The Nano network includes a set of unique and efficient features to provide instant payments which require very little energy, are easy-to-use and provide the scalability needed for true digital money.
The structure of the ledger is called the Block Lattice and allows each account to have its own blockchain, rather than sharing one single chain everyone is competing to add blocks to. With this setup only the account owner can add blocks to their own chain, providing security while allowing many transactions to occur at the same time on the network.
The consensus mechanism, called Open Representative Voting (ORV), also provides useful differentiation from other networks. Consensus is reached through representatives voting on the validity of individual blocks shared on the network. The voting weight for each representative is assigned to them by the account owners and is in proportion to the Nano in those accounts. Account owners can still use funds without restrictions as no staking is involved and the representatives have no control over funds, they just get voting rights from them.
If you are interested in more details about the features of the Nano protocol, we recommend checking out our documentation, starting with What is Nano?