Thinking About a Fair Launch


Civilization-grade infrastructure demands a legal foundation that is sound, durable, and philosophically serious.

To accomplish this, we have devised a launch for Nockchain that harkens to the very inception of blockchain technology. Eschewing contemporary methods for token issuance and community distribution, we call our strategy a Fair Launch. We hope to set a new standard in the market.

With the exception of Bitcoin itself, fair competition has not been a priority in the creation of most new cryptocurrencies. Whereas Bitcoin was created through organic competition across a permissionless network of mining nodes, most follow-on blockchains have involved a pre-mine of tokens giving core developers and initial investors a large share of the supply. Most other blockchains have been proof-of-stake, so tokens generated by inflation are designated to existing stakeholders.

Most projects work in the following way. A core development team raises funds from venture capital investors, usually through a SAFE or convertible note, with a parallel token warrant or side letter that gives investors the option to purchase tokens at a nominal price (pro-rata to their equity share). Whatever the exact instrument used, the core developers and initial investors are guaranteed, at inception, a predetermined share of the blockchain’s tokens, which is usually between 30% and 50% of the total supply.

In contrast, Zorp is developing the Nockchain protocol to be released to the world. Zorp will compete for Nocks (Nockchain’s coins) along with everyone else. There will be no pre-mine. Once launched, any computer can download Nockchain’s open source software and begin mining Nocks. Thus, Zorp does not and cannot ensure ownership of any particular portion of the supply of Nocks. Once Nockchain is released, Zorp is situated alongside every other market participant in the world.

A Fair Launch has several critical benefits.

The first is fairness. The rules for mining Nocks are transparent, the competition open, and the opportunity universal. From the outset, it’s a global game of computational excellence and speed—and everyone is invited.

The second benefit is decentralization. Because Nocks are created from the beginning, like Bitcoin, by miners running open source code available to anyone with a computer, the network avoids concentration, both economically and administratively, which broadens its reach and durability far beyond what is possible with community points or airdrops.

A third benefit, related to decentralization, is clear regulatory positioning. Bitcoin was decentralized from the start: there was no common enterprise who was or is responsible for its development, and those who mined or purchased Bitcoin could not reasonably expect profits from anyone’s efforts. By engaging in a Fair Launch, we are similarly decoupling Nockchain from any expectation of profit from a common enterprise.

Though Nockchain will have the fairest launch since Bitcoin, don’t get us wrong: fair competition does not mean equality of outcome. As the architects of Nockchain, we have some initial competitive advantages. Our technical familiarity with Nock, our proximity to the chain and its roadmap, and our early vision for the future of ZK-compute may give us an advantage similar to that of early Bitcoin contributors or members of the Cypherpunks Mailing list.

Nockchain is an experimental protocol that we’ve been working hard to ship quickly, and we’ve been publicizing our plan every week since December 2023 to level the playing field. Mining an experimental, untested protocol is inherently a speculative and risky venture, in contrast to the certainty of a pre-mine. Mining is permissionless and begins at the same time for everyone; so let the boldest and most skilled miners win!

Nockchain is for the world. Importantly, it is also by the world. Zorp released the initial codebase, but we did not create Nocks. Nocks will be created by you—the hundreds and thousands of individuals and groups we expect to mine it.

Its success depends on all of us.