Powering up ETHDenver's cryptoeconomy with xDai


Powering up ETHDenver’s cryptoeconomy with xDai Chain

It started with a quick incoming email a few months back:

“We are working on a project for ETHDenver I think you might be interested in.

Let me know if you are interested and would like to get together for a chat.”

Our reply: “Of course we are interested! Let’s chat”

…and the buffiDai project started rolling.

That’s what we love most about the blockchain, and especially Ethereum, ecosystem. Ideas go from thoughts to actions in moments!

Proof of Autonomy

Most people know that POA blockchains (now standing for Proof of Autonomy for POA Network and xDai Chain) are replicable and interconnectable through bridges. So, when we started discussions around creating a cryptoeconomic system to use at ETHDenver, one initial idea was to create a new POA blockchain that could be used specifically for event.

There were a few things that would be needed in this cryptoeconomic system:

  • A way to purchase goods at ETHDenver, all priced in USD

  • Very cheap transaction fees – Users don’t have to worry about spending money on fees

  • Very fast – No waiting around, with transactions feeling almost instant

  • Easy to use – takes seconds for anyone to get going, even if you know nothing about crypto

After some initial discussions with all involved parties, the good news was that a new POA blockchain wasn’t necessary. All of these parameters could be met with tools that already exist.

POA Network’s xDaiChain, a USD-based blockchain that offers 5 second block generation time, provided the necessary infrastructure, and Austin Griffith’s intuitive Burner Wallet provided the interface. We were ready to get going!

xDai Chain: The first ever USD-Stable Blockchain

xDai Chain is an Ethereum-based blockchain offering fast, cost-efficient transactions by leveraging a Proof-of-Autonomy consensus model. Coins deployed on the xDAI network can be pegged to DAI, a stable token based on the US dollar. This creates a reliable and functional blockchain where coins maintain their value. A main reason POA Network team joined forces with MakerDAO to help launch xDai Chain in October 2018 was to create an EVM blockchain where USD was at the center of the ecosystem. By creating a very cheap, very fast chain with a USD representation as the native currency, the teams created a system that is predictable, scalable and easy to use!

xDai Chain is supported by tools that already exist in the Ethereum ecosystem, like mobile and hardware wallets, blockchain explorers like BlockScout, and smart contract libraries. Not only is it a solution for users, it provides a prime opportunity for developers looking to build on a fast, stable network. Anything that can be created on Ethereum can also be created on the xDai Chain!

Additionally, Austin Griffith had already started to create a Burner Wallet experience that easily brings a crypto wallet into the hands of a non-crypto person in seconds. Austin’s view is “xDai Chain is rad. The block times are always five seconds so it’s fast and reliable. It’s super cheap so you can make hundreds of transactions for a cent. And it’s backed by DAI which is in USD so there is low cognitive overhead. Put that together with a super simple wallet that loads in a mobile web browser and you might just onboard grandma!”

There were a few other parameters to meet in order to create a closed cryptoeconomic system at ETHDenver. Since xDai supports smart contract deployment, there were no limits to what we could accomplish. Thanks to some hard work from Austin Griffith and Brian Ethier, and a newly created buffiDai localcoin and tools, we were able create the solution.


buffiDai is a local coin that is pegged to Dai and deployed on the xDAI chain. It will be the preferred currency at ETHDenver- food truck vendors, bartenders, merch tables, and even some local businesses will be happily accepting buffiDai. Payments will post in seconds thanks to xDai's fast transaction times!

At ETHDenver, we are excited to see how this cryptoeconomic system behaves. With users buying food, merch, drinks, and other things like NFT’s at the event, this may well be the largest closed cryptoeconomic experiment to take place to date.

Sky Minert who led POA’s involvement in the project likes to explain this experience to his non-crypto friends as it’s like “Venmo or WeChat on Blockchain” but even easier, and even better. It takes seconds to start participating in the system, you don’t need anyone’s permission and it’s fast and fun.

The Cypherpunk Speakeasy events that have been popping up around the world from Honduras to Wyoming to Lisbon to Singapore over the past month to help refine the system have been fascinating to watch.

One of the coolest things is that anyone can contribute and build onto the system. We are excited to see what the community creates.

A special thanks to Rich at Maker for his organization skills and ability to push things toward the finish line. In addition, one of the most impressive aspects of this project was the amount (and quality) of collaboration from the many different projects who contributed. From SolidCoin (shout out to Brian & Jonathan), to Gitcoin (much love to Austin & Kevin), to Wyre and our friends at ETHDenver (holler to Coury & John), it was an absolute testament to the spirit of the future of software development. Collaboration at its finest!

What’s next? We’re eager to do more together!

POA Network. News and updates #40

AlphaWallet fully supports xDai and POA networks on both iOS and Android.