What is the Chia blockchain and how do I get started?

What is Chia?

Chia was incorporated in August of 2017 to develop an improved blockchain and smart transaction platform. We are building the Chia Network to improve the global financial and payments systems. Chia will be the first enterprise-grade digital money. Chia is using the first new Nakamoto consensus algorithm since Bitcoin. Called Proof of Space and Time, it was created by Bram Cohen, the best network protocol engineer alive and the inventor of BitTorrent. Chialisp is Chia’s new smart transaction programming language that is powerful, easy to audit, and secure. Reference smart transactions currently available are: atomic swaps, authorized payees, recoverable wallets, multisig wallets, and rate-limited wallets.

What is Proof of Space and Time?

Proof of Space is a cryptographic technique where provers show that they allocate unused hard drive space for storage space. In order to be used as a consensus method, Proof of Space must be tied to Proof of Time. PoT ensures that block times have consistency in the time between them and increases the overall security of the blockchain.

How does Proof of Space and Proof of Time work?

Proof of space can be thought of as a way to prove that you are keeping some storage unused on your hard-disk drive. Users of the Chia blockchain will “seed” unused space on their hard-disk drive by installing software which stores a collection of cryptographic numbers on the disk into “plots.” These users are called “farmers.” When the blockchain broadcasts a challenge for the next block, farmers can scan their plots to see if they have the hash that is closest to the challenge. A farmer’s probability of winning a block is the percentage of the total space that a farmer has compared to the entire network. Proof of time requires a small period of time to pass between blocks. Proof of time is implemented by a Verifiable Delay Function that takes a certain amount of time to compute, but is very fast to verify. The key idea of a VDF is that they require sequential computation, and since having many parallel machines does not yield any benefit, electricity waste is minimized. There will likely be relatively few VDF servers (“Timelords”), as the fastest one will always finish first and it takes only one fast and fair Timelord on the network to complete a block and move the chain forward.

Why is Chia better?

Chia has a new innovative Nakamoto consensus algorithm that removes the energy demands of Proof of Work from the system. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Chia will have significantly better security due to its more decentralized blockchain. Chialisp is Chia’s new smart transaction programming language that is powerful, easy to audit, and secure and will unlock the security, transparency, and ease of use that cryptocurrencies promise. Chia is also adopting more modern cryptographic tools to enable richer smart transaction capabilities. Chia is taking a new and superior approach to funding, building, and supporting a blockchain via an eventually public, for-profit, open source development company that holds a pre-farm. Chia will use its pre-farm (Strategic Reserve) to ease the volatility of the coin to mitigate bubbles and crashes and to drive adoption of chia.