Name: Ubiq (UBQ)
Mining Algorithm: Ubqhash
Block time: 88 seconds
First Announced: January, 2017
- Escher is a unique decentralized governance system, developed by the Ubiq team.
- Ubiq’s Flux Algorithm is a unique difficulty algorithm developed by the Ubiq team.
- Supports tokens and dApps hosted on the Ubiq network
- Community centered project
With no premine, dev fee, or ICO, Ubiq was launched fairly in early 2017. Ubiq is an Ethereum fork, inheriting Ethereum’s strengths and weaknesses. Like Ethereum, Ubiq is also a smart contract platform among other things. Ubiq picks up and develops on the gaps left by Ethereum. This under-recognized coin is backed by a dedicated team and a strong community.
Ubiq uses a proof-of-work consensus algorithm. Being a code fork of Ethereum, Ubiq initially employed the Ethash (Dagger-Hashimoto) mining algorithm. Ethash is a GPU dominated algorithm, once again showing the team’s commitment to the community.
However a little over a year ago, Ubiq switched to Ubqhash as its POW consensus algorithm. This decision took place through Ubiq’s decentralized governance system “Escher”, but more on that later.
Ubqhash did not change the fundamentals of the Ethash algorithm, preserving the hashing speeds on the new algorithm. However, Ubqhash brought upon one very important change.
Ubiq DAG Growth
The Ethash mining algorithm is a memory intensive algorithm. Mining on the Ethash algorithm requires a DAG file. This file contains the necessary resources to run the mining software. DAG files take GPU memory rather than system memory.
For example: if the current DAG file size is 4GB, graphics cards with less than 4GB of memory will not be able to mine.
Moreover, the DAG file grows exponentially, slowly kicking off older GPUs from the mining network. The current Ethereum DAG file is over 3GB, while Ubiq’s DAG file is a little over 1GB.
Ubiq employs a slower DAG file growth using Ubqhash, therefore allowing GPUs to miner for a longer period of time before they become obsolete. Ubiq’s dedication to the community is an important, as it is often not reciprocated in larger market cap coins.
Ubiq Monetary Policy and Inflation Rate
Following in Ethereum’s footsteps, Ubiq features an uncapped supply. The team believes that in a fixed supply blockchain, miners will eventually leave as the incentive to mine dwindles over time. As a result, the network will grow increasingly unstable, as in a proof-of-work blockchain, the greater the miners, the greater the blockchain security and stability.
Many users worry about excessive inflation with an uncapped supply. However, the Ubiq team took this into consideration with block rewards reducing by 1 UBQ per block per year until the block reward is 1 UBQ at which the reward will not decrease further. Appropriately, inflation rates will decrease to a healthy 3% by 2021 and below 1% by 2024. For comparison, the US dollar averages a 3% inflation rate. This ultra-low inflation rate policy is pursued by several cryptocurrencies and is the next step towards mainstream crypto adoption.
Ubiq Flux Algorithm
Mining difficulty adjustment is crucial in maintaining target block times as well as appropriating rewards to miners. What is mining difficulty? In short, mining difficulty is the complexity of the mathematical puzzles that miners solve. An increase in mining difficulty results in more work to solve the block and thus increases the block times. Vice versa, lowering mining difficulty lowers the difficulty to mine a block, and as a result, lowering the block time.
Difficulty algorithms can be the bane of the blockchain. If block times are very high and the difficulty algorithm is not able to bring them down, the blockchain may freeze, and as a result, transactions may take hours or even days to confirm. Therefore, an effective difficulty algorithm is crucial to the seamless operation of the blockchain.
Difficulty algorithms differ on one primary factor:
Bitcoin’s difficulty algorithm changes difficulty once every 2016 blocks (~2 weeks). As a result, the Bitcoin network block times fluctuate wildly when the market is volatile. If Bitcoin’s value goes up, more miners join the network decreasing the block time. However, the problem occurs when miners suddenly leave the network. Once miners leave, block times increase significantly and since difficulty changes every 2016 blocks the blockchain comes to a crawl.
Ubiq’s Flux Algorithm directly addresses and provides a solution for Bitcoin’s weaknesses. In contrast to Bitcoin, Ubiq’s custom algorithm checks the last 88 blocks rather than 2016. With a block time of 88 seconds, Ubiq adjusts difficulty roughly every 2 hours, compared to Bitcoin’s 2 weeks.
Moreover, Ubiq’s algorithm ingeniously adjusts difficulty by determining whether the adjustment should be a partial or full change.
What does this mean?
The algorithm compares the last block time with the average block time within the last 88 block interval. If the last block time is lower than the average, the algorithm deploys a partial change as block times are already coming back to the target 88 seconds. However, if the last block time is greater than the average, the network is moving away from the target, and thus deploys a full difficulty change.
Ubiq Network Stability
Ubiq’s Flux Difficulty Algorithm also bolsters network stability. Uncle blocks play a key role in network stability. In short, uncle blocks are two technically valid blocks. The network nodes then have to decide which block is valid. This whole process decreases network stability and security. A high uncle rate (rate of uncle blocks) increases the likelihood of a 51% attack.
Ubiq’s 88 second block time is significantly longer than Ethereum’s 12 second block time. Therefore, the Ubiq chain has up to 90% fewer uncle blocks than Ethereum. This is a prime example of how a forked cryptocurrency takes previously established technology and innovates upon it.
In addition, Ubiq’s blockchain has twice the transaction capacity as Ethereum at a 40 million block gas limit. Therefore, the Ubiq blockchain is more stable, secure, and efficient than Ethereum.
In addition to a cryptocurrency, Ubiq is a smart contract platform. Operating similarly to Ethereum, Ubiq runs the Ethereum Virtual Machine, EVM for short. The EVM allows smart contracts to be executed within the blockchain.
Put briefly, smart contracts are trust-less digitized contracts with a myriad of potential use cases. Requiring no middleman smart contracts are cost-effective and most importantly, efficient.
In addition to smart contract compatibility, the Ubiq Platform also supports custom tokens and dApps. The ability to create ERC-20 tokens and custom dApps is the cornerstone of the Ethereum blockchain. Ubiq utilizes this to provide a stronger use case for its native blockchain.
GeoCoin is an ERC20 Token on the Ubiq Network. GEO combines a popular hobby, geocaching with the blockchain. Leveraging blockchain technology, GeoCoin is a unique geocaching application.
In short, Geocaching is an outdoor hobby where users find real “treasures” by reaching a marker on an online map. Once at the location, users typically look for a container containing the treasure. What makes GeoCoin unique, is that through Proof-of-Location (PoL), GEO is distributed globally allowing users to earn GEO while participating in traditional geocaching.
In January of 2018, GEO migrated to the Ubiq blockchain becoming an ERC20 token. Before the migration, GEO was a POW coin but is no longer once as it is now on the Ubiq chain as a token.
Ubiq features a decentralized governance system, similar to other cryptocurrencies. Escher is one of Ubiq’s unique features, furthering the project’s vision to be a decentralized, secure, and open blockchain platform. The Escher platform consists of several moving parts.
Escher’s primary goal is to allocate funds from the NDF (Network Development Fund) towards different projects as well as facilitate major network decisions. This form of decentralized decision making should be an example for all cryptocurrencies, as decentralization runs at the heart of cryptosphere.
Although it might seem complicated, Escher works in a very intuitive way, with Escher Token (ESCH) at its core.
The Escher Token (ESCH) is crucial to the voting process. ESCH is a utility token on the Ubiq network. One ESCH repersents one vote. Ubiq holders were airdropped ESCH corresponding to the addresses’ Ubiq holdings. However, the ESCH to UBQ ratios varied based on the airdrops.
ESCH airdrop ratios varied, with more recent airdrops having a lower ESCH to UBQ ratio than the preceding airdrops.
- Airdrop #1 (March 2018) – 12 ESCH per 1 UBQ
- Airdrop #2 (July 2018) – 6 ESCH per 1 UBQ
- Airdrop #3 (October 2018) – 3 ESCH per 1 UBQ
- Airdrop #4 (February 2019) – 2 ESCH per 1 UBQ
- Airdrop #5 (April 2019) – 1 ESCH per 1 UBQ
- Airdrop #6 (September 2019) – 1 ESCH per 1 UBQ
These airdrops were strategically planned, giving long-term Ubiq holders a larger weight in the voting process. Furthermore, incentivizing users to hold on to Ubiq creating a store of value similar to Bitcoin.
UIPs (Ubiq Improvement Proposal)
Ubiq Improvement Proposals (UIPs) are proposals to make core or major network modifications.
After the initial proposal there is a period of feedback where community members provide feedback on the UIP. Members debate on the proposals and bring the proposal to the voting phase once the feedback period is over.
Once brought to the voting stage, individual community members holding ESCH will vote for the proposal.
UIP #1 – Independent Proof-of-Work Algorithm
UIP #1 proposed an algorithm change to Ubqhash from the Ethash algorithm.
The motivation behind this proposal was increasing blockchain security. A unique mining algorithm mitigates the chances of a 51% attack using Ethash mining rig rentals. In addition, a custom algorithm furthers Ubiq’s mission of separating from Ethereum and becoming an independent blockchain platform.
The first improvement proposal successfully passed with an overwhelming 95% vote.
UIP #2 – Simplify the Network Development Fund
Ubiq’s Network Development Fund (NDF) funds network development and promotion. Consisting primarily of Bitcoin, the NDF accumulated many additional assets through forks. This proposal would either sell all BTC forks for BTC, ETH, or UBQ, or alternatively not sell the forks at all.
The community voted to sell all forks for ETH with a 53% vote.
UIP #3 – Marketing Budget Proposal
This proposal outlines marketing budget allocation as well as reviewing the decision making process.
- Withdraw 510 UBQ every 28,000 blocks for marketing costs.
- Allowing marketing team to make quick decisions without having to run them through the governance system.
UIP #3 has not been put up for vote yet and is still in the feedback phase.
UIP #4 – Escher logo selection
This proposal’s purpose was to inspire community creators and chose a logo for Escher (ESCH). The winning logo’s creator would receive 150 UBQ.
The current Escher logo was chosen with an 80% vote.
UIP #5 – Migrate Escher to Escher Hub on Cosmos Network
Migrating Escher from a UBQ token to a staking token of Escher Hub on the Cosmos Network would preserve decentralized governance features whilst allowing for Inter-Blockchain Communications (IBC) between the two networks.
UIP #5 has not been up for vote yet and is still in the feedback phase.
UIP #6 – Contribute from the NDF to list Ubiq, GeoCoin and Sphere on CryptoBridge DEX
CryptoBridge a now defunct decentralized exchange, offered to list Ubiq, GeoCoin, and Sphere for 0.5 BTC. Funding for this proposal would come out of the Network Development Fund. At the time, a listing on a reputable exchange would have boosted liquidity and adoption.
This proposal was adopted with a 74% vote, however, CryptoBridge has recently closed services rendering all trading pairs inoperable.
The Ubiq Platform is open source and community centered. The community plays a large role in network development and decision making. This is evident through the team’s dedication towards preserving community miners and the creation of Escher, a decentralized governance system.
Anyone can contribute to Ubiq’s development, allowing for a myriad of potential future applications. One of the core focuses at the moment is promoting and integrating Escher with other cryptocurrency platforms such as exchanges. Funding for future ventures will be provided by the NDF. Ubiq is still a relatively small project but has nevertheless made large strides towards true decentralization.
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