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Ergo Quixplained

Who made Ergo crypto?

The lead developer behind the Ergo project is Alexander Chepurnoy. He is a blockchain veteran, having participated in Bitcoin’s development since 2011. Chepurnoy has co-authored and published multiple papers on blockchain technology and is a degree holder from the Saint Petersburg National Research University (ITMO). Chepurnoy’s first big project was the NXT platform.

Together with Dmitry Meshkov, they embarked on the effort to create Ergo, launching the mainnet on July 1, 2019. Meshkov has a PhD in physics and a similarly rich experience in software development. At the time of Ergo’s launch, Chepurnoy issued a statement clarifying what the ergo crypto is all about:

“We have developed an approach to smart contracts in line with Bitcoin’s original concept, but with small additions that potentially cover 99% of current use-cases. Ergo allows people to synchronise with the network by downloading less than a megabyte of data, reducing the process from potentially weeks to minutes and enabling it to take place on mobile devices – all with the same security as current third-party solutions.”

The Ergo team saw that both Bitcoin and Ethereum have considerable flaws. Ergo was born as a result of a motivation to address these issues. Like Bitcoin, Ergo (ERG) employs Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus to secure its blockchain network. However, like Ethereum, Ergo is simultaneously a programmable blockchain capable of deploying smart contracts.

In both instances, Ergo appears to solve the downsides of Bitcoin and Ethereum:

  • Instead of exerting high electricity requirements like Bitcoin to solve complex cryptographic equations, the ergo crypto uses a different mining algorithm. Dubbed Autolykos, it makes mining more energy-efficient because it creates a limit on both mining pools and specialized ASIC machines. This way, one can mine ergo with a commercial-grade GPU, just like in the old days.

When it comes to Ergo’s Ethereum-like programmability, it has an advantage as it doesn’t have any gas fees, which is the cost users have to pay every time they make a transaction. Ethereum is notorious for having exorbitant gas fees the more traffic its network onboards. Instead, ergo has very stable and negligible transaction fees — at about 0.0011 ERG or one cent ($0.01).


How does Ergo work?

Thanks to its user-friendly ErgoScript programming language, each ergo coin hosted within smart contracts has a layer of protection. It specifies when the coin can be used, by whom, and under which conditions. ErgoSript uses Sigma Protocols as the building blocks for zero-knowledge proof, used in cryptography.

In practice, this means that a sigma (Σ) protocol revolved around a 3-fold proofing mechanism to secure contractual money:

  • Message sent from the prover to verifier, as the first one
  • Random challenge coming from the verifier
  • Message sent from the prover to the verifier, as the second one.

Based on these sigma protocols, ErgoScript makes it easy to develop smart contracts. Moreover, this is further helped by Ergo’s support for light nodes. These are blockchain software packages that neither need to hold an entire blockchain copy nor do they need to run 24/7. As such, they make Ergo very mobile-friendly because the need for storage space and computing power is significantly reduced.

Furthermore, by divesting itself from general-purpose languages, such as C, Java, or Python, ErgoScript was specifically designed to be the best at what it does — create code for decentralized finance. Specifically, contractual money in a Turing-complete manner but with a reduced potential for spam attacks thanks to its ahead-of-time estimation feature.

Lastly, just like Tezos (XTZ), Ergo (ERG) is a self-amending blockchain, making it easier to upgrade for the long haul, which is another part of its resiliency feature. Unlike Bitcoin, Ergo doesn’t have a hard block size limit. Based on network demand, it can shrink or increase, but its growth rate is limited to a certain rate to prevent spurts in a short time span.

Ergo mining.

U.S. China Beijing Bitcoin mining As mentioned previously, Ergo’s minting of the entire supply will occur during the first eight years after its mainnet launch. The prerequisites for mining ERG tokens are very friendly to newcomers. One only needs to configure an Ergo node. Then, a GPU with merely 4 GB of VRAM would suffice, although 8 GB is recommended.

Needless to say — because Ergo uses a tried and tested Proof-of-Work consensus — miners can employ multiple GPUs on a single Ergo node.