The Divi Project

About a year ago, a few entrepreneurs joined the crypto scene with what started out as simple idea: using crypto sucks, let’s fix it. The Divi Project was formed, an ICO was held, and on September 27th, the journey for fixing crypto can finally start. But before we get to this moment, let’s go back and discuss what Divi is, what it fixes, how it fixes it, and what the future is for this new project. As usual, if you have been reading my work, this article is a deep dive.

I am one of the biggest promoters and pushers of crypto. I see a world where the barrier to the transfer of value is so low that exchanging value is as easy as breathing. It should be so easy that it almost happens automatically while the individual remains 100% in control of where the product of their labor and choices go. We shouldn’t need banks, we should just need access to a network. But let’s face it, crypto is really cool, but it ain’t there yet. Not even close.

Most crypto requires you to have unmemorable addresses, to keep unmemorizable keys, show QR codes to each other, have calculators to do conversions into currencies that you are familiar with, and a host of other things that make it more annoying to use, and not better than using fiat. Let’s face it, it’s a pain to use.

In fact, with Apple Pay, Square Cash, Venmo, PayPal, you can move small amounts of money to other people relatively easily, quickly, and you can do it for free. The idea that crypto is better than available fiat currency transfer services is a flat out lie if you are talking about ease of use.

However, if you are talking about requiring a banking institution, forcing people to give up their identities, and transferring between any of those services, for example moving Apple Pay Cash into Venmo, crypto has them beat, hands down. Further, with crypto, there are no bank imposed limits on daily transfers. In crypto, no one asks about the use of that money. And relative to large bank transfers, crypto, even bitcoin, is instant and low cost.

The Divi folks recognized the shortcomings and benefits of using crypto as well as those of fiat transfer systems and thought, “We can do better.”

There are many aspects to crypto that are ripe for some competitive improvement. So let’s start out with five main areas: One-Click Tiered Masternodes, rewards lottery, micropayment ability, blockchain bloat control, and sporking. Divi have included all of these aspects while focusing on creating a crypto that has a single use: transfer of value. You won’t see thousands of projects on the Divi blockchain. No Crypto Kitties and Fcoin to drag down the system. Divi’s main goal is simple: Make Crypto Easy...but not while being all things to everyone.

Yeah, an image like this pervades all of crypto

One of the greatest aspects of cryptocurrency projects is its inclusive nature. It is completely contrary to how fiat systems work. In most fiat based economies you often need qualifications or certifications to participate. You may need a license for braiding hair for income. You need a good credit score to open a business account at a bank. But to get involved in crypto, you need a free wallet and that’s it! To make money in crypto, you can buy equipment to mine Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Mining is very energy intensive and results in relatively slow transactions. Further, the requirements to participate for income have gone up for mining coins. One outcome of the changing landscape of crypto is the invention of Proof-of-Stake and Masternodes. So, instead of mining, you can stake a coin with something as simple as a $35 Raspberry Pi. One way to secure a crypto network is to not have every wallet stake and hold a copy of the entire blockchain, but instead have masternodes. Masternodes are not new; there are dozens of coins with them. Masternodes not only keep a copy of the entire blockchain, but may also be used to impart privacy, or create instant transactions, or deal with general governance of the cryptocurrency. More on these aspects later.

For the most part, there is one important requirement to run a node, you have to set aside a large amount of crypto as collateral. This is to prevent bad actors from ruining the network under the idea that if a lot of money is tied up in the system the bad actor won’t want to destroy it, and thus the value of his own coins.

But this barrier to entry is normally quite high and inaccessible to an everyday crypto enthusiast. For example, to run a DASH node, you need 1000 Dash (currently near $200,000) or 10,000 PIVX (currently about $10,000). To solve this, people pool coins and earn from a pool. But to do this you need to trust the owner of the pool.

Instead, Divi has tiered masternodes, lowering the barrier to entry. Their lowest masternode is a copper node and will cost 100,000 Divi (about $1000 right now) while their highest masternode will cost about 10 million Divi (about $100,000 right now) and like all proof of stake coins, the more you stake, the better your returns. Higher masternodes have staking bonuses. Thus, owning a silver node is 5% better than owning 3 copper nodes. You can use this calculator to see the differences between nodes.

But in Divi, you don’t need a node at all! Why should masternode owners have all the fun? The wallets themselves stake too! The returns are less than a masternode, but still, it’s nice that you can earn income by just keeping the coin!

But there is something special about a Divi masternode that no other masternode currently has: you can set it up with one single click of the mouse. Seriously, after you set up payment information with a host (Digital Ocean for now), you simply press a button and a few minutes later, you are running a node. Other coins talk about having simple masternodes, but with Divi’s it is literally one click to set it up. Here is proof. They call it MOCCI for “Masternode One-Click Cloud Installer”. Even their CLI setup for masternodes is simpler than the set up for most other masternodes. This makes it as easy as possible for people to get involved as you no longer need to have any technical prowess to join a crypto and earn income with it.

Another reason to join in the Divi ecosystem are lottery blocks. Once a week about a half million Divi will be sent to some random winners who are staking divi in a wallet (not running a masternode). 50% of these winnings will go to one lucky holder while the other 50% is divi’d up between ten other holders.

Weep for our savings!

Everyone knows that when the US government and banks print more and more money, the value of the dollar drops. In fact, since leaving the gold standard in 1913, the US dollar has lost 96% of its value! So how is it possible that this won’t happen to Divi? In true form of the Divi staff, the issue has already been addressed. The answer is that it IS possible that the value of Divi will decline, but unlikely. As bitcoin and other large coins grow in value, Divi will grow with it and that is the nature of the crypto beast; alt coins get to ride on bitcoin’s coat tails. Due to the low barrier to entry, more people will want to come into the system. By making the wallet easy to use and inexpensive to use, more people will want to use Divi rather than other coins.

By gamifying the masternode system by having tiers, more people can access the system and more people will gain coins for even higher tiers. People will want to hold on to tokens, which helps to solve the coin velocity issues while adding value to Divi coins. To add further deflationary pressure, Divi burns fees. So having inflation is bad if nothing is adding value to the economy, but the first iteration of Divi will already be leaps and bounds better than other cryptos, and there is more to come. Divi wants everyone on board!

Try using a credit card to send 10 cents to someone. There is a minimum fee making that transaction ridiculous. It’s the exact same with bitcoin and its transaction fees. For a while at the start of 2018, it could cost between 25 and 55 dollars for any bitcoin transaction. It wasn’t cost effective to send even 10 dollars much less 10 cents. But Divi has an answer to that too!

Realizing that there are huge opportunities that open when you can make micropayments of a dollar or ten cents for a song, or a GIF, or a short access to a service, Divi has enabled micropayments by having a really low fee structure.

On average, a transaction will cost 0.0001*(Amount in divi). The maximum fee will be 100 divi. If you send $10,000 in divi, it will cost you a dollar in today’s prices. If you send 10 cents in divi, it will cost you a fraction of a penny.

A note should be made here. The Divi project is aware that their implementation of microtransactions doesn’t scale well. If they have to do a half million microtransactions in a day, these transactions will experience delay. If this feature of divi becomes fundamental to its success, they will obviously work to cure this. Further, it should be understood that no one gets these fees; they are burned. Thus transacting in divi adds some deflationary pressure to the supply.

Why does it take forever for a new wallet or node to sync to the network? Load a Neblio wallet, a Monero node or a Cardano wallet. You will find yourself just waiting while the wallet syncs to the blockchain. Remember, the ledger of a blockchain grows with each transaction. The sum that shows up in your wallet is the result of adding up every transaction since the dawn of the coin. Even when there are steps in the way where there is $0.62 cents of bitcoin as a result of a transaction. For more information on this problem, see this article.

Despite work on other coins failing to address this issue very well, Divi has their solution. They combine small transactional results into chunks of 50,000 divi in a wallet. This means less data to store, less data to transmit, lower fees, speedy masternodes, lower hardware requirements for a masternode.

Man, I remember gradeschool

Some of the most contentious issues around various crypto projects is how the coin should be run. Should the fee structure change? Should the block size change? How much of the block rewards should go to charity? Should the block rewards change?

Often these issues can cause huge disagreements, so bad that one coin gets forked from another. Heck, Divi forked from PIVX, which forked from Dash, which forked from Bitcoin. Forking is part of crypto. However “sporking” means that functionality has been hardcoded to allow changes to the way the blockchains run. Divi’s version of sporking is unique in that it allows aspects of the blockchain to be changed as if they were knobs instead of switches.

Right now, the act of sporking is rather centralized, the leaders of Divi will engage any desired sporks. In the past, they have asked their community to vote on important changes, and that policy will continue. Until…

The best parts of Divi are yet to come. The vision is that new sporking functions will be implemented into the blockchain. By creating a malleable blockchain, the users and owners of the Divi ecosystem can adapt to market demands, environmental and political changes, and all sort of things. But having centralized governance is not palatable to those in crypto, and not to the Divi Project leaders either. The dials that make up the sporks, the charitable uses for Divi, and other governance issues will be commanded by the masternode owners as part of the wallet. Lowering the barriers to engagement, to the economy, and to simply transacting in Divi. Paying your kids allowance in divi will be a no brainer. Getting stores to take and participate in divi will be easier. Masternodes could be donated to charities to give them a gift that keeps giving.

Also coming down the line after the launch:

  • Mobile Wallets
  • Human Readable wallet addresses
  • Vaulting of divi to help with saving
  • Multi signature GUI wallets (Multisig is already in command line interface wallets)
  • Dynamic IP masternodes that lower cost even more.

So What?

Even if we grant that divi as a crypto asset is better as a store of value, better for using to pay for things, better for the environment, does the world need another masternode coin? In this case yes, because Divi isn’t a masternode coin.

Divi is an economic lubricant that happens to have masternodes. The platform must be clear and easy to use to attact both users and businesses. Johnny 401View, one of their beta testers who has a deep understanding of both blockchain and product development made the following comment after extensively using the wallet on the divi testnet :

401View believes one of the most important features of any crypto related project is making it feel familiar. Users should open the wallet, regardless of technical ability, and feel right at home as if they are opening their own online banking application. You should not have to understand Linux Wget commands to be able to put up a Masternode. You should not have to dig through a console that was obviously designed for other tech type users to be able to do basic troubleshooting. As investors, we wanted a product that would attract users of all levels to fall in love with the interface while hiding all the technical details that’s prevented mass adoption.

Others have said the same or similar. Divi has succeeded in lowering the bar for entry into crypto. This is good for crypto and good for businesses around the world.

A second important aspect is the culture that The Divi Project has created. Divi had a very rough start. Did they clamp up and go dark? Did they throw blame around? Geoff McCabe, Michael Greenwood and Nick Saporano, Divi’s leaders, showed immense integrity. They explained to their communities what went wrong, how it went wrong, and what they were going to do about it. They threw out all the code, reworked everything, and released the fully functional system in 3 months.

Along the way, they constantly sought input from stakeholders large and small. They held votes, they engaged in Telegram and Discord. They were as transparent as anyone could expect. Because they honestly want to grow a strong, enthusiastic community. They want masternode owners to guide the progress of the blockchain through governance tools. And they want the blockchain to be useful to the world, not just in its utility, but in its charity.

A small percentage of the block rewards are for a charitable trust. What is it for? Mr. Saporano explains it like this:

I would like the fund to be used to enact real-world social, economic, and (in my opinion most importantly) ecological change. And by this I don’t mean throwing money at issues. I mean engaging first-hand with issues and utilizing, if possible, the Masternode/Staking opportunities to provide a basis for funding these operations.

And stakeholder of Divi will be able to influence charitable decisions as part of governing systems. Even that part won’t be centralized. It will be a working method for imparting intrinsic good, rather than just throwing money at stuff.

Divi is launching tomorrow September 27th, 2018. There is a lot of competition in this space. But they will be starting with a great team, small marketcap and a set of excellent improvements to owning cryptoassets and helping to stake the network. They have an eye towards getting the coin out there and competing with the big boys like Dash.

Author, Maker, Father, Dreamer. Robert received his Ph.D. from RPI in Mechatronics. Since then, consumer devices, renewable energy, and now blockchain.