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Iron Fish Basics

I’m new to crypto/blockchain. What are some of the basics?
We like , which explains how the Bitcoin network works. While we operate independently from Bitcoin, Iron Fish starts with a similarly decentralized blockchain. We then use a number of techniques to ensure privacy within blockchain transactions.
How do you differ from other blockchains?
Most popular cryptocurrencies are permanent ledgers that broadcast all the details of a transaction—similar to tweeting out your bank statement. To create a true everyday-use currency, privacy is a must.
Our combination of privacy and accessibility means that anyone, anywhere, can safely use private, decentralized money.
Do you have a community I can join?
Yes - we have an amazing, highly-active . Join it to get the latest on Iron Fish and get announcements about the Iron Fish project in real time.

Privacy + Accessibility

Why focus on privacy?
Privacy leads to innovation, social evolution. Much like https paved the way for entire industries through online e-commerce, we believe private transactions over a blockchain will enable frictionless global payments and new industries of borderless products and companies. Historically, this type of financial privacy has only been available to the rich, via offshore accounts. With Iron Fish, anyone can have an even better alternative to a Swiss bank account on their phone.
How do you differ from other privacy coins?
We are building Iron Fish because we believe in consumer choice and consumer privacy. Having more choices for privacy is even better. Existing privacy coins — such as Monero, Zcash, and Grin — all make different technical and design decisions to achieve privacy and usability. We believe we are creating the most private, convenient, and compliant coin on the market.
How are you a privacy layer?
Part of our promise toward accessibility is enabling multi-asset support on the Iron Fish blockchain. This will allow users of other cryptocurrencies to quickly and easily use any coin in a privacy-preserving manner, creating not just a single privacy token but a privacy layer for all transactions.
Why focus on accessibility?
Most cryptocurrencies are made by engineers, for engineers, which results in a high barrier to entry. There are over 4 billion internet users, on over 2 billion computers across the world. And yet, there are only around 10,000 fully active-listening Bitcoin nodes. If we want truly decentralized money, we need to make it easier to use and participate in the network.
Can I run a node without any technical experience?
Yes! We walk you through the basics of running an Iron Fish node in our .


Why focus on decentralization?
Decentralization is key to ensure true privacy and accessibility. In a centralized private currency service (like a credit card), the transaction is not publicly broadcasted but multiple centralized services serve as gatekeepers to each transaction.
How are you decentralized?
Like other cryptocurrencies, Iron Fish uses a blockchain and a peer-to-peer node network to build a decentralized ledger. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, nodes in this network are not all aware of the ledger balance of each user in the network. That is the massive usability and privacy upgrade provided by our zero-knowledge proofs.

Technical Details

How are you achieving privacy?
We achieve privacy through the use of zero-knowledge proofs, which can be use to create shielded transactions. These transactions work similarly to transactions in other cryptocurrencies, except the details of each transaction can only be viewed by those who directly participated in it.
Why use Proof-of-Work (PoW)?
We’ve done thorough and extensive research on the merits and drawbacks of PoW, Proof-of-Stake (PoS), and Delegated Proof of Stake systems. Ultimately, PoW systems are overall more secure, have much better understood attack vectors, and have a better path towards being fairly decentralized. PoS systems can sometimes lead to better UI/UX and faster block times, but the pros do not outweigh the cons when looking at their algorithms holistically.
What is target and difficulty?
The difficulty of our mining algorithm is dynamically adjusted to try to achieve a 1 minute period between the mining of blocks. This is achieved by changing the target, which is a threshold your hash output must be below in order to mine a block. The lower the target, the higher the difficulty, as there is a lower probability your hash meets the criteria.
How do zero knowledge proofs and Iron Fish work at a core level?
This is a deep topic - you can start by checking out the , and the materials supporting it.
What is Sapling?
Sapling is a library that can be used by blockchain network clients to efficiently implement zero-knowledge proofs for shielded transactions.
Do you support smart contracts?
Not at this time. In fact, there are still some larger questions around what even defines a “private smart contract”. We are keeping an eye on how the product landscape develops here and will put it on the roadmap if we see a good opportunity.
Will there be a wallet?
Yes - we are actively developing a wallet and it will be released before Mainnet launch.
What is your goal for transactions per second? What’s the target block time?
The target block time is 15 seconds. We are at 1 minute now and looking to bring that down. We are still working out our transaction per second goal - one of the reasons for the small transaction amounts in Phase 2 is to generate many transactions and see how the network handles them!
Is there a presale?
No. The only way to to earn $IRON before launch is to participate in the incentivized Testnet and earn points that will later be converted into $IRON tokens.

Running Iron Fish

How do I a set up an Iron Fish node?
What is graffiti? How does this tie in with an account? Or a node name?
We have a number of identifiers you will see when running Iron Fish:
graffiti is a 32 byte field in which a miner can add any arbitrary information when mining a block. For the Iron Fish testnet, all the recorded activity that you do is tracked via your reported graffiti.
node name is an optional string name that others in the network can identify your node with. This serves no protocol purpose other than interest/curiosity about the other nodes you’re connecting with.
node ID is a random hex number to represent your node when it connects to others.
user ID is an internal number we have to represent your user account when you registered with your graffiti. This is specific only to the testnet and will not have meaning upon Mainnet launch.
ie: In the user ID is 2060.
Is there a video guide on how to setup nodes and mine tokens?
There is an unofficial video guide to setting up an Iron Fish on . And if you would like to contribute your own tutorial, this kind of community contribution will be directly rewarded with points in Testnet Phase 2!
What is Telemetry?
Telemetry is an internal metrics service the Iron Fish team is using to better understand the performance of the network. Unlike other services provided through the CLI, telemetry is centralized - activity is reported anonymously to a central server.
Note that earning points for running a node in Phase 2 requires telemetry to be turned on. We recommend running ironfish testnet from the command line to ensure everything is set up correctly and you will receive your points.

Mining $IRON

What is the difference between running a node and a miner?
A node is a part of the Iron Fish network, keeping a copy of the blockchain.
A miner actively works to add new blocks to the blockchain and verify transactions.
Can I run a node without mining?
Yes - and you will get points for this in Phase 2!
How do mining pools work?
Mining blocks can be tough - you can instead join a pool of users who combine the power of their miners and work together.
You can join the official Iron Fish pool by following , or you can join a user-hosted pool - check out for options!
Is there a GPU miner?
There is currently no official GPU miner, but there’s nothing stopping you from working on it! Note that the mining algorithm will change before the main net release - this is to avoid ASIC manufacturers getting a head start building for the current Blake3 algorithm.
What are some example machines and their hashrates?
4-core 2012 MacBook Pro: 9 MH/s - gets hot, unlikely to mine any blocks
6-core 2018 MacBook Pro: 19 MH/s - gets hot, low likelihood to mine blocks, but has happened
8-core Ryzen 7 5700G: 55 MH/s - has mined 0-3 blocks/week in late February
16-core Ryzen 9 5950X: 110 MH/s - an efficient Iron Fish mining machine! Very popular
For more exotic and powerful systems (EPYC, XEON), read through the in our Discord

Testnet Phase 2

What is the phase 2 timeline?
Phase two starts on May 10, 2022 and continues until we feel Iron Fish is ready for mainnet launch.
I participated in Phase 1. What’s different?
We are now rewarding points - you get points for hosting a node and making transactions, and you no longer get points directly for mining tokens. The other categories for points remain the same.
Additionally, we have added a number of commands to the CLI to make participating in the testnet simpler - these will help you set up your graffiti and telemetry. Run ironfish testnet to set up your node to be ready for testnet. Check out our for more details!
Can I participate in the Incentivized Testnet if I’m in the US?
Yes. Rules for everyone:
Please see the Testnet Phase 2 Info page:
First, you must register and confirm your account via email for the incentivized testnet.
You must set your graffiti in your node to be what you registered with in
More info in the page of this Wiki on registering and configuring your node
Why the point changes?
De-incentivizing direct mining gives you the opportunity to join a mining pool and earn proportional shares of blocks mined by a group of miners. No more need for a crazy mining rig - just join up with a number of other miners and get a proportional share of the new tokens mined!
And if you do have that amazing mining rig, don’t worry - you will still be able to earn lots of points by making large transactions with the Iron Bank.
Will there be a KYC process for participants in order to claim coins?
Coins will be distributed to eligible participants. It's very likely a KYC process will be part of determining eligibility.
How are you rewarding points?
You can see our point structure by viewing the .
What do points do?
We have set aside a portion of the genesis block for $IRON exclusively for incentivized testnet users. Upon eligibility, your Phase 1 and Phase 2 points will be proportionally translated into tokens from this block upon the mainnet launch of $IRON.
How do I host a node in a way that earns me points?
First, run ironfish testnet to configure your node with proper graffiti and telemetry setting.
Then, run ironfish start and leave that process running. That’s it - you will gain points every 12 hours!
How do I send a transaction to earn points?
First, mine some $IRON. You can do this by running either your own miner or joining a mining pool. You can .
Then, you may send the $IRON to our Iron Bank transaction processing node by running ironfish deposit
If I run my node for 11 hours and stop it, then restart later, do the 11 hours get counted?
If you run for 11 hours and get credited for 11 hours, then stop your node and start your node again later, you will then be credited another hour for a total of 12. It's a running total that does not reset.
What happened to Phase 1 points?
We have frozen the Phase 1 leaderboard, and it can be .
What is graffiti? How do I set it up?
Graffiti is your personal identifier. You need to set it up to get credited for your participation in the testnet. We suggest using our new testnet CLI commands to ensure everything is properly set ironfish testnet. See the for more details.
Can I claim points for blocks under a different graffiti than the one I registered with?
Points can only be earned for blocks with the same graffiti as your testnet account. You must with your graffiti before you can start earning points.
Will my accounts transfer?
Yes - accounts with identical graffiti will carry over from Phase 1. If you already created an account with your graffiti for Phase 1, you do not have to register again for Phase 2.
Will there be weekly limits on earning points?
No - we have removed weekly point limits in Phase 2.
How will Phase 2 be fair for new users starting?
We have allocated blocks of the initial pool of $IRON tokens separately for Phase 1 and Phase 2. So even if you were high on the leaderboard in Phase 1, you start at zero for the Phase 2 allocation. Everyone gets an equal shot at the new Phase 2 pool of tokens, so you’re not too late!
If all the miners connect to pool node only how does that help with the Phase 2 objective of telemetry/running node? Are the blocks always signed by the pool?
Hosting a node with enabled telemetry earns you points directly, regardless of your participation in a mining pool. The mining of blocks is no longer worth points, so mining via pool has no bearing on your leaderboard spot. This is part of the reason we moved away from directly incentivizing mining tokens.
What are the minimum hardware requirements for running a node?
Recommended minimum requirements from other members in the community are:
CPU: 4 core

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