Last changes: 01-feb-2019
Komodo is a complete ecosystem for the creation of any blockchain-based project. The founder and lead developer jl777 sought to find a solution to the main bottlenecks of crypto: security, privacy, scalability and interoperability, without making compromises with decentralization.
Komodo history dates back to 2014 with the SuperNET project: its goal was to jumpstart the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies by uniting the most innovative coins under a common infrastructure that also allowed to build more decentralized projects on top of it.
In this design Bitcoin was the basic currency, most backend leveraged Nxt technology and other coins or dapps provided specific features: privacy, marketplace, assets exchange, file storage, atomic swaps, games, etc. Users could have accessed a whole decentralized open-finance ecosystem from a single easy-to-use interface, with all complex interactions working under the hood.
Despite success of the Multigateway asset exchange and a beta release of the SuperNet UI, it proved hopeless to release a stable product that required stability from so many underlying parts. The coins were constantly evolving and changing, some of them failed or were abandoned for their own reasons but the worst thing were sudden backward-incompatible changes that broke SuperNET functionality.
This hard experience urged jl777 to completely rebuild the SuperNET project on its own independent codebase and make every part as modular and independent as possible, while also offering the same flexibility to any project built on it.
Komodo first 100 million coins were created at genesis. 70 millions were distributed to Bitcoindark holders (the privacy coin used in the SuperNET project), 10 millions were kept for development and 20 millions sold to new users during the ICO from october 14 to november 19, 2016. The ICO raised 2636 Bitcoin, at that time were valued ~1.9 million Usd. Most of the funds are reserved to pay dPoW notarization fees until the ecosystem becomes self-sustaining.
Komodo coin – Specs & supply
Komodo is a Zcash fork using the same PoW equihash algo and the zero-knowledge privacy tech. Max Komodo supply is 200 millions, to be reached in ~14 years from genesis. Block reward is 3 Komodo per block, with a block every minute. A unique feature is the automatic 5% yearly reward that doesn’t require any active staking. The reward must be claimed at least once a month, because it stop accruing after being unclaimed for ~30 days.
1) dPoW (delayed-Proof-of-Work)
dPoW is the heartbet of the whole Komodo ecosystem. Recognizing that Bitcoin has by far the most secure PoW hashrate and that smaller PoW blockchains are easy targets for attack, Komodo uses a set of 64 elected Notary Nodes to create decentralized checkpoints on the Bitcoin blockchain. This prevents 51% and other types of attacks. Adding checkpoints is usually a centralized process, however dPoW does it using a randomized process between the Notary Nodes (but every normal node can verify that notarizations are valid). This is like a ‘write-protect’ notch on top of the existing consensus of Komodo and other blockchains using it. This protection allows to have many small independent blockchains with Bitcoin-level security.
Notary Nodes are elected yearly by a stake-weighted vote. Every year the best performing 32 (by number of notarizations) keep their spot, while the other 32 are up for election. In exchange for their service, Notary Nodes receive a mining advantage that consists in 75% of Komodo blocks while the remaining 25% is for independent miners. dPoW protection was initially available only to Komodo and other blockchains created with Komodo technology but it’s now open to external blockchains.
2) Blockchain creation kit
Komodo uses a multichain architecture where all new coins, securities, tokens, dapps or other blockchain-based projects get their own customized chain. In this way everything is compartmentalized and completely unaffected by issues or congestion that can happen on other parts of the ecosystem. There’s no practical limit to the number of blockchains that can be created. A fundamental difference from the ‘sidechain’, ‘childchain’, ‘plasma’ or ‘sharding’ concepts is that the Komodo-created blockchains are fully independent and not necessarily tied to any ‘parent’ chain. They come with their own consensus rules and can survive on their own. Developers have complete freedom to choose which Komodo features to use (even dPoW is optional) or they can even go their separate ways.
The initial customization parameters include about 300 combinations and are planned to be steadily increased and enhanced, up to include custom consensus rules. The Crypto Conditions modules (see below) allow to create more customization or implement new technologies for a fraction of the effort required to develop a new blockchain from scratch.
BarterDEX is the Komodo ecosystem’s atomic-swaps decentralized exchange (DEX) that functions with p2p orderbooks, ordermatching and liquidity providers. Komodo team pioneered atomic-swaps based on Tier Nolan’s concept, making many test swaps between 2014-16. This work resulted in the release of BarterDEX in september 2017. The first release supported Komodo, all Komodo-ecosystem blockchains, Bitcoin and most other Bitcoin-based coins (Bch, Ltc, Dash, Zec, etc.). Further enhancements soon included the following:
- Atomic swaps in lite mode, via electrum servers, without need for full blockchains
- Fast 0conf swaps, without waiting for all confirmations (by using Komodo as collateral)
- Support for Ethereum and Erc20 tokens by a method called ‘Etomic’
Currently a vastly improved core written in Rust (marketmaker2.0) and an user-friendly gui (HyperDEX) are in the works, to be released in Q1 2019. The new core will also support more non-Bitcoin based coins.
Decentralized initial coin offerings (dICOs) use the BarterDEX technology to distribute tokens directly from the issuer to the investors, via atomic swaps. This avoids centralized points of failure like a website and the slow paced nature prevents whales from scooping up most tokens in a short time. The issuer can accept any coin integrated in BarterDEX as means of payment. Users can also more easily protect their privacy, including jumblring their funds in case of Komodo.
Jumblr is an optional decentralized shuffler on top of Komodo zero-knowledge privacy. It automates a process that users of Zcash-based coins must do manually, in order to effectively severe any currency trails. Jumblr moves the funds from a transparent address, through a series of shielded addresses, and then returns the funds in standard sizes of 10/100/1000 Komodo to new transparent addresses. Jumblr is purposefully designed to be slow in order to be also resistant against time-based analysis. It requires the node running for several hours for the process to finish.
For now this feature is available only for Komodo and not for the other blockchains created with Komodo technology.
6) Multichain scaling
Komodo scaling technology leverages the security provided by dPoW to create multiple blockchains that can do cross-chain transactions with each other. Extensive use of burn protocol and Merkle of Merkle of Merkle roots allow to erase coins from a chain and recreate the exact amount on another one. Every blockchain created with Komodo can scale with the same method by adding another chain to its ‘cluster’ (that is a group of fungible chains that mantains the same overall supply across them).
Unlike the ‘sharding’ technology researched by other projects (that makes important security tradeoffs) every independent blockchain created with Komodo has its own proven logic and consistency. Everything is separated from the beginning, instead of trying to subdivide a large existing chain.
The vision is that, at mass scale, there will be many independent blockchains for different states, cities, regions or groups of people or use-cases. Each customized for its specific needs. Users will only run the blockchain they most often transact with, yet they can also send coins to users on another chain.
This concept has been successfully tested in may 2018 with 20k tps sustained for 14 minutes. Another test using 8192 blockchains for an overall throughput of 1million tps is planned in the near future.
7) Crypto Conditions
Komodo has implemented Crypto Conditions, an utxo-based smart contract protocol or rather a ‘custom consensus module’. It’s totally different from other existing ‘smart contract’ technologies.
In its simplest form, Crypto Conditions lock an utxo in a publicly-known address and prevents it from being spent until a certain set of conditions are met. This allows to add and subtract properties from it, including properties that allow for Turing-complete programming.
You don’t need to run the the code in a Virtual Machine or pay Gas, since CC are hard-coded into the Komodo codebase and run in the daemon. For this reason they also allow significant customizations at consensus level, in fact almost any blockchain innovation can be integrated via a custom CC module. It’s one of the methods (along with new blockchain creation parameters) to integrate new technology into Komodo.
CC can also be written in any compiled programming language that can create a linkable library capable of calling and being called by C/C++ functions. In that sense, Komodo’s utxo-based smart contracts are language agnostic with a proper CC interpreter.
For dapp creators it’s possible to pay fees with the coin of developer and user’s choice instead of Komodo. Also freemium model is possible via faucets.
- Faucet: anybody can add funds or ask for 0.1 coins
- Asset: fully featured colored coins and trading system, including non-fungible tokens
- Gateway: assetize Bitcoin or any other external coin
- Oracle: market for external data
- Rewards: simulation of masternodes where users get extra reward for locking funds
- Channel: secure instant payment mechanism via on-chain channels
- Dice: provably random and blockchain-enforced dice game
Other ideas in the works or discussed include:
- Auction: both normal and dutch-style
- Pegs: migration from one chain to another in the same cluster
- Vault: thief-secure address that requires time to unlock, with another key to undo the operation
- Heir: automatic send balance to another address if inactive for a long time
- Balance: add balance system logic on top of utxo system
- Stablecoin: algo-based
- Solidity/Wasm/Python interpreters
- Schnorr signatures
Being an extension of the Bitcoin protocol, a series of RPC calls can be created based on the above modules. Eventually, once a large variety of RPC calls exists, it will become possible to build entire decentralized applications based on RPC calls alone.
Beside atomic swaps via BarterDEX and the possibility to assetize external coins, the long term roadmap includes blockchain bridges to further enhance interoperability across the entire cryptocurrency landscape.
The Komodo ecosystem
With all the features above, Komodo is trying to plant seeds in many areas and eventually have many high quality projects loosely tied to the same ecosystem. There are already abundant ideas being experimented by companies, independent developers and miners. These include blockchain-streamed videos, games, betting, mesh networks, otc trading, post-dated cheques, marketplaces, stablecoins, file storage, supply chains, etc… All these projects are completely independent and without any obligation towards Komodo, but they may voluntarily choose to have their innovations go back to a common pool of technologies that other projects can then make use of. So far the whole ecosystem has been very collaborative. A partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington has also been established, that will help train more future blockchain developers and especially Crypto Conditions specialists.
The following articles and interviews are VERY recommended to complete this guide:
Article from Komodo website with project history and many links
Article by Grewal Satinder: Why Assetchains?
Crypto Murmur: Focus Fire series on Komodo
Naomi Brockwell interview with jl777
Crypto Zombie interview with jl777 (pages 10-15)