Already, Nym’s Finney testnet grew up to over 3500 mix nodes in two weeks, making the still-growing Nym already half the size of the established Tor network used by many Bitcoin projects. Unlike Tor and VPNs, Nym mix nodes “mix” packets on the individual level, offering improved privacy against even powerful adversaries like the NSA that can watch the entire network. (https://testnet-finney-explorer.nymtech.net/)
Backed by Binance Labs and other investors in 2019, Nym launched its initial testnet in 2020 in a partnership with Blockstream using Liquid. (https://www.coindesk.com/privacy-nym-pay-bitcoin-mixnet). As anyone could join, a Sybil attack increased the network to 12,000 nodes overnight in November 2020.
To defeat Sybil attacks, the team transitioned to the new Finney testnet that uses a staking token HAL to stake their initial reputation using the Tendermint blockchain and the cutting-edge Rust-based Cosmos implementation. This removed the Sybils from the previous network and now allows anyone who can claim a unique Telegram name to spin up a mix node. (https://nymtech.net/docs/run-nym-nodes/mixnodes/)
The Finney mixnet and its HAL token are named after Hal Finney, a famous cypherpunk that received the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Hal was a strong proponent of adding privacy and anonymity to the Bitcoin network. Hal Finney died of Lou Gehrig’s disease, but May 4th 2021 would have been his 65th birthday. He preserved his body cryogenically and there have been persistent rumors since his death that he was actually Satoshi Nakamoto (https://news.bitcoin.com/the-many-facts-pointing-to-hal-finney-being-satoshi/).
Sam Hart of the Interchain Foundation, the non-profit behind Cosmos, states: "Nym brings together state of the art anonymity research and distributed systems engineering to create technology that empowers civil society. The Interchain Foundation anticipates many Cosmos projects will integrate Nym’s network-level anonymity capabilities, but Nym also represents a milestone for private peer-to-peer communications and an opportunity for mix networks to finally enter the mainstream." (https://interchain.io/)
Dave Hrycyszyn, the CTO of Nym and ex-Libra employee, states that “This is the biggest release we've ever had. Using a Cosmos SDK-based currency will allow us to open up the network but ensure it remains resistant to Sybil attacks. We were hit with one of those a few months ago, and although it was fun to see our architecture keep functioning as it scaled from 500 up to 12,000 nodes, we need to be able to keep a lid on things and keep the quality of service high for our users.”
Nym has attracted support from many diverse leading figures in the blockchain space. For example, Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos, said that “Proper mix networks are a key piece of infrastructure necessary to ensure that the privacy of communications and transactions is being respected.”
Nym Team (at Nym meeting in Valais, Switzerland in the Alps): Claudia Diaz, Jess Hrcyszyn, Dave Hrycyszyn, Theo Goodman, Harry Halpin and Jedrzej Stuczynski
Here are some useful links for you to stay tuned with the latest NYM’s updates ( we heard they have some big news coming soon)!
For more info about their technology - check out NYM Whitepaper!