In this review, we are looking at Nimiq, a layer-1 blockchain protocol designed to enable easy, effortless, and intuitive crypto payments that work for everyone. In the review, you will learn about Nimiq’s key features, use cases, tokenomics, and its approach to security. Additionally, we also present an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to get started, from creating a Nimiq wallet to interacting within the ecosystem.
What is Nimiq?
Nimiq develops innovative payment solutions that are free from intermediaries and, therefore, censorship-resistant. As a result, the next generation of finance will, hopefully, be more inclusive, and cost-effective, so users across the world will have more control over their money, giving them the financial freedom they want.
The protocol was announced to the public in Q2 2017 by an international team working out of Costa Rica. In that year, the team successfully raised ~60,000 ETH through a crowdfunding effort that enabled swift development that led to the launch of Nimiq mainnet in April 2018.
How Nimiq Works
At its core, Nimiq is attempting to solve the 1st and 2nd gen blockchains’ main drawbacks, which are usability and adoption challenges. For instance, Bitcoin (BTC) may be one of the most secure open protocols, but it suffers from a lack of intuitiveness of use, especially for newbies.
Ethereum (ETH), which represents the 2nd gen of blockchains, has recently been upgraded to the more scalable Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism making it faster, cheaper, and more eco-friendly. However, it too, and its peers, are still clunky to use and intimidating to most blockchain beginners.
The two issues identified above are the key challenges that Nimiq seeks to solve with its browser-first approach. The project is written in Rust, WebAssembly, and TypeScript programming languages, making it natively browser-based and easy to access for most users.
To begin using Nimiq, simply fire up your favorite browser and visit the protocol’s website, create a wallet account, and start interacting peer-to-peer with other users. Once created, your wallet is stored locally in your browser, eliminating the need to install or download a program in the classical sense, while staying 100% self-custodial.
Even though there is a big emphasis on usability, Nimiq does not compromise on security and censorship resistance. We have provided a brief tutorial below on how to get started with Nimiq, where we highlight a quick way to deploy the protocol.
Nimiq’s key features
These are the key products and features available with the Nimiq payment protocol so far:
The Nimiq wallet is a browser-based self-custodial crypto wallet enabling users to access the Nimiq blockchain directly. It is accessible online from anywhere, giving users the convenience to transact and manage their funds easily. However, being a node in the browser also enables you to view other network participants to which you are connected.
The Nimiq wallet offers an intuitive interface that is accessible using a login file and encrypted by your personal password, or a 24-word passphrase. No download of the wallet is necessary. As long as you have the passphrase or the login file on your device, you have access to your money.
For those blockchain users who are big on financial self-sovereignty, the Nimiq wallet is a solid choice to recommend. Other features of the wallet include:
- Multi-language support;
- Cashlinks – these are simple transaction links that can be sent between peers the same way you can send a text message;
- Ledger hardware wallet support;
- Lightweight with a UX design leaning towards simplicity and ease of use, a predominant theme across the Nimiq ecosystem.
Cryptopayment.link enables individuals and businesses to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method for their goods and services. So far, there is support for three cryptocurrencies, which are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Nimiq’s native currency NIM.
With this product, you are able to:
- Create a payment invoice in seconds, for example, in USD, and send it to your customers via email, mail, or messenger to make sure they transfer the exact amount in cryptocurrency as soon as they pay. You can easily share the invoice via SMS or QR code, and be sure that you will receive the exact USD amount in cryptocurrency that you invoiced.
- Use it as a POS system to enable customers to make fast payments as they check out in-store;
- Direct payments between you and your customer or merchant, no third parties;
- Dashboard management where you can view statements, track payments, and access detailed stats.
Nimiq.Cafe is a community project that allows developers to deploy and manage their web applications on the platform effortlessly. There are three components to the Cafe which are:
- Data centers – Nimiq, through its partner service NimiqX, maintains multiple data centers offering the necessary redundancy to achieve the competitive 99.9% uptime;
- API interface – NImiq.Cafe offers development APIs (application programming interfaces) to enable quick deployment of Nimiq apps by third-party developers looking to take advantage of the protocol’s infrastructure;
- Cloud Infrastructure – Nimiq.Cafe offers online facilities to enable client applications to achieve fast speeds, reliability, and low costs.
Get to spend your cryptocurrency on cool crypto-branded merchandise on the Nimiq Shop, a showcase of the protocol’s WooCommerce checkout plugin on the WordPress platform. Shoppers can easily pay for goods using their NIM, BTC, and ETH coins. Here’s what you can get on the Nimiq Shop:
- Cold wallet solutions, including Nimiq-branded Ledger wallets and steel wallets;
- Sticker packs;
- Nimiq logo stickers, among others.
The Nimiq shop is created on the WooCommerce platform, a good illustration of how web merchants operating stores on some of the more popular e-commerce platforms can integrate Nimiq and start accepting crypto payments.
Nimiq is currently a Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain similar to Bitcoin, and therefore, it is possible for community members to earn a reward by mining NIM. This can be done using the Miner interface, as shown above. It is easy and browser-based, but very inefficient, leading to little or no rewards. Serious miners can, however, use the desktop alternatives that can be downloaded through the Nimiq website.
For casual miners, it is possible to start mining by visiting the Nimiq Miner website, creating a wallet account, and activating the miner on your web interface.
Note: It’s possible that by the time you are reading this article, Nimiq has transitioned to the PoS staking mechanism. If that’s the case, then you will not be able to participate in mining activities.
Nimiq Albatross Proof-of-Stake
Nimiq’s core development team is working on upgrading the protocol from a PoW to a PoS network dubbed Nimiq 2.0. With this change, the network will enable community members to stake their NIM tokens for passive rewards.
However, most importantly, this change will enable Nimiq to boost its transaction speeds to over ~1,000TPS (transactions per second) and reduce the cost of making payments through the network.
Nimiq is utilizing a version of PoS dubbed Albatross based on the popular practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) consensus algorithm. The same algorithm is used on notable projects such as Byzcoin and Tendermint. Albatross also borrows heavily from Algorand’s pure Proof-of-Stake (PPoS) and Cardano’s (ADA) Ouroboros PoS implementations for their irresistibility to adaptive adversaries and simplicity of use, respectively.
When Nimiq 2.0 launches, it will be possible to stake using as little as 1,000 NIM coins and earn a reward applicable for those running validator nodes. If you wish to avoid the technicalities of running validator nodes, you can delegate your coins to a node operator and split the rewards from their activities.
Nimiq use cases
With the above-stated features, Nimiq users can take advantage of them in the following domains:
- E-commerce – Nimiq can be used to integrate crypto payment processing to online stores built on leading platforms such as WordPress through the WooCommerce plugin;
- POS Payments – Nimiq enables physical shops to accept and process crypto payments through the fast, easy, and self-custodial Cryptopayment.link platform;
- Remittances – cross-border payments are easy and fast to execute, thanks to the open and permissionless Nimiq protocol. Anyone across the world can start using Nimiq to make and receive payments;
- Micropayments – Nimiq can be used for small and micro payments such as in-game purchases, cafe payments, and tips, among others. Such payments are possible due to the fast and cheap costs of sending these transactions.
Tokenomics: NIM Coin
The Nimiq network has been designed to be powered by the NIM coin. A total of 21 Billion NIM coins are scheduled to be available as time goes by, but currently, only about 10.1 billion of these coins are in circulation.
The NIM distribution schedule is as follows:
- 88% – mining/staking rewards (slow inflation to be released over a span of 100 years;
- 5% – token sale contributors;
- 2.5% – Nimiq foundation;
- 2% – Charity;
- 1.5% – Early project contributors (with a 6-month vesting period);
- 1% – Creators (with a 3-year vesting period).
NIM is designed to power the Nimiq ecosystem and serve the following key functions, among others;
- Value transfer – NIM can be used for crypto payments;
- Staking – with the launch of Nimiq 2.0, Nimiq users will be able to stake their NIM coins to get passive rewards;
- Governance – coin holders will have the right to participate in the development of the ecosystem by voting on critical issues.
How to get started using Nimiq
Getting started with Nimiq is as simple as A, B, C. You will need a crypto wallet to start interacting with the Nimiq ecosystem. In this section, we will guide you through these easy-to-follow steps, from accessing the website to backing up your wallet. Let’s dive right in.
Step 1 – Visit the Nimiq website
Navigate to the Nimiq website at https://www.nimiq.com/
Hover your mouse over the [Get started] button on the top right side of the page, then select [New Wallet]. After you create your wallet, you can use the other options to either login or top up your wallet account.
Step 2 – Create a wallet account
In the next screen, select the [Create Account] option to begin the process of creating your NIM wallet.
In the follow-up screens, choose an avatar that will represent your wallet account, and set up a secure password.
Use the [New avatars] button to cycle through the available options and locate an avatar you like.
Each avatar will come with a different wallet address. Once you select one, it will display the address. You can copy it to share. Once done, click on [SELECT AND CONTINUE].
Create a secure password in the next section.
Confirm your password by re-entering it again on the next screen, then click on the [Create Account] button.
Save the login key file provided, which will be crucial in accessing your wallet from any device. You can save it to a cloud storage account so that it’s accessible everywhere.
Click on the [Download] button to choose a location to which you want to save it. Once done, click on the [Continue] button to access the wallet interface.
You have successfully created your Nimiq wallet.
You can now start interacting with the Nimiq ecosystem. For instance, you can now buy your NIM coins. Or transfer them to your wallet from one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges that support NIM, including KuCoin, HitBTC, Gate.io, AscendEX, and CoinEx, among others.
Is the Nimiq Network Safe?
Nimiq is a safe and secure blockchain network, and so far, since its launch in 2018, it has not yet reported any security incidents. It has taken several measures to secure its infrastructure and users, including
- Protocol security – in the underlying code, the Nimiq team has used Bitcoin-level encryption standards, i.e., the SHA-256 encryption algorithm, one of the most secure safety measures any blockchain can employ;
- Transparency – being open about how the network is being governed and managed increases a user’s confidence in the protocol. Since its inception, Nimiq has been releasing transparency reports through which they share the assets and use of funds held by the project treasury and NIM’s supply and distribution;
- Self-custody – Nimiq encourages and implements measures to ensure that its users adopt the 100% self-custody initiative in an effort to increase security. If everyone takes full responsibility for their assets, there will be less reliance on third parties and middlemen, which increases decentralization. The project core team lives by the mantra, “Not your keys, not your coins,“ signifying the importance of having complete control of your wallet’s private keys;
- Bug bounty – Nimiq has a bug bounty program to encourage white-hat hacking and unearth any code or platform vulnerabilities before nefarious users exploit them.
Nimiq Protocol Pros and Cons
- The Nimiq protocol is easy to use, intuitive, and simple for both newbies and expert blockchain users;
- Creating a Nimiq wallet only takes a few seconds;
- Nimiq is browser-based, making it easily accessible to a majority of people around the world;
- NIM coins are easy to buy on some of the leading crypto exchanges or through the wallet app through convenient partnerships with third-party payment processors such as Moonpay;
- Its upcoming move to a PoS network will ensure that it’s fast and low-cost;
- Nimiq 2.0 will also introduce staking, another way for project users to also benefit from passive income.
- For those looking to buy NIM coins from exchanges, the asset is currently supported by a limited number of platforms;
- Being a browser-first blockchain, it exposes users to the risks of using hot crypto wallets.
Nimiq’s Community Support Channels
To get support from the core team or the community, you can visit the following forums and social media pages or get in contact through these avenues;
Website | Telegram | Github | Discord | Reddit | YouTube | Forum | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Whitepaper
There is a handy one-pager document to skim through as you discover more about the project. Check it out here: https://www.nimiq.com/onepager/.
Despite having a long history, especially by blockchain standards, Nimiq is still an under-appreciated project with big potential. It has a solid vision of bringing decentralized payments to the masses, something that the big and notable blockchains, such as Bitcoin, have been unable to do so far.
With its browser-first approach, Nimiq offers a different user experience from most other crypto projects. It makes it easy for beginners to pick up a new payment method and run with it. It only takes a few seconds to get set up and start taking advantage of the project’s benefits.
Nimiq has proven to be not only innovative but also bold, and daring. The payments space is a highly competitive space, especially from traditional competitors. With the launch of Nimiq 2.0, it remains to be seen whether the increased speeds and low costs of transacting will be enough for the project to convince enough users to switch to the blockchain.
Risk Disclosure and Disclaimer: The information provided in this review should not be regarded as investment advice. Cryptocurrency assets experience high market volatility, and therefore buying, selling, and trading them exposes you to significant financial risks.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Nimiq Payment Protocol
What is Nimiq?
Nimiq is a browser-based blockchain network built to enable fast, secure, and cost-effective crypto payments in an easy-to-use interface. The protocol’s vision is to make interacting with cryptocurrency effortless and intuitive, something that ‘just works.’
What does Nimiq crypto do?
Nimiq crypto, or NIM, is the native asset on the Nimiq blockchain protocol that serves three purposes, namely governance, value transfer, and speculation. NIM can be mined but will soon be available for staking with the launch of the Nimiq 2.0 upgrade.
Is Nimiq a good investment?
Whether Nimiq is a good investment will depend on each individual’s goals and risk appetite. NIM is still a cryptocurrency which means that it is very volatile, exposing investors to possible losses.
Is Nimiq safe?
The Nimiq core team takes several measures to ensure that the Nimiq network is safe and secure to use. Some of these initiatives include the use of SHA 256 encryption standards, integration with safer cold storage options such as Ledger hardware wallet to provide cold storage, and encouraging 100% self-custody of assets.
Where can I buy NIM coins?
NIM coins can be bought off the Nimiq wallet interface or on several leading crypto exchanges, including KuCoin, Gate.io, AscendEX, CoinEx, and HitBTC. Additionally, you can also opt to mine NIM or stake it to earn more coins once Nimiq 2.0 launches soon.