Announcing FlowMint: A cross-chain stakedrop for platform tokens

Marlin is a layer-0 protocol focussed on network-layer performance, security and robustness. Amongst its several applications, it speeds up block propagation to enable higher throughput. A swarm of Marlin nodes compete with one another to transmit blocks from producers to receivers of various blockchains. Incentives as with any other decentralized protocol are crucial to bootstrap the demand and supply side of this bandwidth marketplace. This article introduces FlowMint, a novel token distribution mechanism to bootstrap the Marlin ecosystem.

Highlights

  1. Marlin nodes require Marlin tokens to be staked to join the network and propagate blocks of different chains.
  2. FlowMint is a mechanism by which users with ATOM, DOT, IRIS, MATIC, NEAR etc can participate in the Marlin network and acquire Marlin tokens.
  3. 20% of the genesis supply of Marlin token MPOND will be distributed to different blockchain communities over the next 24 months via FlowMint.
  4. Holders of eligible platform tokens who stake or delegate towards eligible validators shall be awarded MPOND which they may use to run a Marlin node or participate in governance.
  5. Tokens are not required to be locked in any new contract. Native chain delegations are used. MPOND shall be credited directly into the accounts of delegators.
  6. FlowMint begins on December 15, 2020.
  7. Next steps:
    (a) Validators should get themselves whitelisted to ensure that they and their delegators are eligible for the stakedrop.
    (b) Delegators and/or token holders should familiarize themselves with the necessary steps to best leverage this opportunity.

The Goal of Marlin

Peer-to-peer applications require networks to enable communication between peers. The decentralized nature of the Internet imposes performance overheads on applications built on top of it impacting scale and user experiences. Web 2 tackled these challenges using specialized overlay networks such as CDNs and SD-WANs. The Marlin protocol was developed to bridge the gap between the performance and scale achieved by Web 2 and the security and decentralization demanded by Web3.

The Marlin Network

The Marlin Network comprises of different kinds of nodes from resource-intensive sentry nodes to extremely light relay and caching nodes. The sentry nodes are the nodes responsible for verification of data that enters the network to prevent spam. As a result, they are required to run or have extremely low latency access to full nodes of corresponding blockchains to ensure the validity of blocks and transactions they introduce into the network.

On the other hand, caching and relay nodes simply store and forward the data they receive. While sentry nodes sign attestations certifying the validity of content, relay nodes simply ensure the existence of a logical attestation chain. Together, the caching, relay and sentry nodes ensure that they provide low-latency global coverage by using minimal resources while eliminating spam.

The Validators

Validators are important stakeholders in the Marlin Network as not only are they primary producers and consumers of blocks of various blockchain networks but also suitable candidates to run sentry nodes given their prevailing need to operate full nodes of those chains.

Marlin reduces the barrier to entry for blockchains and validators to try it out by acting complementary to a blockchain’s native P2P stack instead of trying to substitute it. Validators are required to run gateway nodes which are effectively dumbed down blockchain clients with only an active networking module. The gateway nodes peer with the validator node and act as a bridge between it and the Marlin Network isolating the validators from introduction of new code. The setup of an existing validator and Marlin gateway node effectively makes a Marlin sentry node reducing the cost of operation for validators.

The Marlin Token

Marlin nodes are required to stake Marlin tokens to join the network and relay data. The token, based on Ethereum, provides node operators the ability to earn fees from users to relay content and additional inflationary Marlin tokens in subsidies.

Token holders also gain rights to participate in the POND DAO where they may make new proposals or vote on existing ones. This enables token holders to, for instance, determine the share of inflation to be dedicated to any particular blockchain network.

The POND
THE POND

Far and wide distribution of Marlin tokens is, thus, as important as that of nodes to guarantee the decentralization and security of blockchain networks and users it serves.

Mint Marlin tokens by enabling Block Flow

Inspired from the NuCypher WorkLock and Edgeware LockDrop, FlowMint is a mechanism to distribute tokens amongst different blockchain communities while also incentivizing its usage. It ensures that absence of tokens is not a barrier for potential node operators but also requires node operators to use the Marlin network.

Initial Marlin Token Distribution
Initial Marlin Token Distribution

A generous 20% of Marlin’s genesis distribution is allocated towards FlowMint. Eligible validators and token holders who delegate to them receive Marlin tokens based on their share in the total participating stake and delegations. Roughly speaking, the tokens will be distributed over a period of 720 days with 20/720% = 0.027% tokens released every day. The distributed tokens can be used for staking or delegating towards Marlin nodes or for participating in Marlin governance.

Eligible Blockchains

We would like to support as many chains as possible. Initially, we begin with ATOM, DOT, IRIS, MATIC and NEAR. That is, 0.027/5% tokens will be dedicated towards eligible delegators of ATOM, DOT, IRIS, MATIC and NEAR distributed daily pro-rate amongst each community based on the size of stake/delegation.

Developers can add support for other chains and even apply for a grant for developing the same. Marlin governance can then whitelist the new chain for FlowMint distribution. In this scenario, say, it takes developers 20 days to write a Elrond and Ava integration. From the 21st day on, communities of Ava, Cosmos, Elrond, Iris, Matic, NEAR and Polkadot will be eligible to receive 0.027/7% tokens each daily.

Validator Onboarding

To be eligible, validators are required to run Marlin gateway nodes and actively send and receive blocks via the Marlin network which at the moment acts complimentary to the native P2P mechanism. Interested validators may get their addresses whitelisted by registering here. Info on installation of gateway nodes for different chains is available here: https://www.marlin.pro/docs/testnet/Gateway. Once registered, their addresses will appear on https://app.marlin.pro/flowmint/validators for delegators to check if their validators are participating or if they should redelegate to another participating validator. 

Delegator Registration

Holders of platform tokens such as ATOM, DOT, IRIS, MATIC and NEAR who wish to receive Marlin tokens by delegating to participating validators can bind their addresses (via which they delegate) to an Ethereum address (on which they wish to receive Marlin tokens) by visiting https://app.marlin.pro/flowmint on or after December 15, 2020.

They may prove ownership of their addresses by either providing a signature on their ETH addresses or making a 0 value transaction from the corresponding account to a randomly generated address. Detailed instructions for various chains are available below:

  1. Cosmos
  2. Fantom
  3. IRISnet
  4. Matic
  5. NEAR
  6. Polkadot

Distribution over L2

MPOND tokens will be distributed on the Matic sidechain due to the gas-intensiveness of the smart contracts. You'll have to transfer the tokens to Ethereum Mainnet for being able to interact with Marlin contracts. Instructions to use the Matic-Ethereum bridge are available here: https://blog.matic.network/deposits-and-withdrawals-on-pos-bridge.

Some points worth noting:

  1. The unclaimed MPOND balance shown on the home page is the MPOND accumulated across all bonded addresses for any chain. However, the pending harvest shown on a particular chain's page represents the MPOND accumulated due to only that chain. MPOND needs to be claimed separately for each chain.
  2. If you delegate for the same chain using two different addresses (for example, you bought NEAR on CoinList via 2 different accounts and transferred the tokens to 2 independent addresses), you can register for the stakedrop twice but will have to use two different ETH addresses.
  3. The same ETH address can be used for bonding in different chains.

Hope you enjoy the above process. Our discord server is the best place to seek technical assistance.

Important Legal Note

Marlin Labs (the “Company”) makes no representation or warranty with respect to the value of the Marlin Tokens issued, and the Company disclaims all warranties with respect to, including without limitation the generation of value, listing on any exchange, increase or decrease of value, loss of value and any other matters with respect to the value of Marlin Tokens. To be clear, the Marlin Tokens are not intended to be purchased as investments, nor should they be construed as such.

None of the information provided herein constitutes advice of any sort, including tax, legal, financial or any other advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation to purchase or use any product or service.

When Users transfer or sell the Marlin Tokens, tax may be imposed. Users shall be solely responsible for all procedures and payments of tax incurred by them, and the Company shall not be responsible therefore.

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