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æternity blockchain is open source, public and permissionless

æternity blockchain is an Erlang-based scalable smart contract platform engineered by programming pioneers to address some of the most fundamental challenges native to earlier blockchains. By redesigning blockchain technology at the protocol level, the æternity developer community has enabled the core protocol to understand and integrate a rich set of functionalities out of the box. Full specifications and documentation of the protocol are in the Documentation hub.

Technical advantages

  • No scaling limits with built-in trustless, off-chain State Channels
  • Highest security standards with a type-safe VM and functional Smart Contract language
  • ~3 second block confirmation times
  • Low on-chain fees due to highly optimized consensus, VM, and native transaction types
  • No off-chain fees for transactions and Smart Contract execution in State Channels
  • Built-in Naming System for human-readable names
  • Private transactions and smart contracts in state channels
  • Built-in Oracles for accessing external API’s and real world data
  • Highly flexible generalized account model supporting all types of signing options

Reference implementation written in Erlang by industry experts, the language that powers 90% of today’s world wide web. Learn more

The æternity Protocol is

Universal

The æternity protocol is capable of supporting anything that first-generation Smart Contract platforms can. And more. It can power Games, Payments, Identity, Decentralized Finance, Registries, Token-Economies, Supply Chains and more. Many of its applications have not been discovered yet. The future is yours.

Secure

æternity is built with security in mind. The reference implementation is written in Erlang, following all standards of high-quality software engineering. Recurring security audits and intensive property-based testing are part of the protocol developers' daily work.

The æternity protocol interacts with a type-safe VM called the Fast æternity Transaction Engine (FATE), engineered to boost efficiency (gas consumption) and security (type-safe). Together with Sophia, a functional smart contract language that supports formal verification, the æternity protocol provides a unique take on blockchain and smart contract security.

Scalable

To scale to billions of users and transactions, the æternity protocol provides trustless off-chain scaling with State Channels technology. Without compromising on security, State Channels allow peer-to-peer transactions and Smart Contract execution off-chain. Channels can be opened and closed in parallel, enabling unlimited scalability.

æternity's consensus protocol - Bitcoin-NG - is fast. With on-chain speeds reaching 120tx/s, æternity is about 8 times faster than Ethereum and about 15 times faster than Bitcoin. Block confirmation times are as low as 3 seconds, which significantly improves the user experience.

Efficient low-to-no fees

æternity is equipped with dozens of native transaction types for managing State Channels, Oracles, and Names, among others. They are all optimized in terms of gas costs.

In addition, transactions and Smart Contract executions in State Channels don't incur any fees. On-chain, Bitcoin-NG — the protocol's consensus mechanism, allows for more transactions and smart contract executions per block in comparison to other platforms. This relaxes the fee and gas markets and leads to lower costs.

Since all Smart Contracts are executed in the highly efficient FATE VM, less gas is needed overall. A FATE contract is only 10% of the size of an EVM contract.

Interoperable Oracles

On æternity, Oracles are managed by special types of transactions. They can be programmed to request and provide data from information providers and APIs.

If a Smart Contract requires access to weather data, an Oracle request transaction—including a data schema, is broadcast on-chain. Data providers can respond to such data requests and charge a fee for the response.

Oracle providers can register on-chain and start providing any type of data by charging a fee. This allows Smart Contract developers to create applications that interact with information coming from the real-world, enabling Decentralized Finance applications, among many others.

Open Source

The æternity protocol and all essential developer resources are fully open source. There are no proprietary licenses whatsoever. The development process is transparent, and anyone can start contributing via GitHub and the Forum.

Decentralized

With Satoshi’s legacy at its core, the æternity protocol is built to be decentralized. Anyone can host a node and start mining, connect to the Mainnet, and help secure the chain by verifying transactions.

The æternity network is operated by a community of node operators. It is fully trustless, with no central authority, no master nodes, or kill-switches.

The Proof-of-Work mechanism incorporated in æternity is Cuckoo Cycle. It is highly efficient and the first one to rely on graph-theoretic proofs. It is also the most memory-bound, yet with instant verification.

Public and Private

æternity uses the accounts model which makes all transactions public by default. With the implementation of Generalized Accounts, a unique technological feature, it is possible to sign transactions with a very high degree of flexibility.

From a cryptographic point of view, the protocol uses Blake2b (256 bits digest) and ed25519. It also supports Schnorr Signatures. Communication between nodes is encrypted with the Noise Protocol.

Off-chain State Channels transactions and smart contract executions are fully private unless published on-chain.

It is trivial to set up a private blockchain network based on the æternity protocol for enterprise or governmental use.

User Friendly

The protocol-incorporated æternity Naming System (AENS) enables users to point human-readable names to accounts, contracts, oracles, and more.

By using the AENS, aeternity.chain can be used instead of the public key ak_2ruXgsLy9jMwEqsgyQgEsxw­8chYDfv2QyBfCsR6qtpQYkektWB.

This significantly improves the user experience for both users and developers. Names in the AENS are registered through a trustless auction process.

Governance

The æternity protocol is governed by miners, AE token users, and developers.

Using hardfork signaling, node operators and miner can show their support for consensus-breaking protocol upgrades. AE token users can participate in the protocol's governance on-chain by making use of the weighted, delegated polling mechanism. The mechanism is accessible via a user-friendly, mobile æpp that interacts with the blockchain. All results are cryptographically verifiable.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the off-chain governance process by joining discussions in æternity's communication channels.

Development Sustainability

The æternity protocol is robust, reliable, and built to last.

Despite that, the æternity crypto foundation is tasked to support the long-term development and maintenance of the core protocol and various essential resources. To fund these efforts, the Foundation receives 10.8% of the mining reward. The distribution of funds is made through an open R&D Grant program available at the æternity crypto foundation's website.

æternity Starfleet by æternity Ventures can further support developers and entrepreneurs willing to launch startups on æternity.

Safe Smart Contract Development with Sophia

Sophia is a functional Smart Contract language in the ML family. It is strongly-typed and has a restricted mutable state. Sophia is a Ocaml-like language with syntax mostly resembling that of Reason.

What is Sophia?

The Sophia language was created to easily utilize the potentials of the æternity protocol. Some features of conventional languages, such as floating point arithmetics for example, are not present, while some blockchain-specific primitives, constructions, and types have been added.

Educational material

Online Course from Dacade.org
Check out the highly recommended æternity 101 course on Dacade, a peer learning platform. Courses are free and you will be given a certificate upon completion.

Getting started

In order to get started, try out the community developed online IDE or setup your own development environment with the local development framework AEproject.

  • Try it in the browser

    Start writing and testing Sophia Smart Contracts instantly. Click on the link below to launch the Contract compiler.

  • Try it locally

    Use AEproject to set up your local development environment in minutes.

    npm i -g aeproject
    

Developer tools

Programming libraries are available. Any Javascript developer can build a simple æternity app in one day. For a quick start and reference SDK it is recommended to use the JavaScript one.

  • Node HTTP API

    Hosted and auto-generated æternity Node API documentation

  • SDK Frontend APIs

  • æternal Backend API

    æternal æternal is a caching layer and API server for æternity. It is used to respond to queries faster than the node and to support queries that the node cannot support for efficiency reasons.

  • CLI - Command Line Client

    Quickly test all of Aeternity’s blockchain features from your terminal, you can install and use our NodeJS CLI.

Useful resources

Interfaces and clients

Three major clients to interact with æternity blockchain applications, sign contract calls and do transactions.

A variety of community build wallets are available, such as:

It is possible to buy æternity tokens on exchanges like Binance, OKex, Huobi, gate.io and many others. A full list of markets can be found via: coinmarketcap

Run your own node and services

For miners, pools and node operators

To get the latest version of æternity node, please check out the latest published packages and the release notes.