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Decred forked from the Bitcoin codebase when a proposal for new suite of features to be added to Bitcoin from Company 0 was rejected by the Bitcoin core team. Named btcsuite, these features became the core of the Decred project. Decred’s governance and consensus mechanism relies on a PoW/Proof-of-Stake (PoS) hybrid, which the project regards as a sort of “second authentication factor for consensus” by enabling coin holders to curb potential miner centralization, Decred employs a governance body called the Politeia to guide the project’s direction and fund operations from its treasury. The treasury is funded via a block subsidy representing 10% of each block reward. To obtain funds proposals are made to the Politeia which votes to either approve or reject the proposal. Once approved the funding for a proposal is released from the treasury dependent on achievement of agreed upon milestones. The block subsidy was instituted because all enhancements to Bitcoin are dependent on third party funding which the Decred team feels introduces conflicts of interest. Instituting block subsidies is viewed as a preferable option because it makes funds readily available for project enhancements. Spending on enhancements is conducted transparently via the governance mechanisms of the Politeia. Holders of the projects native token, DCR, can earn block rewards by staking their tokens in exchange for tickets. The rewards mechanism functions like a lottery, assigning the block reward randomly to ticket holders. To bring greater certainty to earning rewards many users choose to assign their tokens to a staking pool. Which obtains tickets en mass using participants pledged DCR holdings increasing the chances of pool participants receiving rewards.
Decred preserves some core features of Bitcoin’s codebase (e.g. supply cap), but introduces a plethora of unique features, including replacing SHA256 with BLAKE256, utilizing an elliptic curve (secp256k1) which allows Schnorr signatures integration, and building a PoW-PoS hybrid consensus mechanism. Decred also deploys a novel block reward scheme by splitting rewards between a PoW miner (60%) and typically 5 PoS voters (30%) with the remaining 10% allocated to development subsidy. Block rewards are reduced by a factor of 100/101 every 6,144 blocks, approximately 21 days. Decred investors can become voting stakeholders by purchasing tickets and voting on a Decred block confirmation via a lottery ticket-selection process. A simple majority is necessary to add a block. On September 19, 2017 Decred completed its first successful cross-chain atomic swap with Litecoin. A critical first step in building the decentralized exchange it intends to roll out in the future. Decred is actively pursuing integration with the Lightning network. So users can initiate payments across Bitcoin’s network with its native token DCR and potentially hold multiple assets in Decredition, the Decred wallet solution. Additional steps required to release the decentralized exchange they are focused on building. Currently, the project is adding support for Decentralized Autonomous Entities, DAEs, of which the Politeia is the first example. So users can band together with like-minded individuals to create organizations to support their missions.
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