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NEM (XEM), which stands for New Economy Movement, is a dual-layer blockchain that is written in Java and launched in 2015. The NEM mainnet supports multiple ledgers and has a NEM Smart Asset system, where nodes on the NEM blockchain process API calls. Its native currency is XEM, is ‘harvested’ using its POI (Proof-of-Importance) algorithm. The ‘importance’ of NEM users is determined by the number of coins they have and the number of transactions associated with their wallet. NEM also has an encrypted P2P messaging system, multisignature accounts, and an Eigentrust++ reputation system.

NEM was started by a Bitcoin Talk forum user called UtopianFuture who was inspired by Nxt. The initial plan for NEM was to create a fork of NXT, but this was eventually dismissed in favor of a completely new codebase. Starting on January 19, 2014, an open call for participation began on the Bitcointalk forum. The goal of the call was to create a community-oriented cryptocurrency from the ground up.

NEM Foundation; created in 2016, ~2 years after the Public Chain launch. It was funded from one of the reserved pools. It is a Company Limited by Guarantee in Singapore. Its early focus was on brand awareness, marketing, training and partnerships. In late 2018 the first council’s term came to an end and a new council was elected by members.

Hacking attack

On 26 January 2018, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck was the victim of a massive hack resulting in a loss of 523 million XEM coins, the native token of NEM, worth approximately $400 million. The NEM team created an automated tagging system. This automated system followed the money and tagged any account that received tainted money.

The result of these actions was that NEM stopped tracking the stolen coins approximately mid-March 2018, after concluding that enough data was provided to the law enforcement authorities.

Real-world Application

In July 2018, the Ukraine Central Election Commission began investigating the use of blockchain technology in elections using the NEM platform. The tests were performed in a test environment with 28 nodes, using test coins provided by the NEM Foundation. The commission estimated that a cost of a node would be approximately $1,227, which was described as a “small” price to pay for the technology. The test proved NEM’s potential utility in voting.

In November 2018, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education formed a consortium of universities to use NEM’s blockchain technology to authenticate academic certificates. The consortium was created to combat the rise of fraudulent fake degree certificates and to optimize certificate authentication. The ministry stated that NEM was chosen because of its “unique features in managing traceability and authentication requirements”.


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