NEM is a combined open-source blockchain protocol with a companion private, permissioned ledger that focuses on producing a more efficient, performance-focused competitor to completely public, open-source blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. NEM aims to service enterprise blockchain markets and extreme versatility in servicing diverse markets (e.g. healthcare, government, financial markets).
NEM calls the first block the “nemesis” block, and each block can process up to 120 transactions. NEM’s blockchain exposes its functionality through an API that can interface with any programming language instead of a specific “smart contract” language.
A network of "supernodes" maintain the NEM blockchain and new tokens (XEM) are "harvested" instead of mined in a typical proof-of-work (PoW) way. XEM tokens circulate through the network like other blockchain-native tokens. NEM's permissioned network companion Mijin is a private ledger that can process 4000 transactions per second and fully integrate with the main NEM chain, which NEM hopes will attract enterprise blockchain markets to NEM.