Nimiq (NIM) is a cryptocurrency designed for the masses, built with an ethos of simplicity and ease of use at its core.

It is an open source and decentralised payment protocol that was developed with adoption in mind. By offering browser based access, the Nimiq team are providing a truly unique payment solution.

In this article we’ll tell you what Nimiq is all about, the role the NIM token plays and what the project has been up to since its initial crowdfunding.

What is Nimiq?

Nimiq is a decentralized and censorship-resistant payment system in which the NIM token is transacted as a transfer and store of value.

The project differs from others with its innovative browser-first approach, this means that users can connect directly to the blockchain with nothing more than a web browser and is intermediary-free.

The benefit to users is that Nimiq enables them to use NIM without any installations and this gives the project a unique ‘it just works’ characteristic, which is combined with simple and easy user interfaces.

What is Nimiq
Image Source: Nimiq Blog

In essence, the Nimiq payment system is all about making things as easy, accessible and simple for the user as possible. The driving force behind this ethos is that Nimiq believes that cryptocurrencies need to be simple enough to use by a typical internet user to encourage wider adoption.

Nimiq’s emphasis on simplicity, ease of use and it’s browser-based approach means that the project aims to be a cryptocurrency for the masses and aims to gear itself to both tech-savvy and normal internet users alike.

Nimiq is also home to an ecosystem of dozens of apps and ‘best ideas’. The Nimiq Safe is a wallet app that requires no installation whatsoever and has no annoying wait times to download an entire copy of the blockchain.

Nimiq Safe
Wallet Designed for Adoption

The ecosystem also contains numerous NIM tip bots for platforms such as Reddit, Twitch, and Discord. Additional content monetization opportunities are also offered via WordPress mining plugins and URL shorteners integrated with a NIM miner.

Fun Fact ?: Nimiq even has a Tamagotchi type game called Nimipet, which is powered by the NIM token.

However, the most exciting element of the current ecosystem is possibly Nimiq’s smooth, one click checkout-flow which is showcased in the Nimiq Shop. Nimiq is also working on its WooCommerce Nimiq Payment Gateway, a plugin that could play a vital role in wider merchant adoption of NIM in the future.

Right now, it appears that Nimiq is stepping up and going after merchant adoption. Around 200 merchant targets have already been listed publicly in the Nimiq forum.

In a nutshell, Nimiq can be summed up by:

  • The Vision: “ Barrier-free value exchange for everyone”
  • Nimiq’s Mission: “To enable the most accessible, censorship-resistant payment solutions”

Why A Browser-Based Blockchain Could Encourage Adoption?

Nimiq was the first browser-based blockchain. How could this drive forward wider adoption of Nimiq?

Consider Apple; how has the company acquired such dominance in consumer hardware?

Well, a large part of the company’s success has been through making the interaction with technology seamless, easy and intuitive. In essence, they have created products for the masses which can be used by tech-savvy people and regular users alike.

Nimiq has taken a similar approach when it comes to creating their crypto payment system. Being browser-based means that users get that installation-free ‘it just works’ feel when using Nimiq. This is a far cry from other crypto payments systems which can be difficult for people new to crypto to wrap their heads around.

Nimiq Safe User Interface
User Interface of Nimiq Browser Wallet. Straight and Simple

When it comes to digital payments systems, projects need to be aware of changing consumer trends. Traditional payments have seen a meteoric rise in mobile payments. This trend has been enabled by reliable and safe mobile payment infrastructure and has empowered users to enjoy a signficantly more convenient method of payment.

This means that if cryptocurrencies are to compete successfully with legacy payment methods, then they should probably take mobile accessibility very seriously.

Nimiq’s browser-based blockchain means that no large downloads are required and this enables users to use the Nimiq payment system in regions with low internet connectivity.

Astonishingly, even developed countries can have mobile connectivity. Around 33% of the UK population currently suffers from bad mobile data coverage. Unsurprisingly, this figure rises in developing countries.

This trend towards mobile payments has been recognized by Nimiq and is one of the reasons why their browser-based approach could hold significant value and has the potential to encourage wider crypto adoption.

Disruptive Potential: Nimiq OASIS, WEG Bank & Agora.Trade

On the 28th of February, Nimiq announced that it had partnered up with German-owned WEG Bank and the non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange Agora.Trade to create a potentially disruptive crypto-to-fiat bridge.

Before going any further it’s important to understand that the solution has a go-live target date of Q4 2019 and is currently only a blueprint.

In short, Nimiq’s innovative approach centers on making fiat currency (like the EUR and USD) directly behave as if it were a token on a blockchain. This provides a potentially revolutionary new way of connecting the crypto exchanges to the traditional banking network.

For anyone buying cryptocurrencies, you’ll probably notice that there are significant fees associated with depositing fiat currency on a crypto exchange. The reason why is that many crypto exchanges are forced to use crypto payment processors to bridge the crypto and traditional banking ecosystems.

Nimiq, Agora, WEG Partnership
The Nimiq, Agora and WEG Bank Partnership

That means that value exchange is not seamless and is the key reason why depositing Euros and USD on certain crypto exchanges can come with hefty fees.

Nimiq has developed a blueprint to potentially solve this issue and aim to develop Nimiq OASIS (Open Asset Swap Interaction Scheme). It initially aims to connect different crypto markets using the non-custodial Agora.Trade exchange to the traditional banking network via WEG Bank.

Nimiq OASIS is the middle layer which enables seamless value transfer between these two ecosystems through making fiat currency blockchain compatible. Put simply, the goal is for Nimiq to deliver an easy, cheap and fast way for users to buy cryptocurrency.

That’s not all. Nimiq’s solution also allows for the processing of transfers without a single, centralized intermediary (like a payment processor) controlling the two assets being exchanged, and without needing to entrust the private keys of the cryptocurrency asset to a third party.

What Pain Points Could Nimiq Solve?

There are a number of barriers that make it hard for mass adoption of cryptocurrency. Some of these are related to the public’s perception while others are due to legacy financial systems.

Given the unique approach that is being taken by Nimiq, there are a number of ways in which it can help ease the use and adoption of cryptocurrency.

Making Crypto Easier to Buy or Sell

Depositing fiat currency on an exchange can be time-consuming, confusing and incur large fees. Indeed, the UK Financial Conduct Authority released a report in March 2019 containing survey data to the question ‘why haven’t you bought any (cryptocurrency)?

  • 20% responded that they ‘lack knowledge on how to buy cryptocurrency’.
  • 8% said that crypto was ‘too difficult or complex to buy’.
  • 2% responded that they had a ‘lack of knowledge’.

This means if the survey data of the FCA is viewed as a representative of the overall population, then 30% of the people not already in cryptocurrency could benefit from an easy and convenient way to buy and sell cryptocurrency. This is exactly what Nimiq OASIS aims to do.

FCA Crypto Study
Q4: “Why haven’t you bought any Cryptocurrency”. Source: FCA

It is interesting to note that within the FCA report, only 29% of survey respondents said that crypto was “too risky to buy (eg due to their price change)”. Nimiq OASIS could empower retail banking customers at SEPA instant enabled banks, with a fast and easy way to buy or sell cryptocurrency for fiat and address a key pain point for wider crypto adoption.

Elimination of Middlemen

If you are a cryptocurrency platform accepting fiat deposits or a merchant accepting crypto as a payment option, then chances are that you are using a cryptocurrency payment processor to act as a middleman between you and the traditional banking network. The problem is that some payment processor companies charge fees of up to 5%.

Now consider that many traditional online stores operate off margins as lows as 0.5% to 3.5% and you should see the problem for wider crypto adoption. Nimiq OASIS could provide a cheaper alternative and even help expand the range of merchants willing to accept crypto as a payment method.

Alternative To Over-The-Counter Markets (OTC)

The world of crypto OTC markets is a murky one, to say the least. However, many speculate that the true value of OTC is in excess of that traded on public exchanges.

If this is true, this means that billions of dollars being traded OTC every single day. Needless to say, OTC brokers typically charge a large fee for their service and if Nimiq OASIS provides significant liquidity the solution could provide an interesting alternative to OTC.

Stable Coins

The stable coin market currently stands at around $3 billion and these crypto assets are largely used by traders wanting to hedge their exposure to volatile crypto markets. However, some stable coins are unaudited (read Tether USDT) and there is little doubt that they come with risk over ‘real’ fiat.

Nimiq’s crypto-to-fiat bridge could potentially provide a viable alternative to stable coins and eat into market share.

Nimiq OASIS Is Just A Blueprint

As exciting as Nimiq OASIS could be, it is important to understand that it’s currently just a blueprint and there is no working product yet. However, Nimiq has backed up the Nimiq OASIS blueprint by acquiring a 9.9% stake in WEG Bank.

Nimiq Oasis
Could Oasis be a precursor to much more? Image via Nimiq

Needless to say, this stake acquisition is a statement of intent and illustrates the commitment of both WEG bank and Nimiq to the Nimiq OASIS initiative.

The really exciting thing about Nimiq OASIS is that its first iteration aims to support NIM, BTC, and ETH. The team has already stated that they are open to supporting other cryptocurrencies, exchanges and merchant solutions in the future too.

This means that if Nimiq OASIS succeeds, it can be viewed as a wider contribution to the overall cryptocurrency community and infrastructure.

Deeper Links Between Nimiq & Agora Trade

Nimiq is serious about pushing the boundaries of blockchain technology, which involves exploring new and revolutionary ideas. These research efforts include sponsoring a PHD position at Imperial College London and blockchain research at Stanford University.

Agora.Trade is led by Forbes 30 under 30 list-maker Reto Tinkler, who also heads up Trinkler Software. Nimiq and Trinkler Software have also opened up a blockchain research collaboration, the first results of which is a blueprint for the Albatross Consensus Algorithm.

Nimiq Trinkler Software
Nimiq With Trinkler Software

This proof-of-stake consensus method has been reported to be able to perform close to the theoretical maximum for a single chain and could be the basis of Nimiq 2.0.

Both Nimiq and Trinkler Software are continuing to test the Albatross protocol and have begun to build a simulator to evaluate it.

It still remains to be seen what else will come out of Nimiq’s research efforts. The important thing to know is that the project takes an ad hoc approach to research and that research itself does not guarantee results or groundbreaking technological breakthroughs.

However, such research efforts can be viewed as key to driving the Nimiq ecosystem forward and contributing to the wider cryptocurrency space.

Nimiq Tech Vs. Bitcoin Vs. Ethereum

When it comes to evaluating any cryptocurrency, it is often useful to compare it to competitors and some of the biggest crypto projects out there. After all, what is the point of an altcoin which doesn’t have any advantages over Bitcoin?

Below, you can see two tables pitting Nimiq head to head with both Ethereum and Bitcoin. It is, however, important to note that Nimiq has two different entries.

The first is Nimiq with its current proof of work consensus method and Nimiq 2.0 is the performance expected if Nimiq migrates to proof-of-stake using the Albatross consensus mechanism.

Nimiq vs. Bitcoin vs. Ethereum
Nimiq Compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum

The Nimiq Community

Nimiq seems to be flying under the radar of many cryptocurrency enthusiasts. However, the project is still home to a rapidly growing and highly engaged community. The Nimiq team have decided to support their developer community with its own community funding initiative.

This enables any member of the community to submit proposals for funding and the Nimiq team also offers project teams with free security audits, mentorship, help with UI and UX and more.

Nimiq Community
Members of Nimiq’s Enthusiastic Community

Evidence of the Nimiq communities high levels of engagement can be seen in Nimiq’s collaboration with Binance-owned Trust Wallet on the 27th March 2019. The integration of NIM into Trust Wallet was completely spearheaded by two community developers called Terorie and Vasconcelos.

The Nimiq community funding initiative is further strengthening the Nimiq ecosystem and increasing engagement in the Nimiq developer community.

Nimiq’s Values

Nimiq is a tech-focused project and the team believes that meaningful impact should take precedence over mere business. That’s why two percent of the overall NIM supply has been reserved for Nimiq’s charitable foundation.

These funds are vesting for ten years and the idea is that as the value of NIM grows, Nimiq’s charitable foundation will be empowered to support numerous great causes and initiatives.

The Nimiq team are particularly interested in supporting projects with high ecological and social impact.

The Nimiq Team

Team Nimiq is made up of 19 team members in total. These are split between the following departments: core development, front-end, communication, infrastructure, documentation, legal, operations, and vlogs.

Nimiq Team Members
Nimiq’s Team Members jumping for joy (and Crypto)

The team also leverages the expertise of several paid independent contributors:

How Easy is Nimiq To Use?

Are you interested in Nimiq and want to check out if it’s really as simple as it is claimed to be?

The good news is that you can try it out and some NIM for free. We estimate that it will take around 30 seconds to setup your new NIM wallet.

Stage 1: Enter Nimiq’s onboarding process through the link here and click ‘create wallet’.

Creating a Nimiq Wallet
Creating a Nimiq Wallet

Stage 2: Choose your unique identicon to help identify your wallet at a glance.

Choose Nimiq Identicon
Choose an Identicon that Suits

Stage 3: Confirm your identicon selection.

Confirm Identicon Choice
You sure that Identicon works?

Stage 4: Key in your PIN.

Choosing your Pin
Choose a quick access pin

Stage 5: You are good to go ahead and select Nimiq Safe.

Going to Nimiq Safe
Going through to Nimiq Safe

Finally: Receive or send NIM transactions using Nimiq Safe.

Getting started on Nimiq is literally that easy!

How to Buy Nimiq Coin

Currently, Nimiq is listed on the following centralized exchanges:

  • HitBTC
  • Hotbit
  • Trade Satoshi
  • BTC-Alpha

At Coin Bureau, we can only recommend crypto exchanges and platforms that we use ourselves. Unfortunately, after hearing about poor experiences on all the exchanges listed above, we cannot endorse any of them.

However, the decentralized exchange Changelly can be used as a reputable place to buy NIM that we endorse.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that Nimiq is one of those promising cryptocurrency projects currently going under the radar.

We like Nimiq’s tech-focused approach, the potential ground-breaking innovation of Nimiq OASIS and the promising initial research outcomes. The strength of the Nimiq payment system can be seen as embodied by all these things, plus it is focused on ease of use and browser-based approach.

However, all this promise is simply potential right now. Research outcomes like Nimiq OASIS and Albatross are simply blueprints right now. NIM is also not accepted by many merchants right now either.

Anyone adding Nimiq to their watchlist must understand that there is a long road ahead for Nimiq to live up to their potential and that involves trusting Team Nimiq and their community to execute and scale the payment system successfully.

Although many things could go wrong and stop Nimiq achieving its lofty goals, the approach taken is certainly different from other cryptocurrency payment systems out there.

Nimiq’s acquisition of a stake in WEG Bank is also a big statement of intent and helps validate that the project is attempting to create the crypto-to-fiat bridge promised, rather than just promising vapourware.

Ultimately it’s your choice if you want to dive in deeper into the project. However, if you want to find out more, we highly recommend that you check out Nimiq’s official blog.

Featured Image via Fotolia

Disclaimer: The author holds some NIM in their portfolio and is compensated in a long-term independent consulting capacity by Nimiq. This article must not be construed as investment advice. Always do your own research.

Posted by Tom Alford

Tom is a cryptocurrency investor from Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He believes in long-term projects rather than any short term gains, and is a strong believer in the future of blockchain technology and the great social benefit potential of cryptocurrency.