Solana, the Blockchain Project Not the Beach!


Today I am looking at Solana. No, not the Californian beach,  the blockchain project that is currently taking the crypto world by storm. Although, fun fact the project was named after Solana beach by it’s founders.

Solana is a high-performance cryptocurrency Blockchain that supports smart contracts and Decentralized Applications (dapps). Solana’s architecture ensures speed, security, and censorship-resistance. All things that are necessary to achieve global adoption.

The Solana platform supports smart contracts similar to Tezos and Ethereum. This enables developers to build dapps such as high-volume Decentralized Exchanges (DEXes).

According to their website, Solana is super fast, claiming to  process up to 50,000 transactions per second. It is designed in such a way as to keep fees low for both users and developers.

How Does Solana Work

Solana’s technology consists of 8 components:

Proof-of-History (PoH)

With traditional consensus methods, all nodes on a Blockchain must communicate with one another to determine that time has passed. Each node submits an upvote or downvote for any given block to show that the block is valid or invalid. A given number of upvotes will be necessary for a block to be considered valid by the network. If a local clock produces a timestamp that widely differs from the time used by other nodes, it can result in a delay in confirmation time or even rejection of the block.

Proof-of-History (PoH) solves this problem and allows the Solana network to process transactions extremely quickly. PoH creates a historical record that proves that an event has occurred at a specific moment in time, like a cryptographic clock. The Solana Network chains messages from nodes about the validity of blocks to provide a relative chronological order of events that functions independently of local clocks and timestamps.

A network node chosen as the leader becomes responsible for generating a PoH sequence. This leader sequences messages for maximum efficiency and throughput. The ordered output transfers to replicator nodes called Validators. These Validators handle verification of the consensus algorithm. There is always one leader on the network, chosen via Proof-of-Stake (PoS) elections. Solana’s PoS system relies on a Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) mechanism called ‘Tower Consensus.’

Any Validator node is eligible for selection as the PoH leader. If any failures transpire within the PoH generator, the Validator with the next highest voting power replaces the original leader.

Tower Consensus

Solana runs a Tower Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus mechanism on the Proof-of-History (PoH) protocol.

Tower BFT leverages the PoH as a clock before consensus to reduce communication overhead and latency. In many aspects, this consensus bears a resemblance to the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) consensus algorithm.

However, unlike PBFT, Tower Consensus prefers liveliness over consistency. In this system, nodes allow more time for reaching consensus by exponentially increasing their timeouts. Since the ledger is also a trustless source of time, nodes are able to observe and examine timeouts of all network Validators.


One of the major challenges with Blockchain technology is the rapid transmission of large amounts of data. Solana solves this by using Turbine. Similar to BitTorrent, Turbine functions optimally for streaming. Data transmits via the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which speeds up communications since there is no need to formally establish a connection before transferring data.

Turbine implements a random path per packet through the network as leaders (block producers) stream their data. The leader breaks the block into packets up to 64KB in size. For a 128MB block, the leader produces 2,000 64KB packets and transmits each packet to a different Validator.

Each Validator re-transmits the packet to a group of peers called a ‘Neighborhood’. These Neighborhoods then transmit packets to subsequent Neighborhoods.

Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream works by pushing transaction caching and forwarding to the edge of the network. In Solana’s Network, during each block production process, the choice of upcoming network leaders depends largely on their stake.

Since every Validator knows the order of the forthcoming leaders in the architecture, clients and Validators forward transactions to the anticipated leader ahead of time. This allows Validators to execute their transactions earlier, reduce confirmation times, and switch leaders faster. It also reduces the memory pressure on Validators from the unconfirmed transaction pool.

Sea Level

SeaLevel is a Virtual Machine (VM) that schedules transactions. In SeaLevel, the execution of transactions is not the responsibility of the VM. Instead, they undergo hardware execution using bytecode known as Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF), an industry-proven high-performance packet filter.


Pipeline is a Transaction Processing Unit for validation optimization. On the Solana Network, the process of transaction validation makes extensive use of an optimization that is also common in CPU design called ‘pipelining.’ Pipelining is a set of data processing elements connected in series in which the output of one element is the input of the next one.

This ensures that every part of the hardware works efficiently at all times.


To achieve network scalability without sharding, Solana uses Cloudbreak as a horizontal scaling solution. Solana’s design principle is to create software that reduces the utilization dependency of hardware. Moreover, Cloudbreak is a data structure that concurrently reads and writes transaction input from across the network.


Solana’s network allows every node to replicate information from the Blockchain according to the space available on their hardware. Archivers download their respective data from Validators, and this data is accessible to the network.


Solana’s native coin, SOL, functions as a means for generating staking rewards, paying transaction fees, and PoS voting for governance of the network. In addition, all SOL holders are eligible to become a network Validator or Leader.


Solana is an interesting project that I will certainly be keeping a close watch on. Could it become the Ethereum killer? I’m not sure, but in a short time Solana is making big waves!

In October 2020, Solana partnered with payments platform Circle to enable immediate issuing of USD Coin, a stablecoin pegged to the value to the U.S. Dollar. In turn, Solana provides Circle with an ecosystem of payments, commerce, and financial applications on the Blockchain.

Big news indeed let’s see if Solana can keep delivering!

Paxful – Making Waves in Africa

Paxful is a peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace. However, they aren’t just your run-of-the-mill trading platform: they have a very real agenda for good. Their mission is to help the unbanked gain financial freedom and improve the lives of communities across Africa.
Curb That Volatility!

There are some amazing crypto projects developing in Africa. With rampant inflation, strict financial regulations and corruption abound, it’s no wonder Africans are looking for an alternative approach to finance.

Some may argue that cryptoassets are too volatile and unsafe. But when you look at the fluctuating inflation rates in some African countries, using crypto doesn’t actually seem so crazy anymore. Just take a look at The South African Rand (ZAR): It has lost over 50% of its value against the US Dollar in the last decade. Unfortunately, it’s also consistently one of the most volatile fiat currencies around. Imagine trying to save money in a country with such rampant fluctuations. Can’t be easy!

Organizations such as Paxful are doing their utmost to affect meaningful change in Africa, offering a practical alternative to those crazy fiat currencies. Today I take an in-depth look at the Paxful Network and their ongoing humanitarian work in Africa.

What is Paxful?

Paxful is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network where people can buy and sell Bitcoin and connects various stakeholders from all over the world. With Paxful, users can transact using over 300 different payment methods including gift cards, cash, cars, and even groceries. Oh, and of course there’s the more traditional bank transfer as well, if that’s your cup of tea.

As Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful, said in an interview with Max Keiser in February 2021:

A person in Nigeria can get a relative in California to buy a giftcard and send it to them. They can sell that gift card on Paxful to someone in China for Bitcoin. They can then convert that Bitcoin into Naira (Nigerian fiat currency) and then transfer it to their local bank

Paxful was founded in 2015 by Ray Youssef, an Egyptian immigrant who grew up in New York, and Artur Schaback, an Estonian who moved to New York. The name Paxful comes from the Latin pax or peace. The co-founders named the project Paxful because for them, Bitcoin is a way of bringing more peaceful, meaningful solutions to finance.

As the American economist, professor and columnist Paul Krugman once said:

Fiat money is backed by men with guns

The co-founders met at a Bitcoin Conference and soon realized they shared a common belief. The duo held the view that Bitcoin could be used to help individuals achieve financial freedom and gain the ability to trade unhindered by centralized authorities. The rest, as they say, is history, and Paxful was born out of this belief.

Paxful in Action

In the same interview with Max Keiser, Youssef gave examples of how Paxful is helping people in Nigeria.

Paxful realized that the way to get a toehold in Africa was to crack the Nigerian market. It is notoriously difficult to get money in and out of Nigeria. Also, at the same time Paxful was starting out, Bitcoin was trading in Nigeria between 40 and 60% above average market price. Naturally this made it difficult for ordinary people to buy Bitcoin. Paxful subsequently came up with a novel solution to this dilemma: gift cards. Simply put, Paxful connected Nigerian gift card sellers directly with Chinese gamers. Nigerians soon began selling gift cards for Bitcoin, and so the world’s first-ever crypto now had an easy route into Nigeria.

The used car business in Nigeria is huge and growing steadily year-on-year. According to Youssef, Nigerians are mainly importing used cars from America. They then resell them in Nigeria and make anything from 100 to 400% profit.

A few years ago the Nigerian government stepped in with regulations that made it difficult for Nigerian car dealers to exchange US Dollars for Naira. The car dealers looked for a solution and came up with the idea of trading using Bitcoin. They contacted Paxful for help. Youssef stepped in to show them how to buy the cars legitimately using Paxful and Bitcoin. Their business was restored without the use of banks or financial organizations.

Paxful also helps people in Nigeria make online purchases. In Nigeria, if you own a debit card, online purchases are limited to $100 per month. As a result, Nigerians are making use of Paxful to bypass this annoying regulation.

Promoting Community Upliftment with Paxful

As well as giving Nigerians the ability to trade with Bitcoin, Paxful is strongly committed to improving conditions for communities in Africa. Their foundation, Built With Bitcoin, devotes itself to the creation of equitable opportunities by providing clean water, access to quality education, sustainable farming, and humanitarian support. The foundation is funded by a percentage of Paxful’s profits as well as donations from individuals and organizations.


The foundation opened their first school in Rwanda in 2017. Since then, five more have been built: one in Rwanda, two in Kenya and two in Nigeria. Their ultimate goal is to build 100 schools across Africa.

The foundation also provides funding for generous scholarships to train female teachers in Afghanistan. As a predominantly Muslim nation, many parents are reluctant to send their daughters to school because the vast majority of teachers are male. Only 25% of Afghan teachers are actually female. The aim is to get more girls in schools so that they can enjoy the many benefits an education brings.

Clean Water

Many communities in Africa have limited or no access to clean water, an essential part of maintaining hygiene, staying healthy and running sustainable farming operations.

Paxful has introduced a range of solutions in order to provide clean water including filtration units powered by solar energy. These units filter dirty or contaminated water using sand and chlorination, making it suitable for human consumption.

Depending on the topography, Paxful builds sustainable boreholes, underground rain-catchment systems and/or water tower reservoirs to provide clean water to communities.

The Olympics

In July 2021 Paxful donated to The Friends of Nigerian Basketball Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) dedicated to promoting basketball in Nigeria and with the Nigerian diaspora. The donation was to help fund The Nigerian Men’s National Basketball Team in their bid to win an Olympic medal.

Paxful is just one of many interesting projects currently operating within Africa. The continent’s large, primarily young population has demonstrated that they are ready to embrace new technologies and ideas. This attitude provides fertile ground for crypto projects to thrive. I know I’ll be watching Paxful with great interest and truly hope they continue to go from strength to strength.

The Sun Exchange. Lighting up South Africa


Climate change and crypto are two interesting topics that have made the news a lot in recent times. Today I take a closer look at a Blockchain project that tackles both of these subjects: Sun Exchange. Simply put, the company aids communities by crowdselling solar power cells. People can then lease their cells to organizations in emerging economies and get paid in Bitcoin. It’s a win-win situation in my opinion. Read on and you’ll see exactly why…

A Unique Discovery

Based in South Africa, Sun Exchange is the first peer-to-peer (P2P) solar leasing marketplace. I first heard about the company back in 2018. Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert were appointed as advisers to the project and talked about it on the ever-popular Keiser report. I was fascinated by the concept and signed up for the Sun Exchange Newsletter that same day. Over the years I have followed their progress with keen interest.

The Nhimbe Fresh and Sun Exchange project really grabbed my attention because it’s the latter’s biggest and most ambitious initiative to-date. For this reason I decided to take a deep dive into the project and share my findings with all of you. It’s a great example of crypto entrepreneurship that’s really helping change peoples’ lives. So let’s get to it!
What’s Sun Exchange?

First of all, let me explain how Sun Exchange works, because it’s a truly unique approach that deserves some attention.

Sun Exchange identifies schools, businesses and organizations that want to move away from fossil fuels and go solar. Once an entity has been verified as viable and responsible, Sun Exchange runs a crowdsale to sell solar cells (by the seashore?) and raise money for the project.

Anyone from anywhere in the world can sign up to be a Sun Exchange member and buy solar cells. Purchases can be made using a traditional bank transfer, credit card or Bitcoin.

Owners of solar cells receive monthly payments once their cell starts generating electricity. Owners can either get paid in the currency of the country in which the project is based, or they can receive payment in Bitcoin.

So organizations benefit from getting access to clean, constant power whilst the people who lease their solar cells can earn crypto and feel good about themselves. Isn’t that awesome?

The Brain Behind Sun Exchange

Sun Exchange was founded in 2015 by Abraham Cambridge. Before starting the company, Cambridge ran a business in the UK installing solar panels.

In 2014 he moved to South Africa and began work as a solar engineering consultant. He was shocked by just how few buildings had solar panels installed despite South Africa being one of the world’s sunniest countries. He later discovered that accessing finance to pay for solar projects was a major roadblock to greater uptake. Cambridge was eager to address this problem and help schools, businesses and organizations across Africa access clean and affordable renewable energy.

With experience in climate change studies, solar panel installation and crypto, it should comes as no surprise that Cambridge is the brains behind Sun Exchange.

Nhimbe Fresh

Founded in 1996 in Zimbabwe, Nhimbe Fresh is one of Africa’s largest producers of fruit and vegetables. The company supplies the world’s markets with bluberries, stone fruits and vegetables. There’s a good chance that those blueberries you bought at your local supermarket were grown and exported by Nhimbe Fresh.

Nhimbe Fresh is more than just a farm. They are also dedicated to helping local communities. At present they provide employment for around 1,500 people in the local area and run several support programs to help local families enjoy a better quality of life.

Small farms in Africa provide up to 80% of total food production. Sadly they face a host of difficulties including small plots of land, barriers to entry into larger markets and a lack of finances.

Nhimbe Fresh takes active steps to help these small farms by providing them with practical support and solutions. One such program is the farmer education project which focuses not just on farming practices, but also healthcare and business procedures.

Nhimbe Fresh provides access to export markets for small farms with its outreach program. It collects produce from farms up to 100 km away and allows access to their packing and cold storage facilities. This outreach program allows said farms to earn money and gain access to finance, expand their operations and improve their overall standards of living.

All Nhimbe Fresh farms have clinics and childcare facilities available for employees. In addition, Nhimbe Fresh supports Marondera Children’s Home where some 200 children receive housing and care on a daily basis. Nhimbe Fresh are currently looking at ways to provide funding to pay for school fees at Marondera and offer students employment post-schooling.

Nhimbe Fresh is proud of their efforts to operate transparently as a sustainable business and protect the environment. However, their operation requires a huge amount of electricity for processing machinery, chillers, pumps and lighting. The Zimbabwean electricity supply is ‘unpredictable’ to say the very least and suffers from frequent power cuts. Nhimbe Fresh is thus forced to use backup diesel generators during power outages. As you can imagine, these generators are unreliable, noisy and very costly to run.

The power outages have a major impact on our production and processing, reducing our capacity to 60%. We have backup diesel generators for the packhouses and irrigation, but they’re too expensive to run – Edwin Moyo, Nhimbe Fresh Chairman

It’s clear that Nhimbe Fresh needs a clean, affordable and reliable power supply to run efficiently. This is where Sun Exchange enters their story…
Sun Exchange & Nhimbe Fresh

Sun Exchange has committed to providing solar panels and battery storage solutions for Nhimbe Fresh over three phases:

  • Phase One – Solar and battery project to power the packhouse and cold store
  • Phase Two – Power water pump sites
  • Phase Three – Power for Churchill Farm

The project will provide 1.9 Megawatts of power and battery storage and is Sun Exchange’s biggest initiative thus far, as well as their first outside of South Africa.

Providing solar power has many benefits, and not just for the environment. Firstly, it will provide Nhimbe Fresh with a continuous, reliable supply of power. The solar project is forecast to reduce their energy costs by more than 60% per year. Moreover, their carbon emissions should decrease by more than one million kilograms per year. That’s huge! This is a far cry from running diesel generators and relying on an unpredictable power supply from the ailing national grid.

In June 2020, Sun Exchange ran a crowdsale to raise money for the Nhimbe Fresh project. The sale managed to bring in $4 million and was considered a great success.

You can learn more about Nhimbe Fresh and the Sun Exchange crowdsale on the Sun Exchange YouTube channel

Progress so Far

At time of writing, equipment for the first phase of the Nhimbe project is en route. The aim is to have the equipment installed and running by the end of August, so it will be interesting to see if this goal is achieved in the expected time frame.

The next phase will concentrate on providing clean water to Nhimbe by using solar-generated power to pump water from reservoirs to the facility. Nhimbe uses a huge amount of water to irrigate their crops, so the success of this phase is absolutely critical.

Sun Exchange is just one of the many amazing projects coming out of Africa. I hope to bring you more stories about innovative projects in the future, but in the meantime, I’m rooting for Nhimbe Fresh! I hope to bring you updates on this initiative as and when they emerge.

El Salvador’s Love Affair with Bitcoin


El Salvador is the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal. Will this be the answer to the nation’s financial woes? Or will it be a match made in hell? Let’s find out more!

The Beginnings of a Financial Romance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last while, you must have heard that El Salvador recently passed a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender. In fact, the bill was passed by a large majority, gaining 62 out of 84 possible votes within Congress. Under the new law, which will be implemented in September 2021, Bitcoin must be accepted by firms when offered as payment for goods and services. Tax contributions can also be paid in cryptocurrency.

However, El Salvador is not getting rid of the US Dollar all together. El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele stated:

‘The use of Bitcoin will be optional, nobody will receive Bitcoin if they don’t want it. If someone receives a payment in Bitcoin, they can choose to automatically receive it in Dollars’

El Salvador is the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legit. You might be wondering why this is such a big deal for El Salvador as well as several other Central and Latin American countries. Let me explain by first giving you some history on the nation that is El Salvador.

This small Central American country’s past is a troubled one. It has endured political and economic instability with a series of coups, revolts, and a succession of authoritarian rulers. Persistent socioeconomic inequality and civil unrest led to the Salvadoran Civil War which took place between 1979 and 1992. Due to this constant state of conflict, El Salvador has been ravaged by poverty and gang-related criminality.

Traditionally, El Salvador relied heavily on coffee exports for revenue. However, they later looked to diversify their international exports and the economy by opening up trade and financial links as well as expanding their manufacturing sector. To facilitate trade and attract foreign investment, El Salvador dropped its own currency, the Colon, in 2001 and adopted the US Dollar.

So what has all of this got to do with Bitcoin? Well, simply put, adopting the US Dollar didn’t solve El Salvador’s financial problems. The foreign trade that was promised, the high-quality jobs, the foreign investment, the increase in exports…all of this didn’t come to pass. So how does El Salvador keep its financial head above water?

Foreign remittances is the answer. In 2019, foreign remittances amounted to the equivalent of 16% of the country’s GDP. Many Salvadorans migrate to the United States to find work so they can send money home to their families, and foreign remittances allow them to accomplish this.

Naturally, this is where Bitcoin comes in. Now as many of you know, sending money through the traditional banking system is slow and expensive, because everyone wants a slice of the pie. Moreover, opening a bank account requires legal documents, like a passport. This is a major issue in developing countries where accessing official documents is typically expensive, time-consuming and complicated.

Bank accounts…now that’s another problem! According to President Bukele:

‘Some 70% of people in El Salvador lack access to traditional financial services.’

So, with such a large percentage of the population unbanked, Bitcoin could solve a lot of problems by getting money from abroad, quickly and far more affordably.

Not Quite a Fairytale?

Many arguments have been put forward criticizing El Salvador’s decision to make Bitcoin legal tender. The IMF and World Bank have outright refused to assist with the roll-out. The World Bank cited that they had problems with the transparency of Bitcoin transactions and the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.

Excuse me? Did they not hear President Bukele say that El Savador will mine Bitcoin using geothermal power from the country’s volcanoes?

 More on that in a follow-up article. Stay tuned!

One common argument is that using Bitcoin is too difficult and risky for the average person. To address this issue, President Bukele has committed to offering training to people and initiatives promoting the use of Bitcoin.

He is also launching an e-wallet called Chivo, which is Salvadoran slang for ‘cool.’ As part of the package, people who make use of it will receive $30 in Bitcoin so that adoption is incentivized.

Athena Bitcoin announced plans to install 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs in El Salvador, targeting places where residents receive remittances from abroad. This should make it easier for people to buy and sell Bitcoin.

President Bukele was asked whether the use of Bitcoin would encourage criminal activity and money laundering. This is a common argument often used by opponents of crypto and Blockchain. He replied that criminals are already using the Dollar…

‘The problem is not the Dollar, it is the criminals.’*

Another argument is that Bitcoin is highly volatile, which makes it risky. However, with rampant inflation across many Central and Latin American countries, the volatility of Bitcoin doesn’t hold a candle to the levels of inflation these nations have endured. For example, Argentina is battling an unsustainable debt load while Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by 75% since 2013. Nice job fiat currencies!

Dissenters have often said that Bitcoin transactions are slow and expensive. Slow? I’m not so sure about that. I’ve personally had to wait longer than 10 days for money to arrive in my bank account from abroad. In my opinion, Bitcoin is definitely the hare while banks are more like the old arthritic tortoise…

Also, don’t forget Jack Mallers’ Strike app and the Lightning Network. The Strike app makes it fast and cheap to send and receive small amounts of Bitcoin. This is because Strike is powered by the Lightning Network, a layer 2 protocol that settles transactions ‘off-chain’ through a growing network of user-hosted channels and nodes. In fact, the Strike app has quickly become the most popular one in El Salvador.

Expensive? Start looking at organizations like Western Union and MoneyGram…the fee system is mind-boggling! Fees differ depending on where you’re sending your money, whether you’re using a bank transfer or a credit card, or even whether your recipient is receiving the money as cash or into a bank account. Also, one time a relative sent me some money via Western Union, I had to show my passport to prove my identity. So as it stands, the use of personal documentation is necessary to transact in the legacy financial system.

 Making It Together

Whether other Central and Latin American countries follow El Salvador’s lead and make Bitcoin legal tender remains to be seen. The reaction of the IMF and The World Bank is certainly something to take into account. Do they really believe Bitcoin is too risky and simply don’t want to be associated with it? Or do they see Bitcoin as a threat to the financial status quo and therefore their power and influence? Hmmm…

In my opinion, anything that shakes up the traditional financial system is only a good thing. Whatever happens, you can be sure that I’ll be bringing you all the latest updates on El Salvador and Bitcoin as they occur. Until next time!

Pancake Swap.

You may have noticed that there are blockchain projects springing up with crazy food based names. Projects such as SushiSwap and Bakery Token have been in the news quite a bit recently. Today I’m talking about PancakeSwap and taking a deep-dive in to what it is and what it does.  Sweet!

PancakeSwap is a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) that makes use of the Automated Market Maker (AMM) model to enable users to swap any BEP20 token for another using a liquidity pool.

Users can provide liquidity into these liquidity pools for a chance to earn a share of the platform’s trading fees (known as liquidity mining) and take advantage of its various DeFi products such as staking, farming, lottery and others.

CAKE is the cryptoasset for the platform and serves as a governance token. It also acts as a means of staking so users can earn more CAKE and the tokens of other projects. Users can also take part in the PancakeSwap lottery game.


In September 2020, a team of anonymous developers forked and ported the SushiSwap code to BSC (Binance Smart Chain). PancakeSwap and the CAKE token launched via a fair distribution to initial liquidity providers and early farmers on the platform.

The team chose to build on BSC because the chain is faster and has lower fees compared with Ethereum, which at that time was experiencing high network congestion. As a result, the platform saw rapid growth in both its user base, trading volume, and total value locked (TVL) as priced-out users from Ethereum flocked to BSC for their trading and yield farming operations.

Between February and June 2021, it beat Uniswap as the largest AMM in terms of total value locked, number of transactions, and users.

What Does PancakeSwap Do

PancakeSwap aims to provide a community-governed DeFi application that offers users fast and cheap token swaps and yield-farming services with many opportunities to earn rewards.

The project aspires to be a total solution for DeFi users with its suite of present and planned products including token swaps, liquidity mining and yield farming, Initial Farm Offerings (IFOs), NFTs, prediction markets, lending and borrowing, margin trading and more.


Binnance Smart Chains  architecture enables ultra-fast transactions and low fees with cross-chain compatibility. This is why Ethereum-based SushiSwap’s code could be easily forked and ported to BSC to create PancakeSwap. BSC uses a customized version of the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm called Proof-of-Staked Authority (PoSA) where participants stake BNB to become validators and earn the transaction fees from every valid block that they propose.

With a block confirmation time of 3 seconds, BSC facilitates the development of powerful decentralized applications that serve millions of users on platforms like PancakeSwap, providing them with fast transactions at a fraction of the cost.

As an AMM, PancakeSwap facilitates instant token swaps using liquidity pools that users can deposit tokens into to earn a share of the trading fees (this is commonly known as liquidity mining). Users who provide liquidity into these pools receive a liquidity provider (LP) token which acts as a ‘receipt’ for their deposits. This receipt allows users to reclaim their original funds deposited in the liquidity pool. In addition to the trading fees liquidity providers earn, they can stake their LP tokens in any of the supported farms on PancakeSwap to earn CAKE.

Furthermore, users can participate in the PancakeSwap Syrup Pool by staking their CAKE tokens to earn more CAKE or the tokens of other BSC projects that take part in the PancakeSwap Syrup Pool program. Users stake their CAKE to get SYRUP tokens as well as earn a share of 25% of each block reward. Users then stake the SYRUP to start earning tokens of other BSC projects that have a Syrup pool on PancakeSwap. Thus users earn from multiple sources with the same funds. Syrup Pool is a PancakeSwap initiative to help new BSC projects gain market attention and adoption by putting their tokens in front of the largest community on BSC via free distribution of a portion of their token supply.


CAKE is the native cryptocurrency of the PancakeSwap platform that functions primarily as a governance token. It also functions to incentivize users to provide liquidity to the PancakeSwap liquidity pools.

By staking CAKE, earning more CAKE or the native tokens of other projects in the PancakeSwap Syrup Pool is possible.

Other applications include using it to purchase lottery tickets in the PancakeSwap lottery game.


In less than one year, PancakeSwap has overtaken Uniswap as the largest AMM. Did you know you can also win NFTs on the Binance Smart Chain? If you win you can trade your NFT for more CAKE or keep it in your wallet. All you have to do is register on the Binance Smart Chain.


Talking About Komodo

Komodo is a secure, stable and interoperable Blockchain platform and ecosystem providing end-to-end technology solutions. Developers can create their own Blockchain projects (or independent Blockchains), crowdfund, launch, and integrate with other projects in the crypto industry through the Decentralized Exchange or DEX via atomic swaps.


In 2016, Komodo’s Lead Developer, James ‘JL777’ Lee, was developing a project called SuperNET on Nxt, one of the world’s very first Blockchain platforms.

The Nxt development team implemented major adjustments to the codebase without consulting any of the projects built on the Nxt Platform. The changes broke SuperNET’s backend tech, requiring hundreds of hours of work to repair the damage. This resulted in the developers rethinking the project entirely, and the result was Komodo.


According to Komodo’s LinkedIn page, its technology provides the tools that developers, start-ups, and businesses need to create a customized Blockchain. The Blockchain can host an application, software, or other Blockchain-based solution. The principles of composability drives Komodo’s development.

Composability is a design principle focused on providing an array of components, which is activated when needed and used in different configurations to meet the unique demands of a specific use-case. Composable systems emphasize modular and deployable solutions powered by a fluid set of resources to support growth.


James Lee – otherwise known as JL777/JL777c, James Lee is a computer programmer, entrepreneur and Blockchain personality. He is the founder and core developer of Komodo.


Komodo held an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that ran from October 15th to November 20th 2016. KMD tokens sold at a rate of 0.00012908222 BTC per KMD.

One hundred million KMD coins were pre-mined with 90% of them sold to investors and the remaining 10% held as working capital for Komodo’s development and marketing.

The Komodo Platform raised 2,639 BTC, the equivalent of $1,929,188 USD at the time.


The Komodo platform uses Delayed Proof-of-Work (dPoW) as a security mechanism. It is a a second layer of protection that makes use of the Litecoin blockchain hashpower to enhance network security by using cross chain notariztions. By using dPoW, Komodo developers can secure their own network as well as any third-party chain that joins the Komodo ecosystem.

Delayed Proof-of-Work (dPoW)

Every ten minutes, the Komodo system takes a snapshot of its Blockchain. A block on the Litecoin network records the snapshot in a process called notarization. This process creates a backup of the entire Komodo system with the Litecoin Blockchain serving as the repository for said backup.

Komodo’s community-elected notary nodes write a block hash from every dPoW-protected Blockchain onto the Komodo ledger by executing a transaction on the Komodo chain. Using the OP_RETURN command, the notary nodes store a single block hash onto the Komodo chain.

The notary nodes select a block hash that is about 2.5 minutes old to ensure the entire network agrees that the block is valid. Each Blockchain’s network still reaches consensus for each block. The notary nodes record a block hash from a previously mined block.

The notary nodes then write a block hash from the Komodo chain onto the Litecoin ledger. This process runs by executing a LTC transaction and using OP_RETURN to write the data into a block on the Litecoin chain.

Once this notarization to Litecoin occurs, Komodo’s notary nodes write that block data from the LTC chain back onto the chain of every other protected chain. At this point, the network will not accept any re-organizations that attempt to change a notarized block (or any block for that matter).


AtomicDEX is a secure cryptocurrency wallet with an integrated atomic swap Decentralized Exchange (DEX). Users can store their digital assets and make cross-chain swaps without a middleman and for a minimal fee.capability

AtomicDEX does not limit trading to a single Blockchain protocol and offers a variety of cross-chain and cross-protocol support. AtomicDEX is the first end-user application built on the Komodo AtomicDEX API.

The AtomicDEX API is a suite of open source Blockchain development tools which includes an atomic swap engine (backend/core), DEX feature set, and API. It functions as means to build an array of financial applications.

The AtomicDEX swap protocol facilitates the trustless, secure exchange of digital assets across multiple Blockchains, both UTXO- and account-based.


When Komodo first launched it had the ability for users to choose to make transactions private or not.  However, since February 2019 this functionality was disabled to ensure that KMD could be listed on crypto exchanges and that it also complies with financial legal regulations.

Independent side chains built using Komodo technology can however implement zero-knowledge and thus ensure transactions are private.


KMD is the native currency of the Komodo Platform ecosystem.

Any Komodo address that holds over 10 KMD is eligible to claim KMD Rewards. To encourage active users, rewards stop accruing 1 month after a transaction. Therefore holders should aim to claim their rewards at least once a month. If users take advantage of this, the total adds up to about 5.1% in a year.

An interesting project that has been around (in crypto years) forever! Is Komodo a sleeping dragon that will continue to develop and evolve, I hope so.


Polkadot is a next-generation Blockchain protocol that unites a network of purpose-built Blockchains. Polkadot allows these Blockchains to operate seamlessly together, exchanging data as well as value.


On January 11th 2016, Gavin Wood left the Ethereum community and turned his attention towards a new venture. According to Wood, he came up with the idea for Polkadot in the Summer of 2016. At this time, Ethereum 2.0 sharding specs had not yet solidified, so implementation could not occur.

Prompted by developer Marek Kotewicz, Wood began attempts to design a simple sharded version of Ethereum. By October 2016, Wood had written the first draft of the Polkadot whitepaper.

Wood and Parity’s Peter Czaban co-founded the non-profit Web3 Foundation in the Summer of 2017. One of Web3 Foundation’s functions included managing the funds raised in the Polkadot token sale held in October of 2017.

Polkadot launched its testnet in January 2019, and the initial version of Polkadot officially launched in May 2020.

Polkadot aims to be a true multi-chain application environment where functions like cross-chain registries and computation are possible.

Polkadot can transfer this data across public, open, permissionless Blockchains as well as private, permissioned Blockchains.

This makes it possible to build applications that receive permissioned data from a private Blockchain and employs it on a public Blockchain.


You can find out more about the founders on their about page.


Polkadot held two token sales and raised approximately $200 million in the process. The Web3 Foundation oversaw the token sale. The Web3 Foundation is a Swiss non-profit Foundation that seeks to facilitate a fully functional and user-friendly decentralized web. The Web3 Foundation received 30% of the funds from the token offerings in order to fund the development of the project.


Polkadot operates two types of Blockchains, namely the main network known as the relay chain and user-created networks known as parachains. They feed into the relay chain, which is the main Polkadot Blockchain. This means that parachain transactions benefit from the security of the main chain.

The Relay Chain

The Relay Chain network handles the finalization of transactions and deliberately possesses minimal functionality. Smart contracts receive no support on the Relay Chain. Its main responsibility is to coordinate the system as a whole, including parachains.


Parachains are custom Blockchains that use the Relay Chain’s computing resources to confirm the accuracy of transactions. Polkadot places no constraints over what parachains are able to achieve. However, they must be able to generate a proof that validators assigned to the parachain can actually validate. Sovereign Blockchains may have their own native cryptoassets and optimize their functionality for specific use-cases.


Bridges allow the Polkadot Network to interact with other Blockchains (for example, the Bitcoin and Ethereum Networks).

Consensus Roles

The Polkadot Relay Chain uses a variation of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus called Nominated-Proof-of-Stake (NPoS). This allows anyone who holds DOT to carry out one or more of the consensus roles. DOT is the native token of Polkadot.

  • Validators. They secure the Relay Chain by staking DOTs, validating proofs from collators and participating in consensus with other Validators
  • Nominators. They secure the Relay Chain by selecting trustworthy Validators and staking DOT
  • Collators. They maintain shards by collecting shard transactions from users and produce proofs for Validators
  • Fishermen. They monitor the Polkadot Network and report bad behavior to Validators. Collators (and any parachain full node) can perform the role of fishermen.


The DOT cryptoasset has three distinct purposes. This includes governance over the network, staking and bonding:

  • Governance. Anyone who purchases DOT coins can use their DOTs to propose changes to the network and approve or reject major changes proposed by others.
  • Staking. Game theory incentivizes token holders to behave honestly. Good actors receive rewards whilst bad actors will lose their stake in the network. This ensures the network remains secure at all times.
  • Bonding. The addition of new parachains takes place by bonding tokens. Conversely, the removal of outdated or obsolete parachains occurs by withdrawing bonded tokens.


According to the Polkadot website, the Polkadot runtime environment’s coding is in Rust, C++, and Go with the hope that it will make Polkadot accessible to a wider range of developers. The types of projects using Polkadot include a cloud platform, a browser extension wallet and different types of block explorers.

Cosmos. The Internet of Blockchains

Today I’m taking a deep dive in to Cosmos.

Cosmos makes it easy for developers to build Blockchains and allows these Blockchains to interact with one another.

Cosmos’ goal is to create an ‘Internet of Blockchains.’ This is a network of Blockchains able to communicate with each other in a decentralized way. Cosmos aims for Blockchains to maintain sovereignty, process transactions quickly and communicate with other Blockchains in the ecosystem.

Cosmos is fostering an ecosystem of networks that can share data and tokens programmatically, with no central party facilitating the activity.


Cosmos was initially developed by Tendermint creator Jae Kwon.

Jae Kwon is a blockchain software architect and co-founder of Tendermint, and the president of the Interchain Foundation. The Interchain Foundation is (ICF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation that was formed to support the development of Cosmos and the ecosystem that will contribute to the Cosmos Network.

Before Cosmos and Tendermint Kwon worked as a developer at Alexa, and at Yelp where he led the mobile application development team. He also cofounded iDoneThis, a productivity service.

Ethan Buchman is also a co-founder.

Ethan Buchman joined with Jae Kwon to develop Tendermint after they met at the Cryptocurrency Research Group and Crypto-economics Conference in 2015.

Buchman was Vice President of the Interchain Foundation for 4 years.

He is currently CEO of Informal Systems. Informal Systems is a company that specializes in the security of interblockchain protocols.


The Cosmos network is made up of three layers.

  • Application Layer – Processes transactions and updates the state of the network.
  • Networking Layer – Allows communication between transactions and Blockchains.
  • Consensus Layer – Helps nodes agree on the current state of the system.

To tie all the layers together, Cosmos relies on a set of open-source tools.

The main element of this layered design is the Tendermint BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) engine. This allows developers to build Blockchains without having to code them from scratch.

Tendermint BFT is an algorithm used by the network of computers running the Cosmos software to secure the network, validate transactions and commit blocks to the Blockchain. It connects to applications through a protocol called the Application Blockchain Interface.

Central to Tendermint is Tendermint Core, a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) governance mechanism that keeps the distributed network of computers running Cosmos Hub in sync.

For the participants or validator nodes to power the Blockchain and vote on changes, they need to first stake ATOM. ATOM is the native token of Cosmos.

A node needs to be in the top 100 nodes staking ATOM to become a validator. Voting power depends on the total amount of ATOM staked.

Users can also delegate their tokens to other validators, allocating votes to them while still earning a portion of the block reward.

Validators receive incentives to perform honestly, since users can switch between the validators to whom they delegate ATOM (depending on their voting preferences).

The Cosmos Hub was the first Blockchain that launched on the Cosmos network. It effectively acts as a channel between all the independent Blockchains created within the Cosmos network. These independent Blockchains go by the name of ‘zones.’

Each zone is able to carry out its essential functions on its own. This includes authenticating accounts and transactions, creating and distributing new tokens and executing changes to its own Blockchain.

The Cosmos Hub facilitates interoperability between all the zones within the network by keeping track of their states.

Zones connect to the Cosmos Hub via the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC). This enables information to travel freely and securely between each connected zone.

Once a zone connects to the Cosmos Hub, it is interoperable with every other zone connected to the hub. This means that Blockchains with different applications, validators and consensus mechanisms can exchange data.

The Cosmos team also built the Cosmos Software Development Kit (SDK). This kit enables developers to build Blockchains using the Tendermint consensus algorithm.

Developers can also create plugins to add any additional features they want to have.


ATOM is the native token on the Cosmos network, and it fuels smart contracts. New ATOM coins generate to serve as rewards for network validators every time a block of transactions receives approval.

By owning and staking ATOM, users can vote on network upgrades, with each vote being proportional to the amount of ATOM they stake.

Ivan on Tech’s Webinar a Review

Last week I joined Ivan on Tech’s webinar which was all about stacking sats in the next bull market. For those of you who don’t know Ivan, I recommend that you check him out. I’ll leave some links at the end of this article.

Ivan is an educator. He teaches people all about blockchain. He runs an extremely successful online academy and YouTube channel. He is also an international speaker teaching people throughout the world about blockchain technology.

His style of delivery is extremely dynamic and fast-paced. His enthusiasm for blockchain technology is infectious. The webinar lasted for 4 hours – so that says something about his stamina and passion for his subject!

One thing that impressed me about Ivan’s talk is that he wasn’t afraid to admit to making mistakes. If you have been in crypto for a while you are bound to have made some mistakes. The key to it is don’t repeat those mistakes.

Ivan believes that people make mistakes because they have the wrong:

  • Strategy
  • Information
  • Mindset

Therefore to succeed in this space you need to have a plan and take action.  Ivan suggested that you could become an advisor in your local community, arrange meet-ups, blog, interact on relevant social media and go to conferences.  You don’t have to be a programmer to work within this area.

He made an interesting point that really got my attention was. This whole space is still quite new and you can use this to your advantage.  If you wait until crypto and blockchain become more mainstream you are going to be competing with a lot more people. Now is the time to work out what you want to do in the whole crypto world.

Overall I found the webinar quite inspiring. It encouraged me to dust off this blog and start really thinking about how I can take advantage of the exciting world of blockchain and crypto.