The History of Minima
The Minima Protocol is the brainchild of Paddy Cerri, aka Spartacus Rex. He has been programming since the early days of the ZX Spectrum 48K, owned almost every computer since then and worked in almost every computer industry. Before starting Minima he was a full-stack programmer, contracting to the highest bidder.
He fell in love with Bitcoin in 2012, and that love affair has never really stopped. The first cracks started to appear after ‘The Bitcoin Segwit Wars’ as it became clear that there were different interested parties and that not everyone was on the same page. Miners and Users were two very distinct groups, not one and the same. Ultimately, UASF won, but unfortunately, it was too late, the first major disagreement had taken place and it became clear that Bitcoin was not what he thought it was.
He was a bit player, not an equal, he was a User, not a Miner. The mantra started. VERIFY don’t TRUST, obviously that is important, but verifying has nothing to do with censorship-resistance. No one was going to stuff an invalid transaction down his nodes’ throat, but his full node had ZERO influence on which valid transactions are actually in the blocks. Only the miners decide that and that was something that gnawed at the back of his mind.
Bitcoin mining is an industry, and like every other industry on the planet, it's susceptible to Economies of Scale. It has nothing to do with clever maths, clever cryptography, the Will of the set of full validating nodes or the other miners. There is only one way that the Bitcoin Mining industry ends, one miner, and nothing anyone had spoken about since then had convinced him otherwise. The beauty of permissionless PoW mining is exactly the fact that it is so hard to control and regulate, the only way we currently deal with large monopolies.
Bitcoin miners, whether one or many, are clearly strongly incentivised to play fair. But the state-level attack is the one to watch out for, not the miner attack. If or when, Bitcoin actually threatens the Chinese Yuan or the US Dollar, are these all-powerful institutions just going to sit back and admit defeat? Of course not. This will only matter when it matters. There are plenty of viable attacks.
As a Coder, how could he not try and write his own version of Bitcoin? His vision of a better version of Bitcoin. The ultimate programmatic life form. The ultimate piece of code. How could any coder resist? It’s too much, it’s intoxicating and he did not realise how absolute this desire was until he started coding up his own version.
He wanted to ensure that what he felt was happening to Bitcoin, would never happen to Minima. Minima was designed by him, for him. Minima is the cryptocurrency he wanted to be using.
“Creative thinking is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously.” - James Clear
Minima takes inspiration from and combines much great previous work including
- Satoshi Nakomoto’s Bitcoin (UTxO model);
- IOTA (Removing miners - user based PoW security);
- Adam Backs’ HashCash (The Burn);
- P2Pool (TxPoW);
- Sompolinsky and Zohar (GHOST);
- Peter Todd’s MMR Storage-less Proof database (MMR database);
- Proof of Proof-of-Work (Cascading Chain);
- Gregory Maxwell’s Chain Folding (Cascading chain);
- The Lightning Network (Omnia - Minima's Layer 2)