INTRODUCING NAMADA: A DEEP EXPLORATORY DIVE

Ubong Ephraim
7 min readNov 8, 2023

The relationship between privacy and transparency in blockchain technology can be defined as paradoxical at best. And while the reason is simple, its impact on privacy is not as basic. Transparency in the blockchain space plays an essential role as an anti-fraud measure and transaction authenticator. However, it erodes the quality of privacy when it comes to user financial information.

This is because public blockchains are a free-for-all affair. No information is private: accounts, interactions, transactions; hence rising concerns on the threat this poses to user anonymity as well as the possibility of exploitation now that businesses can track user activity on blockchain spaces.

These challenges call for a retrofitting of blockchain by integrating privacy into central designs. Implementing this solution requires a protocol powerful enough to incorporate privacy without compromising other components of the blockchain. This is where Namada takes the gauntlet.

Credit : https://namada.net

Introducing Namada

Namada Protocol is a proof-of-stake L1 designed to facilitate privacy that is crypto-agnostic and interchain-friendly. To interoperate seamlessly, Namada leverages Ethereum through dual bridges and fast-chain finality powered by Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol. However, this is not a unique aspect of Namada’s infrastructure.

The protocol’s reference implementation is designed on Rust by a frontliner in open-source protocol development; Heliax which aligns with Namada’s vision for privacy thanks to their own dedicated contributions to privacy and individual sovereignty. Namada couldn’t have asked for a better architect for its reference implementation.

To achieve fractal instance, Namada Protocol relies on frameworks provided by Anoma Ecosystem. And by incorporating all these resources, Namada achieves privacy by deploying an advanced multi-asset shielded pool (MASP), a circuit that enables shield-sharing among all assets. This ensures that the same dynamics that guide transferring tokens also apply to assets like NFTs.

Exploring The Evolution Of Shielded Transfers On Namada Protocol

In an interview with Bitcoin.com News, Namada co-founder Christopher Goes emphasizes the inability of pseudonymity to provide adequate privacy for individuals. He goes on to point out that compromise is inevitable once a party with malicious intent discovers the link between a real-world identity and a pseudonymous address.

According to Goes, privacy is not an easy infrastructure to build in the blockchain space. Existing privacy protocols are still behind in gaining massive confidence due to the low quality of user experience and the mandatory use of only certain assets to access privacy that is often sub-optimal in quality.

He goes on to say that a privacy protocol that doesn’t cut corners must possess three things:

· Maximum expertise in system design

· Control over cryptography & architecture

· Distributed systems

Enter shielded transfers. Though the technology is not new to the industry, shielded transfers through MASP are Namada’s super weapon for guaranteeing true privacy. It started in 2014 when Zerocash published a paper calling for using deployed zk-SNARKs to achieve shielded transfers. The idea was to establish privacy guarantees with more oomph than basic pseudonymous transactions allow.

The dream went live in 2016 when Zerocash developers Electric Coin Company swooped in on this genius idea. One can say that in 2023, Namada Protocol with all its ground-breaking achievements would not be the world’s most airtight privacy network if the ECC coupled with consistent contributions of Zerocash.

However, the nascent phase of shielded transfers only facilitated shielded transfers with native assets of privacy protocols. The implication of this was that transfers for diverse fungible assets like DAI, NAM, ETH, and so on were impossible.

It’s been a total game switch in the last several years because not only did the blockchain space experience a ‘renaissance’ moment in research and execution, but strategies like Etehreum’s Azteck ZK Money and Tornado Cash Nova, both zero-knowledge proof projects begin to hit the scene, paving the way for fungible tokens of all kinds to be transferred seamlessly.

As of writing, privacy protocols like Namada are still on their way to attaining the same celebrity as regular pseudonymous protocols, but the journey has already begun. Everyone from the top to bottom of the Namada ecosystem is thrilled at the prospect of what the network can achieve over the years as it achieves mass adoption.

User Benefits of Namada Protocol

Shareable Shield sets
To prevent fragmentation among individual assets, Namada uses MASP to allow assets to connect to one single shielded set. This also helps to ensure that privacy guarantees are not dependent on transaction volumes of assets.

Privacy For Public Blockchains
Like any other ecosystem, user incentives on Namada Protocol are available for holders of shielded sets who can, in turn, contribute using MASP. Contributions are incentivized to encourage users to pitch in as much as they can. The result of this is improved privacy guarantees for every user.

Crypto-agnostic Shielded Transfers
Using zk-SNARKs, Namada Protocol’s asset-agnostic quality allows users to transfer everything from native to non-native tokens and fungible and non-fungible tokens.

IBC Operability
When it comes to Inter-Blockchain Communication, Namada Protocol utilizes fast-finality chains as long as they work with IBC.

Open Ethereum Bridge
With Ethereum, Namada deploys a unique, open Ethereum bridge and keeps it live by incentivizing users when they relay to Ethereum

Instant ZKP Generation
Fast ZKP means that by using simple browser applications, users can engage with Namada at mainnet and execute shielded transfers

Affordable Fees & Low Latency
Namada Protocol allows users to enjoy low latency and affordable transaction fees through BFT consensus and fast-proof generation.

Cubic Proof of Stake Mechanism on Namada Protocol

Namada Protocol does not only present incredible benefits for users, its infrastructure is built in with a multifunctional Cubic Proof-of-Stake mechanism that possesses its suite of innovations for validators and delegators.

The first design to make this list is Cubic slashing, a genius solution to the problem of validators committing faults in the protocol. Slashing is calculated using a cubic slashing algorithm and besides solving a problem, cubic slashing encourages validators that run more than one consensus to facilitate a variety of unique setups.

Multiple asset transactions are next on this list and as the term implies, fees can be remitted in just about any token as long as said token has been established in the protocol’s governance system. The revamped F1 fee distribution mechanism is a highly valued innovation that allows all staked rewards on the protocol to compound automatically. This simple mechanism overrides the need for initiating transactions for reward claims and restaking.

The last brilliant creation in Namada’s Cubic Proof-of-Stake mechanism is modified PoS guarantees. This simply deploys an automatic mechanism to zero in on attacks when they come. The Cubic Proof-of-Stake on Namada Protocol is a flawless model that engineers automatic compounding of rewards while ensuring that the network maintains its efficiency and trustlessness.

Governance Approach to Namada Protocol

For protocol governance, Namada imbibed a two-fold approach that guarantees that reaching consensus on the network is carried out smoothly both on-chain and off-chain. While Namada’s on-chain protocol is simple, it gets the job done.

By using stake-weighted voting, text-weighted proposals are supported on-chain. With this governance protocol, access to governance is determined by token ownership. This means that only those with the protocol’s native token can participate in governance.

Off-chain protocols in Namada are resorted to when the network has gotten to a stage where blocks can’t be produced. At this point, blocks will be validators and will then use Namada’s off-chain protocol to organize governance.

Funding Commitments of Namada Protocol

The Public Goods Funding Council is responsible for overseeing public goods funding in the network and this council is comprised of verifiable community members with collective authentication over transactions related to the distribution of public goods. Twice every year, Namada governance appoints council members through governance votes. The council is allowed to fund public goods at their joint discretion though checked by spending caps.

Council multi-signature is limited to two types of funding:

· Retroactive
· Proactive

Retroactive funding is geared towards promoting future user advantages by disbursing lump sum amounts according to individual contributions to the protocol. Proactive funding on the other hand covers costs and is disbursed over specific times.

Conclusion

Namada Protocol is up to the hilt in its commitment to privacy retrofits for public blockchains. The network enforces its vision for interchain asset-agnostic privacy using top-level zk-SNARKs tech to enable the transfer of different tokens in secure transactions.

Another resource Namada is using to deliver on its promise of true privacy is shielded swaps with MASP. This method makes up for the shortcomings of conventional transparency. The last weapon in the arsenal is Namada’s cutting-edge cPOS model integrated to keep validator activity open, automate the compounding of rewards, and boost efficiency.

The native utility token (NAM) makes up the third component of Namada. The others are community and a protocol that works. With the future in view, is working towards public testnets for anyone interested in testing out the network’s features and creating random parameters for its circuits: Convert and MASP.

Learn more about Namada :
Website : https://namada.net
Docs : https://docs.namada.net/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/namada
Blog : https://namada.net/blog
Talks : https://namada.net/talks
Community Docs : https://namada.net/community/docs

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