The Proof-of-work concept and the Bitcoin have created a new revolution. A technological breakthrough based on the blockchain concept.
The idea of the blockchain is to create an unbreakable list of transactions through a consensus process and store them in a chain of immutable blocks. The proof of work implies the creation of blocks by solving complex mathematical operations, referred to as “mining”. Each block contains a hash with the address of the previous block. The approved blocks are then “filled” with the coming transactions.
The blockchain concept has been extended to uses beyond the mere storage of value. Smart contracts can enforce their compliance without human intervention. On financial institutions, blockchain technology can speed up settlements. The use of this technology in video games will bring many advantages, including real ownership in decentralised games. Other applications are supply chain management, real state and tamper-proof voting systems.
The downside of the blockchain
Block mining has been intended as a competitive game between network node validators. Also, as the computational power grows, to make the rate of node creation constant, the complexity of the calculation grows. Moreover, as the number of mining resources n expands, the probability that a block is assigned to a particular computing device diminish by s factor 1/n.
That means the inverse ratio can be applied to energy waste. Thus, as the competition grow more than 99% of the energy and computational resources are spent uselessly because these resources are not used to speed up transactions.
We can see that the downside of blockchain technology is its computational costs, which translate into high energy consumption, complexity, network size, and slow transaction processes. That translates into issues in blockchain scalability. Currently, only EOS surpasses Visa in transactions per second capability, while ripple with its current 17,000 TPS closely follows it.
The advent of the Libra project brought into focus the idea of a global currency, able to withstand maybe more than a million TPS. Currently, EOS, with its 50,000 transactions per second, is the top-performing network.
Is Libra the solution?
We do not know much about Libra. There are a published whitepaper and a technical wiki, but everything seems mostly in an early stage of development. What we do know is that at their starting point, with its initially projected 100 members, they aim at being able to process 1,000 transactions per second, well below the current Visa rate. Also, the investment needed to run a node is said to be $10,000,000.
Furthermore, Libra is designed to be permissioned and centralised. The bad reputation Facebook has gained is building founded worries about consumer privacy and accessibility in government officials and the banking industry. Finally, Libra needs to pass regulatory tests in over 150 countries and is facing fierce opposition in many countries, among which are the US, UK, EU, India and China.
The Radix project aimed to build a scalable and easy to build a digital platform. But instead of using blockchain technology, they created a new design that could allow any person and device in the world use Radix without centralisation.
The difference with Radix is that instead of using blockchain to create the ledger, they use database sharding and logical time to order events and build what they call the Atom, their state particle container, acting as a block in a blockchain.
Radix is redundantly replicated, but it does not use competition between miners to reward its network. That points the network resources towards its primary goals: secure and fast transactions.
Radix reward system
Anyone is able to run a Radix Node. Radix Nodes are responsible for the event validation, messaging and executing scripts. All these services are referred to as “Work”. So, instead of rewarding non-sense math computations to lucky nodes, the radix team thought it best to reward the amount of “work” performed.
“For a public network to operate effectively, it is this Work that must be rewarded”
As already said, on Radix, all work is packaged into “Atom” objects. An atom can be used for messaging, transactions, smart apps or scripts. To validate and record Atoms to the ledger temporal proofs must be produced, and to create a temporal proof, the nodes selected must execute all instructions included inside the Atom. Each node involved in the creation of the temporal proof appends to the Atom their space-time coordinate and include a signature hash using the Node’s private key. This creates a public, tamper-proof, declaration of the node’s engagement in the creation of that temporal proof.
The Radix network split its rewards into execution fees and new emissions, and it pays a reward proportional to the node’s amount of “work” processed.
10 years of Bitcoin replayed
On June 26 the Radix team performed a replay of 10 years of bitcoin history with full signature and transaction validation in one hour. During that test, the peak was already over 1,3 million transactions per second. Over 400 million transactions in less than an hour.
— Shawn Keehn (@shawn_keehn) June 26, 2019
Radix Record Performance
Since the Radix network pays for “work” done, the resources of the network are aimed at speed up the processes, and that is the main reason behind its top performance, currently running over 1,4 million transactions per second using 1,181 nodes.
New @radixdlt test, new world record. Peaked at 1 417 786 transactions per second with 1181 nodes, 7minutes to replay the last 10 years of Bitcoin transaction history. Averaged 890 935 transactions per second #scalability #bitcoin #btc #dlt #notadag #radix #radixdlt #crypto pic.twitter.com/jnS58HhqQU
— gbcholgi (@gbcholgi) July 3, 2019
This is the first time technology is able to demonstrate the viability of a global currency able to perform real-time transactions without delays nor technical glitches. The radix protocol can be used by 8 billion persons on over 500 billion devices.
The age of the blockchain is ending, and the era of Radix has begun.