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What Is Spacemesh?

Spacemesh is a decentralized peer-to-peer network which serves as a public ledger to allow for the transaction of cryptographic assets including coins. It features a novel, robust consensus algorithm, making it highly secure and censorship resistant, while also being environment-friendly and offering a low barrier to entry for those wanting to participate in securing the network and earning rewards.

Spacemesh uses Proof of Spacetime as a part of its consensus algorithm. Those participating (called “Smeshers”) only need to allocate a part of their disk space (through a process called “Smeshing”) to be eligible to propose blocks (ordered, canonical sets of transactions and other data) and thereby earn rewards (paid out in Spacemesh coins or “$SMH”). This allows anyone with free storage space to put it to work and earn rewards by contributing to network security. This is a major advantage which Spacemesh enjoys over other blockchain networks relying on processing-heavy consensus algorithms.

Consider, for instance, Bitcoin. Industrial grade, specialized machines are a prerequisite to participate profitably in the mining process. The computationally intensive Proof of Work consensus mechanism used by Bitcoin makes this a necessity. Moreover, even after fulfilling this requirement, one needs to participate in a race to find the next block before other miners. There is no such computational requirement or any race when it comes to Spacemesh. Anyone can use their free storage space to participate in mining, and every honest participant is guaranteed a frequent reward proportional to the space they allocated. The Spacemesh mining process is not only far more eco-friendly when compared to Bitcoin’s (and other protocols similar to it), but also much more accessible to the general public.

It can be argued that Ethereum, with its Proof of Stake consensus algorithm, is also “green” and inclusive: one only needs to stake ETH in order to participate in consensus and block production. However, a validator must first acquire ETH to stake. While ETH is a liquid asset that can be purchased easily enough, it still requires access to an exchange which usually means having a bank account, passing a KYC/AML process, etc. Strictly speaking this process is not permissionless; by contrast, mining Spacemesh coins simply requires running the mining software and is thus 100% permissionless!

Furthermore, it’s possible for any proof of stake network, including Ethereum, to be effectively and invisibly captured by a small number of colluding actors that collectively control a substantial portion of the stake. This casts a shadow of concern over the security and censorship resistance of the network. However, Spacemesh, with its Proof of Spacetime consensus algorithm, allows anyone to participate in the smeshing process simply by allocating at least 256 GiB hard drive space. Like proof of work, honest miners in Spacemesh can always permissionlessly add more weight to their votes in the consensus mechanism, effectively routing around any such attempts at capture or censorship.

As such, the Spacemesh approach to securing the network and distributing rewards to the honest participants is not only environmentally-friendly, but also far more decentralized, and censorship resistant. With just some storage space and a stable internet connection, one can earn guaranteed rewards while also contributing to the security of the network.

It is also worth noting that Spacemesh rewards scale linearly with the amount of space dedicated to smeshing. This means that there is a fixed proportion in which one is rewarded for each additional SU allocated. Thus, unlike protocols such as Bitcoin, having more resources does not give one a disproportionately larger share of the rewards. Each individual smesher has a fair opportunity to allocate more space to earn more rewards, without them having to resort to forming pools or groups.

To recap,

  • Spacemesh is a blockchain protocol with a distributed ledger, a consensus algorithm, and a native coin (called a Spacemesh coin or “$SMH”) which is awarded to those who participate in securing the network.
  • The Spacemesh consensus mechanism is based on a novel protocol called Proof of Spacetime which, in combination with several auxiliary mechanisms), is more environmentally-friendly, more robust, and more decentralized than alternatives such as Proof of Work or Proof of Stake.
  • One just needs a minimum of 264 GiB free hard drive space to participate in the consensus mechanism and earn rewards.
  • There is no race to produce the next block. Everyone participating in the mining process is guaranteed a share of rewards proportional to the storage space they have allocated.
  • The rewards scale linearly with the amount of space allocated. No one is given an unfair advantage in this regard. Allocate more space, earn more rewards.