When Alexandria began, Florincoin (FLO) was the only blockchain with 528 bytes of transaction-comment data space. The projects are aligned philosophically; the development leadership of FLO are also developers for Alexandria. Although new blockchains have been created since Alexandria began that have arbitrary data space, none of the new blockchains offer superior value or features, thus Alexandria continues to use FLO. While ultimately Alexandria’s technology is agnostic to which blockchain contains the content index, the below overview illuminates the landscape of current blockchain offerings and illustrates the reasons Alexandria continues to use the FLO blockchain as its content index.
Stats at a glance:
- genesis block mined June 17, 2013
- Original transaction-comment blockchain
- Proof of Work - sCrypt
- Firm token cap - 160,000,000
- Fast 40 second block time average
- 528 character on-blockchain transaction comments
- Halfing every 800,000 blocks
- Continuous record of correct, unaltered performance
- Strong community support (415k views of the 96-page long ANN thread on BCT)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did we choose it? When Alexandria began, FLO was the only blockchain that stored arbitrary data as its core purpose. Although other blockchains have since been created to store data, FLO is still used by Alexandria because it has a 2.5 year history of security and community support as well as a strong commitment to immutable transaction-comments and a record of support for Alexandria.
What other blockchains store arbitrary data or transaction-comments and how do they compare to FLO?
- Siacoin: Obscure Proof-of-Work mining algorithm, blake2b - designed for storing files, not publicly visible text in blockchain, ~4% of all storage costs go to a proprietary institution, Sia’s holding company, Nebulous Inc.
- Counterparty: Uses Op-Return function of Bitcoin blockchain
- Solarcoin: Highly specialized use-case (fork of Florincoin)
- XDN: Uses an obscure mining algorithm, CryptoNight “ASIC resistant Proof of Work mining”
- Bitshares: Uses Proof of Stake for consensus algorithm
What about storing data in the OP-RETURN function? Nearly all coins allow for the addition of arbitrary data via transaction outputs and the use of OP-RETURN, however this is a hack, not an intended use of the function. The data is not as easily parsed as it is in a dedicated comment/data field as in FLO. Although you can currently hack metadata into Bitcoin, there is no incentive for the Bitcoin network to keep those metadata storage mechanisms around, nor any guarantee they will do so.
What about the “smart contract” family of coins? Smart contracts can be added as a layer in the tech stack so that Alexandria can offer the valuable features smart contracts offer, while avoiding risk to Alexandria’s core functions. This class of blockchain potentially adds overhead, complexity and/or risk (Eth, Lisk, etc), does not add features that are needed for Alexandria’s core function.
Why not start a new blockchain for Alexandria? FLO already has all the benefits that could be gained from starting our “own” blockchain since it is functionally already “ours,” and starting a new blockchain has potential disadvantages. Key FLO developers are working on Alexandria and the creator of FLO is a supporter of the project. FLO and Alexandria are philosophically aligned in that FLO is committed to having transaction comments and immutable data stored on the blockchain, and Alexandria is committed to creating an immutable content index.
FLO’s first block was mined in June 2013, giving it a longer history than many in the industry and there is a diverse base of community support. Because FLO and Alexandria share influential developers there is nothing to gain from starting a new blockchain, however there are potential losses. The risks of starting a new blockchain include: losing the reputation that a stable, immutable many-year-old blockchain offers and losing community support.
There are certain network effects to using an open blockchain that others can use in their development efforts as well. For example, the Texas and NY libertarian parties used the Florincoin blockchain to store their presidential campaign state primary results this year and this project was storing love notes.