$T, the stable utility token for decentralized trusted computing

Kevin Zhang — the Sweeping Monk
6 min readMar 20, 2021


Miners need incentives to run nodes. $T is their reward.

When designing the $T, there are many options. Should it have a cap on total supply? Should it be a stable coin? If yes, what should it peg to? How to calculate the value? Should it be an asset or a currency? This is the most important decision I have to make first in the TEA Project token economy.

I did run through many versions. All of the previous versions have one or more problems. I finally balance the pros and cons, select the current version. I hope this is the last final version.

A new type of stable coin

$T is a stable coin pegging to the consumption of computing resources. Computing resources mean CPU instructions, RAM size, network traffic, storage, etc. Stable doesn’t mean it is stable compare to any fiat currency. Over time, computing costs will be lower and lower, so the $T value should drop if measured by another fiat. However, for a specific computer task, the $T is stable. Whenever you run the same computing task, it will cost the same amount of $T.

If the value of $T won’t rise, what’s the point for investors. Here is the trick. The investors won’t be rich by holding the $T without investing them in something else. This is like holding USD won’t make you rich, but invest USD in a startup company may make you rich. Investors invest $T to Camellia, the most important concept in the TEA Project.

Camellia, the plant that produces tea, is an NFT in the TEA ecosystem. Frankly, I drink tea but do not know too much about how tea was made. The only thing I know is Camellia can produce tea. That’s it. So I use this name which I think makes sense.

Miners can setup a TEA node (the mining machine) on their own, but they still need Camellias to start mining. Camellia here is a kind of qualification of mining.

Camellia is an NFT. Every camellia could be different somehow, such as classification, age, current owner, credit history, etc. All these properties define the outcome of this camellia. For example, if it is too young or too old, it could not make as much tea as a mid-age camellia. Some types of camellia are less productive than others. Some types live longer than others. That’s why the price of Camellia may vary. Camellia itself is a big topic. We can talk in my future blogs. Please stay tunes. Let’s stick with $T in this blog.

Unlike traditional cloud computing service providers, you cannot hire a miner to work for you for 10 hours. You won’t know, no one knows, which miner will be chosen to run your task. This is very important to keep zero knowledge to prevent attacks. TEA consensus will choose a VRF miner to run your task. The TEA will measure the cost of computing as the “gas” fee. This is similar to Ehtereum’s “gas” fee, so are the “tips.” But TEA will be much cheaper than Ethereum’s cost because we do not need to run the same code on millions of nodes. We have a different way of consensus to get the trust.

The profitability of a Camellia and the Dispatching Algorithm

As a miner, you do not know and do not care what tasks are running in your node since you have no choice. What you can do is to get a higher chance to win some high-value tasks so that you can make more $T. The probability is the core algorithm of TEA PoT Consensus.

In general, you can get a higher chance if your camellia is

  • At a higher productivity age, e.g., at mid-age
  • A higher productivity type of plant, e.g., a more powerful hardware
  • Higher total stake value from investors behind you.
  • Or some special features that others do not have, e.g., onboard TPU

All these properties are in the NFT definition. Such a high outcome camellia earns more $T for its owner, the miner and the stakeholders behind him. If the miner wants to sell it to someone else, of course, the price could be high.

Assume the miner bought such a camellia from the seed when the price is meager because a young camellia usually has a pretty low outcome. If the miner sells it after it grows, the miners can earn the capital gain. This is one way to make an ROI.

Stake slots and investors

Miners can invest $T to buy camellia and sell at a higher price for ROI. How about the investors?

Investors do not maintain TEA nodes but still make money from investing in camellias.

Each camellia has a stack of “stake slots” that investors can stake their $T into. Similar to investing in a company, the investors are shareholders. They earn dividends from the camellia.

The position of stake slots means different “weights” when distributing revenue. The lower the index (near the bottom), the higher weight. No doubt, when a new camellia is born, the lowest open slot is first occupied by the fastest investor. By the way, the stake slot with index zero is dedicated to the miner himself. This is the only stake slot that cannot unstake unless the miner sells the camellia. An investor can unstake their stake slots at any trading window. However, once unstake, the upper slots occupy the open position. If he wants to invest again in this camellia, he can only stake the upper slots at the same price but much less weight. This design encourages the investors to make long-term stake investments rather than short-term ones.

Trading window and stake slot size

To minimize the system design, we predefined the trading window and slot size. However, these numbers can be updated by DAO or changed when the TEA main net starts. These are the placeholder numbers.

Each slot worth $T1000 regardless of the position. There is a trading window every 1000 blocks. For example, when the block height is 1000, 2000, 3000… n*1000, the investors can stake and unstake the slot at these blocks. Investors can only stake or unstake a full slot ($T1000).

Risk of staking

As an investor, staking on a camellia owned by a miner may cause a risk. The stake shares both revenue and risk. If the miner is a bad actor, he can run a malicious TEA node trying to cheat the system. Any random verifier can report this via Remote Attestation. Once the TEA consensus confirmed this illegal behavior, the miner will get a penalty up to burn all stakes. So before staking on a camellia, make sure you search this miner’s credit history to control your risk.

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We will talk about Camellia, which is more interesting than $T because it has life!