This article is published on Medium.

Coda is a succinct blockchain where full nodes only require downloading and verification of a tiny proof to ensure that the state of the blockchain is valid. It achieves this through incrementally computed SNARKs where the latest block contains a proof that validates the new block in addition to the previous SNARK.

Coda utilizes a proof of stake (POS) consensus mechanism as opposed to the proof of work (POW) consensus mechanism popularized by Bitcoin. POS consensus algorithms have unique challenges, most notably the nothing at stake issue. Whereas in POW, miners are forced to complete work that expends energy and has a cost, in a POS system it is essentially free to participate, and an adversary can try different things to see what is favorable at no cost.