Maxcoin (MAX) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project. Creation and transfer of coins is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority.
Maxcoin was designed by Nigel Smart (cryptographer) and developed by Luke Mitchell and Jordan Fish. Stacy Herbert participated in the design specs, specifying technical details like number of coins and block size. Max Keiser supported the project and presented it in his Keiser Report show.
It was built as a fork of the Bitcoin Core with modificants including: Keccak (pronounced like “ketchak”) instead of SHA-256, Schnorr signatures instead of ECDSA, and creates new blocks every minute with the network difficulty changing every block.
The coin was launched during episode 555 of Keiser Report the 28th January of 2014, where Max Keiser participated directly in the mining of Maxcoin’s genesis block. Developers did not pre-mine before the public launch the 7th of February 2014.
The first week since the release the 14th of February, the coin reached its highest value of 3.11$ per coin, with a total market capitalization of more than 8.5M$. It quickly decreased its value, reaching 0.00666$ per coin the 31st of December 2014. Development was mostly discontinued and the coin was kept alive by miners.
On July 2017, development was reactivated with a new team that launched new website, updated the mining software and wallets, created block explorers and the project’s presence on multiple platrorms. Development continues from the original code repositories and the project is not encumbered by an ICO, advertising, donations, fund raising or airdrops. Max Keiser supports new relaunch of Maxcoin and has grown the community greatly.
Keccak SHA-3 algorithm for Proof of Work
Maxcoins transaction security is based on Keccak (/ˈkɛtʃæk, -ɑːk/) hashing algorithm for Proof of Work. This algorithm was designed by Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michaël Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche. On October 2, 2012, Keccak was selected among 51 alternatives as the winner of the NIST hash function competition, launched in 2006 to create the new hash standard, SHA-3 to overcome SHA-2 apparent weaknesses. Keccak is not vulnerable to length-extension attacks, which in certain circumstances can be used to create valid signatures to deceive a recipient whilst remaining invisible.To mitigate against these attacks, Bitcoin uses two rounds of SHA-256 on the input (the input is fed into the hashing algorithm, the resulting hash is then fed into the algorithm a second time), however this additional step is not required when using Keccak, saving time and energy. As the concerns over qanutum computing and crypto currencies grows Keccak offers some hope and has been described as post quantum resistant.
Schnorr Signing Algorithm
Schnorr signatures are being considered as a significant next step for Bitcoin. The use of these signatures provide Maxcoin the following advantages among other improvements:
- Constant-size signatures irrespective of the number of participants in the multisig setup.
- The diminished size of data to be validated and transmitted across the network also translates into capacity gains.
- From a privacy standpoint, Schnorr allows the entire policy of the multisig to be obscured and indistinguishable from a conventional single pubkey.
- The properties of Schnorr allowing for the combination of multiple signatures over a single input are also applicable to the aggregation of multiple inputs for all transactions.
Maxcoin uses Secp256r1 as it’s cryptographic field to generate key pairs for addresses. It is a carefully-designed elliptical curve from which points are selected and used to initialise the public and private keys. Bitcoin, and most cryptocurrencies, use a field known as Secp256k1, which is believed to be less secure.
Creating a new block every 60 seconds increases the utility of the network by making transactions become valid and reliable within usefull timeframes and providing lots of capacity for them, which combined with a more optimal signing algorithm makes it much better performing network than Bitcoin. Difficulty is calculated each block using the Kimito Gravity Well algorithm, a scheme which together with the block timing makes the network repsond quickly to malicios mining without effecting the behaviours of larger number of smaller miners.