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What is NANO? All You Need To Know


Jide Idowu


Reading time

12 mins
Last update


Jide Idowu


Reading time

12 mins
Last update


Jide Idowu


Reading time

12 mins
Last update

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NANO officially rebranded from RaiBlocks at the end of January 2018. The team behind the cryptocurrency, RaiBlocks announced that the coin is rebranded to NANO.

NANO follows Bitcoins‘ original plan which is to replace traditional currencies, making it digital money for day to day use.

In the quest of taking over Bitcoin, NANO addresses vital problems posed by Bitcoin network which are:

  • Scalability problems which give users concerns about the increase in transaction fees on the Bitcoin network.
  • Computational issues which have to do with the latency of transaction times which stands at an average of 164 minutes.
  • Energy consumption is soaring high with Bitcoin mining consuming more electricity than 159 countries.

Addressing these challenges, NANO provides a solution which gives the cryptocurrency and edge over Bitcoin with its block-lattice structure which delivers zero-fee transactions and consumes way less energy than that of Bitcoin.

How The System Works

Unlike other blockchain technologies many cryptocurrencies adapt, each account has its blockchain. Each account-chain, as its also referred to is updated by the account owner and in turn, asynchronously updates the rest of the block-lattice resulting in fast transaction times. Since each user updates its block sending and receiving funds requires two transactions; a sending transaction which deducts the amount sent by a sender from his balance, likewise the receive transaction which adds amount gotten from sender to its account balance. These two transactions don’t have to be at the same time; the receiver can accept the transaction anytime.

Explaining Block-Lattice Architecture

NANO uses a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) block-lattice architecture, where every individual is assigned his blockchain. Unlike other blockchain architecture which tracks transaction amounts, the block-lattice records account balances. This method shrinks down data stored through the use of database pruning. Every blockchain reflects information related to individual’s account and is only updated by the owner; then each blockchain is updated asynchronously to the rest of the block-lattice.

As every user controls their blockchain, protocols such as proof-of-work (PoW) or proof-of-stake (PoS) in deciding on the state of the ledger is not needed.

To Create An Account

Users need to initiate an open transaction. This transaction is the first of every account-chain and is created upon receiving the first transaction block.

Account Balances

All balances are recorded within users account-chain. Instead of recording the amount of transaction, verification process requires checking the difference between the previous send block balance and the current one. The new block increases or decreases with the final balance on the new receive block. This is to improve processing speed when downloading high numbers of transaction blocks.

Sending From An Account

The sending address must already have an opened block, and therefore a balance. Once a transaction is initiated, it cannot be reversed once confirmed. Once the transaction is broadcasted to the network, funds are immediately deducted from senders balance and are pending until the receiving party signs the block to accept the funds. Pending acceptance, the funds should be considered spent on senders account though it hasn’t been received as the sender cannot revoke the transaction.

Receiving Transactions

To complete the transaction process, the receiver creates a block on its account to accept a sent fund. Once the block is created and broadcasted, the account balance is updated with the new balance.

What’s Interesting About The Block-Lattice Infrastructure

Because of its lightweight protocol and cost of running a node next to nothing, transactions are processed without fees. Each transaction on the network is fitted in a UDP packet and handled independently, eliminating block size issues.

Also, wallets are pre-cached for the next transaction once a transaction is sent, making transactions instant as both sender and receiver have proof of work ready to go.

BitGrail Hack

One of the most important things related to NANO’s history is related to the hack experienced by BitGrail. This cryptocurrency exchange was the one with the largest liquidity for RaiBlocks at that time, which allowed users to buy and sell their digital assets in a fast and easy way. 

In February 2018, BitGrail was hacked losing $195 million dollars. The firm informed they lost 17 million XRB (NANO). This clearly affected the price of NANO, one of the largest cryptocurrencies at that time. After the hack, the price of this digital asset dropped from almost $12 per coin to $9.12 a few hours later. 

Although the whole cryptocurrency market was in a bear trend at that time, this affected the reputation of this digital currency and damaged the future growth of this digital asset. 

At that time, BitGrail informed to its users that unauthorized transactions were performed from one of their wallets and that they warned authorities about this issue. At the same time, they said police started to investigate the issue. 

This was the statement released by the company:

“BitGrail S.r.l Informs its users that internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall, an amount forming part of the wallet managed by BitGrail S.r.l. Today a charge about those fraudulent activities has been submitted to the competent authorities and now is under police investigation.”

After the hack, the exchange suspended its activities, including withdrawals and deposits. The procedure was implemented to take care of users and their security. 

Of course, other exchanges such as Binance started offering help in blocking and freezing deposits from identified addresses. 

Since that moment, the case of the BitGrail hack is being investigated by Firenze’s Tribunal. They are working in order to understand how to recover users’ funds, which penalties are going to be applied to the owners of the exchange and how to solve the whole situation. 

The NANO community got divided into those supporting the cryptocurrency exchange and those that believed that the NANO team was involved in the hack. According to one of the owners of the exchange, Francesco Firano, NANO’s protocol had a bug in its protocol that allowed hackers to extract the funds from the exchange. 

In a blog post released by The Nano Core Team, they informed that they have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the bitGrail exchange for a significant period of time. 

The court explained in early 2019 that Francesco Firano has to repay the $170 million worth of cryptocurrency that went missing last year. Apparently, all the funds were stored in a “hot wallet” rather than in a cold storage solution. This has also affected the security of the funds that users stored at the exchange.  

At the moment, NANO users are waiting for new information regarding their funds and whether they will be able to recover part of the funds they lost at the exchange. 

NANO’s Price Over Time

The NANO (represented as XRB symbol on most exchanges) has been stable, almost static at its lows since inception. Not until recently, the latter part of 2017, did we see a spike in price as it made a high of $4.02 on the 12th of December, 2017. It has since continued to make huge gains with all-time highs at $33.14. Currently at $13.27 after a pullback.

NANO had a very large price increase that started at the end of 2017, in November. The digital currency moved from under $0.13 to $37.62 just a few months later, in January 2018, according to CoinMarketCap. That represents a price increase of over 23,400%, a massive spike in its price. 

However, things changed and NANO was not able to sustain its price. This is something that happened not only to NANO but also to many other altcoins in the cryptocurrency market. The Initial Coin Offering (ICO) craziness ended and most of these projects ended up disappearing. 

After an entire 2018 of decreasing in value, NANO has been traded since November 2018 between $1.8 and $0.75. The lowest price reached by NANO since it spiked back in 2017 was in February 2018 when it fell under $0.75 for a brief period of time. That would represent a price decrease of over 98% in 13 months. 

At the time of writing this article, NANO is being traded around $0.963 and it has a market capitalization of $128 million. That means that this digital currency is the 43rd largest in the cryptocurrency market. 

In terms of BTC, NANO had a similar performance. It moved from 0.00001957 BTC per NANO in November 2017 to 0.00281076 BTC per coin in January 2018. That represents a price increase of over 14,262%. Since that moment, NANO reached its lowest point in BTC terms a few weeks ago when it dropped to 0.00008661 BTC per coin, representing a decrease in its BTC price of almost 97%. 

As mentioned before, the price performance experience by NANO can be seen in many other digital assets in the cryptocurrency market. This is something that shows that most of the altcoins were affected by the bear market in 2018. Moreover, Bitcoin has been increasing its market dominance, which is now close to 70%, the largest since early 2017. 

The whole cryptocurrency market is currently waiting for an improvement in the performance of altcoins, that have been in a bear trend against Bitcoin for a long period. Moreover, many of them were not able to surge again in USD terms despite Bitcoin’s price increase in the last few months. 

Compared to Stellar and Ripple, NANO is not able to improve adoption by using an established organization specifically working to increase adoption of the NANO digital asset. The community will have to play a very important role in supporting further adoption of NANO if they want to see improvements in price rather than a trend that follows the whole market sentiment and it is based on speculation. 

Where To Buy NANO

NANO has since been added to significant exchanges after its rebrand. The NANO can be exchanged for major cryptocurrencies like the Bitcoin, Ether, Binance Token, Tether USDT, Doge, and fiat currencies.

NANO can be exchanged on Binance, Kucoin, RightBTC, Bit-Z, Mercatox, OKEx, and CoinFalcon exchanges. You can also purchase NANO using cash on the BitFlip exchange.

One of the most popular exchanges to buy and sell NANO is Binance. The cryptocurrency exchange is recognized for being one of the largest in terms of liquidity for altcoins. That means that it also provides one of the best price quotes for NANO. 

According to CoinMarketCap, Binance represents over 20% of the total trading volume of NANO around the world. Mercatox, with the ticker XRB and the trading pair XRB/BTC is the exchange with the largest liquidity for NANO, accounting for almost 24% of the total trading volume of this virtual currency around the world. 

Binance has four different trading pairs to trade NANO, including NANO/BNB, NANO/BTC, NANO/ETC and NANO/USDT. These four trading pairs account for 0.08% of the total trading volume of the Binance exchange. In the last 24 hours, Binance registered a trading volume of $561 million. 

To purchase NANO using Binance, you would have to send funds (BTC, ETH, USDT or BNB) from another exchange or wallet to the crypto exchange. However, Binance has launched a new service that allows individuals to buy selected cryptocurrencies with a credit card. In this way, you would be able to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum or Binance Coin with a credit card and exchange them for NANO. 

As mentioned before, there are many other cryptocurrency exchanges that allow users to buy and sell NANO. In the previous section, we wrote about BitGrail’s hack. Until the hack occurred, BitGrail was the platform with the largest trading volume for NANO. If the exchange starts operating again as it tried doing in the past, the best would be to remain far from it. 

NANO Compatible Wallets

There are a few options for storing and transacting with the NANO cryptocurrency. You can hold your NANO in the following wallets:

  • There is an official web wallet, hosted on raiwallet.com.
  • RaiWalletBot is a telegram bot which manages user private keys allows users access, send and receive NANO coins on the telegram app.
  • A Desktop wallet can be downloaded for all operating systems from here.
  • You can also use the Ledger Hardware wallet to hold your NANO cryptocurrencies.

One of the best ways to hold NANO is through a hardware wallet that is not connected to the internet and that is protected against hacks and attacks. Holding NANO in a cryptocurrency exchange is not the best thing to do for investors that want to hold virtual currencies for a long period. 

Ledger Nano S allows users to install the Nano app on their Ledger devices and manage NANO with the NanoVault web application, which is developed and supported by the Nano community. If you want to know more about it, you can read more here

There are other cryptocurrency wallets that would help you hold the private keys of your digital assets and that would allow you to deal with your NANO coin securely. Exchanges are usually the target of attacks and hacks that could eventually end with the loss of users’ funds.

Desktop wallets are generally more secure than mobile wallets as long as the user holds the private keys of his coins. Custodial wallets could also be affected by hacks in a similar way as exchanges.

Plans For The Future

The NANO is aimed at revolutionizing the blockchain architecture itself and will undoubtedly have a bright future.

The community has helped get the cryptocurrency on quite a few exchanges, and we should expect even much more shortly.

Mobile wallets are currently under testing and would be released for iPhone and Android mobile devices early 2018.

NANO Competitors

NANO bases its strength in offering a decentralized solution that provides users with fast transactions using blockchain technology. Two of the closest competitors in terms of performance to NANO are XRP and XLM. These two cryptocurrencies work in their own environments, Ripple and the Stellar Network respectively. 

XRP and XLM offer fast and cheap transactions, for individuals and financial institutions around the world. However, these two digital currencies are criticized for being centralized compared to NANO or other cryptos in the market. The founders of both networks still hold large amounts of the supply of these coins, which make the system much more centralized. 

It is worth mentioning that the speed differences between these three digital currencies are negligible, something that can also be seen in the fees paid by users. The main difference between these three projects is adoption and how the projects are handled. Ripple and Stellar are managed by organizations that have the possibility to fund the expansion of their projects and the adoption of XRP and XLM. 

If you want to know more about these projects, you can read our guide about What is Stellar (XLM).

Several financial institutions are working with both Ripple and Stellar, which is very positive for the crypto space. However, NANO does not have this advantage. NANO will have to improve in terms of adoption and how it would be able to reach a larger number of users that would ultimately start enjoying the benefits of free and fast blockchain transactions. 

In the future, there may be other cryptocurrencies with similar services provided by NANO and with a centralized structure such as Ripple and Stellar that would allow that new digital asset to expand its services around the world. This is why is very important for the NANO community to work and expand the knowledge about NANO to the market. 


What NANO aims to achieve is simple. To replace the conventional shared memory data structure with the message passing model in which users have their blockchains that only syncs with the main network. The NANO is the only cryptocurrency which employs the block-lattice (multi-dimensional blockchain) freeing users from paying fees to miners, waiting for network ledger update and also avoiding long transaction confirmation times.

With the solution NANO presents, cryptocurrencies, most especially the NANO will be that digital currency that replaces fiat currencies for everyday use.

Although the proposals are very interesting from a technical point of view, the community will have to work harder to increase the adoption of this virtual currency around the world by both individuals and institutions. 

Crypto networks such as Stellar and Ripple have the possibility to fund their operations and promote the use of their virtual currencies. 

Nevertheless, NANO remains one of the most innovative and advanced cryptocurrencies in the market and it is ready to increase its adoption worldwide.