Radix is a Latin word which means “root”. As per their official website, the team’s mission is to become the root protocol for the new digital economy. Radix is a public decentralised distributed ledger just like Bitcoin or Etherium. But this distributed ledger technology (DLT) is not something that the world has seen before. When it comes to DLT, we often refer to blockchain technology as it has paved a new way to distributed consensus. But Radix is not being developed as a blockchain technology but with a completely different approach. If you want to know more about how brilliant this technology is, read our article here. In this article, let’s discuss what makes Radix the most powerful DLT. But before that, let us understand the purpose of Radix. If you are new to the world of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, you might find it difficult to understand the working of Radix, but we have put it in the most simplified way.
Drawbacks of Blockchain Technology
For any DLT, consensus algorithm is the backbone to determine its throughput and energy consumption. Many consensus algorithms are being developed as we speak, to achieve maximum throughput while consuming low energy. Though many are being developed, we are using Proof of Work (POW), Proof of Stake (POS) and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) predominantly as they are rigorously tested and reliable. But these consensus algorithms have their drawbacks. They don’t give a desirable throughput yet. Energy consumption is high, which adversely affects climate change. The DLT’s are used to achieve decentralisation. But most of the blockchain technologies in place today are not 100% decentralised. While blockchain has enormous potential to transform any industry, it has its drawbacks as discussed, and thus the adoption is at a low rate. Therefore, new technology has come in the market to overcome these challenges and achieve true decentralisation. Let us look at this new technology in depth below.
The working of Radix
Radix works based on a new consensus algorithm which is developed for the sole purpose of this new technology. It uses a consensus algorithm called “Tempo” which is based on logical time. Database sharding and gossip protocol are at the core of this amazing technology. Database sharding is horizontally splitting a database. Each part is called a database shard or shard. Gossip protocol is nothing but sharing the event occurrence to the entire network just like office gossip. This gossip protocol is available in the blockchain technology as well. For example, in Bitcoin, as a miner achieves the mathematical challenge, it gossips the entire network that the challenge is resolved. So this protocol is not something proprietary to Radix. But database sharding is entirely new when it comes to DLT, which makes Radix different from other DLT’s.
Why is database sharding necessary?
Database sharding is partitioning of the database into smaller parts so that it can be managed easily. Shard is nothing but a small piece of the whole. Radix leading network is divided into 18.4 quintillion shards before starting the network. The database can be indexed easily if the partition is done before beginning the network, enabling to know the position of each element exactly where it is in the database. The goal of Radix is to serve all people in the world. Hence scalability is the most critical factor in this case. It should be scalable to every person and every device in the world. Thus, if the demand increases, more devices can be added to the network to improve or maintain the throughput. Tempo Consensus algorithm exactly does the same; any device like a laptop, mobile, a tablet can be used to be a part of the network and validate transactions. Let’s see how this consensus work in the radix network.
Tempo Consensus algorithm
Before diving deep on how the algorithm work, it is essential to understand the basic terminology of Radix technology.
- The Radix network is called the universe. Everything from transactions to gossip protocols takes place in this universe.
- An object called Atom represents every event in the universe. Each Atom contains the address of the destination. The private key of the receiver generally generates this address.
- There can be different types of atoms; it is generally based on the design of the network.
- A piece of code which references the current owner with his/her private key is called consumable. These consumable plays a vital role in transferring the property/transactions within a network.
How does Tempo work?
Tempo ledger consists of all the atoms in the universe. Each validator can choose whether to store the entire ledger or only some parts of the ledger. As the database is partitioned into several shards, the validator has an option to choose which shards to be locally stored in one’s machine. The transactions are made and confirmed using consumables. Let’s take an example. If A must sell a property to B, A will be creating a “consumer” for this property saying he is the current owner. A also links all the past consumables (all the previous owner details) in chronological order in the form of hash. These details will be sent to B as a form of transaction. When the transaction is validated, B will be updated as the owner of the property removing A as the owner. This is all done cryptographically using hashes with public/private keys of the users.
To validate the transaction, we should know whether the object being sold is already spent or not. To ascertain this chronological order is of utmost importance. Database sharding plays an important role in this case. If we take the same example of “A selling something to B”, the shard which says ‘A is indeed the owner of the object being sold’ and the shard which contains the address of B is of importance. Nodes which stored both these shards or any single shard data, paly a vital role in validating the data. To send the data to all these nodes, a temporal proof needs to be obtained. A temporal proof is obtained by according node (A’s node), and if any discrepancy is found, the transaction is rejected. If no discrepancy is found, A’s node determines the number of nodes involved in the temporal proof process. All the nodes involved in the universe will have an inbuilt logical clock. The value of the clock increases by one point each time a node validates a transaction. The value is thus stored in the local machine. If all the nodes validate the transaction, it gets confirmed. The number of nodes involved in the validation is variable. The more the number of nodes involved, the fewer discrepancies will occur in the universe.
The throughput of the Radix network is quite high when compared to blockchain networks. During the last test, they peaked at over one million four thousand transactions per second. Only the transactions with conflict are validated, hence removing the redundant work. Each node involved in the validation is rewarded. A lot of computing power and resources are saved since there is no wastage of resources. Radix is currently planning on a low volatility token. The economic model of Radix is currently under development. If succeeded as expected, the technology will give a tremendous push to the DLT’s as it overcomes the throughput issue, which is a major drawback of the blockchain technology. Let us know your views on this fantastic technology in the comments section below. Thanks.