediately surprised to see that this wasn’t just a wallet. The wallet portion made up just one part of a multicomponent program featuring:
- Asset Exchange
- Messaging App
In addition to these four, the wallet also incorporates an Alias Registrar, simple Block Explorer, Newsfeed, and Peer Tracker.
In other words, short of ready-to-go smart contracts (which Nxt’s wiki says are in the works), this single wallet incorporates virtually every application that other coins are trying to incorporate with multiple clients and meta-protocols. Except Nxt does it in one client with no additional meta-protocols.
There’s Stuff in the Store!
I was probably most impressed by the Marketplace, which already has hundreds of items for sale. There’s everything from domain names to VPN services, oil paintings to posters, psychedelics to cannabis, musical instruments to ebooks, games to gold. As of this moment, 283 purchases have been made through the Nxt Marketplace (the client lists this statistic and others at the top of the page).
Message Encryption with One Click
For anyone who’s ever experienced the misery of dealing with PGP email encryption (Edward Snowden had to make a 12-minute video to explain the arduous process to Glenn Greenwald), an even marginally easier way to send secure messages is most welcome.
Nxt’s message offering allows you to send up to 1,000 bytes of any kind of data (not just text) to any other Nxt user. The message is put directly on the Nxt blockchain and sent to the user’s address. It can be encrypted with a single click and costs 1 NXT as a transaction fee (about 1 US cent).
Goodbye, PGP. It was fun while it lasted (not).
Built-In Colored Coins
The Asset Exchange acts as a colored coin organizer. When an Nxt is marked as a share, stock, physical commodity, smart property, or even an idea, it’s given an Asset ID. These asset coins can be created, issued, traded, ordered, and/or imported right inside the wallet itself.
OK, enough raving (though I could go on). Now on to criticisms.
As the client loads up for the first time, it tells you what functions it’s executing during the process, but it doesn’t indicate how much time it will take to complete. I found myself wondering if I should set aside ten seconds or ten minutes or ten hours. A progress bar would help.
Secondly, when you choose to create a new account (rather than log in to an existing account), the client supplies you with 12 words. Totally normal — I assumed it was just the recovery seed. I waited for another step to ask me to create my wallet password.
But I came to find out that the recovery seed IS the wallet password. So unless you feel like memorizing 12 words, select “choose my own passphrase” when given the option. Remember to use good passphrase creation rules! (Cryptocurrency is redefining what it means to create a strong passphrase, as you know.)
Edit: This informative comment was left by sile16 on the Nxt subreddit:
NO NO NO!!!!! For the love of crypto, Do not try and come up with your own password!!!!! Use the twelve words! Use a password manager if you want save this 12 words behind a smaller condensed password.
The rest of the article is fine, but absolutely do not try and come up with your own password. A 12 word password is the minimum if you want to have good security.
Bitcoin Maximalists, Unleash your Fury
I can almost see the claws coming out now from the Bitcoin maximalists. “Every ‘altcoin’ is a pump ’n’ dump! Using any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin damages the potential for mass adoption! B-b-b-but, Bitcoin’s network effects!”
Firstly, Nxt is not based on Bitcoin’s protocol; it’s written from scratch. But even if it were based on Bitcoin like most other cryptocurrencies, it still wouldn’t matter. Choice in currency is good just like choice in shoes, housing, or airlines is good.
Second, Vitalik Buterin has soundly debunked the myth that Bitcoin having the widest network means that using anything else is naïve. It’s worth a read.
And last, I’ll relay the moment that I first knew that the Bitcoin protocol had a serious flaw. One day I posted on the Bitcoin subreddit that I wanted to store a personal contract of mine in the Bitcoin blockchain. I was asking for tips on how to do it. I received at least three different responses from nodes (and comments from many others who agreed with them) that the subject matter of my contract was stupid and that they didn’t want to have to store it.
That’s a problem.
Nxt doesn’t have blockchain bloat issues.
Interested in Trying Out Nxt?
1 NXT currently costs about 1 US cent. It’s available for purchase on many exchanges, and more importantly, is now available on a peer-to-peer exchange called the Multigateway which I’ve not yet tried. The Multigateway is hosted on the native Nxt Asset Exchange (as discussed above relating to colored coins).
The most exciting element, however, is the ease of forging (mining). No special or expensive hardware is required, nor will it ever be, because Nxt uses proof-of-stake as opposed to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work. All it takes to earn any of the existing 1 billion Nxt is to own some and keep your wallet “unlocked.” All Nxt already exist, so rewards come from transaction fees rather than inflation of the money supply.
Lastly, for those not interested in downloading the full blockchain, there is a web wallet option available. It doesn’t have most of the features that the client wallet has, but that may change in the future. Why? The Nxt team has invited developers to create plugins which will bring the web wallet up to the client’s level of functionality. If I were a developer, I’d create the plugin for the messaging app next.
Did you already know all of this about Nxt? Is any of it news to you? Share your thoughts below.
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