If there was one thing that has held back the mass adoption of Blockchain or weakness so to say has been the scalability issue. With Ethereum, one of the most popular Crypto platforms processing a mere 30 transactions per second as compared the mainstream player like VISA which processes almost 1000 times than that, a vital scaling upgrade is required for the blockchain networks to become a part of the mainstream financial ecosystem. Things have at last started to move in that direction with the alternative network solutions like the Lightning network for the Bitcoin blockchain beginning to address this problem but the transition to a highly scaled up version has been slow.
Permissioned-based or Enterprise-focused blockchain networks like IBM’s Hyperledger & JPM’s Quorum have shown a capacity of 100,000 transactions per second which is consistent with these consortium blockchains, but the problem is that they function within a closed ecosystem which is neither decentralized nor publicly accessible so the utility remains limited. All of this seems set to change with the new entrants to this arena which are promising to implement highly scaled up solutions of decentralized public blockchains. Let’s review some of the promising upcoming projects.
In one of the previous blogs I had written about the advances being made in blockchain arena in the Land down under – Australia. A new project called Red Belly has been developed as a collaborative effort between Australia’s National Science Agency (CSIRO) & Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney. The project is still in its pilot phase, but has shown immense potential with the processing speeds recorded at upwards of 30,000 transactions per second matching & at times beating mainstream players like VISA. The pilot is being conducted by placing 1000 machines in 18 different geographic regions spread around 4 continents. Here are some of the main features of Red Belly:
Maximum speed of 40,000 transactions per second has been recorded in the pilot phase which was conducted on the Amazon’s Cloud (AWS) global infrastructure with an average transaction delay of only 3 seconds which is in minutes for Ethereum & Bitcoin networks.
It is a fork-free network, unlike its competitors, so there is no chance of double spending or adding the same block to different chains of the forked network.
Red belly combines the scalability of the consortia-based blockchains with the decentralized nature of public blockchains making it easily workable in both public and private settings.
And finally, this blockchain consumes much less electricity than any of the traditional networks that are criticized for being so energy intensive. It achieves this by working under an algorithm which doesn’t require extra electricity as the computational parties increase. The technical details of the algorithm have not been released yet.
Another silicon valley based startup Splend has just partnered with Shanghai Code Center Industry to incorporate IBA Flash Network technology for the China Cable Television Network. The startup is working on this proprietary Integrated Blockchain Architecture (IBA) as an up-scaling solution. Here are some of the key features of this project:
IBA is expected to achieve 1 million transactions per second. According to the CEO of Splend, they have already been able to achieve in excess of the current industry standards of TPS.
The project employs IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) – which uses the peer-to-peer decentralized method of transferring & storing data, safer & more transparent than the generic HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) model – based on the traditional Client-server model employed for websites on the Internet.
The company has just released its flagship product called the Universal CryptoWallet (UCW) based on same proprietary technology offering “12-layer security shield” making it almost impenetrable for intruders. The wallet offers instantaneous transactions with zero-transfer fees.
Splend intends to extend its line of products in 2019 to include other zero-fee services like merchant payments, Crypto asset transfers, micro lending & virtual debit and gift cards.
David Chaum, who is widely regarded as the forefather of the Cryptocurrencies & the associated Cryptographic security is the brainchild behind this ambitious & upcoming project Elixxir blockchain. The project was launched about two weeks ago with the intention of addressing the scaling issue with bullet proof security. Elixxir aims to develop a highly scalable, secure & decentralized messaging payment platform. The high TPS is proposed to be achieved by performing the public key operations in advance thus saving precious time in performing the actual transaction. Also, the network would employ hash-based authentication moving up from the traditional signature-based block processing. The project offers anonymity via the native mixnet protocol on a blockchain that stores tokens rather than transactions. The project paper also claims Elixxir’s non-vulnerability to 51% attack where any single node protects team consensus as shown in the figure above. For now, though the project seems to be more focused on addressing scalability issues until it gets ready to hit the market in the future.
We are now entering a new phase in the DLT technology where the core weaknesses identified in the first decade of development is getting ready to get an upgrade to Blockchain 2.0