The Aion Blockchain aims to be the mechanism to move value and logic between heterogeneous blockchains through network bridges. The protocol's native currency, AION, serves as the crypto economic incentive and security mechanism to power transactions and computation on the network.
Aion currently supports the Solidity scripting language, and features the Aion FastVM which claims to be an enhanced version of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, allowing execution of decentralized applications.
Aion was the project of Nuco, a startup lead by three Deloitte blockchains leads in 2016. Aion development was funded by a token sale in October, 2017 raising US$22 million. In November, 2017, Aion along with Icon and Wanchain formed the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance which aims to advance standards that would promote a greater degree of connectivity between different blockchains. In February, 2018, Aion launched their Ascent beta testnet. In April 2018, Aion released their mainnet, featuring the FastVM, P2P Protocol, dual API support, and a modified Equihash 2109 PoW Consensus Algorithm. In May, 2018, Aion (under Nuco) was officially rebranded to be overseen by the Aion Foundation, and the project was made not-for-profit. In addition Aion also hosted their inaugural developer conference, AIONEX. In June 2018, Aion launched their Bounties and Grants project, a community incentive program for external developers to support the ecosystem.
On June 21, 2018, the alpha version of their first Token Bridge was released. This bridge is meant for the transfer of the Aion ERC-20 token to the native AION coin and vice versa. In July, former Deloitte Global partner, Ian Chan joins the Aion Foundation as a senior executive.
Enterprises and developers developing for enterprise will be able to partition a blockchain to control access using Aion.
Aion FastVM is a 128 bit virtual machine, which is based on the Ethereum virtual machine, features a wallet address which takes 32 bytes for stronger security.
Application Programming Interface (API)
Aion currently supports Web3 and Java APIs. The Aion Java API is a Java implementation of the Aion blockchain kernel application programming interface. It was built using Java 8 and was updated to support the Java features in JDK9 and 10. It provides a practical interface for deploying a Java application and integrating with the Blockchain as a Service (BaaS). The Aion Java API uses the ZeroMQ Java binding as network transfer layer protocol for improved stability, reliability and security.
The Web3 API was included to provide the community with familiar tools and interface for interacting with the Aion network. The Web3 module is structured to work with any Aion node to provide a means of deploying smart contracts. Aion supports a standard set of JSON-RPC calls, allows for transition from existing Web3 based projects to Aion.
The current release utilizes a custom equihash consensus algorithm dubbed "Equihash 2109", a modified equihash algorithm, which claims to double the memory requirement but achieves identical block times. The AION proof-of-work (PoW) protocol is based on the Equihash algorithm; a memory hard PoW algorithm solving the Generalized Birthday Problem.
Aion aims to build a generic bridge used to connect blockchains and external services through a contiguous network and provide an accountable communication maintained through the network. The first bridge iteration being built will be between the Aion network and Ethereum.
The nodes that form the bridge will also have a process for reaching agreement amongst themselves and deciding whether to respond to a certain transaction on one of the chains by executing a corresponding one on the other. Bridges will be bidirectional, and will sign and broadcast an interchain transaction only if they have been sealed in the source blockchain and an interchain transaction forwarding fee has been paid, and will inform the connecting network of the merkle hash updates of the participating network. Bridge validators will use a lightweight BFT-based algorithm to reach consensus. Transactions get approved only after receiving over two thirds of the total votes.
The first iteration of the token bridge will feature a proposed trusted distributed network responsible for forwarding transfer requests from the AION ERC20 Token into Aion Coins. The current status of the bridge is in alpha stage, and allows only the unidirectional transfer of BTAION (from the Rinkeby network, based on Ethereum's) to the native Aion coins.
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- BlockchainA blockchain is an append-only digital ledger storing a set of time-ordered transactions grouped in blocks that are linked together using cryptographic hashes.
- CryptocurrencyA cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.