Tezos Basics

An Overview of Tezos

Last Updated: 11th September 2023


Tezos is an open-source, decentralized blockchain created in 2014 by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman. It raised awareness and support in 2017 with its crowdfunding and launched the following year. Since its inception, Tezos has gone through multiple iterations of upgrades and development, staying true to its ethos -- "a blockchain designed to evolve".

What makes Tezos different?

Here are some of the features that make Tezos different from other blockchains:

Tezos can upgrade itself

Tezos has a built-in capability to upgrade itself, which allows the network to evolve without requiring a hard fork. Anyone can propose an upgrade to the protocol and have it adopted by the network without compromising the platform's stability or causing fragmentation. This feature allows Tezos to adapt to new technologies and to address user needs rapidly.

Stakeholders participate in governance

Anyone who holds XTZ — the chain's native token — can propose changes to how Tezos works, such as changes to gas fees and block times, new features such as smart rollups, or even major changes like how the consensus mechanism works.

Formal verification ensures trust and code quality

Formal verification is a process that ensures that a smart contract does what it says it does and has no side effects. Formal verification reduces errors, bugs, and security vulnerabilities in contracts and allows users to trust them. For more information, see Formal Verification on Tezos.

Tezos uses proof of stake

The proof-of-stake consensus model consensus model eliminates the need for high energy use, making it the "green" choice for blockchains. Instead of competing to achieve consensus as in proof-of-work models, Tezos nodes (called bakers) stake Tezos tokens to earn the right to create blocks and receive rewards. Users who want to participate without running a node themselves can delegate tokens to a baker for a share of the rewards. The bakers and delegators keep control of their tokens and can remove them at any time. Tezos's approach to consensus has been described as Liquid Proof of Stake.

The proof-of-stake model improves scalability and encourages incentive alignment. It also increases the cost of 51% attacks and avoids environmentally wasteful proof-of-work. Tezos launched in June 2018 as one of the first major proof-of-stake networks.

Tezos accepts multiple languages

Tezos lets developers use languages that make sense for their use case, including versions of Python and JavaScript/TypeScript. For more information, see An Introduction to Smart Contracts.

The Tezos Ecosystem

Tezos has robust applications ranging from NFTs, DeFi, and gaming to enterprise and government use cases.

NFTs on Tezos

The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has become a core arena of activity and growth in the blockchain space, where new communities are growing around artists, musicians, and other creators with the use of blockchain tokens. NFTs allow collectors and fans to hold a piece of content produced by a creator, verifiable on the blockchain and providing proof of ownership.

Objkt, FxHash, Teia, DNS.xyz are some of the marketplaces for Tezos art and music NFTs. They allow creators to mint and sell their work in addition to providing a platform for users to collect such works.

Tezos is also being used for other NFT-related projects, such as MoneyTrack, which is a payment platform that uses NFTs to control directed payment flows.

Enterprise and Government Uses of Tezos

Enterprises and regulatory bodies have been adopting Tezos as well.

Tezos is being used by the French Armies and Gendarmerie's Information Center to validate judicial expenses incurred during investigations and record them on Tezos.

In recent years, the concept of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) has gained traction, with several countries around the world exploring their own CBDC projects. Société Générale carried out a series of successful tests using Tezos to explore the potential of CBDCs. In September 2020, the bank announced that it had completed a pilot program using a custom-built version of the Tezos blockchain to simulate the issuance and circulation of CBDCs. The pilot involved testing the technology's ability to handle transactions, make payments, and settle transactions in a digital environment.

The Califonia DMV is also using Tezos for its project to put car titles on the blockchain.

Sword Group an international technology company, launched DigiSign, an open-source tool built on Tezos that enables users to digitally sign, certify, and verify the authenticity of digital documents.

Tezos in Gaming

Recently, the Tezos SDK for Unity promises to make blockchain game development easier and faster. It allows for the addition of web3 features such as allowing players to link their accounts across games, mint, and trade in-game items and currencies, and show off their ranks and accomplishments on public, on-chain leaderboards.

Cutting-edge developments on Tezos

With recent Tezos upgrades heavily focusing on scaling solutions, Tezos has been at the forefront of blockchain research. Up to 1 million transactions per second (TPS) are theoretically possible on Tezos with the advent of smart rollups, which have emerged as a strong scaling solution. With smart rollups (also known as optimistic rollups), transactions can be performed more quickly and cheaply and use other VMs that “roll up” their state changes onto Tezos.

Epoxy is another exciting technology in development that will further improve the scalability, speed, and versatility of Tezos. Epoxy is a validity rollup solution (also known as zk-rollups) that doesn't rely on fraud proofs making it even more robust and powerful.

These innovations demonstrate the ongoing dedication of Tezos to foster innovation in the blockchain industry.